Today I will present a deck provided by Nastaboi. He is not only describing his deck but also give some thoughts about the actual meta game. Maybe it could be an impulse and start a discussion here. If not enjoy the decklist
Here is the list:
For several years, Wizards has been really pushing creatures. They have become more efficient and powerful. As a result, even traditional control decks have shifted their focus from draw-go and adapted playing more creatures, thus becoming more like tap-out or goodstuff decks. As I see it now, the online Highlander meta can be divided into three types of decks: aggressive decks (RDW, Goblins, Zoo, WW, Elves), goodstuff decks with midsize utility creatures (Bant, 5c, Pattern-Rector) and fancy decks (Staxx, Oath, Reanimator, Mana Ramp and all those not-quite combo decks I use to play). The third category decks are typical 2nd tier decks: fun, inconsistent, and easily swarmed.
As I started thinking about a deck to play in the ladder tournament, my focus was definitely on creatures, as most opponents would put their money on them to win games. And I wanted to punish them, with Wraths and Moats and Humility. To fully utilize those cards, I needed to find another angle of attack. Usually for me that would mean some kind of combo finish, but this time I focused on strong individual cards to take the game: Planeswalkers. Many of them are absurdly powerful, and they are capable both controlling opposing creatures and actually winning the game.
I see people playing all five colors in a control deck just because mise. I believe this is just plain wrong. Either it makes your deck unfocused, or then it just strains your mana base unnecessarily. Many colors have cards and effects that just overlap, and even if they don’t, you should ask yourself questions like “am I really playing red just for these four cards”. My advice is to stick on two main colors, which has several advantages: less color screw, more resistance against hate (basics), and access to colorless lands and cards like Vedalken Shackles. In control decks, however, there is no reason not to include third color as a very light splash. Changes are you’d play an off-color dual anyway for Explosives along with some stones, fetchlands and bounce lands.
As a side note about the bounce lands. I have noticed that most people don’t play Ravnica bounce lands aka karoos as opposed to me always including them in my control lists. Most importantly, they are card advantage. Would you play a land that enters the battlefield tapped but lets you search your library for another land and put that in your hand? In addition to providing card advantage, they increase the total mana potential of a deck, and even fix the mana. They have other uses as well, like reactivating Tolaria West or escaping under Winter Orb. Sole drawback is Wasteland, which can be devastating if it hits a bounce land in early game. That’s why it is advisable not to play a bounce land second turn if given a choice.
Blue was a natural inclusion as it just has all the best control cards. White has the best removal, best defensive creatures and best planeswalkers. What to splash was really a choice between Ajani and Demonic. I choose Ajani as he suits the deck’s theme better. Notice that the splash is just three and half cards deep, all single casters.
I choose not to play any 6cc spells to keep curve low enough. So no Titans, Wurmcoil etc. This may be plain wrong, but now I had no pressure to add things like Coalition Relic or Solemn Simulacrum, which meant more slots for cards that actually do something. I did play some creatures as they are good in two things: they block, which means I can be more selective with my removal, and they attack, which makes finishing games much easier. I only choose creatures that have immediate value. With this deck I don’t really care if my opponent tries to remove one of my creatures, as it has already gained some value in addition to taking a card off his hand, and I’ll get to save my counters for his big spells. Dozen counterspells mean I need not to worry about any of those fancy decks, and cheap counters are good against just anything.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir was underperforming in the tournament, and there are some other debatable or metagame dependant cards. Some of the cards I tinkered with include Elspeth Tirel , Akromas Vengeance, Rolling Earthquake, Rout, Future Sight,Spreading Seas, Into the Roil and 6cc monsters. I haven’t tested the deck enough against fast aggro to see if it warrants more slots, but I think you should do fine with proper mulliganing.
While I liked the deck and the results, some games I played against goodstuff decks really got me thinking. With new powerful creatures and planeswalkers, the games have become really swingy. In drawn-out games, every topdeck could turn the tables and put the previously advantaged player in a tough spot. It has some bright sides, too. The games are not that much determined in the first couple of turns, and patient play will be rewarded when defending player draws an equally powerful answer. My main concern is that the decks are becoming less like decks and more like a collection of cards. When you pick a theme and build around it, changes are, your deck will be cute but most likely less powerful than a generic goodstuff deck. Well, at least Goblins are still going strong.