Cube Archetype – WU Control/Tempo

Along with some of the cards from the previous WB section, WU will be a mix of control and tempo in this cube.

Card Advantage and Selection

Every control deck needs a way to avoid running out of gas, whether it’s card draw spells, 2 for 1’s or recurring effects in some way. You also want to have ways to filter your deck to get to the answers you need for what your opponents have done (control in this cube is pretty reactionary as there aren’t the resources to lock an opponent out of the game, this is a deliberate choice on my part as this is intended to be playable be the much less experienced). Blue is, obviously, the best colour for this, probably followed by black (and Esper control is a perfectly viable deck in this cube too).

Ponder, Preordain and Serum Visions are all traditional cheap card selection options. Slightly higher up the curve are Anticipate and Impulse. There’s also Thassa, God of the Sea for constant scrying, plus her second ability could be helpful in a more tempo focused build (getting your Jhessian Thief style creatures through).

For multiple card draw there’s Divination, Coastal Discovery, Ugin’s Insight and a few others. There’s also Bident of Thassa for the more creature heavy decks. Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time round out the top end. I don’t think it will be particularly difficult to fill up the graveyard enough to cast them at a reasonable time.

White doesn’t have a lot in the way of card draw in this, Mentor of the Meek does NOT fit this deck will if at all (he’s more for WR or WG). White’s card advantage comes more from the boardwipes or from generating multiple bodies off of a single card.

There are also a few creatures with selection and draw bolted on, such as Augur of Bolas and Omenspeaker. Snapcaster Mage also counts in a way as card advantage, letting you get back some spell or other.

There is Brainstorm (and Sensei’s Divining Top and Jace the Mind Sculptor) but if you want to make the best of it you’ll need to prioritise fetchlands as there are only a few ways to shuffle away dead cards.


There are plenty of options in here to make a tempo deck in UW.

The classic tempo plays are bounce and tap effects, disrupting your enemy until you can either grind them out, assemble some form of game winning combo or land some unanswerable bomb (Geist of Saint Traft springs to mind, a card I love but haven’t yet steeled myself on putting in the cube…I can see some bad games coming from “here’s my unanswerable threat, come at me bro”). There are plenty of both in here. Feeling of dread is one of my favourite of these, and there’s a few others plus sleep, the king of “and now I’m swinging with everything” tap spells. Bounce has an assortment too, most notably cyclonic rift, the all star of the last time the cube was played in person (a UG counters deck with a crap ton of draw leading into a massive rift induced kerb stomp).

A tempo deck also wants to get the most out of its creatures and there are plenty in U/W with beneficial effects for this kind of deck such as Jhessian Thief and Aether Adept at the lower end. There is also Venser the Sojourner who works well with many of the value creatures in these colours (bonus points for locking an aggro deck out with Lavinia of the Tenth and Venser).

There is also a little sub theme of awaken with Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper and a small assortment of awaken spells. I’m also considering throwing in the 10 mainlands so that would be a little extra edge (there is also Ruinous Path in black).


Differing from tempo there’s hard control. Most decks will be a mix of the two but you could build quite a hard “counters, removal, board wipes and win cons” style control deck and I think it would work. I do feel like this would be the time you would be leaning most into Esper for blacks removal (and possibly cards like Phyrexian Arena).

In a creature heavy format board wipes are absolutely essential and theres no shortage in here. Wrath of God is the classic and pretty reliably gets rid of everything. There’s also Planar Outburst and Martial Coup in white, both of which come with built in win conditions and the aforementioned cyclonic rift in blue (upheaval is a card I’ve left out as I’m leaning away from screwing that much with lands for now…maybe in the next round of changes. The power level might be allowed to increase as cards are released to improve the potentially weaker archetypes like zombies and vampires).

While there aren’t a huge variety of counter spells I’ve opted for the ones I think are the better ones. Counterspell, the pair Negate and Essence Scatter, Dissipate, Dissolve and Scatter to the winds along with a few others. There is also Force of Will. I admit that’s slightly out of place but It’s one of the more valuable cards I have and I have nowhere else it would really fit (opened last year in a paper draft, all nice and pack fresh).

Point removal isn’t the strength of this pair outside of Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile…but they are pretty much the best point removal.

An example deck

This time I got a midrangey deck with some counterspells, card selection and chunky midrange creatures, backed up by an assortment of wrath effects.

The deck also dips into black for Merciless Eviction and Sphinx of the Steel Wind at the top end (I threw in Tithe Drinker too, but that’s only because I like it, not because it was a good idea).

WB Taxman

Creatures (10)
Containment Priest
Tithe Drinker
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Heliod's Emissary
Heliod, God of the Sun
Soulblade Djinn
Sun Titan
Sphinx of the Steel Wind

Non-Creature Permenants (4)
Ghostly Prison
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Gideon Jura
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

Spells (9)
Serum Visions
Scatter to the Winds
Planar Outburst
Ugin's Insight
Merciless Eviction
Martial Coup

Land (17)
Maze of Ith
Underground Sea
Sideboard (20)
Abzan Ascendancy
Ainok Bond-Kin
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
Fact or Fiction
Falkenrath Noble
Forbidden Alchemy
Force of Will
Keiga, the Tide Star
Midnight Haunting
Moorland Haunt
Murderous Cut
Norn's Annex
Shrine of Burning Rage
Steam Augury
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Tower Gargoyle
Tragic Slip
Vorel of the Hull Clade
Zhur-Taa Druid

The complete list

Fun fact, the entire non creature contents of blue fits in here. Blue just loves control and tempo…it’s just to what degree does any card care.

BG Cube Subtheme (Graveyard/Morbid) - December 2015

White (32)
Gideon's Lawkeeper
Azorius Arrester
Seeker of the Way
Stoneforge Mystic
Nyx-Fleece Ram
Banisher Priest
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Crusader of Odric
Field Marshal
Fiend Hunter
Gideon's Avenger
Monastery Mentor
Archangel of Tithes
Knight of Obligation
Restoration Angel
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Gideon Jura
Elspeth, Sun's Champion
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Celestial Flare
Feeling of Dread
Midnight Haunting
Lingering Souls
Spectral Procession
Wrath of God
Planar Outburst
Martial Coup
Oblivion Ring

Blue (59)
Augur of Bolas
Jeskai Elder
Snapcaster Mage
Tidebinder Mage
Aether Adept
Jhessian Thief
Mistblade Shinobi
Tandem Lookout
Vendilion Clique
Lhassa, God of the Sea
Master of Waves
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Thassa's Emissary
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Prognostic Sphinx
Frost Titan
Pearl Lake Ancient
Jace the Mind Sculptor
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Vapor Snag
Cyclonic Rift
Echoing Truth
Essence Scatter
Mana Leak
Think Twice
Turn to Frog
Crippling Chill
Forbidden Alchemy
Scatter to the Winds
Cryptic Command
Fact or Fiction
Force of Will
Blue Sun's Zenith
Dig Through Time
Distortion Strike
Gitaxian Probe
Serum Visions
Silent Departure
Coastal Discovery
Ugin's Insight
Curse of the Swine
Treasure Cruise
Mind Control
Bident of Thassa

Azorius (12)
Judge's Familiar
New Praha Guildmage
Azorius Charm
Lyev Skyknight
Roil Spout
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Skymark Roc
Supreme Verdict
Lavinia of the Tenth
Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
Venser the Sojourner
Sphinx's Revelation

The recently spoiled Reflector Mage is going into this as soon as hes on cubetutor, hes just lovely. Throw in Venser, the Sojourner and your opponents best thing is never coming back down.