The week before last an interesting deck popped up on my radar. The deck was played by James Newman to a Top 8 finish at the Open in Cincinnati. You may remember James Newman as the player who piloted the Turbo Fog list that Ali Aintrazi brewed up the week that Magic Origins was released
While we knew where the Turbo Fog list came from, this one was another story entirely.
Now, I'm not often a huge fan of red cards, or even red decks, but for some reason I have a soft spot for control decks that run red. If you remember, I played both a white/red and a blue/red control deck back in Journey to Nyx Standard, complete with things like Flamewreath Phoenix, Archangel of Thune, and Fated Retribution. I was really fond of both of the decks, actually, and I thought they were both underappreciated for how consistent they seemed.
That brings us to this beauty of a list. Four Jace, Vryn's Prodigy? Two Disciple of the Ring in the maindeck? A Keranos, God of Storms? Two Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker? This deck was a who's who of sweet Standard cards that no one is playing right now! ...well, aside from Jace. While I'm not sure a deck like this will survive rotation, it could be a blast to pilot for the next couple weeks, and it seems like a great way to show off some new cards.
Let's see if I'm right about that.
(Videos arranged in a playlist within the player.)
I think despite our record with the deck, it's actually super competitive and a great choice for the next couple of weeks. Being blue/red, however, leaves the deck susceptible to a couple things that you might have noticed from our matches.
The first problem we had was with Dragonlord Dromoka. Whenever a card can't be countered and also has a ton of toughness it spells bad news for blue and red decks, for obvious reasons. We don't have cards like Banishing Light or Ultimate Price to take out a dragon of that size, and that's one of the deck's glaring weaknesses it would seem. This was also made apparent against the BR Midrange list where our opponent was able to smash our face with both Stormbreath Dragon and Thunderbreak Regent. The issue is that we have three main forms of removal: Anger of the Gods, Roast, and Lightning Strike. Not one of them will kill a 4/4 flier, let alone something larger.
Reality Shift in the sideboard is our makeshift answer to the aforementioned threats, but unfortunately it came a little too late in the Naya matchup. If you guys can think of a way for blue or red to deal with fliers that have power four or greater, do let me know in the comments.
The other issue we had was being able to deal with planeswalkers or enchantments, but to be fair, if Dragonlord Dromoka wasn't a factor we could have easily countered anything our opponent played since we had something like four Counterspells in our hand.
Outside of our shortcomings, Disciple of the Ring was basically unbeatable. This is perhaps the perfect shell for the underappreciated mythic as nearly every card we cast is an instant or a sorcery. I would constantly have between six and eight activations just sitting in my graveyard, waiting to Spell Pierce something, or tap something down, or dominate combat against a Siege Rhino. It's a fantastic win condition for a control deck. The only thing it's missing is a way to blink itself, but having a built in Spell Pierce can be somewhat similar.
It was also a great feeling being able to cast both Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker and Keranos, God of Storms. Both mythic five-drops ended up winning us games. While these two cards might not be seeing a lot of Standard play at the moment, they make amazing win conditions when you're able to drop them onto the board and let them go to work while you sit back and protect them.
As usual, when Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is good, he's extremely good. The only problem is that, with so few creatures in the deck, he usually ends up being the sole target of all our opponent's removal.
Despite not containing either white nor black this is one of the truest control deck you can play in Standard and I was quite impressed with it. Monday we'll be back with another Modern offering, so be sure and tune in then. In the meantime you can check out my podcast, Freshly Brewed, with Ali Aintrazi. You can subscribe through iTunes or help us out over on our Patreon. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya soon!
@FrankLepore // FrankLepore on Twitch
Freshly Brewed Podcast with Ali Aintrazi (available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio)