August 18, 2010
Old School Control in the New School T2
So I’ve been tooling around with Magic Workstation again. I’d kind of gone sour on Magic: The Gathering since I recieved a “Big” Emrakul and thought: “All this guy needs is a separate ‘Atk’ and ‘Def’ score and the awful sticky feeling of playing Yu-gi-oh! will be complete.” I’ve seen some things recently, however, that make me want to give the game a second chance.
For one, there’s the return of Mana Leak …in the same format as Deprive and Cancel, no less. I’m still holding my breath for Wizards’ to reprint Counterspell, but this is a pretty damn good substitute.
But it wasn’t just the overall weakening of classic control as an archetype that’s driven me away from the game. Magic used to be about finding the unique synergies between cards and building complex decks around them. It seems lately the game has been trending toward more and more powerful bombs centered in the thematic elements in each set. The Jund and Naya decks, for example, seemed almost pre-formed by taking the best cards in those color combinations and mashing them together.
I long for the days of Dr. Teeth. His power was obvious, but there were a multitude of ways to bring it to bear in a deck, so a deckbuilder’s creativity was always rewarded. And what about cards like Mirari’s Wake? Wake was a format-defining card, but it spawned numerous archetypes.
That being said, I was also excited for cards like Fauna Shaman, whose possibilities seem limited only by the deckbuilder’s ability. But as tempted as I was to throw together a Shaman deck, I was far more excited by the possibility of a good old-fashioned control deck, so here’s what I’m running now:
4x Glacial Fortress
2x Halimar Depths
3x Seriji Refuge
3x Baneslayer Angel
4x Oblivion Ring
3x Celestial Purge
4x Hindering Light
The deck hasn’t actually been performing too badly on Magic Workstation, thanks in large part to the power of Jace and Baneslayer Angel. It’s still a difficult format to control, since the prevalence of large bombs allows players to come back quickly even from the most devastating board-sweeps and X-for-1’s. Cards like Broodmate Dragon, Bloodbraid Elf and any of the better Titans can put the opponent right back into winning board position in a single turn.
Comments and/or questions about the deck, the article or the format are welcome. Anybody else out there going rogue? Feel free to share your decklists as well.