One of my favorite archetypes to play in TCGs is Draw Go Control. There is something about playing a resource and then immediately passing almost every turn that I find immensely fun. Our opponent is left with the question of what are we passing with? Can we answer a troop? Constant? Are we hoping to draw more cards this turn or do we already have a grip full of answers?

Today I would like to share some thoughts on a Ruby Sapphire Draw Go Control deck I have been playing in this Dead of Winter standard format:

RS Draw Go Control

The inspiration for this deck came from our powerful finisher card:

Candlelight is really flexible as far as finishers go. In addition to making every action we play generate some addition values for the rest of the game, Candlelight doubles as spot removal and reach. The most important thing to keep in mind when playing Candlelight in this deck is that we are not a burn deck. We are a control deck trying to generate value from all of the plays that we make. This means it is often right to hold our Candlelights so they can be removal against many decks. That being said – against other control decks when we get a window where they have no resource available – play your Candlelight to ensure it resolves.

The core of every good control deck is the answers they are able to employ. Our best answers are a smattering of various interrupts:

Discombobulate may seem like on odd inclusion at a glance compared to more traditional three cost interrupts like Weave into Nothing, but the fact that Discombobulate only requires a single Sapphire threshold is often relevant. Past this the extra card generated from Discombobulate is useful against Blood decks playing mass discard as well as when activating Sahas’s champion power.

Dingle and Verdict of the Ancient Kings are more narrow interrupts, but they are also more resource efficient. To make up for some of these narrow cards, we also play some extremely flexible answers:

Runebind is less powerful in this shell than it is in some of the Dark Heart Control decks, but it is still fairly powerful. Runebind generates tempo for us against aggressive decks, while acting as an interrupt for opposing interrupts and cards that cost X against other control decks. Stifling Sting is fantastic against both aggressive and control decks – acting as removal when our opponent is playing to the board – or an interrupt against opposing actions. Keep in mind when playing Stifling Sting as an interrupt it interrupts everything on the chain that costs three or less – including our own actions.

We round out our removal in addition to Stifling Sting with a few other tools:

Primordial Sabretooth is the basic speed shame of our otherwise very quick deck. Sabretooth is just very powerful and gives us clean answers to larger troops like Crusaders and Shamrock, The Goldfather. Into the Unknown is our “catch all” answer to anything that has slipped past our interrupts. Constants, artifacts, troops – it can send them all back while turning them into something else.

Scars of War is our “catch up” card. It gives our deck not only a chance, but a generally favorable matchup against the “swarm” decks like Candles and Momentum. The added text of the troops not recovering from damage also lets multiple Scars of War team up over multiple turns to take down larger threats.

The last non-resources in our main deck are one of the most important things in every control deck – our sources of card advantage:

Runic Upheaval has quickly become my favorite card advantage in any TCG to date. Not only does it draw two cards for us, but it can often be two pieces of removal with the assistance of fateweave. While I mentioned in the first paragraph about Candlelight that we are not a Burn deck, occasionally Runic Upheaval will draw a Candlelight or Primordial Sabretooth. This often allows us to go from a controlling role, to one that is suddenly very aggressive.

Runic Riddles is certainly worse than Runic Upheaval, but sadly we are only allowed to play four copies of Upheaval and we want just a touch more card advantage than this most games.

The last couple of cards I want to mention in the main deck are two of our utility resources:

Coins have mostly fallen by the wayside since Ice came into play, but this deck is a good bit more resource-hungry than many in the format. In fact – we generally want to hit our first four resource drops every game. Because we do not have a early cantrip like Guidance to make this happen with a lower shard count, we simply play some coins so we have more resource early when we need them, but can cycle them out for something else in the late game.

Nameless Draught might seem a bit random, but the card it generates is good for many of the same reasons Discombobulate is good. The extra card is good against mass discard, fine with our Sahas power, and occasionally we get to bury a fateweave when our opponent kept a one resource hand with an ice and we get a free win.

Match Ups and Playing the Deck

I think this Ruby Sapphire Control deck is a fairly good metagame choice. It is strong against Blood based decks and Sapphire Diamond Control, while still having a decent game plan against aggressive decks like Ruby Diamond Candles and Diamond Wild Momentum. Where it tends to struggle a bit is against some of the more fringe decks in the format such as constants based control decks and aggressive decks with lots of troops that survive Scars of War.

One thing to keep in mind while playing this deck is that you do not want to use your champion power every time you have enough charges to do so. In general we want to use our champion power only when we have a handful of cards we do not care about, or when we need a specific answer ASAP.

VS Mono Blood

Playing against the Mono Blood deck tends to vary a good bit from game to game. Sometimes they curve Vampire Prince into Bride of the Damned and start applying pressure right away. Other times they curve Withering Gaze into Demented Whispers and disrupt our hand. Because of the range of draws they can produce, one of our best cards in this match up is Stifling Sting due to how flexible it is. Because we do not have any troops in our main deck, we often generate virtual card advantage in this matchup from our opponent drawing removal that is dead.

In
2 Confounding Ire
2 Dreamcall
1 Psychic Ascension
1 Verdict of the Ancient Kings

Out
2 Runebind
4 Scars of War

If they have constants such as Journey into Nightmare also trim two copies of Dingle to bring in our two copies of Disruptor Drone.

VS Sapphire-Diamond Control

The best piece of advice I can give in this match up is just because most of our cards can be played at quick speed does not mean they have to be played on our opponent’s turn. Often we pull ahead in this matchup by picking a fight during our opponent’s end step and then starting our next turn with a good chance to resolve the threat we really care about. The first Candlelight pulls us ahead, the second Candlelight is generally lights out.

Remember that our opponent’s deck does not have any reach in it – so feel free to use your health total as a resource when they deploy early threats. Also keep in mind that when they have a Dark Heart of Nulzann in play it will eat our runes at the start of our turn. We can often work around this some by using our champion power to retrigger our Runic cards the same turn we play them.

Their only card that really matters is Psychic Ascension. Candlelight can steal games after they resolve it, but it is easier to just not let PA resolve whenever possible.

In
1 Verdict of the Ancient Kings
1 Psychic Ascension
1 Dingle
2 Dreamcall

Out
4 Scars of War
1 Primordial Sabretooth

VS Diamond-Ruby Candles

Scars of War is a total ace in this match up. That being said – do not get greedy with it. Take your 3 or even 2 for 1s when they look appealing and preserve your health total. Keep in mind that Wax Dawn is an instant and can blow your Scars of War out in response if you are not careful.

In
1 Verdict of the Ancient Kings
3 Return to Cinder

Out
1 Dingle
1 Runebind
2 Into the Unknown

Something that is not immediately intuitive when playing against Candles is that your spot removal is good. Every Candle you kill early is one more they want to make before they start growing their wax troops larger. Melt them early and often.

VS Diamond-Wild Momentum

This matchup is a bit tougher than Candles, but still generally favorable for Ruby Sapphire. Exalted Pathfinder and Shamrock, the Goldfather are their most important cards so keep them off of the table at all costs. Keep in mind that Primordial Sabretooth’s effect will not give them a Lucky Coin from Goldfather so kill him with that whenever possible.

In
1 Dingle
3 Return to Cinder
2 Confounding Ire

Out
2 Verdict of the Ancient Kings
3 Runic Riddles
1 Runebind

VS Ruby-Sapphire Sockets

This matchup is the hardest of the popular aggro decks, but it is not unwinnable. The biggest trouble is that sometimes our answers are just going to line up poorly against the threats they draw. Sometimes you will be staring at a copy of Arcing Rust while you are getting run down by Quenchinator and Warpsteel Shardsworn and it will be very frustrating.

In
3 Arcing Rust
3 Return to Cinder
1 Dingle
2 Disruptor Drone

Out
2 Verdict of the Ancient Kings
2 Runebind
2 Discombobulate
3 Runic Riddles

Do not be afraid to trade off Disruptor Drone early inside of combat if it preserves your health total to do so. Drone is good in this matchup because it is essentially a spot removal / anti-banner split card.

Wrapping Up

If you are looking for a powerful, dynamic control deck to play in the Dead of Winter standard format then Ruby Sapphire Draw Go Control is likely the deck for you! It offers flexible, powerful answers to a variety of threats your opponents can present and will leave them guessing at what you are passing with every turn.

Have a question or comment about the deck that I did not cover in the article above? Let me know in a comment below.

Cheers,
~Jeff Hoogland

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Jeff
Jeff is a professional gamer who enjoys the competitive aspects of HEX: Shards of Fate. Constructed is his preferred format and he is always looking for that new piece of technology to give him a leg up on the competition.

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