Rainbow Energy Control

I’ve played a lot of brews, and I’ve dabbled in control decks many times. Usually both at once, and usually with a lot of losses. Control decks reward tuned lists since you see such a high percentage of the deck, and need to have a mix of answers. And familiarity. So briefly playing a control brew is usually a recipe for disaster.

At least for me.

So when, after a couple close losses to warm up, I start winning with a completely misbuilt mana base, I really think I’ve stumbed on to something special. Basically, an *untuned* control deck that’s already pretty dominant.

The ceiling is really high on this one.

(Aside: Note that there’s also a “safe” fallback option, built by a Hall of Famer (Shota Yasooka), instead of a no-name rogue brew. http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/deck-of-the-day-temur-energy-control-2/ )

After the two losses, I’ve won 6 matches in a row, (3 with the misbuilt deck), and gone 12–1 in games. So very, very NOT statistically significant, especially since I played in the Friendly League, but almost all the matches were against established archetypes (or variants), and the deck just kept feeling way advantaged versus my GB and Control opponents.

No Mardu Vehicles, it could be terrible against them, but I suspect it’s at least decent, maybe better. And it might be tweakable to beat that matchup if need be, depending on how the meta shakes out. Shota’s maindeck is probably tuned much more heavily for Mardu. Though you also miss out on Fatal Push. :shrug:

My last three matches were with this version of the deck:

Aether Control V1.1

25 “Land”

  • 4 Aether Hub
  • 4 Evolving Wilds
  • 4 Attune with Aether
  • 2 Traverse the Ulvenwald
  • 2 Forest
  • 2 Island
  • 1 Swamp
  • 1 Mountain
  • 4 Botanical Sanctum
  • 1 Blooming Marsh

12 Slow Effects

  • 4 Rogue Refiner
  • 3 Dynavolt Tower
  • 3 Aetherworks Marvel
  • 2 Baral’s Expertise

23 Flash

  • 3 Fatal Push
  • 4 Harnessed Lightning
  • 2 Aether Meltdown
  • 3 Anticipate
  • 3 Disallow
  • 4 Glimmer of Genius
  • 4 Torrential Gearhulk

15 SB

  • 1 Plains
  • 2 Dispel
  • 1 Fatal Push
  • 2 Aether Meltdown
  • 2 Negate
  • 1 Shielded Aether Thief
  • 1 Incendiary Flow
  • 4 Spell Queller
  • 1 Baral’s Expertise

Some notes:

The Fuel

Basically, you are a mono-blue deck that plays green mostly to find black and red, which are for just one card each, Fatal Push and Harnessed Lightning. It is iffy whether Fatal Push is truly worth another color, but the cost is surprisingly low, and Temur just doesn’t have any other good “Winding Constrictor removal” cards after Harnessed Lightning. There are options, but mediocre and (obviously) more expensive options.

Also, every single mana fixing card (Evolving Wilds, Attune with Aether, and Traverse) has major bonus utility. Evolving Wilds can get all four colors, and has, well, at least decent utility with Fatal Push and Traverse itself.

Traverse turns out to be (too?) inconsistent most of the time, but when it does get a Torrential Gearhulk instead of a land it’s pretty amazing. Since the cost is semi-low, it is probably worth playing a non-zero number. But a hand with all Traverse/Attune/no green is obviously quite awful. The 1 mana cost alone isn’t bad, the real worry is unplayable openers.

Attune with Aether is really the backbone of this particular variant. It allows you to play four colors with reasonably good mana, and helps form the core of 16 “oh, and energy” cards. Attune, Glimmer, Rogue Refiner, and Aether Hub gets half-credit.

The Engine

Dynavolt Tower, Aetherworks Marvel, and Baral’s Expertise are all super synergistic with each other and the Energy core. For Marvel, pretty self-explanatory, but for Dynavolt Tower, too, it’s surprisingly huge to be able to use it the turn you play it, instead of the following turn. For example, instead of turn 3 Tower, pass and get way behind on board, it can be Disallow into Glimmer into turn 5 Tower, activate, and 2 mana left to do something else.

Baral’s Expertise has a ton of synergies, not all obvious. And when it works, the power level is there. But it’s super narrow, a virtual blank versus control, and even in other matchups you can’t always afford to tap out on your turn.

That said, Baral’s plus Glimmer turns Expertise into a bounce three cantrip! Plus you get the equivalent of an Anticipate. Baral’s plus Rogue Refiner already on the board can bounce two of theirs, and also bounce plus replay your guy just to cantrip.

But also you can Baral’s into Aetherworks Marvel (or Tower), and even without energy you had a solid tempo play, and with energy you can do ridiculous things like tap out for Baral’s and still counter their spell with a hit off of Marvel. And your Marvel’s misses usually net you a Refiner or a Glimmer, getting you 2 energy, a card, and either another card or a creature. That quickly snowballs into more Marvel activations and/or chaining Gearhulks.

  • The last and perhaps best Baral synergy? Marvel can now cast a card *in hand*, all after bouncing 3. So you can bounce their team AND play a card from your hand while tapped out! You can even counter a spell or ability if you have the Disallow in hand.
  • Disallow math: if none in hand or graveyard, you have 3 left in deck, so 3 in ~45 cards, view 6. (36% chance.) If you have any in graveyard, now all your Gearhulks are live to counter the spell too! If you have any in hand, now your Baral’s are live! So, usually, 36% chance is the floor, and it can be much higher. (2 disallow, 3 gearhulk in 40 cards is 58% chance.)
  • Yeah, that leads to the next point: you usually want to fire off the Marvel when there’s a spell on the stack, or a creature attacking. Although, since you have to cast the Marvel spell (or the Gearhulk target, if you hit Gearhulk) immediately, it can sometimes be better to let a creature resolve before spinning the wheel.
  • Note on sideboard: Spell Queller sideboard may or may not be too cute. And if I had been willing to spend the tix on 1–2 Kozilek’s Returns, I might have fewer slots for Control, and stuck with my original sideboard tech of 2 Painful Truths instead.

Matchups

GB Snake Decks

Mostly pre-boarded. Only real exceptions are playing Aether Meltdown main because synergy makes it never too awful, and NOT playing the third Baral’s Expertise because it’s too narrow everywhere else. Baral’s is very important versus Nissa Plants and Pumps, if they are on a different version of GB, then sticking with two is fine. Shielded Aether-Thief is good post-board, the only question is what to cut. Disallow, Gearhulk, Constrictor Removal, energy producers, and Marvel should never be cut. My initial idea was to cut 1 Dynavolt Tower, but I’m not sure if that’s correct.

-2 Aether Meltdown, -1 Anticipate(?), -1 Dynavolt Tower(??)

+1 Fatal Push, +1 Incinerate, +1 Baral’s Expertise, +1 Shielded Aether-Thief(?)

Mardu Vehicles

  • Out: 3 Disallow, 1 Aetherworks Marvel, 1 Glimmer of Genius, 1 Torrential Gearhulk
  • (1 Anticipate could go too, but nothing I want to bring in)
  • In: 1 Fatal Push, 2 Aether Meltdown, 1 Negate, 1 Shielded Aether Thief, 1 Incendiary Flow

Shielded Aether-Thief I don’t want in game 1s, but is great in any matchup in game 2. Plus I need cards in the board I can bring in against both aggro and control. I haven’t played the matchup, but I assume that Aether Meltdown is MVP. Shuts down vehicles even if unactivated and Scrapheap Scrounger (who can’t block to get himself back into the yard). And you get the two energy every time (as compared to Harnessed Lightning, that has to use up the energy it produces).

Control of many flavors

Out: 1 Swamp, 3 Fatal Push, 2 Aether Meltdown, 2 Dynavolt Tower, 2 Baral’s Expertise
In: 1 Plains, 2 Dispel, 2 Negate, 1 Shielded Aether Thief, 4 Spell Queller

Since Harnessed Lightning can kill anything, AND can fuel Marvel in a pinch, it stays in as a catch-all, while the other removal comes out for non-creature counters in Dispel and Negate.

Not too sure the exact right sideboard plan versus different forms of Control, and how best to fight a Saheeli deck. It would be rough to have Saheeli sneak under you early, and then lose with a bunch of negates and dispels in hand.

But generally, against all flavors, I think you have the better late-game plan. Aetherworks Marvel isn’t an instant win like the combo, but it’s going to be hard to lose once it is in play. And I suspect Spell Queller gives a lot of flexibility and ways to punish the opponent. And even just a 2/3 Flash Flyer can be good enough once some removal comes out, since it might force them to tap mana on their own turn.

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Anyways, that’s the deck!

If you actually read this far, leave me a note!