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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
Jun 03 2015 12:00pm
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     Standard has been quiet the past week or so and as of now most of the decks are established. Scouring through the decklists of the top performing decks in the dailies it looks like aggro is really rising in popularity. Now if you remember anything about me I have mentioned many times that my inclination is to play fast aggressive creatures and turn them sideways hoping to bring my opponents life total from 20 to 0 as quickly as possible. However the way that the Standard game of Rock, Paper, and Scissors works is that if you want to beat Control play Aggro, if you want to beat Aggro play Midrange, and if you want to beat Midrange play Control. Those rules however are not written in stone and any deck can beat any other deck if properly tuned to do so.

     So what is rising up to beat the aggro menace?

      This is one of the Daily winners from the weekend. This can be a nightmare for decks like Atarka Red and Abzan Aggro. Not only can they stabilize with great blockers like Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix but they can just go so much bigger with Dragonlord Atarka and Genesis Hydra. Not to mention how devastating a monstrous Polukranos, World Eater be. In the sideboard they have Seismic Rupture to wipe the board and then they have the ever annoying and problematic Hornet Nest. Have you ever tried to attack through one of those? It is not a good time.

     This type of list I saw in the top 4 of 2 different dailies. Whip decks are also a great way to beat out aggro and this one has many tools to do so. To get to later turns this deck has gain lands, Courser of Kruphix, and chump blockers in the form of Satyr Wayfinder and Brain Maggot. Then when gets going it completely shuts down aggro. The life gain from Whip of Erebos can be just too much to come back from. To make things worse. Doomwake Giant can totally ruin the day of many x/1s and x/2s. For further hatred look to the sideboard where you see Bile Blight, Drown in Sorrow, Pharika's Cure and even more to ruin the day for aggro decks especially Atarka Red.

     So if people are turning to these types of decks to beat out the aggro decks what do I suggest you do? Well I think my title and summary were pretty clear. Play Control.

     There are various flavors of control that you can play but I am going to focus on what I believe to be the best. First up is my personal favorite

     This is something similar to what I am trying to finish up on MTGO. It has answers in the form of both Counters and Removal making it pretty versatile and against the midrange decks this can really shine. It can handle their threats 1 by 1 and eventually gain enough advantage that the midrange decks just cannot keep up. It can crush the Devotion decks by removing are of their creatures at 1 time with a Crux of Fate or even an Ugin, The Spirit Dragon. Hyper aggressive decks can be very hard to beat game 1 but it is not impossible. Bile Blight and Foul-Tongue Invocation can help you pull out of tough spots and the board helps to sure things up against the other problematic matchups. The Den Protector/Deathmist Raptor decks can still be a hassle so in my board I added in a Silence the Believers.

     Next up is the other popular control deck.

     This is the winning list from GP Toronto and because of that it may be a little dated. I do not and will not pretend to have any experience playing the deck but I do have a ton of experience playing against it. It is still and will continue to be a solid deck choice if you are looking to succeed in Standard. It has the ability to gain card advantage with Courser of Kruphix, Abzan Charm, and Read the Bones. It has a ton of removal and hand disruption. It has powerful planeswalkers in the form of Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Nissa, Worldwaker along with powerful creatures like Siege Rhino and Fleecemane Lion. To top it all off there is a little Regrowth engine with Den Protector. I will tell you first hand that it feels horrible to be on the opposite end of a recurring Thoughtseize that the Maternal Witness keeps fetching from the graveyard. The sideboard has even more answers to switch things up and make the deck even more resilient. There is even a version of Abzan that splashes blue for Dragonlord Ojutai and some counters. I first saw that list in an article that Caleb Durward wrote. It looks pretty sweet though I am unsure if you want to rely on getting the 4 colors every game.

     Perhaps you want something with a more consistent manabase? There are 2 color control decks you can try out. Some still champion UB control and that can be very good still. Though I think everyone realizes if you want to play a dragon Ojutai seems to be the best. I saw a few UW lists floating around and some good articles that Reid Duke did on that deck. I have been working on my own list that combines some of the others lists floating around the interweb and here it is.

     The first few obvious changes are that I want 1 more Elspeth, Sun's Champion, 1 more Dragonlord Ojutai and an Ugin, The Spirit Dragon. Otherwise I think that the removal and counters spells can be messed with and worked on to find the exact right number. I have really enjoyed playing this and feel that after board it gets a really good match up with Atarka Red and Abzan Aggro. Radiant Purge and Surge of Righteousness are great answers and can remove almost every threat they have. Fated Retribution is something that I saw someone play at an SCG Open and I wanted to test it out. Against other control decks though this version can be at a bit of a disadvantage. Because there is no black it has no access to Thoughtseize or Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. The mana however is very consistent and with less ETB tapped lands you can answer threats a lot easier. Overall the deck is a lot of fun but I do not think it is better than Esper or Abzan especially since it can be weaker against those decks.

     I have 1 last deck to show you and this is one I just threw together.

     It is important to state that I was not able to completely test this version yet. What I really like about this is that it has an answer for the Deathmist Raptor/Den Protector tag team. Anger of the Gods is a card that I think is criminally underplayed and this might even want a 3rd copy of it. Having access to burn as removal is also pretty sweet. I thought about increasing the Dragon count by adding Stormbreath Dragons to make better use of Silumgar's Scorn and Prerogative in the board. Another option would be adding a copy of Keranos, God of Storms. Cards like Erase have seen a down tick in play making Keranos a lot better. This deck still needs a lot of testing but I think the general idea can be great in the current meta. That is where you come in. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and critiques on this list. Can Jeskai be a viable control deck or should everyone just stick to Abzan and Esper? Let me know in the comments.

     Until next time!