This article marks the 6-month anniversary of the Deck of the Day column! I have to say, it’s been truly awesome to get to write about Magic each and every day, searching the internet high and low for the coolest and best decks in the format, and I’m really thankful that a website as great as ChannelFireball has given me the opportunity to do so.
That being said, it hasn’t always been easy. There have been weeks and months where deck list after deck list was virtually the same. Did he only play 3 Sylvan Advocates to go with his 4 Anafenza and 4 Siege Rhino? Maybe, but that’s not really interesting. All of the 4-color decks, be they Jeskai Black or Mardu Blue, were virtually identical. Oh, you figured out that playing all the best spells in the format and having great mana was a good strategy? Awesome!
Now is not one of those times. This job has never been easier.
Standard is legitimately wide open right now. There were 8 distinct different archetypes in the Top 8 of the Pro Tour. No team was extremely successful with any deck they played—most sent one representative to the top of the standings while the rest of the team did decently to poorly. This is an awesome time to get innovative!
One archetype that didn’t see much success at the Pro Tour level was WB Control. White and black have so many of the most powerful weapons on paper, but there were concerns about being weak to Collected Company or the aggressive starts of the white Humans decks. There were many question marks surrounding WB’s future in the format.
Josh Buitenhuis went a long way to silencing any rumors of WB Control’s demise. Josh went 15-0 at GP Toronto—with 0 byes—in his first Grand Prix. That’s incredible stuff. So how did he do it?
It turns out that Thought-Knot Seer is still a great card. It hasn’t seen as much play since the release of Shadows over Innistrad, but it can still often come down before Collected Company, and taking an Archangel Avacyn is awesome. Thought-Knot combines well with Transgress the Mind to pick apart the opponent’s hand before they can do what they want, and the exile is a nice bonus.
Wasteland Strangler has also faded away with players playing fewer copies of cards like Silkwrap and Stasis Snare. Since the discard in WB Control exiles, plus awesome new exile removal spells in Anguished Unmaking and Declaration in Stone, Wasteland Strangler is viable again. This will be a constant 2-for-1 against both Humans and Bant as their creatures do not line up well to deal with the trigger or the body on Strangler.
The rest of the deck consists of efficient spells. Eldrazi Displacer can combo with Thought-Knot, but also removes tokens for no card investment. The combination with Wasteland Strangler is also exciting. Ruinous Path, Spatial Contortion, Grasp of Darkness, Ultimate Price, and Languish combine with the previously mentioned Anguished Unmaking and Declarations in Stone to keep the board relatively clear while Read the Bones can smooth your draw to help pull ahead.
If the creatures don’t win the game, Sorin, Grim Nemesis certainly will. Being able to recoup life loss from Read the Bones and Anguished Unmaking is important, and there are few more dominant threats on uncluttered boards than Sorin. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Ob Nixilis, Reignited provide tons of card advantage.
The real finisher for this deck, however, is Secure the Wastes. Maybe not Secure alone, but putting a bunch of Soldiers into play in combination with a Gideon Emblem is pretty awesome. The real sell for Secure is in conjunction with Westvale Abbey. Many decks in Standard remain soft to Ormendahl, the Profane Prince, and that is even more the case when Thought-Knot Seer and Transgress the Mind clear the way.
15-0 is an incredible accomplishment and you will be seeing more of Josh in Sydney at the Pro Tour. Any time a deck takes down 15 opponents in a row, you should probably take a look at it. This one has some room to be customized to your local metagame, but it’s full of powerful spells and a great end game!