Crucible of Words: Three Colour Control? by Cyrus Bales

Crucible of Words: Extended in the New Year by Cyrus Bales

Crucible of Words – Three Colour Control?

Extended season has kicked up a notch, with the beginning of the PTQ season in the UK. Many people this weekend are going to be trying to win themselves a blue envelope with their ticket to the pro tour. Today I’m going to talk about a different a different deck, that whilst being eerily familiar to one of the big contenders in the metagame.

Five Colour Control, or rather Four Colour Control as it seems to be these days is a strong and powerful deck, using what are effectively the best spells in the format from each of it’s colours. Cryptic Command, Cruel Ultimatum, Wurmcoil Engine, Volcanic Fallout and suchlike. However the core of this deck is essentially just black, blue and red, playing white only for a sweeper, Hallowed Burial, a Path To Exile and a few Esper Charm. So I got to thinking, Grixis control used to be a decent enough deck in the past, and why not revisit that? After a discussion on the mtgUK chatroom, followed by some tweaking and adapting, I came to the following list:

UBR control

3 Abyssal Persecutor
2 Mulldrifter
2 Wurmcoil Engine

4 Cryptic Command
4 Mana Leak
1 Magma Spray
2 Lightning Bolt
3 Volcanic Fallout
4 Terminate
2 Cruel Ultimatum
4 Preordain

3 Jace, The Mind Sculptor

4 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
4 Reflecting Pool
4 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Sunken Ruins
2 Cascade Bluffs
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Island
1 Mountain
3 Swamp

4 Thoughtseize
2 Negate
2 Magma Spray
3 Anathemancer
1 Volcanic Fallout
2 Consume the Meek
1 Thought Hemorrhage

The main differences from the 4CC builds are clear. The deck doesn’t have Hallowed Burial to rely on anymore, this for me, is really the only calculable negative between Grixis and 4CC. In terms of draw, this deck runs two less draw spells, opting for Mulldrifter instead of Esper Charm, and filling the space with more removal. Terminate here is a big advantage, the 4CC decks don’t run it, which can often leave them dead to quick draws on the other side of the table The extra removal here extends your clock and makes living till you cast Cruel Ultimatum a lot easier.

Abyssal Persecutor is obviously drawing your attention from the list. There are several reasons for his inclusion. Firstly, he allows this deck to generate board position a lot earlier, most 4CC decks these days aren’t even playing Wall of Omens, which leaves them waiting till a turn six Wurmcoil Engine before they can establish a board presence. Abyssal Persecutor can act like a wall from turn four, and his attacking power is fantastically high too, against Faeries, a resolved Abyssal Persecutor is generally game over, since he’s much bigger than their creatures, he dodges all their removal, and he tramples over chump blockers. Lastly, his ‘drawback’ isn’t that big off a deal, Terminate, Cryptic Command and Jace, The Mind Sculptor can all remove him from the board for you, and with four Preordain, two Cruel Ultimatum, and the two Mulldrifter, you should be able to find an answer soon enough. He’s complimented of course, but a couple of Wurmcoil Engines, who really bring the game back and stabilize excellently, Abyssal Persecutor gives you the time to get there, as well as an excellent win condition when needed.

Aside from the above, it’s mostly as you’d expect, the singleton Magma Spray is just another lightning bolt in terms of use most of the time, however, boarding in the extra copies gives you a few decent answers for problem creatures like Kitchen Finks and of course, Anathemancer. Terminates can easily make up for any slack that’s found from running a two point burn spell.

The sideboard is pretty self explanatory, it features tools for all the main archetypes. The question then is, why play this instead of 4CC? The manabase for this deck is somewhat more reliable and less disruptable since it runs less filter lands, as well as an additional man land in the form of Lavaclaw Reaches, who is rather potent in a deck like this who can turn him sideways for six without too much trouble. Largely though, it does run in a similar fashion to 4CC, although it’s quicker off the mark due to it’s land base and more interactivity in the early due to a higher removal quota. These things and it’s extra win conditions also help make the match up against 4CC favourable, which is a pretty good reason for running it.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing.

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