August 12, 2015

Standard Blue-Black Control


If you followed Pro Tour Magic Origins, you'll know that the tournament was dominated by hyper-aggressive red decks—specifically Mono-Red Aggro and Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact. It might seem like a bad idea to bring a control deck such as this one to a tournament with so many red decks, but it didn't fare so badly in the hands of Gabriel Nassif, who had a very respectable 7-3 record in the Standard portion of the Pro Tour.

Control decks are known for being difficult to play, and this deck is no exception. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy adds yet another layer of complexity to the deck. Most control decks don't want to play an early creature, because they need to keep mana open on their opponent's turn for removal or a counter. Tap out at the wrong time and the game could be over. Jace gives you important decisions to make in the early stages of the game. Do you cast him on turn two? What do you discard to him? What spell do you flash back? Jace is definitely one of the more skill-intensive (and fun!) cards in Standard, and surely that is why many pro players chose to run him at the Pro Tour.

What I like most about this deck are the four copies of Thoughtseize. Casting one on the first turn of the game will help you understand what you need to do in the next four to five turns, such as if it's safe to cast a Jace. The other important card in this deck is Languish. Previously, Blue-Black Control had pretty poor options for sweepers. Perilous Vault is nine total mana to use. Crux of Fate is a much more efficient spell, but it becomes pretty awkward if your opponent has both Dragons and non-Dragons in play. Languish was the card this deck needed to be competitive on the Pro Tour.

Going forward, Blue-Black Control needs to adapt to be able to keep up with the hyper-aggressive red decks. More copies of Bile Blight and Pharika's Cure will surely help, but one card that is great against these decks is Clash of Wills. It's a very flexible counterspell, and while you are usually casting it at two mana as a Force Spike, it's excellent at any stage of the game.

Gabriel Nassif's Blue-Black Control

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