Hey everyone. Last weekend I played in the TCGplayer Open 5k in Orlando. I was very happy with my results in the event, finishing in the Top 4 with UW Control. While I would love to show you the deck I played in my article today, I decided not to because it takes a really long time for the deck to win. Between commentating on my Magic Online matches and trying to play optimally, I thought that I would be in danger of timing out in most of my matches. Anyone who has ever played with AEtherling on Magic Online should know what I'm talking about. Ten clicks to make him unblockable and attack for eight is way too time consuming for me.
Instead I'm going to show you the deck that gave me my only loss at the 5k. Finalist Kit Chinlund piloted a sweet Orzhov Control deck and it was a really difficult matchup for me. I was so impressed with the deck that I decided to "sleeve it up" on Magic Online and take it through some queues. The deck played out pretty well. While most control decks are usually Dissolve / Sphinx's Revelation decks, Kit's Orzhov Control deck can deal with any type of permanent, can gain tons of card advantage through Underworld Connections, Sin Collector, and Bile Blight, and has tons of really hard to deal with creatures, all without playing blue cards.
Here's the deck:
Why add white?
Orzhov Control is essentially Monoblack Devotion with white. It plays most of the same spells like Thoughtseize, Bile Blight, Hero's Downfall, Pack Rat, and Desecration Demon. Monoblack Control is arguably the best deck in Standard so why change a good thing? The white actually gives us some very valuable tools. The first and most important white card is Banishing Light. There are plenty of removal options in black but Banishing Light gives us outs to enchantments (and I guess artifacts, but those are rarely played in Standard). Being able to deal with Detention Spheres, weapons, gods, and most importantly, opposing Underworld Connections definitely gives Orzhov Control an edge over Monoblack.
Adding white to the deck allows us to play some great win conditions. Blood Baron of Vizkopa is a card that has not seen too much Standard play lately, but with black devotion decks and control decks being everywhere, it's a great card for the metagame. The lifegain is also really important because this deck doesn't play Gray Merchant of Asphodel and we need ways to Recuperate our life loss after Thoughtseize and Underworld Connections. Obzedat, Ghost Council is another nice addition to the deck. It can only be removed with instant speed spells and the life swing is pretty huge no matter what you're playing against.
On to the matches!
Orzhov Control vs. RW Devotion
Orzhov Control vs. RG Devotion
Orzhov Control vs. Monoblack Devotion
Orzhov Control vs. UWR Control
As you can see, the deck performed pretty well, losing only to the RG Devotion deck after he had one turn to draw either a mountain to cast his Stormbreath Dragon or a Ghor-Clan Rampager or a burn spell to finish me off. I was really happy with how the deck played out and you can definitely see the deck's strengths in each matchup.
Blood Baron of Vizkopa was really good and the life swings always put me way ahead. You could see just how amazing he was against the Monoblack opponent.
The removal package was excellent. White and black have tons of options for removal and it felt like I could deal with anything that was thrown at me. As you could see from the videos, I was unable to beat the triple Burning-Tree Emissary draw, but that game was still very close.
I'm not the biggest fan of Pack Rat. I rarely play decks where I lose to a turn two Pack Rat and with the exception of the first match I felt like he was a liability every time I played him. Most of my opponents had plenty of ways to deal with him and as you could see I chose to side them out against the monoblack player. While I do think that Pack Rat is a necessary evil, it's my least favorite card in the deck.
You could see the power of this deck in the UWR Control video. I always had perfect information with Thoughtseize, Duress, and Sin Collector so I always knew what spells I needed to play around. We lost game one because our maindeck had a lot of dead cards like Ultimate Price and Bile Blight, but we won the next two games easily even after we missed our third land drop for four turns. There were just too many cards for our opponent to deal with and they need specific answers to certain cards. They usually need to cast Supreme Verdict to remove only one creature and they rarely get value out of it, and an unanswered Underworld Connections is usually game over. As I said earlier, Orzhov Control was the only deck my UW Control deck lost to at the 5k and it was by far the deck that gave me the most trouble. Blue-based Control is a great matchup for Orzhov and the reason to play this deck.
The worst matchup for Orzhov Control is probably Monored aggro. All of our removal is pretty slow and there are some cards that we just don't have any time to cast like Underworld Connections. Luckily that deck is rarely played anymore making Orzhov Control very well positioned. Boros Burn also seems like a bad matchup because we don't gain life fast enough and they play very few targets for our removal, but the matchup is very winnable if we want it to be. If burn is very popular in your metagame you can add some life gain spells such as Nyx-Fleece Ram to your sideboard to improve the matchup.
Overall I think this deck is great and is a fantastic choice to bring to your next event. It's also a nice change of pace from the current tier one decks like Monoblack Devotion and Jund Monsters. I was very impressed with this deck today and may even put down my UW Control deck for a while.
Thanks for reading and be sure to tune in tomorrow for my report on the TCGplayer 5k in Orlando where I'll talk about the UW Control deck I played and the changes I made from last week's article. If you like control strategies you won't want to miss it.
Melissa DeToraBe sure to follow me on Facebook and twitter!