(Gigadrowse + Calciform Pools). That is a complicated sentiment, so I’ll unpack it a little bit. Its “burn” spells double as interaction with potential threats and blockers, as well as virtual damage to an opponent. The next rotation is in 12 weeks, 2 days. Today I’m going to get more specific, and discuss how sideboarding generally works within each macro archetype in the game (aggro, control, and combo). Other than the traditional outlook grouping the decks into general buckets (aggro, control, midrange, combo), there are 2 modern outlooks breaking deck archetypes that are meant to more accurately describe how decks actually exploit different aspects of the game into winning conditions. Check out the guide to Magic Online. Decks that share approaches share many of the same fundamental elements and can be classified together for practical purposes. But how we play and why certain types of strategies are good always returns to understanding the basics of how decks work and what they do. Aggro (Early, Linear, Threats, Redundant) Image via Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering. Aggro, Combo, And Control MAGIC THE GATHERING. This makes spells that try to stunt a deck in its early game (Stone Rain) weak, and spells that are active in the early game (Mana Tithe) strong. The general idea is to “go bigger” and out-resource the expected aggressive decks while also having enough pressure and disruption to interact with combo and control decks. What do these decks all share in common? Countermagic: Chan is only playing one spell that counters spells (Remand), but control decks using blue usually play more. From those three archetypes, all decks and sub-archetypes are derived. Expensive spells: Control decks win by stalling the game and then employing powerful late-game strategies that other decks can't compete with. On the surface, it seems intuitive to want to think about how things are unique or different and break them into neat categories to be studied. These decks attempt to deploy quick threats while protecting them with light permission and disruption long enough to win. While these sorts of Modern combo control decks have fallen out of favor with the addition of better pure control tools like Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, fusing a devastating combo into a control shell has long been popular in competitive Magic. For instance, in Legacy the midrange decks tend to be blue-based like Stoneblade or Sultai. The greatest strength of these decks is their ability to present many threats, making it difficult for an opponent to deal with everything before it’s too late. Fast Goldfish: The same rule applies as with aggro: a deck must have sufficient early-turn defense to survive against a combo deck. They feature cheap permission like Force of Will and Daze (to hedge against fast combo decks) and cheap powerful threats like True-Name Nemesis and Stoneforge Mystic. If you're not playing control but are planning to play the late game, make sure you have a good plan to beat a hand full of good cards. The information presented on this site about Magic: The Gathering, both literal and graphical, is copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast. In any given game, identifying what is important is critical to mounting an effective offense or defense. In some cases you can just win before you even get to the combo with good ole fashion damage. Your trump cards (Worship) are likely to have full effect against agro decks, because they don't have room for much defense-at least in the maindeck. Few non-land permanents: Many combo decks play few non-land permanents, or if they do, often don't play them until the turn they're ready to try for the win. Whenever a new format is... © 1993-2020 Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All of its avenues of play are designed to win via attrition. In this way, it is difficult for any decktype to dominate or be dominated by the others. Obviously, the advantage of cheating an 8-drop into play on turn 2 is greater than simply double-spelling on 2, which means we are delving into combo territory. Even control decks have their version of burst plays: An opponent has six creatures in play and is threatening lethal. Powerful spells & Card Advantage: On the same note, it's usually pretty difficult to keep up with a control deck once it gets to the late game. We see Tempo, Control, Midrange, Prison, Stompy, and Combo; but no aggro. A lot of people consider prison to be its own super archetype, because the gameplay is unique. Though both tempo and midrange fall between aggro and control in the continuum between the two. The other way aggro beats control is by focusing on raising power or defense to values that make it more difficult to deal with removal cards. Modern and Standard “combo decks” tend to be a hybrid of two archetypes. A recurring theme in Magic is innovation. In a sense, it’s a proactive, aggressive deck that introduces aspects of resource advantage into the mix. Another note is that, when playing Aggro, ensuring you will have good mana right off the bat by perhaps overcompensating with multi-lands often outweighs drawbacks like extra damage. Mono-Blue Tempo is a Standard deck that pressures hard with aggressive creatures backed up with permission and spells to protect its powerful beaters. Against it, you will often have to ration out your creatures. Being able to double-spell (play two spells in the same turn) before an opponent can do the same is another great example of a burst that will allow you to gain a big advantage in the early turns of a game. Blitz. Aggro-Control is generally a way to describe a tempo deck. With that fluidity of archetype in mind, let’s take a look at the three super archetypes (aggro, combo, and control) and discuss what they actually are and more importantly what they do. Once you know what’s important, it’s so much easier to choose better sideboard cards, to know what to counter, and how to chart a strategy that is likely to succeed. Keep in mind, this burst is control focused in the sense that it seeks to decimate an opponent’s resources, primarily their threats in play. Rather, both of these bursts are so easy to spam and so tempo positive that it’s a good enough exchange rate on resources required to achieve a profitable outcome. In fact, most decks don’t actually fit neatly into one box but draw qualities from multiple categories. By utilizing strong "engines", playing only the best cards for sheer power level, or using a large "toolbox" of silver bullet cards, decks that can claim to be all archetypes at once are usually both adaptive and unpredictable in nature. Stax focused on making opposing spells too expensive to matter and then directly attacked an opponent’s mana with Wasteland, Strip Mine, and Smokestack. The best combo control deck I’ve ever played was Control Slaver, a deck that was capable of running an opponent out of resources with permission and card advantage, but could also make the game all about a broken, out-of-nowhere sequence of plays. The Rock has existed for decades and spans every format. The Card Image Gallery is updated every day with the latest card previews. Fundamentally, I think Phoenix and Atarka are both aggro decks at heart that incorporate elements of combo. From those three archetypes, all decks and sub-archetypes are derived. Tempo could be considered a controlling aggressive deck while Midrange is an aggressive controlling deck. On the other hand, built-in combos can also steal games where attrition simply isn’t an achievable option. That deck embodies the most obvious features of an Old School Magic reconstructed Aggro-Control strategy. Prison decks are tricky to classify. Shalai's combo aggro Commander / EDH* GW (Selesnya) ScimmiaSpaziale. Brian plays and enjoys all Constructed and Limited formats but has a particular fondness for Vintage. Any type of deck can make burst-worthy plays. The difference between dropping a Chainwhiler onto an empty board and a board that includes two Llanowar Elves is substantial. For a creature deck, playing against mass removal is a huge consideration. Prices are checked every hour for a week. Because of this, Control has some major flaws in its pure state. While I tend to imagine a red deck when somebody says “aggro,” there are many ways to be aggressive that span all the colors. His proudest accomplishment in MTG is that he is the creator of the Danger Room/Battle Box Limited format. The resource most commonly being leveraged by a combo deck is typically mana in the sense that, through synergy, these decks are able to accomplish results that are greater than the sum of their parts, i.e., the number of cards and mana invested. Even moving beyond matchups, it’s also clear that many decks (most decks in fact), can and do draw from more than one archetype. Being aggro has some nice advantages. Also, like control, they tend to care greatly about leveraging resources. It’s a game of complexity and nuance that rewards innovation and drawing useful conclusions to absurdly convoluted (and often unknowable) equations, such as “the metagame.”. Learn more. It was a stupid premise to begin with. I can play a few games against a deck and focus on how and why I’m winning or losing to determine what I think is important. Is the game about resources? Legacy, more so than other formats, has a high saturation of “pure combo” decks.