Standard Spotlight: Sultai Control

Oh man, do I get excited by new cards and fresh metagames. And not the cards that other people are playing, even. I’m not over here getting excited about things like Hostage Taker and Regisaur Alpha. I want to sleeve up Vraska, Relic Seeker and draw cards and control things.

Okay, to be fair, maybe Vraska is also a card other people are getting excited about. Despite the fact that I proclaimed she was a “myth” on last week’s Magic TV, the card is great and incredibly powerful.

The deck we’re going to take a look at today is one I put together a couple hours before last week’s FNM, where I proceeded to go 4-0. Super exciting, right? Believe me, I know. Despite that, I’ve always been a firm believer that you can tell how good a deck might be by how it “feels” when you play it. Did you notice mana issues? Did you feel like you had enough answers? Were you winning fast enough? A lot of it is instinctual, but I bet a lot of you know what I mean. It’s possible to play a paltry four matches with a deck and get a feeling from it, and this deck felt good.

Sultai Control

So a funny thing happened while I was in the midst of writing this article. I saw that someone sent a tweet to Hall-of-Famer Willy Edel, so I took a look at what was going down. It turns out that Willy had inadvertently built a Sultai deck that looked immensely similar to mine. 25 lands, lots of removal, and almost identical creatures and planeswalkers. It was pretty staggering.


However I felt about the deck before that point—which was good, mind you—I felt a great deal better about it now. On top of that, this past weekend showcased a good number of Sultai decks in the Open Top 8, but they were completely different and of the energy variety. I’m hoping I can give you guys something a little different to try out, and maybe it ends up being a reasonable piece of the metagame. Who knows?

One thing to note about the Sultai Energy decks I mentioned is that they also had a full set of Hostage Takers, which I deliberately omitted. While Willy also seemed interested in playing the card, my issue was that a 3-toughness creature felt so fragile. In fact, one of my opponents actually played one against me, taking my Scarab God. In response to their attack I killed their Hostage Taker, got my Scarab God back, and blocked their other attacker. It was a blow-out. This doesn’t even account for any enters-the-battlefield triggers the opponent might get if they’re able to kill the Hostage Taker before I cast their card.

Am I saying Hostage Taker is bad? No, not at all. I was just a little concerned with it when I was building the deck. Now that I think about it though, I might actually enjoy the ability to cast a Hostage Taker and the card I steal in the same turn thanks to Bounty of Luxa.

One main-deck card I’m uncertain about is Supreme Will. I think it’s better in the late game, after I’ve deployed some creatures to the board, and I rarely want to cast it on turn 3 over something like a Rogue Refiner. That being said, it’s still a versatile tool and can counter most sizable cards up to a certain point.

After five more matches, the deck performed just as well for me this time as it did the first time. I might be convinced to add another green source, but that’s about it. I also think the sideboard is pretty well tuned for the metagame, and the fact that Vraska, Relic Seeker can destroy artifacts and enchantments in addition to creatures makes the card a versatile addition. I’m pleased with where the deck is at, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, or that you aren’t welcome to make any changes you might feel. In fact, keep me apprised of any improvements you have in mind, along with your thoughts in the comments below!

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