MTGTech Deck Clinic - UW Control

Feature Article from Jay Schneider
Jay Schneider
4/9/2003
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The Brainburst MTGTech Deck Clinic is a column that provides expert review and commentary for a deck provided by a Brainburst Premium Member. Much of the quality of the columns is up to you, so please submit your deck ideas! For further information on the Deck Clinic, background on the expert reviewers, or to submit a deck to the Deck Clinic please visit the Deck Clinic Main Page.

The deck reviewers are as follows:

{Andy} = Andrew Wolf

{Chris} = Chris Cade

{Dave} = David Leader

{Mons} = Mons Johnson

{Jay} = Jay Schneider

{Rick} = Rick Saunooke

{Sean} = Sean Frackowiak


Making Blue/White Control Tier 1, or even close, was more challenging than we had hoped, considering the maturity of the decks in the metagame. We defined this metagame as, and tested against a metagame of, Red/Green, Blue/Green, Tog, Slide and a random assortment of other decks at irregular intervals. The hardest challenge for Blue/White Control was Blue/Green Aggro-control. This isn't surprising as 5cg and Merfolk decks’ bread and butter has always been handling traditional Blue/White Control. We feel we that the final build we are presenting is not only advantaged against U/G, but is strong against the entire metagame as well.

Brainburst Premium Member Tom Gibes deck has been selected as the feature deck for the MTGTech Deck Clinic. Tom's deck is a Blue/White Control deck designed for Type II tournament play. This column will take a look at his deck, refinements suggested by the reviewers, along with commentary on the choices made and playing suggestions. We strongly encourage you to try this deck out and to send us tournament reports on your results using the modified versions of Tom's deck. And as always we welcome Brainburst Premium Member to submit your deck designs to be considered for use in future Deck Clinic Articles. Please note that reviewer & designer comments have been edited for clarity.

Premium Member Tom Gibes submitted the following deck design:

Deck Name: Ghostbusters
4 Secluded Steppe
4 Lonely Sandbar
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Flooded Strand
2 Skycloud Expanse
3 Plains
5 Island
 
3 Spirit Cairn
4 Astral Slide
4 Compulsion
 
4 Force Spike
4 Counterspell
4 Circular Logic
4 Complicate
 
4 Renewed Faith
3 Wrath of God
 
Sideboard:
----------------
4 Teroh's Faithful
4 Disenchant
4 Aether Burst
3 Deep Analysis

Related Brainburst Articles:

Ray, the Brainburst Editor suggested the following additional resources on Blue/White Control in type II:

Tom had this to say about his submission:

What if every useless card you drew became this card:
1UW - Put a 1/1 white flying spirit token into play. Draw a Card.
Not bad, huh? And it's really the centerpiece of this neat little U/W control deck.

The goal of this deck is a Blue / White control deck, relying on counterspells, Wrath, and Astral Slide to lock down any ground attacks until you get a Cairn out and start pumping out anywhere between 2-4 1/1 fliers each turn for the kill.

The deck concept is all about the Spirit Cairn. The great thing about it is that it triggers with cycling. You can see this is problematic for a certain Tier 1 deck, not too mention any deck running Compulsion (*cough* Psychatog *cough). The great thing is creature kill has close to no effect on this deck. Sure, it may slow you down, but you'll just start pumping out more tokens next turn.

The most important Combination is Spirit Cairn + cycling or Compulsion. It means you'll be pumping out a lot of 1/1 fliers. This requires a fair amount of mana, but this deck runs a lot of land. Compulsion also powers the Logics as well as filling up your graveyard to support them.

The way to play this deck is to lock down the ground. Fly over with an ever increasing swarm of 1/1s. It runs a lot of countermagic, more than the average Tog deck, in fact, so don't be afraid to counter early threats. The Compulsion is huge to dig for that counterspell or enchantment you need, power Logics, or, of course, pump out fliers with the Cairn.

Most of the activity happens at the end of their turn, with you cycling cards or using Compulsion, which should be, in turn, powering up the Cairn so you can pump out those Spirit Tokens. And if you have the Astral Slide out, you'll be able to neutralize creatures until you draw into a Wrath.

This is a slow deck, but once you lock down and start pumping out 1/1 fliers, it's very hard to beat.

The sideboarding strategy is as follows:
Disenchants vs. Astral Slide, Teroh's Faithful vs. Sligh & R/G Beats, Aether Bursts vs. Reanimator and Deep Analysis vs. Tog (more drawing is good).

In general this deck seems a little unfocused, but is really a powerhouse, because most Tier 1 decks use a discard mechanism of some sort. Pumping out 1/1 fliers whenever they activate Compulsion, Wild Mongrel, or cycle a card is pretty nice. The mana base might need some work, though, and I KNOW the sideboard needs work.

It's DEFINITELY a tier 2 deck, but can it be made into tier 1? I sure hope so!

Our Questions to the Author:

While analyzing and discussing the deck, the MTGTech team asked Tom the following questions, regarding how much leeway we had to work and still stay within the bounds of his design specifically:

  • Is Astral Slide a key element or can it be removed?
  • What about an Aggro-Control OBC Punisher style deck still supporting Spirit Cairn and Compulsion?

Tom's response was:

This is the way I feel about the Slides: their main purpose is creature stall, and now I feel that could probably be better accomplished with Wraths, Vengeful Dreams or some other form of global creature kill.

So, yeah, the Slides can go if they need to. The main focus of the deck is the Spirit Cairn and it's interaction with cycling and Compulsion anyway.

Aggro-Control? Go ahead, if you can figure out a way to make it happen. I've always seen it as a straight up slow control deck, but if you think it can work as an Aggro-Control, then please, be my guest!

{Andy} This deck has clearly been pretty well thought out already, I'm impressed. That being said, I do have a few thoughts.

First, I noticed that there are no pure card drawers, just cycling and Compulsion. That may be fine, I dunno, but it would seem like Deep Analysis is a fine choice for this deck. Read the Runes or Breakthrough could be alot of fun once you have a Spirit Cairn out, but probably not so useful before that point.

I also noticed that the deck only has 3 Spirit Cairn. Why? It's not like they are bad in multiples. I'd add the fourth for sure.

I'm also not so sure how good Complicate is. Good enough to run 4, or maybe cut one or two for something else. Choking Tethers could prove useful in the early game instead.

And how come no Angels? I understand the idea behind no true creatures, but I think without Angels and only 3 Wrath of God, this deck could easily get run over by creatures. Imagine your opponent playing first and going turn 1 - Elf, Turn 2 Brushhopper. If you don't have a Force Spike, that's pretty much game right there. And with R/G, it's probably worse, as all their burn can just be used to dome you. Therefore, I think the Angels are rather necessary to combat the creature decks.

Dunno about the sideboard yet. Disenchant seems fine. Aether Burst seems unnecessary. COPs could be the right call.

Andy's suggestions summarized:

  • Add card drawing
  • Increase the Spirit Cairns to 4
  • Add Exalted Angels

Andy's suggested build:

4 Secluded Steppe
4 Lonely Sandbar
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Flooded Strand
2 Skycloud Expanse
3 Plains
4 Island
 
4 Spirit Cairn
4 Compulsion
3 Astral Slide
 
4 Force Spike
4 Counterspell
3 Circular Logic
3 Complicate
 
4 Renewed Faith
3 Wrath of God
 
3 Exalted Angel

{Dave} Sorry for delay on my input... this deck is actually close enough to already completed that I actually feel I need to test it before I say too much. I can say it looks easy to beat with fast creatures from first glance, so I think Aether Bursts may go main. I'll let you know if my testing confirms this.

 

{Jay} I agree the big issue with this deck is fast creatures. I feel good vs. Slide and Tog. It's Red/Green and Blue/Green that are going to be trouble. Wake needed to use 4 Wrath and 4 Moments Peace to handle them. Wrath is easy but what about Prismatic Strands as a backup defensive plan? With the 4th Cairn and the card power of the deck this should give us sufficient creatures. Alternately, there's Slide's defense. Wrath, Teroh's Faithful & Exalted Angel.

 

{Chris} The Slide seems unnecessary. I'd pull out some of the cycling cards (not the lands, though, since they combo with Cairn) and go for raw card drawing power. Next, this deck needs 4 Wraths. Right now it looks like the deck is trying to gain card advantage through Astral Slide, but that is only a temporary solution and won't give a lasting long game (which is the only thing this deck tries to live for). The deck should be gaining card advantage through the Cairn/Wrath combo. Going to 4 of each seems appropriate. It needs some early tempo advantage to buy itself time to get the Cairn/Compulsion combo going, so Bursts should pull maindeck.

Secondly, I'd pull the Force Spikes and go for something stronger. I think that this slot could ironically go to either Liquefy (Angel morphed, Tog, Mongrel, etc.), or to Rites of Refusal. While the Rites fits the Cairn combo well, I think Liquefy is worth giving some playtesting since it's a hard counter for many of the most problematic cards in the environment. Not to mention, it also helps in counter wars. It's a little bit slower, but the Aether Burst helps make up for that.

The Aether Bursts are needed maindeck as a way to give the deck a comfort time to tap out for either a Wrath or Concentrate. Also, without the Astral Slide this deck doesn't need Renewed Faith nor even the Complicates. Bringing in Exalted Angel gives the deck a second kill mechanism, as well as a way to make up some life that may be lost in the early game.

Chris's suggested build:

5 Islands
3 Plains
4 Secluded Steppe
4 Lonely Sandbar
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Flooded Strand
2 Skycloud Expanse
 
4 Spirit Cairn
4 Compulsion
4 Concentrate
 
4 Liquefy
4 Counterspell
4 Circular Logic
2 Exalted Angel
 
4 Wrath of God
4 Aether Burst

{Sean} There is a local player down here who played this deck or something very like it for about a month before he got sick of being beaten by fast creatures. I'll look at his build and see how it differed.

 

{Jay} Been testing with a couple of the early builds. Not much to report except, as expected, if we don't get the deck just right we'll get beaten by fast creatures all day, like Red/Green and Blue/Green (as has been happening to me).

As a thought, what if we look at this as a Wake-style build that instead of Combo pieces uses Spirit Cairn & extra control elements. Wake wasn't overly vulnerable to Red/Green or Blue/Green, with it's vulnerability being to Tog which hopefully is plugged by default.

A couple of points. Syncopate is really good in this deck. I can't count the number of Elephants, Deep Analysis and Mongrels I've caught. I'd also question the Circular Logics, possibly preferring Cunning Wish. I suspect that a Wish resolving for a Seedtime will scoop the Tog deck.

So what do y'all think?

On a side note you saw that the submitter O.K.'d an Aggro-Control Punisher style if anyone (Dave...) thinks there's something there.

if we don't get the deck just right we'll get beaten by fast creatures all day

Jay's U/W/g Build:

8 Island
4 Krosan Verge
3 Skycloud Expanse
3 Brushland
3 Plains
3 Forest
3 Lonely Sandbar
 
4 Moment's Peace
4 Renewed Faith
3 Spirit Cairn
4 Wrath of God
4 Deep Analysis
4 Compulsion
3 Circular Logic
4 Syncopate
4 Counterspell 

{Rick} HOWDY! Sorry I haven't been able to get involved as much this time around. It is crunch time at work, I just returned from 5 hours on my day off. 8-(

ANYHOW, I think that the Moment's Peace will indeed save you from the fast creature problem, BUT you could run the Cunning Wish instead and fetch them as needed. I'm thinking of 3 Cunning Wish, which would also allow for an additional Counterspell option in the main deck.

 

{Dave} Whew! Been testing a fair amount today and I can safely say that fast creatures aren't the only problem... the original version doesn't even hold a stick to the Psychatog deck. In fairness, I only played vs. Wish versions, but they just have all day to stop you. The cards they really need to stop are the combo cards... since you don't have any hard card drawing and they don't especially care about Astral Slide, you have to be the aggressor. Eventually they just do the whole "Wish for Mana Short" thing, and when they do they usually just win. Meanwhile, I had to let far too many card drawing engines resolve.

Fast creatures are also a problem, but not as bad... Red/Green wrecks you, but the Slide was a good answer to Blue/Green, and I could just make tokens. I didn't play vs. GUB, but imagine that would be a little tougher.

Your version looks neat, Jay, but doesn't really answer the tog questions (could answer Red/Green pretty well). Honestly, I don't know if we can answer every deck simultaneously... you can build to beat Blue/Green, or Tog with this deck (I'm not 100% certain White/Blue Control can beat Red/Green), but you'll really need the board for the rest of your matchups. I did not play vs. Slide, but imagine it was a bye... MBC was the easiest thing ever in the games I played.

I am not under the belief that the Force Spikes were a correct cut, and Krosan Verge is just too slow for this environment. I think Unsummon can do as much as a Peace in this deck. Moment's Peace works well for the Wake deck, because it needs less turns to win. This deck, well, it has to stabilize the board for the long haul, and hope its counters are enough to hold back armies. Being able to Unsummon both makes Elephant Pants less good AND buys you lots of time.

I agree with the more land, BTW.

So a transformation on this deck. Note that I don't imagine this version will beat Red/Green either (we may not be able to build a Red/Green beating version... that deck just loves to eat control, and they have Rays/Naturalizes in the board).

Unsummons have revived due to the 'Tog deck... where you HAVE to have an answer to Upheaval + Tog. This has tested well in another Type 2 deck I am playing right now.

The Sideboard has a transformational Life-Gaining board vs. aggro decks. The Slide/Auramancer should counteract most enchantment-kill strategies. I feel the Mana Shorts are just needed game 2 so you can buy that turn to resolve Cairn and Compulsion vs. Tog. Anyone have better anti-control suggestions? I'm assuming you are "good enough" vs. Slide/Wake to not board enchantment kill.

Dave's updated build:

4 Flooded Strands
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Plains
4 Lonely Sandbar
4 Secluded Steppes
6 Islands
 
4 Renewed Faith
3 Spirit Cairn
4 Wrath of God
2 Deep Analysis
4 Compulsion
4 Circular Logic
2 Syncopate
4 Counterspell
4 Force Spikes
3 Unsummons
 
Sideboard (Beta)
----------------
4 Mana Short
3 Astral Slide
3 Teroh's Faithful
3 Exalted Angel
2 Auramancer

{Dave} So here's what we need to do for a more "aggro" version. You go down to 4 counters, but you gain a much - needed blocking base. Tireless Tribe can both act as a second token generator and provide large-size blockings. Stoic Champion can supersize to take out nearly anything, and the slides keep creatures out of play. The tokens serve both to add more threats, make "byes" out of Slide and MBC, and suck up Edicts/Innocent Blood. As this has more threats, I would imagine it would stand a better chance in the 'Tog matchup.

Dave's Aggro Build:

4 Astral Slide
4 Spirit Cairn
3 Compulsion
 
4 Tireless Tribe
4 Stoic Champion
4 Teroh's Faithful
4 Exalted Angels
 
4 Circular Logics
4 Renewed Faith
 
4 Flooded Strands
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Plains
4 Lonely Sandbar
4 Secluded Steppes
5 Islands

{Jay} A few short notes as I need to test more before having a solid opinion. Rick's idea of dropping a couple of Peace's for Wish might help the Tog fight - unless it's too slow for Red/Green. I've found that a Wished for Seedtime really makes Togs life difficult.

I really like the Aggro-Control, Slide/Angel Champion/Faithful Compulsion/Cairn build. I'm down with all of those. I'd suspect I'd like Strands & Screech too. Oh, as for the counters in the deck, Complicate or Logic?

 

{Dave} Circular Logic, for 2 reasons:

1) 3 is a little too easy to pay. I remember being able to tiptoe around Mana Leak when I knew my opponent had no hard counters. This deck can get threshold very quickly.

2) More than anything, this deck doesn't really want to have to leave mana open to counter. For 1 mana, they can counter many early threats, and the graveyard should fill up fairly quickly with this deck.

Yes, an extra cycler is always nice, but you already have 12. I think Circular Logic is just a superior counterspell, especially for decks always needing their mana ;'>.

Discussion of the counterspell of choice for the Aggro-Control build:

{Rick} I'm with Dave. Circular Logic is the way to go. Maybe 2 Cunning Wish and 2 Circular Logic, rather than the original 3 Cunning Wish + Counterspell option that I suggested.

Upon further reflection, if the deck still ends up being under-run by fast creatures, I would STRONGLY consider going down the Aether Burst road. Refer back to a brief exchange from Andy and myself last week concerning 'Tog builds on that topic. Long story short - you can always pitch them to Compulsion, which also makes for a pretty powerful board sweeping effect when trying to establish table-top control. Time, etc.

{Mons} Back from Venice. stup00d Goblin Goons. Betrayers, that's what the Goons are!! *grumble, grumble*

Anyways, looking at the deck I have a few observations:

In my testing for Block, Aggro-Control with Astral Slide just didn't seem to work that well since you are just don't have enough room to fit in enough cycling, threats, & cycling multipliers (i.e. Astral Slide). I expect that result to carry through to Standard. It kinda worked with Lightning Rift as you could count on your opponent to have some cycling cards but that doesn't work with Astral Slide since they control when you slide something out if they do indeed cycle something, but I digress. I expect if there is an aggro based version that works it will be much more aggressive without much, if any, life gain and will depend on just putting dorks on the board and turning them sideways. Battle Screech & friends.

If you consider the 'true' control decks that worked:
The Deck
Psychatog
Balance
Disk based

They all had Card Draw, built in card advantage engines (virtual or otherwise), a solid kill mechanism & board sweepers. I am not sure that Spirit Cairn qualifies as a solid kill mechanism. You might need an Exalted Angel or two in addition. If you get a Spirit Cairn down vs. a Psychatog player, their game plan will still be the Mana Short/Upheaval plan. And they probably have enough time to Heave with 9 land on the board so they can spike anything the U/W control player wants to cast.

It seems almost mandatory to include Cunning Wish in any control variant. Particularly since if you have a Spirit Cairn on the board the cards you value most changes from when you don't. Ditto with Compulsion.

stup00d Goblin Goons. Betrayers, that's what the Goons are!!

{Jay} Last night, I tested with two builds. The first was the U/W/g Control build.

I tested it against the Blue/Green and Green/Red. Although I didn't play Aether Burst or Unsummon, I did monitor for each. It seemed like to be no better or worse than the Moment’s Peace. However, considering the advantages to the manabase, it's probably better to go with the bounce. The deck did maybe 50/50 with both the Blue/Green and Red/Green. Not especially inspiring and, more importantly, I'd always have rather been playing Wake instead of Cairn/Compulsion.

I guess in summary there's nothing to recommend this build over Wake - a Cairn would have always been better as a Wake or Mirrari. So, I'm abandoning this line of test.

In summary there's nothing to recommend this build over Wake

{Jay} I also tested the Aggro-Control with very promising results. I can't list numbers as the deck evolved over testing. Here's the current build after the in-testing evolution starting with the listing Dave sent. Please note there are several minor adjustments as well as the major card swaps from Dave's build.

The Wayfarer is there to fetch Cycle Lands. Some good. The Syncopate was compared in testing to Circular Logic, Complicate in all cases. With almost no exceptions Syncopate was the counterspell of choice.

Thoughts for ??? are:
Wrath, Choking Tethers, Unsummon/Burst, Benevolent Bodyguard. Suggestions?

At the end of testing this build was wrecking Red/Green and looking good vs. Blue/Green.

Updated Aggro Build:

4 Flooded Strands
4 Adakar Wastes
5 Plains
4 Lonely Sandbar
4 Secluded Steppes
4 Islands
 
3 Astral Slide
3 Spirit Cairn
3 Compulsion
 
4 Weathered Wayfarer
4 Stoic Champion
4 Teroh's Faithful
4 Exalted Angels
 
4 Syncopate
4 Renewed Faith
 
2 or 3 ????
 

{Dave} I would agree with the assessment that it will be hard to make the straight-control better than Tog or Wake, so let's put that one out as "not the right build". So let's focus on the Aggro-Control version.

For starters, you want to swap 1-2 more plains out for White/Green fetchlands if you want to play Weathered Wayfarer. This maximizes your ability to activate him (do the old "Stack putting a land into play-search" trick").

Regarding the "2-3 slots", I would say Cunning Wish is the least appropriate... this deck will need its sideboard to handle enchantment destruction and enchantments. Instead, let's focus on Wrath vs. Unsummon. If you say the deck is beating Red/Green and Blue/Green favorably, I would favor Unsummon, as it also doubles as a "stop victory condition" vs. 'Tog decks (though this deck certainly has plenty of those... sliding out Angels does the trick too).

Bodyguard should be right out... I'd prefer Akroma's Blessing (cheap cycle, more surprise value). Choking Tethers would make for a good "Moment's Peace" style cycling card, but I would rather gain the tempo of Unsummon. The other possibility is 2 Circular Logics/Counterspells.

Nice rebuild, BTW... I am curious if the Wayfarers are working well for you. I know they are good in concept, but thus far testing has shown them to be "too slow" for most decks in the environment. That said, they are mainly bad vs. Red/Green, so if you're winning even with them, they may improve your 'Tog matchups (or, at the very least, soak up early Innocent Bloods).

Syncopate really surprises me, are you sure good old fashion Counterspell may not be the correct call? This deck has plenty of sources to support double-blue.

I would agree with the assessment that it will be hard to make the straight-control better thanTog or Wake, so let's put that one out as "not the right build".

{Jay} The deck is handling Red/Green quite well. It's Blue/Green that's the issue. This leads me to Wrath or Burst or Unsummon. Still not sure which.

The Wayfarers are good so far. Counterspell should be considered.

 

{Andy} I would think Unsummon is the call, simply for the Tog issue. I don't know how often it comes up, but Unsummon seems most ideal to defend against post-Upheaval Togs. Granted, they could have Circular Logic, Force Spike, or just replay the Tog, since you're not going to have much to do about it anyway, so I honestly don't know if it really matters at all. Wishes seem good for those last slots. You can get all the standard Blue wish targets that Tog runs, plus stuff like Reprisal or Chastise or Disenchant.

 

{Jay} Tested some last night with the Clinic build. Specifically the Aggro Control as discussed previously although with 0 counters, replacing them with Unsummon.

The deck was tested against Tog and was mediocre at best. The aggrocontrol still seems to have potential, Unsummon was good but it needs something... Suggestions, (preferably a more optimized build listing?)

Question, do you think we could adjust/improve the Blue/White Control by adding Disrupting Scepter main? It is a combo with the Cairn.

Swapped Counters for Unsummons

{Dave} Tough call on the control match... I kinda guessed that one would falter wayside after playing it a bit. It's just hard to make a control deck that you just want to play over 'Tog and Wake. I'm glad the Aggro-control is working out nicely vs. creature matchups... if it does that well vs. creatures main-deck could we possibly board it to beat 'Tog? We've certainly used that strategy countless in the past.

Board will have Counterspell or Circular Logic. Auramancer is for enchantment kill. Wrath is boarded because some people play creatures.

Against 'Tog you board out the entire Astral Slide/Faithfuls suite in favor of Compulsion + Spirit Cairn lock. You have 4 Mana Shorts to ensure you get the combo down (basically you just keep trying to Mana Short until they tap out, then freely lay Compulsion + Cairn and prepare to try to lock up the game).

Vs. creature decks, you board out Wayfarers (too slow) + 1 Counterspell or something for the 3 Wraths and 2 Auramancers (except vs. gobbos, where you just bring in Wraths).

I don't recommend dropping counters entirely... just use those "extra 2 slots" you had as Unsummons (you really only need 1 post-Upheaval, and it's only pretty good vs. creatures). Counters help keep things under control, and make your opponent at least somewhat wary of your hand.

Sideboard:
---------------
(10 anti-tog)
4 Mana Short
1 Compulsion
1 Spirit Cairn
4 Counterspell
 
2 Auramancer
3 Wrath of God

{Dave} Oh, and Scepter is not the answer... Tog loves that card vs you, because it has a use for its spare creature kills and midgame Force Spikes ;'>. They draw a LOT of cards, and if you're playing the control version you don't want to tap down often.

The straight (hard) control has the lack of an efficient and quick kill mechanism, something both Tog and Wake have going for them. Decks without such have worked in the past, but they've had more efficient counterspells and better board stabilizers. Most also weren't having to compete with the sheer speed of aggressive decks these days.

 

{Jay} Follows is the updated aggro build. Note that I'm still a little unhappy with the Blue/Green fight. I think the Stoics need to go.

What I want is to be able to beat the Mongrel/Moeba & Logic draw.

Updated Aggro Build:

4 Flooded Strands
4 Adakar Wastes
5 Plains
4 Lonely Sandbar
4 Secluded Steppes
4 Islands
 
3 Astral Slide
3 Spirit Cairn
3 Compulsion
 
4 Weathered Wayfarer
4 Stoic Champion
4 Teroh's Faithful
4 Exalted Angels
 
4 Unsummon
4 Renewed Faith
 
3 Wrath of God

{Mons} Seems like you really should consider running some sort of counter, perhaps Circular Logics. At a very minimal in the sideboard lest you just get owned by Upheaval. Compulsion is the only helper for Circular Logic, so another counter might be more appropriate.

 

{Jay} I've got the Blue/Green and Red/Green both under control with the current build.

Even with Upheaval I can take the Blue/Green. With that said, Mons, you're right I'd kill for a couple of counters. I'm also considering Cunning Wish x 2. Thoughts on what to remove?

Updated Aggro Build:

4 Flooded Strands
4 Adakar Wastes
5 Plains
4 Lonely Sandbar
4 Secluded Steppes
4 Islands
 
3 Astral Slide
3 Spirit Cairn
3 Compulsion
 
4 Weathered Wayfarer
4 Spurnmage Advocate
4 Teroh's Faithful
4 Exalted Angels
 
4 Unsummon
4 Renewed Faith
 
3 Wrath of God

{Dave} Looks like you added Spurnmage Advocates in the place of the Stoic Champions. While I can see how this would help a lot vs. Blue/Green, doesn't this actually worsen the matchup vs.Red/Green?

On getting some counters in, maybe -1 Unsummon -1 Renewed Faith -1 Supermage? Keep them in 3-sets... the deck should burn through pretty quickly, and none of these truly need to be 4-ofs. Are you going to go with Circular Logic or basic Counterspell (I don't think Syncopate or Complicate are on the same level as these)?

 

{Mons} Seems reasonable. The other option is to remove those 3 cards for Cunning Wish, but Wishes are pretty slow to add to an already slow deck.

Has anyone ever tried Wormfang Drake in a deck like this (with Slide & small creatures). They definitely seem to work well together, but probably not enough to make Wormfang Drake playable. Still it might be worth considering.

 

{Jay} The Spurnmages were swapped in for the Stoics. We were running testing iterations (improving a deck and trying not to weaken it too much against the other decks) and the build that was finally clearly superior to Blue/Green was the Spurnmage build.

As for weakening the deck vs. Red/Green, not really. Spurnmages die to a Firebolt on turn 2 every bit as well as a Stoic can (which is what happened to them about 10 games in a row.) The key to winning the Red/Green is the Faithful and the Angel.

I'm interested by Mons idea of the Wormfang - it does fit the theme of the Aggro-Control very well. Any ideas on how to merge them in?

 

{Dave} Wormfang Drake? The deck doesn't have a lot of creatures that really take advantage of being faded in. I do understand the combo (use them to swing, taking out the Teroh's faithful, then at end step slide them out, putting faithful back into play, repeat), but I really think the deck is better served by more consistent creatures. Wormfang Drake, while a neat idea, doesn't really fit the theme of this (or really any other) deck IMHO.

Remember, the deck is definitely more "control" than "aggro". "Soft control" would be the better definition... it uses Spurnmages and Faithful to keep the ground under control, Bounces/Wraths creatures the opponent plays, and kills when its ready to. Not unlike the Tradewind decks of old.

"Soft control" would be the better definition... it uses Spurnmages and Faithful to keep the ground under control, Bounces/Wraths creatures the opponent plays, and kills when its ready to. Not unlike the Tradewind decks of old.

In summary we have a single, soft-control U/W build to present here. It uses the Cairn/Compulsion mechanism alongside a suite of creature-control spells to handle the primary decks in the metagame. The deck is not the traditional Weissman style control that we were presented. However, it does use the control elements that the original designer stated were key to the build. And it handles the major decks in the metagame.

I'd like to thank Gerald Linn, Jeremy Virden, Brett Allen and Alvaro Erickson along with everyone at Gerald's Thursday night sessions for testing numerous builds of these decks.

Is Deck Name Tier 1?

I think so. The deck tests very favorably against U/G, G/R, MBC. It's reasonable against Slide and has a strong board to handle Tog. I know at least one of the testers is considering playing it at regionals and I can't say it's a bad choice.

    Ghostbusters Tom Gibes and MTGTech Deck Clinic    
  Format: Type2    
Read the article that included this deck HERE
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Exalted Angel
4 Spurnmage Advocate
4 Teroh's Faithful
3 Weathered Wayfarer

3 Astral Slide
3 Compulsion
3 Counterspell
3 Renewed Faith
3 Spirit Cairn
3 Unsummon
3 Wrath of God

4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Flooded Strand
4 Island
4 Lonely Sandbar
5 Plains
4 Secluded Steppe
3 Auramancer
3 Cleansing Meditation
1 Compulsion
1 Counterspell
4 Mana Short
1 Spirit Cairn
1 Unsummon
1 Weathered Wayfarer
 
Total deck value: $231       
Notes:

Average Casting Cost (ACC)= 2.75
Spells by Color:
Cards by Type:
*Hover mouse cursor over pie chart to see ==>> COLOR/TYPE : # CARDS : % OF CARDS.
*Left click on pie chart or legend to isolate a field.

Brainburst welcomes your discussion and submitted tournament reports using the Clinic Decks. Best of luck with them!

- Jay Schneider and the Brainburst MTGTech Deck Clinic Team