There is no doubting that I am a control junkie at heart. In my mind there is nothing better than durdling around and drawing cards while telling my opponent over and over again “no” while I eventually win the game. When I first started playing Hex during the set three constructed format the very first deck I built was Eaglov’s Sapphire-Wild Wintermoon Control deck. This deck durdled better than any deck I had ever played in any other game before and I was hooked.
Let’s take a look at a first draft of a Sapphire-Wild Control deck in Immortal, shall we:
1 Brown Fox Scout
3 Dark Heart of Nulzann (MinS Mischief / MinW Conservation)
1 Arborean Rootfather
Actions, Artifacts, Constants
4 Arcane Focus
4 Change Course
4 Oracle Song
2 Time Ripple
1 Verdict of the Ancient Kings
1 Dread End
1 Psychic Ascension
The Card Selection
The biggest draw to a deck like this for me is always the consistency it offers. The core of our deck is efficient selection and card advantage:
Arcane Focus smooths out our draws nicely. When we need an extra resource in the early turns Focus can find one. When we are looking for action in the late game Focus can help find that as well. Change Course is an excellent addition to Wintermoon decks because it is a single card that allows us to to activate our champion power for full value as early as the second turn of the game. While Change Course is slightly less powerful than something like Peek in the late game, I think the extra velocity it helps generate early is worthwhile.
Even with the addition of Lanupaw’s Sight, I still feel Oracle Song is the optimal three cost draw spell for our Wintermoon Control deck. This is because of our low troop count and the desire to often have our cards right away.
Chlorophyllia is a card that acts as additional resources, while not simply being another shard. Chlorophyllia in conjunction with Arcane Focus also allows us to start activating our champion power in the early game. The most important thing to keep in mind about Chlorophyllia is that it effectively only costs one resource the turn we play it. This means we can play it on the third turn and still hold up a two resource quick action.
Speaking of actions we want to hold up, the core of the interaction in this deck is the suite of quick actions that interrupt our opponents:
Try as we might, it is impossible to interrupt everything relevant our opponents are doing every game. Because of this we have a few different tools for cleaning up things that slip through the cracks:
While Transmogrifade does not always fully remove the thing it targets, it is hard to beat the resource efficiency this one cost action provides. It will generally turn a “must answer” threat into something that we can ignore for a good long while. Time Ripple is a flexible “solve target problem” card when used in combination with one of our interrupts. Because Transmogrifade can turn a troop into something our opponent is unable to replay, Time Ripple can also be used in conjunction with that to effectively remove a troop fully from the game.
Dread End is kind of a “things got out of control” reset button. Being able to clean up a board that went wide under our interrupts is valuable. Because we have so much card selection playing a single copy of a sweeper like this is reasonable because we will often be able to find it when we need it game one.
Like most good control decks the threats we are leveraging in Sapphire Wild also double as additional answers. The most powerful of these has been the staple of most other control decks since it was created:
This control deck will get to do something with Dark Heart in Immortal that we never got to do in Standard – play with the Spell Shield gem. Making our must answer threat difficult to remove sounds very appealing. When we combine this with the fact that we can also put the quick gem into the same Dark Heart we end up with a fairly perfect control threat.
Next we have three singletons that are all useful in different situations:
Much like the logic with Dread End, I feel playing some powerful singletons in a deck like this is reasonable because ideally games are going long which gives us time to find the cards we are looking for. Brown Fox Scout is essentially a threat with built in card advantage since we rarely have to actually draw it to play it. Then we factor in that it is a quick troop that can often ambush things in combat and we get a fairly powerful two drop.
Carnasaurus doubles as both a cheap source of interaction against aggressive decks as well as having a nice main deck way to gain a couple points of life here and there. Against midrange decks Crocosaur is double removal, while against other control decks it is a five power threat that can close a game out fairly quickly.
Then we have a utility troop that I am fairly excited to try out from Set 6:
In many cases this card will simply be a zero cost piece of removal since it can copy something and then trade with it in combat. Other times we will be able to copy their must answer threat, remove theirs from the board, and them beat them down with their own troop. It might be a bit ambitious to play a five sapphire threshold card in our same deck as a triple wild Crocosaur, but I want to try at least one Copycat to start.
Finally we round out our main deck with two powerful, game ending, threats:
Psychic Ascension has been a staple of decks like this since it was introduced. It gives us an “over the top” inevitability that is hard to keep up with for most decks in a game that goes long.
Arborean Rootfather on the other hand is a card that has not seen much play since the gems rotated in Standard, but with Immortal we get to leverage this big baddy again with Spell Shield and Quick just like our Dark Hearts. Rootfather is especially powerful because when we draw him in the early game we can cycle him out of our hand to draw again later in the game. He also plays well with our Dark Hearts since he is socketed.
As I mentioned in my first Immortal Technology piece – we are still mostly guessing when it comes to what we need to prepare for in Immortal. That being said – we can still prepare for some of the more obvious archetypes that will likely populate the playing field.
Against Ruby aggressive decks we are likely a bit of a dog. They can get their troops down under our counter magic and go wide. Post board we can bring in additional copies of Carnasaurus as well as Harvest Moon to buffer our life total a bit. Wrathwood Master Moss serves double duty – not only is he a sizable body to block with, but he can also close a game out after we have taken control. If our opponent is more troop based we can also bring in some additional copies of Dread End.
As far as cuts go we want to trim some of our selection that we will not always have time to play such as Change Course. Cutting Epiphany and a few Countermagics to fit in everything else would be my next go to cuts.
The next style of deck I would expect to be popular is some form of Wild ramp deck. We should be fairly well positioned against this style of deck with all of our interrupts, so I likely would only bring in the additional copies of Dread End over the Verdict of the Ancient Kings and the Epiphany.
Finally against other control decks we have additional interrupts in the reserves in Verdict of the Ancient Kings. If our opponent is playing Blood for their removal Wrathwood Master Moss is also reasonable to bring in. I would trim some of our cards geared for troops such as the Dread End and the fight dinosaurs.
What do you think of the Sapphire Wild Control deck I have suggested here today? What decks / archetypes are you most excited to get to play with when Immortal becomes introduced? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
Thanks for reading.