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Thread: [DTB] Blade Control

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    [DTB] Blade Control

    PRIMER
    by IsThisACatInAHat?

    Overview:

    U/W Mystic Control (also Stoneblade or Blade Control) is a blue/white aggro-control deck built around Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The deck is a direct port of Standard post-New Phyrexia Caw-Blade, which led to the June 2011 banning of both aforementioned cards. Until the bans, Standard Caw-Blade was (according to some sources) by percentage the most dominant deck in Magic tournament history. The Legacy port preserves the same engine but adds many of the best blue (and some white) cards ever printed.

    History:

    U/W Mystic Control’s debut performance was at Grand Prix Providence 2011, where Team Fireball’s Owen Turtenwald piloted it to an undefeated day 1 and a 5th place overall finish. In the months following, U/W Mystic Control exploded in popularity and success, taking multiple top 8/ top 16 spots at StarCityGames Legacy events in the US and other high-profile tournaments around the world.

    Decklists:

    Owen Turtenwald, 5th place GP Providence:

    Maindeck:

    Artifacts
    1 Batterskull
    1 Crucible Of Worlds
    1 Sword of Body and Mind

    Creatures
    4 Stoneforge Mystic

    Enchantments
    4 Standstill

    Instants
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Daze
    4 Force of Will
    4 Mental Misstep
    2 Spell Snare
    4 Swords to Plowshares

    Legendary Creatures
    1 Vendilion Clique

    Planeswalkers
    3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    Basic Lands
    3 Island
    1 Plains

    Lands
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Mishra's Factory
    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Tundra
    4 Wasteland

    Sideboard:
    1 Batterskull
    1 Pithing Needle
    3 Relic of Progenitus
    3 Meddling Mage
    1 Oblivion Ring
    4 Path to Exile
    1 Vendilion Clique
    1 Wrath of God

    Card Choices:

    As before, Legacy U/W Mystic Control is a direct port of Standard Caw. They both begin with the same basic engine:

    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    1 Batterskull

    3-4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    These 8-9 cards give the deck its identity. Prior to New Phyrexia, Stoneforge Mystic was a mid-level value creature seen in various Bant and G/x aggro decks and Jace was considered too slow as more than a two-of, even in Standstill-based control decks. New Phyrexia changed all that in two major ways.

    First, the printing of Batterskull gave Mystic a target that needed no extra help once it hit play. It provided a large body, reusability and functioned equally well as both an attacker and defender due to Vigilance and Lifelink. Prior to Batterskull, the consensus best SFM targets were Umezawa’s Jitte and Sword of Fire and Ice. Jitte, while powerful, had the problem of needing other creatures for support lest the Mystic carrying it die in combat (as it would, being a ½) and then not having anyone else to pick it up. Sword of Fire and Ice, being more expensive to play naturally, relied more heavily on SFM to cheat it into play and equip and then had a less impressive effect than Jitte anyway. Neither card made it worth running Mystics but no other creatures for.

    The second major change from New Phyrexia was arguably one of the biggest turning points in recent Legacy history. The hype surrounding Mental Misstep was feverish, hyperbolic and if anything, probably understated. The card changed the way blue decks in Legacy could play, not just because it was the first playable free counterspell since Daze, but because it gave blue decks a 1-for-1 answer to backbreaking turn 1 plays on the draw. Aether Vial and Wild Nacatl, bogeymen of slow U/x control decks, were no longer only answerable by the miserable 1-for-2-off-the-bat trade of Force of Will. This is neither the time nor place, so I won’t go into any further detail, but the point is that Mental Misstep slowed the format down enough so that Jace, The Mind Sculptor became Legacy’s premier blue win condition.

    Together, Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor forms the backbone of one of Legacy’s top decks. However, two cards do not make a Legacy deck by themselves. Thankfully, blue just happens to be the best support color in the format (and really, the best primary color too):

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Mental Misstep
    2-4 Spell Snare

    The standard blue package of counterspells and card filtering, the above 14-16 cards are the basis for disruptive blue decks in Legacy. To quote Luis Scott-Vargas (recognized as one of the best professional Magic players in history):

    “All these cards seem like locks in any blue-based deck that has any interest in disrupting the opponent (Merfolk is a whole other subject). All these spells cost 0 or 1 mana, and they all allow you to interact meaningfully with the opposition at any stage in the game. Force and Brainstorm also allow you to filter dead cards very effectively, and it’s no surprise that 90% of my Legacy decklists start with 4 of each.”

    These cards are essentially the reason Mystic and Jace are so powerful; when you’ve got the best protection and card selection spells in the format to keep your win conditions safe and ensure you’ve always got gas, it’s difficult to lose. Still, there’s more to a deck than its engine, protection and card selection. Naturally, you’ll need mana to cast all your spells:

    3 Island
    1 Plains
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Mishra's Factory
    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Tundra
    4 Wasteland

    The two-color manabase offers U/W Mystic Control several advantages over its competitors, the most important of which is resilience. By limiting itself to just two colors, the deck can afford to play four (!) basic lands to combat opposing Wastelands. As well, since the color requirements are fairly lax (W on turns 2 and 3 and UU on turn 4), the deck can also afford to play two full sets of utility lands, in this case Mishra’s Factory and Wasteland. These utility lands allow the deck to consistently make its land drops each turn and resolve its powerful spells on time, then get aggressive with mana denial and additional equipment carriers/ blockers to protect Jace.

    The “industry standard” number of lands for this deck is 24, but professional brewmaster Gerry Thompson has been known to go as low as 22 (link here, may still be Premium) by cutting Wasteland. No matter how many you choose to run, the most important takeaway from this section is that U/W’s primary advantage over other UW(x) Mystic/ Jace decks is its manabase. Adding colors (typically Red or Black) or cutting basics detract from this strength significantly. Before doing either, be sure the cards you add are worth it.

    Lastly, the maindeck could never be complete without its utility spells- removal, card draw, additional disruption or equipment, etc:

    4 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Ancestral Vision/ Standstill
    1+ Vendilion Clique
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    1 Sword of Body & Mind/ other

    Even in a post-Mental Misstep world, Swords to Plowshares reigns supreme as the #1 removal spell ever printed. One mana, instant speed, unconditional spot removal with almost no downside isn’t available from any other card or color. Even Path to Exile, a plausible imitator, is an extremely distant second (or third, now that Dismember exists). Since you’re already in white for Stoneforge Mystic, Swords to Plowshares is a natural fit for the deck’s removal slot.

    The final slots are given to Ancestral Vision or Standstill (never both, always all one or the other) to provide insurmountable card advantage alongside Mystic and Jace. The correct choice depends entirely on anticipated metagame; Vision is a more powerful option in environments dominated by Aether Vial or slow U/x control decks, while Standstill is stronger in environments dominated by G/x midrange or combo decks. For the moment, Vision is the more commonly occurring card in top 8/ top 16 lists, probably because the prevalence of Jace has forced G/x midrange down and the prevalence of Misstep has forced combo down.

    In addition to its known-quantity cards, U/W Mystic Control has a handful of flex slots (2-6, depending on land, Snare and Jace counts). Most players fill these slots with a singleton Crucible of Worlds to threaten Wasteland and Mishra’s Factory recursion, an additional equipment to tutor for with multiple Stoneforge Mystics and some number of Vendilion Cliques for evasive beats and additional disruption. Though they’re technically “flex” slots, the list of cards that actually fit into them is short. Most of the best blue and white spells are already included, so outside of rogue metagame choices or just genuinely suboptimal cards, there isn’t much left.

    Sideboard:

    Rather than list potential sideboard cards and try to explain their function, I want to take a top-down approach exploring U/W’s weaknesses and what it needs from its sideboard in order to cover them:

    U/W Mystic Control typically runs between 10 and 12 counterspells, but only 4 spot removal spells. The exact numbers for this vary since some players run Daze or Path to Exile in the flex slots, but for the most part, the ratio is about 3:1. Jace can pick up some of the slack with his Unsummon ability, but that’s only a temporary solution and not something you ideally want to be doing every turn unless you’ve got a lot of power on the board to end the game quickly. As such, the deck can be soft to creatures. Mystic takes a turn to play and another turn to “untap” (lose summoning sickness) before Batterskull comes online. In that time, most creature-heavy decks will have already established a formidable board presence. Unless you have the exact right combination of counterspells (and even if you do), decks like Zoo, Maverick and Goblins can overwhelm U/W before it has the chance to stabilize.

    As well, each of the above decks can deal with a resolved Batterskull (or the Mystic) relatively easily. Half of the Zoo deck is an answer to Mystic or Batterskull, often for cheaper than the cost of either. Maverick’s huge creatures and utility removal can blow right past them, sometimes without even losing cards in the exchange. Goblins is built to overrun blue decks exactly like U/W with swarms of creatures, giant Piledrivers and an insane card advantage engine. I’ll go more in-depth when I do matchup analysis, but for now it’s enough to know that multiple resolved creatures can pose a huge problem. In order to combat this, the deck can board out its slower or CA-negative cards for cheap spot removal, sweepers and additional utility cards. From Owen’s GP list:

    1 Pithing Needle (naming Qasali Pridemage vs. Zoo/ Maverick, Aether Vial vs. Goblins)
    1 Oblivion Ring
    4 Path to Exile
    1 Wrath of God

    Some of the pros that have played with U/W Mystic Control such as Patrick Chapin mention adding more copies of Wrath of God for its help in the creature matchups. If your metagame has lots of Zoo, Maverick or Goblins, this is good advice to follow.

    A second major weakness of the deck is the conditionality of its counterspells. With the exception of Force of Will, all of U/W Mystic Control’s counterspells attack low-end spells costing 1 or 2. The assumption is that anything Misstep or Snare can’t handle, Force of Will, Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor all can. This becomes a problem when an opposing deck can only be interacted with on the stack (rather than the battlefield) and its problem spells all cost more than 2 mana. Neither Mystic nor Jace can affect the stack and Force of Will, while a valuable 4-of, is still a 1-for-2 that every competitive combo deck already has in mind. Decks built around Show & Tell, such as Hive Mind and Sneak Attack, can present a threat that this deck has a very difficult time answering.

    Show & Tell decks are among U/W Mystic Control’s worst matchups. Hive Mind is immune to most removal and can Force through its combo with relative ease. Sneak Attack can switch modes by choosing play its enchantment or drop a Progenitus, neither of which U/W has maindeck outs to. It’s not all downside, though; without their namesake cards in play, both decks do stone nothing and have plenty of dead draws. They’re also typically susceptible to aggression backed by minor disruption. Postboard, both matchups get appreciably better (though still poor) because your sideboard brings in a handful of useful cards to replace dead ones. From Owen’s GP list:

    3 Meddling Mage
    1 Oblivion Ring
    1 Vendilion Clique

    In a metagame full of decks like this, it’s a good idea to run more copies of disruptive cards like Mage and Clique, or to choose another deck altogether. Fortunately, Hive Mind and Sneak Attack are both relatively underplayed because of how weak they are to Merfolk, which itself is one of U/W’s best matchups.

    Overall, the correct sideboard comes down to what your anticipated metagame looks like, the same as any deck. Aside from individual role-players to shore up difficult matchups, there aren’t a ton of cards U/W particularly wants. It does a handful of things very well and some things not so well. The best advice I can give for sideboarding with U/W (or any other deck) is to consider what you want to accomplish and look for cards that help you do it. In order to choose the right quantity, look over your maindeck and count how many cards are bad in a particular matchup. There’s no sense running 7 cards to help you beat something if you later realize you only have 4 cards to side out.

    Matchups:

    In the interest of remaining intellectually honest, I’m not going to rate matchups on a percentage scale, nor give abstract evaluations of how positive or negative they are (just whether or not they are). The people who write primers are naturally people who play and enjoy the deck in question, so their ideas of how matchups play out can be skewed. Either everything is favorable, or the author overcompensates and nothing is favorable. The fact is, bias exists even if it’s just in explaining card choices. Rather than taking everything here as gospel, test U/W against a gauntlet of the best decks to assess its strengths and weaknesses for yourself.

    Merfolk

    Merfolk, more than “blue,” is Legacy’s policeman. It does nothing inherently unfair (except cheat on mana with Vial), plays a fast clock and has a monochromatic manabase that makes it the most consistent deck in format. It’s also one of the most heavily played decks, which makes it the first consideration for any deck that wants to succeed in a large field. You may not play against it more than once or twice, but you’re unlikely to play against it less than that. Merfolk is the litmus test for all U/x control and combo decks; it’s not necessarily critical to have a positive Merfolk matchup to win a tournament or even to be a successful archetype, but it does exist, it is widely played and it’s to your benefit to address it.

    The most relevant threat Merfolk plays against U/W Mystic Control is Lord of Atlantis and to a lesser extent, Aether Vial (to help resolve Lord of Atlantis). Though its overall synergy and other lords are dangerous, Lord of Atlantis is the only card that makes the combat step non-interactive once you’ve landed your equipments (presumably, your second equipment should be Sword of Body & Mind; the protection here is relevant because Merrow Reejerey can imitate LoA’s effect with it’s tapping). The most important part of playing this matchup, both pre and postboard is to resolve Stoneforge Mystic. You’ve got much greater card selection (they have none) and approximately equal amounts of countermagic. Most competitive Merfolk players have also begun including a full set of 4 Dismember somewhere in their 75.

    Whether you win or lose this matchup depends entirely on your ability resolve SFM (into Batterskull), protect them from Dismember and keep Lord of Atlantis off the table. Postboard, you have a lot of help once you double up on Swords effects and add in miser cards like Pithing Needle, Oblivion Ring and Wrath of God. U/W’s strength in this matchup is a particular reason to play this deck over a slower control deck with similar cards, such as UW Landstill or BUG Landstill.

    Zoo

    Zoo is Legacy’s premier pure aggro deck. In the same manner as Merfolk, Zoo does nothing inherently unfair and plays a (very) fast clock. Most modern Zoo lists are also running a critical mass of 1-drops to overwhelm blue decks’ counterspell suites. It’s a fairly heavily played deck, being the most successful non-blue deck on the SCG Open circuit (Maverick is more successful in Europe). Zoo also has the advantage of being able to cheaply and effectively answer both Stoneforge Mystic and Batterskull with its full burn suite, Path to Exile and maindeck Qasali Pridemage.

    Postboard, the matchup could get even worse; Ancient Grudge (sometimes Krosan Grip), additional Pridemages (if they don’t run the full set already) and must-answer bombs like Choke and Elspeth, Knight Errant make Zoo one of U/W’s more difficult matchups. It’s still entirely winnable, since Mental Misstep and Spell Snare are both effective against almost everything they run preboard and you get a ton of help postboard. As with other creature decks, doubling up on Swords and adding in sweepers makes it noticeably easier to stabilize. If the game goes long, you have a much better shot because Zoo will run out of gas faster than U/W and U/W has more ways to refill its hand. A second Batterskull is especially nice in case the first is destroyed.

    Maverick

    Maverick is one of several G/x (usually G/W) midrange aggro decks that eschews the speed and burn of Zoo for a more stable manabase and bigger creatures. Like U/W, the deck can switch mid game between aggressive and control roles, though where U/W plays a better control deck, Maverick plays a better aggro deck. Against U/W, Maverick is the aggressor, attempting to overwhelm it with early acceleration and fat (for example, t1 Noble Hierarch, t2 Knight of the Reliquary) and follow up with cheap utility creatures like Mother of Runes. Unlike vs. most aggro decks, countermagic is useful against Maverick because stalling into Jace is the best play U/W has in this matchup.

    As with other creature-heavy decks, Maverick can be difficult for U/W to beat, although it gets better postboard and is still entirely winnable. You’ll be siding in all of your extra Swords and sweepers and possibly a second Batterskull for when (not if) the first one is destroyed. Hopefully, the frequency with which you side in cards like Path to Exile, Wrath of God, etc. speaks to their strength as sideboard cards. Where other so-called aggro-hosers like Moat, Peacekeeper and Vedalken Shackles would be dead weight against giant Knights and grips full burn, Path, Wrath and their ilk are straightforward and effective.

    UW/x, BUG Landstill

    Landstill variants share most of their shell with U/W Mystic Control, since they both play similar strategies in similar colors. These decks are all essentially mono blue control splashing other colors for removal. Their particular difference with Mystic Control is the SFM package itself; creatureless Landstill lists fill the extra slots with additional planeswalkers like Elspeth, Knight Errant or Ajani Vengeant and maindeck sweepers like Pernicious Deed or Wrath of God. Though opinions are sure to vary, the Mystic package is an advantage in this matchup because of its reusability. In a matchup that depends so heavily on cards to the exclusion of most everything else, sources of recurring card advantage like Stoneforge Mystic into Batterskull or Sword of (Body & Mind, Feast & Famine, Fire & Ice) are extremely valuable. More than anything, though, planeswalkers and Vendilion Clique dominate this matchup from either side of the table.

    Mystic Control has more aggressive early drops than creatureless Landstill variants, which puts in you in the unique position of determining what to fight over. If they allow SFM to resolve, it can threaten a fast clock with equipment. If they counter it, you have a resource advantage when it comes time to fight over Clique and Jace. Their typical methods of recouping lost card advantage (Standstill, Deed, Wrath) range from dead to not good, since after all, these cards are explicitly meant to deal with creature-heavy decks. Rather than drag dead weight in game 1 and side them out for games 2 and 3, you just don’t have them in. It’s worth mentioning that additional copies of Clique and Jace are never dead, even if you already have one on the battlefield. If either remains unanswered, you will probably win. As soon as they are answered, you will want another one immediately. This is true for either side: never, ever let Jace resolve if you can do anything in your power to stop it.

    NO RUG

    NO RUG has gained in popularity after a string of impressive finishes at GP Providence (3rd) and on the SCG Open Circuit. As a Noble Hierarch deck, NO RUG is susceptible to having its critical 1-mana creature countered or killed before it can accelerate into a Natural Order. Also as a Noble Hierarch deck, it has a tendency to exhaust its hand on early acceleration and then have difficulty recouping lost card advantage. As long as you keep them off Natural Order, this shouldn’t be a problem matchup. Always easier said than done, NO RUG maindecks 3 Vendilion Cliques and runs more free countermagic in Daze, with access to red blasts postboard. NO RUG also accelerates considerably faster than U/W, so racing them to the table with aggressive early drops is a bad idea. Rather, it’s important to stop early Hierarchs from untapping, either through Misstep, Snare on GSZ for X=1, or Swords. Once they’re playing at a reasonable pace, the game should be much easier.

    Unfortunately, resolved Natural Order is a legitimate “oops, I win” card on most board states. Preboard games feel about even (you have a game-ending 4-mana sorcery too) and postboard they should get considerably easier. While NO RUG sides in red blasts to fight blue cards, U/W sides out blue cards for white creature removal. Overall, this is a very positive change for you, even if it makes Natural Order more likely to resolve. If the worst happens, you can still race with Batterskull(s) or answer Progenitus with Wrath. Though NO RUG isn’t as creature-heavy as some other decks, many of its spells and lands act like creatures, so additional cheap removal out of the board is still at a premium.

    Hive Mind

    Hive Mind is as close as it gets to a miserable matchup for U/W, even with a decent amount of help postboard. Permanent removal such as Oblivion Ring, Repeal, Wipe Away and Disenchant all come down too late, as the Hive Mind player never needs to pass priority until the damage is done. Even worse, the deck has functional access to twice the number of Force of Wills on its combo turn because Pact of Negation’s drawback will presumably never trigger. It also has fewer dead draws than most Show & Tell decks, but they do exist. Disrupting their early cantrips with otherwise-dead Missteps and landing early pressure with Stoneforge Mystic is crucial to winning this matchup.

    Postboard, Meddling Mage comes down faster than Hive Mind and their only ways to handle it are typically Force of Will and Slaughter Pact. Even off of Show and Tell, assuming the Hive Mind player will drop their deck’s namesake card, Meddling Mage gives you the opportunity to name a Pact before they receive priority. Hopefully, an early Vendilion Clique will provide you with the information you need to guess correctly. Even without it, any guess is better than nothing. Alongside the Mage, Vendilion Clique is your most valuable card in this matchup since it provides information, cycles something important and puts them on a fast clock.

    Dredge

    Once upon a time, Dredge was an unwinnable game 1 opponent for most decks. In fact, part of its appeal was that it only really needed earn one win per match. Mental Misstep has somewhat changed that dynamic, since countering all of their enablers is now a pretty realistic possibility. Dredge needs to keep or mulligan certain hands based on the presence of specific enablers- mana, discard outlets, dredgers and draw spells and some hands, for example those without a Dredger, are auto-mulligans even if they’re otherwise good. Many cards like Careful Study and Breakthrough have overlapping roles and for the most part, are all easily counterable. Setting Dredge back a couple of turns by countering key spells (conveniently, all 1 drops) can put you very far ahead going into the midgame, where resolving Stoneforge Mystic into Batterskull will end it in short order. However, Dredge is an explosive combo deck that can blow up in your face if it gets the chance, plus many of its cards work just as well from the graveyard as they would in-hand.

    For the most part, Dredge’s likelihood to win is heavily dependent on the coinflip of what they actually dredge into and whether or not you have relevant cards. Sometimes, they do nothing while you kill them. Other times, you don’t get the chance to do anything before they kill you. For the GP, Owen ran three Relics to stop graveyard shenanigans, but with the maindeck the way it is, I don’t think they’re necessary. Your countermagic is highly effective at stalling into Stoneforge Mystic and returning Batterskull to your hand will exile any Bridges that manage to hit the yard. Graveyard hate can be very hit-or-miss in an open field and Dredge is not terribly difficult to beat without it. As such, unless you anticipate more abusive graveyard strategies, it’s probably OK to cut Relics for something more widely applicable.

    Team America

    Team America waxes and wanes depending on what cards are seeing play in other decks. This is because it’s matchups can be very swingy depending on the metagame presence of certain cards, such as Blood Moon and Back to Basics, that can end games on the spot. Among the cards Team America has difficulty beating are Mystic, Jace, Vision and Standstill. Conveniently, these are mainstay 4-ofs in U/W Mystic Control. Predictably, this matchup is one of your better ones. Older versions packing Stifle may prove more difficult (I don’t know this for sure; it’s personal conjecture), but Stifle is poorly positioned in today’s metagame anyway. This matchup typically plays out in the same way; Team America’s hand disruption and U/W’s countermagic trade early until both players’ hands are drained, then Vision, Standstill, Mystic or Jace puts U/W firmly in the driver’s seat until it hits more card advantage spells and the game ends.

    Postboard this matchup doesn’t get much worse, as Team America doesn’t play a very convincing BUG Landstill game and all of your best cards are at their actual best. The cards to side in for this matchup might be nothing, maybe extra Crucibles if you’ve got them, or possibly even Path to Exile instead of Sword to Plowshares since they don’t run basics (in which case, Path would just be a slight upgrade).

    Rock, Junk & other B/G/x Midrange

    Rock, Junk & other B/G/x midrange is not an archetype you will see very often anymore, mostly because it’s a less-powerful cousin to Team America. When Team America is bad, B/G/x midrange decks are really bad. Rather than use this primer as a soapbox for my personal opinions on this deck, I’ll just refer you to the Team America section of this primer. The matchup is similar, except instead of Force of Will, they have Knight of the Reliquary, which means you might want additional spot removal postboard. Either way, it’s another fairly easy matchup. The rise of U/W Mystic Control directly correlated with the waning relative popularity of decks like this and for good reason.

    ANT, TES & other Storm Combo

    Storm combo is another archetype that has seen better days, though in fairness to them, they used to be amazingly good even when Counterbalance was the most common strategy in the format. Nowadays, skilled storm pilots are rare and their decks are significantly less powerful than they used to be (plus the opposition is more powerful than it used to be). Counterspells and disruptive cards like Meddling Mage and Vendilion Clique are at a premium here, except unlike with Hive Mind combo, all of your counterspells are relevant. It seems fairly straightforward, but save Missteps for Duress/ Thoughtseize/ Chant, Snares for anything they can hit (usually Infernal Tutor/ Burning Wish) and Force of Will for whatever’s left at the end of the spell chain. Batterskull can race Empty the Warrens tokens and the lifegain can make it harder to get a Tendrils kill. Until this archetype gets another boost from new printings (and subsequently, a setback from new bannings), it isn’t necessary to build a sideboard specific to them. Common sense rules apply- side out creature removal and possibly some number of Jaces, side in your anti-combo/ control cards.

    Patriot & Esperblade

    The final decks I want to touch upon are Patriot and Esperblade. Both of these decks are related to U/W Mystic Control in that they’re all made possible by the power of Stoneforge Mystic into Batterskull and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Though the matchups are relatively even (you do run almost all of the exact same cards, after all), I believe U/W is at an advantage due to its stronger manabase and the relative lack of importance of splash cards in these matchups. Though they’re not entirely comparable, Standard U/W Caw-Blade created several variant decks, Sparkblade and Darkblade (conveniently, the same splashes for the same reasons as they exist in Legacy).

    Both were supposed to dominate the mirror, but time and again U/W proved it was favored. Tectonic Edge (Wasteland), more basics and a better-focused strategy empirically contributed to a positive win percentage for U/W against either splash. Whatever anyone’s justification for either splash to beat the mirror, the fact is that when U/W came up against either, it won more often than not. Much like Standard, though, these matchups are skill-intensive because of the high level of interaction. Minor advantages aside, the better player will usually win. These play out much like vs. Landstill variants, except closer to a true mirror. The best you can do is side in your anti-control cards and play well.


    Suggested Reading:

    One Step Ahead – Building The Best Ancestral Vision Deck
    Innovations – Is The Best Creature In Magic White?

    These are about BUG Landstill specifically, but still have a lot of useful information about Mystic, Jace and post-Misstep Blue in Legacy:
    Initial Technology – Taking Our Time in Providence
    PV’s Playhouse – The Day Rhode Island Stood Still *4th*


    BONUS - IBA's analysis of the most recent 20 successful lists (as of 2011-07-12):

    2.8 Island
    1.15 Plains
    0.1 Mountain
    3.9 Flooded Strand
    2.45 Polluted Delta
    0.75 Scalding Tarn
    0.6 Misty Rainforest
    0.3 Arid Mesa
    0.05 Windswept Heath
    3.6 Tundra
    0.5 Volcanic Island
    0.25 Underground Sea
    0.2 Tropical Island
    0.15 Scrubland
    0.05 Plateau
    3 Mishra's Factory
    2.45 Wasteland
    0.25 Karakas
    0.1 Academy Ruins
    0.05 Faerie Conclave
    0.15 Chrome Mox

    3.95 Stoneforge Mystic
    1.75 Vendilion Clique
    0.2 Tarmogoyf
    0.2 Dark Confidant
    0.15 Grim Lavamancer
    0.15 Bitterblossom

    3.1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    0.05 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

    0.1 Sword of the Meek
    0.05 Thopter Foundry

    1.2 Batterskull
    0.45 Sword of Body and Mind
    0.35 Sword of Feast and Famine
    0.05 Umezawa's Jitte
    0.05 Sword of War and Peace
    0.05 Sword of Fire and Ice

    3.75 Mental Misstep
    3.55 Force of Will
    2.65 Spell Snare
    1 Daze
    0.55 Counterspell
    0.2 Hymn to Tourach
    0.15 Counterbalance
    0.15 Thoughtseize
    0.1 Spell Pierce

    3.75 Swords to Plowshares
    0.45 Wrath of God
    0.2 Repeal
    0.1 Path to Exile
    0.1 Engineered Explosives
    0.1 Firespout
    0.05 Oblivion Ring
    0.05 Ensnaring Bridge

    4 Brainstorm
    1.75 Standstill
    1.6 Ancestral Vision
    0.45 Crucible of Worlds
    0.45 Sensei's Divining Top
    0.05 Enlightened Tutor

    Or rounding:

    3 Islands
    1 Plains
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Other blue fetchland (people seem to like Polluted Delta strictly for the old school factor, although running it as a 4x marginally increases vulnerability to Pithing Needle I guess)
    4 Tundra
    1 Volcanic Island
    3 Mishra's Factory
    2 Wasteland
    +
    3rd Wasteland or utility land

    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    2 Vendilion Clique

    1 Batterskull
    1 Sword of Relevance To Your Meta

    4 Brainstorm
    4 Standstil
    (or, slightly less likely)
    4 Ancestral Vision
    3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Crucible of Worlds

    4 Swords to Plowshares

    4 Force of Will
    4 Mental Misstep
    3 Spell Snare
    1 Daze
    1 Counterspell

    So basically Turtenwald's list, with only a few people really trying anything radically different.

    Some notes:

    These builds in general seem heavily geared towards fighting against combo and other blue decks. It looks like your best bet is going to be something like Zoo, Goblins, or Maverick, which can outclass or overrun their threats.

    Some of these manabases seem somewhat optimistic. I'm not sure why Team America isn't doing better here. If you're going to play Merfolk in a Blade Control heavy meta you should think about Stifle main.

    These decks are light on sweepers and answers to resolved permanents generally. For some reason a control deck that is very light on creature count has decided its backup win condition is going to be an incredibly fragile flyer. I would think one would want that in the board for combo if anything, but I've never understood the fascination with that card exactly.

    Most lists are also only running one Batterskull and so incredibly vulnerable to Pridemage or Vindicate, the latter of which will also hit their other bomby threat, Jace.
    Last edited by Nihil Credo; 07-14-2011 at 03:29 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    NO FIRSTING! -zilla

    Do you guys think splashing black for Perish is good enough. Whenever I fuck around with this deck online I lose to various GW decks (Zoo, Mavrick, No Force, etc).
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    If you're going to dip into black for sideboard Perish, I see no reason to run Standstill or Ancestral Visions over Dark Confidant. Although, I don't see why various G/W Aggro would give a U/W Control deck problems, to be honest. That's one of traditional U/W Control's best matchups, regardless if you're running SFM or not.

    EDIT: Speaking about traditional U/W Control, here's my not-so-traditional U/W Control deck:

    U/W Countertop Superfriends

    Lands (22)
    4 Flooded Strand
    3 Polluted Delta
    1 Marsh Flats
    4 Tundra
    7 Island
    2 Plains
    1 Kor Haven

    Creatures (0)

    Spells (38)
    2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Predict
    4 Sensei's Divining Top
    4 Counterbalance
    4 Counterspell
    4 Force of Will
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Path to Exile
    2 Oblivion Ring
    3 Vedalken Shackles

    Sideboard (15)
    2 Aura of Silence
    2 Moat
    4 Peacekeeper
    4 Meddling Mage
    3 Pithing Needle

    SFM looks like a much better card advantage engine than Predict:

    -3 Predict
    -1 Kor Haven
    +4 Stoneforge Mystic

    I have to compensate with my blue spell count though, and the next best blue spell would be Mental Misstep:

    -2 Path to Exile
    -1 Oblivion Ring
    +3 Mental Misstep

    I have to fit in some equipment:

    -1 Counterspell
    -1 Oblivion Ring
    +1 Batterskull
    +1 Batterskull/Jitte/Sword of Relevance to Your Metagame

    The numbers can be tweaked further, but basically a few tweaks and the deck goes from being Countertop Superfriends to Blade Control (although it still runs the Superfriends):

    U/W Blade Control

    Lands (21)
    4 Flooded Strand
    3 Polluted Delta
    1 Marsh Flats
    4 Tundra
    7 Island
    2 Plains

    Creatures (4)
    4 Stoneforge Mystic

    Spells (35)
    2 Batterskull
    2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Sensei's Divining Top
    4 Counterbalance
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Counterspell
    4 Force of Will
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    3 Vedalken Shackles

    Sideboard (15)
    2 Aura of Silence
    2 Moat
    4 Peacekeeper
    4 Meddling Mage
    3 Pithing Needle

    Of course, the sideboard would likely need readjusted. The 2nd Batterskull could become Jitte or Sword of X and Y, depending on the predicted metagame. Whatever relevant equipment isn't maindecked should likely be sideboarded.

    In fact, with Elspeth cranking out 1/1 tokens, the 2nd maindeck Batterskull should likely be an Umezawa's Jitte instead.

    EDIT: Here's a potential adjusted sideboard:

    // Sideboard (15)
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Sword of Fire and Ice
    1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    4 Peacekeeper
    4 Meddling Mage
    2 Aura of Silence
    2 Pithing Needle
    Sligh
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    The Mind Harvester
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    4c Nobleblade

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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    ^That's the nice thing about the deck, your third color can just be a splash for SB cards (and to enable explosives at 3).

    I've been testing this deck a bit, and so far it seems to me like the red splash is the best, simply for the REB and Pyroblasts in the board. Black offers you discard and Bob, however I really hated bitterblossom in this deck for some reason. Even if you do play blossom I would not use Spellstutter Sprite -- it has been far too conditional in my experience.

    Wrath of God was good for me, although I can see the merits of running perish or firespout. I suppose it really depends on the meta, just like the blade of choice.

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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Wrath of God was good for me, although I can see the merits of running perish or firespout. I suppose it really depends on the meta, just like the blade of choice.
    I'm a personal fan of Vedalken Shackles. It doesn't destroy your SFM's or Germ tokens, and it's alot less narrow than Perish or Firespout. It dodges Cursecatcher, is alot easier to cast than Wrath of God at 3 colorless vs 2WW, and it keeps you in U/W for the stable manabase.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    UW alone has a tough time dealing with all the threats G/W Maverick can dish - backed by some sweet bombs like Choke and Elspeth, as well as Sylvan Library. I'd say the matchup is probably 60/40 in Maverick's favor.

    I do think that a splash is highly useful in the metagame, and if a black splash were to be used, then Dark Confidant is also where I'd first start the list.

    Here's my Darkblade:
    4 Mental Misstep
    4 Daze
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Thoughtseize

    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    4 Dark Confidant
    2 Vendilion Clique
    4 Stoneforge Mystic

    1 Batterskull
    1 Sword of the Meek
    3 Thopter Foundry

    1 Plains
    2 Island
    1 Swamp
    4 Wasteland
    3 Tundra
    1 Underground Sea
    3 Scrubland
    4 Marsh Flats
    3 Flooded Strand
    1 Scalding Tarn

    Sideboard
    2 Disenchant
    2 Perish
    3 Meddling Mage
    1 Path to Exile
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Cursed Totem
    1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Sword of Body and Mind
    2 Relic of Progenitus
    1 Cabal Therapy
    West side
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  7. #7
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    U/W has plenty of tools for dealing with G/W Maverick, both preboard, and postboard. Go look in the U/W Landstill thread and ask them what they think about that matchup. If you're having a tough time with it, maybe you should visit the U/W Landstill thread for some ideas.
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    Wb Tokens
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    I'm a personal fan of Vedalken Shackles. It doesn't destroy your SFM's or Germ tokens, and it's alot less narrow than Perish or Firespout. It dodges Cursecatcher, is alot easier to cast than Wrath of God at 3 colorless vs 2WW, and it keeps you in U/W for the stable manabase.
    Really. You like Shackles? The funny thing about Shackle is that is looks pretty stupid when facing down a Knight. And Pridemage. Not to mention Ancient Grudges after boarding. Wrath does what it says it does, often and effectively. If you are having trouble with the Merfolk match up, defend your SFM better. They can't actually beat a Batterskull. Not to mention that if you have enough basics in your list (or are intelligent about cracking fetches), Wrath is extremely easy to force through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    U/W has plenty of tools for dealing with G/W Maverick, both preboard, and postboard. Go look in the U/W Landstill thread and ask them what they think about that matchup. If you're having a tough time with it, maybe you should visit the U/W Landstill thread for some ideas.
    First of all, this isn't UW Landstill. Second of all I usually see Zoo beating the shit out of Landstill.
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    I'm pretty sure -2 Clique +2 Wrath would be a huge boost in the deck's overall win percentages. Like Clique helps out the matchups you should already be winning. Wrath goes a long way to helping in the matchups where you're going to get your ass kicked otherwise.

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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Really. You like Shackles? The funny thing about Shackle is that is looks pretty stupid when facing down a Knight. And Pridemage. Not to mention Ancient Grudges after boarding. Wrath does what it says it does, often and effectively. If you are having trouble with the Merfolk match up, defend your SFM better. They can't actually beat a Batterskull. Not to mention that if you have enough basics in your list (or are intelligent about cracking fetches), Wrath is extremely easy to force through.
    As opposed to say, a Firespout trying to kill a Knight? I realize you were talking about Wrath of God and not Firespout, but others were advocating Firespout, and one of my points was that Shackles keeps you in U/W without going into red. Wrath of God is great against Knight of the Reliquary, but that's one of the few creatures that Shackles cannot answer. Actually, depending on gamestate, I've actually stolen a few Knights with Shackles before. This deck really shouldn't be having significant problems against Knight of the Reliquary, though.

    If they have a Pridemage on the board with the mana open to activate him, then sure, you either hit him with a Swords, or worst case scenario, you let the Pridemage eat the Shackles, in which case you spent 3 mana to destroy their Pridemage. Between Counterbalance, Shackles, and Batterskull, there are too many targets for them to destroy them all. Besides, it's not out of the question to just keep the Pridemage off the table in the first place.

    Ancient Grudge? I would have thought Krosan Grip would have been the more popular choice. Artifact/enchantment removal? I might as well cut my Batterskulls and Counterbalances while I'm at it.

    Wrath of God costs 2WW, which is incredibly slow, and happens to kill your SFM and Germ tokens if you have them on the board prior to. I've playtested alot with Wrath of God in the past. It's a solid card, but it's clunky, and gets even worse if you expect to see Daze, Spell Pierce, Wasteland, etc.

    There are very few targets Shackles doesn't steal. Stealing an opponent's creature and trading it in combat with another one of the opponent's creatures is alot stronger than you think. Even if you're just stealing a Goyf to act as a wall, that's still a solid play. Shackles might not immediately wipe the board clean, but its effect persists throughout the game until dealt with. A resolved Shackles wins games against aggro decks. This is also assuming you only ever see a single Shackles; two active Shackles is a pretty hard lock for an aggro player to win through.

    Before I began playtesting with Shackles, I wasn't convinced by its power at all when someone suggested it to me. I initially dismissed the idea, actually. After playtesting with it, my perspective changed completely. Shackles is one of the best creature control spells in the format.

    By the way, Merfolk actually can beat a Batterskull. If they get a Lord of Atlantis on the table, they can and will race you. If they have a Merrow Reejery, they are gonna tap down your 4/4 and swing in. They have other outs as well. That's also banking on you drawing a SFM early, because getting a Batterskull into play takes a few turns, and all Merfolk needs is a few turns before you're dead. I'm not saying that Batterskull doesn't beat Merfolk, but it's not always gg if you do manage to get one into play.

    Saying that Wrath is easy to force through shows your lack of playtesting with Wrath of God against Merfolk. Even if they aren't running Spell Pierce anymore, you still have Daze and Cursecatcher to contend with. Also, even with a stable manabase, there will be times when you draw a Tundra or two and Wasteland sets you back. This is even more true for the lists that are running Mishra's Factory. Besides, Wrath of God doesn't touch their Mutavault's, which can and will continue to smack you down after you've cast Wrath of God.

    Too many times in my older versions of U/W Control against Merfolk, with Wrath of God, I was dead before I could ever resolve the damn thing, and even in the matchups where I did eventually resolve it, I was still dead from additional pressure afterwards. Against a deck like Goblins or Merfolk, they can easily recover after a Wrath of God if you don't follow it up with your own additional pressure.

    Wrath of God is great against G/x aggro, because those decks have a much harder time recovering. However, a smart opponent won't overextend if they know you're playing Wrath of God. If you're keeping their guys off the table with countermagic and Swords to Plowshares, which you will need to do so that you don't die before you can finally cast Wrath of God, you'll find yourself using Wrath of God as a 1-for-1 trade alot of times.

    At any rate, I'm not bashing Wrath of God. Both Shackles and Wrath of God have their pros and cons. There will be times when Wrath of God is going to be the better spell. However, I do want it to be known that Shackles is the stone cold nuts.

    First of all, this isn't UW Landstill. Second of all I usually see Zoo beating the shit out of Landstill.
    What does Zoo have to do with whether or not this deck has a good or bad G/W Aggro matchup? I mean, my comment on G/W Aggro was what you quoted, and I never brought up the Zoo matchup. Regardless, this deck is very similar to Landstill, considering both decks are U/W Control decks and share alot of the same cards. I fail to see why a very good matchup for Landstill (G/W Aggro) becomes a very bad matchup for Blade Control.

    As far as Zoo is concerned, the build of Landstill and the build of Zoo greatly determines which deck has the favored matchup. Fast Zoo is favored because of the increased speed and reach, while Big Zoo loses out due to Landstill having a ton of creature kill, which can easily mitigate a majority of the early creature damage and gas a Zoo opponent out.

    Besides, since we're bringing Zoo into the mix, how is Zoo any better of a matchup for this deck than Landstill? You're SFM is rarely going to be able to activate a Batterskull into play through their dense removal package. Unless you're rocking CounterTop, I fail to see how you're going to have a good Zoo matchup with 4 Swords to Plowshares as you're only creature removal.

    Wall of text. Enjoy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  11. #11
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Knight is an issue because Batterskull is kind of bad against it. Sure, you have 4 Swords, but a lot of Knight decks have 8 Knights (Zenith), or they can protect their Knights. But I guess you have Elspeth, which I do not have main.

    Pridemage will rack you over the coals. It is already decent against normal lists, but he is a must Force threat against you. Killing your Counterbalance, Batterskulls, and

    A lot of people are running Grips and Grudges, so have fun with those blowouts where Wrath would've stabilized you.

    Shackles doesn't steal Knight or Thrun a lot of the time. There is no creature in Legacy that WoG doesn't kill. Literally. Have fun.

    Dazes, Pierces, and Wastelands are also pretty good against Shackles, but I guess you live in Magical Christmas Land where you answer everything and they have nothing.

    Sure Merfolk can nut draw you, I never said the match up is a bye, but with Batterskull, the match up is favored.

    The reason Wrath is good, is because a lot of the time your Batterskulls will bye you time.

    Quote Originally Posted by lorddotm View Post
    Do you guys think splashing black for Perish is good enough. Whenever I fuck around with this deck online I lose to various GW decks (Zoo, Mavrick, No Force, etc).
    That is all I have to say.
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Quote Originally Posted by TheInfamousBearAssassin View Post
    I'm pretty sure -2 Clique +2 Wrath would be a huge boost in the deck's overall win percentages. Like Clique helps out the matchups you should already be winning. Wrath goes a long way to helping in the matchups where you're going to get your ass kicked otherwise.
    I would have to agree. The Blade lists are really popular on MTGO and I seem to enjoy throwing Merfolk at them( I like Pain?). Liam is correct that Batterskull(x6) will win the match outright(mini Tinker-Bruizar was right-), but the Matches I do steal all have one thing in common.. They don't have Batterskull in play and they Can't wipe the Board from the relentless fish beats.
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    I have a primer ready to be posted and I'll be able to post it in like 8 hours. It lacks some match-up analysis because I'm not playing the deck for years either.

    ~Tom

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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Wrath of God is good against Zoo and GW Agro and Vedalken Shackles is good against those decks too.

    Merfolk won't have a hard time against Wrath of God for it will be hard to cast it, countered or too late to be effective. Mutavault will be destroyed by Wasteland.
    Vedalken Shackles isn't that good either because just a single Lord of Atlantis makes it useless and Shackles is very mana-hungry when you're in an uphill battle with the fish. Next to that, how are you effectively going to play a card like this, when you have 8 collorless lands?

    Next problem is the Goblin-matchup, which will be like 50/50 heavily depending on playing skills. Shackles isn't going to do something against a swarm and they can just recover from a WoG.

    If you'd like a pre-board chance against Merfolk and Goblins, you would have to play the more greedy Patriot-deck or at least play a splash for Grim Lavamancers/Lightning Bolt or the like.

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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom T View Post
    Wrath of God is good against Zoo and GW Agro and Vedalken Shackles is good against those decks too.

    Merfolk won't have a hard time against Wrath of God for it will be hard to cast it, countered or too late to be effective. Mutavault will be destroyed by Wasteland.
    Vedalken Shackles isn't that good either because just a single Lord of Atlantis makes it useless and Shackles is very mana-hungry when you're in an uphill battle with the fish. Next to that, how are you effectively going to play a card like this, when you have 8 collorless lands?

    Next problem is the Goblin-matchup, which will be like 50/50 heavily depending on playing skills. Shackles isn't going to do something against a swarm and they can just recover from a WoG.

    If you'd like a pre-board chance against Merfolk and Goblins, you would have to play the more greedy Patriot-deck or at least play a splash for Grim Lavamancers/Lightning Bolt or the like.
    I haven't tested much against Goblins, since it doesn't exist anymore in LA, but I have tested against Merfolk, and it is an easy match up.
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Quote Originally Posted by lorddotm View Post
    I haven't tested much against Goblins, since it doesn't exist anymore in LA, but I have tested against Merfolk, and it is an easy match up.
    And can you explain that a little? Maybe I'm doing something horribly wrong.

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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom T View Post
    And can you explain that a little? Maybe I'm doing something horribly wrong.
    What seems to be working for me is straight UW with 7 fetch and 5 basics. I just try and get to 5 or 6 mana if I didn't get SFM, which will easily be able to stall you until you can get Wrath mana, or let you drop Jace or whatever. Postboard Needles are also fairly good, naming Vial, Mutavault, and Coralhelm all have their benefits.

    Mainly just finding and protecting a SFM/Batterskull or a Wrath has been more than enough for me. Also, Snaring Silvergils is insanely good, probably better than Snaring Coralhelms, and arguably better than Snaring Lord of Atlantis.

    This all being said, I have yet to play this in a tournament, and since I still really love TES, I don't know when I will.
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    I'd have to agree, merfolk will never be an easy match up. SFM into Batterskull certainly helps, but it certainly doesn't become anywhere close to favored.

    Merfolk has all the tools to beat UW Control - Wasteland, Cursecatcher, Daze, Manlands, a very fast clock on top. They have the luxury of screwing or color screwing you, they make your CA engine (Standstill) useless and most modern lists run Dismember to cut you off that that Batterskull.

    There's a lot of things I've tried in a control shell and NOTHING made the match up positive, except for the splash for Grim Lavamancer (along with SFM, of course) and a bunch of STP effects.

    Wrath/Moat/Humility etc don't do it due to their high casting cost
    SFM alone doesn't make it, even with Batterskull.
    5-6-7 basics, any amount of fetchlands. No matter how many you run, you're still getting wasted into oblivion, because you still run duals and colorless lands. You get wasted twice, and you need to hit 7 landdrops to resolve that 4cc card against Daze.
    8 StP effects - they're just fine trading 1 for 1 if you don't apply any pressure. SFM lets you apply some, making match up quite better, but that isn't nearly enough.
    Firespout just sucked. Often irrelevant (3 lords, or just a 1 for 1 trade), cirucumvented by Mutavault and Coralhelm. It even made their S/B Blasts good, which is something you overcome going straight UW.
    EE - mostly was a clunky 1 for 1. Really, that was the same case for Wrath.
    Needles - I've even tried maindecking them. See the case of 1 for 1 trades which doesn't even remove their lords and you just fill your deck with irrelevant cards for other match ups.
    Counters just suck. FoW and Misstep at least can deal with Vial, but both Snare and Counterspell were totally underwhelming against Vial, which, quite frankly, they end up with more often than you counter it, since they also run Daze. And if you FoW it, well, welcome one-mana Hymn to Tourach.

    If Merfolk players knows what he's doing and executes the correct strategy, he would be winning more than 50% against UW for sure.

  19. #19

    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    I'm currently testing the following list:

    3 Tombstalker
    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    2 Batterskull
    1 Sword of Body and Mind

    4 Hymn to Tourach

    3 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Stifle
    4 Mental Misstep
    4 Daze
    2 Spell Snare
    4 Force of Will

    4 Brainstorm

    4 Wasteland
    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Flooded Strand
    2 Marsh Flats
    3 Underground Sea
    2 Scrubland
    1 Tundra
    1 Island

    Sb:
    3 Bitterblossom
    4 Extirpate
    3 Perish
    3 Blue Elemental Blast
    1 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Sword of Fire and Ice

    It plays like the first Team America decks disrupting almost eyerything, the diference is white replacing green (stoneforge crushes goyf).

    Strange Cards:

    The single island and blue elemental blast are there for The Patriot magus/blood moon and also helps against lavamancer.

    The 4 extirpate are there for jacestill matchup, if my disruption package is countered/ineffective (it happens) they crush me with wasteland/loam lock, it also helps against dredge and combo decks in general.

    Matchups:

    The deck is built to deal with semi-mirrors, so matchups like team america, patriot, jacestill and other stoneforge/tarmogoyf deck variances this deck as an edge, it's very dificult to put the percentages because the matches are very skill intensive, but with the tests that i've done this deck can completely wreck their game plan, stifle, wasteland, hymn and daze are very strong against these kinda of decks.

    Maverick, Zoo and NO decks are dificult but very far from winnable, especially after sideboard with Perish dealing with almost everything (knight, qasaly and progenitus), choke was never a problem even if hits play, the deck as such a low curve that you can continue playing the cards, daze also helps by bouncing something.

    The main problem that i'm having is against merfolks, if batterskul comes out i usually win, but this almost never happen, maybe i'm playing bad, what do you recomend to do?

    Thank you

  20. #20
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    Re: [DTB] Blade Control

    I'm willing to concede many of the points in favor of Wrath of God over Shackles, for this deck specifically. In Countertop Superfriends, it's no contest, but this deck has a lot less spot removal. Knight is a nonissue when I run 8 spot removal spells, but I can see him being more difficult to deal with in this deck.

    Shackles is still better against Merfolk, so I guess the choice of removal may depend on the predicted metagame. There are pros and cons for both.
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