You CAN Play Type I #86: The Control Player’s Bible, Part XXXIV – Head to Head With Fish

Today, we explore the most basic of all blue-based aggro-control decks. It’s called Fish by default, but you also know it as Merfolk and Skies. Fish, as we noted last week, suffers from the classic weakness of having weenies that are pathetic in combat. If you’re playing control or combo, however, that doesn’t really help you, because you’re not going to do a lot of that. Examining a game against Fish will help you analyze the more complex aggro-control decks we’ll move on to later.

Win THREE Moxes at Virginia Vintage II… this Saturday in Richmond, VA!

(The current index for”The Control Player’s Bible” is included at the end of this column.)

The rumor that two Dülmen regulars were crazy enough to enter the tournament with colored proxy cards was apparently exaggerated. Contrary to initial rumors, no one was disqualified, though match losses had to be handed. The cards – one player had a proxy Mox while another had a proxy Mox and Library – were in the tournament decks by mistake, and the offending players were allowed to replace them with the real ones. The organizers of the German tournament, however, announced random deck checks for future events.

This comes straight from Oliver Daems, and he will post a similar announcement on his website, www.morphling.de. The two veterans, however, will forever remain nameless, unless they lend their embarrassed faces to a campaign to support unsanctioned proxy tournaments.

Head to Head: Fish

In August 1995, Paul Pantera posted on MTG-STRATEGY-L:”[World Champion Zak Dolan] has 0 DC points for this year because he refuses to play anyone because he loses. To this deck. It has won pretty much every tournament in this area (the Bay area) in the last six months. Around here, it’s known as ‘The Deck.’ No one has been able to make a deck which consistently beats it and can still hold its own.”

Around 1997, Brian Weissman, to whom Paul attributed the deck he was talking about, designed a deck to beat”The Deck”: The Roc Deck.

Roc Deck, about 1997, Brian Weissman, from e-mail

Disruption (5)

4 Mana Drain

1 Amnesia

Removal (11)

4 Swords to Plowshares

4 Lightning Bolt

3 Disenchant

Card Drawing (6)

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Braingeyser

4 Jayemdae Tome

Victory conditions (6)

2 Phantom Monster

3 Roc of Kher Ridge

1 Mirror Universe

Utility (3)

1 Time Walk

1 Timetwister

1 Recall

Mana (29)

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Emerald

1 Sol Ring

4 Fellwar Stone

4 Strip Mine

1 Library of Alexandria

2 City of Brass

4 Tundra

4 Volcanic Island

3 Plateau

Sideboard (15)

1 Zuran Orb

1 Amnesia

4 Red Elemental Blast

3 Circle of Protection: Red

2 Disrupting Scepter

2 Dust to Dust

1 Mana Short

1 Azure Drake 😛

If you look at it from a 1997 perspective, you’ll see that it was an old aggro-control deck. Play a quick flier (to get around Moat, which was standard over The Abyss back then) and win before the control deck can get its act together. As you can see, control and aggro-control have a long, colorful relationship.

Today, we explore the most basic of all blue-based aggro-control decks. It’s called Fish by default, but you also know it as Merfolk and Skies. Fish, as we noted last week, suffers from the classic weakness of having weenies that are pathetic in combat. If you’re playing control or combo, however, that doesn’t really help you, because you’re not going to do a lot of that. And make no mistake, going mono blue still leaves aggro-control with a lot of tricks, down to Back to Basics.

Examining a game against Fish will help you analyze the more complex aggro-control decks we’ll move on to later. We credit Marc Perez, a.k.a. Phantom Tape Worm on Beyond Dominia, for developing the Type I version and Paul Shriar, a.k.a. Bebe, for pimping and tweaking further. Today, however, helping is out is Koen van der Hulst, who later won the May 2003 Castricum some time after this game.

02:08:03 – Rakso is requesting a new game.

02:08:12 – Thug is requesting a new game.

02:08:13 – — Thug says: ”The eyes of the world are upon you, better think twice before acting”

02:08:13 – — Rakso says: ”Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”

02:08:18 – Thug says:’play’

02:08:19 – Rakso drew 7 cards.

02:08:24 – Rakso says:’yecch’

02:08:27 – Thug drew 6 cards.

02:08:56 – Thug says:’Ill keep this hand…too good’

02:08:59 – Thug says:’;)’

I walk silently in the fortress corridor, keeping vigil over my lord and his family. Neither breeze nor moon keep me company on this lonely night, and a sigh leaves my lips, one as heavy as my armor and my swords.

02:09:01 – It is now turn 1.

02:09:02 – Thug plays Island.

02:09:03 – Island is tapped.

02:09:04 – Thug plays Ancestral Recall.

02:09:06 – Rakso says:’k’

02:09:09 – Thug drew 3 cards.

Only the faint scrape of metal against stone signals danger. I rush through the corridor, throw open the door, and stare at the empty outer walk and the equally empty midnight sky.

I don’t have a particularly strong hand here, but he mulliganed into a God hand. Note that you normally cast a first-turn Ancestral Recall during the opponent’s upkeep so you bypass your own discard phase, but here, he’s at exactly seven cards, having mulliganed.

02:09:17 – It is now turn 2.

02:09:20 – Rakso draws a card.

02:09:24 – Rakso plays Underground Sea.

02:09:26 – Rakso plays Mox Sapphire.

02:09:27 – Rakso plays Mox Pearl.

My hand lowers instinctively to the hilt of my blade…

There’s no need to drop the Mox Pearl – but then again, he’s probably not running Gorilla Shaman or Powder Keg, and I may want to use my Cunning Wish before my next turn.

02:09:28 – It is now turn 3.

02:09:32 – Thug draws a card.

02:09:35 – Thug plays Island.

02:09:38 – Island is tapped.

02:09:38 – Island is tapped.

02:09:40 – Thug plays Rootwater Thief.

02:09:50 – Underground Sea is tapped.

02:09:51 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.

02:09:53 – Rakso plays Mana Drain.

02:10:05 – Thug plays Misdirection.

02:10:07 – Thug moves Curiosity from Thug’s hand to Thug’s removed from game pile.

Soundlessly, an object – a metal hook, I later find out – latches onto my belt. Even as I turn around, a cord snakes across my back and around my neck. I thrust my elbow back and am rewarded with a grunt. A strong tug on the rope and an ankle planted against mine throw me onto my back.

Now, his second turn illustrates the aggro-control game plan very well. I have a deck that can outcounter and outdraw him, but just not this early when I’ve just played one land. His deck gets to break some of the one land per turn rule by using free counterspells like Force of Will and Misdirection, and using more of them than”The Deck” does.

Thus, he ends up trading two cards for my Mana Drain – but he has the Rootwater Thief on the table. This card is useless against many decks, but he only needs two attacks (for two Morphling) before I’m reduced to trying to deck him.

02:10:14 – It is now turn 4.

02:10:16 – Rakso draws a card.

02:10:20 – Rakso plays Wasteland.

02:10:25 – Underground Sea is tapped.

02:10:26 – Wasteland is tapped.

02:10:26 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.

02:10:28 – Rakso plays Cunning Wish.

02:10:31 – Thug says:’k’

02:10:38 – Rakso moves Cunning Wish from Rakso’s graveyard to Rakso’s removed from game pile.

02:10:46 – Rakso creates new card: Swords to Plowshares.

02:10:47 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:10:48 – Rakso plays Swords to Plowshares.

02:10:54 – Thug removes Rootwater Thief from the game.

02:10:55 – Thug’s life is now 21. (+1)

The blade of a sickle follows my head down. My short sword, half-drawn in the fall, rises and blocks the handle, the blade half an inch from my forehead.

On the other hand, this is the kind of play that makes you kiss Cunning Wish. Now you see the downside of the aggro-control game plan: He’s still down one card in terms of card advantage, but there’s no more Thief on the table. His momentum has been blunted and he has to get his second wind now.

That Ancestral Recall, however, still leaves him with a lot of steam.

02:10:56 – It is now turn 5.

02:11:04 – Thug draws a card.

02:11:07 – Thug plays Mishra’s Factory.

02:11:09 – Mishra’s Factory is tapped.

02:11:10 – Island is tapped.

02:11:11 – Thug plays Time Walk.

02:11:13 – Rakso says:’k’

02:11:16 – Island is untapped.

02:11:16 – Mishra’s Factory is untapped.

02:11:16 – Thug draws a card.

02:11:18 – Thug plays Island.

02:11:21 – Island is tapped.

02:11:21 – Mishra’s Factory is tapped.

02:11:25 – Thug plays Rootwater Thief.

02:11:26 – Rakso says:’k’

02:11:28 – Island is tapped.

02:11:29 – Island is tapped.

02:11:31 – Thug plays Standstill.

02:11:33 – Rakso says:’k’

I push up on my blade and desperately roll onto one knee. The black-clad figure jumps back and throws a round object. I turn on reflex, and the hollow eggshell shatters against the side of my helmet into a spray of sand, ginger, and pepper.

Now this is bad, and you can see how good his draw was. He has four mana on the table, two attackers, and a Standstill to preserve his momentum – more than enough to throw a monkeywrench into any counterattack.

Standstill is something to expect from mono-blue Fish decks, since Gush is just one card net and other options like Coastal Piracy are too cumbersome. It’s exploited with four copies of Mishra’s Factory and four more Faerie Conclaves, which don’t activate the Standstill.

This enchantment favors the player with something already on the board, and that player is rarely”The Deck.” Aggro-control decks, on the other hand, aim for early weenies, as you saw.

02:11:34 – It is now turn 6.

02:11:35 – Rakso says:’dead’

02:11:37 – Rakso draws a card.

02:11:38 – Rakso plays Undiscovered Paradise.

02:11:44 – Underground Sea is tapped.

02:11:45 – Undiscovered Paradise is tapped.

02:11:45 – Wasteland is tapped.

02:11:46 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.

02:11:46 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:11:47 – Rakso plays Mind Twist.

02:11:49 – Rakso says:’4′

02:11:57 – Rakso says:’mise’

02:12:25 – Thug says:’;)’

02:12:27 – Thug buries Standstill.

02:12:29 – Thug says:’sure’

02:12:30 – Thug drew 3 cards.

02:12:33 – Thug plays Force of Will.

02:12:34 – Thug moves Lord of Atlantis from Thug’s hand to Thug’s removed from game pile.

02:12:35 – Rakso says:’drew a blue card? ‘

02:12:35 – Thug’s life is now 20. (-1)

02:12:35 – Rakso says:’yeah’

I listen desperately for footfalls, willing my vision back. Wild swings of my sword keep him at bay.

I have nothing to do and am about to lose to the Rootwater Thief. I try to swap a card I can’t really use right now and draw counters. I guess it works, and he has fortunately used the Misdirection in his hand already. I commit a Mind Twist to the plan, and:

-1 card (Opponent loses Standstill)

+3 cards (Opponent draws three cards)

-1 card (Opponent moves Force of Will from his hand to his graveyard)

-1 card (Opponent removes Curiosity from the game)

Not so bad. He can get all the other attackers he wants but right now, I need to kill that Thief somehow.

02:12:40 – It is now turn 7.

02:12:44 – Thug draws a card.

02:12:48 – Island is tapped.

02:12:51 – Mishra’s Factory is attacking.

02:12:52 – Rootwater Thief is attacking.

02:12:53 – Rakso’s life is now 17. (-3)

02:12:55 – Island is tapped.

02:12:56 – Island is tapped.

02:12:57 – Thug says:’cap’

02:13:46 – Rakso moves Morphling from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s removed from game pile.

02:13:53 – Thug says:’shuffle it’

02:13:54 – Rakso is shuffling library…

02:13:59 – Thug says:’it was on top’

02:14:00 – Thug says:’;)’

02:14:03 – Rakso says:’darn’

02:14:03 – Thug plays Faerie Conclave.

02:14:04 – Faerie Conclave is tapped.

It was a pretty good draw, with a second manland to apply pressure under Standstill. The first Morphling goes…

02:14:06 – It is now turn 8.

02:14:12 – Rakso moves Undiscovered Paradise from tabletop to Rakso’s hand.

02:14:14 – Rakso draws a card.

02:14:26 – Rakso plays Undiscovered Paradise.

02:14:28 – Undiscovered Paradise is tapped.

02:14:30 – Rakso plays Gorilla Shaman.

02:14:31 – Wasteland is tapped.

02:14:36 – Thug buries Mishra’s Factory.

02:14:37 – Rakso buries Wasteland.

Or so I think, as the sickle slashes across my left thigh.

Still nothing much I can do. I try to kill one attacker and decrease his activation mana…

02:14:38 – It is now turn 9.

02:14:43 – Thug draws a card.

02:14:50 – Thug plays Island.

02:14:52 – Island is tapped.

02:14:53 – Island is tapped.

02:14:55 – Faerie Conclave is attacking.

02:14:55 – Rootwater Thief is attacking.

02:14:59 – Rakso buries Gorilla Shaman.

02:15:01 – Rakso’s life is now 15. (-2)

Somehow, through an impossible stroke of luck, the guard of my small blade collides with the head of his weapon, sending both clattering to the floor.

From here, you already saw how quickly an aggro-control deck can get going. This second attack should have taken the other Morphling, but I think Koen wondered why I wasn’t conceding yet and played conservatively. Instead of practically losing, I lose the Shaman and my second of three damage sources instead.

02:15:03 – It is now turn 10.

02:15:06 – Rakso moves Undiscovered Paradise from tabletop to Rakso’s hand.

02:15:06 – Rakso draws a card.

02:15:11 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.

02:15:13 – Rakso moves Brainstorm from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.

02:15:17 – Thug says:’k’

02:15:20 – Rakso drew 3 cards.

02:15:44 – Rakso plays a card facedown.

02:15:46 – Rakso plays a card facedown.

02:15:52 – Rakso moves a facedown card to Rakso’s library.

02:15:53 – Rakso moves a facedown card to Rakso’s library.

02:15:55 – Rakso plays Mox Ruby.

02:15:57 – Rakso plays Black Lotus.

02:16:02 – Underground Sea is tapped.

02:16:03 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:16:05 – Rakso plays Demonic Tutor.

02:16:09 – Thug says:’k’

02:16:16 – Rakso moves The Abyss from Rakso’s library to tabletop.

02:16:17 – Rakso is shuffling library…

02:16:18 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:16:20 – Rakso buries Black Lotus.

I stagger back, eyes clearing, and draw my sword in a fluid stroke. My attacker stands before me, wrapped in black cloth, with only a single slit through which I stare into empty eyes for a drawn-out moment. He draws his own sword, mirroring my movement…

His conservative play gives me one turn too many, though. I topdeck Brainstorm, use Demonic Tutor to move garbage like that Undiscovered Paradise back into my library, and turn the tables.

02:16:30 – It is now turn 11.

02:18:50 – Thug buries Rootwater Thief.

02:18:55 – Thug draws a card.

02:19:01 – Thug plays Island.

02:19:01 – Island is tapped.

02:19:02 – Island is tapped.

02:19:02 – Faerie Conclave is attacking.

02:19:05 – Rakso’s life is now 13. (-2)

He takes a step forward, tentatively holding a shorter, straighter blade with a square guard. Seeing my eyes clear and the full length of my blade readied, he pauses, surprise lost.

I’m still in the game, but I still haven’t dealt with his fourth attacker.

02:19:07 – It is now turn 12.

02:19:08 – Rakso draws a card.

02:20:36 – Rakso says:’hmmm’

02:20:40 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.

02:20:41 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:20:42 – Rakso plays Merchant Scroll.

02:20:46 – Thug says:’k’

02:21:23 – Rakso moves Fire / Ice from tabletop to Rakso’s hand.

I sense his hesitation and in less than an eyeblink, advance on him. My frustration is released in a howl that will surely draw the rest of the household guard.

This shows you another nuance of playing against blue-based aggro control. The obvious choice here would be to tutor for Ancestral Recall and reload. However, I expended a good part of my hand fending off those Thieves, and can’t protect it. Still, the chance of Misdirection in his depleted hand is small at this point. With The Abyss already neutralizing a lot of his cards, I nevertheless focus on relieving pressure, noting he may yet topdeck any of the six remaining manlands soon..

02:21:24 – It is now turn 13.

02:21:30 – Thug draws a card.

02:21:33 – Island is tapped.

02:21:34 – Island is tapped.

02:21:35 – Faerie Conclave is attacking.

02:21:36 – Underground Sea is tapped.

02:21:37 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:21:39 – Rakso plays Fire/Ice.

02:21:41 – Rakso says:’1/1′

02:21:42 – Thug’s life is now 19. (-1)

02:21:44 – Thug buries Faerie Conclave.

02:21:47 – Thug plays Mishra’s Factory.

He shifts into a guard position, perhaps wondering how to win a duel against an opponent with a real sword. Suddenly, he throws his long scabbard straight at my face.

He does, but I’ve stabilized.

02:21:49 – It is now turn 14.

02:21:52 – Rakso draws a card.

02:21:53 – It is now turn 15.

02:21:57 – Thug draws a card.

02:22:00 – Island is tapped.

02:22:01 – Mishra’s Factory is attacking.

02:22:03 – Rakso’s life is now 11. (-2)

02:22:05 – Thug plays Faerie Conclave.

02:22:05 – Faerie Conclave is tapped.

He gets a second manland and four power on the table, despite The Abyss.

02:22:06 – It is now turn 16.

02:22:07 – Thug says:’heh’

02:22:09 – Rakso draws a card.

02:22:10 – It is now turn 17.

02:22:15 – Thug draws a card.

02:22:25 – Thug plays Library of Alexandria.

02:22:26 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.

02:22:28 – Mishra’s Factory is attacking.

02:22:29 – Island is tapped.

02:22:29 – Island is tapped.

02:22:31 – Faerie Conclave is attacking.

02:22:40 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:22:43 – Rakso plays Swords to Plowshares.

02:22:47 – Thug removes Mishra’s Factory from the game.

02:22:48 – Thug’s life is now 21. (+2)

02:22:49 – Rakso’s life is now 9. (-2)

I slash at it without thought, but in that instant of distraction, he turns around and runs into the door I came from.

I kill yet another attacker, but I need to stabilize before all those pinpricks get me.

02:22:52 – It is now turn 18.

02:22:55 – Rakso draws a card.

02:22:58 – Underground Sea is tapped.

02:22:58 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.

02:22:59 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:22:59 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:23:01 – Rakso plays Braingeyser.

02:23:02 – Thug says:’wheres my response’

02:23:03 – Thug says:’;)’

02:23:11 – Thug says:’k’

02:23:13 – Rakso drew 2 cards.

02:23:16 – Rakso plays Flooded Strand.

02:23:17 – It is now turn 19.

02:23:21 – Thug draws a card.

02:23:25 – Thug plays Island.

02:23:26 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.

02:23:26 – Island is tapped.

02:23:28 – Faerie Conclave is attacking.

02:23:30 – Rakso’s life is now 7. (-2)

I hear confused shouts in the distance, but have no time to wait for my comrades. I rush in after him, then cry out in pain, a caltrop sticking out from under one sole. I brush away the offending piece of metal, sweep two more to one side with my foot, and hurry after the mysterious assailant.

Fortunately for me, he’s drawing a little too much land for a land-light aggro-control deck. Still, I have just a few turns left.

02:23:31 – It is now turn 20.

02:23:33 – Rakso buries Flooded Strand.

02:23:34 – Rakso’s life is now 6. (-1)

02:23:48 – Rakso moves Tundra from Rakso’s library to tabletop.

02:23:52 – Rakso draws a card.

02:23:55 – Underground Sea is tapped.

02:23:55 – Tundra is tapped.

02:23:56 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:23:57 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.

02:23:58 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:23:59 – Rakso plays Morphling.

02:24:28 – Island is tapped.

02:24:29 – Island is tapped.

02:24:30 – Island is tapped.

02:24:31 – Island is tapped.

02:24:32 – Island is tapped.

02:24:33 – Thug plays Force of Will.

02:24:36 – Rakso plays Misdirection.

02:24:37 – Rakso moves Force of Will from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s removed from game pile.

Hearing shouts from further down the corridor, he turns around and flicks his wrist.

He actually hard-casts a Force, but his hand is gone despite the Ancestral and Standstill. I’ve caught up at last.

02:24:43 – It is now turn 21.

02:24:47 – Thug draws a card.

02:24:52 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.

02:24:53 – Island is tapped.

02:24:55 – Faerie Conclave is attacking.

02:24:57 – Rakso’s life is now 4. (-2)

02:25:01 – Thug plays Wasteland.

02:25:04 – Thug buries Wasteland.

02:25:04 – Rakso buries Underground Sea.

The bladed star scratches my cheek, but my concentration remains unbroken as he follows the missile and charges.

He gets one last attack, since I have no mana to activate the flying on Morphling.

02:25:07 – It is now turn 22.

02:25:08 – Tundra is tapped.

02:25:10 – Rakso draws a card.

02:25:12 – Rakso plays Volcanic Island.

02:25:15 – Morphling is attacking.

02:25:21 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:25:22 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:25:23 – Thug’s life is now 16. (-5)

He lowers his blade, the tip moving to stab an unprotected vital area.

My turn.

02:25:24 – It is now turn 23.

02:25:29 – Thug draws a card.

I sidestep and raise my own sword.

Morphling goes right back on defense and his Conclave sits waiting for friends.

02:25:50 – It is now turn 24.

02:25:51 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:25:54 – Rakso draws a card.

02:25:56 – Rakso plays Library of Alexandria.

02:25:57 – Morphling is attacking.

02:26:02 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.

02:26:02 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:26:04 – Thug’s life is now 11. (-5)

02:26:04 – It is now turn 25.

02:26:07 – Thug draws a card.

02:26:10 – Thug plays Mishra’s Factory.

02:26:16 – Island is tapped.

02:26:17 – Thug plays Manta Riders.

02:26:23 – Rakso says:’k’

02:26:27 – Island is tapped.

02:26:28 – Island is tapped.

02:26:29 – Thug plays Lord of Atlantis.

02:26:43 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:26:43 – Tundra is tapped.

02:26:45 – Rakso plays Mana Drain.

02:26:48 – Thug says:’bah’

In desperation, he throws his short and useless blade. It hurtles past my shoulder…

He gets them, but I still have enough life to tie down one suicide rush.

02:26:59 – It is now turn 26.

02:27:01 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:27:02 – Rakso draws a card.

02:27:11 – Rakso says:’1/5′

Another distraction. He slides feet first across the floor…

No point in wasting mana to attack and kill the chump blocker when The Abyss will do that anyway.

02:27:11 – It is now turn 27.

02:27:16 – Thug buries Manta Riders.

02:27:18 – Thug draws a card.

02:27:22 – It is now turn 28.

02:27:23 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:27:26 – Rakso draws a card.

02:27:32 – Morphling is attacking.

02:27:42 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

02:27:43 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:27:45 – Thug’s life is now 6. (-5)

02:27:46 – It is now turn 29.

02:27:49 – Thug draws a card.

02:28:04 – Island is tapped.

02:28:04 – Island is tapped.

02:28:05 – Island is tapped.

02:28:06 – Faerie Conclave is attacking.

02:28:08 – Mishra’s Factory is attacking.

02:28:19 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:28:20 – Morphling is untapped.

02:28:50 – Thug says:’block?’

02:28:52 – Rakso says:’block’

02:28:58 – Thug buries Mishra’s Factory.

02:29:02 – Rakso’s life is now 2. (-2)

His legs almost entangle in mine, but I step aside at the last moment. I take another step back as he springs to his feet..

There’s the suicide rush… And it’s repulsed. He probably doesn’t have any Psionic Blasts in there, but I have a counter in hand just in case, anyway.

02:29:12 – It is now turn 30.

02:29:13 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:29:20 – Rakso draws a card.

02:29:22 – Morphling is attacking.

02:29:26 – Thug’s life is now 3. (-3)

02:29:26 – It is now turn 31.

02:29:30 – Thug draws a card.

02:29:35 – Thug plays Island.

02:29:38 – Island is tapped.

02:29:39 – Thug plays Manta Riders.

He straightens his legs and aims an open palmed punch into my guard and straight at my throat…

Good grief; another chump blocker.

02:29:45 – It is now turn 32.

02:29:47 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:29:57 – Rakso draws a card.

02:30:09 – It is now turn 33.

02:30:14 – Thug buries Manta Riders.

02:30:16 – Thug draws a card.

02:30:25 – Island is tapped.

02:30:26 – Island is tapped.

02:30:28 – Thug plays Rootwater Thief.

02:30:33 – Rakso says:’k’

02:30:37 – Rakso says:’eot’

02:30:40 – Tundra is tapped.

02:30:41 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.

02:30:44 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:30:46 – Rakso plays Cunning Wish.

02:30:52 – Thug says:’k’

02:30:54 – Rakso says:’Urza’s Rage!’

02:30:57 – Rakso says:’kidding’

02:31:01 – Rakso removes Cunning Wish from the game.

02:31:08 – Thug says:’wouldnt believe that ;)’

02:31:11 – Rakso creates new card: Red Elemental Blast.

I swat his wrist aside with the flat of my sword…

02:31:17 – It is now turn 34.

02:31:20 –Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:31:22 – Rakso draws a card.

02:31:25 – Rakso plays Flooded Strand.

02:31:25 – Thug says:’I know some do, but hey!’

02:31:32 – Rakso says:’I used to for kicks IRL’

02:31:35 – It is now turn 35.

02:31:44 – Thug buries Rootwater Thief.

02:32:02 – Thug says:’they should sue the abyss’

02:32:04 – Thug draws a card.

…take another step back and dodge his last attempt to grapple…

Slightly overconfident, I move to use the Red Elemental Blast to win a turn earlier. Note that this was a minor mistake, losing my temper against the chumps.

02:32:12 – It is now turn 36.

02:32:13 Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:32:15 – Rakso draws a card.

02:32:17 – Morphling is attacking.

02:32:21 – Island is tapped.

02:32:21 – Island is tapped.

02:32:28 – Rakso says:’oooh’

02:32:30 – Rakso says:’a 2/1 blue creature’

02:32:31 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

02:32:33 – Rakso plays Red Elemental Blast.

02:32:35 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.

02:32:36 – Rakso says:’how convenient ;)’

02:32:36 – Island is tapped.

02:32:37 – Thug plays Teferi’s Response.

02:32:39 – Thug says:’!!!!!!!!!!’

02:32:40 – Thug says:’lol’

02:32:42 – Rakso says:’oooohhhhh’

02:32:47 – Tundra is tapped.

02:32:48 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

02:32:51 – Rakso plays Mana Drain.

02:32:54 – Thug says:’bah’

02:32:55 – Rakso plays Force of Will.

02:32:55 – Thug says:’;)’

And bring the katana down in a powerful stroke that slices into my attacker from breastbone to hip, as the guardsmen fill the corridor.

When you see a deck with quite a few manlands, always expect Teferi’s Response. It came too late, but that could have changed the game had it hit earlier. Of course, I had control already and this last attempt was futile.

Hopefully, this has been a good basic demonstration of aggro-control. The next chapter should be a bit more complicated, now that you’ve seen the basic flow. Other decks should present more varied problems than a stream of similar weenies and man-lands. Till then.

Oscar Tan

rakso on #BDChat on EFNet

University of the Philippines, College of Law

Forum Administrator, Star City Games

Featured Writer, Star City Games

Author of the Control Player’s Bible

Maintainer, Beyond Dominia (R.I.P.)

Proud member of the Casual Player’s Alliance

The Control Player’s Bible, Book I (The Fundamentals Of 5-Color Control, 19 Chapters)

Part I: Overview

Part II: History, 1994-1996

Part III: History, 1996-2000

Part IV: History, 2000-2002

Part IV.1: History, 2002

Part V: A Sample Control Mirror Match

Part VI: Playing The Core Cards: Counters And Tutors

Part VI.1: Playing The Core Cards: Cunning Wish And The Core Extension

Part VII: Playing The Core Cards: Card Drawing And Removal

Part VII.1: Cutting Core Cards

Part VIII: Playing The Sapphires

Part IX: Playing The Jets

Part X: Playing The Pearls

Part XI: Playing The Rubies

Part XII: Playing The Emeralds

Part XIII: The Sol Rings: Rounding Out”The Deck”

Part XIV: Building A 5-Color Mana Base

Part XIV.1: Building A 5-Color Mana Base After Onslaught

Part XV: The Best And Worst 5-Color Mana Cards

The Control Player’s Bible, Book II (“The Deck” V. Aggro, 18 Chapters)

Part XVI: Why Control Sucks

Part XVI: The Inquest Idiocy Quiz

Part XVIII: Head To Head: Sligh

Part XVIII.1: Head To Head: Goblin Sligh

Part XIX: Head To Head: Stacker 2

Part XX: Head To Head: Stompy

Part XXI: Head To Head: Zoo

Part XXII: Head To Head: The Funker

Part XXIII: Head To Head: German Tools ‘N’ Tubbies (Tnt)

Part XXIV: Head To Head: White Weenie

Part XXV: Deck Deconstruction:”The Deck” V. Aggro

Part XXVI: Deck Deconstruction: Aggro V.”The Deck”

Part XXVII: Sleazy”The Deck” Sideboarding V. Aggro

Part XXVIII: The Aggro Gauntlet, Part I

Part XXIX: The Aggro Gauntlet, Part II

Part XXX: The Aggro Gauntlet,Part III

Part XXXI: The Aggro Gauntlet, Part IV

Part XXXII: Aggro, The Final Exam

The Control Player’s Bible, Book III (“The Deck” V. Aggro-Control)

Part XXXIII: What IS Aggro-Control?

Part XXXIV: Head To Head: Fish