Saturday, 13 October 2012

BRW Control

DreadboreI built this deck as a vessel to test some of the Rakdos cards from Return to Ravnica as the more obvious URB versions that can include them are not very different to existing archetpyes. I had promised in my reviews that Dreadbore is somewhat of a game changer and would be one of the few cards that really impact the cube. To impact the cube a card not only needs to see a healthy amount of play but it also has to do something a bit new, or at least significantly better than alternative methods to the point of making new decks viable. As BR is the least common colour pairing Dreadbore has its work cut out for it.

Lingering Souls

23 Spells

Mox Diamond

Inquisition of Kozilek
Swords to Plowshares
Faithless Looting

Sensei's Divining Top
Wall of Omens
Demonic Tutor

Rakdos Charm
Lightening Helix
Talisman of Indulgence

Lingering Souls

Chandra, the Firebrand
Murderous Redcap

Austere CommandThundermaw Hellkite
Gideon Jura

Austere Command
Grave Titan

Bonfire of the Damned

17 Lands

Sacred Foundry
Godless Shrone
Blood Crypt
Arid Mesa
Lavaclaw ReachesBloodstained Mire
Marsh Flats
Lava Claw Reaches
Graven Cairns
Caves of Koilos
Boros Garrison

One of the main problems for non-blue control decks is an inability to cope with certain kinds of spell, the best examples being things like Armageddon which can single handedly beat you. To ensure this deck could deal with powerful sorceries I played a reasonably high count of discard effects and an Abeyance. With the exception of Blightning all of those effects go one for one and all of them can become near dead draws later in the game. Card quality and card advantage can still be obtained outside of blue but it is generally less convenient and certainly less abundant. Most of the card advantage this particular deck obtains is through effects rather than dedicated card draw and therefore must be acquired gradually. With a lack of card advantage the inclusion of the discard is a little dangerous and so I crammed in as much card quality (Top and Faithless Looting) as possible to remedy this a little.
Faithless Looting
So far I have only talked about ways in which this deck is inherently worse than a blue control deck and how those shortcomings have been tackled. For a deck to be a viable tier one deck it really needs to be the best way to build that archetype, certainly you may be drafting and become cut out of blue and consequently draft the closest next-best-thing to your initial aim which could easily be a deck like this however you would never set out to draft a sub par deck. What advantages does this UBR deck have any other three colour control deck and are they enough to make it tier one?

Firstly it has some very high value and efficient spells such as Vindicate which it can reliably cast off the mana base. This makes it a little more stable early in the game, particularly as you are not trying to keep up mana as blue mages are. It also means you can have a slightly higher curve with a higher threat count as your early game is more robust and your disruption cards are versatile.

VindicateThe second benefit is really a different way of looking at the first. Black, red and green are the three most capable colours of removing certain permanent types. By combining all of them you ensure you have access to all the best removal spells in the cube and will not have any particular weakness. A UBR control deck can so easily die to naught enchantments like Sulphuric Vortex and can only remove them in convoluted ways such as bouncing and then countering or by turning it into something random with a Chaos Warp. A UWG control deck will be far weaker at dealing with lots of early pressure from weenie creaures with only really Path and Plow as ways to deal with creatures cheaply. The URW and UBW versions are more rounded in their ability to cope with things but always feel a bit thinly stretched. Either you have to rely on your Vindicate to deal with any non-creature permanent or you start to fill up on narrower cards like Disenchant or Vampire Hexmage. Due to lack of sufficient high power options and versatile removal most blue based control decks will end up diluting their decks a little to compensate where as the BRW version does not need to. This means it has a very high average card power level.

One of the present main benefits of going for a deck in these colours is the fact that you will get more powerful late picks and better dual lands due to it being an uncommon selection of colour combinations. Although BR, BW and BR do get played they tend to be aggressive decks and so when you are sharing dual lands and gold cards with others won't take as many of your cards as they otherwise might. This benefit always balances itself out over time as people become aware of the archetypes potential and so cannot always be relied upon as a good reason to play the deck.

Is this enough to make it tier one? Having only built a deck like this the once recently it is impossible to say, it looks like it is capable of holdings its own against anything a cube can throw at you and performed well on its only outing so far. I suspect it will perform very similarly to the rock over time being able to beat anything based on build but very difficult to tune appropriately. A solid all round deck with a very close to 50/50 matchups across the board.

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