Ever find yourself in a game, where your board is unimpressive, your hand is nearly empty (or at least just full of lands, trying to bluff you have something) then your turn comes around and you just know that the top card of your deck will get you back on track to winning(or at least participating)?..... then it's another card that has zero impact on the game.....
well i have too, and i tend to lose those games, so i thought to myself...
"I should make this happen to my opponents, then I might win".... shortly after i saw a list of the modern deck "Top Control", laughed to myself at how silly the deck seemed.... then started wondering if there were enough unique cards to make a similar deck in EDH.... turns out THERE ARE!
so first of all, the deck. In all it's terrible card-iness!
Now, as you may notice, many of the cards in this deck are terrible by themselves, but they work surprisingly well together.
This is a deck of perfect knowledge. With this knowledge you should ALWAYS be able to make the one right play. This is where you begin to notice how much math, and choice analysis goes into every game where you know what will (or at least should) happen every turn.
Don't kid yourself by saying "the concept seems easy, just mill your opponent til they have a land on top of their deck" this only works 1/2 the time, especially in a multi-player game. Many times you need to let your opponent have a moderate card or risk giving them an even better card with your last mill effect.
The typical game will be where you attempt to gain knowledge, then control of your opponent's draws. All while slowly milling them to death, or acquiring critical mass needed to win through combat (either a planeswalker based assault with 5/5 artifacts, or an army of tokens generated by thopter foundry and sword of the meek)
So far this deck has been performing pretty well in 1v1, 3 player, and 2 headed giant.
Now, let's go over some of the card choices:
Sydri, Galvanic Genius - i always start by talking about my General. With a well established set of artifact based Esper Generals, i ended up picking Sydri for a few reasons:
1) colors: i knew i needed access to Blue, obviously for blue is probably the best color for mill and artifacts. Then i wanted black, mostly for mass removal, spot removal, mill lands, and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Then i wanted access to white for tri-color cards(Thopter Foundry and Ethersworn Adjudicator he seems so cool!) and Auriok Salvagers mostly.
2) she was less threatening than most esper generals: i dunno about all of you... but when i see a Sharuum the Hegemon, Zur the Enchanter, or Sen Triplets i tend to be pretty wary of that player, and save stuff in my hand just for them...
3) low casting cost: this deck has few lands (37 is pretty low for a control deck) and little colored mana producing artifacts, so a lower casting cost, with no multiple of any one color of mana makes it easier to throw her out there early and block, or make cheap artifacts live with deathtouch and block
so that is how i ended up with Sydri (also i have a Karn, Silver Golem deck and i love it)
Auriok Salvagers - Part of a card advantage engine in the deck, most of the important control cards are 1cc artifacts, and if any of them die he can get it right back, and with Codex Shredder i can get him back, then get the shredder back
Daxos of Meletis - in over 12 games i have still yet to draw him (impressive considering how long games with this deck tend to last) but supposedly with perfect knowledge of opponent decks, you can turn their bomb, into your bomb
Drowner of Secrets - Not particularly good, but there are 2 other merfolk in the deck that Drowner can turn into extra single shot mill, and she herself has an ability which is not effected by summoning sickness (which is very helpful) not to mention that milling 1 at a time is way safer(for me) than milling a bunch of cards all at once and possibly giving them a flashback card, or an Eldrazi into the bucket
Grand Architect - with so many artifacts that i need to cast and activate... he helps some of my mana woes (be careful not to have him out with you are trying to use Thopter Foundry + Sword of the Meek because the thopters are blue, and get +1/+1)
Hex Parasite - counters are a bigger problem than people give them credit for, mostly Loyalty counters (although +1/+1 and charge counters can be equaly bad)... this guy just eats right through planeswalkers, and being 1cc makes him all the better to work with the other cards in the deck
Mindshrieker - similar to Ambassador Laquatus except this is one of the main beaters in the deck, when you know what is on top of a players deck it is so easy to make this guy huge, then mill away the low CC cards with something else, also repeatable 1 card mill is this decks favorite
Wizened Snitches - needed all the ways of seeing tops of decks, also flying is useful
Jace, Memory Adept - the big daddy of milling, 10 cards a turn is a LOT, and it can quickly close the gap on a deck with only 20-30 left, also earlier in the game it helps you mill one at a time and draw cards
planeswalkers are good basically, also wondering where/if i can fit an Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver into the mix (targeted exile is much better than just milling into graveyards)
signets - i need cheap, color fixing/accel artifacts that can later become chump deathtouch blockers
Codex Shredder - ahhh, now we are really getting into the deck's engine. Once the tops of libraries are revealed, i can use this and it's friends to control what my opponents (and myself) draw, it's like a :counterspell, and i often use it's 2nd ability to get back some piece i lost, then recur it with Academy Ruins or Auriok Salvagers
Crystal Shard - it's a Crystal Shard, you're playing blue with creatures? play this. Good to block and bounce your own guys and reuse etb effects, or bounce opponent's guys (they will eventually tap out, if not you can make them spend an extra mana every turn)
Darksteel Ingot - i normally wouldn't put this guy in this deck... except it can become an indestructible creature with Sydri or Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas.... it's a little higher CC than i like for this deck, but indestructible makes it hold it's spot
Expedition Map - tutorable and recurrable land tutor, thinking about adding Cabal Coffers because of this, haven't done it yet though... if i don't i might cut this, because my lands are not so critical that i need to get a specific one
Ghoulcaller's Bell - when you start getting into multiplayer games this gets better and better, when multiple opponents have good stuff on top, or if one has good stuff, and you have something you don't want to draw, this makes it an easy choice... mill everyone!
Grindclock - slowly builds up to actually being a win con (especially good with Unwinding Clock) or sometimes i just leave it at 1 to make it easier to control draws
Lantern of Insight - the most likely top viewer you get in any particular game because of ease to tutor it out, sometimes i even sac it (not often)
Liquimetal Coating - with Sydri out Coating practically says :symu::symtap::target land is sacrificed by it's controller (basically), also lets you animate non-creature/non-artifacts in response to Wrath effects (i love doing that)
Nihil Spellbomb - when graveyards grow like they do when facing your deck, they can become scary large resource caches, and this is a good tutorable, recurrable, effect to fix that while also replacing itself with the draw
Omen Machine - one of my last ditch lock pieces, sometimes my opponent does land some card drawing permanents, which makes it 2x more difficult to control the draws for each one they get, so when i land this, it reduces all the extra cards down to just 1 per turn, and it makes card draw spells useless (i have seen people with Harmonize on top when i land Omen Machine, which basically does nothing)
Sword of the Meek + Thopter Foundry - needed a wincon once i finally controlled the game enough, each piece by itself is not dead either, Sword can be animated and given deathtouch with Sydri, and Foundry can be used to save anything from being exiled, while making a deathtouch target +1 life
Unwinding Clock - it effectively doubles my artifacts ability to control the tops of decks, also gives me extra draws off of Underworld Connections (since i normally put it on an artifact land) and gives me extra mana to use on opponent's turns through artifact lands and artifact accel
the artifacts are of course the main engine for the deck, and need to be played as soon as possible... people are always commenting on how "one Austere Command/Merciless Eviction/Creeping Corrosion and your deck is dead" well.... ya duh, but my opponent has to draw that spell first! "they can just tutor it out, der" .... well they also have to draw that tutor! both of which are not easy unless they had it in their hand in one of the first few turns, and i haven't taken a peek into their hand yet...
But more on that in the next section
Will update with more info later, wanted to get the artifacts on there