Ah, control. The most noble of archetypes. The gentleman's choice. But it can sometimes be a bit tedious to play. All these intricacies and decisions against opponents who are clearly well below your own refined taste. What if you could just burn them with an everlasting fire? Just obliterate everything to smithereens with a blinding white flash? The problem is, of course, that your own threats tend to suffer the same fate if you blow up the world on a regular basis. But what if they did not? What if there was something that refused to go away, like a splinter in the mind's eye of your opponent, slowly grinding them down? To ashes, to dust?
As soon as I saw the spoilers for M20 I knew I wanted to build a Boros control deck around Chandra, Awakened Inferno and Planar Cleansing. The inevitability of the emblems combines well with wiping the board clean, giving them time to do their work. The rest of the deck is built to support this game plan. We run colourless ramp to be able to cast Chandra and our expensive wipes. We run white life-gain/card draw to survive long enough to do this. We run boardwipes to kill creatures, but also much more (Cleansing Nova kills artefacts and enhancements, Star of Extinction kills planeswalkers and lands, Planar Cleansing kills mostly everything).
The deck has no creatures, making a lot of our opponent’s cards useless. And while I would love to be able to do this as white prison deck, we use no enchantments as we will wipe these away time and again. Everything is a four-of, for high consistency.
Revitalize / Ritual of Rejuvenation
This is the life-gain and card draw package, mostly to survive against aggro but also to draw you lands and boardwipes. Good to have in your starting hand.
Thaumatic compass / Treasure Map
Colourless ramp that doubles as scry tool, deck thinner, board control and card draw. Treasure map is great in the starting hand, allowing you to scry for land and ramp into your expensive spells with the treasures. Thaumatic compass is a bit slower but helps with ramp, mana fixing and later to thin your deck. When transformed it combos beautifully with your boardwipes, forcing the opponent to commit to the board if they want to get through. That both cards turn into lands is also important, as they are not affected by Planar Cleansing (when in their land form). The treasures are artefacts though, so take that into consideration. Both of these are good starting cards, but especially Treasure Map.
Deafening Clarion / Cleansing Nova / Planar Cleansing / Star of Extinction
The boardwipe package. Sometimes you'll have to use this to kill single threats if they are big enough, but mostly you'll want to hold off with Spires of Orazca until a boardwipe is necessary. Planar Cleansing and Star of Extinction kills planeswalkers as well, which is good. And if Chandra is exiled behind an enchantment, Cleansing Nova or Planar Cleansing will take care of that.
Why no Settle the Wreckage? I feel it is not necessary. Exile deals with some threats, the most likely probably being phoenixes. Arclights we can handle with Spires of Orazca and Rekindlings with a combination of Chandras -3 and a boardwipe. That the god-eternals cannot be exiled has also made Settle somewhat weaker. All of this doesn't mean you cannot play Settle the Wreckage mindgames though, on the contrary this can be effective.
Chandra, Awakened Inferno
The star of the deck and the only threat. Cannot be countered, emblem on uptick. Beautiful! You will usually only uptick her, occasionally firing off her own boardwipe to protect yourself, not her. And only if you have no other options. You don't know when they will draw in to their anti-PW tech and kill her anyway, so better just to uptick and boardwipe when necessary. I will often uptick her even if I know she will be killed next turn, as I have more Chandras and more boardwipes and prefer to get the emblems in.
Always consider when to play her, though. Sometimes you'll want to wipe first, other times it is fine to play her into threats. Remember that she starts out at six loyalty and immediately grows to eight. If your opponent can do a maximum of seven damage to her next turn and you can then uptick again and boardwipe, that is a good deal. Yes, you will sometimes wipe Chandra away as well. No, it doesn't matter. We run four Chandras and usually two or three emblems is enough.
Your opponent will rage, you will laugh, Chandra will burn and the world will explode. What is not to like?
Any variants then?
Well, there is a case to be made for using two Sanguine Sacrament instead of two Ritual of Rejuvenation. You will ramp into mana and can sometimes hold large quantities of land/treasures open. Being able to answer some direct damage with a large Sanguine Sacrament can be very effective. In general though, I feel Ritual is faster and it draws you a card as well. You have 24 life over eight spells waiting in your deck and this tends to be enough if you only draw into them.
It can be tempting to play a single copy of Squee, the Immortal as well, if only for laughs. Squee survives anything but an Ixalan's Binding (and you will nuke that anyway) and he keeps coming back to annoy your opponent as the last goblin standing. However, he can be stolen and used against you and he can be used to gain life (Vraska's Contempt etc.) so it is really not a good idea. And he will accomplish almost nothing, as he wil be the target of all your opppnents removal.
How about a sideboard?
I view this as a Best-of-1 deck mainly due to cards like Sorcerous Spyglass and Unmoored Ego (especially the latter). They are common sideboard cards and can shut us down hard.
I see. But have you actually made Mythic with this non-meta control beauty?
I sure have, with a 58,9% winrate (129-90) according to Lotus Tracker. I did not winstreak and had a hard time against RDW and Grixis Control (especially the ones who keep stealing the Chandras) but it also worked remarkably well against popular decks such as Bant/Temur Ramp and Bant Scapeshift (provided they don't get off the Baby Teferi + Scapeshift combo).
Oh, and what about that name? Is it inspirerad by the wonderful musical number "Zu Asche, Zu Staub" from the fantastic tv-series Babylon Berlin, evoking a feeling of dancing madly atop a slumbering volcano, much like the last days of the Weimar Republic?
|Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (32)|
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