Beating Standard with Black-Blue Control by Ashley Knox

Beating Standard with Black-Blue Control by Ashley Knox

Blue-Black Control is a deck I’ve been playing for a while now and despite being underpowered it had positive matchups against some of the most powerful decks in Standard.

Fate Reforged changes a few things. We get a hard wrath in [card]Crux of Fate[/card] and a few alternate win conditions in [card]Silumgar, the Drifting Death[/card] alongside [card]Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/card].

ugin 8 mana

My feelings on Ugin haven’t really settled yet. He is great, if sticks. You will typically -4 as a “hello, world“, because this kills basically everything relevant in Standard. Then you get to use his plus ability twice and repeat sweeping. The base loyalty is great and he ultimates super fast.

However, I feel he can’t legitimately be a win condition that you rely on. Two of the three best colours in current Standard have three-mana answers to him and play them heavy: [card]Hero’s Downfall[/card] & [card]Banishing Light[/card]. Other than that, you basically have no other targets for those removal spells. So instead of an efficient win condition, you get [card]Perilous Vault[/card] that costs one less mana to clear the field and causes your opponent to discard a card.

I had considered playing [card]Cranial Archive[/card] in the main and was close to doing that anyway, but then you get wrecked by [card]Utter End[/card] and [card]Banishing Light[/card] remains a problem.

Playing and plus’ing onto a empty board or when you can protect him feels great. Two turns later you activate the ultimate ability – drawing 7 cards, gaining 7 life, and putting up to 7 permanents from your hand into play – hopefully another Planeswalker like [card]Liliana Vess[/card] or a replacement Ugin that you can instantly start going upstairs with.

Due to his high casting cost I don’t feel like you can play more than two in your 75, which is why the removal argument is at the forefront of my mind. Although, if you play a more Planeswalker-based deck with [card]Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver[/card] and [card]Liliana Vess[/card] you will certainly be taxing their answers earlier in the game.

Silumgar, the Drifting Death

The next monster to talk about is [card]Silumgar, the Drifting Death[/card].

I really like this card. If your opponent is planning on winning with [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card] or if you’ve stabilized against an opponent who intends on [card]Raise the Alarm[/card]s, you straight up shut the door on them having outs to victory. I feel like this is a better sideboard card than [card]Prognostic Sphinx[/card] as it’s basically unkillable outside of wraths or [card]Crackling Doom[/card].

The trigger does mean that your [card]Bile Blight[/card] and [card]Drown in Sorrow[/card] have a lot more utility being able to wipe out [card]Fleecemane Lion[/card] and [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card]. Unfortunately, this guy takes basically a million years to kill anyone, so I feel like it either belongs in the sideboard or in the main deck as a compliment to [card]Pearl Lake Ancient[/card].


[card]Pearl Lake Ancient[/card] is still my favourite win condition for the deck. Sometimes your opponent puts you in a position where you have to win fast and that is where this wins out over [card]Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver[/card].

Flash really plays into the deck’s strategy and compliments the instant speed card draw and answers in the deck. It gives you options and they are both powerful. Having the option to either kill a guy with a removal or a sweeper spell and [card]Dig Through Time[/card] or play your win condition, really gives you control of the game. You don’t need to rush him out as soon as you get to 7 mana, though. Sometimes it is wise to wait until you have the ability to bounce and protect it. It will depend on the texture of a game.

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The newest and most important change has to be down to [card]Crux of Fate[/card]. Being able to wrath the board without wasting a turn to set it up is really sick beats. Again, it gives you options. You can use your life as a bit more of a resource to cast [card]Jace’s Ingenuity[/card] to set up the Crux or even just [card]Silence the Believers[/card] this annoying [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card] so you can clear the board completely. You still want [card]Perilous Vault[/card] as it answers planeswalkers and kills [card]Whip of Erebos[/card] or at least exile cards that have relevant buyback abilities like [card]Flamewake Phoenix[/card].

Currently I feel like I want my main deck to look like this:

[deck]2 Pearl Lake Ancient
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
4 Bile Blight
2 Silence the Believers
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Crux of Fate
4 Dig Through Time
4 Dissolve
3 Negate
2 Disdainful Stroke
3 Jace’s Ingenuity
4 Polluted Delta
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Flooded Strand
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Swamp
5 Island
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
3 Radiant Fountain[/deck]

I don’t want my strategy to revolve around casting Ugin, but considering you have [card]Dig Through Time[/card] when the game is going long, you can definitely Dig into it when you need the effects.

I think it’s very likely I’d like to change the numbers to be something like singletons of Ugin, Ancient, and Silumgar, but that feels really awkward though being able to Dig for the specific closer that you need for the game in question.

For a regular sideboard in a broad field I feel like I’d want a sideboard that looks like this:

[deck]3 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
1 Prognostic Sphinx
1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death
3 Thoughtseize
1 Cranial Archive
4 Drown in Sorrow
2 Jorubai Murk Lurker[/deck]

Community Question: What do you think is the best sweeper in the Standard right now and why?

What do you think is the best sweeper in the Standard right now and why

Thanks for reading,

Ashley Knox

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