Control I’m Here

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my new home, and to my first blog post here. Before we get into the post I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has hosted me over the years, especially The Meadery. I wish their site was back up so I could archive some of the posts here, but it’s ok. We can start with a clean slate, which often times what UWx control decks try to do.

Lately I have been trying some form of control at FNM, and it has not played out so well. I know there are various types of decks that claim to be control, but for me what this archetype truly represents is a more “draw-go” type of play. A very reactive plan that tries to prevent the opponent from gaining a foothold once we reach the mid-game (usually after turn 3 for those keeping score).

I tried various types of both Azorius and Esper decks in the past, some with ways to present more threats (Lingering Souls, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, or Monastery Mentor), and others with more counterspells and planeswalkers. As much as the cards do work in a vacuum we have to think about what we are going to face, find out how to deal with what is being played, and be able to present a way to win the game. That can be a daunting task when presented with a wide pool of options, especially when working with a color that’s not quite what it once was (and that’s Blue for those keeping score).

Noticing my love of the archetype, and struggles with it, local player David King told me about a recent article on by Craig Wescoe where he takes the deck that Ryan Hovis piloted to a top 16 finish at the Modern Classic in Columbus, Ohio earlier this year. I was familiar with the deck, but my stubbornness of not wanting to dip for a 4th color kept me from looking at it originally. However Wescoe is know for his love of White Weenie strategies, and if he can pick up another deck to play perhaps I can learn something (and what I was doing at the time was not working anyway). After about a week of reading, re-reading, and watching the video plays I thought I would make a few variations and try the deck out. Here is what I came up with:

Esper Draw Go (link to my deck)

Sure the numbers seem a little different, and the planeswalkers lean more towards tap out than draw-go, but the premise is still here. One issue I noticed with the original version is that the deck relied heavily on Celestial Colonnade and Snapcaster Mage, however those can be easily dealt with in the format (have you ever played Fatal Push against a manland?) unlike planeswalkers.

The issue I came across is that the deck doesn’t seem to back the same counterspell punch as other decks I have played, but a lot of that is due to what we have in Modern to use currently. The fetchlands, and Logic Knot seem to work well together, but sometimes the timing can be a little off causing you to lean on your spot removal. If you are facing a deck with few creatures (Tron, Gift Storm) sometimes those could be dead draws. The manabase can also be a challenge to navigate when needing to cast Cryptic Command. Sure that’s something we know going in, however that card is needed to help us bridge between the mid and late game to secure a victory. The other issue I had last night was when I would cast Path to Exile, and miss a land drop, my opponent would appear to be very far ahead. These are the issues I am going to have to learn how to sequence better in order to do better with the deck than what I did. I wish there was a better counterspell than what we have, but what is in here will do for now.

Last night was my first experience with this build. Here is how everything played out.

Round 1 vs Gifts Storm: 1-2

Game 1 He was able to successfully storm out without much interaction from me. Game 2 a Duress followed by an Extirpate quickly ended that game, but Game 3 he hit an early Blood Moon which then highlighted my weakness: the greedy manabase.

Round 2 vs Grixis Delver: 2-0

Fatal Push was the MVP both games, and Gideon Jura played the role of assassin.

Round 3 vs Jund: 2-0

This was a match against my good friend Adam, and all of the card draw in the world, along with (you guessed it, Fatal Push) did a lot of work here. Secure the Wastes was also excellent here.

Round 4 vs Golgari Hardened Scales: 0-2  (ID so record 2-1-1)

This was against another good friend Matt, who is also a local judge, and this deck is insane. It’s very aggressive, and uses +1/+1 counters to his advantage. It’s possible that without any interruption one could win on turn 3 with his deck. Cards like Fatal Push can’t help vs undying creatures.

All in all a great, and fun night of Magic. I’ll probably stick with this deck for awhile, but I have a few other Modern decks I will also playtest outside of matches.

Thanks again for stopping by, and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Next time we’ll talk about how Core Sets can be brought back, and what benefit that would have for everyone. Until then…


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