If you came here looking for a new brew, you won't leave dissatisfied!
Recently, I have been taking a look at a lot of decks enabled by the most recent sets: clue-based strategies or Eldrazi aggro decks. While this is often a fun way to go about building decks, it is important to revisit the cards that have been around for awhile. Maybe these were cards that once piqued your interest but never became anything, or maybe these were simply cards that didn't have enough support at one time. In either case, the value of a card changes over time and it is important to know that.
So, to illustrate this, I wanted to explore some of my favorite cards and engines that have been in the format for awhile. My search did not take long as a few cards jumped out to me. The last PTQ I played in, I did so playing Esper Dragons, which was fun and powerful. Silumgar's Scorn is one of the reasons for that, and it's still in Standard. Gaining access to Counterspell, even if it constrains deckbuilding a bit, is something I love.
Playing Silumgar's Scorn would let me dust off some of those legendary dragons and play something a little more traditional for a control deck. There is another cycle of cards that I have never really taken advantage of that also caught my eye: The Oaths. Sure, I have played Oath of Nissa, but never with the intent of using the planeswalker text as more than splash text. If I could find a way to use three or four Oaths in a deck along with planeswalker support and then pair that up with my dragon theme? Seems like a pretty sweet concept. Which Oaths make the most sense though? I actually like them all for different reasons.
Oath of Nissa is the easiest include, as it is strong on rate alone and helps ensure you hit your land drops. Oath of Chandra also seems strong right now as a two-mana removal spell that actually hits most of the creatures being played in all of these Collected Company value decks. The bonus of some occasional direct damage keeps opposing 'Walkers in check, and while Oath of Jace may be the clunkiest of the bunch, it does bring a really strong scry ability to the table that a deck like this can put to great use in the mid- and lategame.
That leaves Oath of Gideon, which could still be an option, but is too clunky, in my opinion. The tokens are okay at protecting your walkers, but they don't do much else. The loyalty granting ability is where my excitement lies, but I just think it isn't as good as I want it to be. It allows Gideon, Ally of Zendikar to ultimate and live, but that is minor. It allows Chandra, Flamecaller to sweep the board for five, but again, that's minor. It lets Nahiri, the Harbinger use her -2 twice without needing to +2 in between. All of these are neat, but none of them are worth playing a three mana, sorcery speed Raise the Alarm in your control deck.
With a solid base of Oaths, 'Walkers, and Dragons, the rest of the deck was pretty easy to fill out.
As always, it is worth noting that this sideboard and manabase still need a bit of work. That said, the general shell and gameplay of this deck work well. Sweepers and some light countermagic backed by a proactive set of win conditions attacks the current metagame well. Most of the current decks want to out-tempo you and out-value you through Collected Company and a bunch of undercosted utility creatures. We get to fight that value with our own.
Planeswalkers provide repeated card advantage, sometimes literally, and other times by generating effects worth a card (or near it) turn after turn. Additionally, we have sweepers to make up multiple cards or slow starts. We top all this off with gigantic, difficult-to-deal-with threats to close games out.
In theory, this strategy allows us to answer the common lines of play that are most popular right now while also going over the top of other decks doing the same thing. Having things like generic countermagic just helps make sure we have answers to whatever problems are thrown our way.
And while we also have some specific cards made to fight against creatures, match ups where those tend to be bad are match ups we are already well set up for. Control, in particular, doesn't care much about Radiant Flames, but our 11 Planeswalkers, counterspellss, and dragons are all huge problems for them, hopefully making up for our few bad cards.
Is this strategy sustainable? I am not quite sure, but so far the games I have played with this have gone in my favor and I have been running into all sorts of opposing decks. We can look to improve specific areas like the sideboard and mana base, but as a copncept, this list really excites me. Give a try! Until next week, thanks for watching!