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Challenger Deck Upgrades: Second Sun Control

Normally, you'd be checking out the latest Instant Deck Tech right about now, but we are doing something a bit different this week. Don't worry, Instant Deck Techs will be back next week, but today we're kicking off a series on upgrading the Challenger Decks, which were released on Friday. If you're not familiar with the Challenger Decks, they're a four-deck series with an MSRP of $30, designed to give players a Standard deck that's playable right out of the box! Most have pretty good value for their price, but each can be improved with some upgrades.

So, our plan today is simple. First, we'll have a brief overview of the deck. Then, we'll have a $20 upgrade deck, with the goal being to make the most competitive deck possible by adding just 20 extra dollars to the $30 Challenger Deck. Finally, since each Challenger Deck is modeled after a tier deck in Standard, we'll talk about what you need to do to turn your Challenger Deck into a top-tier, competitive Standard deck! Yesterday, we upgraded Hazoret Aggro, which means today it's time to work on Second Sun Control!

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The Deck

  • Second Sun Control is the control deck of the Challenger Deck series, so if you like drawing a ton of cards, countering all of your opponent's spells, and then winning in the very late game, this is the Challenger Deck for you!
  • The strength of Second Sun Control is two-fold. First, it's very consistent, since it has a ton of card draw and cycling cards, which means you should always have a full hand and something to cast. Second, Second Sun Control is the cheapest of the Challenger Decks to upgrade into its optimal competitive form.
  • As for the weaknesses of Second Sun Control, there are two. First, Second Sun Control doesn't really have a backup plan for winning the game in the main deck, which means you're leaning really hard on Approach of the Second Sun, which is slow and can be disrupted by counterspells. Second, even though Second Sun Control is cheap to upgrade into its optimal form, the finished product is lower tier than some of the other Challenger Decks (Hazoret Aggro and Counter Surge upgrade into two of the best decks in all of Standard, while UW Cycling / Approach is somewhere in the tier two or tier 2.5 range. 

$20 Upgrade Deck

  • After you build the $20 upgrade version of Second Sun Control, you're actually pretty close to the fully optimal build. The one somewhat expensive addition is two copies of Search for Azcanta; otherwise, it's mostly just changing around a few sideboard cards that aren't much of a cost. 
  • Of course, this cheapness come with a price: UW Cycling isn't exactly near the top of the metagame at the moment. While it's still a fine control option, it isn't as good as it was a few months ago. Still, considering that you can add maybe $60 on top of the Challenger Deck and have the optimal build, you can't really complain, even for a second-tier deck.


Anyway, that's all for today! Have you tried the Second Sun Control Challenger Deck? How did it go? What other upgrade options are out there? Let me know in the comments! As always, leave you thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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