I wanted to follow up on Cass’s GenCon Metagame Breaker dirge with some details and color from my experience, because it was a fun and super interesting learning experience. And also, in the end I came away with a few very clear ideas about what I should be doing.

I’ll just let that dangle ambiguously.

First – a totally not-that-tuned-but-still-acceptable-for-my-purposes UW control decklist (I hear people like these). This is what I sleeved up for the Saturday morning pod; I went 1-2, killing three players total out of nine total opponents. Not the best. And to be up-front, this is not some tuned machine, or anywhere close to it – But it’s fine. When I don’t mull like an idiot, it can hang withgooddecks for a few turns until the rest of the table helps dethrone the king.

Isperia 2.0 Control – The Gen Con Combo Breaker Version

[cardlist]
[General] Isperia, Supreme Judge
[/General]
[Counters]
Mindbreak Trap
Force of Will
Commandeer
Arcane Denial
Dissipate
Forbid
Hinder
Spell Crumple
Render Silent
Cryptic Command
Desertion
[/Counters]
[Card Advantage & Recursion]
Blue Sun’s Zenith
Fact or Fiction
Opportunity
Rhystic Study
Court Hussar
Sphinx of Lost Truths
Consecrated Sphinx
Drogskol Reaver
Snapcaster Mage
Archaeomancer
Call to Mind
Spelltwine
[/Card Advantage & Recursion]
[Answers]
Swords to Plowshares
Spin into Myth
Supreme Verdict
Terminus
Rout
Steel Hellkite
Luminate Primordial
Phyrexian Ingester
Dust to Dust
Dismantling Blow
Aura of Silence
Crystal Shard
Cyclonic Rift
[/Answers]
[Hate the Yard = Light up the Eyes!]
Relic of Progenitus
Stonecloaker
[/Hate the Yard = Light up the Eyes!]
[“Threats”- ie. Cards that I should have replaced with versatile answers that double as threats.]
Sword of War and Peace
Rite of Replication
Serra Ascendant
Sunscorch Regent
Wurmcoil Engine
Medomai the Ageless
[/“Threats”- ie. Cards that I should have replaced with versatile answers that double as threats.]
[Fogs]
Holy Day
Pollen Lullaby
Dawn Charm
Comeuppance
Seht’s Tiger
[/Fogs]
[Feed Me Mana]
Expedition Map
Sol Ring
Armillary Sphere
Azorius Signet
Mind Stone
Burnished Hart
Azorius Cluestone
Azorius Keyrune
Commander’s Sphere
Pristine Talisman
Worn Powerstone
Dreamstone Hedron
[/Feed Me Mana]
[Lands]
Temple of the False God
Reliquary Tower
Cathedral of War
Strip Mine
Wasteland
Mystifying Maze
Prahv, Spires of Order
Halimar Depths
New Benalia
Lonely Sandbar
Secluded Steppe
Arid Mesa
Flooded Strand
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Windswept Heath
Hallowed Fountain
Tundra
Azorius Chancery
Command Tower
9 Island
7 Plains
[/Lands]
[/cardlist]

On the Deck and Ch-ch-ch-CHANGES!!!

A few notable exclusions that I would include if I had owned them and/or in hindsight:

The total absence of Clones and Control Magics may seem suspect, but my thinking was that for any decks that were fair enough for those to be good against, I could just either let them have some fun, or Wrath/bounce/counter them and not limit myself to answers that only work against threats that are targetable creatures. (Yes, I know – Indestructible creatures get around Wraths).

I don’t have a good reason why Rest in Peace isn’t in here, except that there are no ways to find it and it doesn’t fit the theme.

A few odd inclusions worth comment:

  • Arcane Denial – If I’m being honest, this is mainly here because it’s a pet card, but also because recurring it with Snapcaster Mage and casting it only costs UU (2), which is way better than UUU(1) – It could probably just be Negate in terms of fitting better in a deck concerned about stopping combos at minimal cost, but come on – Can’t I bow to style just this once?
  • Drogskoll Reaver – Should probably be something like Mystical Tutor, but it’s another pet card, a threat, draws cards, and has synergy with the minor life gain subtheme.
  • Luminate Primordial – A strong case can be made that this should at least be Hallowed Burial. It’s a leftover from when the deck ran a Deadeye Navigator package, and I just like it. He pokes and is decent card efficiency.

A Note on “Control”

This is a “traditional” control deck (read: “Draw-Go”), which is an immediate disadvantage when facing down a pod of competitive players all hell-bent on running out their combos/gameplans. It’s not easy, and some would say not possible, to be the one deck at a table attempting to rein in every other deck – at least not without delving into something that attacks “control” differently. (Think stax-style decks, mass-land destruction, and so on.)

This type of deck relies on being able to sit back and let other decks do some of the work, in essence “shaping” the game when things start to go off the rails. It simply can’t police three decks top to bottom. And when I tried to do that by mulliganing to a Force plus anything else, I got out carded.

Let’s roll out the anecdotal evidence, Gary.

I obviously struggled specifically with the pure combo environment we were expecting. In my second round, I was seated against Selesnya Good-Stuff Combo with Saffi Eriksdotter at the helm, and a sorta weird artifact combo deck commanded by Zur the Enchanter (and the fourth, a really weak Glissa, the Traitor elf deck. Game 1, Zur goes land, Mana Crypt, Signet, Mana Vault. We all shake our heads. Turn two, he goes upkeep Vampiric Tutor, land, Mana Severance, Grim Monolith, Goblin Charbelcher. Activate. Kills Saffi. I dig as hard as I can, fail, and die the next turn. We played three more games after for fun. He combod out want two more, once on two and once on three, while the Saffi player combod out late in the other game, after I was out of counters. Poor piloting aside, it was just too many answers required too fast at that table.

In all the slightly less aggressive games I played all weekend, the deck was great-a little soft to decks that can field multiple threats on different axis, like a god, another enchantment, an artifact, and a huge beater, but generally still pretty strong.

On To The Real GDC Type Stuff

Great. With that out of the way, let me clarify two things.

  1. I won’t be making any of the changes above;
  2. This deck is dangerously close to Cassidy’s UW deck. This is an example of parallel evolution of ‘goodstuff’. And it means our “test data” from Gen Con is a little more conclusive in terms of what it says about what this kind of deck can do, saying nothing of skill of pilots or opponents.
  3. I will be pulling a ton of the counters for creatures and other fun stuff going forward, including more Fun Matrix to this deck- which basically asks a player to choose cards for a deck based on excluding anything that will be actively unfun to anyone at the table (at least, who isn’t a big baby that just hates when they aren’t winning…we don’t care about those people.) – we immediately have to ask two questions:

    1. Do people in my meta hate counterspells?
    2. Do I hate draw-go?

    Fortunately, I only play regularly with one person who has a passion for hating “blue.” I think eleven counterspells isn’t unreasonable for the fun level of my play group; however, draw-go makes me cry. You can tell that even in my “dedicated control deck”, I run a lot of cards that do things, which is because I hate to do nothing, even if what I choose instead is a do-nothing durdle.

    The Futurrrrrre

    So here’s the thing. I’m gonna dork the heck out of this deck because of the matrix of fun, and because of context. And my context is a small group of people who love goofy, slightly competitive fun. For me, that’s going to mean more [card]Fog">Fog]/card]s and ways to make people attack, because that’s the whole point.

THE WHOLE POINT

If we apply my patented Fun Matrix to this deck- which basically asks a player to choose cards for a deck based on excluding anything that will be actively unfun to anyone at the table (at least, who isn’t a big baby that just hates when they aren’t winning…we don’t care about those people.) – we immediately have to ask two questions:

  1. Do people in my meta hate counterspells?
  2. Do I hate draw-go?

Fortunately, I only play regularly with one person who has a passion for hating “blue.” I think eleven counterspells isn’t unreasonable for the fun level of my play group; however, draw-go makes me cry. You can tell that even in my “dedicated control deck”, I run a lot of cards that do things, which is because I hate to do nothing, even if what I choose instead is a do-nothing durdle.

The Futurrrrrre

So here’s the thing. I’m gonna dork the heck out of this deck because of the matrix of fun, and because of context. And my context is a small group of people who love goofy, slightly competitive fun. For me, that’s going to mean more [card]Fogs, more weird flying dudes, guys that let me control attck phases so I can actually draw cards, and still “be” a control deck.

Following that, I have a few ideas of the “pillars” of playing EDH with love and respect for The Social Contract. It will be a team thing. It’s gonna be controversial and awesome.

<3

@mDaveCS