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Control Deck Woes

Posted: 04 Jan 2014, 00:03
by Ald3rp
So at tonight's FNM, I played with my mono black devotion deck against a control blue deck with white, black and green splashed. Syncopates, Dissolves, and other removal spells were thrown at me. No matter what I do, it just seems impossible to beat a deck like that. Is the only way to beat a control deck is with another control deck? Or just not play against control at all?

Re: Control Deck Woes

Posted: 04 Jan 2014, 00:30
by korvys
It's not that control is unbeatable, but it might be true that it is nearly unbeatable with that deck. The typical metagame is pretty much Control beats Midrange beats Aggro beats Control.

Control will beat you (as a sort of mid-range deck) as you don't play many threats, so it just has to counter, d-sphere, verdict, etc the ones you do, and it won't run out of cards because of Sphinx's Revelation and Divination.

On the other hand, you should do well against aggro, as you can kill a few of their threats early, and then play bigger stuff than them later, when they run out of gas.

Aggro can beat control by playing too many threats, too quickly, and finishing the game before control can get hold (though with verdict around, you do need to be good at judging how much to commit).

Unfortunately, it is a reality of Magic, that you will always have bad match ups. At high level events, part of the skill is in choosing the deck you think will match up the best against the rest of the players.

For your deck in particular, your best bet is going to be Thoughtseize and Duress. Sin Collector as well, if you can splash white.

Re: Control Deck Woes

Posted: 04 Jan 2014, 11:59
by Bluenoser
There is no catch-all way to beat control, but it's good to remember what they're trying to do. Control isn't trying to harm your life total until they are stable. They want to keep your threats from killing them until they are safely at a point where they can tap out for their own. To prevent them from being able to do this, you need to be forcing their hand and making them use their removal, but not letting them get insane value from it.

If you have something on the board that will kill them, great, force them to deal with it first, don't play more out into a verdict. Get damage in where you can; if you get a shot for some Mutavault beats without much downside, take it. Try not to run out more of the same creatures or multiple underworld connections into a Detention Sphere, etc etc. Use thoughseize to remove their answers, and know which of your cards are bad against them and which are good for post-board games.

Re: Control Deck Woes

Posted: 04 Jan 2014, 14:19
by Duckay
I suppose the first one is that it helps to know what you're up against. Counterspells require a different strategy than boardwipes. Counterspells the best thing you can do (I think) is to bait out their counterspells with less relevant things before dropping something relevant. Boardwipes requires you to be a little more careful about how and when you drop your creatures, which can be killer for devotion. And yes, hand attack is very useful throughout the game because you often need to know what you're walking into.

The other thing I guess is that if you're looking at a creature with an ETB you want to know when to play it. If you have a high devotion board (nearly lethal with Gary), under a lot of circumstances you might want to hold back Gary until it will be lethal, but maybe against control you want to play out Gary before they can boardwipe, which would turn your near-lethal devotion into barely-relevant. On the other hand if you're running Abhorrent Overlord, you might want to wait until after a boardwipe so you can still have a solid presence.

The more I think about it the more I realize though that the times when I've had the best games against control were with Whip of Erebos and Underworld Connections, because Whip allows me to go longer (especially if you manage to resolve Whip, even if they counter your creatures you have another way to get them in there) and Connections gives me card advantage I need.

I'm sorry, I don't know if that was helpful at all. :/ I hope some of it was a little.

Re: Control Deck Woes

Posted: 04 Jan 2014, 20:12
by Firbozz
Duckay's points are very good, especially with regards to the difference in strategy versus boardwipes and versus counterspells. Perhaps keep some things in your sideboard to side in for matchups like this, either things like Whip (as Duckay suggests) to make your deck faster, or perhaps some more aggressive, low-drop creatures to put more pressure on them early. Control players are all about creating card advantage with draw so they can afford to trade their cards for yours. Anything that gives you a bit more card advantage to fight theirs helps.

Re: Control Deck Woes

Posted: 10 Jan 2014, 02:16
by Lemegeton
as already stated resolving a whip of erebos is huge against control. but a lot of the time it will get d-sphered before you have managed to get any value from it. control is the worst matchup for mono black as your options are very limited. thoughtseize is good to try and take away revelations and verdicts but they have so much card draw, they will draw replacements if given time. you need to refrain from dumping your hand and trying to kill them early with mono black. its not quick enough to get there. hold back some threats so you can recover from supreme verdict.
some of the best answers to control come from splashing for red. throw in some blood crypts and some fixing lands, into your land base and have some slaughter games in the SB. taking away Revelations cripples most control decks.

Re: Control Deck Woes

Posted: 10 Jan 2014, 09:45
by Utilitarian
Mono-black's biggest tools against control in the current format are spells like Thoughtseize and Duress. Not only do they let you pick apart your opponent's hand in order to remove what they had waiting to stop your future plays, but they also give you the information to let you know when it's safe to resolve your most important spells.

Re: Control Deck Woes

Posted: 10 Jan 2014, 17:10
by Duckay
Oh yes; very much so. In other matchups, you might want to drop your hand attack quickly to deny them cards, but in a control matchup it may be more important to wait, to try to strip their hand of a counterspell / Detention sphere / whatever at a critical moment.