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Much Abrew: Curse Control (Standard)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, during our Instant Deck Techs, one deck was the most popular by far: Curse Control for Standard. The basic idea of Curse Control is simple: stack as many copies of Torment of Scarabs as possible and then maximize the power of Torment of Scarabs by keeping our opponent's board clear with removal and their hand empty with discard. Hopefully, sooner or later, this will force our opponent to start losing three life a turn from our curse, allowing us to close out the game. On paper, the deck looks interesting, fun, and super cheap (at only $70 in paper) but not all that competitive. Thankfully, how a deck looks on paper doesn't matter all that much once the games begin. Can we curse our opponent to some wins in Standard? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll have some quick thoughts on the deck. 

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Curse Control (Instant Deck Tech)

Curse Control vs. Four-Color Energy (Match 1)

Curse Control vs. GB Constrictor (Match 2)

Curse Control vs. UW Approach (Match 3)

Curse Control vs. RW Aggro (Match 4)

Curse Control vs. Jund Energy (Match 5)

Curse Control (Wrap-Up)


  • Well, that was a bit of a surprise—Curse Control actually cruised through our five matches with a 4-1 record. Better yet, we beat a lot of the top decks in Standard along the way, including UW Approach, Four-Color Scarab God Energy, and GB Constrictor. 
  • The strange thing about the deck is that, apart from the transformational sideboard plan—which we'll talk about in a minute—the deck doesn't do anything tricky. It's all removal and discard, backed up by Torment of Scarabs, and apparently that's enough to beat a lot of decks.
  • Considering we just went 4-1, I don't have many bad things to say about the deck. While it seems unlikely that it would keep up this win rate over a larger sample size, it's also clear that Curse Control has the power to keep up with many of the best decks in Standard.
  • This being said, there are a couple of little things that can be improved. Trespasser's Curse isn't a main-deck card—there are too many matchups where it's completely dead. While I don't mind having copies in the 75, I'd much rather the enchantment start in the sideboard. Otherwise, I wished the deck had one or two more card-draw spells in many matches (maybe an additional copy of Ob Nixilis Reignited or even a couple of Succumb to Temptations), since one of the easiest ways to lose with Curse Control is to draw into a string of dead discard spells in the mid- or late game. Having a bit more card draw would help us force our way through pockets of lands and discard. 
  • As for the rest of the deck, it's a little bit weird to write about because it's really just a pile of discard and removal along with Torment of Scarabs, which was much better than I thought it would be when heading into the games. While the first Torment of Scarabs doesn't do all that much in many situations, once we get two or three curses onto the battlefield, they are really hard for the opponent to beat and even harder for the opponent to remove, since enchantment removal is exceedingly rare in our current Standard format.
  • My favorite part of the deck was the transformational sideboard plan, and while we didn't use it every match, it did work amazingly well when we did. The best example of this was our very first match against Four-Color Energy, where after winning game one, we took out all of our Torment of Scarabs along with our worst removal and discard and overloaded our deck with creatures. As predicted, our opponent removed most of their removal and even watered down their deck with cards like Lost Legacy, which they cast naming Torment of Scarabs! In the end, it was pretty easy to beat our opponent down with Gifted Aetherborns and Gonti, Lord of Luxury. While we ended up winning the game, our opponent would have been in a really tough spot if we had gone to game three. Do they bring in creature removal and risk us taking all of our creatures back out of our deck for the Torment of Scarabs, or do they stick with their "beat Curse" package and risk losing to creatures again? This uncertainty creates a lot of value and gives us the ability to pick up some free wins thanks to our opponent mis-sideboarding. 
  • The best part of the deck is that it's super cheap and pretty close to rotation proof, with just Ob Nixilis Reignited and a couple of random removal spells needing to be replaced for the deck to be ready to go in Ixalan Standard. 
  • So, should you play Curse Control? I think the answer is yes. While I don't think the deck is quite as good as it looked in our matches, it felt competitive, and you can't really go wrong for just $70. 


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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