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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

Get in Control!

Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone coming to you with the next Dual Color deck in my series for your viewing delight.  After my little home invasion last week, I not only had to change all my locks, but I had to take a little personal time.  I realized I needed a little help getting my anger under control.  So, I turned to my friends for help.  You see, this week’s deck colors are White/Blue, and if there ever was a color pair that knows what it takes to be patient, it’s these guys.  These two colors share a deep love for control.  With a control deck, you need to know when to hold cards, when to counter them, and when to just let someone else deal with it.

Then control… is clearly something I don’t have.

I like to cast spells, attack with guys, and if my card gets countered, I just keep playing cards until something sticks, or I’m out of cards.  Sitting around, waiting for someone to do something so I can counter it while I build up a board, something White/Blue is well known for, is just not in my nature.  I sit for too many turns and I just start attacking people because: 1) the board ain’t going to change if no one does anything and 2) if I attack this guy he may attack me leaving him open for someone else to attack him, and so forth.  The second one helps me the most, because even if I lose out, or lose period, at least I have a story to tell people about that time my group had an epic battle… instead of that time we sat around for 2 hours doing nothing and someone combo’ed and won the game... who wasn't me... What?... It's not like I'm bitter or something... Don't Judge Me!

Enough about me, I’m going to share with you my first White/Blue deck for Commander…

For some reason every time I see this card all I really see is …

The funny part was I didn’t even need to change the flavor text.

How it Started!

So this was my first deck I ever played in the real that was a White/Blue deck.  For those of you that are fans of CommanderCast (the podcast for EDH Community, Strategy, and Technology,) in the first season I e-mailed them about my deck and how I needed win conditions.  But I was so bad with this color combination that I couldn’t even think of anything.   Then in season two, I was on the call-in show and told people about how I changed this deck to my Group Hug deck because I wasn’t having any fun with it.

Now just because I wasn’t having fun with it is no reason to write it off as a bad deck.  I’m just not the control type. I will show it to you this week and let you decide if it’s what you’re into.

Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer and Sygg, River Guide:  Gwafa is the General here.  This deck was all about buying off the biggest dude anyone had with a card, using all my cards to keep the game in check, and playing something big so I could kill players, but this deck also has a sub-theme of Merfolks so I could switch between these two if needed because Gwafa doesn’t do anything against Uril.

Thada Adel, Acquisitor, Stonybrook Schoolmaster, Stonybrook Angler, Merrow Reejerey, Merrow Harbinger, Enclave Cryptologist, Merrow Commerce, Summon the School, and Razorfin Abolisher:  Here we have a small school of fish that have a variety of different things going for them.  Thada is great at pulling other peoples’ mana rocks and Tops out so you can use them.  Stonybrook Schoolmaster can give us a few more tokens and it combos pretty well with Summon the School.  You end up only 1 short, but if you hit 4 merfolk, you have a way to make 3.  Stonybrook Angler can hold a guy down for you, or help the Schoolmaster make a few extra tokens. Merrow Reejerey gives these guys a pump, and can help with the tap or untap ability.  Merrow Harbinger for a little deck searching. Merrow can help you by letting you do all of the attacking and tapping you want with this group and then it will untap them all for you.  Enclave Cryptologist just gives us something to do with our mana if we want draw a little.

But enough about the fish, let’s get into some of the real control here…

Diplomatic Escort and Lullmage Mentor:  These will help us by being the repeatable counterspells we will need.  Lullmage will work will with the Merfolk package, but it also will make tokens for you, adding to every counterspell you cast. Now, the Escort can keep you good with its built in counterspell effect but at the cost of two mana and a card… but if that card happens to be Summon the School…

Grip of Amnesia, Confound, Spell Crumple, Dissipate, Hinder, Forbid, Cryptic Command, Sage's Dousing, and Dawn Charm:  These are our counterspells.  What more can I say but use them wisely.  A few of these have other things it can do, like Dawn Charm and Cryptic Command, giving you 3 to 4 choices,  or are going to replace themselves by drawing you a card or giving you another chance to use them, like Spell Crumple.

Into the Roil, Oblivion Ring, Oblation, Spin into Myth, Prison Term, Lost in Thought, Faith's Fetters, and Take Possession:  The one thing I learned about playing this deck is you may not have the counter when you need it.  Sometimes things hit the board, and you don’t want to bribe a card like Blightsteel Colossus because if you do, it can’t kill your other opponents.  Then, when your Gwafa takes a coffee break, you would need to be on the lookout for a poison counter or 11.  So a few spot removal cards are needed here.

Mimic Vat, Whispersilk Cloak, and Frozen AEther:  The Cloak works great with Gwafa, because if I need to, I can pick away at a player with General damage.  It takes a while, but this is an alternative I try to keep in all my decks.  Frozen AEther will slow the game down a lot, so you can take control easily.  Mimic Vat is here because this deck, at one point, had a deep Envoke sub-theme. I could make tokens to block and draw extra cards with Mulldrifter, or if something big and useful died, I could just take it.

All Is Dust, Wrath of God, Evacuation, and Echoing Truth:  Board Sweepers for those times when you can’t buy the field off.  Evacuation and Echoing Truth are great against tokens.  Also, you should hold tight to your Dust and Wrath.  You never know when a big hairy beast you can’t just buy off will show up.  It’s not like he knows what bribery is anyway.

Concentrate, Truth or Tale, and Compulsive Research:  Here are a few draw spells.  Blue has more, and better, draw spells, but I had these in the my original deck and haven’t had time to do a upgrade yet.  I’m sure a Ponder could fit in here somewhere, or at the very least a Consecrated Sphinx that let’s you draw two cards when someone else draws one; like, say, when you use Gwafa.  Just an idea.

Jace Beleren, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Tezzeret the Seeker,and Venser, the Sojourner:  What deck would be complete without a Planeswalker or two in it?  Red Deck Wins, that what.  But this is Blue/White and they love their ‘Walkers.  You could easily put in two more Jaces and an extra Elspeth… and you would still be missing two Walkers.  That’s not even including Karn.  But, I would like to take this moment and say that Venser is amazing in this deck.  He can blink a lot of the creatures for extra usage, blink our enchantments like O-Ring and Fetters so they can be used on bigger problems, and even save a Walker while resetting it’s counters.  I so wish I could bring myself to play him in a format that would let me use four copies. Tezzeret the Seeker is here to do his thing by untapping our mana rocks and finding them for us. I guess he could turn them into creatures but I don’t usually get to keep him around for that kind of insanity.

Sol Ring, Thran Dynamo, Voltaic Key, Coalition Relic, and Gilded Lotus: Here is how we’re going to pull out the fatties. Thran Dynamo or Gilded Lotus are great when you have Voltaic Key with each giving you five mana. Sol Ring can get you two mana or three with the Key. Coaltion can help fix your colors if you need. But the real beast here is this set with Tezz out and using him to untap 2 of these or finding them for you. When I first made this deck I had one copy of each of the on color artifact lands just so I could use Tezz to find mana for me without bringing his loyalty counters down. This trick is also good for when you forget the mana cost of an artifact you want.

Wall of Denial, War Priest of Thune, Wonder, Order of Whiteclay, Azorius Guildmage, Cryptic Annelid, Venser, Shaper Savant, and Dawnglare Invoker: What deck would be complete without a few utility creatures?  I like the Wall of Denial.  It’s size and abilities makes it a great blocker in this format.  It can block most commanders without blinking an eye and even block some of the best flyers.  War Priest goes great with both Vensers, while Venser, Shaper Savant does his thing.
 Wonder is always in my decks with blue just so my whole team can fly.  Order of Whiteclay can return most of the creatures in this deck to you.  Cryptic Annelid helps with the drawing and turn setup a bit, while Dawnglare can really take out any player who is turtled up.

Stormtide Leviathan, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, Lorthos, the Tidemaker, Darksteel Colossus, Blightsteel Colossus, Sphinx of Magosi, and Sun Titan:  And here are our big guys to finish the job.  This part of the list is tricky for me because every time I play or build this deck, these are always different.  Sometimes it’s just a group of Eldrazi.  Sometimes it’s a flock of Angels or Sphinxes.  But this is the current group.  Like I said, I rarely play Blue/White control so I’m never sure how I’m going to win.  I might as well try a few different things to see if I like it or not.

I’d Tap That!

With 18 plains and 18 Island you could call this one a wrap.  I have been asked to start including a deck list for my article.  With this being the first time anyone has really asked since I started, I figure why not.  It’s at the bottom here, so check it out if you want to.  As always thanks for the read and I will see you next week for another article!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,

This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!


18 Island
18 Plains


1 Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer
1 Sygg, River Guide
1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
1 Stonybrook Schoolmaster
1 Stonybrook Angler
1 Merrow Reejerey
1 Merrow Harbinger
1 Merrow Commerce
1 Razorfin Abolisher
1 Stormtide Leviathan
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Lorthos, the Tidemaker
1 Darksteel Colossus
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Sphinx of Magosi
1 Sun Titan
1 Wall of Denial
1 War Priest of Thune
1 Wonder
1 Order of Whiteclay
1 Azorius Guildmage
1 Dawnglare Invoker
1 Diplomatic Escort
1 Lullmage Mentor
1 Venser, Shaper Savant

All the Rest

1 Sol Ring
1 Coalition Relic
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Tran Dynamo
1 Voltaic Key
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Oblation
1 Echoing Truth
1 Cryptic Annelid
1 Spin into Myth
1 Lost in Thought
1 Prison Term
1 Frozen AEther
1 Faith's Fetters
1 Take Possession
1 Enclave Cryptologist
1 Whispersilk Cloak
1 Summon the School
1 Into the Roil
1 Concentrate
1 Truth or Tale
1 Compulsive Research
1 Venser, the Sojourner
1 Jace Beleren
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 All Is Dust
1 Wrath of God
1 Evacuation
1 Grip of Amnesia
1 Confound
1 Spell Crumple
1 Dissipate
1 Hinder
1 Forbid
1 Cryptic Command
1 Ixidor's Will
1 Sage's Dousing
1 Dawn Charm
1 Mimic Vat

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