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Mardu Control Can Be Good!


Mardu is extremely underrated! For the past three weeks of this new standard, there have only been small hints of Mardu appearances. It really has been shadowed by Jeskai and Abzan. I think Mardu has some great parts that can make it a Tier 1 deck. Part of the reason I think Mardu is not seeing much play is because it is getting bullied around by Jeskai. Instead of making a midrange/value kind of Mardu deck, I want to focus on a control centered version of this deck.

This standard has a lot of great Orzhov cards: cards like Hero's Downfall, Thoughtseize, and Utter End allow you to clear the board and bring this guy in to begin the beats. Once Butcher of the Horde hits the field, the game becomes a full on race. For this reason I want to have some cards that help the race go in our favor.

Two kinds of cards that really help this kind of strategy would be Stoke the Flames and Mardu Charm. A turn with Butcher of the Horde on the battfield might result in an attack and a burn spell. That could be 9 damage in one turn! Mardu Charm is also great for its flexibility. It can deal 4 damage to a creature, make 2 soldiers to sac to Butcher of the Horde , or dismantle your opponent's hand. In a race, Mardu Charm can make two guys and you can give your Butcher of the Horde  lifelink and the ability to defend through vigilance. 

Cards that make this deck work:

Removal Package- I think Mardu is definately the best colors for disruption and removal. These cards help you get to a clean board where Butcher of the Horde and his planeswalker buddies can take over.

Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker has already proved to be great in Jeskai, but not really anywhere else. Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker isn't really minused in Jeskai, but in Mardu, it's often a Stoke the Flames on a creature. Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker  is also a win condition for this deck.

Elspeth, Sun's Champion has been really good in every midrange and control deck and this is no exception. With all our board wipes and removal, we can have a clear board on turn 6 and Elspeth, Sun's Champion  can take over.

Chandra, Pyromaster - Easily the one of the best card advantage planeswalkers in this standard. She can also deal with all the 1 toughness creatures running around.

I have tested this deck a bit and it seems to be working great, but seems a bit weak to aggro. Our sideboard takes care of the 1 to 2 toughness creatures.

The sideboard seems a bit out of place, but trust me it pulls through. I'm going to go over most of the matchups and what to side in and out.

Abzan Midrange: 

The main board is already great against Abzan because their kill spells are almost always dead and they get blown out by End Hostilities. In this match, Bile Blight is dead so we want to switch it for a Crackling Doom and a Liliana Vess. Liliana Vess can help us find threats and answers and the strike helps in a race.

-2 Bile Blight

+1 Liliana Vess, +1 Crackling Doom

 

Jeskai Wins:

Our deck doesn't really have many ways to gain life in the main, so that puts us at a disadvantage the first game. The sideboarded games are different because we can add Seeker of the Way. Seeker of the Way is great because it allows us to kill one of their creatures, trigger prowess, and gain 3 life. Read the Bones and Thoughtseize don't really help against a burn deck so we want to take out all the Read the Bones and 2 Thoughtseizes. In place we want to add the 2 Seeker of the Way and 3 Anger of the Gods to clean up their aggro creatures. 

-3 Read the Bones, -2 Thoughtseize

+3 Anger the Gods, +2 Seeker of the Way

 

B/U Control:

In this matchup, we can't be the control deck because they can counter our small amount of win conditions and their win conditions can be a lot stronger than ours. In this matchup we want to take out the Bile Blight and End Hostilities because they are dead in this match. We want to bring in our Liliana Vess, 2 Seeker of the Way, and 2 Doomwake Giant.

-3 End Hostilities, -2 Bile Blight

+1 Liliana Vess, +2 Seeker of the Way, +2 Doomwake Giant

 

One-drop Aggro Decks:

Against aggro decks, we do our normal job which is to control the board. We want to take out 2 Utter End, 3 Read the Bones , 3 End Hostilities, and 2 Mardu Charm. We want to bring in 2 Nyx-Fleece Ram for life gain, 4 Doomwake Giant for "board wipes", and 4 Anger of the Gods as cheaper End Hostilities

-2 Utter End, -3 Read the Bones, -3 End Hostilities, -2 Mardu Charm

+2 Nyx-Fleece Ram, +4 Doomwake Giant,  4 Anger of the Gods

 

Jeskai Ascendency Combo: 

There's not much to this match except for the addition of our playset of Anger of the Gods in the second game. We want to take out 1 Chandra, Pyromaster and 3 Read the Bones

-3 Read the Bones, -1 Chandra, Pyromaster

+4 Anger of the Gods

 

Mono Green Variants: 

In this matchup, End Hostilities is by far the MVP. 2 Mardu Charm and 1 Bile Blight can be taken out of the deck to add 2 Crackling Dooms and 1 Liliana Vess. Crackling Doom is great against a gigantic Genesis Hydra .

-2 Mardu Charm, -1 Bile Blight

+2 Crackling Doom, +1 Liliana Vess

That's all I got for today guys, thanks for reading, see you in a few days!


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