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Thread: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

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    4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    History:
    While the exact nomenclature of the pedigree here can always be argued, there is a long line of what is arguably hybrid Midrange/Control decks in Legacy that have leveraged access to four or even all five colors to play the most "powerful" or efficient spells, naturally bound up in a candy cantrip shell.

    Whether it was 4C Landstill, 4C CounterTop, or It's The Fear. The list can go on and on. What do all these list have in "common?" That is highly debatable, but for me, I'd posit they are not "true" control decks, but rather are midrange decks that use controlling elements to transition the game to a play where the midrange plan can shine. Why would this ever be preferable to a "hard" control plan? The most likely answer is flexibility. Since this is Legacy, we are leveraging the flexibility that 4x Brainstorm provides, which means that "mode-switching" can often be an option. So, decks can transition from playing a control role to a midrange one if and when the situation dictates it and vice versa.

    Next in the historical iteration of the archetype was the age of Deathrite Shaman. Deathrite provided acceleration, color fixing, incidental maindeck graveyard hate, and a win condition, all at the low, low price of ::G/B::. Naturally, many decks adopted the use of the "one-mana Planewalker" and it's ubiquity eventually had it banned. In any case, it ushered in a "new" age of decks using four (or sometimes five) colors to leverage a control/midrange plan.

    After man interactions, one popular sort came to be called Czech Pile, a 4C build popularized by Tomas Mar which was touted for it's generally good Miracles matchup. Eventually though, Sensei's Diving Top would be banned from Miracles, and then Deathrite as well. This leaves us with the contemporary question of, "what now?"

    Card Choices:
    Enter the new manafixer of choice: Arcum's Astrolabe.

    Surrounded by the new powerful (recent) additions of Oko, Thief of Crowns and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Green is the new "Black." Of course, since Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast are still key, many decks opt for Green and Red. However, there are decks that forgo Red and instead run White. We'll take a look at the "core" of the deck and choices around it.

    Core Cards:
    Brainstorm
    Ponder
    Force of Will
    Snapcaster Mage

    Do we really need to comment on these? Obvious Blue core is obvious.

    Spell Pierce: One mana counter to help deal with Veil and gives you a way to transition to mid-game versus fast combo.

    [cards]Spell Snare[/card]: With how powerful many 2-drops are in Legacy, it is no wonder that in certain matchups, Spell Snare can be highly effective.

    Now, from here, where do we go? Lets look at what each color option in bringing to the table.

    Black:
    Black offers the opportunity to add in another angle of disruption in addition to the Blue counter-magic we'll have, in the form of discard. Of course, in the age of Veil of Summer, they aren't just strict value propositions and take a bit for finesse to play effectively. Thoughtseize of course is everpopular, since it can hit nearly anything, but life loss can add up, especially when you might Snapcaster it back again. Inquisition of Kozilek offers something like the flexibility of Thoughtseize without the life loss, at the trade off of not being able to take higher CMC things like Force of Will. Hymn to Tourach is, of course, still a powerhouse, 2-1 in-itself, but does tax color producers with it's :B::B: cost, making it harder to cast at times and making it harder to play around (and through) potential Veils.

    What else can we look to in Black? Some "newer" options.

    Dead of Winter: With the "rise" of Snow mana-bases (we'll get to that later), Dead of Winter provides a relatively "painless" wrath-effect over something like Toxic Deluge.

    Cling to Dust: Another "new" card that has found some inclusion in maindecks, for its versatility and essential "cycle-ability" which finds some application in numerous matchups and being recurable for late game value.

    Plague Enineer: Premier sideboard card for hating on nearly every sort of Creature deck.

    Fatal Push: Generally not widely run, but still a consideration for additional one-mana removal.

    Drown in the Loch: Highly versatile removal/counter spell. 2-CMC is not hyper efficient, but the flexibility helps it always be an option.

    Baleful Strix: Premier blocker with built in cantrip. What else could you reasonably expect?

    Green:
    Oko, Theif of Crowns: Let's just get this one out there right off the top. Debatably this might be the best three-mana Planeswalker ever. In any case, it is good enough to "force" Green on this archetype in almost all cases. Life-gain, creature and artifact hate, and win condition all on it's own. Relative high starting loyaty and relatively easy to cast mana cost make Oko a born winner. I don't think too much needs to be said here.

    Veil of Summer: Another elephant in the room. You either play it, or play to beat it, but almost no Blue deck can ignore it. Playable as either "offense" or "defense" with built-in cantrip ability, Veil is a game-changer. Who if, or for how long, Veil stays in Legacy, but if you are playing Blue/Black disruption, you simply must consider this card in some way.

    Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath: Low-CMC? Check. Good ETB ability? Check. High power/toughness? Check. Recursion? Check. Simply put, Uro is almost tailor made for a midrange deck. It does everything you want it to and more. Not much else to say here, if you are in Blue and Green, you need a reason not to be running this, not really a reason to run it.

    Ice-Fang Coatl: In Snow versions, this card is often a Baleful Strix with Flash. How much more could you want?

    Abrupt Decay: I'll consider it a Green card here, but Decay's uncountability still can be clutch versus Delver decks and Counterbalance. Versatile removal for all sorts of troublesome permanents, like opposing Okos as well.

    Sylvan Library: Selection and card advantage in a 2-CMC permanent. Just a great all-around card in midrange and control matchups.

    White:
    Swords to Plowshares: Likely the "main attraction" to White, unsurprisingly, since Beta, Swords to Plowshares is just premium removal. Paired with Uro's rising ubiquity, Exliing opposing creatures remains an ideal solution.

    Sevinne's Reclamation: With so many great 3-CMC cards, a way to return them will obviously be pretty good. Great late-game use in the Flashback ability as well.

    Teferi, Time Raveler: Obviously good static ability to shut down opposing counter magic. The plus ability can even allow things like Instant-speed discard in opposing Draw Steps and the minus can be a value engine with Snapcasters or Astrolabes, or help deal with opposing problem permanents.

    Deafening Silence: A good sideboard option versus many combo decks, being 1-CMC. It does hamper your own deck as well, but still worth it.

    Monastery Mentor: Often a sideboard inclusion to overload removal, Mentor synergizes with the fact that most of the spells in this deck will trigger Prowess.

    Red:
    Lightning Bolt: Brutally effective, especially with Snapcasters. Do we really need to say too much more about this old standby?

    Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast: Obviously good answers to nearly anything Blue. Single best way to prevent opponents from Okoing you. I don't think we need to really say more.

    Blood Moon: While many decks are working with Snow-Basic mana-bases, Blood Moon can still catch unsuspecting opponents off guard.

    From the Ashes: Another way to hate on decks that run non-Basic lands while generally sparing your own Snow-Basic lands.

    Other cards:
    Leovold, Emissary of Trest: Another great BUG card, hates on opposing cantrips and removal.

    Back to Basics: Another way to leverage your Snow-Basics and hate on opposing non-Basics.

    Mana-Base:
    Arcum's Astrolabe: A cantip and mana-fixer, Snow permanent for Ice-Fangs and easy target for Oko to make 3/3 beaters, Astrolabe kind of "does it all." Many decks now rely on Snow-Basics and Astrolabes to fix mana, protect from Wastelands and Blood Moon effects.

    Another option is to go with all dual land and fetch lands, forging Basics at all. This approach does leave you open to Wastelands and other hate, but gives you access to better mana fixing. In this case, you need to play tigher with what lands you are fetching and when, since you have less inherent protection from land-hate.

    Strategy:
    In general, the aim of this archetype is to stall or grind out some value off inherent 2-1's until the late game, where the value from Uro, Oko, or just accrued though Strix/Coatls and Snapcasters, can take over the game. In general though, getting the game to the point where your Planeswakers can take over is the "preferred" way, since they are often less susceptible to spot removal and gain you incremental value over time. Early game is often focused on denying the opponent any value, while generating supplemental value yourself. Once the game has gotten to the point where you can deploy your own threats, the opponent is often running low on resources (most often cards in hand) and you can leverage this into a winning board position.

    Some example lists:
    Bant + Black
    4C Snowko by polemoki
    Creatures (6)
    3 Ice-Fang Coatl
    1 Snapcaster Mage
    2 Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

    Planeswalkers (5)
    1 Narset, Parter of Veils
    2 Oko, Thief of Crowns
    2 Teferi, Time Raveler

    Spells (24)
    4 Brainstorm
    1 Flusterstorm
    4 Ponder
    1 Spell Pierce
    1 Spell Snare
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Veil of Summer
    1 Council's Judgment
    1 Force of Negation
    1 Sevinne's Reclamation
    4 Force of Will
    1 Terminus
    Artifacts (4)
    4 Arcum's Astrolabe

    Enchantments (1)
    1 Back to Basics

    Lands (20)
    4 Flooded Strand
    2 Misty Rainforest
    4 Prismatic Vista
    2 Snow-Covered Forest
    3 Snow-Covered Island
    2 Snow-Covered Plains
    1 Tropical Island
    1 Tundra
    1 Volcanic Island

    Sideboard (15)
    1 Grafdigger's Cage
    1 Pithing Needle
    2 Pyroblast
    1 Surgical Extraction
    2 Veil of Summer
    2 Containment Priest
    2 Return to Nature
    1 Scavenging Ooze
    1 Sylvan Library
    1 From the Ashes
    1 Supreme Verdict
    75 Cards Total

    BUG + Red
    4C Control by Svaca
    Creatures (8)
    3 Baleful Strix
    2 Snapcaster Mage
    3 Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

    Planeswalkers (5)
    3 Oko, Thief of Crowns
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    Spells (25)
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Inquisition of Kozilek
    3 Lightning Bolt
    3 Ponder
    2 Spell Pierce
    2 Abrupt Decay
    1 Drown in the Loch
    3 Hymn to Tourach
    4 Force of Will

    Enchantments (2)
    2 Sylvan Library

    Lands (20)
    1 Bayou
    2 Flooded Strand
    4 Misty Rainforest
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Scalding Tarn
    2 Tropical Island
    3 Underground Sea
    2 Volcanic Island

    Sideboard (15)
    1 Fatal Push
    2 Flusterstorm
    2 Nihil Spellbomb
    2 Pyroblast
    2 Red Elemental Blast
    2 Veil of Summer
    1 Baleful Strix
    1 Force of Negation
    2 Plague Engineer
    75 Cards Total

    This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Just some explanation of relatively common choices. It is also very much a work in progress.
    "The Ancients teach us that if we can but last, we shall prevail."
    Kaysa, Elder Druid of the Juniper Order

  2. #2
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    Re: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    Reserved post for match up information when available.
    "The Ancients teach us that if we can but last, we shall prevail."
    Kaysa, Elder Druid of the Juniper Order

  3. #3

    Re: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    An opinion about these lists with yorion ?!
    snowkorion

    I think it's good and that Yorion strengthens the MD but the side is more difficult to build

  4. #4

    Re: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    Yorion seems to fly away...

    This kind of list seems quite resistant, someone has an opinion or advice?

    snowko

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    Re: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    Has anyone considered playing sNOwko?

    Reasons:
    - Progenitus is immune to most commonly played ways to manage threats (Oko, Eliminate, Swords, Karakas, ...)
    - T: Destroy target planeswalker
    - Exert: Suspend 1 - Destroy target player
    - Proggy beats through value engines, ignoring Coatl and Elks, racing Uro,
    - Coatl and Elks are green creatures
    - answers like Edicts and Terminus are seeing fewer copies played
    - popularity of Karakas as the main way to manage unfair threats
    - NO PRO is immune to Pyroblast

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    Re: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    There are already versions on mtgtop8.com that are doing this, but they usually run some number of GSZ, Dryad Arbor, Noble Hierarch, and a small utility creature package (Scavenging Ooze, Collector Ouphe, etc). All of the ones I've seen are Bant instead of 4c, and are significantly lighter on removal. Most have Teferi also.

    I haven't seen any running Allosaurus Shepherd yet, but they probably should be, at least as a 1-of. The activated ability is too expensive and there aren't any other Elves, but it makes a large portion of the deck uncounterable, which seems worth it.
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    Re: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    I haven't seen any running Allosaurus Shepherd yet, but they probably should be, at least as a 1-of. The activated ability is too expensive and there aren't any other Elves, but it makes a large portion of the deck uncounterable, which seems worth it.
    Yeah, the printing of Allosaurus is what first made me want to reconsider No Pro recently. Uncounterable Oko, GZS and Natural Order makes the strategy much stronger, and many things that used to prey on it have fallen out of favor in the meta.

  8. #8

    Re: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    A lot of pilots seem to be playing 1 or 2 feldilar retreat to go over top in the mirror. Non-pyroblastable/decayable enchantments are quite difficult to deal with in this format. Obviously taking a page from my book /s.

  9. #9

    Re: 4C Control (Snowko, Czech Pile and more!)

    I originally came here to see if any 4cc piles are running Omnath but your excellent analysis convinced me.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Has anyone considered playing sNOwko?

    Reasons:
    - Progenitus is immune to most commonly played ways to manage threats (Oko, Eliminate, Swords, Karakas, ...)
    - T: Destroy target planeswalker
    - Exert: Suspend 1 - Destroy target player
    - Proggy beats through value engines, ignoring Coatl and Elks, racing Uro,
    - Coatl and Elks are green creatures
    - answers like Edicts and Terminus are seeing fewer copies played
    - popularity of Karakas as the main way to manage unfair threats
    - NO PRO is immune to Pyroblast
    NO is a far better 4cc card than Omnath, especially in a deck playing Coatl.

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