Yesterday Seth wrote about a couple unique control decks in the format. It's funny, because one of them was based on my Villainous Wealth list, and the other was the deck I was going to showcase today. I guess I'm a little ahead of the curve when it comes to exploring unique brews, but I guess you guys might have already known that.
If you remember, Temur was one of the first lists I put together after the rotation, and the list I came up with ended up winning me a box. It had a ton of planeswalkers and creatures in it and it was far more midrangey than the list we're going to be looking at today.
Magic Online user yu-ki managed a 4-0 finish with tis deck, which is pretty sweet considering the deck is unlike most of the traditional Temur lists. It has none of the early creatures, like Sylvan Caryatid or Courser of Kruphix or even Boon Satyr. Their list is mostly removal, Counterspells, and threats, which is actually pretty typical of most control decks. We even have the ubiquitous Treasure Cruise as a way to draw cards.
Let's see how the deck performs and why it stands out from the other Temur offerings in the format.
Temur Control vs. Monowhite Lifegain
Temur Control vs. Sultai Control
Temur Control vs. UW Heroic
Temur Control vs. Abzan Midrange
Fated Conflagration is a card I have been fond of since the last Standard season. I showed off a RW Control list that used things like Fated Conflagration, Flame-Wreath Phoenix, and Archangel of Thune and the card performed really well there. I've always compared it to a red Hero's Downfall. People always complained that it couldn't hit the player, but neither does most removal. We're associating the fact that it's red with dealing direct damage to the player, and when it doesn't live up to this expected metric we're docking it points, and that doesn't make much sense. Five damage is often enough to kill any planeswalker or creature that we really care about and we even get to scry!
The deck can be slow at times, which is the biggest problem. As I mentioned we don't have any of the traditional ramp, like Sylvan Caryatid or Elvish Mystic, so we're condemned to play our creatures and spells on their natural turns. This isn't necessarily a hindrance though. We have a significant amount of burn at two mana to care of early threats, and once the opponent gets to four mana we have three maindeck Disdainful Stroke and two Temur Charm to deal with the larger problems, but we'll get to that later.
Two issues that I came across when playing against the Abzan list were that a) we have a hard time dealing with Courser of Kruphix, and b) we have very few threats in comparison to the amount of removal they're packing. Our threats are basically confined to two Polukranos, World Eater, four Savage Knuckleblade, and two Surrak Dragonclaw. All of these are very powerful, but like traditional control decks, if you're opponent has an abundance of removal, they're not terribly hard to Dispatch. This also encourages us to play the Knuckleblade later in the game if we have the opportunity, in order to keep mana up to return him to our hand when destruction is imminent. If we're able to do this, he could essentially be unbeatable ala AEtherling or Pearl Lake Ancient. We also have two Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, which is a perfectly solid threat in his own right, but that still only brings our threat count up to ten. Another unique option in the deck is the inclusion of Hornet Nest. This is great at stopping the non-tramplers we come across, it's great in conjunction with Anger of the Gods, leaving us with some fairly formidable bees, and hitting it with our own Fated Conflagration is definitely worth considering.
Like any traditional control deck we have a ton of Counterspells with five in the maindeck and an extra three in the sideboard. The one thing I worry about is not having an answer for things that fall through the cracks, like a Wingmate Roc and his...well, wingmate. Typically control decks employ some kind of sweeper, like an End Hostilities or a Perilous Vault, but we have very few answers outside of, say, two Fated Conflagrations (which seems fairly inefficient). We're not completely devoid of sweepers, as we do have three Anger of the Gods in the deck, but if we come across something like a 7/7 heroic creature in the UW deck, I'm not sure how we're actually going to stop it. I feel like even a bounce spell or two would be beneficial for those cards that sneak through. Where's a Cryptic Command when you need it?
Either way, I was still pretty pleased with the deck. It's surprisingly versatile and despite the low amount of creatures, they're all very powerful and there are far more of them than there would be in a traditional control deck. If you're looking for something different when it comes to control decks, I would definitely try this one out.
That's about all I have for this week. Check back on Monday when we go over another Modern deck that will hopefully be as well received as the All Creatures deck I wrote about on Monday. Thanks!
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