How About Some Control Decks in Historic?

Gregory Orange

Gregory Orange

Introduction

When playing Historic, it is easy to die quickly and in a number of different ways. So, if you want to play a reactive strategy you have to be prepared with nonspecific answers and some powerful threats of your own.

UW Control

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Every so often I have to come back to Historic and ask myself “How is UW Control doing?” It is generally my favorite deck to play when I get the chance but it is rarely the best thing to be doing in any given format. There have been a few more nice UW cards printed since the last time I tried playing it.

Torrential Gearhulk

《Torrential Gearhulk》 is a card I have a lot of fondness for from Standard. Unfortunately there aren’t that many sweet cards to flash back in UW. If all you have to flash back is some counterspells, then you might as well just play 《Voracious Greatshark》. There are some sweet cards that you could play for the purposes of flashing back later but I’m not sure if it is worth it. For example, 《Sublime Epiphany》 is a very sweet card with 《Torrential Gearhulk》, but I’m not sure you can play it and the Hulk without ending up with too many expensive cards in your deck.

Skyclave Apparition

《Skyclave Apparition》 is a nice card that has been seeing play in lots of formats since it was printed. It is not exactly a combo with 《Wrath of God》 but often it will just die and you can use the wrath later to sweep up the token and the rest of the creatures. I like that the 《Skyclave Apparition》 permanently exiles a number of very annoying recurring threats in the format such as 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 and 《Scrapheap Scrounger》. It is also a good answer to Planeswalkers and something else to bring back with 《Elspeth Conquers Death》.

Mazemind Tome

《Mazemind Tome》 is probably my favorite draw spell in Historic right now. I like that it is not dead when the opponent has 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 in play since you can still activate it on their turn. It is also not bad when you don’t have time to draw cards since you can still scry and gain life without putting any extra mana into it.

Sultai Control

Uro, Titan of Nature's WrathThoughtseize

Sultai is a super popular deck in Historic right now and I can see why. The combination of 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 and 《Thoughtseize》 gives this deck quite the punch.

There are a few different versions of the deck running around. Some play a bit more of a tap out game with the combination of 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》 and 《Hydroid Krasis》. But I prefer a version with more play on the opponent’s turn with cards like 《Shark Typhoon》 and some Counterspells. A big 《Hydroid Krasis》 is usually not going to be enough when your opponent casts 《Muxus, Goblin Grandee》 and makes a thousand goblins.

Fatal Push

《Fatal Push》 is one of the most exciting cards from the Kaladesh Remastered. It is obviously very efficient but it is not always easy to trigger revolt and it is also a bit narrow. It can’t kill 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 like 《Eliminate》 can and it’s also not great against creatures that keep coming back so I’m not sure if it’s not better to have a bit of variety in your spot removal spells.

Yahenni's Expertise

《Yahenni’s Expertise》 is a nice new black sweeper to add to the mix alongside 《Languish》, 《Extinction Event》, and even 《Cry of the Carnarium》. They all have their pluses and minuses. None of them kill all of the cards all of the time. 《Yahenni’s Expertise》 is not the best at sweeping the board but killing all of my opponent’s creatures and playing a free 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 sounds super sweet to me. It definitely has some upside.

WB Doom

Demonic Pact

《Demonic Pact》 is pretty powerful as long as it doesn’t kill you. Sacrificing it to 《Doom Foretold》 is a nice way to get rid of the 《Demonic Pact》 and get some value at the same time. Of course, it does require the opponent to have something to sacrifice in order to work. Good thing you always have 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 as a companion waiting to reset the pact. 《Flicker of Fate》 or 《Shepherd of the Flock》 are some other ways to potentially reset the Pact if you found yourself dying to it too often.

Grafdigger's Cage

《Grafdigger’s Cage》 is a super nice card right now in Historic. Which is possibly not the best sign for the format. It reminds me of when people were playing main deck 《Surgical Extraction》 in Modern. The Cage is rarely completely dead since most decks have at least some cards affected by the 《Grafdigger’s Cage》. Some decks are very poorly positioned against the cage and you can definitely get some free wins that way. It is a bit annoying with 《Elspeth Conquers Death》 though. When in doubt, at least it is a cheap permanent to sacrifice to 《Doom Foretold》.

Kaya, Orzhov Usurper

《Kaya, Orzhov Usurper》 is not super exciting but all the modes have the potential to be fairly decent. It is nice to have another thing to get back with 《Elspeth Conquers Death》. There aren’t a lot of great Planeswalkers in BW that don’t cast a million mana. Although 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 would be pretty good in the deck and is also a good card against 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》. I suppose the Esper Mana isn’t that bad.

Esper Doom

Conclusion

Unfortunately, Kaladesh Remastered didn’t seem to have as much of an Impact on Historic as one would hope. The first time around Kaladesh was a set that was probably pushed a bit too hard. It was a dominant set in Standard and several of the cards ended up getting banned in Standard. Now it seems like the norm where cards are getting banned in Standard all the time.

Cards like 《Aetherworks Marvel》 don’t seem as busted as they once were. Why go through the effort to get enough energy to activate 《Aetherworks Marvel》 into 《Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger》 when you can just Escape 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 and win that way?

Gregory Orange (Twitter)

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Gregory Orange

Gregory Orange Gregory Orange is a pro player from United States. As a member of HotSauceGames.com, 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