So the basic principle is to outlast, outgrind, and outpace your opponent.

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Cycling is a criminally undervalued mechanic by those who have never used it and it goes a long way towards sealing the deal on a match by giving us a ton of digging power.

Remember to +1 Upvote if you enjoy the deck!

This deck functions around cycling and discarding cards for card advantage and extra effects. The ability to cycle away a dead card is deceptively strong. The plan revolves around being able to reliably kill anything threatening the opponent plays to keep the board clear. In addition to the cyclers we also have a few wheel effects and several draw spells. We win through our big creatures or by out-valuing the opponent with our horde of drakes.

Early Game

At this stage we're extremely reactive, feel free to counter creatures or spells with Censor as it'll be most effective here. Other than that, use our numerous cheap kill spells to keep the board free. Anything that can kill a 4 toughness creature should be saved until you know you aren't playing against Heart of Kiran/ Glorybringer , after that keep the board clear but make sure the creature is worth the kill spell. Running out of cards is very dangerous for any control deck and we want to avoid that.

Mid Game

Here we want to focus on getting an engine online, Drake Haven is important to get out by turn 3-5, especially against Copycat due to the necessity of holding up mana. After we have an engine online we can begin to operate almost solely on their end step because of cycling. If they've managed to get out a swarm I start digging for either Sweltering Suns or Archfiend of Ifnir to manage their board. Cathartic Reunion becomes most useful here but I have used it before to decent effect

Late Game

By this stage we should have a fairly decent control of the game, wheeling our hand with Chandra, Flamecaller is insanely devastating and our creatures should be overwhelming the board. Attack with the token army for victory.

Several Key Interactions to keep in mind:
  • Chandra, Flamecaller wheels our hand and makes a ton of Drakes although her own 3/1 Haste Tokens are usually sufficient.

  • Hieroglyphic Illumination is more useful when cycled as opposed to cast 4 times out of 5.

  • Once you hit 6 lands, it's often correct to hold Bicycle lands rather than play them.

  • Don't forget to leave the 1 extra mana open for a drake when you cast Pull from Tomorrow ! Also, it's bad value but it can save you to cast it for 0 and make a drake... I have won a game doing that but it should be a last resort.

  • Our token Drake army is evasive, don't play a Sweltering Suns and wrath yourself because "They're only tokens"

  • Lightning Axe and Grasp of Darkness are key for killing the important creatures... Do NOT waste them on the little Thraben Inspector just to play something.

  • We have a multitude of finishers in the form of Drake Haven and Chandra, Flamecaller. Don't be afraid to cycle Curator of Mysteries and Archfiend of Ifnir if you need the cards. They accelerate the clock, but aren't 100% necessary. Cycle them as needed.

  • A resolved Dispossess against U/R Control is game-ending. They have to fight over this spell since they usually only have Torrential Gearhulk as a win con, without it most versions of the deck cannot win.

As the meta settles I'll post more sideboarding tips, I'm still iffy on how a couple decks will play out but the sideboard is fairly obvious. By Force against artifact heavy ones, Scarab Feast against graveyard decks, Faith of the Devoted against foggers and as a hedge against Lost Legacy, Negate and Essence Scatter as need, etc. etc.

Cards That Will Not Be Put In

  • Shadow of the Grave: This card seems like a natural fit but it is an absolute trap. We almost never cycle more than 2 cards at a time. The only time you could get enough value out of it is when we're already so far ahead that it's pointless. The card slots are much better spent elsewhere. If you want to use this card go check out the New Perspective Combo decks.

  • New Perspectives : This is a card for a combo deck, this is a control deck. Keeping our hand full isn't as important as stopping the opponent from killing us.

  • Shadowstorm Vizier: This is an aggressive card, I don't want to be aggressive. Also, we don't cycle very many cards at a time making this a worse Stormchaser Mage.

  • Flameblade Adept: Again, feeling a little redundant here. This is a control deck. I prefer having kill spells and answers be my topdecks than non-evasive creatures that will barely ever give me a return on their deck slot.



The deck didn't draw as well as I would've liked, but after each loss I replayed the person and crushed them... So whether it was variance or something missing from the deck I'm unsure... I'll continue to post results.

Match 1: Against W/B Zombies

I was stuck off of Black G1 and Flooded out in Game 2 losing the match, However like I said... We played 2 more matches afterwards because we had so much time and I won 2-0... So I think I lost due to Variance but the mana might need a little bit of tinkering.

Match 2: Against R/B Artifact Aggro

This game was probably more on a couple punts of my own, and my main interaction was usually Collective Brutality which invariably found only madness cards ._. Either way I lost pretty badly...

Match 3: Against U/R Torrential Control

This round was super fun, I held control and ran him over in game 1, game 2 he had a Kefnet the Mindful that I was unprepared for and eventually killed me after 3 removal spells cleared my drakes. We didn't have time for a game 3 and tied.

Match 4: Against U/R Energy

His main win con seemed to be Thriving Turtle of all things, I beat this guy 2-0. Nothing special about it.

Match 5: Against R/G Gods

I won 2-0, but these games were super close. Game 2 he almost had me, until I landed the dream team board state of Chandra, Flamecaller, Archfiend of Ifnir, and a Drake Haven. The Archfiend kept his gods at bay and Chandra kept wheeling my hand and making drakes so I managed to pull that win out of my butt lol.

Comments View Archive

Argy says... #1

Those decks are a pain in the arse.

I was lucky the other night that no one was playing any at my FNM.

I expect that to change after the Pro Tour.

They eat my deck alive.

May 7, 2017 2:19 p.m.

Zaueski says... #2

@Argeaux: I can actually beat the more traditional Gearhulk lists about 3-4/5 times... Now that I know what to watch out for. They can't deal with a resolved Drake Haven, its the more budgety/janky ones that run Fevered Visions that I'm having trouble with. I've been trying to improve my non-creature based matchups but this list is tuned to destroy creature based strategies.

I've been considering go up to a playset of Censor, but I'm still not 100% sold yet... I'm going to test with 4 Censors and 2 Hieroglyphic Illuminations

@Eredes: You recommended Geier Reach Sanitarium a while back, I've been testing with it and it is amazing. Thanks so much for a great suggestion, 4 mana to be able to cycle any card in my hand and make a drake is so good. Its a little bit durdley, but its added so much staying power.

Lost Legacy has been helping a lot against Fevered Visions and the like. I haven't been seeing many Zombies, so I'm going to keep By Force as the dominant hate card over Scarab Feast. And the extra mana saved really does matter a lot to this deck at all stages of the game.

May 7, 2017 5:13 p.m.

Sannisan says... #3

Have you tried adding a few Enigma Drakes? Otherwise it looks really awesome, I'll see how many of these Cards I already have so I can try building this.

May 9, 2017 5:59 a.m.

Argy says... #4

I think I'm gonna take out Oblivion Strike and move Murder in.

The extra piece of Instant removal will give me more chance of knocking Wandering Fumarole on the head, and I'm pretty sure I can handle Gods now with Supernatural Stamina. Saving a blocker is probably all I need.

May 9, 2017 9:45 a.m.

Schmid211 says... #5

I went 1-0 to start at my local FNM and I won against mono red aggro. board wipes and lightning axes all the way! unfortunately i went 0-2 after that facing back to back green red energy decks. I feel that there is too much artifact hate in this deck and not enough creature hate (knowing fully that the pro tour just happened and I'm complaining about something that just came up recently). I wanted to take out 2 negates and possibly 1 by force and replacing that with two more essence scatters and POSSIBLY 1 disallow just to keep the counters in the deck

May 13, 2017 10:06 a.m.

pickelchu says... #6

Maybe add a copy of Transgress the Mind for those madness match ups

May 14, 2017 9:51 p.m.

Schmid211 says... #7

so take out two negates and 1 by force for 3 copies of transgress the mind? seems good to be honest. Its just dam near impossible to deal with a resolved Bristling Hydra unless (by some miracle) they have less than 6 energy

May 15, 2017 10:19 a.m.

Zaueski says... #8

The Negates are super key to my survivability, my meta has more problematic spells than creatures. Transgress the Mind is iffy for me... The madness drawback is pretty rare and Transgress cant hit a lot of the field... I'm not changing the By Forces, after the pro tour I'll need them to be a consistent answer to Aetherworks Marvel which I was already seeing a bunch of before the Pro Tour... I'm still happy with the list, I'll need to see some more losses before I commit to a change.

May 15, 2017 4:42 p.m.

Frodo1337 says... #9

Hey i really like your Deck and it inspired me to build one like that.

But i have one question, why do you play Aether Hub? I mean you dont play anything with Energy. Or is it, because cycling is colorless and you use it that way and only if you really need one color you use the energy that one time?

Really awesome Deck!

June 17, 2017 12:05 p.m.

Zaueski says... #10

It's an untapped 3 color land. So its worth including for that even if it is a one time thing. The fixing has saved me more than once and its a good land to use on extra costs () when you don't need it.

June 17, 2017 12:08 p.m.

Frodo1337 says... #11

As i thought, ok! It really makes sense. Thanks for the quick answer. =)

June 17, 2017 12:14 p.m.

Kittus says... #12

Hi! Ur deck is awesome and I enjoy a lot playing with it. I made some changes cutting out grasp of darkness for 3 enigma drakes and 1 pull from tomorrow, as I think there's already enough removal and enigma is a good win condition at some point.I'm wondering what are ur thoughts on Nimble Obstructionist. I think it is a really versatile creature and I would really like to include it in the deck. What changes would u make so it can fit?Thank you! :)

June 25, 2017 10:10 a.m.

ExtraEasy says... #13

Love this deck. Is Cathartic Reunion really better than another curator and another pull from tomorrow?

July 14, 2017 6:13 a.m.

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37% Casual

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Compare to inventory

Revision 14 See all

2 months ago)

-2 Mountain main
+2 Chandra, Flamecaller main
+2 Geier Reach Sanitarium main
+1 Choked Estuary main
+2 Hieroglyphic Illumination main
+1 Wandering Fumarole main
-4 Grasp of Darkness main
-2 Aether Hub main
+2 Archfiend of Ifnir main
-1 Evolving Wilds main
-3 Canyon Slough main
+1 Pull from Tomorrow main
+3 Curator of Mysteries main
+3 Collective Brutality main
-4 Drake Haven main
-2 Cathartic Reunion main
+2 Swamp main
+3 Spirebluff Canal main
+1 Evolving Wilds main
+4 Grasp of Darkness main
and 62 other change(s)