Control Brews with Throne of Eldraine

Gregory Orange

Looking at Throne of Eldraine from a Control Perspective

Generally, when a format is new I try to brew up some durdly control decks. It can be a bit difficult to come up with a nice control deck when you are still not sure exactly what kinds of things you will be playing against. Also it is definitely possible that a nice slow and reactive control deck won’t end up being very good even when you know exactly what you are trying to beat.

Castle Locthwain

Looking at Throne of Eldraine from a control perspective makes me a bit nervous. There are not a whole lot of cards that seem like they would be good in a control deck but there are a decent amount of cards that seem reasonably good and hard to deal with. For example, 《Castle Locthwain》 seems like it might be fairly annoying to play against while also being hard to utilize in a control shell. If you aren’t pressuring the opponent’s life total then they could probably draw a bunch of cards off of it.

Jeskai Planeswalker

Teferi, Time RavelerKasmina, Enigmatic MentorSarkhan the Masterless

Right now, it seems that there are a lot of powerful cards in Standard that attack from a lot of different angles. One way of sidestepping this issue is to build your deck in a more proactive way. After all you don’t have to answer all of your opponents things if you just win the game. However, to me it feels like a bit of a cop out. Does this even qualify as a control deck? It is possible a Jeskai Planeswalker deck might be nice in Standard but I think I might have to look elsewhere for my control fix.

Fabled PassageInterplanar BeaconThe Royal ScionsBonecrusher Giant

The Jeskai Planeswalker deck gets to make good use of 《Fabled Passage》 to fix its mana. All of the non Planeswalker spells don’t require double of a single color to cast and 《Interplanar Beacon》 can help with cast the Planeswalkers. Also the extra life is nice especially since aggro decks are often pretty good when the format is fresh. 《The Royal Scions》 doesn’t seem like it is doing all that much here but at least it’s another cheap Planeswalker for 《Sarkhan the Masterless》. 《Bonecrusher Giant》 could be decent here as like a removal spell with some extra value attached.

Brazen Borrower

I’m not sure 《Brazen Borrower》 would be that good in a deck like this. I’m not sure the deck is aggressive enough to take great advantage of the bounce spell and the creature half doesn’t block well. Unfortunately, if the Borrower is not good in this deck then it probably won’t be great in any of the even slower control decks.

Esper Control

Murderous Rider

The good news about Esper Control is that 《Murderous Rider》 seems like a really strong card that this deck gets to take advantage of. The 《Murderous Rider》 is probably the best new card for a durdly control deck. 《Hero’s Downfall》 plus a 2/3 lifelinking creature is a pretty good deal especially with all the Planeswalkers running around. I only wish you could find the Rider off of a Narset activation. That would be nice.

Basilica Bell-HauntNarset, Parter of VeilsKaya's Wrath

An Esper Control deck probably has the potential to be pretty reasonable, but the Mana base concerns me a bit. It wasn’t always super easy to cast your spells on time with Esper before rotation. The rough color requirements make 《Fabled Passage》 pretty unhelpful at fixing the mana base. Even 1 《Island》 is kind of a lot when you have 《Basilica Bell-Haunt》 in the deck. Playing 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 and 《Kaya’s Wrath》 on curve was hard and it’s even harder after losing checklands like 《Glacial Fortress》. Also losing 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 hurts. So closing out the game will be more difficult. It seems like there might be too much riding against my favorite durdly deck from last Standard.

Dimir and Conclusion

Sinister SabotageMurderous Rider

How about a more traditional Control deck with some counterspells? Of the Esper colors I feel like you miss white the least. Although I definitely would like to play a nice UW Control deck it seems like those colors are missing some good spot removal. In a Blue Black deck you get to play 《Murderous Rider》 and 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 while still having decent mana. 《Sinister Sabotage》 seems reasonable with the 《Hero’s Downfall》 half of 《Murderous Rider》 since they are both reasonable things to do on your opponent’s turn.

Jace, Wielder of MysteriesThe Magic Mirror

《Jace, Wielder of Mysteries》 is not new but I feel like maybe it has more of a chance to do something now that 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 has rotated. Both of these Planeswalkers plus to draw a card and eventually win the game but Teferi is clearly a fair amount better than Jace. I like that Jace at least provides some inevitability to the deck. Although this deck is clearly not the most proactive thing out there it does have a simple plan. You just have to draw all the cards in the deck how hard could it be. 《The Magic Mirror》 seems like it could help with that goal and it will be castable for 3 mana reasonably often with this deck so it’s probably worth a try.

Vantress GargoyleWitch's VengeanceAether Gust

《Vantress Gargoyle》 could be good in the 75 somewhere since it is a pretty reasonable blocker. But honestly there just doesn’t seem to be that much here that supports a super controlling strategy. I would like a sweet new sweeper in black, but all we got was 《Witch’s Vengeance》. That seems too narrow for my liking. Also Blue Black has a bit of an issue with Artifacts and Enchantments which could be a problem considering the new cycle of legendary artifacts. 《Experimental Frenzy》 seems like trouble for this deck as well. Maybe 《Aether Gust》 could be helpful out of the sideboard, but it’s not a super powerful card. It’s not as good as 《Veil of Summer》 will be against this deck.

Honestly my main concern for this deck is that it just might not be powerful enough to compete with the other decks in Standard. Maybe a somewhat controlling strategy will be possible in this Standard format, but my guess is it will probably have some reasonably proactive elements so that you don’t have to answer everything your opponents do all the time.

Gregory Orange (Twitter)

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Gregory Orange Gregory Orange is a pro player from United States. As a member of, he is another one of America’s powerhouses that have been battling for a long time as a Gold Level Pro. He has put up respectable and consistent finishes at various Pro Tours as well as winning Grand Prix San Antonio in 2017. He won Pro Tour Magic 25th Anniversary with his teammates Allen Wu and Ben Hull. Seeking growth and victory more, he joined Hareruya Pros in the 2018-2019 season. Read more articles by Gregory Orange