Thursday 2 February 2012

Heads up cube deck analysis: Part 2 - UG control

This deck is not an archetype and was more an experiment. Typically UG control decks have loads of guys and often an Opposition. I wanted to see if I could make a UG version of classic UW control work when built in the same style. While the experiment on this occasion was a success I am fairly confident this deck can't beat any dedicated fast agro deck, even with a bit of tweaking. I think my goblin deck would destroy this almost every single game, and affinity, red deck wins, and both black and white weenie would all give it real trouble. Against slower decks and control decks it felt very powerful and hard to beat.

Sylvan Library
24 Spells

Mox Diamond
Force Spike
Vapour Snag

Sylvan Library
Life from the Loam
Mana Drain
Nature's Lore
Sakura-Tribe Elder

Eternal Witness
Beast Within

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Garruk Wildspeaker
Cryptic Command
Gifts Ungiven
Nevinyrral's Disk

Primal Command
Meloku the Clouded Mirror

16 Lands

7 Islands
3 Forest
Treetop Village
Misty Rainforest
Tropical Island
Breeding Pool
Flooded Grove
Simic Growth Chamber

Considered Cards

Wall of Roots
Sensei's Divining Top + Trinket Mage and Artifact Lands and/or Zuran Orb
Trygon Predator
Time Warp

The deck was themed around Life from the Loam. It has synergy in particular with Foil, Sylvan Library (to remove the chaff on top of library), Exploration, Gifts Ungiven and Forbid. Much of the deck is based around  being able to get lots of lands in to play so as to have loads of power and options in the mid game. This also gives you the ability to mess around with Life from the Loam to pull further ahead while still making things and/or holding counter magic. I felt like I may be land light at 16 land and with few cheap cantrip spells but the deck was very consistent over the few games it played. I had no access to Force of Will or Snapcaster as my opponent used them which I am sure I would have found room for if I had the option. I was perfectly happy with the alternatives used in this build and felt like I got a much better deal on the power blue cards over all.

The last cards I put in were not the weakest as such, they were used to iron out weaknesses in the build. Force Spike was the last card and was always going to be a one mana spell as this deck has a really high curve. I wanted it for being one mana rather than to deal with specific problems as so the Spike seemed like the most all round one mana disruption card. Spell Pierce or Spell Snare, even Disrupt or Mental Misstep were the alternatives and while being very effective at some things are just not as frequently castable.

The Disk is weak and vulnerable but the only mass removal available to me and so seemed an ugly necessity. Meloku is also a bit clunky and slow but as the deck lacked win conditions and he has reasonable synergy with exploration and is also able to hold of attacks fairly well he fitted the bill on enough accounts. Primal Command is an incredibly powerful green control card offering lots of utility and a decent out in a number of situations. The main reason I include the card as lots of draw and dredge in a 40 card deck either deck you or runs you out of the right answers and win conditions. Having a Primal Command and a Timetwister with Witness to get them back makes me happy to dredge with reckless abandon.

Vapor Snag
Vapour Snag was the star card of the deck. It was added to the cube to increase the cheap count of blue spells that work well with Snapcaster Mage. Despite never thinking Unsummon was worthy of a cube slot the Snag has seen lots more play than anticipated since its addition and turns up without Snapcaster all the time, such as this deck. If you don't want to have card advantage issues in the cube you can easily make that the case for your deck. If that is the case then cheap cards like Snag are exactly what you want. Lots happen in the early turns and so viable decks need stuff to be getting on with. Green and blue are not spoilt for diversity on one mana cards, you can either have card quality spells, dorks that tap for mana or situational counter magic. I had already invested lots of slots in the deck to acceleration, counter and card quality and filling out with these things in the one slot as well would clog the deck more and not offer new options to the deck. Vapour Snag is a effectively a very powerful removal spell until the point at which they stop curving out, by which point I am far less afraid of the earlier threats. People will play around cards like Cryptic command but they cannot afford to do so nearly as often against the cheaper spells.

If I were playing against different decks the whole construction would have been very different. If I was playing against an aggressive red deck I would have had a Zuran Orb and therefore probably also some other cards that go well with it. I would have also played more walls against any sort of aggressive decks, Both Roots and Blossoms. Cards like Timetwister

Rock and blue/green decks are the most spoilt for choice in the cube and there are huge numbers of cards that would have been fine in the deck. I pulled out many when building, two of the last on the short list that didn't make it were Trygon Predator and Time Warp. Taking extra turns is always good but I was already very full on five drops and lacked much beyond Sylvan Library to smooth out early draws. The Predator just felt like he did lots of different things for me being a great body and a useful effect. I wanted to be creature light and could deal with artifacts and enchantments well enough as it was so left him out in the end for cards with more direct uses and applications.The deck was a bit different, good fun to play as well as interesting and interactive. I therefore rate this highly as a deck even if it is obviously weak to certain things as good games are what it is all about.

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