Get the MTG
Interactive Encyclopedia


Picking a Deck - Aggressive vs Control
by John "Nev" Balla

    Deck archtypes are defined by two basic strategies: aggressive and
control.  The standard environment currently has a healthy mix of these
two types.  Aggressive decks include: Fires, Rebel, Skies, and Red Zone,
and for control there are U/W and Nether-Go.  What determines what the
best choice is between control and aggressive is whether the controlling
cards in the environment can effectively deal with the threats in the
    Aggressive decks have many effective threats in the current standard
scene.  Blastoderm, Saproling Burst, Chimeric Idol, and Ramosian
Sergeant/Linn Sivvi are all very fast and effectient threats.  Fires decks
are given some of the
most explosive threats, Blastoderm, a 5/5 for only 4 mana, Saproling Burst, a
card that many decks have trouble dealing with, being that it can create
large creatures, and Chimeric Idol, probably one of the best cards to come
along for aggressive decks in a long time.  Fires can be very briefly summed
in that if the control deck does not get the right cards at the right time,
simply cannot deal with the large amount of threats that Fires can produce. 
    Some of the key cards for control decks in standard are Wrath of God,
Rout, Nether Spirit, Tsabo's Decree, and Story Circle.  Wrath of God, Rout,
Tsabo's Decree provide the traditional way to deal with your opponent's
kill all of them at once.  While this would normally be very devastating for
an opponent whose goal is to cast as many creatures as fast as possible to
cards like Chimeric Idol and Saproling Burst make this strategy weaker
against Fires,
and the fact that a Rebel player can simply topdeck a searcher and recruit
also makes Rebels a close matchup.  A typical draw for a Fires deck will
include 3-4 threats, making Nether Spirit signifigantly less powerful. 
    Blue skies decks are very good in the sense that against control they can
cast threats, let the opponent try and deal with them, and then counter the
with Thwart or Foil.  However, it isn't as good against other aggressive decks
due to the fact that it has less threats, and the threats that it does have
medicore compared to the opposing ones.  Overall, Skies is very stable in that
it can produce threats and protect them, but it does lack in the amazing
threats that
other colors have.
    Type II is a very interesting format right now, with many viable archtypes
that can be played according to a person's play style.  I hope this has
helped you decide whether you want to attack for 5 or counter spells in your
next standard event.  Good luck.