This week I wanted to start diving into the control decks of the format. These decks can take over with card advantage later in games if you have enough ways of dealing with opposing early plays. Cards like Lightning Strike and Justice Strike are certainly reasonable removal spells to turn to red for, and Deafening Clarion is a fairly important sweeper.

Pascal3000 is a player I see a lot on Magic Online, and he did reasonably well with the deck in the last PTQ. I liked a lot of what was going on with the deck, though certain openings and cards the opponent came up with were frustrating. For example, in the match against the Grixis Control player who had Disinformation Campaign, we really wanted to draw a card advantage spell to offset the fact we were discarding cards.

Chemister's Insight is a card I want to go up to four copies of in the main deck, as I found myself consistently wanting to sideboard it in. Repeatable sources of card draw are key for control decks. Search for Azcanta is vulnerable to getting hit by a variety of removal spells, so even though it is quite good if you get Teferi, Hero of Dominaria on the board, I think I would cut a Search. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria remains the most powerful card advantage engine in Standard, but it can be difficult to protect.

Against the white aggressive decks we know we will have to deal with cards like History of Benalia, so one-for-one removal isn't necessarily going to get it done. Deafening Clarion being able to sweep up multiple creatures at once is key. Lyra Dawnbringer out of the sideboard didn't really show up enough, as most decks sideboard in such a way that make them very vulnerable to the card. Unfortunately, in this set we didn't get a chance to play against midrange strategies like black-green.

I do believe the deck is set up well to deal with the green midrange decks since they don't put pressure on very quickly and none of the inexpensive threats are difficult to answer. If the opponent has creature-based removal like Ravenous Chupacabra then that will favor Jeskai Control, as one of the main advantages of playing this deck is not needing creatures to win the game. Expansion // Explosion is another new addition that provides another way to close out games.

This deck needs a little bit of updating and does have some vulnerabilities that we saw in the games. This is healthy for the format; there are some cards that simply need to be answered immediately like Thief of Sanity. This makes Thief of Sanity a great card to have access to alongside other forms of disruption, and we saw what it is capable of. I'm looking forward to seeing control decks continue to evolve as the format stabilizes a bit more.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield