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).

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

For multiple card draw there’s [mtg_card]Divination[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Coastal Discovery[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Ugin’s Insight[/mtg_card] and a few others. There’s also [mtg_card]Bident of Thassa[/mtg_card] for the more creature heavy decks. [mtg_card]Treasure Cruise[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Dig Through Time[/mtg_card] 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, [mtg_card]Mentor of the Meek[/mtg_card] 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 [mtg_card]Augur of Bolas[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Omenspeaker[/mtg_card]. [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card] also counts in a way as card advantage, letting you get back some spell or other.

There is [mtg_card]Brainstorm[/mtg_card] (and [mtg_card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Jace the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card]) 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 ([mtg_card]Geist of Saint Traft[/mtg_card] 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. [mtg_card]Feeling of dread[/mtg_card] is one of my favourite of these, and there’s a few others plus [mtg_card]sleep[/mtg_card], the king of “and now I’m swinging with everything” tap spells. Bounce has an assortment too, most notably [mtg_card]cyclonic rift[/mtg_card], 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 [mtg_card]Jhessian Thief[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Aether Adept[/mtg_card] at the lower end. There is also [mtg_card]Venser the Sojourner[/mtg_card] who works well with many of the value creatures in these colours (bonus points for locking an aggro deck out with [mtg_card]Lavinia of the Tenth[/mtg_card] and Venser).

There is also a little sub theme of awaken with [mtg_card]Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper[/mtg_card] 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 [mtg_card]Ruinous Path[/mtg_card] 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 [mtg_card]Phyrexian Arena[/mtg_card]).

In a creature heavy format board wipes are absolutely essential and theres no shortage in here. [mtg_card]Wrath of God[/mtg_card] is the classic and pretty reliably gets rid of everything. There’s also [mtg_card]Planar Outburst[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Martial Coup[/mtg_card] in white, both of which come with built in win conditions and the aforementioned [mtg_card]cyclonic rift[/mtg_card] in blue ([mtg_card]upheaval[/mtg_card] 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. [mtg_card]Counterspell[/mtg_card], the pair [mtg_card]Negate[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Essence Scatter[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Dissipate[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Dissolve[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Scatter to the winds[/mtg_card] along with a few others. There is also [mtg_card]Force of Will[/mtg_card]. 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 [mtg_card]Swords to Plowshares[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Path to Exile[/mtg_card]…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 [mtg_card]Merciless Eviction[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Sphinx of the Steel Wind[/mtg_card] at the top end (I threw in [mtg_card]Tithe Drinker[/mtg_card] too, but that’s only because I like it, not because it was a good idea).

[d title="WB Taxman"]
1 Containment Priest
1 Tithe Drinker
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest
1 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
1 Heliod's Emissary
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
1 Soulblade Djinn
1 Sun Titan
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind

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

1 Preordain
1 Serum Visions
1 Anticipate
1 Dissipate
1 Scatter to the Winds
1 Planar Outburst
1 Ugin's Insight
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Martial Coup

1 Maze of Ith
1 Underground Sea
6 Plains
7 Island
2 Swamp

1 Abzan Ascendancy
1 Ainok Bond-Kin
1 Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Falkenrath Noble
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Force of Will
1 Keiga, the Tide Star
1 Megatog
1 Midnight Haunting
1 Moorland Haunt
1 Murderous Cut
1 Norn's Annex
1 Shrine of Burning Rage
1 Steam Augury
1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 Tower Gargoyle
1 Tragic Slip
1 Vorel of the Hull Clade
1 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.

[d title="BG Cube Subtheme (Graveyard/Morbid) - December 2015"]
1 Gideon's Lawkeeper
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Seeker of the Way
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Nyx-Fleece Ram
1 Banisher Priest
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Crusader of Odric
1 Field Marshal
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Flickerwisp
1 Gideon's Avenger
1 Monastery Mentor
1 Archangel of Tithes
1 Knight of Obligation
1 Restoration Angel
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

1 Gideon Jura
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion

1 Path to Exile
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Celestial Flare
1 Feeling of Dread
1 Midnight Haunting
1 Rebuke
1 Lingering Souls
1 Spectral Procession
1 Wrath of God
1 Planar Outburst
1 Martial Coup
1 Pacifism
1 Oblivion Ring

1 Augur of Bolas
1 Jeskai Elder
1 Omenspeaker
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Tidebinder Mage
1 Aether Adept
1 Jhessian Thief
1 Mistblade Shinobi
1 Tandem Lookout
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Lhassa, God of the Sea
1 Master of Waves
1 Ninja of the Deep Hours
1 Thassa's Emissary
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Prognostic Sphinx
1 Frost Titan
1 Pearl Lake Ancient

1 Jace the Mind Sculptor
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

1 Brainstorm
1 Vapor Snag
1 Anticipate
1 Counterspell
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Echoing Truth
1 Essence Scatter
1 Impulse
1 Mana Leak
1 Negate
1 Remand
1 Think Twice
1 Turn to Frog
1 Crippling Chill
1 Dissipate
1 Dissolve
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Scatter to the Winds
1 Aetherize
1 Cryptic Command
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Force of Will
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
1 Dig Through Time
1 Distortion Strike
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Serum Visions
1 Silent Departure
1 Divination
1 Coastal Discovery
1 Sleep
1 Ugin's Insight
1 Curse of the Swine
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Claustrophobia
1 Mind Control
1 Bident of Thassa

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

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