Try Reid Duke’s Alchemy BW Control from the Arena Open!


Alchemy Orzhov Control by Reid Duke




Last week, I wrote a Deck Guide on BW Control, which you can find here. That information is still good and up-to-date. So in this short piece, I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel, but simply to add supplement that deck guide with deck list I played in the Arena Open. 

I’d been constantly tinkering with the Orzhov deck list in order to get it closer to my personal preferences, and to gear for the metagame I expected to face in the open. This is the deck list that I used to qualify for- and compete in Day 2 of the event. 

I had a good experience and a deep run, although I won’t spoil the exact result since my matches are going to be published on the ChannelFireball YouTube channel. I can tell you that Tom “the Boss” Ross went 8-0 on Day 2 with the same 75-card deck list.

While Orzhov is highly customizable, here are a few things that I particularly liked about the list:

  • 24 lands, including four Hive of the Eye Tyrant. With Shambling Ghast and Deadly Dispute, you can make your mana work with a lower land count. However, you always have a lot to do with your mana, and you have creaturelands and Blood tokens for when you draw too many lands. I added an extra land so I wouldn’t struggle to make my land drops and find both colors. 
  • Sorin the Mirthless and Citystalker Connoisseur as the four-drops of choice. They’re great cards, and don’t require as much setup as some of the other options. The Blood token from Connoisseur has significantly increased value in a Sanguine Brushstroke deck. I won a ton of games with Sorin simply by casting him and using the +1 ability every turn. 
  • Lots of discard spells in the sideboard. This made for a very solid plan against control decks. Orzhov is a great resource management deck, where you want to pare down resources and keep people off of big plays like Hullbreaker Horror.

Sideboarding Against Control


+4 Duress +1 Check for Traps +4 Go Blank +1 Sorin the Mirthless +2 Lolth, Spider Queen

-2 Slayer’s Bounty -1 Shambling Ghast -4 Vanishing Verse -4 The Meathook Massacre -1 Sanguine Brushstroke


Depending on their deck list, leaving in a single copy of Vanishing Verse or The Meathook Massacre can be okay. Other flexible slots are the third copy of Shambling Ghast, the third copy of Sanguine Brushstroke or the fourth copy of Deadly Dispute (since you’re trimming some of your one-drops). 

Sideboarding Against Dragons


I don’t mind bringing in Check for Traps, especially if they’re playing an Izzet version with access to counterspells. However, I don’t really like the other discard spells, since the real challenge is protecting yourself from top-decked haste Dragons.


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