Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jul 27 2021 11:21am

Control is always a tricky archetype to play in Pauper in my opinion. The problem is, when you want to play a control deck, you can never overlook the fact that Tron and the Faerie/Delver archetypes will be an uphill battle for you. You also need to ask yourself if there is a good reason to play a different deck that isn’t Tron or Faeries/Delver control.

However, with all this being said, that doesn’t stop control players from trying something new. It also doesn’t mean that most control archetypes auto lose to Tron or the Faeries/Delver archetypes, it is just my opinion that it will always be an uphill battle for not all that much benefit. Just a reminder, I am not right about everything I say, so take my words with a grain of salt.

Today I want to look at a really sweet Jeskai Control list. It took a top 8 spot in the challenge that took place on 7/3/2021 and was piloted by the player Brivenix. I am sure most of you love a good Ephemerate control list, so that is what we will be looking at today.

Mulldrifter – A blue midrange/control deck is never complete without some number of Mulldrifter in the deck.

Mnemonic Wall – Not only is this a control deck, but you also have 2 copies of Ephemerate as well. You have a lot of goodies to get back with the Wall already and you don’t want to fight a long game. It makes sense to see Mnemonic Wall here.

Stonehorn Dignitary – Since you have Mnemonic Wall and Ephemerate, we are going to take full advantage by putting everyone's favorite Rhino in the deck to sure up any aggro matchup you come across.

Chrome Courier – Here is a new and interesting card from Modern Horizons 2. It is a very weak creature for its stats, as it is a 1/1 for 3 mana. It does have flying, this is true, but that is not what makes this card good. It plays more or less like Sea Gate Oracle does, but when you reveal an artifact, you gain 3 life. This is a really good way to get card advantage, while at the same time, giving you a good answer for the Burn matchup.

Ephemerate – Every creature in your deck is extremely good with Ephemerate. However, I like only having 2 copies because you should only ever really need 1 and you don’t want to draw both without having a creature to use it with. Dead draws are a bad thing for a deck like this because you are a little slow.

Journey to Nowhere – Premier removal for dealing with any creature you come across.

Galvanic Blast – You have a total of 17 artifacts in this deck and 11 of them are indestructible. You should have Metalcraft active most of the time, which makes Galvanic Blast one of the best removal spells you can play. You can also burn your opponent out with (Galvanic Blast, Ephemerate and Mnemonic Wall.

Flame Slash – This is basically the 5th copy of Galvanic Blast, but it can only be used as a removal spell. I personally think that Abrade would be better in this spot, but take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Fiery Cannonade – One of the best board wipe spells in the format. I am a little surprised to see only 1 copy in the main deck, but you can’t fit everything and you do have Echoing Truth in the main. We will discuss that a bit later.

Cleansing Wildfire – You are a control deck with a lot of Indestructible dual lands. Cleansing Wildfire ramps you and draws a card, which means you can keep pace with almost any opponent in the format. I have a feeling we will be seeing this type of deck building for years to come.

Counterspell – You are a control deck that can produce 2 blue easily. No reason not to take advantage and play Counterspell.

Lose Focus – Another new card from Modern Horizons 2. At the very worst, it is a Quench and that isn’t all that bad, it is still a counter spell. However, it has Replicate. This means it can be helpful against Storm, it can be helpful in the late game where opponents have a ton of mana to use and it can help fight big counter wars because the copies can target other spells. I like this one a lot and expect it to be played more in the future.

Preordain – A great spell for control decks who plan on fighting the late game and need to push bad cards to the bottom so that you have as little dead draws as possible.

Behold the Multiverse – I like this spell a lot, but it can be awkward to use. 4 mana is a lot and very slow, but it does have Foretell and that can help a ton. I like this as a one of because it Scrys and then draws you cards, making it a big help in long drawn out games.

Echoing Truth – This is great at helping in the Storm matchups and it also helps a lot against Affinity because their creatures are big and can’t be killed by Fiery Cannonade anyway. I like how flexible Echoing Truth is and I am happy to see it in the main deck of more archetypes.

The Manabase

Ash Barrens – You are a 3 color deck and will need help fixing your mana. Ash Barrens is a big help with that.

Seat of the Synod – You have Galvanic Blast and Chrome Courier, so you have a good reason to have some extra artifact lands.

Razortide Bridge, Silverbluff Bridge and Rustvale Bridge – Here are your dual lands. You don’t play the full 12 because you don’t want so many lands come into play tapped.
The rest of the manabase are just basic lands. White and Red are splashes and that is why you only play 1 copy of Plains and Mountain. Then you have 4 Islands to finish the manabase off.

The Sideboard

Custodi Squire – I love this card, but it does cost 5 mana. Against matchups that will go long and depend a lot on card advantage, this is a great creature at helping fight the late game.

Dispel – Can never go wrong with a couple of Dispel to help fight against a deck with a ton of instants.

Dust to Dust – A great answer for the Affinity matchup. It is even better now because instead of Carapace Forger, they now have Sojourner's Companion. This gives you a lot more targets for Dust to Dust.

Echoing Truth – In the case of you needing another copy against any situation.

Fiery Cannonade and 1 Krark-Clan Shaman – Extra board wipes for when you need them most.

Hydroblast and Pyroblast – Answers for the Blue and Red mages respectively.

Verdict and Conclusion

I don’t know how many people agree with me on this, but I really miss the Jeskai Astrolabe decks. It did so many fun things and while I do think it was extremely powerful, I don’t think it ruined the format. That is just my opinion.

Since the banning of Arcum’s Astrolabe, many Pauper players have tried to rebuild the archetype. Some have been successful and some haven’t, but to me, that means there is potential there. I like this deck a lot and while I do think luck is required in magic to win, you also need to be a good player and have a good deck in your hands. I don’t think this deck would have got a top 8 spot in a challenge if it wasn’t good.

I also really like Chrome Courier as well. It is the perfect double edge sword. It either gains you card advantage against control or it can gain you life against aggro to make the game go longer. It isn't the best creature in the game, but I think it helps this archetype a lot.

This deck has a lot of things going for it. Counter magic, good removal/burn and a ton of card advantage. The only issue I see, is that it can be slow and fall behind quickly. I don’t think this type of deck would work in every meta, but I think it has the right things to beat Storm, Affinity and the Faerie archetypes.

Does that mean it can’t beat decks like Bogles or Stompy? No it doesn’t. You would just need to adjust your list to have answers for those archetypes. Another thing I like about this deck is that it can be flexible.

Do I think you should play this deck? I think you should try it out. In the leagues I think it will do great and I think it can do fine in the challenges as well. If you are able to get to the late game and do Ephemerate loops with Mnemonic Wall, you will most likely end up sealing the deal.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!