May 22, 2018
UR Fight with Fire
Since GP Birmingham, people have been raving over “No Win Con Control,” so today I have deck that is the opposite; a control deck designed around a win con.
This is the core of the deck. We want to Kick a Fight with Fire and copy it, dealing 20 damage to our opponent's face. Both Primal Wellspring and Swarm Intelligence perform the role of copying a Fight with Fire. The advantage of the Wellspring is that on the front side (Primal Amulet), it reduces the cost of almost our entire deck. However it can be hit by Abrade, hence the split.
The big problem with this game plan is the casting cost of nine mana. This leaves us with two main options, ramp or control. Turns out that when we want to copy spells, playing spells is good. So we're going control.
The main thing to remember with the spell package is that the goal is to cast two, or more, of each of them. Starting off that trend, we have the full four copies of Opt. It’s just as good as usual early in the game, helping us to find what we need, when we need it. But once we can copy an Opt, we start the card advantage train rolling.
Lightning Strike is another card that is pretty standard on its own, but the ability to deal six or more damage to any target is why it makes the cut. It allows us to answer on board Planeswalkers, and if things have gone really badly we can also use it to go face and burn our opponent out.
Our board wipe of choice is Sweltering Suns. This allows us to stay on top of the quicker decks in the format, Red Aggro and BR Vehicles. Plus, it once again improves once we start to double it, dealing six to the board becomes as unconditional as we should ever need. Crucially, we can also cycle it in the matchups where it's totally dead.
Our final spell that gets significantly better with a copier is Syncopate. This is just a counter spell against most decks for the entire game. Early on we just play it on curve and, once again, we can copy it later, targeting the same spell giving us twice the value for X we would otherwise have.
Filling out the control package we have a pair of Essence Scatter and Negate, along with Hieroglyphic Illumination. Scatter and Negate have valid targets against almost all other decks in the format. The pair of Negates might seem like overkill, but UW Control is a real deck right now, and there isn’t a deck that runs no non-creature spells. That means that you will always find a target.
Hieroglyphic Illumination makes the cut over Blink of an Eye and Glimmer of Genius since the cycling is invaluable to a deck like this. We are at heart a big man combo deck, meaning that we have pieces to find and we cannot afford to miss Land Drops.
Finally this deck has a pair of both Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Jaya Ballard. Crucially, both of these can add red mana, allowing us to reach the nine mana we need to win the game. It also helps that each of them help us to dig through our deck to find our spell copiers and Fight With Fire.
UR Fight with Fire
In general, this deck is very well positioned in the meta right now. It has no instant win matchups, but no instant lose match up either. It pits your decision making against your opponent’s. Certainly benefiting the better player, in the same way that Jace, the Mind Sculptor does.
Right now this is where I want to be with control. We have the ability to slow the game down but we don’t spend a long time doing nothing, waiting for our opponent to top deck the win. When playing the deck utilise the burn on viable targets (yes, this includes Fight with Fire) and save the counter spells for the permanents we are going to struggle to answer, such as Hazoret the Fervent.
For Sideboarding, Abrade is a must for vehicles but out since most of the sideboard should be tunes to beat the control matchup. We are, after all, a combo deck that applies no pressure. A card that I experimented with but got scared of putting in the 75 was Squee, the Immortal. He gives control decks nightmares and as a result is better than we are giving credit. It doesn’t matter what your opponent does; he is going to come back again.
This week I want to take a moment to discuss how a lot of Control decks have been popping up. If your local meta has a lot of control, a deck does exist with Squee, the Immortal and Scrapheap Scrounger. I’ve been testing a vehicles shell and there may be a later article on it, but if you do find a lot of people playing UW Control, Vehicles is a great deck.
Heart of Kiran beats Seal Away. Vehicles naturally beat board wipes, since you always have something left behind. Plus, a Mardu shell naturally allows for the inclusion of Scrapheap and History of Benalia. Control is very good right now but also very, very beatable.
Thank you guys for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the deck. As usual don’t forget to share this with your friends, or maybe even your LGS. If you want to see more content like this and get updates on all things standard be sure to check me out on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll see you guys next week.