The makers of Magic Online have developed a habit of not automatically printing cards from every supplemental product into the program. What this means is that there becomes a divide between paper and online. While this isn’t always hugely impactful, since some cards are more niche than others, it can be pretty significant. In the case of Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes it was hugely significant since this has proven itself to be a staple of the format. Today, I want to cover one of the best decks to include the card: Four-Color Control. What better list to cover than back-to-back Challenge winner and CFB’s own Anuraag Das’s? While this list is a few weeks old at this point, nothing significant has changed and this is still a very stable core to work from.
Let’s take a look at how this deck is built:
Legacy Four-Color Control by Anuraag Das
This is akin to the “new” style of Legacy control. It has a ton of cheap removal and almost as many card advantage and mana engines. It’s more of a tap-out style deck rather than a draw-go style deck but make no mistake, this is a control deck through-and-through. The plan is straightforward: disrupt all of your opponent’s most relevant plays until you resolve a haymaker, such as Uro or Minsc & Boo, and completely take over the game. The strategy itself is very good and every card in the deck is the best of the best, which makes this an impressive force.
Yorion is a natural companion for this deck. A lot of the cards are somewhat redundant and there are a lot of different cards that you want to play. While it does make it less likely that you’ll find Uro, which is the best card in the deck, there’s enough other powerful engines that Uro isn’t as necessary. On top of that, these games go long and actually having Yorion to play in a late-game scenario is very nice. All-in-all, Yorion is really a perfect inclusion for this archetype and I wouldn’t really look to cut it.
Since this is a Yorion deck, we’re going to cover a ton of cards, but at the end of the day, Uro is the core of this deck. It’s the piece that shapes this style of Legacy control and is certainly the core engine of the deck. There’s nothing too novel to say here but it’s worth noting that it’s even better in this deck since it can combine with Minsc & Boo to deal six damage to any target, which acts as a removal spell or a way to end the game and is a nice interaction to keep in mind.
Minsc & Boo has quickly made waves in the format. Its impact is extremely high, applying a ton of pressure right away while it defends itself. If your opponents don’t deal with Boo quickly, it threatens to not only end the game in just a few short turns, but also generate a significant amount of card advantage. Even if they are able to answer Boo, it will just come back on your upkeep which makes it incredibly difficult to deal with. The most significant downside to the card is that when it enters the battlefield, it creates a trigger, which opens the window for opponents to Lightning Bolt the planeswalker in response. That’s one of the very few downsides of the card though, and it’s been a welcome inclusion to the format.
While Narset does have some weaknesses, notably that it can be a bit weak against decks applying pressure, it continues to be an amazing card in the format overall. This is largely a tap-out style control deck, so setting up to curve into this with some removal spells is a nice way to keep the board clear and play a disruptive card/card advantage engine that will make your opponents’ lives quite difficult. Narset is great in a Yorion deck not simply because it helps you dig far deeper into your library, but having the ability to reset it later is really nice.
In some ways, these are weird cards to group together since they are both so different, but these are the spaces dedicated to interacting with blue decks. Carpet of Flowers is amazing in this deck and if it resolves, decks like Delver will really struggle to keep up. The reason you don’t play more copies is that Pyroblast is far more versatile and since this is a control deck at heart, having access to additional answers, rather than proactive cards, is still something you’re looking for. If your goal is to beat up on Delver exclusively, you can change these numbers up, but Pyroblast is still really impactful in that matchup so I don’t think that’s necessary.
Endurance is such a great card in this deck. It cleanly solves any issues you might have with cards like Delver, it keeps graveyard decks in check and it has a large enough body to apply some incidental pressure to back up cards like Minsc & Boo or Uro. There are matchups where it is less impactful, like Death and Taxes, but even there it can provide some defensive capabilities and be generally annoying for them to attack through.
Expressive Iteration is like Uro in that it is so powerful that it really speaks for itself. This deck has all of the pieces of a good Iteration deck: proactive cards, tons of mana sources, cheap interaction and card draw. In general, it’s better to play this card later in the game rather than earlier, especially in this deck, but it does have the versatility to fit into your plan whenever you need it.
This is actually a bit light on countermagic, especially for a Yorion deck. Part of the reason for this is that this deck is built to take advantage of decks like Delver, rather than combo decks. You do still have some potent tools for those decks since Endurance can act like a Force effect in certain combo matchups, but overall it’s better to build your deck in this way and be a bit lighter to combo to maximize your power against Delver and other fair decks.
Loam is generally a good card in this strategy since it enables Uro quite nicely while ensuring that you’ll always have a steady stream of land drops (and occasionally Wasteland lock your opponents out). In 60-card decks, the correct number of Loams is difficult to find and it’s even more challenging here. You never really want two copies, but the first is really valuable. Since there are 80 cards, Loam does feel a bit random here, but it’s a powerful card in certain circumstances and this deck does churn through its deck fairly quickly, so I think it’s reasonable.
This card has fallen a bit out of favor over the past year or two but there aren’t many cards in Legacy that synergize this well with Uro. It’s not always the best card to have since it can be a bit clunky, especially against decks that apply a lot of pressure. However, if the game is going long, which is largely your plan in every matchup, there aren’t many cards better than Library.
This is a fairly stock white removal suite. Terminus isn’t quite as common, but I’m not surprised to see that in the deck overall nor in a deck built by Anuraag. Terminus is not the most consistent effect, but when it comes to removing creatures, there really aren’t more potent effects. It can get you out of horrible situations with ease and since this deck has Mystic Sanctuary, you can really increase its consistency. Overall, I like seeing two copies here and I think it rounds out the white removal suite quite nicely.
Despite adding an additional 20 cards, you don’t really need to run more than eight cantrips. In fact, this deck doesn’t really have the space for it since this deck is built in a way to maximize more impactful cards. There’s only so much fluff you can add and these are definitely the best of the suite to include.
The Mana Base
I always say this with these four and five-color control decks, but I don’t have a clue if this is the best way to build a mana base. Having all blue fetchlands makes sense with Mystic Sanctuary in the mix and it does largely look capable of casting all of your spells. There’s some awkward parts, such as playing Taiga and Polluted Delta, but I don’t think that’s a huge deal overall. I definitely think playing Sanctuary is worth it so any awkwardness that comes from that is worth the price.
These are the utility lands of the deck. Wasteland is generally a great card in Legacy and can be important for these control decks to have access to so that they can fight back against decks like Lands. It also works perfectly with Life from the Loam. Karakas is essentially a basic Plains with utility, and that’s more than enough to warrant its inclusion (despite the occasional awkwardness with Wasteland).
As I mentioned, Carpet is one of the best cards in the format against Delver and having it in your opening hand will greatly increase your chances of winning.
With the power of red cards increasing as of late, Hydroblast has quickly moved up the ranks from occasional one-of to sideboard haymaker so I like playing three copies here.
Staticaster is a bit of extra insurance against small creatures but it’s a bit random since you can’t even find it off of Narset. Still, it’s a solid card and decent option if you need to consistently keep smaller creatures in check.
Pyroblast is still the best sideboard card in the format and siding into six copies will be great in a lot of matchups.
Sometimes two Terminus won’t be enough so siding in the third copy against decks that go wide will be really nice.
- Izzet Staticaster has haste, which means that Minsc & Boo can put counters on it, so keep an eye out for that interaction.
- Dress Down can allow you to turbo out an Uro which can help you get on board way ahead of schedule.
- You can always Endurance yourself if you need to play around something like Surgical Extraction.
This matchup is a significant reason to build your deck like this. Basically every card is great in some context and you have tons of removal and card advantage to keep up with them early and then pull ahead in the mid-to-late game. My plan here is to cut some more clunky cards and bring in efficient interaction and Carpet, which should be enough to make their lives very difficult.
While they do have some meaningful cards in the matchup, overall you should be significantly advantaged. Minsc & Boo is really difficult for them to deal with, as is Uro and Narset, and having a ton of Pyroblasts and Carpet of Flowers will really go a long way. Be carefully of cards like Hullbreacher and you should be just fine here.
This matchup can be tricky. Dress Down isn’t the best card but it does some meaningful work against Craterhoof Behemoth and can even turn off Allosaurus Shepherd for a key turn. Overall, being defensive is absolutely key but it’s just as important to make sure you get an engine online because they can easily start grinding you down in the midgame.
This matchup is always scary for slower control decks and this isn’t that different. This version of Four-Color does have a lot of counterplay since Endurance is very effective and Minsc & Boo could kill them out of nowhere. That said, they can easily play through one or two pieces of disruption, especially when there’s limited amounts of pressure, so I would still say this is a difficult matchup.