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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Mar 10 2008 11:01pm
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We've finally reached a bit of a break in the Extended scene.  This past weekend saw a Standard Grand Prix, and this weekend will put the Extended format back into the spotlight.  The last Grand Prix that used the format saw a control deck win it all, but with the blazing speed of the aggresive and combo decks in the format, will it be able to take down the City of Brotherly Love? 

I do not think control is going to take down this Grand Prix.  Paul Cheon may be in the short conversation of Best Player in the World, nut Previous Level Blue was something of an unknown going into the weekend, and with a few weeks in between Grand Prix the metagame may have shifted some what.  In fact, Previous Level Blue had a very small impact on the MTGO metagame.  Surfing for PTQ results, I did not see much of the Grand Prix winning decks in the top eights of events.  In fact, the big winner of Grand Prix: Vancouver may have been the resurgance of Blue Green tron.  There has been a ton of the tron build in recent top eights in real life. 

The thing about Extended is every deck is trying to cheat the game.  Moxen let you cheat the one land per turn rule.  Frogtosser Banneret and Goblin Warchief reduce the cost of spells, and Storm is just a overpowered mechanic.  I mean even Dark Confidant breaks the drawing of one card a turn rule.  With so many rules being broken in the format, it's not surprising that control does not have much of a foothold in the tournament scene. 

This article will end the deckopedia series, and it will also be the shortest one.  It's not for lack of research, or being lazy, it's because out of the three deck types, control has had the smallest impact on the format at large.  Next Level Blue may have been the most successful deck last month, but with it showing up in just about every top eight that is to be expected. 

Top eights look like one or two control decks and six others primed to beat control quickly. 

Let's get to the Deckopedia!

Blue Based Control

When people think of control they often think of a Draw Go style of deck.  These decks are packed with counterspells, card drawing, and a few threats.  This is what I would like to call classic control.  This is where Mono Blue would go.  Some lists splash colors, and this is where your Tog lists would be at.  In addition Next Level Blue and the newest model would also fit here.  Decks like The Rock (which is not really a deck anymore since none of them feature Plaguelord or Deranged Hermit.) would be more of a board control deck.  Those will be featured later.  Let's kick off the Deckopedia with a look at these blue based control decks.  


So the major difference between Next Level Blue and Previous Level Blue is the inclusion of one little enchantment.  Counterbalance strategies have been popular since the card was printed in Coldsnap.  The builds have been successful in known metagames, because you can adjust the casting costs of the cards included to flow with the changes.  Counterbalance strategies can fail when they are paired against decks with diverse mana threats.  Tron decks have been a kink in the cog for Counterbalance, because most of those decks contain threats that cost more than what the typical Counterbalance engine will run.  It is really hard to counter a Sundering Titan when you have no eight mana spells in the deck!

Previous Level Blue drops the Counterbalance engine in favor of more countermagic, and more card draw.  PLB plays like a more traditional control deck. 


I'm not quite sure when this was said (It may have been at PT Valencia.) but famed deck designer and Pro Tour Champion Wafo-Tapa said there was a solid build of mono blue control in the Extended format.  At World's a version of Mono Blue almost won the blue envelope in the PTQ, but was stopped short.  Since then Mono Blue has seen some amount of play. 


Okay, so it's not really a Mono Blue deck, since there is a small splash for the activation of Sunbeam Spellbomb.  This is a case of a builder responding to a metagame.  I can only imagine that the player forecasted a ton of aggro, so adding a tutorable source of life seemed like the best thing to do.  


Tog has recently started to show up again in the Extended format.  I'm not exactly sure if it if here to stay or just a deck that has come back to the limelight because it has good matchups against the combo decks.  I mean Stifle main wrecks TEPS! 

The final Blue based control deck we will be looking at is the Blue Green Tron deck that showed up in Vancouver.  Long thought to be a dead deck, Simic Tron has come back to a be a force in the metagame. 


Board Control Decks

Board control decks, to over simplify them are decks that have control elements in the form of some sort of mass removal.  These are typically non blue control decks, and thrive on wars of attrition.  These decks will slowly grind out a win some some fantastic monster.  Yes, this definition was a bit dumbed down, but I guess dumbing it down further would just be saying, these decks do not run counterspells. 

Death Cloud was a card that I featured in my Kentucky State Championship deck when I won so many years ago.  Because of this, the sorcery has become one of my all time favorite spells, so when I heard that there was a very good deck in the format based around Death Cloud, I knew I had to play it. 

Than I saw Pernicious Deed in the deck, and kinda deflated a bit.  I'm not going to spend a lot of money on that particular enchantment.  Chances are good that this deck in some form will be around after Deed rotates, so I would recommend that you keep your eyes on it!

I wanted to show off Doran again, because the builds I posted last time had much more of an aggresive slant to them.  This version i feel is a nice control deck, we have Profane Command in the main, which I feel is just too good of a spell to pass up, and we have a Living Wish sideboard that not only is better suited in a control deck, but gives the deck a better late game.  When you can essentially top deck any creature you need in the late game, that has to be a good thing. 

This is another deck that I had show cased before, but as with the Doran list before it, I feel this one is a more controling version.  The aggro version of this deck runs non basic lands, and hopes to loop up the non basic hate with Countryside Crusher.  That would lead to a giant fatty in a short time.  This version has few amount of non basics, which makes Destructive Flow a lot more unfair for the opponent.  This list also has main deck mass removal in the form of Deed, and hey, if it is good enough for Adrian Sullivan to qualify with, it has to be good enough to show off right?     

Gifts Rock has not shown up much as of late, but here is a sample list just in case you are interested in the deck. 


Well my goal with this series was to show you all fifty decklists in the Extended format.  Between the three articles, I feel a bit short, but forty five is nothing to laugh at.  I sincerly hope that everyone has at least gained a little more information into this wide open format.  Of course it all changes again in a few short months, but this should hold you all until Pro Tour Berlin!  The Extended season is coming to a close in real world, and with it so will the Extended Play Weekly series.  I will be back every month to at least let you know what people are playing, but we have a few weeks left before that happens.  Enjoy the rest of the season, and good luck to anyone going to Grand Prix Phily this weekend! 

4 Comments

by JXClaytor at Wed, 03/12/2008 - 16:20
JXClaytor's picture

Yeah, I could not find a list of UW tron that I was happy with.  To me it seems very clunky, but I will put up a sample list  

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 12.106.3.106 (not verified) at Wed, 03/12/2008 - 12:15
Anonymous (Unregistered) 12.106.3.106's picture

U/W Tron has made top 8's, its not here?

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 76.109.219.20 (not verified) at Tue, 03/11/2008 - 11:00
Anonymous (Unregistered) 76.109.219.20's picture

Gifts rock turned into a mindslaver deck? IMO my favorite version of gifts rock runs bops aswell, make them burn out the bops or they're in for some serious trouble once restraint hits. Its kinda hard to say why the decklist isn't fairing up so well, but I've seen gifts rock take more of a trinket top rock turn in a few of the decks in the PTQ scene, it looks like its maybe missing a good pilot or had one or two bad breaks. I think you'll see a few more trinket rock show up more, I don't have the cardbase at the moment, but It is definately a very very sick deck from what I saw.

Fifty decklists in the by drawing (not verified) at Fri, 09/18/2009 - 01:06
drawing's picture

Fifty decklists in the Extended format will sure be very interesting to know about and I hardly left any of your article right now. Your work on Deckopedia really fascinates me and I am just obsessed with your work.