A Standard Approach

A Standard Approach – by Shaun Capes

A new set released, and a new standard season is upon us. Standard over the past few years has been questionable to say the least, with multiple bannings, single decks dominating the format and just an overall negative experience for new and experienced players alike. With Dominaria came a lot of hype…spoiler season raised eyebrows as returning mechanics were applauded, new mechanics brought excitement and those new card frames…yes please!

Image result for mtg WOW meme

Standard is in a very good place right now, agro decks are competitive, control decks have game against most decks in the format, and midrange is viable. When standard is as open as it is now, I like to look at the last seasons decks and top performers and adjust and tinker. Problem is, I haven’t played standard in a season and most of the top tier decks last season had a lot of cards that I didn’t own, and being a modern player by heart, I didn’t want to throw tons of money at standard. That’s were the challenger decks come in. Looking through the available decks, Second Sun Control really peaked my interest.

Second Sun Control

Creature (1)
1 x Kefnet the Mindful

Sorcery (6)
3 x Approach of the Second Sun
3 x Fumigate

Instant (19)
1 x Settle the Wreckage
4 x Opt
4 x Censor
4 x Supreme Will
1 x Renewed Faith
4 x Glimmer of Genius
1 x Farm // Market

Enchantment (8)
4 x Aether Meltdown
4 x Cast Out

Land (26)
4 x Irrigated Farmland
2 x Field of Ruin
2 x Ipnu Rivulet
10 x Island
8 x Plains

Sideboard (15)
1 x Kefnet the Mindful
2 x Renewed Faith
4 x Regal Caracal
2 x Glyph Keeper
2 x Spell Pierce
4 x Negate

Image result for mtg WOW meme

I love playing control in standard…it seems to be the perfect format to slow the game down, take control and most importantly…DRAW ALL THE CARDS! Second Sun Control does all that…and has an alternate win condition that can steal games that you should not be winning. The key card in the deck is Approach of the second sun, gaining you life, and playing a card that says “you win the game” is never a bad thing, right? Glimmer of Genius is still one of the best card draw spells in standard, Censor and Supreme Will are multifunctional counter spells and Fumigate and Settle the Wreckage are great against the agro decks. Now, as a precon, this deck is solid, but adjusting and tinkering the deck to include more powerful spells makes it all the more sweet. As a quick disclaimer, I wanted to take the approach of not changing the overall deck, but add cards that I had from previous standards. I was lucky to pick up two Karn, Scion of Urza for pretty cheap, but this purchase was more for other formats that just happened to fit into this deck. So although Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and more Karns would be better, unless I happen to crack them in pack, they will not be acquired for this deck.

Upgrades

Karn, Scion of Urza – Karn is a busted magic card. Four Generic mana to get 5 loyalty and card advantage. Yeah, that’s what magic players want. The silver counter on the exiled cards is a unique take on things, and considering the exiled cards remain in exile with a silver counter on it even if the initial Karn is destroyed, you still have access to these cards when you play your next copy of Karn.

Torrential Gearhulk – Normally an all-in win con for straight control decks, Abrade has really lowered the cards stock in recent times, but in this deck we are using it for card advantage, flashing back glimmers or supreme wills and the occasional Settle the Wreckage. If you can beat down an opponent with this 5/6 behemoth then all the more reason to play it, but don’t expect it to last too long on the field.

Seach for Azcanta – Solid early drop, smooths out your draws, ramps you and gives you card selection when flipped. All the things control decks like. Search is one of the best blue cards in Magic at the moment, seeing play in all formats.

Seal away – Solid removal spell for the early game, deals with most of the aggressive creatures in the format and often opponents won’t have enchantment removal pre-side board, so almost guaranteed to have dealt with the creature for the entire game.

Glacial Fortress – Just better mana. Cutting down on some basic lands to add dual lands is normally correct, getting cut off a colour in a two colour deck feels bad, so to decrease those odds, Glacial Fortress was an easy substitute.

Crook of Condemnation – Graveyard hate for a format that has graveyard interactions is a must in any format. Crook of Condemnation seems to be the most reliable source of disruption at a low mana cost.

Vizier of many faces – The opportunity to clone an opponent’s creature when we are so light on creatures can cause a road block, having the ability to do it again is a major inconvenience, considering that almost all removal should be taken out by our opponent.

Purchasing the deck on a Thursday evening, and planning to play it at FNM the next day didn’t leave much time to test and adjust, so after changing the deck, upgrading the mana, adding some better support cards, I was left with this:

Second Sun Control

Image result for approach of the second sun scg

Creature (2)
2 Torrential Gearhulk

Sorcery (6)
3 Approach of the Second Sun
3 Fumigate

Instant (19)
4 Censor
4 Glimmer of Genius
4 Opt
3 Settle the Wreckage
4 Supreme Will

Enchantment (7)
4 Cast Out
2 Search for Azcanta
1 Seal Away

Planeswalker (2)
2 Karn, Scion of Urza

Land (24)
2 Desert of the Mindful
2 Field of Ruin
4 Glacial Fortress
2 Ipnu Rivulet
4 Irrigated Farmland
5 Island
5 Plains

Sideboard:
3 Aether Meltdown
2 Crook of Condemnation
2 Glyph Keeper
1 Kefnet the Mindful
3 Negate
3 Regal Caracal
1 Vizier of Many Faces

Things to note about the deck…it’s good, real good. Having Settle the Wreckage and Fumigate for the aggressive games and counter magic and card advantage for the grindier games makes this deck feel very balances. Cast Out deals with problematic permanents, Karn to draw attention off your life total and draw you cards, with the added bonus of making constructs to protect itself and be a win condition on its own, the card is busted! MVP of the deck is the namesake card, Approach of the second sun. Winning the game by just casting it twice is the primary reason why this card is good, but the gaining 7 life isn’t a laughing matter. Sometimes you win on two life by casting the second copy, so if that life gain wasn’t there, GAME OVER. Now there are upgrades to be made, and I get that, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is an auto include in the deck if you are lucky enough to have some lying around and the pure control matchup is rough because you have the conditional counter spells, and not hard counters. Against a control opponent with 10 lands in play, supreme will and censor often don’t do the job you need, but they are crucial to the deck because they help you find the approaches.

Control isn’t for everyone, and I would not recommend this deck if you are not a devoted control player. The games go long, knowing when to counter a spell or draw cards is a constant headache and not being able to take advantage of an opponent’s slow start can be frustrating. UW Approach is a challenging deck to play, but as a control player…nothing feels better than just saying “NOPE” to your opponent.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, peace out.

Shaun – DCI LVL1 judge

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