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 Blue White "No Judgment" Control

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Crooked Lotus

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PostSubject: Blue White "No Judgment" Control   Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:46 pm

As the name implies, this deck is Blue White control, but relies on running a heavy amount of creatures to slow down aggressive decks, rather than depend on a sweeper effect. Now I use the term "control" loosely because this deck lacks the components found in traditional control decks, which rely on counters, sweepers, very few creatures and heavy card drawing. In essence, this deck gains control by having creatures that are hard to get rid of. It does run some permission spells, but really tries to use them only to protect your win conditions - not necessarily to control the entire game.

Now as a control mage at heart, I've been keeping an eye on creatures that are hard to answer. With the release of Worldwake, blue and white was given even more of these type creatures with Calcite Snapper and Kor Firewalker. In conjunction with existing creatures that match this trait, I believe we have enough to begin testing.

CONCEPT:
The idea is to drop a hard to answer threat and begin attacking while having some counter magic up or just simply start casting creatures that will provide a formidable defense for your other win condition: planeswalkers.
Almost every creature has some form of untargability, either through shroud or protection from a color.
Including the sideboard, it has 14 creatures with shroud and 12 creatures with protection from a color, for a whopping total of 26!

Before I go into the details of my card choices, I will provide the decklist:

PLANESWALKERS
1x jace beleren
3x jace mind sculptor
1x elspeth knight-errant

CREATURES
3x perimeter captain
4x deft duelist
4x wall of denial
3x calcite snapper
2x wall of reverence
3x sphinx of jwar isle

INSTANTS -8
4x cancel
4x spell contortion

ENCHANTMENTS -3
3x oblivion ring

LANDS -25
4x celestial colonnade
4x glacial fortress
1x dread sanctuary
1x halimar depths
8x island
7x plains

SIDEBOARD -15
4x white knight
4x vedalken outlander
4x kor firewalker
3x baneslayer angel

----------------------------------------

There may be some card choices that seem questionable, so I'll start with my reasons for them.

CREATURES

Perimeter Captain:
The captain is the only 1 drop in the list, but has incredible synergy with Wall of Denial and Wall of Reverence, netting you life all while slowing down aggressive decks and also assisting in protectiing your planeswalkers. I felt like 4 were too many, as it made you demand more creatures with Defender, which is not going to win any games. It's life gaining effect is subtle enough that most opponents won't even consider 'wasting' a removal spell on him.....and if they do, you only invested 1 mana in him. It's also worth noting that his 4 defense is sufficient enough to hold off early threats and he's even Lighning Bolt proof.

Deft Duelist:
The duelist has been played competitively in Blue-White since it's release in Shards of Alara, and will probably continue to be played until it's rotation this fall. 2 power + First Strike + Shroud can really pose problems for aggro decks and control decks. She is the only 2 drop for the deck game 1 and can handle combat situations with Bloodbraid Elf, Bloodghast, Goblin Guide, Lotus Cobra and a few others. Basilisk Collar is beginning to see some heavy play, so it's good to note that a 2 defense creature equipped with a collar still has no chance of beating on her.

Wall of Denial:
Or the Wall of D. (as in Defense) as I like to call it, is one of the best defenses at blue and white's disposal. By itself it is a hard to answer defense, but in conjunction with the above Parameter Captain, it begins netting you life, all while doing what walls do best: keeping you (and your planeswalkers) alive! I'm aware that Basilisk Collar is becoming the answer to Wall of Denial, but don't forget this is a heavily based creature deck, so it's not like in past builds, where it was one of the few creatures in the deck.

Calcite Snapper:
There have been arguments on both sides of the table about whether this guy is good enough to see serious play and I have concluded that it is good enough: in the correct build. I run no fetchlands, making it more like a 1/4 shrouded vanilla, but it can attack - even if it is just for 1.
I will have to test to truly determine it's viability. Should it proove unsufficient, I will probably add to the "Defender Package" of Permeter Captain, Wall of Denial and Wall of Reverence, making each a little stronger in conjunction with the other.

Wall of Reverence:
First let me ask you: "How many walls in standard, do you know of that cost an average of $4?" Now let me ask you: "How many walls, besides Wall of Denial, see serious Type 2 play?" While that's sinking in, I'll explain a bit more about why I chose it.
Yes, it is the only other creature in the maindeck that can be targeted besides Perimeter Captain, but I believe it can be justified, once it's syngeries are discovered.
Alone, it is a good blocker by having a 6 defense and has flying. It also can gain you at least 1 life at the end of your turn.........but that's still not enough to suffice.
Alongside Parimeter Captain, things begin to look ugly. You're gaining 2 life when it blocks and you gain more at the end of your turn. But towards the midgame, once Jwar Sphinx is in play, the life totals really begin to swing.....and after sideboarding, the lifelinking Baneslayer really gets your life up there. I didn't want to have too many defenders in the deck and I wanted to drop planeswalkers on turn 4, so 2 seemed like a safe number to test.

Sphinx of Jwar Isle:
A fatty who needs no introduction, the Sphinx goes well with the theme and is another win condition. He's yet another planeswalker protector and nets you 5 life in conjunction with Wall of Reverence. The majority of games will be won with this guy.


PLANESWALKERS
When it comes to planeswalkers, a player must decide on ways to protect them, in order to get their desired effect. Usually this is done with permission spells and sweeper effects, but what about trying a creature route? I feel that this list contains the best creatures for protecting planeswalkers, and I want to capitalize on that. Planeswalkers are also good win conditions and are difficult to answer for some archtypes.

Jace the Mind Sculptor:
I'll save time and just say that this is obvious. He can do it all: card drawing, deck manipulation, creature bounce and another win condition. Opponents will scramble to look for ways in getting past your clogged defenses, in order to get rid of him.......which is exactly what you want. I'd add 1 more if I had it, but 3 is good for now.

Elspeth, Knight Errant:
Yet another overpowered planewalker, who needs no explanation. She can add more threats by generating tokens - which also do a good job of keeping your planeswalkes alive. Most of the time you will be using her first ability, because most of your creatures have shroud or have defender - both of which can't capitalize on her +3/+3 ability. But every once in awhile, you may use it when you have the Wall of Reverence out, just to give you a life boost. This deck can have problems with wrath effects, so her ultimate will be a relevent answer for that. If I had more of her, you would see them, but 1 is all I've got at the moment.

Jace Beleren:
Now this may seem like a strange inclusion - especially as a singleton - but I have my reasons.
First of all - and most importantly - he can come down on turn 3. The new Jace comes down on turn 4 or on turn 3 with the assistance of Everflowing Chalice. This puts opposing Jace's into the predicament of choosing whether to lose their planeswalker. Much like the legend rule, you can only have 1 planeswalker of that type in play at one time. So you need to consider Beleren as a removal spell in those match-ups. Otherwise, he is a card drawer that can provide another win condition from time to time. If anything, I'm considering playing more in the main, but it really depends on how often the new Jace appears in the metagame.


INSTANTS

Cancel:
It's a hard counter, which is the main reason why it's here. I need to be able to have an answer to anything I find a threat, and conditional counters like Negate and Essence Scatter just won't do. This deck does not like powerful sweeper effects, which can get around the shroud and protection abilities (in most cases). So cancel is there for that. Why this over Negate? The fact it can get creatures too, makes it a removal spell at times. It's a very good card that's never got the love because of Counterspell and I think is good in this build. The deck runs sixteen 2 drops (that's including the Sideboard), so there are going to be alot of scenarios where turn 2 you'll play a creature and then turn 3 you have Cancel mana ready for whatever they do. Also, with that many 2 costing spells in the deck, I felt like running 2 costing counters like Negate and Flashfreeze may gum my 2 drop slot up too much.


Spell Contortion:
It's not a hard counter, which is not the main reason why it's here. Lol. However when the opponent doesn't have 2 extra mana - it is just that. With the added chance of getting a kicked version in the mid to late game, you can generate some minor card advantage from time to time. It's a great mind trick counter, because it's a counter that can be played around. This can - in essence - add 2 mana to the opponent's key spells, because they wait until they are sure it can resolve. So their 4 drops might not be casted until turn 6 and so on........and that's going to work sometimes even when it's not in your hand, but this trick isn't usually going to fly until after game 1.


ENCHANTMENTS

Oblivion Ring:
The conditional catch-all spell or the White Cancel, as Pat Chapin says. This just gets things. Period. Anything that you can't handle, the Onion Ring should get. Opposing Planeswalkers, problematic creatures or annoying Equipments can all be solved with this. It helps get rid of blockers when you're on the offense and takes care or problem cards when you're on the defense. Rather than sweat countering everything the opponent casts, why not let them waste the mana first and then get rid of it?


LANDS

I'll make this part brief.
16 cards in the main and 11 in the sideboard all have double mana symbols, so to ensure this, I started with 4 Colonnades and 4 Fortresses. This helps smooth the mana and ensures double blue on turn 3 for cancel, double white on turn 2 for Firewalker or Black Knight, and maybe most importantly - double blue or white on turn 4 for a planeswalker. I considered adding Sejiri Refuge, but found that the Colonnades also added another threat or blocker to my arsenal. Also, gaining 1 life off of the tapped land is nothing when you're running lifegaining spells like Perimeter Captain, Wall of Reverence and Baneslayer. I wanted to have as few tapped lands as possible, but all while fixing my mana through the game. The deck's curve has things to play on turn's 1-6, so I want to have the greatest chance of having 2 mana on turn 2, 3 mana on turn 3 and so on. The singleton Halimar Depths is good when you need to find an answer and the dread sanctuary is amazing against control decks. Of the 25 lands, only 5 are gauranteed to enter the field tapped, and I would like to keep that # as low as I can.


SIDEBOARD

First let me say that this sideboard looks nothing like a blue and white control's sideboard. In fact, it doesn't look like any deck's sideboard.
The most obvious thing at first glance is that the entire Sideboard is creatures.

Just really good creatures.

Pro Red and Pro Black cover alot the decks running around now and the one that doesn't have protection or shroud should be very obvious.

I'd also like to note that the main deck runs alot more double blue spells than double white, but the sideboard runs 12 double white spells. I didn't want a constrain on my mana in game 1, so I decided to start with them in the sideboard. Plus, I should know what I'm playing after game 1, so it's more logical to keep them in the board - rather than have them being not as good in the main, if I play decks that aren't Red or Black based.


I have alot more notes I would like to add here, but I'm running out of time.

So let me know your thoughts and please throw up any suggestions you may have.

I'll add some more as soon as I'm able.
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Lance20XD6

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PostSubject: Re: Blue White "No Judgment" Control   Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:27 am

You are going to have a hard time against anything running Basilisk Collar. Other than that seems interesting.
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Crooked Lotus

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PostSubject: Re: Blue White "No Judgment" Control   Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:37 pm

Good call.
When I was preparing the list I was very concerned about 2 cards in particular:

Day of Judgment/Martial Coup and Basilisk Collar....I guess that's technically 3.

With the recent rise in control, Day of Judgment/Martial Coup is beginning to see more play and is a great answer to "untouchable" creatures. This was one reason why I chose to run some permission spells. Spell Contortion works great on turns 4-5, as they will need 2 more mana to resolve it. And Cancel is there as an absolute, should they have the 2 extra mana available. I'm not as concerned about Day of Judgment as I am Basilisk Collar tough. If Day begins seeing heavy play, another card I'm keeping on the back burner is Marshal's Anthem.

As for the Collar: It is going to be a real pain in the neck.
This is my primary reason for running Oblivion Ring. As I noted in the description, it can provide an answer to Basilisk Collar.....but the O.Ring is still a conditional answer, as they can simply get rid of it and get their collar back. So after a bit of research, I have narrowed down my options.

It looks like my best answer is
Hammer of Ruin..........?
I'm kidding! Really.

But seriously, I think that my best options besides the O'Ring would have to be:
Kor Sanctifiers
Pithing Needle

Of these 2, Pithing Needle is my best bet.
The Sanctifiers are decent, but the soonest they'll come down is turn 4. It's nice to have a 2/3 body attached to the Disenchant, which can provide additional pressure or defense, depending on which is needed. I just don't like playing a 4 casting cost sorcery speed Disenchant.

Pithing Needle can come down turn 1 and is more versitile, as it can deny Planeswalker and Manland activations, among other things. This versatility is invaluable. Much like the Oblivion Ring, it solves what I'm worried about and can take care of other annoyances that are in the metagame.

I'm already running 3 Onion Rings in the main deck, so I would probably 2-3 pithing needles to the sideboard......but the question is what to drop? Just really depends on how the metagame shapes up. If red and black take a backseat (which I seriously doubt), then maybe I can drop some of the Pro-Color Bears.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Crooked Lotus

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PostSubject: Re: Blue White "No Judgment" Control   Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:47 am

I made some changes to the original list, and ran this at FNM on 3-19-10.....and with terrible results.

Here's the list:

PLANESWALKERS
3x jace mind sculptor
3x ajani vengeant

CREATURES
4x deft duelist
4x wall of denial
2x sphinx of jwar isle

SORCERIES
2x divination
3x time warp

INSTANTS
4x lightning bolt
2x path to exile
3x negate
3x cancel

ENCHANTMENTS
3x oblivion ring

LANDS
4x scalding tarn
3x arid mese
4x glacial fortress
2x celestial colonnade
5x island
4x plains
2x mountain

SIDEBOARD
2x earthquake
3x flashfreeze
3x celestial purge
3x vedalken outlander
2x kor firewalker
2x mind control

The most obvious change is the addition of red. This gave me access to Vengeant, Bolts and Earthquake. This addition helped out greatly but still wasn't enough to succeed. I've decided for now to put this aside and look elsewhere.
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The Deal

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PostSubject: Doesn't look bad   Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:04 pm

Doesn't look bad just needed some playtesting. Later................
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