Pixels Pro Spotlight

Pixels Pro Spotlight: Amonkhet Gameday Winning Mardu Control

Taking home the Worthy Champion playmat at Amonkhet Gameday was Bryce Homick, who played what was essentially a White / Black control deck splashing a little red. Bryce took home the win after a final 3 game round vs. Naya Humans that had spectators unsure of the victor until the very end. Lets have a look at the deck!
Planeswalkers (3):
Spells (14):
Artifacts (8):
Enchantments (15):
Lands (20):
4x Swamp
2x Plains
So tell us a little about how you made your deck: I really liked Cruel Reality when I saw it spoiled, however without a way to ramp into casting it, the card is hard to get onto the battlefield, particularly vs any sort of control. I experimented a little with Cryptolith Rite in Golgari or Abzan, before returning to Inspiring Statuary, which I’d been brewing around for some time with a previous deck. After seeing Trespasser’s Curse and recalling how difficult Authority of the Consuls was vs Aggro, I realized that slowing down the relatively fast format was easy to do with the ramp that Inspiring Statuary provided. The three cards provided a pretty shocking turn 4 boardwipe, and realizing this, I decided to go creatureless, considering the amount of good removal in the format, and the amount of good creatures to begin with which I figured everyone would be playing. In testing, the deck performed admirably against any creature-based deck given the amount of removal.
What are the faults of your deck?: I think that the deck has a real hard time vs any sort of blue control. With roughly half the deck devoted to creature removal, game 1 vs counter magic is essentially a loss. I’m most particularly concerned with Blue/White Spirits, and Jeskai Control, both of which are real threats within our Meta.
How do you deal with bad matchups?: So the sideboard is essentially a 15-card swap vs control. Pulling out all the creature removal / interaction save spot-removal for gearhulks and the like allows me to play a lot more threat spells that force out countermagic before I can play a game winner. Ideally the opponent, realizing you’re playing creature-less also pulls out their removal spells, which allows Kambal and Herald of Anguish to harshly punish the opponent’s sideboarding.
What was your favorite moment from the Event? I’m torn between the entirety of the last round vs Ferron’s Naya Humans, and using Gideon’s Intervention twice in a row on turn 4 and 5 vs a control deck, preventing them from casting Torrential Gearhulk, and Dynavolt Tower.
What is your favorite card interaction in the deck? I discovered while playing that casting Planar Outburst for its awaken cost on Shambling Vent left me with a 6/7 lifelinking beater, which I had not forseen in brewing. Reminds me of emerging a Elder Deep fiend with a Kozilek’s Return in the graveyard. Seeing that in my hand while in white/black was a pretty cool moment.
What is your least favorite card in the deck? I’ve got a love/hate relationship with Midnight Oil. The consistent card advantage is great but it takes a bit of skill to figure out when the best time to play it is, as you end up getting to a point of top decking and losing life. Had to toss two boardwipes vs Naya Humans, which hurt to do, though at that point I reasoned that I had a 20% chance to hit another boardwipe due to the card draw. A part of me is wondering if Fevered Visions would be a better card, though adding another color might be more difficult.
Any decks would you like to play against? I’d like to see how it fares vs some of the top-tier decks, like Temur Aetherworks, Jeskai Control, U/W Spirits, or Mono-Black Zombies.
How are you going to change your deck after this last event? Well, one thing that I was sorely missing was any removal for planeswalkers, as shown by my one match loss, where my opponent dropped a Gideon on turn 3. Despite eventually drawing a Cast Out, there’s little interaction with planeswalkers. So I’m going to drop some cards for 4 Cast Outs in the main deck, and possibly add some Never // Returns to the sideboard. I’d also like to add some Gideon to the main deck, if I can trade into it somehow.
What’s Next? Well, I want to continue to play this deck, as it was my first foray into Control, and I want to learn to play that deck archetype well. Plus, there were a few players absent from the Game day that I’d like to test it against. I think I’ll probably run it another FNM or two, especially if I tune the deck a little more. My problem is I like brewing too darn much; so there’s a good chance that by the next event I’ll have something else I’ll want to run. I’m currently working on an Esper Servos combo deck that uses Panharmonicon/Anointed Procession and Mechanized Production, and a Temur Ramp deck that wins with Burn from Within and Sandwurm Convergence. I’m also fine tuning a variant of Saffron Olive’s Marvelous Whales deck.