To learn how to build a deck in general, go to the page Deckbuilding 101.
So, you want to know how to make a control deck. Beware, for it might not fit your playstyle at all, and you may find it quite boring. However, a choice nonetheless.
Control decks are decks that attempt to prevent the opponent from threatening you and stalling using mechanics such as locking and returning. Control decks leave themselves vulnerable early game to succeed late game.
In comparison to other decks, control decks:
- Are the slowest of all the deck types. It is a deadly weakness that nearly all control decks have.
- Gains power as the game goes on. They will constantly stall to draw the cards they need.
- Play either moderately good quality cards or effect-based cards. They want to be given as much time as possible to do a setup, and in doing so, must use cards that have unique beneficial effects or moderately good quality cards to catch up with the board.
- Play lots of denial and removal. They are very abundant as they will need to be able to react to any situation properly.
- Play a low amount of threats. Their goal is to play a threat that becomes very difficult to deal with. They sacrifice nearly all of their deck's speed and power for denial and versatility, so they won't be active enough to threaten the opponent until late game.
Types of Cards
We can split control cards to several categories:
1) Stall Cards
These cards are in your deck to give you time to do your setup. Glaciem Mage and SonozakiRaito will both lock a target fighter for 2 turns, and Teal Eyes Green Dragon will do an AoE depower that affects ALL fighters (with the ability to exempt 1 fighter from the effect) while offering a decently big statline of 800/500.
As a control deck, surviving the early game and transitioning into mid game is just as important as killing your opponent late game. Each of the openers are like pieces in your setup, and if you can develop your board well, you can win the game easily.
3) Denial and Utility
These cards exist either to deny and/or counter plays. Hallow's Treats acts as a finisher if your opponent takes risky plays and runs glass cannons, Depths of the Nether does AoE depower on top of returning a target fighter to its owners hand, and both ZacAttackk and Razuatix are hard target removals for getting rid of threats.
4) Win Conditions
These cards are your key to winning. While you won't be able to use them early game at all, they can prove to be very hard to defeat or counter. Nevermore is a card that infinitely gives itself and burns your opponent for a great amount, Search The City will shuffle a version of itself with stronger effects each time it levels up, and Unspeakable Summoning usually kills a target while summoning Lezus to your opponents board for it to slowly hurt your opponent.
To understand how a control deck works, we're going to look at this Monogreen Control deck.
How to Play
Ramping. The most important thing to do right from the beginning. Cards for achieving this are WhoToTrus, WebGL3D and Infinite Wishes. Normally, you might want to use Oozlebachr instead of WebGL3D but in this case, thinning your deck while achieving the same thing is better because your win condition is Search The City, and because this deck is NOT a dust deck. Also, in a deck type such as this, 400/400 is better than 600/150 to be able to deal with better fighters. Try to play Grand Vitality Totem as soon as you can because it turns essentially effectless once you already draw your Infinite Wishes.
You may commonly observe players completely disregarding the Lifegain part of cards like TigerCode. They aren't wrong, but the Life starts to truly matter when they stack. It's especially useful because your goal is to stall and live as long as you can. Hoote, TigerCode, Infinite Wishes and Search The City fall to this category. Reaching 10000 life when playing this deck is not rare. Hoote offers you a nice body of 800/400 on top of 800 life, TigerCode depowers a target fighter by 400 and gives you 400 Life, Wishes makes you baseplate ramp with 100 Life attached, and Search The City gives you 500 Life along with all the other effects it does.
Every single card that hasn't been mentioned yet are for denial and stalling (except 1337) to give Search The City the time to level up. Teal Eyes Green Dragon is your go-to AoE depower. Brickmason is essentially your second Teal Eyes Green Dragon that can be both worse or better depending on your opponent's boardstate because its value measures by the rarity of their cards. Scripth, Mass Epidemic and Razuatix are hard removals and should be saved for removing much more dangerous threats. BandisWarehouse is a great stall card that offers a whopping 3k health split between 4 "lives". Meebling Infestation and Pirate are awesome target depowers that are cheap by default, useful in early to mid-game. Barcode and MekaX are your AoE damage removals for dealing with wide boards and glass cannons. Magic Broom Black Cat is a cheap transform, a situationally strong utility effect. Good transform targets include VetexGames, Death-Defying Demon and SolarCrane. SonozakiRaito is a target 2-turn lock that generates you colorless studs, useful for when you are running out of colourless studs.
Try to make plays that leave you with 2 green studs, in order to play an Infinite Wishes as it is usually the best option. Once you reach late game, you have effectively won (unless your opponent is also running control) and can now control the entire game's outcome against your opponent with a leveled up Search The City, so have fun.
So, what can we learn from this?
- A control deck needs time to set up.
- A control deck needs to manipulate and control its board carefully in order to win.
- Most cards in a control deck serve to delay the opponent's threats to answer later.
- Control decks need to have a reliable wincon(s).
Here are some well known control cards for each colors: