|Deck: Nossr50's Master Tier UB Control|
|1||Arch of Orazca||1||Bontu's Last Reckoning||3||Champion of Wits|
|1||Desert of the Glorified||2||Cancel||1||Tetzimoc, Primal Death|
|1||Fetid Pools||2||Censor||2||The Scarab God|
|3||Field of Ruin||1||Commit // Memory //||1||Vizier of Many Faces|
|4||Submerged Boneyard||3||Essence Scatter|
|3||Moment of Craving|
|2||Search for Azcanta|
|1||Torment of Hailfire|
|Display deck statistics|
This is probably the single card that makes it possible to get to master rank with this deck, without it we’d be in a much weaker position. I’m not going to lie, in a lot of MUs you won’t even play scarab god, but there are MUs where you will be counting on him for your win-con.
It’s often not a wise Idea to play Scarab God on turn 5, but sometimes it will be in your best interest to do so. Refer to my Rules to Play UB earlier in this guide for more info on this.
Typically you will want to play him when you can protect him. Keep in mind you can use his ability at any time so long as you have the land, you can use it when he's tapped as well. You can use it when the enemy is attacking and pull out something to defend and trick them into taking a bad trade.I almost never attack with Scarab God as you run the risk of bringing him within removal range if he takes any damage the same goes for defending with him as well. Against white decks you will want to keep in mind effects like Ixalan’s Binding which will completely ruin our gameplan if we don’t keep counterspells for.
Once you get enough Zombies your ability to control your topdecks will be insane. I usually throw lands to the bottom of my deck and dig for my control tools. It dLet me runepends on your land situation though, I aim to have about 9 lands in most games, in the control mirror I go for more as it enables game winning Torment’s.
Playing The Scarab God in the UB control mirror can be tricky, if they have their own Scarab God down they might just res a chupa or a similar unit and snipe ours immediately, try to take care of their Scarab God before playing your own.In the UB mirror you can try playing Champion of Wits and Tetzimoc in order to burn through your opponents Essence Scatters and removal before bringing out Scarab Daddy. This will only work against weaker players though. Ipnu Rivulet can be used to mill the top 4 cards of a target player's library, you can use this as a hail mary if you need Scarab God targets and both GYs are empty.
This might possibly be one of the best cards in the deck versus aggro, and in many other MUs it provides utility as it can be played at instant speed. It acts as a form of removal, a way to mitigate damage, and a utility spell to counter what your opponent is trying to do.
This is one of the best ways to stay in the game against aggro decks as it serves as both a form of removal and a source of healing.
As mentioned earlier in my Rules to Play UB you typically do not want to use MoC the moment a unit hits the board unless your opponent has tapped out all of their lands. And keep in mind MoC has great utility, is it worth using a -2/-2 removal on a 1/1 unit? You have to think about that unit and its potential threat, does leaving it on the board pose a significant risk?
There is some great utility to be found in MoC, since it is cast at instant speed you can use it to take a favourable block (which we don’t often do in our deck since we don’t run many units), you can deny your opponents magma spray on your Champion of Wits, and you can remove a unit before a cartouche or enchantment can be applied on it.
It will take you some time to understand when best to use MoC, as it varies wildly from MU to MU, I will be covering how to use MoC more extensively in my MU section you can find later in the guide.Often against aggro you will be using it to reduce their numbers, in the control mirror you can use it to stop Champion of Wits from drawing cards, and in other MUs it can be used to remove key low health units.
This is your single wincon against many aggro decks, often you will tear your hair out if you do not have this in your opening hand or do not draw into it against an aggressive deck like RDW.
If your opening hand has Golden Demise that drastically improves your chances of winning against RDW from something like 10% to 40%, provided you have the two swamps required to activate it as well.
Keep in mind this card does not do damage, it simply debuffs all units by -2/-2 which means it can counter many cards which have triggers from being damaged or activated abilities to prevent them from dying like [Raptor Hatchling] or [Adanto Vanguard]. If a units health falls to 0 from golden demise it will die.
Using golden demise can be tricky, as it is an expensive card to cast, often you need to weigh the risk of playing golden demise against the potential reward. In the early turns, playing golden demise will lock you out of being able to play reactive cards such as Essence Scatter, Negate, Censor, and others.
You need to know your opponents deck well, do you run the risk of letting an [anointed procession] or [radiant destiny] hit the field if I play my golden demise now? There are other cards to keep in mind too, it's important to understand your opponents deck and what troublesome cards they may be playing.
This card is a life saver, its a fairly inexpensive card which effectively allows you to control your draws as long as it remains un-transformed. Once you have 7 cards in your GY you may choose to transform it, this gives you an additional source of blue mana and gives you the ability to check the top 4 cards of your deck for a spell and place it into your hand. Once transformed you can place another Search for Azcanta down which I recommend doing if you run 2 in your deck, as the ability to control your draws is amazing. Of course this overlaps a bit with Scarab God but keep in mind Search for Azcanta can send stuff to your GY before your draw step, so if you see a bunch of undesirable stuff with Scarab God you can just kick whatever you draw to the GY with Azcanta in order to keep digging for answers.
There are some MUs where it's a good idea to leave this untransformed, for example in the control mirror if you see they have field of ruins down there is no reason to transform this as they will likely just snipe it. Of course, you can transform it and get its active ability to go off at least once before they snipe it, so that's something to keep in mind as well. Another reason to keep Azcanta untransformed is the scenario where you already have all the answers in your hand and you would like to make sure you keep topdecking good cards. It is expensive to use the Azcanta ability even when you are sitting on 6-7 lands, you might not be able to play an answer right away afterwards, so it's not always wise to transform it the moment you are able to. As an example, if I’m low on lands I will wait to transform Azcanta so that once its transformed I can use its ability freely without worrying about having enough untapped mana to play my answers.
If you see this card in your opening hand it will do so much work for you over the course of a long game, often I will drop it turn 2 if my hand is atrocious and I’m in a desperate spot, but in general you will want to wait until turn 4 or 5 to drop it so you can keep your reactive options open.If you go first it's almost never a bad idea to drop Search for Azcanta turn 2 as you will rarely if ever get punished for it.
These cards are your bread and butter low-cost stalling tools, these are available to use from turn 2 onwards and can counter extremely powerful cards. Most of the time if your opponent is dropping a low strength unit I’d recommend using MoC over any of these cards to remove it, as MoC only serves as removal for low str units but these cards can be used in a wide variety of situations.
I typically recommend using censor as soon as your opponent gives you an opportunity to do so, as its an unreliable counter to your opponent's strategy. However, if you don’t have any negates or cancels in your hand, it can be a good idea to hold onto your censor as your opponent may drop a troublesome enchantment as soon as they are able to, and since censor can counter any kind of spell (creatures are considered spells in this game) it is wise to hold onto it especially if you are against tokens. Most players will not play around censor, and in the case that they do you can cycle it for 1 blue at the end of their turn to dig for better cards.
Your goal with UB is to stall the game out, and these cards are MVPs at stalling.
It may be surprising to see Field of Ruins make it into the All-Stars section, but there's damn good reason for it. There are a lot of particularly troublesome lands in this game, and Field of Ruins is your one single counter to them.br>
Outside of sniping special lands or in addition to, Field of Ruins can also help you establish double black or double blue mana if you haven’t gotten it so far, which can save your ass when you really need to pop off a golden demise or another card with a similar mana requirement. br>
I’d recommend running 4 if you have them.
I hesitate to mention this under the All-Stars section because this card won’t even come into play until turn 4 at the minimum, however it is one of the best single-target removal spells in the game. Healing you and exiling a target it can help bring you above lethal while permanently removing a creature from play, this is one of the best cards to transition from the early game stall into taking control of the game. As always, typically I recommend playing this at the end of your opponent's turn, but if you are are being heavily pressured I’d use it during the combat phase on their turn, or during your turn if they are tapped out and have counterspells.
Typically you will be using this card on troublesome cards which other removals are ineffective against, in rare cases you will be forced to use this card when you have no other removal at your disposal. This card shines at removing anything from high strength units, indestructible creatures, gods which go back to their controllers hand when they die, or creatures featuring embalm or eternalize to prevent them from re-entering play.
II think some people will be surprised to see this card on this list, this card can be straight up useless in some MUs but I’ve found it to be an A+ card in many MUs where I had no other win condition. This is our second win condition.
I’ve been using this card as a finisher in my deck since I got my MTGA account, as by chance I got it in one of my free packs after making the account. After trying it out I’ve fallen in love with it. This is your tool to win the game when you are pushing 9+ lands and the game is going nowhere anytime soon.
Keep in mind you can set up a much more effective Torment by dealing some damage to your opponent before casting it.In the worst case scenario you can use torment to empty your opponent's hand or clear the board, I recommend casting torment when you have a threat down on the board, if you don’t have anything on the board they will often just injure themselves to avoid discarding cards or sacrificing non-land permanents.
And there will be plenty of scenarios where you have such an absurd amount of mana that you can just guarantee a kill from casting torment by itself onto a full HP opponent. Against blue decks leave enough mana for negate/cancel when casting this spell, or wait until they are completely tapped out and go all in. Normally in the control mirror we stand little to no chance of winning, but if our opponent taps out on his mana or we are sitting on an absurd amount of land, we can steal the game from them with this.
This card works well with our deck because we are effective at stalling the game, and there will be games where you don’t draw your scarab gods but you do have your torment, and in those games you will be glad you have it.It’s worth noting that once you cast Torment of Hailfire your opponent cannot concede until they finish the interaction with torment, which is hilarious. This is my favourite card in the deck.
This card really shines with its eternalize ability, often saving your ass and allowing you to refill your hand with cards. Most of the time you are not going to play Champion of Wits until turn 5 or later, as playing her early is very expensive and will leave you unable to respond to your opponent with counterspells.
If you absolutely have to dig for an answer, there’s nothing wrong with dropping her on turn 3 or 4, especially if you’ve run out of counter spells or stalling tools. Keep in mind if your opponent uses MoC on your Champion of Wits you will want to decline the ability or you will be forced to discard cards and draw none. It’s also a bad idea to use Champion of Wits if your hand only has good cards in it, as you might end up discarding something good.
When you use Wits you will want to send other Wits to the GY to setup their eternalize ability, you can also send high mana cost cards or cards that aren’t appropriate for your current opponent. Once Scarab God is on the field you can pull the other Champion of Wits you put in the GY earlier out for only 4 mana instead of 7, which is borderline OP. If your opponent tries to deny Champion of Wits with magma spray or similar exile effects and you are sitting on 7 lands you might just want to Moment of Craving your own Wits, and send it to the GY just so you can get off its eternalize ability in the next turn.
Cancel (and admirals order which is strictly better but I do not have) are solid cards for countering your opponents strategy, unfortunately it costs an absurd amount of mana, I’ve experimented with cutting cancel from the list but I’ve always put it back in. If I could, I would probably run 4x censor over including 2x cancel and see how that felt
. The nice part about Cancel is you can use it on any spell that doesn’t specifically state its uncounterable (once again creatures are considered spells in this game), so it's a very flexible card although expensive. I find it most often pays off in the control mirror, and outside of that it finds some limited use if you have used up your essence scatters/negates already.
If your opponent is playing a strong card and has tapped out their mana in order to do so, I will often use cancel over negate/essence scatter, just because it has such a high mana cost. Of course I don’t recommend doing this unless you are extremely familiar with the MU as using up a flexible counterspell is a bad idea for new players. I just find often I want it out of my hand since the other counterspell cards are much cheaper.
For example, if I want to play Scarab God and I’m worried about my opponent using ixalans binding or cast-out, I’d rather keep a negate in my hand than a cancel, as negate would mean I’d just need 7 mana to play scarab god whereas with cancel I’d have to have 8. I wouldn’t include more than 2 of this card in the current meta, and honestly I wouldn’t even consider it essential to the deck.
With the current cards we have in MTGA I find it hard to want to cut Supreme Will from the list, it can save your ass by allowing you to dig for answers and in other scenarios it can be used similarly to censor. Most of the time I’m using this card to deny my opponents from placing down an enchantment or a big boy unit when they start playing around Censor.
This is basically our Plan B in case we don’t get our Search for Azcanta down when it comes to finding the better cards in our deck. If you don’t find yourself in a dire situation I’d hold onto this for its counterspell ability rather than its ability to dig through your deck.
You will rarely if almost never use it on your own turn to find land, typically in a scenario where you lack double black mana to get off your game saving Golden Demise or Bontu’s Last Reckoning or potentially Vraska or something like that. In most cases you will use it at the end of your opponent's turn if you have to dig for answers.
Duress and Doomfall are sleeper hits in this deck, I’ve experimented a lot with these cards and I find having each as a one-of in the deck to be the best balance in the current meta. Duress and Doomfall both serve to give you information on your opponent's hand, and can remove troublesome enchantments or strong cards from your opponent.
If you happen to have Duress in your opening hand I recommend dropping a swamp and opening with Duress as you have no other plays on turn 1 with this deck anyways. If you only have taplands available to you on turn 1, then I don’t recommend playing Duress on turn 2 as that would mean locking you out of the ability to play your reactive cards during your opponent's turn.
As for Doomfall, this is an interesting card, its mana-cost is a bit high but it has two abilities, you can either remove a non-land card from your opponent's hand and reveal their hand at the same time, or you can force your opponent to exile a card on the board. There are some interesting combos you can do with Doomfall, if you can remove weak units from your opponent's board and play Doomfall in the same turn, you can force them to exile a good card, likewise you can send a card to their hand if you happen to run cards like unsummon or rivers rebuke and follow it up with a doomfall.
Just keep in mind the mana-cost for Doomfall is high, you don’t want to use it if it taps out all your lands typically. Honestly most the time Duress is a better Doomfall, but there are situations where it pays off to have Doomfall in the deck and thats why its included.
In the control mirror Duress and Doomfall are game winning, if I saw the control MU more often I’d throw more of these cards into my deck, unfortunately in this aggro heavy meta they see limited use, not enough to warrant cutting them from the list however.
This card is a life saver in certain MUs, for most intents and purposes it is a worse golden demise, but in specific MUs this is your only tool to turn the game from a loss into a win.
This card can be used to kill pesky hexproof units, tanky units, and units buffed up from enchantments.
The card has a major drawback in the fact that it keeps your lands from untapping during your next turn, but oftentimes I’d rather have that happen then lose the game because a bunch of steroided out mecha-trex’s are about to lethal me. This is a card you should not use lightly, you should know when to use it and when not to, typically if you can make do with other forms of removal I’d use those before ever using Bontu, Bontu is a last resort card with steep penalties, and sometimes it can be your only counter to specific units your enemy is using.
This card can come in handy on occasion, it's typically very expensive to get out, but you can build up tetzimoc markers leading up to the turn you play him on. Tetzimoc happens to have deathtouch, so he's also useful against certain hexproof mecha dinosaurs that you might run into. Sometimes I will drop him on turn 6 with no markers built up if I have to, you need to play it by ear and if you’re getting hammered dropping tetzimoc can help quell the flow.
In a long game Tetzimoc can serve as a board wipe, and against Blue decks running Glyph Keeper you can use Tetzimoc to pop their spell shield. In most games you will likely not even play Tetzimoc, but there are times when topdecking him can save your ass.
He’s also great removal bait to throw him down before Scarab God comes out, normally I’d avoid using him if it taps all my lands, but sometimes you have no choice.
In matchups s where Tetzimoc is way too slow, just discard him with Champion of Wits.
Vizier is a clunky card at 2-blue 2-colorless, but in some MUs she can help a lot. Against tokens you can use it to stall by copying Regal Caracal or Sunscourge Champion, against Dinos you can copy their hexproof Carnage Tyrant and trade with it, and in the mirror you can do a lot of tricky stuff.
You can also find good value by copying your own eternalized wits as well. In a lot of games I will end up discarding her from my hand with wits and only pull her out with embalm as most of the time she just costs too much mana and I can’t justify keeping her in my hand just in case they pull out a good vizier target .Vizier’s ability isn’t considered targeted as she ‘enters the battlefield as a copy of a unit’ which means you can target hexproof units, and stuff like Glyph Keeper which has a spell shield.
This is an interesting tech card in the deck, it can be used as a counter-spell or a way to remove non-land permanents from the board. Since it sends the the target non-land permanent or spell card into their deck second from the top, I typically pair using it with Field of Ruin or Ipnu Rivulet in order to shuffle my opponent's deck or mill their top cards after sending a troublesome card into their deck.
This card is also one of the only counters in the game to creature spells which feature the word uncounterable, such as Nezahal and Carnage Tyrant (Hexproof Mecha T-Rex). Memory
I’ll admit, I rarely make use of Memory in most MUs, but it does have its place. The most common scenario to use Memory is when you are under pressure and low on cards, especially if your opponent has a high number of cards in his hand. It’s extremely expensive to cast Memory and it goes at Sorcery speed so be careful when you use this as you may just be giving your opponent more fuel to win the game. I’d recommend using this only in desperate situations, and yes using Memory has won me a game or two.
One other scenario you may want to use Memory in is when all your good cards are in the GY and you have already transformed Search for Azcanta or other awesome Lands/Enchantments which make use of having excess mana late-game. Say for example all of your Scarab Gods and counterspells are in the GY, well then I’d probably consider using Memory to get back in the game. This depends highly on the MU but you get the general idea.
This is an excellent card if all you are facing on the ladder is control, but outside of the control MU he tends to be a 7-mana 7/7 and ends up feeling like a brick in your hand in early turns. I only face control in about 1/4th of my games and found him too clunky to include in the list. I did run him for a long time though, and if you don’t have Scarab God yet I’d probably put him in the list.
In a large majority of MUs I found this card to be too expensive for what it offered, as a 4 mana 2/2 with a targeted destroy I’d much rather have another Vraska’s Contempt. Chupa won’t do you much good when an indestructible Hazoret gets slammed down on turn 4, whereas Vraska will save your life.
With that said, Chupa is actually an excellent card in the UB Mirror as he effectively counters Nezahal and can even be used to remove Scarab God from play for a turn and other pesky units, allowing you to res their Scarab God as a token zombie with your own and then destroy it (as you can’t have 2 scarab gods down at the same time) thus exiling it from the game.
I like to call this card the mirror-winner, and if control was more prevalent in the meta I’d certainly run him in my list. I in fact ran him for a long time just for the control MU, but he has similar problems to Nezahal, the fact that he has a very high mana cost, that he's basically a brick outside of the control mirror, and that he can end up sitting in your hand instead of a better more useful card in early turns where you can’t afford to play Champion of Wits in order to discard him.
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