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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Aug 13 2018 12:00pm
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In my last article, I wrote about a couple of decks that center around playing very few creatures or none at all,  I also wrote about the use of Mystical Teachings. Although I personally love them, I know that many of you would like a more creature oriented control deck.


Well you are in luck because that is what I am bringing you this week. I have a UB combo/control deck that involves some Ghostly Flicker shenanigans and the other is a hardcore control deck that wants to kill every creature and counter most of your spells. Let's check them out!



Although this archetype can play as a control deck, it will play more of an aggro/tempo style of deck. This archetype also has a game ending combo as well by using Ghostly Flicker, Chittering Rats and Archaomancer to lock your opponent out of the game. When your opponent is living off the top of their deck and has drawn a non-instant spell, you then in their draw step use Ghostly Flickeron both of your creatures to force them to put their drawn card back on the top of their deck and then get it back to your hand. You swing for 3 a turn and eventually win the game.


For creatures we have Chittering Rats to play bit of a tempo game and keep your opponent from getting a new card, allowing you to pull a bit further ahead. Sea Gate Oracle makes another appearance as it is a good blocker and can draw you many cards with the Ghostly Flicker combo. Mulldrifter also makes an appearance because it is the best blue creature in the format. Finally we see 2 copies of Archaomancer to finish off the creature base. It may be expensive at 4 casting cost, but it can return any instant or sorcery you need to help you out and it allows for the Ghostly Flicker combo to take place. The reason you play this over Mnemonic Wall is because although it costs double blue to cast, it costs 1 mana less and that makes a huge difference when you aren't cheating your mana as you do in Urza Tron.


For counter magic you only play Counterspell. You are more of a sorcery style control deck and so you don't leave up mana all that often. Counterspell is more for protecting your creatures or helping you combo off, than it is for countering creatures your opponents play. You play a decent amount of removal also, so dealing with creatures shouldn't be much of a problem.


For removal we see 3 copies of Doom Blade as for sure spot removal spell and we see 4 copies of Chainer's Edict for our Edict effect. In the 1 drop slot we see a Dead Weight and 2 copies of Disfigure for some instant speed removal. Finally we see a copy of Echoing Decay to get some 2 for 1 card advantage and a copy of Evincar's Justice to sweep the board if need be. Unlike other UB control decks, you don't see Pristine Talisman and you also get hurt a little by Evincar's Justice killing your own creatures, so do be careful when casting it.


For card advantage we have Preordain for our 1 mana cantrip. We see Unearth to get back a dead Chittering Rats or Sea Gate Oracle later in the game. Reaping the Graves is great here because it can return multiple creatures from your graveyard and you can almost do it infinite times with Archaomancer constantly returning it over and over again. Then finally we have Ghostly Flicker to enable some combos, protect your creatures from removal or just get the most out of your creatures enter the battlefield effects.



The manabase is pretty typical. You have 10 basics made up of 6 Island and 4 Swamp. 1 of each cycling land in the form of Barren Moor and Lonely Sandbar to play effectively a 58 card deck. 8 duel lands with 4 Dimir Aqueduct and 4 Dismal Backwater. Finally for your utility lands you have 1 Radiant Fountain to help gain life against the aggro decks and 1 Bojuka Bog to help against any graveyard decks you come across.


The sideboard isn't too interesting but it does have a lot of helpful cards. We find 3 copies of Duress to fight other control decks and Burn. Another copy of Unearth for removal heavy decks. Then we see a copy of Dispel to fight against just about anything and 3 copies of Hydroblast to help fight Pyroblast, Atog and/or Fling, or just to fight any red deck you come across.


Stormbound Geist is always a great creature to fight control decks because it takes 2 removal spells to deal with and gets a bit bigger after the first one. Shrivel and another copy of Evincar's Justice for some extra sweepers if need be. We see another copy of Doom Blade and Echoing Decay if you need some extra spot removal and then finally we see a couple copies of Relic of Progenitus for some extra graveyard hate.


There are a few ways to build this archetype. You can lists that use Mystical Teachings, more counter spells and sometimes you will find builds with more creatures. It is really a matter of building preference and how you want to play. The build I am showing you today is the more stock/basic version you will run into.


The next deck we will talk about is a more creature focused version of UB control when compared to the UB Teachings deck I brought you last time.



For the creatures, we have 4 Augur of Bolas to block in the early game and find a good spell for you to use. We then see Mulldrifter and although you don't have Ghostly Flicker to combo with, Mulldrifter still draws 2 cards and either attacks or blocks well in the air. Finally we see Gurmag Angler as the main win condition and it usually does its job very well.


For counter magic we find 4 copies of good old Counterspell and we see 2 copies of Prohibit to act as the 5th and 6th copy. We see a copy of Dispel to have a really cheap way to win a counter war or counter a removal spell and save on mana. In this list we see a copy of Essence Scatter to have a way to counter a troublesome creature and save on blue mana. Miscalculation is a personal favorite of mine as it can either be a really good counter spell or can be Cycled later in the game to draw you another card. We see a copy of Soul Manipulation to act as either another Essence Scatter, it can also act as a Raise Dead to get back a dead Mulldrifter or Gurmag Angler, and the best part is that it can be used as both. Finally we see a copy of Duress and although it is not a counter spell, it is here as well to help with the control game or rip a removal spell out of your opponents to hand to protect your Gurmag Angler.


The plan of this deck is much like the older Esper Dragon decks from Standard a while back where the plan was to cast a Dragonlord Ojutai and protect it for 4 turns while you swing and kill your opponent. This time you have Gurmag Angler, but the plan is much of the same, so use your counter spells wisely and do not counter any spells you don't need to or could just use removal on.


For removal we see Chainer's Edict and Doom Blade as per usual. For the 1 drop removal we see Disfigure and Tragic Slip. Tragic Slip is actually very powerful in this deck because you can Evoke a Mulldrifter to turn on Morbid and use Tragic Slip to kill pretty much anything you will come across in this format. We see a copy of Wail of the Nim to either deal 1 damage to everything and be a small board wipe, or it can regenerate one of your creatures from a removal spell. Do not forget that Wail of the Nim also has Entwine so you can do both abilities. Finally we see a copy of Recoil and it isn't a straight up removal spell, if you catch your opponent empty handed, you can kill anything and that can include lands.


For card advantage we find Forbidden Alchemy, although I will not lie and say I am not a big fan of it in this deck because you don't have a lot of cards with Flashback and you don't have a lot of graveyard recursion for your creatures. I don't like using it to find 1 card and then have to throw away 1 or 2 other good cards that I also need, but this is just my opinion. We see 4 copies of Preordain and a copy of Ponder as your 1 mana cantrips. A copy of Mystical Teachings finds its way into this archetype and it has plenty of good targets to choose from. Finally we see a really old card and a personal favorite of mine, we see Probe. Probe is much more powerful than it looks as late in the game when your opponent has a very few number of cards in hand, not only can it be a Compulsive Research for you, but it can also make your opponent discard 2 cards as well, which can put you very far ahead of your opponent.


The manabase is a little different this time around. We see 12 basic lands consisting of 9 Islands and 3 Swamps. We only see 4 dual lands this time around in the form of 1 Dismal Backwater and 3 Dimir Aqueduct. Instead of extra dual lands we see 2 copies of Ash Barrens to either fix your mana or it can be used as mana to cast spells, then it can be returned to your hand later with Dimir Aqueduct so you can fetch a basic with it. For utility lands we see 1 copy of Lonely Sandbar, a copy of Radiant Fountain and 2 copies of Bojuka Bog to really help fight the Ghostly Flicker strategies.


The sideboard is very straightforward as we see 4 Hydroblast to fight the red mages and Pyroblast. 3 Stormbound Geist as a really good second win condition against the control matchups or it can be an extremely good blocker against Snow Delver. 2 more copies of Disfigure, an extra copy of Doom Blade and a copy of Echoing Decay for some removal if need be. We see Shrivel and Evincar's Justice if you need some board wipe effects. We see another copy of Duress for control matchups or Burn players and finally we see a copy of Serrated Arrows to fight Delver decks and/or any aggro archetype in general.


Conclusion and Verdict

I never really get tired of UB Control personally and always enjoy playing the archetypes. While I enjoy a more creature light approach, I very much understand all of those who like using a lot of creatures to win their games.


As to the question of which of these 2 decks would I take into a tournament? I would be fine with either. I think both offer a good game plan and get the job done. Personally I like the Traditional UB Control list better because it suits my style more and when I have tried the UB Flicker deck in the past, I wasn't the biggest fan of it. I felt like it never had enough of what it wanted. It either drew to little creatures, or it drew to little removal, or it didn't draw enough counter magic to protect your threats.


I just personally like control decks that are more full of answers and play very little win conditions because it is just an easier game plan I feel. You overload on reactive cards and you always just react to whatever your opponent is doing, running them out of resources and winning games of attrition is how I like my control decks.


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. See you all next time!