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This Space For Rent

Building Budget Decks
With Max

December 26, 2007

Building Budget:



            Hey there guys, it’s me. Again. In this article I would like to bore you with the concept of “control” decks. They are, probably, the most difficult deck to make and hold the most possibilities… Today I won’t be “building” a deck, I’ll try to build the control. It may sound strange, but after seeing hundreds of different (working) U/R control decks the essence isn’t a deck-it’s the control (I know, it’s mystical philosophical bs)…the best thing would be just to revise and look through the cards…the cheap ones, of course ;-) But first, let’s clarify the question “what is control?” There are many answers…to control yourself (choose what to draw with Telling Time and similar), to control the field (damage spells like Shock, enchantments that “lock down” the creatures-like Frozen Solid…), controlling the hand-field link (counterspells and  “return to hand” stuff) and controlling the player directly. In order for a control deck to work, it has to cover at least one of these areas, AND to have something to beat the enemy up with…tough job. Here are some cards that can make it easier:

            -Barbed Lightning : straight headbanger-kill a creature and hurt your opponent

            -Compulsive Research : this one controls your hand, but it’s not to be use with decks that contain nonbasic lands

            -Confound : A pretty decent one-counter and draw…only you can’t use it in all situations

            -Convolute : cheap, easy to find, and pretty ineffective in late game

            -Counterspell : the classic…’nuff said

            -Disrupt : a strange one…can be a life saver in the early (really early!) game, but is pretty useless

            -Disruptive Pitmage : an interesting creature-reduces your opponent’s active mana by one…

            -Dream Stalker : it’s hot, new and kicks when used with “when this creature comes into play…” creatures, and you get a decent blocker too!

            -Dream’s Grip : tap you, untap me…simple and mostly effective

            -Drift of Phantasms : a great defender, and you can transmute it to a more useful spell if needed. A must-have for most control decks

            -Drifter il-Dal : if you want an alternative way to sneak-beat your opponent, this is you man…it has shadow (anti-blocking) and 2 in power, which is enough to make it a mean butt-kicker

            -Electrostatic Bolt : an improved Shock…it kicks

            -Echoing Truth : this can be the best “return-to-hand” spell ever-you can return 2-3 creatures with a high mana cost, and therefore kick the agro back a few turns, and the more you return, the bigger is the chance that your opponent will have to discard something

            -Eye of Nowhere : an improved version of Boomerang, if you need arcane spells (splice, splice…), and if you don’t, there’s the Unsummon

            -Frozen Solid : a useful card…as bad as white enchantments of that type

            -Gigadrowse : tap ‘em and pump up your Wee Dragonauts…the only really useful combination

            -Grip of Amnesia – a real tough choice for you opponent-lose the graveyard or the important spell…he’s thinking while you draw that card

            -Index : an overall useful card, but when played in the first turn, it’s a bomb!

            -Izzet Boilerworks , Izzet Signet : classic mana factory stuff

            -Izzet Cronach : it’s a bit expensive for a 2/2 creature, but the extra sorcery/instant can be a blessing…sometimes, so don’t keep a lot of these in the deck

            -Jilt : one of my favorite cards-return to hand+do 2 damage to creature (kill it) for only 4 mana

            -Liquify : keep this card for countering those pesky cards with dredge, flashback and similar stuff…

            -Mana Leak : one of the best counterspells…’nuff said

            -Martyr of Frost : not sparking with usefulness, but a fair one

            -Memory Lapse : if you ask me, it’s the best counter EVER-imprint this baby on the Isochron Scepter and keep your opponent running in circles

            -Minamo Scrollkeeper : a decent defender, use only when you notice that you overdraw your hand limit often

            -Muddle the Mixture : an acceptable counterspell, but it is really useful when you need something else that costs 2 mana (I often use it for bringing out Counterbalance with its  transmute ability)

            -Ogre Savant : a bit expensive, but a good stompy

            -Peek : peek-a-boo I can see your hand…and draw another Counterspell

            -Peel From Reality : return something to the opponent’s hand and get that “when this creature comes into play…” creature back. As simple as that

            -Repeal : a nice one...people love it J

            -Razorfin Hunter : a cheap, but decent pinger…get more cash and get a Gelectrode-it kicks

            -Rift Bolt : a TimeSpiral kickass card…pay 3 mana for 3 dmg or pay 1 mana for 3 dmg the next turn…pure and simple (and I don’t mean the card)

            -Pyromatics : good for getting rid of those pesky /1 creatures…in bunches. When it comes to creatures with larger toughness scores, it’s better to return them and then counter them, ‘cuz it ends up being cheaper

            -Rewind : one of the best counterspells-it’s a great “cheap” counterspell, and a mana factory (tap two Izzet Boilerworks to play it, and untap four Izzet Boilerworks…get eight free mana from four)

            -Rune snag – a killer counterspell-have four of them or have none…

            -Runeboggle – use only in a case of emergency…it can get you a counter and a draw, but mostly won’t

            -Surging Flame – an interesting card overall (in combination with Sensei’s Divining Top, Index…) and it’s four or none

            -Shock – another classic…

            -Seal of Fire – like putting a Shock on hold…if your opponent tries to destroy it, just sac it, but the downside would be the inability of playing it as an instant…Shock beats it there

            -Sage Owl – for two mana you’ll get a 1/1 flying creature with an useful ability…

            -Serum Visions – not too useful, but the scry ability can be a life-saver sometimes

            -Sift – if you have a lot of nonbasic lands, and therefore can’t use Compulsive Research, here is a good (but expensive) card

            -Snapback – it does return just a creature (not a permanent like Boomerang does), but it is a life-saver n situations when you have no mana and something wicked your way comes…a wicked 6/6 haste thing

            -Spiketail Drakeling / Wizard Replica – two very similar cards…both are 3 mana and flying…the wiz could be a better defender (1/3 compared to 2/2), but the sac requires an additional U…

            -Spy Network – it’s fun and useful…a way to plan what to counter and to get those counters in line

            -Stasis Cell – it’s expensive, but can cripple your opponent

            -Steamcore Weird – excellent in combination with Dream Stalker and Peel from Reality…and if you don’t go in-out with it, it’s still a decent defender…

            -Temporal Eddy – man, this can just get your opponent running in circles…best used with expensive creatures or creatures requiring a sac, or with lands with “when this land comes into play, return a land you control…” It can be used with crippling effects, but it’s still a bit expensive…there is still Time Ebb, but it is creature-only (although cheaper)

            -Think Twice – a straight 5! Draw for 2 mana, and then after your opponent’s turn, if you didn’t counter anything, spend 3 mana for another draw…it rules

            -Train of Thought – this card uses up your entire turn (mostly). The strategy is to have it the only card in your hand and then to draw your ass off…

            -Vedalkien Dismisser – another card to use with Dream Stalker, Peel from Reality and similar cards…it’s a “bit” expensive, but does the trick

            -Wee Dragonauts – the one and only U/R butt-kicker…play Gigadrowse or Train of Thought (even better) and give this baby a big stomping bonus

            -Ęther Spellbomb / Pyrite Spellbomb – a couple of extremely useful artifacts-both can get an extra card in your hand, the blue one returns a creature to hand, and the red one is a Shock…useful

            -Feldon’s Cane – a great card to use against deckouts, and a good one to use in the late game

            -Darksteel Pendant – a handy alternative for Sensei’s Divining Top, and a good self-control tool

            -Chromatic Star / Chromatic Sphere – two almost identical cards, but the sphere is a bit better (you will draw even if it goes out of the game)

            -Conjurer’s Bauble – a fairly interesting card-it gets you a draw and a semi-useful effect

            -Mind Stone – a handy thing…serves as a mana source, and you get a draw when you don’t need it anymore…



            That’s it for this issue, in the next we’ll try to connect these cards into a control. Live long and prosper!

Max (Burn_To_Fade)



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