Best ways to beat Control?

  • #1
    I have been having a ridiculous time trying to beat the top tier W/U and B/U Control decks. What are the best ways to beat counter spells in general?
  • #2
    Manlands, Discard, recurrent beaters (Vengevine,) and practice, practice, practice.
  • #3
    Your specific approach depends on what format this is. Is it casual, Standard, etc? In any case, Standard isn't my specialty (I just smash budget decks into people at FNMs and that's the extent of my experience), but...

    - Ramp decks seem to do well against control from what I hear. Summoning Trap can definitely be backbreaking, even if you don't get an Eldrazi with it.
    - Vengevine in general makes control players either play graveyard hate like Nihil Spellbomb or cry.
    - Luminarch Ascension will end the game in a right hurry if it sticks.
    - A very fast, heavy aggro strategy (RDW, Boros) can overwhelm control before it can get itself set up. Even White Weenie Quest can do well if you go off fast enough (a turn 2 quest activation on the play is almost impossible for them to beat).
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  • #4
    Discard is a good way of screwing up control decks. No cards in hand means no way of stopping your threats.

    Ironically, forcing your opponent to discard their hand is also a form of control, and if you want to counter control decks you may have to use a bit of control yourself. A lot of black control decks use cards like blightning and duress to keep you in check.

    Any card you can return from your graveyard (called Recursion) is good against control as it forces the opponent to deal with that particular threat twice or even more times.

    Obstinate Baloth will give your opponent fits if they are using discard.
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  • #5
    Quote from Teia Rabishu
    Your specific approach depends on what format this is. Is it casual, Standard, etc? In any case, Standard isn't my specialty (I just smash budget decks into people at FNMs and that's the extent of my experience), but...

    - Ramp decks seem to do well against control from what I hear. Summoning Trap can definitely be backbreaking, even if you don't get an Eldrazi with it.
    - Vengevine in general makes control players either play graveyard hate like Nihil Spellbomb or cry.
    - Luminarch Ascension will end the game in a right hurry if it sticks.
    - A very fast, heavy aggro strategy (RDW, Boros) can overwhelm control before it can get itself set up. Even White Weenie Quest can do well if you go off fast enough (a turn 2 quest activation on the play is almost impossible for them to beat).


    Go with this one imo. I've been running 3 maindeck for like 5-6 weeks now. A turn 2 (or 4 with mana leak backup) Luminarch Ascension is backbreaking against ramp and control. It can just pretty much win the game right there. I've won games when I got mana screwed (3-4 lands) with turn 2 ascension. It is that good against the decks it is good against.
  • #6
    Quote from cloverstorm
    I have been having a ridiculous time trying to beat the top tier W/U and B/U Control decks. What are the best ways to beat counter spells in general?


    Historically, Goblins beats the pants off control. Too fast and too much that slip under the radar. When you put your turn 1 2/2 and swing, they've got a chance to draw very few cards.

    It's not just the early bodies, but the early HASTEy bodies that deal the damage to them.

    With a 2/2 goblin on the board, every turn they hold back mana to Mana leak your next goblin, they take two. You can ignore their spells and not play into their game. Their gameplan is to take turn two &3 to stop a threat and then turn 4 start changing the game. Meanwhile, you beat face on turn 1, don't play anything on your turn on turn 2, beat face for 2 more. Their turn you bolt their dome for 3. If they counter your spell then your creatures are going to come for more damage.

    Let's say they don't counter, then you've got 3 mana available. You can test the waters or wait again for your big hasty swing. Meanwhile, swing again. Those early 9 points and NO cards being stopped by the counter war side really becomes difficult.
  • #7
    The aggro decks aren't doing well against the control decks in this meta, though it's not unwinnable by any means. Your best bet is a Primeval Titan ramp deck, possibly with Summoning Trap. According to our numbers, Valakut would be your best choice.
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  • #8
    Discard beats Control in the grand rock paper scissors match of magic. Cause even if they counter your discard, they still lost a spell, and it tells you they have somehting they want to protect in thier hand so you can play appropriately
  • #9
    What you need to realize is that Jace and control are cooler than you. You can't beat it. Instead join it. Playing control makes you better at Magic than playing stupid creature decks.
  • #10
    I love running control in casual and I can tell you what works against me in my experience (my friends at college have only slightly picked up on this).

    Ramp: Green decks that ramp out tons of mana kill my defensive control and land control decks. See control relies on getting to the late game where after you've worn yourself out trying to bust through their defense they have answers in the late game. Ramp kills this strategy because you just force your giant guys down on turn 3-4 when they probably haven't established a good lock and your big guys are just better than their big guys.

    Super Aggro: This one is a bit tougher to win with but it has an advantage. Decks with a really low curve can slip under the counter wall and have mana open for removal spells to get past the defense of control.

    Discard: Can't control if you take away their weapons before they hit the field.

    The biggest thing though is to STAY CALM! Control decks are funny in that at their best they rely on making the opponent feel powerless. The thing most people forget about playing is the mental aspect and control makes it matter even more. Not that it makes you better but you have to realize that if you get flustered facing control you'll make mistakes that only sink you deeper into the trap.


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  • #11
    Quote from Windweaver

    The biggest thing though is to STAY CALM! Control decks are funny in that at their best they rely on making the opponent feel powerless. The thing most people forget about playing is the mental aspect and control makes it matter even more. Not that it makes you better but you have to realize that if you get flustered facing control you'll make mistakes that only sink you deeper into the trap.


    Another part about that is that even the threat of counters is powerful. Sure, play around mana leak/negate/whatever but eventually you are going to have to force them to have it or wait or them to tap out which they will only do when they have the advantage and feel safe anyway (a big part of this is into the roil in standard). A big skill against control is to be able to read what counters/removal they have based on how they play and how they tap their mana.
  • #12
    The Eldrazi ramp decks are generally very good against control, especially the blue-based control like W/U and B/U. Summoning Trap is extremely crushing when it connects with Primeval Titan, Terastodon, or an Eldrazi. Since most blue-based control won't be winning quickly anytime soon, you take advantage of that by simply setting up shop with land drops, some acceleration, punishing potential counters with Summoning Trap, and then dropping an Eldrazi that forces their hand.

    But yeah, listen to what Windweaver said. Some of your spells WILL be countered. Trying to avoid your spells getting countered is like trying to avoid next Tuesday. The psychological aspect of countermagic is huge; it is surprising how many people will clam up and stop playing aggressively once the first spell of theirs is countered. Unfortunately, that exact reaction plays right into the blue player's hands.

    Quote from Jace"s Minion
    What you need to realize is that Jace and control are cooler than you. You can't beat it. Instead join it. Playing control makes you better at Magic than playing stupid creature decks.


    This stereotype really isn't that true. It actually takes quite a bit of skill to play aggro decks. They are not the "mindless autopilot decks that anybody can be good with" sort of thing.
  • #13
    People who say aggro is mindless and control is Just Better(tm) are the people who try their hand at aggro, suck at it, then think that because they personally treated it like a mindless autopilot deck and got stomped then that's how aggro in general is.
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  • #14
    I don't know. Elves just requires you to do a little bit of math, and you steamroll people. Control requires a far greater deal of thinking ahead.

    Besides, "mindless" in MTG basically means "play everything you can as fast as you can, and turn things sideways as often as possible", which most aggro decks fundamentally do. Sure, you can sit there and say "theres more to it than that" and that's true, but it only tips the scale back a tiny bit. Pretty much the only things you needed to know with Jund were to NOT cast terminate off a cascade when you had the only creature in play.

    Of course, there are always exceptions to this, when you DO have to think ahead to win. The only difference is that with Control, you almost ALWAYS have to do that.

    If you want to know how to beat control, do stuff at the end of their turn. Talk about putting a control player in a tough spot.
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  • #15
    I just had to chime in on the whole "Aggro is mindless, Control is skilled" thing. A little background, I love playing control and do so often, so I'm not just blowing smoke when I say that Aggro is very skill intensive as well. I was a little bit humbled when I started playing Boros Bushwhacker before rotation, and that experience was reinforced when I tried to design an aggro deck post rotation.

    Aggro decks are very hard to play in the sense that most of your options almost create a Lose-Lose situation for you. You could go as fast as you can, get under that wall of counters, and get blown out when they wrath, or you could hold back more, and allow them to set up, but not get blown out.

    The key to playing aggro (at least in standard) is sensing when you need to hold back and when you don't, which is very complicated and skill intensive. It's really about understanding the subtlety's of your strategy, and when you need to push.

    P.S. I got the impression that Jace's Minion was being sarcastic, but I wanted to chime in because I have the feeling this will be discussed for a while.
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  • #16
    I found that beating control with heavy aggro decks is best done with threat management.

    You know that something you play is going to be countered, so choose which ones are going to be countered. If you are playing kithkin, throw out a wizened cenn, it's an okay card but not exactly a back breaker, if they counter that and end up tapped out then you can throw our that figure of destiny.

    Losing something to a counterspell isn't card disadvantage, they are using one of their threats to deal with yours. Sometimes it works best to throw out a moderate threat and have it countered just so you can clear the way for your bigger threat.
  • #17
    Quote from Stupid_Trout
    I found that beating control with heavy aggro decks is best done with threat management.

    You know that something you play is going to be countered, so choose which ones are going to be countered. If you are playing kithkin, throw out a wizened cenn, it's an okay card but not exactly a back breaker, if they counter that and end up tapped out then you can throw our that figure of destiny.

    Losing something to a counterspell isn't card disadvantage, they are using one of their threats to deal with yours. Sometimes it works best to throw out a moderate threat and have it countered just so you can clear the way for your bigger threat.


    This!

    Another thing to consider against control decks is that you have to push the advantage. A control player can never feel safe if you want to beat them. You've got to make them OVER THINK which is what the strategy stated above does. As for the aggro argument. I admit aggro took a lot more practice to play well than I thought it would, especially playing out of bad hands. I have a Red/White deck that can steal games by turn 4-5 but if I get a bad hand it's really hard for me to play out of it.


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  • #18
    Try to make them tap out the turn before you want to lay down a threat or a game-ender. Staggershocking them during the end step to bait Mana Leak so you can play Koth next turn is one general example.
  • #19
    Quote from Jace"s Minion
    What you need to realize is that Jace and control are cooler than you. You can't beat it. Instead join it. Playing control makes you better at Magic than playing stupid creature decks.

    Um, no. Aggro can be just as skill intensive as control. they just require skill in different areas.
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