During the Ravnica Allegiance Early Access Stream I got to test out a few decks for the current Standard season. Most of the brews I messed about with were fairly typical for me. Mono red aggro, mill, and a Simic version of stompy were all on the menu during my stream, and I had an absolute blast trying them out. However, there was one deck that was definitely not in my wheel house. Another deck I tried was an archetype that I’m not the biggest fan of, but one that after playing this particular brew has spiked my interest. The deck in question? Taxation control.
Some of you may know that I’m not a huge fan of blue, and part of that comes from my dislike of counter spells. For me there is no greater sadness than to continually have your spells prevented from resolving. Sitting there while your opponent draws their card for turn and then simply says ‘Go’, is the definition of miserable. However, allowing them to put a threat on the battlefield and then go to their end step, only for you to wipe it from existence with removal is the one part of control I can get behind.
That’s the aim of today’s deck. Destroy EVERYTHING. That’s right, my version of control is all about removal, and plenty of it. Starting with our targeted removal, we run playsets of Cast Down and Mortify as well as a couple of Vraska’s Contempt, which all do a great job of picking off individual creatures. But sometimes, when you’re facing multiple threats, you just need to blow up the world. Luckily for us, Wizards finally brought back a four-mana wrath. Kaya’s Wrath will guarantee a clear board, and with backup from Cleansing Nova board control should be ours.
So, we can make sure we don’t die to our opponents’ creatures, but how do we win the game? Well that’s where the taxation part of taxation control comes in. Smothering Tithe provides us with the first part of our fun and interesting win-condition, taxing our opponents every time they draw a card. They are left with a difficult decision. Either they pay two mana or they allow you to create a treasure token. This teams up brilliantly with the other half of our win-condition, Revel in Riches.
One of my favourite alterative win-cons, Revel in Riches rewards us with even more treasure every time we destroy our opponent’s creatures. What is more, if we have ten or more treasure tokens at the start of our upkeep, we win the game. So, once we have a copy of each of these Enchantments, we put our opponent in a real predicament. When they draw a card, they will be forced to either pay two mana and be unable to play a card this turn, or give us a treasure token which moves us ever closer to winning the game. Even if they decide to pay and still resolve a creature, our removal suite is more than handy enough to pick it off.
But we can’t rely purely on destroying creatures in order to get our treasures, so we include a full playset of Treasure Map to filter through our deck and give us three treasures when it transforms. Adding to the card draw and filtering, we are also running a playset of Karn, Scion of Urza. This giant sliver golem also provides us with another path to victory, as his -2 ability gives us artifact creatures that pair perfectly with our mountain of treasure tokens.
We finish off our non-land cards with four copies of Duress to help battle against noncreature threats. For our mana base we run playsets of Godless Shrine, Isolated Chapel, and Orzhov Guildgate as well as two copies of Field of Ruin to handle problematic enemy lands. We round up the mainboard with five Plains and five Swamps.
4 Karn, Scion of Urza
4 Kaya's Wrath
2 Cleansing Nova
4 Cast Down
2 Vraska's Contempt
4 Smothering Tithe
4 Revel in Riches
4 Treasure Map
4 Godless Shrine
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Orzhov Guildgate
2 Field of Ruin
3 Angel of Grace
4 Adanto Vanguard
4 Fathom Fleet Captain
4 Tithe Taker
The sideboard plan is a simple one. We completely change everything about our strategy. We can handle almost every creature-based strategy the current meta can throw at us, but we don’t have much to deal with opposing control decks. So instead of beating them at their own game, we board to become a midrange creature deck. Playsets of Adanto Vanguard, Fathom Fleet Captain, and Tithe Taker gives us a variety of good two drops with which to put on the pressure, with Angel of Grace providing us with a powerful finisher.
That is Taxation Control for Ravnica Allegiance Standard. The deck is a lot of fun to play, but not so great to face. Let us know what you think about the deck in the comments below. And while you are there please like and subscribe to stay up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics. But until next time, remember – good luck and have fun.