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Hey, looking for a bit of help.

I'm currently trying to assemble a blue/white control deck, to use at my casual table. The one I currently have is fairly good, but I want to try and improve it, but remain in budget (yes, I know those two don't always work together). And as a side note: at my table, we almost exclusively play 3-4 person multiplayer, and it's not uncommon for me to have 10 or more lands (without acceleration of any kind) in play by the time the game ends. So generally speaking, deck's that "build" are awesome.

So, on to my current deck:

Land

1x Reliquary Tower
1x Urza's Factory
3x Arcane Sanctum
3x Esper Panorama
9x Plains
10x Island

Creatures

1x Azorius Guildmage
4x Mulldrifter
2x Mistmeadow Witch
2x Plumeveil
2x Venser, Shaper Savant
1x Knight-Captain of Eos
1x Archivist
1x Thieving Magpie
1x Wall of Air
1x Magus of the Moat
1x Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer
1x Ith, High Arcanist
1x Razormane Masticore
1x Sworn Defender

Instants/Sorceries

2x Ancestral Visions
3x Counterspell
2x Repel Intruders
2x Gush
1x Telemin Performance
1x Kiss of the Amesha
1x Æthertow
1x Evacuation
1x Chronomantic Escape
1x Hindering Light

Enchantments

2x Hoofprints of the Stag (win condition)
1x Treachery
1x Psychic Overload
1x Shapeshifter's Marrow
1x Sigil of the New Dawn



And yes, I know there are a lot of one-of cards. Hopefully, that'll get cut down.
epiclevelwarrior's avatar

Bashful Browser

I count 68 cards so that's 8 to cut.

3 of those can be land if you like. 27 isn't always too many land but it often is. Also, you don't have many mana sinks in here. It doesn't seem like you really benefit all that much from a really large manabase.

I'd probably drop the panoramas but basics will do if you feel better about it that way. I've really liked Nimbus Maze in my U/W deck. It's rare but cheap these days.

Azorius Chancerys are also worth a look. They effectively give you an extra mana in the long term since they produce 2 and only deprive you of a land temporarily.

Other cards I'd drop:

Gwafa Hazid: Making your opponent draw cards is just bad and basing your defense on the survivability of a 2/2 without any protection ability is worse. Mostly you'll just draw an opponent into the removal spell they use on him.

Plumeveil/ Wall of Air/ Sworn Defender: The problem with all of these is that they don't protect themselves from removal in any way. A Terror will solve any of them. For creatures that only block a single attacker (though plumeveil will probably remove the attack and potentially work as a removal spell there are still better options) they just aren't worth it in multiplayer. Cards that protect themselves or that shut down combat altogether are better bets. Or removal.

Ith, High Arcanist: You can do better than an expensive 4/4 with a maze of ith ability.

Psychic Overload: there are many better removal enchantments in white. Faith's Fetters costs the same, accomplishes the same, is more versatile, and gains you life.

Gush: I've had considerable experience with the "return 2 islands to draw 2 cards" ability in the form of Fathom Seer and I have found it pretty universally bad in multiplayer. It tends to fill up your hand more than you'd like (one tower won't solve that reliably) and put you behind in the late game big mana race. And that was in a mono U deck. In U/W it'll be worse. I'd recomend Brainstorm for selection or either Compulsive Research or Careful Consideration for raw drawing. Brainstorm synergies particularly well with Hoofprints.

Shapeshifter's Marrow: Telemin Performance tickles me or it'd be in this entry too. Honestly, it ought to be. However, at least it gets you a creature right now. This will often sit idle for some time before it does anything at all.

Chronomantic Escape: Much too slow in a single copy. Much too slow in general, really.

Kiss of the Amesha: Really expensive for not a huge benefit.

Cards I'd consider adding:

My U/W deck improved enormously when I managed to get 4 Swords to Plowshares. I'd strongly recomend finding either some swords or some Path to Exile.

Faith's Fetters is another removal card I've had success with.

The 4th counterspell is something to look out for. Absorb would be better if you can afford it but I can't and haven't yet felt the lack. Exclude might be better than Repel intruders, though. 2 1/1s won't go far in here while an extra card might be the hoofprints you desperately need.

I'm a little surprised that you don't run any sort of permanent global removal. Hallowed Burial, Austere Command, Rout or even Wrath of God. You can get by without but it adds a punch to a white deck not otherwise present.

An alternate win condition would be nice. Hoofprints is cool but it's removable and some decks will be able to solve a 4/4 flier every 4 turns or so. I've found Deep Sea Kraken to be quite effective in this role. It is easily removable and they do see iit coming but I've found those can be advantages. You don't take as much heat as you would for casting, say Akroma or darksteel colossus, because it's "only" a 6/6 unblockable.

On the upside it takes very little investment and it comes out in 2 or 3 of your turns most times.

Court Hussar and Azorius Herald were the cards I originally built my U/W deck around and I haven't regretted running them yet. Hussar is a speedbump that digs for the kind of removal you haven't drawn yet (or the land or the win con as needed) and Herald is both stall and, if unmolested, a win con in its own right. Neither is hugely powerful but both are worth much more than their mana costs.

Echoing Truth is another piece of removal I've had success with. It's only really strong against tokens but if your meta is as token happy as mine has been in the past it's a lifesaver.
This is what I made

3x Arcane Sanctum
3x Esper Panorama
8x Plains
9x Island

Creatures

2x Azorius Guildmage
4x Mulldrifter
2x Mistmeadow Witch
4x Plumeveil
2x Venser, Shaper Savant
1x Knight-Captain of Eos
1x Supreme Exemplar
3x Reveillark

Instants/Sorceries

2x Ancestral Visions
3x Counterspell
3x Repel Intruders
2x Hindering Light
1x Kiss of the Amesha
4x Momentary Blink

Enchantments

2x Hoofprints of the Stag (win condition)
1x Sigil of the New Dawn

It just looked too much like the old Reveillark deck that i had to throw it in there. I agree it is easy for black to get rid of Plumveil, but it is still strong against burn and aggro. You had a lot of hefty blockers as well as a lot of attack preventive cards. You need to go either way not both. Prevent the attack or be ready with a beefy blocker. I also couldn't figure out if you were trying to deck your opponents or last longer.

I adjusted the manabase accordingly. It seems that the multiplayer games are not that high pace, which is why I left the panoramas in. They are good for thinning your deck so come late game you're not pulling land.

This deck has a lot of recurrence, draw, bounce, and defense. It might be a little out of your budget, but at least give it some thought.
epiclevelwarrior's avatar

Bashful Browser

It's not just that it's easy for black (and white and, in a pinch red) to remove Plumeveil, it's that in multiplayer you pretty much have to have an answer for creature walls so unblockable/ protection/ landwalk creatures are common. I've never tried Plumeveil so it may be playable but in my experience multiplayer creatures need to be able to do more than block (unless they can block anything and survive).

Also, Supreme Exemplar seems just worse than Deep Sea Kraken as a finisher.

And for the number of enablers 6 CitP creatures seems low.

Ideas for additional ones: Aethersnipe, Aven Riftwatcher, Riftwing Cloudskate, Man O' War, Draining Whelk, Seht's Tiger.
epiclevelwarrior
It's not just that it's easy for black (and white and, in a pinch red) to remove Plumeveil, it's that in multiplayer you pretty much have to have an answer for creature walls so unblockable/ protection/ landwalk creatures are common. I've never tried Plumeveil so it may be playable but in my experience multiplayer creatures need to be able to do more than block (unless they can block anything and survive).

Also, Supreme Exemplar seems just worse than Deep Sea Kraken as a finisher.

And for the number of enablers 6 CitP creatures seems low.

Ideas for additional ones: Aethersnipe, Aven Riftwatcher, Riftwing Cloudskate, Man O' War, Draining Whelk, Seht's Tiger.


I like the exemplar because it's a good trigger for Reveillark. Instead of the Plumeveils maybe try Wall of Reverence. You gain life, red most likely won't kill it, and it can be returned by the Lark. How did I forget about the Riftwing?
Alright, thanks to both of you guys for the help. Right now, I'm looking into buying some Path to Exile, Faith's Fetters and Wall of Reverence.

However, I feel the need to defend myself on one or two points:

Mass Removal honestly just doesn't exist at my table. When you couple that with the heavy amount of politics that always take place in our games (I can win with a horribly subpar deck, because I've gotten good at convincing people who they want to attack), it gets interesting, because it leads to each player building huge amounts of mana and creatures. It's not uncommon for the first attack to come seventh turn or later, by a 19/19 treefolk or something like that. Or a Dragonstorm for nine, pulling out two Kokushos, two Bladewings (returning Kokusho), two Bogarden Hellkites, two thunder dragon, and a Tarox. Because of that, I feel that cards like Ith should probably be counted a little higher, because even though he is expensive, he can stop the attack from a trampler with power eight times greater than my life total.

Thoughts? (I'll have an experimental decklist up later today)
Politics comes into play in every game. Sometimes you're attacked because it looks like you can't defend yourself and sometimes you're targeted because you are the alpha threat. Sometimes it's just revenge. Your deck doesn't look like a huge threat at first. Just a lot of drawing, but when you decide to go off you could end up with a huge army and a lot of permanents returned to your opponents hands. That is how the original reveil"Lark" deck worked.

God cards for defense when you know you're going to get attacked.

Cryptic Command
Thoughtweft Gambit
Pollen Lullaby
Endure

Obviously your deck is built to survive into the late game, but also to make it hard fr your opponents to get the upper hand. What you do is make them think they have the upper hand then you pull out a spell like Pollen Lullaby to tap out their creatures hopefully. Leaving them open for the kill.

Your deck also seems to build an army Through out the game. If your opponents don't have any mass removal spells then you might just be the alpha threat with your mass of 4/4 fliers on the board. If you want to make them better think about Thistledown Liege and Glorious Anthem. They both pump your creatures. Imagine the 4/4 fliers being 5/5 or 6/6. Plus the Wall of Reverence being a 2/7 or 3/8. That's hard for a Dragon to get by.
epiclevelwarrior's avatar

Bashful Browser

If massive creature standoffs are the rule then Reins of Power will kick absolute a** at your table.

At worst it's a fog effect (someone attacks you and you grab their creatures in response) or creature kill (one player swings at you, you grab another player's army and block so that they annihilate each other). At best it's a win con (you grab someone's overwhelming army and swing through your dinky one).

On mass removal: It's by no means mandatory (my U/W deck runs no mass removal either, though for the opposite reason. There's enough at my table that it's not needed) but it can be gamebreaking and it might be interesting to see how your table reacts to it. Still, not running it is a valid choice.

On Ith: I would still be inclined to come up with something better. Ith is really easy to remove, hard to play, and only protects you, it doesn't help you win.

I'd consider Mangara of Conrondor. He is even easier to remove but he will actually shut down that 19/19 trampler not just delay it until someone removes him. Also, if you have a Mismeadow Witch out (or you take Arcanis's advice and run momentary blink) you can respond to Mangara's ability by removing him so he comes back. That gets you effectively reusable removable for 4 mana a turn.

To add to Arcanis's list of defensive cards: Dawn Charm. It will do most of what Endure does for much less mana and it can save a creature in a pinch.

Okay, taking your ideas I've made an experimental decklist that remains in budget (with about $5 to spare) and yet looks pretty good.

Lands

8x Plains
9x Island
3x Arcane Sanctum
3x (Either Urza's Factory or Reliquary Tower)

Creatures

4x Mulldrifter
4x Wall of Reverence
2x Venser, Shaper Savant
4x Mistmeadow Witch
4x Mangara of Corondor

Instants/Sorceries

4x Counterspell
2x Momentary Blink
3x Pollen Lullaby
3x Brainstorm
2x Ancestral Visions
1x Evacuation

Enchantments

4x Faith's Fetters
3x Hoofprints of the Stag
1x Sigil of the New Dawn

However, I still have a few doubts about this list. First of all, I feel a little uneasy, playing four momentary blinks and two mistmeadow witches. Not terribly, but it's a nagging doubt.

Also, I'm not sure about a secondary win condition. I wouldn't mind making room somewhere to put either Azorius Herald and Court Hussar in, or put the Razormane Masticore back in and combine it with an additional number of Factories. It looks like this deck can stall for a while, so I don't think the time constraints of the factories are really an issue.

Thoughts? (And again, thank you both for the help)
LiaThistle's avatar

Questionable Cheerleader

One option that would be useful against swarm decks, at least temporarily, would be Wall of Glare + Mistmeadow Witch.

It basically creates a situation in which you cannot lose due to groundlings as long as they don't have trample and you leave mana open for the Witch.

In comparison to Pollen Lullaby, this seems better (to me).
epiclevelwarrior's avatar

Bashful Browser

Lia Thistle
It basically creates a situation in which you cannot lose due to groundlings as long as they don't have trample and you leave mana open for the Witch.


And no one removes either creature. That's pretty key given that the witch is a 1/1. You can use the witch's ability to protect her but then you lose her for a turn.

Still, you may be right, though the weakness to flyers and removal is a little problematic.

I still like the idea of Mangara.

Spork Wizard: I'm not sure about all that blinking with only 6 targets either. If nothing else, I might up the witches and lower the blinks since witch can always hit your opponent's creatures.

Otherwise I might add some targets. See my list above and add Mangara.
You can use mangara's ability, then blink him which nullifies the remove mangara from game, but the effects remain on target creature.

I've edited the post above, but just to point out the changes:

+2 Mistmeadow Witch
-2 Momentary Blink (totally forget this only targeted my creatures!)

-3 Path to Exile (I have a few, and almost every time I've used them I've gotten screwed for it)
+3 Mangara (love that blink idea)

Also considering replacing the Pollen Lullaby with either Dawn Charm or Wall of Glare, leaning a little towards the latter. I'll do some testing tonight and see how various things do.

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