I have been on a bit of a control kick when it comes to these deck guides lately. I think that’s mostly reflective of the current Legacy format, which has a lot of tools that help control decks thrive. Recently, in the Showcase Challenge that happened this past weekend, Legacy control expert Kihara_Works piloted a Sultai Control variant to a top 16 finish which looks very well suited for this current metagame. I really like the way this deck is built and I think it has the potential to be a great choice going forward.
Let’s take a look at the way the deck is built.
Legacy Sultai Control by Kihara_Works
This is a very traditional Sultai Control deck. It has a ton of removal spells backed up by the ever-powerful Uro, which makes the deck a real challenge for creature-based decks to play against. Seeing as it is in the Sultai colors, it has a lot of different options to work with, which keeps opponents guessing. Against decks which largely blank removal spells, there are a variety of effective sideboard cards that help this deck keep up and fill the holes this deck naturally has in the main deck.
Uro is still one of the best cards in the format and a big reason to build a deck around these colors. There aren’t many novel things to say about Uro, but in a deck with as many removal spells as this, it is extremely difficult for creature decks to keep up with an active Uro.
These creatures continue to have an impact on the format. Delver decks can really struggle to keep up with this type of card, which really helps this deck stabilize throughout the game. There are times when they’re not great, especially against combo decks, but the fact that they are always cantrips at worst makes them fairly reasonable in any situation.
This color pair has access to a lot of different planeswalkers, but I think Grist is the best one for this archetype. It’s a meaningful threat that doesn’t rely on the graveyard, which is nice since many decks bring in cards like Surgical Extraction to deal with Uro. On top of that, it can kill almost any creature in the format, which is really nice in this particularly Legacy format that is dominated by creatures.
One-of Endurance may look a bit out of place, but it remains one of the best cards printed for Legacy in the past few years. Acting as a threat, answer to Delver and Force effect for graveyard decks, there’s very little that Endurance can’t do.
With Narset and Hullbreacher around, Leovold has really lost its foothold in the format. If you can consistently cast it though, it’s still the kind of card that can put opponents in a bad situation. It can’t be attacked like Narset and it’s a bit more resilient than Hullbreacher, which are upsides, for sure. It’s specifically very strong against Storm variants since the target ability works nicely with a sideboard plan that involves Flusterstorm.
This deck has a ton of removal spells and a fair bit of variety to go along with that. Sudden Edict has some downsides, namely that you won’t always have your pick of what creature to kill, but it’s so effective against a deck like Delver (and Marit Lage/Griselbrand decks) that I really like leaning into four copies. Witherbloom Command has been picking up a bit of steam lately and while I’m not completely sold on playing four copies, it does have a lot of utility. It’s pretty easy to turn it into a clean two-for-one with killing a permanent and returning a land, which makes it a really nice turn two play. It doesn’t scale perfectly into the late game, since the removal options get more limited, but it’s always able to generate at least a card, which makes it pretty solid.
Assassin’s Trophy does have a significant downside, but answering Murktide Regent (and just about anything else) is a really meaningful upside. Fatal Push and Bloodchief’s Thirst help in games where you need cheap removal. Fatal Push being an instant is quite nice, but Thirst scales a lot better into the late game. All of these removal options are pretty interchangeable, so pick and choose based on what you expect, but this does seem like a good place to start.
As I have said in many deck guides, gone are the days of trimming on Force of Wills. Strategies are too powerful these days. Now the question is how many extra Forces do you run, and I like that this deck only has a single Force of Negation. It has more than enough blue cards and removal that spells on the stack can be a weak point, so having some extra protection is nice.
I could have grouped this with either the removal or the counters, but seeing as it’s both, separating it seemed appropriate. Drown is both a versatile and a powerful card that is mostly held back in Legacy by its mana value. It has the potential to answer just about anything and even in situations where your opponent is delving their graveyard away, they will often still have a decent amount of cards in the yard due to surveil. There are some matchups where it really doesn’t do much though, such as against Mono-Red Prison, but those decks are few and far between, so Drown is a great inclusion here.
The stock cantrip suite, this deck doesn’t really need to step outside of this base. It has a ton of other cards that cantrip, such as Baleful Strix, and you do have to worry about drawing too much fluff.
The Mana Base
A straightforward mana base, you’ll be able to pretty safely cast all of your spells. I do think it’s a bit lighter on basics than I would want, especially since this deck has Ice-Fang Coatl in it, but the most important thing is casting your spells, which do have stringent mana costs, so I mostly like the mana base.
A split Forest/versatile answer is perfect here, especially with Witherbloom Command on deck to recur it. I fully expect decks like this to adopt one or two copies of Boseiju for the rest of time and I’m totally here for it.
Honestly, a colorless land is a bit tough on the mana here, but it’s probably more appropriate to think of this as a spell. It combines nicely with Witherbloom Command, and with Urza’s Saga in the format, I think it’s far safer to travel with a Wasteland in your deck.
Not only is Endurance one of the best creatures in the format, it’s also among the best sideboard cards, as well. Bring it in against the decks I mentioned earlier (Delver/graveyard) and it will greatly help your chances of winning.
Carpet remains one of the most effective cards against Delver and getting one in play early will significantly change the pace of the game.
Ouphe is still a great card against artifact decks, even if it has gotten a bit worse with Saga and Kappa Cannoneer in the format. With the amount of removal this deck has, Ouphe complements the primary strategy quite well, though, and I think it fits nicely into this deck.
The only reason we don’t see more of this card in the format is that black decks haven’t been as popular lately. Engineer is now, and will likely always be, one of the best possible answers against decks like Elves that rely on cheap, small creatures.
A solid mix of anti-combo countermagic. Diversifying your spell base means that you can mix and match your counter magic against different archetypes, which will always keep your opponents on their toes.
- Witherbloom Command can mill your opponent and still return a land to your hand if you suspect your opponent values the top of their deck.
- Endurance can target yourself if you need to stop a Surgical Extraction from resolving or just rebuy some key cards from your graveyard.
- If you played Boseiju and need to kill a permanent, you can Wasteland it and rebuy it with Witherbloom Command in a pinch.
Delver can keep up with a grindy game plan since they have Expressive Iteration. However, this combination of removal and Uro (supplemented by Carpet of Flowers) will still make their life really challenging. Value removal over everything early and then once you stabilize, try to get Uro going ASAP.
Uro is the name of the game here, so try to work towards that as much as you can. Hullbreacher is really effective against that plan, so I like keeping Sudden Edict in to manage that. Witherbloom Command doesn’t do much beyond draw a land, so I think it’s a pretty easy card to trim, and Wasteland will essentially have no targets. Use cards like Baleful Strix to apply pressure to their planeswalkers and prepare for a long, grindy game.
Death and Taxes
Death and Taxes has become extremely challenging to grind down, but if any deck can do it, it’s Sultai Control. Try to get as much value as you can out of your cards and get as many lands in play as possible. They are fairly good at shutting down the Uro plan, but it can still generate a fair bit of value, which you certainly need in the matchup.
You have a lot of good sideboard cards, which is nice, but also a ton of dead cards in your main deck and a paltry clock. As always, make sure you have enough resources to survive the early game and value cards like Force and Endurance highly. Make sure you are constantly looking for ways to start applying pressure, though, as that is the key to the matchup. Witherbloom Command can mill them for three if you get an extra turn, which could be a crucial action.