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  • posted a message on [Penny Dreadful] - Cleansing Control
    Hello everyone!
    Today, I would like to do a writeup of a deck I have been tuning.

    I call it "Cleansing Control" because it runs 3 maindeck Planar Cleansing.

    Among the 7 Wrath effects in this deck, Planar Cleansing was chosen as a 3 of because of a large showing of artifacts (Smokestack) and enchantments (Temur Ascendancy, Sphinx's Tutelage, and now Arcane Adaptation) in the format.

    The deck is somewhat intended to emulate the Pro Tour M15 champion Ivan Floch's deck. It is a variant of U/W "The Deck" and a powered down version of Floch's U/W Control deck.

    I will try to explain my vision for this deck in a top-down perspective.

    Win Conditions: At this point in the game, the deck wants to have a fist full of cards that matter. It has probably cast at least one Stroke of Genius for X=6 or greater. Inevitability is mostly on our side, and its hard to see how we can lose outside of decking or timing out.

    Elixir of Immortality is the most important win condition here. In most cases, this deck looks to win by decking the opponent. Elixir is good insurance against the deck decking itself in the process. In the control mirror, this card is the one that should be protected the most. Any disruption will probably mean a slow, painful death.

    Urza's Factory is a good backup win condition. It can't be countered, which is perfect. Its ability can be activated at instant speed too. A good way to close out games without going to time or decking the opponent.

    Stroke of Genius by itself or in concert with Calciform Pools is a great way to speed up the process of the opponent decking out.

    Planar Outburst and Scatter to the Winds are additional ways to threaten the opponent's life total. They have the advantage of being immune to Planar Cleansing and Planar Outburst (but not Winds of Rath).

    From this point on, I will write in considerations at the end of each section for cards that could have been chosen but I did not choose them (for no specific reason).

    Aetherling is a perennial threat that speeds up games and provides another angle of attack to win the game.

    Big Card Draw: At this point in the game, the deck has cleared the board with Wrath effects a few times. Our life total may be low, or may be high, but we are moving rapidly towards inevitability. We have a few cards in our hand, but are really looking for an opportunity to cast a big Stroke of Genius at the opponent's end step to refill and secure the game

    Stroke of Geinus is of course the most important card here. Sadly, it pales in comparison to Sphinx's Revelation that Floch used to secure his Pro Tour championship, but it gets the job done for us.

    Scatter to the Winds, Dissolve, and Power Sink - At this point, it is most important to save counter spells for something that threatens to get the opponent back into the game. If we have already X-for-1'd them a few times, we definitely don't want them to be able to buy any of that card equity disparity back. The only other thing that counter spells should be used for is something that immediately threatens to kill us. Lethal burn, haste creatures, or the game-winning combo-piece.

    This is where the most decisions (and most mistakes) are made and it is hard to know whether an opponent's last two cards are useless chaff, or something important that they have been holding up.

    Hieroglyphic Illumination(and various other cycling cards) - At this point, these cards are used to dig for Stroke of Genius or counter spells. It is important to cycle as much as possible, but avoid casting Hieroglyphic Illumination if it could cause us to discard to hand size.

    Anticipate, Lat-Nam's Legacy, and Careful Consideration are several "draw" spells that could be used, but I decided not to use them. Anticipate may be able to replace some Azorius Charms as they are used most of the time for cycling. I do feel like the utility of stalling for a turn makes me lean on Azorius Charm more heavily than Anticipate.

    Surviving Early Turns: At this point, the deck is most vulnerable. Before being able to draw many cards, it is highly possible to have to wrath for a single creature, stroke for 1 or 2, draw the wrong lands and lose to combo, and much more. During this stage it is most important to anticipate the opponents plays and use the proper tapped or untapped land drop to be able to counter their important spells if needed.

    Power Sink is an important card for early interaction. A lot of the time it will be necessary to counter something on Turn 2 or Turn 3 in order to have a chance to win. After a bit of time, the other counter spells will start to matter more. However, at this point, Power Sink is the best tool for the job.

    Immolating Glare and Azorius Charm are nice little 1 for 1 (or 1 for 0) effects that are necessary to buy time in the earliest stages of the game. Sometimes, cycling Azorius Charm will be necessary to find land drops. Otherwise it may just be the right to hold on to the Charm for as long as possible. This deck will rarely use the lifelink mode.

    Hieroglyphic Illumination is very nice to cast on the opponent's end of turn. Sometimes nothing feels better than casting it two turns in a row. Sometimes, you will want something a bit more powerful than this card. The cycling function is also okay, but feels a bit worse to use.

    Winds of Rath, Planar Outburst, and Planar Cleansing are a lot of times what I hope to draw when casting Hieroglyphic Illumination - if not the lands to cast them. It is hard to choose which 5 mana wrath is better. Auras have a very low representation, and regeneration is certainly extant in the format. However, Winds of Rath unfortunately hits awakened lands, which can feel pretty bad. I wish I did not have a 2-2 split here, but I am still not sure about this slot.

    Finally, one-offs:

    This deck has a one of Treasure Cruise that is enabled by 4 Flood Plain, 2 Lonely Sandbar, 4 Hieroglyphic Illumination, 4 Azorius Charm, and a single Forsake the Worldly. Treasure Cruise is nice because mid to late game it can be a very live card that brings this deck back from the brink. I never want to see more than one, so running two can feel awkward.

    The Forsake the Worldly is run again because of the high showing of artifacts and enchantments that matter in the format. It feels good to run it main deck, because at the very least it cycles.

    The Exile is run as a alternative to a fourth Immolating Glare and a way to occasionally gain a bit of life. White creatures are pretty rare in the format at the moment, so I am happy to run a single one. I would also be fine with just running another Immolating Glare (for the people out there that hate one-offs.)

    And with that, the sideboard is yours. A person once said that you play more Sideboarded games than Preboarded games, so the sideboard is very important. However, I encourage everyone to develop their own sideboard plans. I may add my own considerations at a later time.

    This deck was able to win 4-0 in Swiss during the last Penny Dreadful Thursdays tournament, before being beaten in the first elimination round. A couple of those wins were due to the opponent timing out, but that is just the nature of MTGO (and a consideration that should be taken into account when thinking about ways to win (or not lose) a game)

    I'm happy to stay with this deck for a bit, and see any developments that others come up with. I am not much of a deck builder, but I do hope this deck can preform well once again.
    Posted in: Homebrew and Variant Formats
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