EVOLUTION OF WHITE-BLUE

Posted in GRAND PRIX UTRECHT 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 10, 2014

By Oliver Gehrmann

Yesterday, we put together a list of 50 players, among them a Hall of Famer as well as Grand Prix and Pro Tour winners. Out of those 50, 10 were running White-Blue Control. That seems to be in stark contrast to Marijn Lybaert's initial assessment prior to the start of the tournament where he said that he wasn't a big fan of the deck since it had a very hard time wrapping up games.

While one fifth of the supposedly best players in the room ended up playing the deck, it appears like a much smaller fraction of all the players in attendance felt confident enough to try their luck with it. If that weren't the case, it would be rather difficult to explain why we only saw 12 White-Blue Control Decks showing up this morning, which translates to less than 10 % of the field! (Or, if you prefer to take an approach that is a little closer to Marijn's claim, the deck really isn't that good.)

The four "named players" that still showed up this morning playing White-Blue Control are Thoralf Severin, (6) Stanislav Cifka, Alexandre Darras and Alan Warnock. Apart from Warnock, all of them have amassed already 30 points at the time of this writing, so we might as well see one or two of them again in the Top 8 of the tournament.

The biggest strength of the deck was its great consistency. That, and something else that Florian Koch was hinting at when he said that the deck was a great choice for the Pro Tour, but less so now after the event concluded: Ivan Floch made great use of the element of surprise. Previously, especially in White-Blue mirrors, players often tried to steal matches with Mutavault. However, thanks to Floch's inclusion of Quicken (that allowed him to cast Supreme Verdict on his opponent's turn), he could punish opponents that went for this attempt in the worst way possible, stripping them off their lands.

With this neat little trick gone, players have to put in a lot more work to win two out of three matches and walk away from the table victorious. Sometimes, they try it with a different approach altogether, like ... a transformative sideboard?!

Yes, you heard that right; this is the plan of Riley Knight, a name you might remember in case you have been following our coverage before; he has been a commentator over at Twitch.tv/Magic at some of our previous Grand Prix.

Riley Knight was on a roll this weekend thanks to White-BlueControl.

 

He's playing White-Blue Control this weekend, because, according to him, it's "the only deck I really know." I sat down with him and asked whether he was running a little trick of his own and he told me: "I have the hottest tech courtesy of Frank Karsten; I'm running 13 creatures in the sideboard! It's taken a lot of people by surprise this weekend," and he added with a smile: "It's the perfect thing to talk about on text coverage!"

 

I had to go for the bait and wanted to know more. "Basically, the deck transforms into White Weenie with Soldier of the Pantheon, Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Archangel of Thune."

Since his opponents will often side out the answers to such cards, they can somewhat easily wreak havoc in games two and a possible Fame 3. Riley is currently sitting on a 11 - 2 record and if he keeps this up, he might advance to the Top 8.

Here is his full decklist for your convenience:

Riley Knight's White-Blue Control

Download Arena Decklist