Is it possible to build a U/W control deck without Counterspell
? Jon Sonne proved that it is possible at Worlds, with a deck reminiscent of Magic's early days. This weekend, it is Eugene Harvey at the helm, and he did great, posting a 7-1 Day 1. The deck itself is straightforward. Mana Leak
and Circular Logic
provide the spell-countering backbone, while Wrath of God
, Wing Shards
, Chain of Vapor
, and Unsummon
keep the board clear of pesky creatures. Deep Analysis
provide excellent card advantage.
In Round 6, Eugene proved that he's the best possible player for this deck. In an extremely tight Game 3, Eugene tapped out to Unsummon an Elephant token and then played a Standstill to keep the game locked down. His opponent, Josh Wagener, saw the opportunity and played a Sulfuric Vortex while Eugene was tapped out. The former National Champion never missed a beat as he played another Standstill, ostensibly trapping himself under the Vortex – but then waited three turns to cycle away Decree of Justice, create some Soldier tokens, and win a game that most spectators thought that he'd given away completely. "Vortex is the biggest problem," Harvey commented. "You have to win with an Angel or something."
Control doesn't always have to be blue and white, though. Chris Fuller is playing a mono-red control deck that makes full use of all the elements of control. Chris (no relation to the infamous Ryan Fuller) said that he got the idea for his unique deck from Alex Shvartsman's Bad Form deck that he played in a PTQ for New Orleans.
"I added Stone Rain in the main deck instead of Misguided Rage," Chris said, "added Burning Wish, and modified the sideboard." With a full complement of burn spells backed up by Rorix Bladewing, Fuller had no problem dismantling his Day 1 opponents.
Fuller also expressed approval for DragonCon, an event he really enjoys. "This tournament was a bonus for coming to DragonCon," Fuller added. "I really like that it was a free entry with a convention badge." He's been having a great time seeing the sights of DragonCon amid burning opponents and beating them down with Dragons of his own.
Richard Hoaen won a trial with his U/G madness deck and liked it so much that he kept playing it. "I didn't want to play Wake or Goblins," he said. He took the traditional U/G base and splashed in a little bit of black. Sickening Dreams
in the sideboard swiftly takes care of the little red men, and 2 Smother
s in the main deck worked better for Hoaen than Unsummon
"My favorite plan against control decks like Wake" Hoaen said, "is to cast Quiet Speculation for Acorn Harvest and two Cabal Therapies." Other than that, Hoaen had no special tips for how to play his deck – and it should be pretty simple for anyone who's been playing a while to figure out. He also mentioned that he had no trouble converting this deck to the new Type 2 environment; most of the cards in it are still legal, and the loss of the venerable Counterspell didn't have much of an impact on this archetype.
Phil Leggate is playing a mono-black deck today, but instead of playing with Zombies, he's going with Braids
. "Zombies are weak against Wake," Leggate said. "They do have Unholy Grotto
s, but no consistent pressure. Wrath of God
spells game over." He built this version of the deck with assistance from Warren Marsh and Shawn Roush, and it was originally built to beat Blue-Green and Wake.
Despite a few losses today, Leggate still holds his high opinion of this deck. "It's the right deck for today and for this format." It seems that the only bad matchup that this deck has is against Reanimator, which is only one facet of Standard thus far. It's kind of surprising to see someone playing with Ichorid again, but Leggate insists that it's an amazing card in this deck. "It's a great combo with Carrion Feeder," Leggate added. The sideboard backs up the consistent control themes, with discard from Blackmail, creature control with Nekrataal and Chainer's Edict, and a bit of spot land destruction with Rancid Earth.
Gabriel Nassif is a quiet Frenchman playing a G/W beatdown deck that he built during the car ride down here to Atlanta. "I got the idea for this deck from Peter Szigeti!" he chuckled. He doesn't yet know if the Savannah Lions
are good, but they seem to be working out for the other players in the tournament. Other than that, it's a bunch of strong and cheap green and white creatures, backed up with Glory
in the graveyard.
Nassif's decklist has another surprise card on it – Natural Affinity, originally printed in Mercadian Masques. Nassif shook his head when he mentioned it, saying," It's too slow, and expensive. You need to get everything right so that it works like it should." Obviously, Nassif may have been envisioning the Affinity as a combo card with Glory, or even just a way to win the game, but you heard it here first. It didn't work out for him at all. Additionally, Nassif expressed disproval with the mix of the lands in this deck, too. "I prefer Sungrass Prairie over the fetch lands," he added. Next time, he may want to try playtesting a little more before the event to work out those kinks.