The Armory #3: Lorehold Control

Welcome students! In today’s class, we’ll study the history of Lorehold Control, a pet deck of your professor. The deck aims to eliminate the opponent’s board presence, accumulate card advantage, and win with big Dragons! Although the matches were played before the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, the deck list has been updated with the new cards. Can Control decks exist without Islands? Let’s find out!

Deck List

View this list on Moxfield

Lorehold Control

Creatures (17)
Instants (12)
Sorceries (12)
Artifacts (6)
Enchantments (10)
Planeswalkers (7)
Lands (36)

About The List

Lorehold Control differs from other Control decks in that it cannot rely on counterspells. We do have Mana Tithe, but it is about as unreliable as a counterspell can get. Lorehold Control does have the advantages of powerful and cheap removal though, and thus has no need to splash for blue.

The first part of the deck’s removal package is damage based removal spells (nicknamed burn spells). Burn spells are mana efficient, dealing significant damage for a low cost, so they easily trade up and net you a mana advantage. Most are also instants, so by waiting to play the two mana burn spell on your opponent’s three drop you can effectively play a turn ahead. Some of them even hit any target, so they can be helpful in answering planeswalkers or finishing off your opponent. 

The second part of the removal package is exile removal. This type of removal gets around indestructible, high toughness, and graveyard recursion, all of which burn spells struggle against. With cards like Scrapheap Scrounger, Lurrus of the Dream-Den, and Phoenix of Ash seeing play in a large number of high performing tournament decks, it is essential to have answers to recursive threats. 

The final component to the removal package are wraths. This deck runs fewer wraths than traditional white Control decks, but that is because most of its threats are creature based. Learning when to play out your threats and when to hold on to your wrath for another turn is an integral part of mastering this deck. You’ll need to consider how many creatures your opponent plays, and how much damage you can afford to take compared to the power they have on board. 

Besides removal, this deck also runs a significant amount of cards with incidental lifegain. These help you race Aggro decks with your flyers and also support Cosmos Elixir.

This trio of artifacts is one of your best sources of card advantage. Each of them will give you a little bit of advantage each turn which in the long game can bury your opponent. You also have planeswalkers like Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Karn, Scion of Urza to draw you cards each turn. Another source of long game advantage comes from the repeatable token generation of cards like Felidar Retreat and Outlaws’ Merriment. Together this combination of effects lets the deck go toe to toe with Control and Midrange in the late game.

This deck goes deep into the Dragon synergies beyond format staples like Glorybringer and Gloryblinger. In addition to running these and four other Dragons, I am also running the Dragon payoffs like Dragon’s Disciple, Dragon’s Fire, Sarkhan the Masterless, and Spit Flame. Other than Dragon’s Disciple, these cards are all perfectly serviceable on their own without a Dragon in hand or in play. In total the deck plays only six Dragons, though this does not count cards like Faceless Haven and Sarkhan the Masterless. These Dragons serve double duty as game ending threats and improvements to the deck’s removal package.

Gloryblinger, edit by Rae O’Connor

Besides Dragons, this deck can also win with powerful man lands like the ones above. I took this a step further and also added Crawling Barrens and Mobilized District to increase the likelihood I would have access to one every game. These serve as mana sinks to deal damage to Control decks or block the threats of Aggro decks. Trading them for your opponent’s spells is another way to gain card advantage in the late game. 

The Match-Ups

Lorehold Control fairs well against Aggro and Midrange. With the combination of early removal and late game card advantage, it can survive the early game and win with an abundance of evasive threats. It struggles against Combo decks because it lacks counterspells and hand attack, and doesn’t have fast enough pressure in the early game to race them. 

My Matches

The deck went 10-4 in games, 5-0 in matches, doing surprisingly well against a varied field. The first match against Grixis Reanimator was won off the back of Swords to Plowshares and Cast Out. Casting Mana Tithe to counter their Connive // Concoct was also a critical play.

Despite losing game one to Gruul Aggro’s seven direct damage, game two was won with a four for one Shatter the Sky and game three due to Sarkhan the Masterless’s token stopping a Glorybringer. Glorybringer is a good boy that will not betray his own kind with his exert ability, which was why I was able to hold it off.

In match three against Orzhov Aristocrats , back to back wraths denied my opponent any value from their Hunted Witness and Martyr of Dusk cards. In game two I raced them with Dragons in the air and due to the lifegain from Lorehold Command and Mazemind Tome I presented a faster clock (this refers to the time ticking down that the opponent has to find an answer). 

Match four against Simic Ramp was the most difficult of the matches. They had both a mana and card advantage over me the entire game, but thanks to repeatable burn such as Valakut Exploration and Chandra, Torch of Defiance I was able to win anyway. It also helped that in game three my opponent flooded with mostly lands and ramp spells.

In the final match I faced Temur Midrange, another deck leveraging Dragons as its finishers. However the consistent value from Outlaws’ Merriment and Felidar Retreat proved too much for them to handle.

There were many highlights from these matches. First, I countered a Kiora Bests the Sea God with Mana Tithe, allowing me to effectively cast Time Warp for one mana. Second, I cast Spit Flame four times in one game against Orzhov Aristocrats. Every single Dragon let me buy it back, effectively turning them into copies of Glorybringer. Third, I activated multiple man lands in one turn for lethal when I had an otherwise empty board against Gruul Aggro. All my other threats had traded in combat, but during our top deck battle my lands were still relevant.

Sign Off

That’s all for today’s lecture, class. If you have any questions about the article or any suggestions for a future one, let me know by messaging me on Discord at WreckDeck#4901. Also, if you have a card for me to build around or an exciting deck idea to brew, mention me in the #brewers-corner channel on the official Gladiator Discord server and I’ll get to work!