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Kenny_C.002
04-04-2007, 02:57 AM
For some reason I decided to talk about one of the oldest magic deck archetypes that existed, and is part of the classic trio (control, aggro, and combo, though the new "midrange" is considered an archetype of its own). This is for describing the methods in which one uses to build a control deck from an existing card pool of any sort, and also talk about its philosophy. This guide to the archetype should apply to many different card games, and not just magic, if you extract key points from it (and not the details).

Characteristics of Control:
1. Slow
2. Weak in beginning, strong finish
3. Usually contains blue
4. few creatures, many spells
5. Full set (at least 24) of land

The idea of control is simple. You try to stall the game for as long as possible against your opponent to try to amass as much card advantage (CA, which is calculated by the total number of cards on the field and in hand by each player) as possible before being able to establish control in which nothing your opponent does would do anything to you. At that point, you drop a win condition and win. Basically, the longer it takes, the better it gets.

The slow and methodical method of control makes control the hardest archetype of the 4 to learn, but also technically the most powerful.

Cards that belong in control:
1. Land
Obviously land is important, but it's MORE important for control to get a land drop every single turn, since that is the only way they can keep their chances up.

2. Card Drawing
Some control decks don't have this element, but a majority do. This is simply because it's the easiest method to card advantage, and also allows you to dig for answers and land quickly and effectively.

3. Removal, preferably mass removal
The easiest way to gain card advantage other than card drawing is through mass removal. You pay one card to kill multiple guys on the field, profit. Sometimes just point (1 target) removal is good enough for control so that they won't waste mass removal until a better time. Either way, both are integral to the archetype.

4. Permission
Counterspell is the other word for it. Most control decks have it, it's the easiest way to control the board once you clear it, which you would with mass removal. It's the easiest reactive 1-for-1's.

5. Winning Condition
This one's obvious. Usually the winning condition is really big and splashy, and kills quickly. There is also the fact that the winning condition itself should be able to help you stabilize the board as well, which is a bonus. Some winning conditions, such as millstone, do not have that luxury.

6. Anything that lets you stay alive longer
Sometimes the opponent is so overwhelming that you need this to just stay alive. Other times this is a great way to sneak away with a turn before a mass removal to net more unsuspecting creatures out of the way. Either way, the principle here is that it lets control survive longer.

7. Some try to control tempo
Look at my UW control deck to see a deck that tries to control tempo for gains in control. This is pretty much pseudo-removal that is slightly weaker at times, and stronger at other times. Tempo advantage is too complicated even for me to understand completely, though. Generally when I say tempo, it generally means it's how fast someone has to kill me and how fast I kill my enemy, or how many "pseudo turns" each player has taken. Generally then tempo deals with what's on the table and not something more long term, like card advantage.

There is no major "way" to build a control deck, but generally it's up to the playstyle of the control player to build something that's more tailored to them. If you find yourself not getting answers quickly enough, look at your removal and card drawing. See what you can do to add to those numbers. If you find yourself unable to hold control, look into your permission and removal. It's tweaking from these aspects that change control decks from one another.

To end it, here are the pros and cons:
Pros:
- Most powerful archetype of the 4 in the slower environments (which tends to be the case in casual or standard). Shoots down aggro and midrange with removal, counter key spells from combo
- Long games are almost always ending in your win
- Very little cards on the field to manage
- Usually works in 2 levels (CA and board position), making it difficult to take it out

Cons:
- Sometimes difficult to build, have to get a good balance between all the different spells
- Learning what spells are best to use at what times
- Getting used to answering threats, and knowing when to answer
- Learning how to bluff (not required)
- Patience required
- Lots of thinking required

Editing required. COME DOWN HERE BRIAN. XD

!CeMAn
04-06-2007, 02:53 AM
I hated these types of decks; they always kill me :crackup:.

The closest thing to control i ever played was my Vampire Deck which relied on creatures coming back from the Graveyard over and over with Volrath's Stronghold, Yawgmoth's Will and some raise dead card i can't even remember(Regenerate, maybe?)... Tortured Existence was in my deck at one time.

I essentially stalled the best i could with Drain Life, Terror, Diabolic Eddict, i tried anything in my deck that could get me to survive an extra turn or two. I was constantly squeaking away which pissed off opponents(the message was a vampire is difficult to kill). When it was time to unleash the fury and i had the Mana to blow, i'd fill my Graveyard with everything in my arsenal, then drop a Yawgoth's Will. Multiple Dark Rituals, an army of gnarly creatures, some burying cards, Drain Life for emphasis- it usually only took the next turn before my opponent's creatures were wiped, or, they were dealt insane damage.
I found out a few years later that Yawgmoth's Will was banned in most tournaments since my day. I know exactly why.

It's difficult to explain how this deck worked, but it did.
I eventually came to a final product that had me basically using my graveyard as though it were my hand or Library. Sacrificing/ discarding creatures to feed Crovax, pump up or bring in certain other creatures, casting spells- the usual sadistic play of a Black Deck. Doing this with intent and purpose kept my Graveyard and creatures in play on a constant cycle which enabled me to always have a couple soldiers in play or waiting in the wings. When damage came through, i gained it back by Draining it directly from my opponent, or bigger creatures.

Holy crap, now that i think about it, it was a control deck. Not that i prevented opponents from doing much but much of what they did was erased shortly after the fact. I caused a LOT of wasted cards. There was no keeping my vampires down and when they rose that final time, it was hell on Earth... usually :sweat:.

Very basic deck though. Heavily relied on creatures(what can i say? I'm all about the brawl).
Must be why GOOD control decks, or most White ones just laughed at it.

Kenny_C.002
04-06-2007, 03:02 AM
The deck you made is more control/combo. Your finisher in itself seems to be a very synergistic fury of combo. :3 Then again, anything with will is combo. lol

Anyway, I would probably end up talking about all of the archtypes at some point in time. Check it out. ;)

Oh, and Wills are like 300+ a pop. Selling it would be a very good idea. XD

Alakazam
04-06-2007, 12:13 PM
mmmMMM Control. I've not actually ever tried to build a control deck, though it shouldn't be surprising as I don't really have the cards to do it currently (although the playset of Mana Leak I picked recently are sweet)

As for CA, other than all the standard stuff - I like Ocular Halo :P *waits for the rotten tomatoes to be thrown*

Jet
04-06-2007, 12:33 PM
wth Brian XD



there's one major control out now... in T2 that is... Teferi/Dranlu... so annoying; as you could practically change it to a spell burst-tron

as for me, my control's somewhat aggro as well... b/w version of that r/w pre-con deck in planar chaos; with recurring rats, bats, cats and birds... (ravenous rats, blind hunter, whitemane lion, aven riftwatcher)... temporal, faith's fetters, mortify, sudden death... etc

!CeMAn
04-06-2007, 11:55 PM
Oh, and Wills are like 300+ a pop. Selling it would be a very good idea. XD

This is me crying.
I traded that entire deck, fully assembled, to a kid at work for his GBC, a bunch of accessories and Chessmaster about 6 years ago. I SUCK.

Kenny_C.002
04-07-2007, 02:43 AM
mmmMMM Control. I've not actually ever tried to build a control deck, though it shouldn't be surprising as I don't really have the cards to do it currently (although the playset of Mana Leak I picked recently are sweet)

As for CA, other than all the standard stuff - I like Ocular Halo :P *waits for the rotten tomatoes to be thrown*

Control is typically very specific and does require a relatively good cardpool to work with. As well, shelling out the cash for 4x wrath or 4x damnation really doesn't help, though right now you can think about using pacifism/fetters/etc. and combo that with retether for some pseudo wrathness. The only real problem with that is that you still have to kill off creatures somehow, which tends to be a problem in white. Well pretty much the most difficult part of control's card pool IS the 4x wraths...

*throws a rotten tomato* XD
I seriously have no clue on why you like the halo so much. I mean, it's good in limited, but terrible everywhere else...

there's one major control out now... in T2 that is... Teferi/Dranlu... so annoying; as you could practically change it to a spell burst-tron

as for me, my control's somewhat aggro as well... b/w version of that r/w pre-con deck in planar chaos; with recurring rats, bats, cats and birds... (ravenous rats, blind hunter, whitemane lion, aven riftwatcher)... temporal, faith's fetters, mortify, sudden death... etc

Dralnu de Louvre still freaks people out. Traditional draw-go at its best, until damnation showed up and everybody ran a couple. -.-

All I see with your "control" deck is elements of "aggro" though...

This is me crying.
I traded that entire deck, fully assembled, to a kid at work for his GBC, a bunch of accessories and Chessmaster about 6 years ago. I SUCK.

Well if it's any consolidation, the prices of those wills weren't that high back then. But if the kid actually kept your deck, he would be in profit.

Jet
04-07-2007, 04:32 PM
wait.... aren't these pieces parts of a control?

faith's fetters
temporal isolation
sudden death
mortify
disenchant
return to dust (so useful with those darn signets)
extirpate

maybe sneak in necrotic sliver while ur at it

Kenny_C.002
04-07-2007, 04:45 PM
Removal is by definition pieces of both control and aggro. Just because you have them, doesn't mean they're part of control.

What I don't see is how you'd recur your rats, etc. Maybe if you clarify those things, I'd have a better understanding of your deck.

Jet
04-07-2007, 04:49 PM
er... I thought it was kidna obvious on how to recur the rats...

Ravenous Rats/Blind Hunter/Aven Riftwatcher in play, opponent attacks, I block with 1 of them, in response, I play whitemane lion, bouncing the blocker, playing it again next turn... I was thinking of putting in Keening Banshee, but dunno... might as well post that deck I'm talking about...

Kenny_C.002
04-07-2007, 05:01 PM
Oh, I thought you meant something like an infinite recursion similar to that of slide + witness. That was why I was confused.

Anyway, you need to think of how the deck wants to win. Does it win by dropping a fattie and pwning? If so, then you have defense for midrange in your little guys, with some elements of control...essentially a midrange deck. If it wins by some non-combat method, it's automatically combo. If it wins by just having more guys than your opponent at the end of the day, and somehow win through this attrition, it can be classified as control.

Jet
04-07-2007, 05:22 PM
urr....

just look at the deck list durn it XD (posted new thread)

EDIT:

wait... how about Ghost Dad? and Flare? (with recurring despairs)