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Commander Kerfuffle: The Malady of Control

Too many times I have sat down for a game of Elder Dragon Highlander only to be met with the most grueling assortment of legendary creatures that my Local Gaming Store could amass, complete with strategies that are low to the ground and unrelentingly aggressive. As someone who prefers to play Control, regardless of format, I seem to be at a disadvantage. Control functions differently in Commander than it does in any other format for a variety of reasons. This article is a lamentation and analysis of how the Commander format favors creature based strategies and shuns alternate win conditions such as mill or a “win clause.”

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Standard Deviation: Locust Mill

Mill as an archetype is rarely explored in anything beyond fringe Modern decks and the bravest (or possibly naive) Commander players. However, out the of the burning sands of Hour of Devastation rose to glory a handful of cards worthy enough to be the salvation that mill has needed for quite some time. The deck tech this Wednesday is a mill deck, to be sure. However, it is also a madhouse of control and tempo pieces strong enough to lock any player out of the game, begging for mercy.

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Standard Deviation: Wasted Aggro

One of the first times that I played in an FNM event, it was during New Phyrexia, the last set in the Scars of Mirrodin block. The deck to beat was Caw-Blade, an Esper, or sometimes just Azorius deck with creatures, equipment, planeswalkers, and the mother of all creatures, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. An Eldrazi, or an alien from the far reaches of existence known as “The Blind Eternities,” is a powerful being of hunger and destruction. The Eldrazi were defeated, but returned a short while ago with Battle for Zendikar, and was again the deck to beat for a couple months. Since then, Eldrazi has fallen off of the radar, however, I feel that even though we have mere months until they are rotated out, the Eldrazi are still a voracious threat from another world.

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Standard Deviation: Mardu Control

With the standard meta consisting of Temur energy, mono black zombies, and green/black delirium, there needs to be a force to stop this wave of aggro. That force is Mardu Control, the deck that I’ve been playing since Aether Revolt, and have had consistently strong results with. An intuitive hybrid between Midrange and Control, this standard menace comes packed with the best removal and finishers that the colors offer, guaranteed to leave your opponents in the dust.