Friday night, the one night a week we all wish came sooner. For some of us Fridays are when we hit the new super hero movie in theaters, for others it’s that night to prove ourselves. To prove to the local magic community “I can play a tier one deck I got off a website,” for others it’s a time to test your own brew. For myself the most recent rendition of a brew I’ve been playing with is what I call BUG control:
Bramble’s B/U/G Control
Alright, alright, so it’s not 100% original, looking at the list you probably notice it looks a whole heck of a lot like Golgari Control, and you sir (or madam) would be correct. There are however a few changes such as the addition of blue and a few key cards. Furthermore some may criticize it for missing a few things that Golgari control really had going for it. Lilliana of the Veil / Mutilate / Disciple of Bolas. To those individuals all I have to say is yes, you’re correct, but maybe it’s still okay without them?
One of the Prime (pun 100% intended) reasons I chose to make this into a B/U/G deck instead of just playing Golgari is because I really wanted to play Prime Speaker Zegana. Prime Speaker Zegana has long been played in control decks, the most infamous being Bant Control. Bant control was good at one time, but I don’t feel like it’s been going anywhere fast. So here I am, holding Zegana in my hand and staring down the top decks of August to figure out which one I’m going to Jerry-rig enough to fit her in (as I’m sure some of you have done too). I was familiar with most of the top decks and I’d been playing Junk Reanimator lately, but decided I needed a change and naturally felt like Golgari has had some good additions from the core set. Anyhow so that is how Golgari became the shell. There are some key cards that I thought would feel really good playing alongside the Golgari control archetype.Jace, Architect of Thought:
This guy is a boss, he knows how to control aggro, he is decent card draw, and if he ultimate’s… well time to get your best stuff (and your opponents) onto the battlefield. I like him, I like him a looooot.Far // Away:
At U1 you get unsummon, which can save your behind if someone likes to zoom (have haste creatures). At B2 you get one of their creatures gone. At U1/B2 you 1.5 for 1’d someone. I say 1.5 for 1 because your opponent can play that unsummoned creature again, though a two for one isn’t unheard of if tokens are on the board. In the end this card comes down to timing. If played correctly it always feels good to have one of these in your hand, and your opponent fears it.Prime Speaker Zegana:
I like Prime Speaker Zegana a bit better then Disciple of Bolas (they’re both ladies, they understand… it’s me, not you Miss Bolas), this is because I don’t have to sacrifice a creature in order to draw cards. On top of that I get a full bodied behemoth of a merfolk (no offence Bolas but your dang skinny). Lots of decks have a hard time dealing with a 6/6 or 7/7 or 10/10 (someone kept tapping down my Desecration Demon) in the first ten turns.
So you think it’s okay on paper, so you want results, so here they are!
I’ve entered in 3 standard tournaments with this deck (changing it slightly as I went) at a few of my local game shops with a range of 14-30 players in each tourney.
In the first tournament I went 3-1 with my only loss going to Craig Wescoe’s WMC 2013 RW Humans. The R/W human deck is an interesting deck to play against, it is an aggro deck which can be hard to attack as most of your kill spells will likely be rendered moot by Brave the Elements or the fact that Knight of Glory and Fiendslayer Paladin are protection from black / black spells. In both of my game losses against this deck I really needed to find a Far // Away. This is perhaps where Mutilate would have been useful if I was only playing Golgari. In any case since then I’ve added some lower cost card draw to find answers early in order to deal with the quicker threats, which has since then paid off quite well against B/R Zombies, and Red Deck Wins. Also the real killer was Burning Earth, it came out on game two and sealed it quickly. Since then I’ve also added more Golgari Charms in the sideboard to deal with this.
In the second tournament I went 3-1 as well. Hmm interesting. This time the only loss I had was to a little something familiar called, BBBBBBONNFIRE aka Jund. I feel that my matchup against Jund isn’t terrible, but it may have came down to a misplay by myself where I played a far // away instead of taking out Olivia Voldaren with Tragic Slip after my beast token died. *Shrug* We live, we learn, we move on. I want to play test this more against Jund in its current state, but since this tournament I’ve added Sign In Blood and took out Farseek.
The third tournament, can you guess what record I achieved? If you said 3-1 you’re right! In the most recent tournament I had a first round loss against Esper Control. In other words I…got….milled in a game that took nearly 40 minutes (he was the tournament organizer so got easily distracted by people reporting their round results)!! This left me wanting Psychic Spiral in my sideboard…
Decks that I feel B/U/G control does well against:
G/W Midrange – My zombies exile your stuff, my ooze eats the creatures I kill, my stuff is big too!
Red Deck Wins – I feel that B/U/G Control has enough kill spells to be able to get to turn 5-6 and at this point start dropping big things that Red Deck can’t climb over, such as Thragtusk / Desecration Demon / Zegana.
Bant Midrange – I realize this isn’t a huge deck right now, but since they have that G/W creature base it’s similar to G/W midrange in the threat I present against it.
Junk Reanimator – Scavenging Ooze / Lifebane Zombie / Far // Away is quite effective here. I used to run Deathrite Shaman in the sideboard as well and I found my deck could race via Mutavault and my 2 and 3 drops.
Junk Aristocrats – My scavenging ooze does a lot of work here too, and Lifebane Zombie seems to find a target here as well. They tend to sac things to my desecration demon(s) too in order to get by him or not be hit by them, but this only makes it so they go through their fodder twice as fast! Though it has put me in close situations until I land a Thragtusk or Zegana.
Decks that I feel BUG Control is poor against:
Other Control Decks – I don’t have enough mana to play multiple things on one turn in order to weed out counter spells. On the other hand, I do have a lot of Planeswalkers which control decks seem to have trouble with. This is where Liliana really shines, and also where Psychic Spiral could come in handy. It just seems so narrow to put one in the sideboard. *shrug*
Decks that I feel I haven’t faced enough to say:
Jund – Only played the one round against it, I want revenge!
R/G Aggro – Just haven’t got paired against one yet.
R/W Humans – Only played it the once, and I’m not used to its tempo (or burning earth).
Bant Hexproof – Never tested.
Naya – I have no worries against this deck, no-one has given me the chance.
B/R/W – It’s a thing. I want to play against this.
This deck could still use a bit of work, I’ve been contemplating putting in counter spells, if not in the mainboard at least in the sideboard. I’ve also tried using Farseek as a bit of mana ramp but it just feels clunky. I say this because getting Thragtusk on 4 is good or Desecration Demon on 3, but if I don’t see a Farseek early then I start seeing them off my mid/late game card draw when I’m already at 6 mana — Farseek here feels bad. I’m not Jund, I don’t have places to spend extra mana such as Olivia, Kessig Wolfrun, or Bonfire of the Damned. Obviously I could use it to cast stuff from my hand, but cluttering the board just to get wiped is risky.
In the end I find this to be a very fun deck to play, it feels solid and consistent to me. This color combination is unheard of in standard at the moment and because of that I seem to be getting a lot of compliments about it at the tournaments I went to. Other players wanted to look at it, see the decklist, and then later see how it played. When the Esper player was milling me he was very interested in seeing what the heck he was up against. Spectators would look at the board state, see what’s in my hand and just grin, knowing that I had answers to most situations and was just waiting to pounce on my opponents next move or drop a bomb on the board on my next turn.
I encourage you to take this or a similar list for a spin next FNM and tell me how you found it, what can improve, what feels good or bad about it.
Thanks for stopping by!