Although this is a blue deck there is no real Control element and it is firmly entrenched in the Aggro camp. It uses a very efficient curve to clutter the board with threats building to a inevitable conclusion. We start up the curve with two one drop flyers in Cloudfin Raptor that is able to grow over the first few turns into a sizable machine and Judge’s Familiar who sits around unimposingly waiting for that moment your opponent forgets that he is there to ruin his casting of a non-creature spell. Next at two there is Frostburn Weird which pulls double duty as a great wall or efficient ground pounder and Tidebinder Mage which is integral to lockdown the large creatures from GR/Jund Monsters, both adding two Devotion to the count. The next creature we have is Nightveil Specter which can be very useful as a threat in the air and will very often be able to strip away useful cards that your opponent would like to draw after a Scry, while adding on its own a full three to your Devotion. All of this Devotion then comes into play first with the other three drop Thassa, God of the Sea to turn her on for attacking or blocking but having her Scry every turn goes miles in helping you close out the victory in a timely fashion. The last creature at four is also looking at the Devotion when Master of Waves enters the battlefield to see just how many friends it’s inviting to the party. As a mono-colored deck it is able to include a full set of Mutavault into the manabase to ensure even after sorcery speed sweepers there is still pressure against the enemies life total and as a bonus also receive the Masters pump. As additional devotion and as a pseudo-removal spell there is a pair of Domestication. As far as the other spells there is a trio of Rapid Hybridization to flip huge problems into manageable Frog Lizards and also a pair of Cyclonic Rift which can often just seal the game once you hit that seventh land you needed to end a stall by sweeping the other side of the board but can also just bounce back one pesky blocker preventing you from victory.
1st Place at Star City Games Orlando Standard Open on 01/11/2014
And again we find that devotion is such a powerful strategy in the current Standard meta. While we wait for some new power players to emerge with the release of Born of the Gods we still have three more weekends to go before they will be working to forge a new face of Standard.
This deck is aggro through and through but uses Thassa, her Bident and Jace to help the deck keep the pedal to the metal. It all starts curving out smoothly through the one drops with Cloudfin Raptor and Judge’s Familiar. Then we move through the two drops from Frostburn Weird and Tidebinder Mage into three drops Nightveil Specter and Thassa herself. That all works to push out max devotion to drop Master of Waves. There is just a tiny bid of support in one-ofs from Domestication, Cyclonic Rift and Rapid Hybridization. All together the deck is able to pack a formidable punch that shows why it has been so dominant the last few months.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
UB Control – Dimir Control
4th place GP Shizuoka 2013
Other Spells (24)
After what was becoming a stale Standard meta abundant with Mono-Blue, Mono-Black and UW Control reigning supreme the Japanese Grand Prix in Shizuoka showcased for us more somewhat fringe decks. I’ve already broken down two new top decks with the GP champion Orzhov Human by Ryo Nakanada and second place Esper Human/Midrange by Shota Takao. These new decks are tuned for the meta with favorable match ups against those top three decks in Standard, something you’d expect when the Japanese start brewing. I wanted to call this deck Dimir Devotion because of it’s Master of Waves, but this is definitely much more then your standard UB control deck using a plethora of removal, counters, draw and disruption coupled with it’s finishers: Master of Waves and Prognostic Sphinx. Blue and Black has a very nice mana base with Dimir Guildgate, Watery Grave and Temple of Deceit so Shouta was able to add the full set of Mutavaults.
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver could be considered a finisher, but his role is more against aggro decks where he slows them down by using +2 ability to exile the top three cards, followed by his -X to bring one of opponents creatures that was exiled to the battlefield usually as an additional blocker. He could become a problem for UW Control if you just keep using his +2 ability mill all his answers and hopefully their Elixir of Immortality till you finally ultimate which is usually good game. What you want to do against midrange and other control decks is bring in your Pack Rats from sideboard and flood the board with rats. Our next planewalker in the list is the good ole MVP for all control decks with a set of Jace, Architect of Thought who’s just great at slowing down the beatdown from aggro as well. Continuing down the list we see more answers against aggro with a plethora of black removal such as singletons Devour Flesh, Doom Blade and Ultimate Price as well as three Hero’s Downfall. Shota also added Domestication which has been gaining popularity in Mono-Blue builds with so much creatures with under 4 power like Master of Waves and Nightveil Specter making them a good catch-all. Another very interesting addition main deck are the three Ratchet Bombs to easily take care of tokens from Pack Rats, any Zombies from Xathrid Necromancer or Elementals from Master of Waves. Yasooka added more originality to his deck with a couple of Warped Physique. There probably mainly used as removal, but I wonder if he ever pumped a Prognostic Sphinx for the win.
It wouldn’t be much of a blue control deck without any counters. Yasooka opted for three Dissolve and Syncopate with a singleton Essence Scatter which sounds good to me. Finally with a couple of Opportunity as draw for late games as every blue control deck does just little less in this one.
The sideboard is tweaked to the metagame with two Gainsay and a Negate to bring in against UW control along with three Duress which seem very sound to me. Let’s not forget the Pack Rats in the sideboard against deck with little or no answers to a turn two Rats, they work especially well with the set of Mutavaults. The rest of the sideboard is pretty much self explanatory with Tidebinder Mage against Green or Red and Gainsay obvisously against Blue decks.
The Blood Baron of Vizkopa have been a common issue lately, but this deck had a lot of counters like Essence Scatter to stop it from resolving and a Devour Flesh main deck. I would prefer Far & Away for it’s versatility cause if the opponent has only two creatures and one of them is the Baron then you bounce the other so the Away resolves with opponent sac’ing the Baron. Another use Far is to bounce opponents creature like a Blood Baron and Thoughtseize it. This deck looks like a fun list, if you like control and your tired of the do-nothing draw-go cycle of UW Control you should try this one out. If anyone sees any more issues with this deck leave comments, i’m sure a lot more people got to test it by now.
Happy New Year everyone
Follow me on Twitter @Gregsterism
Other Spells (5)
Continuing on it’s path of dominance the Mono Blue Devotion deck has continued to show why it is one of the premier prevalant decks in the current standard metagame. Built on a solid curve from one through to four the goal of the deck is to drop a Master of Waves bringing with it seven elemental friends. The deck is built for aggression and that can been seen with the lack of permission despite being blue. What this deck really capitalizes on from the blue mana is the power of card draw from the Bident and Jace. Cyclonic Rift to clear away blockers allows you to build to a lethal alpha strike and power through for the kill.
Here is a very interesting Blue + White control deck which looks to abuse devotion to blue in a very strong way. Using the standard shell with Azorius Charm, Sphinx’s Revelation, Detention Sphere and Supreme Verdict it is already a very powerful control machine. Elspeth and Jace work their usual magic to power up the deck and work towards the end game. But the addition of Thassa and Master of Waves is what takes the deck in a new direction, and with Frostburn Weird, Jace and the other blue permanents it isn’t hard to get the devotion online.