Daily Digest: Shaheen Dreams

The Pro Tour was the return of control decks! The day after was their apparent death. Or so we thought! #SCGKNOX: you’re on notice. Control isn’t going anywhere!

Torrential Gearhulk was a breakout card at the last Pro Tour, but since then it has fallen out of favor as B/G Delirium and W/U Flash have taken over. That said, Torrential Gearhulk is an incredibly powerful card and it seems as though it you are able to package it with the best removal it should be able to be successful.

So what is the best removal spell in Standard? That’s an easy one. Grasp of Darkness.

For two mana, it kills everything from Smuggler’s Copter to Archangel Avacyn. It dodges any protection granted by Selfless Spirit and doesn’t lose you card advantage like Declaration in Stone or set you up for a potential blowout by a Disenchant effect like Stasis Snare. You can talk about Emrakul, the Promised End and Ishkanah, Grafwidow all you want, but to me, it’s having the best removal spell that elevates B/G as a color combination.

So let’s ditch those green creatures for some shiny blue spells, Magic the way it used to be. Murder and Ruinous Path are obvious inclusions for supplementary removal spells and Essence Extraction is a card that hasn’t gotten the love it deserves. It kills most early threats and the cumbersome extra mana is made up for by the lifegain, which is a nice option to have later in the game with your Torrential Gearhulks when you’re trying to stabilize from behind.

You have you standard suite of counterspells and card draw that can be customized to your liking, but the standouts here are the planeswalkers. Liliana, the Last Hope may not look like much since its -2 isn’t relevant until later on, but rebuying a Torrential Gearhulk will lock up a lot of games and having an early planeswalker can really keep the heat off of you against aggressive decks. They may spend a turn or two attacking your planeswalker and that’s all the time you need to overwhelm them in card advantage, even though you sacrificed some early material for position.

And keep in mind, if they don’t kill your Liliana, the Last Hope right away, you can just sit back and protect it with your reactive spells and fire off an ultimate that will end the game in short order. Sometimes Torrential Gearhulk needs a rest from putting the team on its back.

Obviously, Emrakul, the Promised End is going to be an issue for any control deck, so I like the inclusion of three copies of Summary Dismissal in the 75 and the sideboard copy of Lost Legacy. But without Emrakul mucking up the works, you should take over the long game against anything, which is exactly where a control deck needs to be positioned. You just need to have the best spells.