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Nicolas "Bolas" Cage in: Lord of Control [5-0 FNM]

Modern Control Cruel Control Four Color



Sorcery (1)


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Let's break down this deck, shall we?

Pillar of Flame and Searing Spear are used mostly for killing creatures. Pillar goes really well at killing zombies and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, which can often be a death sentence to control decks. Searing Spear deals that extra point of damage and is an instant, so it can take out a Hellrider before attack is declared. Finally, using Tamiyo's final with one of these in hand is a win-condition that is usually impossible to stop.

Azorius Charm is good for two of its three modes; because this deck doesn't run creatures (unheard of!), giving your lack of creatures lifelink will matter only if you end up stealing a creature worth giving lifelink to with Bolas. Nontheless, putting a creature away or drawing a card can be really helpful.

Think Twice gives you two draws for one spell. It replaces itself, then later on it gives you value. Most importantly, it draws you a card on your opponent's turn, so you possibly topdeck a Terminus on attacking creatures. This is one of the most brutal thing to do to an opponent - and it's always satisfying.

Terminus and Supreme Verdict are the sweepers in the deck, and depending on how fast/aggressive the meta is, putting in more Verdicts may be helpful. Detention Sphere can, at times, be a sweeper too, although it can always be an Oblivion Ring when you need it to.

Elixir of Immortality is in there as a one-of to stop other control decks from milling the deck out, since a lot of control decks have adopted the Nephalia Drownyard strategy for mirrors.

Sphinx's Revelation has shown its worth, and is an obvious inclusion in the deck. It may even be worth putting in all four.

There are three kinds of counterspells in the deck: Dissipate , Rewind and Syncopate. Two Dissipates and a Rewind for hard, solid counters. Rewind also pays for itself, and you can counter a spell and still have mana to use Think Twice, Azorius Charm, or another counter. Syncopate can be used in so many different ways, that there are three in the mainboard.

Jace, Architect of Thought and Tamiyo, the Moon Sage are a spectacular tag team, and Jace does a lot of work in the deck, helping you survive creature swings and also helping you dig for answers. Tamiyo taps down threats, draws cards, and getting her Emblem usually leads to a "GG".

Then there is the star of this deck, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker. He's big, but with the sweepers and control in the early to mid-game, once does hit, it's often the game. He finishes what Jace and Tamiyo starts, and he finishes it fast. When he's not blowing up lands or Pikes, he can steal key creatures, which may mean an Olivia or Thragtusk. It only takes three turn to final him, and when you final him, you often leave your opponent with nothing to untapped next turn. And if they haven't scooped yet, you can simply blow-up anything they drop after. He's not just a game winner, he's THE game winner. Nicol Bolas is the star of this show, no doubt.

The land base is always up for debate, but it's worked solidly for me in general. Testing Nephalia Drownyard in the deck as well, which I don't think will affect the mana base too much.

As for the sideboard, there's an extra Elixir for control matches trying to win with Nephalia or Jace, Memory Adept. This comes to of the Memory Adepts in the side for an alternate win-con against control. Witchbane Orb is for matched against burn, like RDW, and against Jund, because Jund resolving a Rakdos's Return hurts a lot. Oblivion Ring is for more removal, especially against other Detention Spheres. Rest in Peace and Purify the Grave comes in against reanimator, sometimes Zombies, and sometimes against UW Flash(to combat Snapcaster Mage and Runechanter's Pike). Dissipate and Negate come in against control match-up, and there are more Supreme Verdicts for Aggro match-ups. Then finally there is two more Pillar of Flame for mana dorks, Thalia, Blood Artist, Gravecrawlers, etc.

tl;dr - Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker Control deck w/ Miracles. Is nice? What do you think?



Went and took out Temporal Mastery; I realized the deck was trying to be too cute with the extra turns. I'd much rather have counterspells and more draw. I also took out Izzet Charm.

Took it to an FNM, It went an amazing UNDEFEATED 5-0. The deck was unstoppable, and while I'll admit some of the wins weren't exactly handed to me, the deck ran very well.

The deck went undefeated against different decks, and I'm very satisfied how it looked. If there's one thing i noticed; I didn't play any real control decks, and so Elixir kept getting sided out; it might get put into the SB for later FNMs.

#1 in tournament @ Mr. Cards and Comics — Dec. 14, 2012


prawntheman says... #1

Add in more Liliana Vess. Her second ability will help you get the miracles you want.

December 5, 2012 11:40 p.m.

prawntheman says... #2

December 5, 2012 11:40 p.m.

omegashift says... #3

This deck is for Standard, so Liliana wouldn't work.

December 5, 2012 11:52 p.m.

fun_n_games says... #4

Bonfire of the Damned ? damage is nice and wrath-like effect.

December 11, 2012 3:42 p.m.

i would say Index since it could really help with miracle but It just doesn't seem spot worthy

December 11, 2012 3:43 p.m.

CallMeCrazy says... #6

+1 just for playing a deck with no creatures. Also, have you had tamiyo emblem with Rewind in hand?

December 16, 2012 1:21 a.m.

omegashift says... #7

I've had Tamiyo emblem with crazy stuff in my hand: Rewind , Pillar of Flame , Searing Spear , Azorius Charm . I almost lost to a token deck, and all I had was essentially infinite Azorius Charms. Of course, once I got rid of the tokens, I drew from it.

December 16, 2012 1:34 a.m.

PedigreeKing says... #8

Maybe instead of the Nephalia Drownyard I would suggest a Ghost Quarter or two. With Tamiyo's emblem it can mill out all of the basic lands from the opponent and then start picking off what they have left on the field. I like the deck, +1 from me.

December 16, 2012 10:36 p.m.

omegashift says... #9

While I agree with Ghost Quarter , land denial is easy enough with Bolas out, and Nephalia is really good if you go up against a control deck where it ends up being "draw, go" for multiple turns. Especially when control runs card:Sphinx's Revelation, decking a control deck out is actually a viable option.

December 16, 2012 10:41 p.m.

tsdub says... #10

card:Tormod's Crypt might be better than Rest in Peace since Rest in Peace negates Tamiyo, the Moon Sage 's ult, since your cards never make in to your graveyard.

December 16, 2012 10:49 p.m.

omegashift says... #11

card:Tormod's Crypt is a temporary fix while Rest in Peace is a permanent answer and continually exiles the cards. The downsides for me aren't fatal, where on the other hand the decks I side Rest in Peace in for will often be so crippled by it that my own downsides are so vastly less severe that I can live without flashing back Think Twice or abusing Tamiyo's emblem. Now, card:Grafdigger's Cage may be an idea; I have considered it, but the fact that Rest in Peace removes the grave is better IMO.

December 16, 2012 11:42 p.m.

tsdub says... #12

That is understandable. Although card:Grafdigger's Cage is much more temp. than card:Tormod's Crypt since once they get the answer to card:Grafdigger's Cage they have their whole graveyard at their disposal again. While card:Tormod's Crypt can stop one big graveyard play and get rid of everything else in the grave as well.

December 17, 2012 1:28 a.m.

Rest in peace with tamiyos emblem, no prob just detention sphere pillar for game or whatever you have

December 17, 2012 10:21 a.m.

4649matt says... #14

@omegashift +1 for making a good deck to feature THE Planswalker, Nicol Bolas.

December 17, 2012 6:22 p.m.

Moo says... #15

I've been playing this deck on MTGO for the last couple of days and I think I'm enjoying it enough to put it together for real :P

card:Rakdos's Return can be a killer but I've been side boarding in the Negate and Dissipate to help combat that.

Have you ever considered Nevermore though? I mean it'd be a killer against a lot of decks.. I don't know.

+1 regardless :)

December 18, 2012 1:40 a.m.

The Wizard Rakdos's all young men for the right tomes

December 18, 2012 1:49 a.m.

omegashift says... #17

@user:Moolet, I'm really satisfied with how the deck works against a lot of the matchups these days. card:Rakdos's Return is one of it's few kryptonites, and while dealing with it isn't too difficult, sometimes it ends up being a pain trying to figure what to counter, knowing you might get Rakdos'd because you wasted the last counter. Nevermore is an option as perhaps a one of or two of in the side, maybe replacing Purify the Grave if Reanimator dies down a bit, which I doubt. And I'm glad you're finding good fortune in the decklist!

December 18, 2012 2:31 a.m.

blixna_waka says... #18

This is sick as fuck. +1

December 18, 2012 2:11 p.m.

Lustrigia says... #19

I have a Grixis build similar to this. If I may ask...

How the hell are you supposed to win?

December 18, 2012 9:32 p.m.

Moo says... #20

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker ults or Tamiyo, the Moon Sage ults then win with Searing Spear or Pillar of Flame . In all my testing, (which has been a lot) it actually works really well. I haven't lost many games at all and those that I have were mainly my own mistakes, not an inability of the deck.

December 19, 2012 4:49 p.m.

Lustrigia says... #21

God, that just seems so dependant on a lucky outcome. The walkers aren't hard to remove. I just think an Entreat the Angels or two couldn't hurt.

But hey, I'm not the one who went 5-0.

December 19, 2012 4:58 p.m.

omegashift says... #22

Entreat the Angels doesn't hurt me much. By the time anyone effectively uses it is turn 6-8, and they often tap out for it - and it's often against another control match-up, where my kill spells have been sitting in my hand waiting to be used. Because they've tapped out, my nuke is either uncounterable from the start (Supreme Verdict ) or will go unanswered (Terminus ). You underestimate how cruel this deck becomes. It stabilized fairly well, and all you need is Bolas to hit and stay for two turns and it's often over. And coming as a second win con is Tamiyo, because she takes a little more work to keep alive long enough to ult. But getting to and achieving your win cons are the least of your concerns when you're slowing the game down with counters, burn, kill spells and disruption all over. With 3 Sphinx's Revelations, you take the crawl into a full speed take over by just overwhelming your opponent to the point where they have one or two top decks to now stall YOU, because completely stopping you is pretty tough when you now have a full hand again and they have one.

December 19, 2012 9:38 p.m.

Lustrigia says... #23

Sure, I can agree with all of that, but... We're talking about ultimating Bolas 3 times, assuming we don't ultimate, they don't scoop, and we don't kill them. It just seems really narrow.

December 19, 2012 9:42 p.m.

Lustrigia says... #24

Also I was suggesting Entreat, not saying it was a bad matchup for you :P

December 19, 2012 9:43 p.m.

omegashift says... #25

@FROZR2, one person tried to our me with Entreat two turns in a row. Each time I untapped, drew, blew the field up, and passed. And at that time I was sitting with a full hand and two more field nukes in hand, cuz I had drawn almost all of them. He thought after the first Entreat got flicked away the other would stick; it didn't. I think during that game he ended up miracling ANOTHER, which I just simply countered. Besides the kill and burn, I also have counterspells, and that also attributes to how your games go. I was on the play, opponent had RDW, didn't play his second land before, dropped a second Stromkirk Noble , which I used Syncopate on. My opponent looked at me funny and said "sure, waste your counters on my little dude", but because of my early plays(which also included Azorius Charm ing the same Rakdos Cackler three times) which were all laughed at by my opponent, I ended up winning by answering things one by one, eventually using nuke spells on one creature at a time. I was at 16 at the end, and my opponent was frustrated(He had all burn spells in hand and I dropped Witchbane Orb on turn 4 when I had Searing Spear ed his only guy on the field the turn before). After drawing the 5th useless burn spell, he just scooped on like turn 10 or something. It just goes to show that making the right plays at the right time are everything with this deck(when I countered the Noble, I had another counter in hand, and I knew the fewer creatures he had out early on the better position I'd be in. The other Noble got Detention Sphere 'd two turns later).

December 19, 2012 9:56 p.m.

omegashift says... #26

It's not that narrow when you sit down with it, realize it has a great set-up of control and stall and disruption. The only thing to really hurt the deck is twoSlaughter Games to hit, getting rid of Tamiyo, the Moon Sage and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker . And funny thing, the one time that DID happen, I still won, riding it out with Nephalia Drownyard . True Story. I had Nephalia out early, was using it a bit, but when I lost Both my Tamiyo's to getting them killed, and then he Slaugher Games'd my Bolas, I just simply rode out the Drownyard. it was tough on my opponent, but hey, not every win is a clean one, and I was one top deck from losing anyway.

December 19, 2012 10:02 p.m.

Lustrigia says... #27

Alright, so you're opponent scooped. I'm not above admitting that's a viable win con. But how do you, if at all, aim to get your opponent's life to 0 the most efficient way possible?

For the last time, I am suggesting you try Entreat the Angels , not asking how you do against it.

At the very least, consider Snapcaster Mage or Angel of Serenity .

December 19, 2012 10:03 p.m.

omegashift says... #28

Oh, FROZR2, I misunderstood. And yes, I've considered Entreat the Angels , but when it comes to it, I don't want to remove and of the control or burn, the walkers stay, the draw stays, and 3 card:Sphinx's Revelation are enough X spells(not true, I'd fit another one in if I had one prolly lol). Plus, I'd only want to tap out for Bolas or an end of opponent's turn Sphinx's Revelation, although I often keep a white open in case my first draw from it is Terminus , or two if I'm hoping for a Syncopate or Azorius Charm or Negate .

December 19, 2012 10:07 p.m.

omegashift says... #29

Getting an opponent to 0 after Bolas ults once is basically smooth sailing, shutting down lands and riding it out (they have no hand, few if any lands, and little to no chance of finding an answer to Bolas, which I could always counter if they do). One person had me final Bolas twice (I burned him the rest), so it all depends if they take the hint they can't possibly win or not. If on the off chance that they think you'll deck out first, be careful with over drawing, and you Elixir of Immortality . Otherwise, getting them to 0 is only efficient with Tamiyo and a burn spell in hand, otherwise it's long and painful with Bolas if they, for whatever reason, want to ride it out.

Snapcaster Mage is a real consideration. Angel of Serenity isn't a real win-con because she'll take immediate creature kill to the face(because it would otherwise be sitting in the opponent's hand) and it doesn't answer threats well enough for me, because they go back to the opponents' hands. Supreme Verdict and Terminus are more than enough for that. Snapcaster Mage is good enough to maybe fit, but it's less fun, as the deck loses it's impact as soon as I put creatures in it.

December 19, 2012 10:23 p.m.

Lustrigia says... #30


This is my deck. It's very similar except I have no white to wipe boards. What do you think? Any changes I'd need to go 5-0, I'd be open to lol

December 20, 2012 12:10 a.m.

4649matt says... #31

@omegashift I am surprised I don't see Elixir of Immortality used more often, it can single-handedly break milling win-cons. It is a great fit here where you can use it to play out indefinitely (or at least have the threat of forever to pressure a scoop).

If you were to tweak and add, what would change? (like another card:Sphinx's Revelation as mentioned above)

@FROZR2 It is ironic that you were entreating him to run Entreat the Angels . Many players are confident that it is a win-con, but 10 angels brought out on a miracle cast still fell just as easily to a Killing Wave resulting in their loss. A pocket wipe nullifies a creature based win-con.

December 20, 2012 1:29 a.m.

LittleBigMak says... #32

Let me just tell you this, dude; you want to talk about how cruel and sick this deck can be? Almost nothing is sicker than getting Tamiyo, the Moon Sage 's ultimate to go off, then using Jace, Memory Adept 's 0 ability to mill 10, then have all 10 go to your hand. Talk about overkill win, it's almost more painful then Bolas' ultimate. Nice deck though! I've run a build similar to this in the past (i.e. Grixis no creatures) and I too went undefeated at FNM one night (4-0, had to go before game 5...) and the deck performs incredibly well. The worst matchups are probably R/B Zombies (that Falkenrath Aristocrat ...) and RDW (stupid Hellrider , it's so broken...). but +1 from me!

December 22, 2012 8:44 a.m.

Wannabehero says... #33

This is one bada** control suite. The only possible change/improvement I can see might be Feeling of Dread either MB or SB for additional stall against aggro matchups. Works really well with Tamiyo's -2 also when you want/need more in hand. Not quite sure would could make room for it though.

December 22, 2012 9:24 p.m.

jerryseltzer says... #34

So fun! Love playing against your deck!

December 25, 2012 10:08 a.m.

DNSolver says... #35

Izzet Staticaster in sideboard for vs. Aggro/Zombies/Tokens?

January 2, 2013 7:47 p.m.

TheMuffinMan says... #36

I am playing this deck tonight at FNM! I was just looking at it again and noticed that 2x Pillar of Flame , 2x Supreme Verdict and 1x Dissipate have moved from the sideboard to the mainboard. Was this intentional? If so, what replacement 5 cards would you put in your sideboard?

January 4, 2013 5:20 p.m.

Sagi007 says... #37

what hapend to Slaughter Games ? im sure ive seen it in this deck.

January 6, 2013 4:17 p.m.

NoahsArk says... #38

Way too much expensive mana shit.

January 10, 2013 3:13 p.m.

deadlance says... #39

I ran this deck at FNM this week and flat obliterated people. Tamiyo, the Moon Sage 's ultimate with a rewind and supreme verdict in hand, and just tortured people with Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker ...Rocked the house. No one saw it coming. Red deck wins, pfft. I ended that game with close to 60 life.

January 14, 2013 8:08 a.m.

NoahsArk says... #40

60 life...? how the.... oh... OH .___. I see. personally i'd main a Bonfire for that quick finish. No Chomatic Lanterns though?

January 15, 2013 3:02 p.m.

4649matt says... #41

Will there be a sequel in Gatecrash?

January 29, 2013 4:49 p.m.

deadlance says... #42

With Gatecrash, there's no reason to switch out any cards at all. I have yet to see a single loss from anything. Still having people scoop to the Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker drop.

Top Decking a Terminus to stabilize on the opponents turn, dropping Tamiyo, the Moon Sage on mine... people scoop constantly. The only card that can really cripple this deck is Slaughter Games ....

February 5, 2013 11:50 a.m.

omegashift says... #43

If you want to see the sequel to Lord of Control, check out Nicolas "Bolas" Cage in: The Wicker Dragon.

February 8, 2013 4:41 p.m.

You do know that Lightning Bolt does the same thing as Searing Spear for R instead of 1R.

May 27, 2016 4:53 p.m.

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