This is a guide made by Skankhair over on the WotC boards:

-What is control?
-How does it win (tempo, card) + Win conditions (including fatties, X damage and milling/prison)?
-Expensive cards
-Control staples
-Basic control skeleton
-Draw and tutors
-How to play control (the power of Instants)
-What each color gives us / Mono lists
-Control primers
---Big Red
-Control/Combo (what's the difference?)
-Control/Combo primers
-Aggro/Control (what is it, how does it win, what is it for?)
-Aggro/Control primers
---Suicide Black
---The Rock


What is Control?

A Control deck is a deck that tries to stall the other player long enough for it to play a win condition- one that is hard to deal with and wins the game very quickly (or in some cases takes longer, but is a pretty safe bet).

Control is to do things that prevents the other player from accomplishing their gameplan. Rather than playing a card that will hurt the other player, Control is doing something that prevents the other player from hurting you. It's not quite the same thing as "defense", but you can think of it that way if it helps. One mistake a lot of new players make is thinking that lifegain and to a lesser extent, high toughness creatures, are a good defense. They are not. They are bad defense. The reason this is true is because gaining life and playing blockers may keep you alive for a bit, even long enough for you to drop your win condition, but it doesn't give you board position. So when you do drop your win condition, you'll still have to face a board full of enemy weenies- you didn't "erase" their first 4 or 5 turns, you just tolerated them. Rather than "just stalling" with blockers in lifegain, if you used removal, counter magic, bounce, board sweepers etc... when you drop your win condition, the board will be (more) clear. You will have supreme board position. So things like Holy Day and Nourish may seem good on paper, but they are actually bad control tactics.

Typical control cards (that are good) include Counterspell (a counter), Swords to Plowshares (targetted removal), Diabolic Edict (non-targetted removal), Wrath of God (board sweeper), Boomerang (bounce), Duress (hand disruption), Strip Mine (land destruction), and Orim`s Chant (tempo denial). Some of these cards are reactive (they react to what the other player did) and some are proactive (they strike the threats before they become threats).

The best way to think of it is: You want to REMOVE threats, not just stall them or tolerate them.


How does Control Win?

Any deck can run some control cards. But a "control" deck will dedicate most of it's deck space to them. To put it simply, a control deck seeks to stall the other player long enough to drop the mother of all win conditions. In other words, by using control (you can think of this as defense or stalling tactics), the control deck tries to stay alive long enough to play what is normally a very mana intensive win condition. Since these big, fat win conditions cost so much mana, a control deck can't play them on turn 1. So it stalls the game long enough to play the win condition without dying.

There are two ways to think about how control wins: Tempo advantage and card advantage. Before you read this section, make sure you understand what tempo and card advantage are. If you don't, read this:

Casual Player's Handbook

Imagine if one deck drops a Quicksilver Dragon on turn 1, while the other just drops a Savannah Lions. The next turn the Blue deck just counters whatever the White deck tries to play while beating face with the Dragon. Which deck do you think will win? Yeah, the Blue one. It generated massive tempo advantage by playing something that is VERY powerful for turn 1, and then spending mana to deny the other deck of it's further turns. Basically, the Blue deck got to us its turns to the fullest (and then some), while the White deck didn't get to use its turns nearly as much.

Control decks basically try to make turn 5, turn 1. They stall the game and try to erase the first 4 or 5 turns so that the turn in which they drop their Quicksilver Dragon is basically turn 1, because the other player didn't get to do anything for the first 4 or 5 turns. Control uses it's first several turns to erase the first several turns of the other deck, stalling the game into a point where the Control deck can make more of it's turns than the other deck can: Because on turn 6, with 6 land out, the Control deck will drop a fatty, while the aggro deck is still dropping things that cost 1 or 2 mana, and are good on turn 1 or 2, but bad on turn 6 (this means the control deck stalls the game to a point that it can make better use of its turns than the other deck). And if the aggro deck does drop something fat, the Control deck can generate even more tempo advantage by spending 2 or 3 mana to get rid of it (when a player spends all of their turn's mana to play something, and you use half of your mana to kill it and then get to use the other half of your mana to do something else, you generate tempo advantage).

The other side is card advantage. All things equal, cards are either answers or threats. All things equal, the player that draws the most cards, wins. Control decks have trouble trading answers for threats early on, partly because you have to pay mana to get card advantage and that basically means you trade tempo for cards, but try to generate card advantage over the course of the game. As the game goes on, the control deck *should* get more and more card advantage. Eventually the control deck will have such a card advantage that it can stop the other deck from doing anything. It will have more answers than the other deck has threats. There are 3 ways to do this:

-Draw/Discard (draw more cards than the other player, or use 1 card to make them discard 2 or more cards such as Deep Analysis and Hymn)
-Sweepers (using something like Wrath of God, which is 1 card, to kill 4 creatures, which are 4 cards).
-Virtual card advantage (to use something like Circle of Protection: Red to make all of the player's Red cards become "dead&#39.

To put it simply: Control is strong in the late-game. Control doesn't run out of cards like aggro tends to (and to a lesser extent, combo), and control is more able to make full use of the late turns than aggro (and to a lesser extent, combo). So Control stalls the game into the turns in which is is more powerful.

But what is your killswitch? Usually, it's a creature. A fatty. Good creatures to win with in control tend to have some kind of evasion (Flying, Trample, Fear etc...), end the game quickly (have high power), and are hard to kill (have high toughness or some way to evade removal). Some examples (some are better than others):

Quicksilver Dragon
Serra Angel
Mahamoti Djinn
Exalted Angel
Rainbow Efreet

But there are other ways too. Some control decks stall until they have enough mana to make a fatal X damage spell (such as Consume Spirit or Fireball), or, more often, they play two smaller X damage spells. Others just force the player to lose cards from their library until they cannot draw anymore. These are called "mil" decks. They often use things like Millstone and Grindstone to beat the other player. Other decks mil by creating a hard lock that forces the other player to do nothing each turn except draw, until they run out of cards. Decks like this may use Stasis, Kismet and Chronatog- which makes it so the other player cannot do anything, and you just skip all of your turns until they deck out. Decks that use X damage spells and milling generally have no creatures at all in the whole deck.


Expensive Cards

I will use this section to expose you to the cream of the crop control cards. These cards are the best at what they do, but are expensive. I want to cover them here because the tutorials and primers that follow in the guide will all be budget oriented. So I will not mention these cards even though they would be great in many of the decks I will cover. If you can get these cards, get them. Don't assume they are not good in a certain deck just because I don't mention it in the primer.

Exalted Angel- Basically, this is the best win condition ever. If your control deck has White in it, she is the best card to use as a win condition. But she costs 15 bucks a pop. Good budget replacements are Serra Angel and Blinding Angel.
Morphling- The second best win condition ever. This guy is top dog in decks that run Blue but not White. But be costs 25 bucks a pop. Budget replacements are Rainbow Efreet, Quicksilver Dragon, and Mahamoti Djinn.
Force of Will- FoW is the best counter ever. It stops virtually any spell, and does it for free. This means you can tap out and still counter something, or counter something before you have taken your first turn. You suffer card disadvantage when you use it, but it's worth the tempo advantage. FoW costs about 15 bucks a pop. If you can't afford it, well, things like Mana Leak and Counterspell can make due, but since FoW is free, they really don't do what FoW does. If you need a good early-game, free counter to prevent fast combo decks from going off on turn 1 or 2, I suggest Daze as a more FoW-like replacement. If you don't play against very fast decks, then your need for a fast, free counter like FoW goes down, and you can use Mana Leak and Counterspell rather than Daze.
Mana Drain- The second best counter ever. It's basically Counterspell, but gives you mana too. To counter something for 3 or 4 mana, and then drop a very early draw spell or win condition (at a huge discount) results in a massive tempo swing. You got to use your turn, AND part of theirs. This allows for very early game Morphlings, Exalted Angels and Fact or Fictions. But at 100 bucks a pop, Mana Drain isn't cheap. If you can't afford it, the basic Mana Leak and Counterspell will do fine.


In Progress




Mono-Blue Control

By Xoran

1. What's MUC?

Monoblue Control, has the nickname permission because of the tonload of countermagic, so your opponent really has to ask your permission to play his/her spell.

2. Can I make MUC on a budget?

Yes, MUC has fallen out of grace for tournaments so you should be able to make it quite cheap.

3. Deck Discription and decklist

4 Faerie Conclave
18 Island

The Conclave is a game-winner on it's own, it often attacks unblocked and gives you mana, and is very difficult to get rid off. Seize the power of manlands.


This is very difficult, because it depends of what your friends are playing. If your friend plays with affinity you shouldn't play Remove Soul but Energy Flux. Just to say that non-hard counters (all counters that don't say "counter target spell") leave room for evasion, in other words your opponent can get around them at some point.

Against creatures:

Remove Soul
Soul Barrier

Against artifacts:

Energy Flux

Against echantments:

Aura Flux

General non-hard counters:

Mana Leak
Condescend now you can completely forget Power Sink

Counters that you shouldn't use:


Those are counters that are subpar, unless you really have a good reason to use them, there are better things out in the field.

Card Draw:

Ok, now you can counter a lot, but still you see that a 4/4 Myr Enforcer is greeting you on the field, and in 5 turns the game'll be over, so what do you do? You draw cards to answer this dangerous thing, searching for options, like Unsummon or something familiar.

Good cheap card draw:

Accumulated Knowledge
Compulsion -> cycle all your cards for 1U
Deep Analysis
Brainstorm great with fetchlands or against Duress
Ophidian don't laugh, more experienced players will now this little snake. And if you don't like it you can still enjoy the magnificient artwork.


Cunning Wish comes to mind, in casual your complete instant binder becomes available to you. You have 1 card you need, well go get it. In other words with this card you can put 1-offs in your sideboard to fetch.

Mystical Tutor is better for 1-offs in your deck, you need something, well tutor for it.

The Kill:
Ok you've managed to maintain board superiority with blue, now it's time to set up your kill, preferable with something that can kill on it's own, without help. I know Morphling is one of the best, but we're talking about casual here.

Mistform Skyreaver
Quicksilver Dragon
Tidal Kraken

are very fine options and have evasion so your opponent can't easily kill them. 4 turns later, he should be dead.



W/R Slide uses Astral Slide and Lightning Rift along with many cycling cards to stall creature-based decks long enough to play enough land to drop one of it's fatties. It also runs many board sweeping effects to keep creature decks down and out. Slide can stall by Sliding out (Astral Slide) or killing (Lightning Rift, WoG, Akroma's Vengeance, Slide and Dice) creatures while it tries to draw one of its 2 win conditon creatures, or it can play an Exalted Angel early, and simply Slide her out before playing a Wrath of God effect.

Land (24):
3 Plains
3 Mountain
4 Secluded Steppe
4 Forgotten Cave
4 Drifting Meadow
4 Smoldering Crater
2 Battlefield Forge

Creatures (:
4 Exalted Angel
4 Eternal Dragon

Other Spells (2:
4 Astral Slide
4 Wrath of God
4 Akroma`s Vengeance
4 Renewed Faith
4 Lightning Rift
4 Slice and Dice
4 Fluctuator

Slide is a little slow to get stable, so fast aggro decks can run over it. If you play against a lot of fast aggro decks like Raffinity or Goblins, you will need to run more early defense. However, Slide is great in multiplayer games since multiplayer games are slower, allowing Slide to get stable before it gets killed, and with so many Wrath of God effects, Slide can keep any number of players (who use creature-based decks) totally controlled. Most control decks can't control more than 1 player, and thus suck in multiplayer games, but Slide is able to control many players at once and is a great control deck for multiplayer games.

Slide can be made for about 75 bucks.

There are also W/R/G and W/G versions of Slide which are designed to take advantage of Eternal Witness. They Slide her out to get cards back to their hand. I haven't used this deck much, so I can't do a primer on it right now, but I may expand on this section by adding a W/G list later.


Mono-Black Control

MBC runs a lot of creature and hand hate to destroy the other player's gameplan, and then drops some creatures to go in for the kill. The decklist I will post runs 4 Necropotence. This is one of the best cards ever printed and it is banned in every format other than T1 where it is restricted. In casual play however, you may run 4 if your playgroup allows. If they do, run 4. This deck is often called "Unrestricted Necro" now-a-days and is a very evil, powerful deck.

Nantuko Shade is a very popular MBC creature, and many MBC decks run X damage spells like Consume Spirit or Drain Life. I prefer creatures to the X spells, and I prefer Visara to the Shade (and most would call me crazy for that). So be aware of your options and use what you want to.

Land (20):
18 Swamp
2 Barren Moor

Creatures (6):
4 Hypnotic Specter
2 Visara the Dreadful

Other Spells (34):
4 Necropotence
4 Dark Ritual
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Duress
4 Chainer`s Edict
4 Diabolic Edict
4 Devour in Shadow / Rend Flesh
1 Yawgmoth`s Will
1 Yawgmoth`s Bargain
4 Ivory Tower

This deck costs about 100 dollars making it the second most expensive deck in this guide. The only deck more expensive is Ravager Affinity and I only posted that deck to show you what a "real" Affinity deck looks like since Broodstar Affinity isn't as good and is just a budget version of Raffinity now (though it was the top Affinity deck before Ravager came out). While this deck (MBC) is expensive, in a creature-dominated playgroup, it is easily the best deck I have covered in this guide. Even better than the more expensive Raffinity.

More expensive MBC decks run Wasteland, Strip Mine and Nevinyrral`s Disk.

Some new CoK cards to look into: Distress, Cranial Extraction, Kokusho, the Evening Star.


Big Red

Big Red is a mono-Red control deck that uses burn for creature removal (control) as well as for finishers along with Arc-Slogger. Being a T2 deck in the current T2 environment (as I write this, that includes 8th, Onslaught Block and Mirrodin Block), it has to deal with a lot of artifacts and a lot of Affinity. After the Champions (ChK) Block comes out, Big Red's card choices may change a bit, but the idea behind it will likely remain viable.

Here's a standard "real deal" example of T2 Big Red:

Land (20):
13 Mountain
4 Great Furnace
3 Blinkmoth Nexus

Creatures (:
4 Arc-Slogger
4 Solemn Simulacrum

Other Spells (32):
4 Fireball
4 Electrostatic Bolt
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Barbed Lightning
4 Detonate
4 Pulse of the Forge
4 Slice and Dice
4 Damping Matrix

This deck costs over 100 bucks. So let's try a budget version:

Land (20):
16 Mountain
4 Great Furnace

Creatures (3):
3 Arc-Slogger

Other Spells (37):
4 Fireball
4 Electrostatic Bolt
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Barbed Lightning
4 Detonate
4 Shock
4 Slice and Dice
4 Damping Matrix
3 Magma Jet
2 Starstorm

This version only costs about 50 bucks and can be brought down to 40 by replacing the 2 Starstorms with any 2 burn spells you have laying around.

These 2 decks are T2 legal as I write this (Onslaught, Mirrodin, 8th), but that is about to change as the Onslaught block will be cycling out. This is casual anyways, so let's try adding some older cards that aren't T2 legal at all, and let's make the deck less tweeked for the current T2 meta.

Land (20):
16 Mountain
4 Great Furnace

Creatures (3):
3 Arc-Slogger

Other Spells (37):
4 Fireball
4 Disintegrate
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Barbed Lightning
4 Seal of Fire
4 Shock
4 Slice and Dice
4 Incinerate
3 Magma Jet
2 Starstorm

And huzzah, there's a solid casual Big Red deck for about 40-50 bucks.

If you want to add a little non-T2 money to it, Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning would be great.



By Eldariel

Besides being French for 'perfect', Parfait is a mainly white mostly enchantment-based deck. Basic idea of the deck is to use the enchantments to control the game with tutor, and spell, backup. As said, it's a control deck. Eventually it aims to win through a win condition, with the old one being Sacred Mesa, more modern being Goblin Charbelcher (Land Tax empties the library of lands, so you'll be shooting for as much damage as there are cards left in your library) and Decree of Justice (much more effective in a control match-up), with the possible Exalted Angels for aggro (although, Parfait is one deck that can practically always handle aggro) and Mobilization as a modern-day Mesa (can't fly, but it makes Vigilant tokens and doesn't require saccing tokens) The deck runs from the draw engine of Land Tax+Scroll Rack with Tithe as an additional draw-source. Zuran Orb is oft-used as a means to define landcount to draw all the time. In Mirrodin, it gained a new, strong, addition. Isochron Scepter. A strong card-advantage source with Tithe, Swords to Plowshares, Abeyance, Argivian Find or Raise the Alarm (sometimes used as the draw engine with Skullclamp, else should not be played) and a real gamewinner with Enlightened Tutor. The deck likes to splash red for Blood Moon or blue for Cunning Wish (with sideboarded Enlightened Tutor along with utility), Back to Basics, maybe FoWs, and big bombs. The deck likes to have artifact mana to have Land Tax going without dropping behind in lands, but they're in no way a necessity.

Little Cherry Parfait list:

16 Mana (with Tithes and Taxes, it's enough with 14 White sources)
11 Plains
2 Plateau (you might sometimes want to run 1 Mountain to search for red sources with Land Tax, but Plateau works better, since it produces white, and Tithe can search for it)
1 Mox Diamond (goes nice with Tax)
1 Chrome Mox (sometimes a problem card, sometimes excellent)
1 Sol Ring

14 Draw/Tutor
4 Land Tax
4 Tithe
3 Scroll Rack
2 Zuran Orb
1 Enlightened Tutor

8 Engine Spells
4 Isochron Scepter
4 Argivian Find

20 Workhorse Spells
4 Swords to Plowshares (most casual metas are aggro-heavy, so 4 StPs keeps you alive. In more competetive metas, StP should be mainly 3-of or sided. Rack forgives bad draws pretty nicely though)
4 Orim´s Chant
2 Abolish (free Disenchant with that Tax)
1 Balance (it's too good not to include, especially with the amount of enchantments/artifacts, you have)
1 Aura of Silence
1 Seal of Cleansing
1 Humility
1 Moat (expensive, and not necessary, but very good against aggro. Ghostly Prison is a semi-replacement for this. Could also be extra Humilities)
2 Blood Moon (if your meta doesn't contain lots of non-basics, it's a no-brainer to get rid of this, and possibly the entire red)
1 Ivory Mask (could also be Solitary Confinement)

2 Goblin Charbelcher

3 Abeyance
1 Aura of Silence
3 Seal of Cleansing (against Standstill...)
1 Blood Moon
3 Decree of Justice
4 Powder Keg (also possible to run Tormod´s Crypt for extra graveyard hate, Nevinyrral´s Disk to kill 'em all or Ghostly Prison to slow down swarms or Rule of Law/Chalice of the Void to hurt combo and fast aggro. Be careful with Rule of Law though, against control it's a suicide, since it prevents you from chanting on your turn to cast spells)

That is a cheap version for semi-competetive meta. The total cost of the deck depends much on how you decide to build it, but with White cards being cheap nowadays, you should be able to put a good one together with 70. Kill is out for debate, Charbelcher is a 1-hit kill, but only goes active late in the game, since you'll need to first cast Chant/Abeyance against control to ensure no counters, then cast Charbelcher. The deck can kill early if you aim for that (leading with turn 1 land-ring, turn 2 land-Charbelcher, turn 3 kill, but with still about 10 lands in library, it isn't guaranteed). However, remember that with a card advantage engine such as Land Tax, your primary objective should be to get Tax/Rack/Orb online, to thin out the land and to get business spells to deal with the opponent. The Charbelcher is only formality after that.

There are plenty of other possible builds, with everything from draw/tutor to business spells to kill varying. Parfait is a highly customizable deck. One thing worth noting, if you don't run Charbelcher kill, cards like Strip Mine, Serra´s Sanctum and Karakas would be to be added (don't forget about Wastelands against more non-basic owning enemies). But, they all compromise the reliability of Belcher, so I opted not to include them.



Psychatog is a Blue/Black control deck (though some versions run Red, White and/or Green as well) that stalls the other player long enough to build up it's graveyard and then attack with a huge Tog. Most Tog decks try to get to 9 land to play Upheaval and float 3 extra mana to play a Tog after Upheaval resolves. The next turn it attacks with the Tog, discards it's hard, removes it's graveyard and does about 25 damage.

However, I prefer using Shadow Rift and Sunder instead of Upheaval. Why?

After an Upheaval, the other player gets a turn (since your Tog just came into play and can't attack). This gives them a chance to play a 1cc creature to block.

With Shadow Rift, Tog cannot be blocked by a 1cc creature. And with Sunder, the Tog stays in play, so he can attack that turn. Also, since you don't have to float any mana, you don't need as much land and can "go off" sooner.

Lastly, since after Upheaval you must discard down to 7 at the end of your turn, with with Sunder and Shadow Rift you can go off that turn, you don't need to discard down and can usually feed the Tog more than 7 or 8 cards.

So, I find the Shadow Rift/Sunder combo to be much faster. Also, you can win by just playing Shadow Rift and no Sunder. So it's not really a two-card combo. You just need 1. Sunder just lets you go off sooner. Gush can also help you go off sooner, so it doubles as card draw, or a 3rd and 4th Sunder. Against many decks you can even keep all of their blockers off the board and attack unblocked without Shadow Rift.

Land (21):
10 Island
5 Swamp
4 Salt Marsh
2 Cephalid Coliseum

Creatures (3):
3 Psychatog

Other Spells (36):
4 Diabolic Edict
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Counterspell
4 Snap
4 Echoing Truth
4 Fact or Fiction
2 Sunder
4 Gush
2 Shadow Rift
4 Isochron Scepter

Tog can have trouble with fast aggro since it can't do much to stop aggro for the first 2 turns, but it can come back and get control of the board, even against fast aggro decks as long as you know when to mulligan and when to keep. Tog is great against combo, aggro/combo and combo/control.

Tog is a proven decktype that has dominated T2 (when it was T2 legal), Extended (it is still a top Extended deck), T1.5 and it's T1 variant (Hulk), while falling out of favor now, was once the top deck.

Extended Tog decks can cost anywhere from 30 to 100 dollars (or more). This one will be about 60 or 70.



Wouldn't it be nice to have a Mirari`s Wake in play on turn 1? You get to make double mana and your creatures get +1/+1. That sure would be nice... but outside of T1, 5 mana on turn 1 is hard to come by.

The decktype "Wake" tries to get the same effect as a turn 1 Mirari's Wake by stalling the other player with control until it can make the 5 mana it needs to play Wake. Since you keep the board clear until the turn 4 or 5 that you drop Wake, it's essentially turn 1.

Wake, like many decks, started as a T2 deck. It was traditionally Blue, White and Green. Since the concept of Wake isn't good enough to cut it in the more powerful formats, we never really got to see what a Wake deck would look like if it got to use cards outside of the T2 legal sets of the time. But this is casual, so we can make Wake without boundries (other than budget).

To keep costs down, I've decided to make this Wake deck simply White and Green. With the additional tools that White gives us outside of Wake's T2 start, I don't think we *NEED* Blue. Adding Blue will help, that is certain, but with the decks hard to pay for color requirements (such as Wrath of God's double White), the amount of money you'd need to spend to make the deck run smoothly at 3 colors is fairly high. Keeping it at 2 colors saves us some money.

Here is what I consider to be a pretty good, budgety, casual W/G Wake deck:

Land (24):
12 Plains
8 Forest
4 Brushland

Creature [and creature effects] (:
4 Decree of Justice
4 Exalted Angel

Other Spells (2:
4 Wrath of God
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Moment`s Peace
4 Mirari`s Wake
4 Wing Shards
3 Armageddon
3 Renewed Faith
2 Mirari

Because WoG and Exalted Angel are about 10 bucks each, this deck is pretty close to 100 bucks. But you can cut the Angels and run 4 more control cards in their place if you'd like. If the cards you add are cheap, that saves about 40 bucks.

Note that you play Armageddon AFTER you play Wake and AFTER you play Decree. You can rebuild from it much faster, and it pretty much shuts down the other player's deck: stopping them from finding answers to your legion of Soldier tokens.

If you'd like to add Blue, some good cards to use are:

-Mana Leak
-Deep Analysis
-Cunning Wish
-Echoing Truth

I've also thought about adding Llanowar Elves to help get Wake out a turn sooner, or to serve as a chump blocker in a pinch, but I'm not sure how well they would work out. Birds of Paradise would be even better, but would easily put the deck over the 100 dollar limit I would like to stick to with this guide.

Another great card to add would be Balance. It's fairly cheap (4 or 5 bucks) and could go in for the Exalted Angels if you'd like. I'm reluctant to list it in the deck because it can stunt your land growth, but after some testing it may prove to be a great addition to the deck. It's easily one of the most powerful cards ever printed, but against low mana curve aggro decks, it can stall you nearly as much as it stalls them by killing your lands.

And keep in mind that these prices are only if you get a bit of a deal. With the other decks in this guide, I gave you worst-case estimates for the cost of the deck. So if you are surprised at the price of the deck when you buy it, I want you to be pleasantly surprised. Wake is full of many 5-15 dollar cards, so to keep the cost of the deck under 100 bucks, you'll need to search for better deals than you do with the other decks in this guide. So in this Wake primer, I'm giving you best case estimates of cost, not worst case. So be prepared to have to hunt for the best deals with this deck.

Here is Zink's 2003 World-winning (T2) Wake deck: ipdecks2003&decknum=1&lang=en


Suicide Black

Suicide Black is a Black aggro/control deck designed to beat control and have a better chance against combo than pure aggro does. The drawbacks of the creatures and other spells don't matter at all against control and combo, making them very good deals in terms of effect/mana. Against aggro, however, the downside of cards like Phyrexian Negator can hurt a little bit. However the lifeloss from things such as Carnophage and Necropotence are pretty much always worth the gains.

If you play against mainly aggro decks, you may want to drop Phyrexian Negator, and maybe add Consume Spirit or Ivory Tower to help you get more use out of Necropotence. This isn't to "gain life" per se, but rather to give you more life points to turn into more cards. Against combo and control the game should end long before you start to run out of Necropotence fodder (life), but if your creatures are being blocked you may need to draw 7 cards 1-3 times with Necropotence to keep the assault going, so you'll need a way to get some more Necro-food.

Mana (20):
16 Swamp
4 Dark Ritual

Creatures (16):
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Phyrexian Negator
4 Nantuko Shade
4 Carnophage

Removal (10):
4 Diabolic Edict
4 Chainer`s Edict
2 Devour in Shadow

Discard (10):
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Duress
2 Distress

Draw (4):
4 Necropotence

More options:

Cabal Therapy
Twisted Experiment

If you want to make the deck T1 legal, drop 3 Necropotence for 1 Yawgmoth`s Bargain and 2 Night`s Whisper. Or you could drop a Night's Whisper for a Demonic Tutor and use it to grab Necropotence.

Here's a dirt budget Suicide Black deck I whipped up for an aggro meta. No card costs more than about a buck (or buck and a half at worst):

Mana (24):
15 Swamp
1 Barren Moor
4 Dark Ritual

Creatures (20):
4 Dauthi Slayer
4 Dauthi Horror
4 Flesh Reaver
4 Carnophage
4 Black Knight

Removal (4):
4 Devour in Shadow

Discard (:
4 Duress
4 Distress

Draw (4):
4 Night`s Whisper



By: Xoran

1. What's Fish?

Fish is a T1 or T1.5 deck that works with little creatures and very cheap countermagic for the win. The deck's base is blue with often a little red splashed in for removal-burn.

2. Can I make Fish on a budget?

Yes you can, but you'll not be able to do tournaments with it. Fish can be cuild quite cheap, because most cards are commons or uncommons.

3. Deck discription and decklist


4 Great Furnace
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Faerie Conclave
2 Mountain
8 Island

Let's go over this first. As you see blue is the main color and red is only their to clear the way to your victory. But the Conclave is what makes the deck tick even more. Here you have a 2/1 Flyer every turn that is very difficult to remove.


4 Cloud of Faeries
4 Spiketail Hatchling
4 Razorfin Hunter
3 Thought Courier
3 Qumulox

The Faeries are essentialy 0 mana cost 1/1 Flyer, but they can also untap your conclave so that they give mana in the same turn, or can attack and give mana, whatever suits you most. The Hatchling is a very annoying critter the often counters lots of spells.

The Hunter takes out little critters, I know that Vulshok Sorcerer is better, but with the double red in her cost, she doesn't fit here. Your Courier gives you fresh cards, while discarding annoying ones. You could try Whirlpool Rider or even Whirlpool Warrior too, but I find the Courier quite good.

Qumulox is a budget finisher, with some arti's in play he's most of the time a 5/4 Flyer for 4 even lower, depending on the situation.

Other Spells:

Here we have the real treats of Fish.

4 Daze
4 Gush
4 Thoughtcast
4 Pentad prism
4 Sunken city

Daze is a perfect counter in Fish, just playtest it and you'll find out yourself. The same goes up for Gush, completely tapped out? Well you still can draw 2 cards extra, wow sign me in anytime.

Thoughtcast works best at or lower of course, but still it's a good drawer that deserves testing. The Prism is one of the best commons printed in Mirrodin block imo, it helps filtering your enemy color mana base perfectly. The City at last is the tool to finish your opponent off, all 2/2 Flyers, a 3/2 Conclave and a 6/5 Qumulox, are most of the time quite deadly.

The last card is optional, you can easily fit in something different (I just pick this one because it's one of my favorite commons of all time):

4 Quicksilver Dagger

Ping, and blue's perfect harmony.

4 Putting money in

You like Fish? Good. Ah you want to play tournaments with it, or you just want to knock out your friends 200 dollar Ravager

deck? Great. Here's what you got to do:

Daze -> Force of Will BEST.....COUNTER.....EVER.....STOP

Volcanic island -> 2 is most of the time enough if you have fetchlands like:

Polluted Delta or Flooded Strand

Diminishing Returns

Arcane Denial



Madness uses cards that allow you to discard from your hand, and cards that can be played for cheap from the graveyard, or as they are being discarded from your hand. It is an aggro/control deck that can take on pure aggro thanks to it's cheap fatties. This is a very popular and proven deck. Sort of like yesterday's Affinity (that's not to say it's dated now, but rather that it was the popular aggro-ish deck before Mirrodin came out- in fact in many metas, Madness is better than Raffinity).

Land (22):
8 Forest
10 Island
4 Yavimaya Coast

Creatures (22):
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Wild Mongrel
4 Arrogant Wurm
2 Roar of the Wurm
3 Wonder
3 Waterfront Bouncer
2 Aquamoeba

Other Spells (16):
4 Careful Study
4 Daze
4 Circular Logic
4 Deep Analysis

This deck can be made for about 40-60 bucks.