Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jan 31 2023 10:59am

Orzhov control decks can come in many different builds with many different ways to win the game. Some win conditions include Pestilence, Evincar’s Justice plus Pristine Talisman and sometimes we see builds use good old Kor Skyfisher beats. Orzhov decks these days also have tons of ways to generate card advantage and a variety of forms.

The major thing about Orzhov decks is that they are very good at controlling the game while also generating a lot of card advantage. Orzhov can be a popular archetype because it has so many things to do and with the color white, you get some of the best sideboard options that the format has to offer.

The list we will be looking at today got second place in the Pauper challenge that took place on 1/14/2023 and was piloted by the player MatheusPonciano. If you love Orzhov and love Ephemerate (I know I love this card) then this is a list you will want to see. Let’s rock!

Thraben Inspector – To the surprise of no one, Inspector makes a classic appearance as a 4 of. This creature is just a great creature in almost every format period in my opinion.

Dawnbringer Cleric – While this may not be the strongest creature when it comes to pure stats, the enter the battlefield abilities it has are really why it is here. Each ability can be very relevant and it can be quite a good blocker against a number of aggro decks.

Spirited Companion – I love this creature in this deck because while it might not seem like much, having a creature that gives you a way to draw a card and with it being an enter the battlefield ability so you can trigger it multiple times with your blink effects will go a long way.

Inspiring Overseer – This is a good creature to attack with in the air. More importantly it draws you a card and gains 1 life when it enters the battlefield making it great with blink effects.

Goliath Paladin – Initiative is still very good and the Paladin not only blocks extremely well but it has Vigilance which means it can beat down as well. Honestly this creature just does it all.

Vampire Sovereign – Our very own Siege Rhino with flying instead of Trample. This is a very good win condition for a deck like this.

Pegasus Guardian – You will notice that Kor Skyfisher is absent from this list and the reason is because the Pegasus replaces it. The creature itself is expensive to cast at 6 mana, but the ability it has to create an army of flying tokens is quite good. The really good part about this creature is the adventure part. Now you have another instant speed blink effect and you can cast the Pegasus later to try and start build a token army to go wide with. I think 3 is the perfect number.

Cast Down – One of, if not, the best removal spell in the format.

Deadly Dispute – This works very will with the Pegasus to make tokens in addition to just being an extremely powerful card.

Suffocating Fumes – Everyone can use a board wipe and Fumes is pretty good at that job. Worse comes to worse, you can cycle it away.

Unmake – While it does cost 3 mana, being able to exile a creature at instant speed is very good against any archetype. The reason we see this over Journey to Nowhere in my opinion is because you can’t blink it and that makes Unmake the better option.

The Manabase

Obscura Storefront – At first glance you might be wondering why this is here over Ash Barrens. The reason is because Pegasus Guardian reads, “if a permanent leaves you control leaves the battlefield this turn”, not just a creature. This land is a bit better than Evolving Wilds because it gains a life.

Scoured Barrens – Here is your dual land for the deck.

Orzhov Basilica and Bojuka Bog – Graveyard hate is always a good thing to have and since you are a control deck, Bog is a good land to have. Basilica allows you to possibly mulligan less and pick Bog back up to be used again.

The rest of the manabase are made up of basic lands consisting of 6 Plains and 3 Swamps for a total of 22 lands. In my opinion a good/typical land count for a deck like this.

The Sideboard

Chainer's Edict – Edict effects are usually a good thing to have access to against a variety of archetypes. Chainer’s is a popular choice because it has Flashback.

Dawnbringer Cleric – An extra copy of Dawnbringer just in case you need it. You could replace it with a completely different card, depending on the meta you expect to face as having a third copy of this specifically isn’t necessary.

Dust to Dust – Say no to Affinity.

Lone Missionary – In a deck that turns creatures sideways to win and has a lot of blink effects, Missionary is a fantastic card to have.

Prismatic Strands – One of the best sideboard cards in Pauper history it is no surprise to me to see a copy of Strands here. It is disappointing to only see 1, but if the meta doesn’t call for it to heavily, you need to make cuts somewhere.

Relic of Progenitus – More graveyard hate never hurt anyone. You don’t have any graveyard recursion, so you can play Relic instead of something like Nihil Spellbomb.

Suffocating Fumes – More board wipes for when you are against an aggro deck and go full control.

Verdict and Conclusion

Now this is my type of Orzhov deck and I’ve played plenty of different builds. I won’t lie that I am a little biased because Momentary Blink is one of my favorite cards ever and this archetype you get a somewhat more powerful version in Ephemerate.

Normally in decks like this where you have a little bit of everything, I find that a big problem is you don’t have enough “stuff” or can easily draw the wrong half of your deck against the wrong archetype. However, with this deck, all of your cards work well together and do multiple things. In this archetype there isn’t really a “wrong half” to draw as all of your cards do something against almost any archetype you will face.

All of your creatures are good at defense or attacking. You have tons of card advantage in the form of drawing cards, blink effects and good removal. You have access to a plethora of good sideboard options against any archetype you come across. I don’t find this deck spread too thin at all.

As for this list in particular, I think this is a fantastic place to start. I have one personal preference I would change and that would be adding a couple copies of Kor Skyfisher and a couple copies of Omen of the Dead for some more grind action. The issue with that is finding what to cut and that could mess with the numbers a bit. In my opinion, this list is very optimized for the main deck. The sideboard of course can be changed according to meta choices.

Do I think you should play this deck? For leagues, local tournaments and weekend challenges, yes I do. I think this archetype is very good at being either a midrange deck that goes aggro against control or a control deck against other creature decks. Will you win every match you play? Will you win the lottery or be able to grow a money tree outside your window by playing this archetype? The answer to those things are most likely no, but with good practice I think this archetype will bring you a good win percentage in the long run.

Is this build perfect? I would say no, but that is because deck lists in Magic are a constant changing thing and depends on personal card choices, meta calls and other reasons that would make this article a little too long. I will say again however, that I think this is a great place to start.