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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Feb 11 2020 12:00pm
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Recently, SomeOldGuy has been putting up 5-0s with his take on Jeskai Control. Arcum's Astrolabe is banned, so you would think the archetype wouldn't be doing as well as it used to, but SomeOldGuy has proven that the archetype is here to stay, it just needed to be built differently.

When Arcum's Astrolabe was legal in the Pauper format, Jeskai Control was the best shell to use it in. For quick reference, here is a sample deck list of what the archetype looked like.

 

 

What made this archetype a problem for many players to deal with was that it played all the most powerful cards, it was very consistent and just plain had answers for any situation it came across. It had good removal in the form of Skred and Lightning Bolt. It had really powerful creatures, such as Mulldrifter and Kor Skyfisher. It is no doubt a power house full of goodies.

 

However, the one card that made this archetype shine, that really made it the boogeyman of it's era, was Ephemerate. Ephemerate was the glue that bound this archetype together and made it amazing. You have Spellstutter Sprite to counter spells, Mulldrifter to draw cards and because Ephemerate has Rebound, you could combine it with Archaeomancer to not only get back Ephemerate over and over again, but you could also get an additional spell, such as Skred for removal or Counterspell to tell your opponent no.

 

Another big part of this archetype was Arcum's Astrolabe helping the mana base be fairly perfect and also replacing itself which was never a bad thing. It also made Kor Skyfisher even better than it already is. However, Arcum's Astrolab is banned and gone now, but we still have Ephemerate to play with (I personally feel this card should be banned, but that is another conversation for another day). Let's check out how SomeOldGuy has changed his list since the banning of Arcum's Astrolabe.

 

 

Mulldrifter, Archaeomancer, Augur of Bolas – Here are the creatures of the deck. You all should be fairly familiar with them at this point, as they have been Pauper staples for quite some time for almost any blue control deck.

 

Flame Slash, Lightning Bolt, Skred, Fire/Ice and Journey to Nowhere – Here are your removal spells for this archetype. Skred is probably one of, if not, the best removal spell in the format because it is instant speed and can kill just about anything if you have enough Snow lands in play. You also have a sort of 5th and 6th copy of Skred in the form of Flame Slash and Journey to Nowhere, although they are a little less powerful because they are sorcery speed. You also have to be careful with Journey to Nowhere because if you exile a creature with a powerful enter the battlefield ability and your opponent has enchantment removal, it could end up hurting you in the end.

 

Lightning Bolt of course makes an appearance, as it is one of the most powerful cards in the format. Finally we also see Fire/Ice in this archetype, which can be very powerful for the fact that Fire can hit 2 different creatures, or you can tap something and draw a card. However, both of these spells serve not only as removal, but also as burn to your opponents face. Since you take a long time to win games and your creatures don't have a ton of power, being able to combo Ephemerate, Archaeomancer and Lightning Bolt so that you can burn your opponent out is really helpful.

 

Counterspell, Exclude, Prohibit and Dispel – Here is the counter magic you have to work with. Counterspell is the best the format has to offer and Prohibit is a nice way to play a sort of 5th copy. Exclude can be very good in grindy matchups because not only can you counter a powerful creature, but also dig a card deeper into your deck to keep the gas flowing. Finally we have 1 Dispel as a good catch all type of spell for any instant that gives you a problem. It is also very good at helping in counter wars.

 

One spell you notice isn't here is Deprive, which can be very good with Mystic Sanctuary. However it can hurt more than it can help you, with not only being a 3 color deck, which is already making it hard to cast your spells, but it can be worse if you try to mess with your mana. You are also a very mana hungry deck as you need specific colors to cast spells. I believe this is why Prohibit is the perfect counter for this slot instead.

 

Brainstorm, Ponder, Ephemerate and Tragic Lesson – Here are your card advantage spells to work with. Ephemerate (why is this card still legal?) of course makes an appearance here as it is just amazing with any of the creatures in your deck. Brainstorm is quite good in this archetype as all of your cards are very powerful and you also have a good number of shuffle effects to go with Brainstorm.

 

Ponder makes an appearance here over Preordain, I think because it sees 3 cards deep, which can be a bit better at helping you make your land drops, but I go back and fourth on which 1 mana cantrip In like more. Both are good with Brainstorm, but Ponder seeing 1 card deeper immediately can help a lot. Last up we see Tragic Lesson, which combos really well with Mystic Sanctuary.

 

The manabase hasn't changed much, as you still have all the Snow basics. This time around you max out on Ash Barrens and (Evolving Wilds;BFZ) because not only do they help with Brainstorm, but also because you don't have a Prophetic Prism effect to help with your color fixing.

 

You also will find 1 copy of Swiftwater Cliffs as your 1 dual land in the deck. Last up we see a big new edition to the archetype, that has also been shaking up Pauper for a few months now, in the form of Mystic Sanctuary. Mystic Sanctuary is an extremely powerful card in this archetype as you have a ton of powerful spells to return. You have draw spells, burn spells and counter spells, so it is pretty much pick your poison and have fun.

 

The sideboard

2 Blue Elemental Blast – Always a good answer to any red cards that give you problems. Especially a big help vs Atog.

 

1 Circle of Protection: Green and 1 Circle of Protection: Red – Red and Green aggro decks can always be a problem, as they can work around your removal and also be too fast for you to answer them. The Circle of Protections are always a good way to help prolong the game and stop your opponent from being able to deal damage to you.

 

2 Muddle the Mixture – Now here is an extremely interesting card. Not only can it be a Negate if you need it to be, but it also has Transmute, which means it can help tutor for your Circle of Protection cards when you bring them in, or you can tutor for removal spell if you need to it to.

 

2 Electrickery – Always a good thing to have some type of board wipe to work with.

 

1 Leave No Trace – No one likes losing to Bogles.

 

1 Lone Missionary – Need help vs Burn and other aggro decks? Like having a really good combo with Ephemerate? Here ya go!

 

4 Pyroblast – One of the best sideboard cards in the format.

 

1 Relic of Progenitus – There are plenty of decks in the format that use the graveyard and this is probably the best option, since you can also cycle it away. But you have to be careful not to hurt your own graveyard to badly because do remember you have Archaeomancer to work with.

 

Final Thoughts

I really liked playing the Jeskai Control archetype before the Arcum's Astrolabe banning and I still like the archetype now. It is also hard to argue with the results that SomeOldGuy has been putting up with the archetype.

 

I really like SomeOldGuy's take on Jeskai, but I have one small issue with it. It takes a damn long time to win the game because your creatures aren't very big or fast. But as the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race, so why question it? Adding something like Kor Skyfisher doesn't provide much benefit here, since you don't have a Prophetic Prism like card to keep bouncing back, you'd rather play answers over Skyfisher as it would be slow, it also might actually set you back and make you lose tempo. I also wish there were some Spellstutter Sprites somewhere, as I think the card is just really good right now against certain matchups.

 

I am not a huge fan of the sideboard, but when it comes to building sideboards, it is all personal preference. I feel like Muddle the Mixture is cool, being able to tutor up stuff is a fun interaction, but I feel it is too slow and that it could just either be more copes of your Circle of Protection cards, or just other cards in general. Take what I say with a grain of salt, as I don't claim to be all knowing.

 

There isn't much else to say. Do I think this deck will bring you many victories on your Pauper adventures? Yes I do, but you will need to learn the deck and adjust the sideboard according to what the meta is that week. Let me know if you like the deck and what changes you would make!