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[Primer] Dega Control - MTG Standard

Kamotz

God of Monsters
Dega Control
W/B/R
Deck and Strategy Primer


This is a Primer for a competitive Dega Control deck. Dega Control takes advantage of the powerful cards made available in White, Black, and Red, giving the deck access to sweepers, spot-removal, hand disruption, and brutal finishers. Nevertheless, it is still somewhat of a fringe deck archtype in the current metagame. All the same, if you're looking for a deck that can out-draw and disrupt the current field of devotion decks, this may be the deck for you.

As a competitive primer, this doesn't take into account budget or card restrictions. It suggests the best options of cards available.

Please offer opinions/feedback and post your own decklists along with with how testing has been going. I will update the initial post with your feedback, and can list your deck under the sample decklists if you want.

Here is a list of card options available to us followed by the decklist I am currently testing:

Card Options:


Planeswalkers: Our Planeswalkers are limited--we want walkers that don't rely on such a heavy creature count like Ajani, Caller of the Pride. With the huge number of creatures flooding the boards, Gideon, Champion of Justice is easily ultimated, but easily blocked, too. And Liliana of the Dark Realms just doesn't quite have the same applications with our more diverse mana base. That leaves us with two (unbelievably strong) options.
Chandra, Pyromaster: New-Chandra isn't as powerful in this deck as she is against others, but she can help us break games open and give us some card advantage. And, if aimed right, Chandra's -7 can hit Warleader's Helix and swing 12 damage and 12 life. Recommend: 1-2 (Main).

Elspeth, Sun's Champion: Elspeth is our go-to Walker. She provides blockers against Aggro, a board-wipe against Midrange, and bodies against Control. Her versatility is the key point here. Recommend: 2-3 (Main).

Creatures: Our creatures have a lot of intrinsic play-value, impact, and power. We're not looking to clog the board or overrun the opponent. We're looking to control the pace of the game and run our opponents out of any sort of threats. Then we put down one of our higher-curve creatures.
Boros Reckoner: The Aggro-stopper. Reckoner makes attacks from creature-based decks immensely difficult. Large Green and Red creatures can't attack profitably without trample, and even then they'll only survive if they have more than 6 toughness. Reckoner is a solid roadblock against Mono-Red and Red-based Devotion decks. Recommend: 3-4 (Main).

Lifebane Zombie: This zombie is less-played now that decks are primarily Blue or Black, but against decks like Selesnya or Gruul, he's quite good. If your meta is filled with those decks, he's a solid sideboard option. Recommend: 2-3 (Side).

Sin Collector: Strong against Control and spell-heavy decks. You can remove a Sphinx's Revelation, Supreme Verdict, or removal spell from their hand while still putting up a body to attack with. Recommend: 2-3 (Side).

Blood Baron of Vizkopa: The Baron is a monster against the rampant Black decks, and is vulnerable only to a handful of removal spells. Its lifelink keeps you alive against Aggro decks, but he's less good against huge Green/Red creatures. Thankfully, our plentiful removal helps compensate for that. Recommend: 3 (Main).

Master of Cruelties: An interesting option, this demon is almost unkillable in combat, and forces a block. He might be a good sideboard option against Control. Recommend: 1 (Side).

Obzedat, Ghost Council: One of the most difficult-to-deal with finishers in our arsenal. 5 toughness is super-relevant against burn, and his blinking makes him immune to sorcery-speed removal. The 2-life drain effect is also very strong. Recommend: 2 (Main).

Shadowborn Demon: Removal with a stick, he's not a bad option, especially if you combine him with Whip of Erebos. Still, with our lower creature count, it'll be harder to keep him on the board. Nonetheless, we do have a number of token producers like Elspeth and Assemble the Legion to tribute to this mythic demon. Recommend: 1-2 (Main).

Stormbreath Dragon: This dragon is a solid finisher, especially with immunity to White removal. It's solid against Esper Control, but we can't utilize it as well as some of the other decks it fits in like GR and Mono-Red Devotion. Recommend: 1-2 (Main).

Underworld Cerberus: An interesting card idea that I've only recently considered. The ability to recur your creatures against Control is an appealing idea. Still, unless your meta becomes more control-oriented he's not as attractive. Recommend: 1-2 (Main/Side).

Sire of Insanity: This guy provides the beating against Control that you really want. With Whip of Erebos, we have ways to recur our creatures once we've discarded them. This also prevents control from playing any spells on your turn, and limits what else they can do. It's a SOLID sideboard option. Recommend: 1-2 (Side).

Angel of Serenity: A big finisher combined with a removal aspect and possible creature recurrence. But the prevalence of really good removal limits her usage. Recommend: 1-2 (Main/Side).

Ashen Rider: An interesting choice. Huge, with board impact, and evasion. Can be played if you really want it, but probably best in the sideboard. Recommend: 1 (Side).

Instants and Sorceries:
These spells are the bread and butter of the deck. Our way to acrue the advantage and keep the board under our control until we can land a finisher.
Thoughtseize: Considered by some to be the absolute BEST card in Standard, and among the best ever printed. This 1-mana card gives you an insane amount of information on your opponent and lets you strip a key card from their hand. Very solid. A 4-of must, certainly between main and side decks. Recommend: 4 (Main).

Wear//Tear: Since we can use both sides of this card, it's really very good. We can remove enchantments and artifacts: God-weapons as well as something like Chained to the Rocks ore Underworld Connections, all for 3 mana. Recommend: 2 (Side).

Rakdos's Return: The final piece of our hand-destruction puzzle. RR can fill a number of different roles: a final piece of to-the-dome burn or killing/damaging an opposing Planeswalker. And either way it removes cards from your opponent's hand. Recommend: 1-2 (Main/Side).

Devour Flesh: One of the best ways to get rid of cards like Blood Baron or Hexproof creatures. We don't worry so much about our opponents gaining life. Recommend: 1-2 (Main).

Doom Blade: Solid against every deck except Mono-Black, but since that deck makes up so much of the meta, Doom Blade has fallen out of favor. Still, it's not a bad card to have in either main or sideboard. Recommend: 1-2 (Main/Side).

Dreadbore: Kills literally everything except Blood Baron and Master of Waves. Good card, though not a 4-of. Recommend: 1-2 (Main).

Last Breath: Removes Master of Waves, Nightveil Specter, and Voice of Resurgence. Recommend: 1-2 (Side).

Mizzium Mortars: One of the best targeted burn and sweeper spells in the format. Clears away Blood Baron and Stormbreath Dragon as well as any other little creatures in your way. Recommend: 3-4 (Main/Side).

Rakdos Charm: Destroys the god artifacts and removes all targets in a graveyard for opposing Whips. It's final mode is great against decks like Mono-Blue and Black that tend to clog the board with Elemental and Pack Rat tokens. Recommend: 1-2 (Main/Side).

Ultimate Price: Now that the format has shifted to more powerful mono-colored creatures, UP is the go-to removal spell. This kills Master of Waves, Pack Rat, Stormbreath Dragon, Polukranos, Desecration Demon, and Arbor Colossus. Recommend: 1-2 (Main/Side).

Anger of the Gods: Your early-turn sweeper against decks like Red and/or Green Devotion. This also clears out all the creatures from Mono-Blue Devotion (other than Thassa and Master of Waves), and can clear out 3 or less Pack Rats. Recommend: 2-3 (Main).

Hero's Downfall: Instant Speed kill-anything. This you need. Recommend: 3-4 (Main).

Read the Bones: Our best draw spell. The two life is less consequential for us since there are ways to regain that life. Recommend: 3 (Main).

Slaughter Games: A decent sideboard option. Removing cards in the Devotion strategy is often critical. Recommend: 1-2 (Side).

Warleader's Helix: 4 damage and 4 life. Useful. Recommend: 2 (Main).

Merciless Eviction: Not a bad card to consider for the sideboard. With so many decks relying on board presence of creatures or Planeswalkers, this looks like it might become more useful. Recommend: 1-2 (Side).

Artifacts and Enchantments: Our Artifacts/Enchantments are strong support spells, keeping us in the game and ahead when we need to be.
Chained to the Rocks: One of the best removal spells in the format. People are playing very few ways to remove the Mountain or Chained itself, so it's very viable. Recommend: 3-4 (Main).

Rakdos Keyrune: this provides a roadblock against Aggro, mana acceleration, and a threat against Control. Recommend: 1-2 (Main).

Spear of Heliod: Not a bad choice since it makes our creatures more potent threats, especially against Jace, AoT. But with such a low creature density, it might not be as useful. Recommend: 1-2 (Main).

Underworld Connections: One of the best continuous-use draw spells in the Standard format. Our limitation is the double-Black casting cost and our more-precarious mana base. With wanting to cast Boros Reckoner on-curve, this isn't quite as viable. Recommend: 1-2 (Main/Side).

Whip of Erebos: A definite inclusion. This can keep us alive against Aggro and give us a way to recur the value of our creatures. Recommend: 2 (Main/Side).

Assemble the Legion: A solid sideboard card against other control decks. Few people run anything that can remove it. Be warned though, it's borderline useless against Jace, AoT unless you're running Spear of Heliod as well. Recommend: 1-2 (Side).

Utility Lands: Dega Control can run Nykthos and Mutavault along with some of the less-played lands, but many of our creatures and permanents have color-intensive casting costs, so it's probably not optimal.


Sample Decklists:


Land (24)
4x Blood Crypt
4x Godless Shrine
3x Mountain
2x Plains
1x Rakdos Guildgate
4x Sacred Foundry
1x Swamp
4x Temple of Silence
1x Temple of Triumph

Instant (5)
2x Hero's Downfall
1x Rakdos Charm
2x Warleader's Helix

Artifact (1)
1x Rakdos Keyrune

Sorcery (14)
1x Anger of the Gods
2x Dreadbore
3x Mizzium Mortars
1x Rakdos's Return
3x Read the Bones
4x Thoughtseize

Creature (9)
3x Blood Baron of Vizkopa
4x Boros Reckoner
2x Obzedat, Ghost Council
Enchantment (4)
3x Chained to the Rocks
1x Whip of Erebos

Planeswalker (3)
1x Chandra, Pyromaster
2x Elspeth, Sun's Champion

Sideboard (15)
1x Anger of the Gods
1x Merciless Eviction
1x Assemble the Legion
2x Wear//Tear
1x Hero's Downfall
1x Master of Cruelties
1x Rakdos Charm
1x Rakdos's Return
3x Sin Collector
2x Sire Of Insanity
1x Ultimate Price
 
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