Profile photo of Neil Crompton By Neil Crompton On August 17, 2011 Posted In Other

Mangod Control

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August 17, 2011
Athalamund Mangod, The Iron FistI got thinking about what Steven said about Arcane Research not being necessary, and what Sam said about mid-range decks in Open Constructed, and decided to have another look at non-Arcane mid-range control decks.  I also wasn’t really happy with the Conscientious Control deck I gave as an example of Banker/Warlord Control in my Map, so this is an update of that deck too.  (Itself an update of Ghostfires.)
I figure there are certain advantages to not playing Arcane Research.  Firstly, you don’t have to warp your mulligan around it, so you can start the game with a little more chance of having a consistent opening hand.  Also, you don’t have the risk of drawing useless cards later in the game, so the overall quality of your card draws should improve.  The biggest advantage is that you get your first turn back.  With the results from GenCon showing a lot of very fast Mono-Warlord SiN decks doing well, being able to play relevant cards on your first turn is more important than ever.
I really liked the Conscientious Objectors in the first version of this deck, but I don’t think they were good enough.  They don’t help you in the early game when you need to stop aggressive swarms, and later in the game when you’ve got control of the board his efficient cost to size ratio doesn’t mean as much.  So I got rid of him, along with some of the locations, to make the deck more reliable.  That brings me to this:
Mangod Control
4 Athalamund Mangod, the Iron Fist
4 Torrential Bleeder
4 Erotic Assassin
The Ministry of Other Smaller Ministries4 Surplus Soldier
3 Gideon, the Ultimate Warrior
3 Adriel, Defender of Marduun
1 Dragon Archer
1 Plunging Shriever
1 Elzibeth, Military Sorceress
1 Framptle Tromwibbler, Lord of Bling
4 The Ministry of Other Smaller Ministries
4 Department of Rejections
4 Shriever Attack
4 Noble Sacrifice
4 Dark Awakening
4 Limited Liability
4 A Blazing Zero
3 Tactician Vacation
4 Crest of Rage
4 Violence
8 Rage
2 Greed (starting)
F The Tournament Faction
The deck’s typical opening play is a first-turn Ministry of Other Smaller Ministries, preferably backed up by an Erotic Assassin to guard it.  That should hold off the really fast aggro openings (ie, second turn kills), at least for a turn.  Other strong first turns for this deck include Crest, Mangod and Crest, Gideon, Adriel.  If you’re going second and your opponent has a character, you can play Violence/Crest, Surplus Soldier, Noble Sacrifice, then another Soldier or a Department of Rejections with the resource the dead Soldier became.
Torrential BleederThe core of this deck is the board controlling fatties, Athalamund Mangod and Torrential Bleeder.  Athalamund is a brute; there’s not much in the game that he can’t punch and kill if he wants to.  I’ve gone with 4 copies of him, even though he’s Unique, because he often works like a 4-cost removal tactic, killing something big then dying to the backswing.  Obviously he’s best killing small and medium sized dudes though, so that he can keep punching guys every turn.
The Bleeder is simple enough; he wipes out all the little guys.  Apart from the Surplus Soldiers, which are there to die as soon as possible and accelerate you, and the Plunging Shriever, all the characters in the deck have at least 3 life.  That means you can comfortably have two Torrential Bleeders in play together, wiping out everything smaller than 3 life.  That will hopefully blank a lot of the cards in your opponent’s deck.  The Bleeders work in much the same way as Watchtowers, except that they work well in multiples and bash hard on their own.
The mid-range fat comes from Erotic Assassin, Gideon and Adriel.  Although all three of those are very aggressively costed, they also work well as efficient blockers.  (In this deck I see Gideon and Adriel as Assassins 5 through 10.)  Being able to turn them sideways when the coast is clear is a huge bonus of this style of control deck.  Because the key board control elements are themselves large characters, and most of the defensive wall is also made of large characters, whenever the opponent falters in their attack you are able to slam home significant amounts of damage.  It also means you’re well placed to take the aggressive position if you’re playing against another control deck.
Crest of RageThe singleton characters are there to be fetched with Crest of Rage triggers when they’re needed.  Dragon Archer is usually outgunned by Athalamund, but if you want to kill a 3/3/x character without losing the Iron Fist, the Archer is perfect for the job.  The Plunging Shriever is there to take care of any items that bother you, and then fly away immediately.  If it sticks around to fight, it won’t last long with Bleeders and Shriever Attacks damaging everything, so it’s probably best to turn it into a resource until you need to kill another item.
Elzibeth gets back any dead guys, as per normal.  The deck doesn’t have any direct sources of card advantage (like Mau Party etc) so being able to recur threats can be vital as the game draws on.  The last singleton, Framptle, is there to save you if everything goes pear shaped and your opponent gets out a huge army.  If you get both Framptle and Elzibeth, you can theoretically hold off attacks forever.  Add in Limited Liability and Dark Awakening to protect them, and that becomes a viable backup option.
If your local metagame is less aggressive, you probably don’t need Framptle.  I’d consider replacing him with more removal (probably Crushing Usury, because it has flip up) or Ceremonious Groomer as an extra Surplus Soldier.  If there are lots of locations in your metagame, (Gilded Yurt?) you could add a Trebuchet Officer instead.
A Blazing ZeroI really like Surplus Soldier.  He’s not designed to stick around, and with Noble Sacrifices, Torrential Bleeders and Shriever Attacks he won’t last long, but he’s the best acceleration available in Warlord / Banker.  Kill him early and often.  Try and plan around him dying so that you have ways to spend the extra resource he gives you straight away.  When you’ve used up all your resources and the opponent thinks they’ve got free reign to play tactics, you can flip up a Noble Sacrifice to kill something and turn a Surplus Soldier into a resource, then use the new resource to Blazing Zero the opponent’s tactic.
Against control and combo decks, you want to get some early threats out to put pressure on your opponent while you use A Blazing Zero and Tactician Vacation to disrupt their plans.  Without having tested the matchup, I think this deck will do fairly well against Arcane-based control decks.  If the Arcane player goes second, as they’re likely to do, you can ABZ their Arcane.  You can even play Department of Rejections first with ABZ backup to stop their Arcane and also mess with their ability to find answers as the game progresses.
Ending this one with a prediction: when Seed 3 comes out, this deck will probably morph into some sort of ‘Sword of Great Justice Control’ deck.  :)  We’ve already seen the art for one of the new Swords of Great Justice (Iohane the Convex) and I heard there were also going to be 3 others in the set.  I figure they’ll probably be less aggressive than the Swords we’ve seen so far, which should fit this deck perfectly.  Looking forward to it!
F0r gr347 ju571c3!
  1. Now THIS is a good looking deck. I think it’s much improved from the Conscientious Control. Love the theme and the execution.

    Here’s my only critique – can you work Deadly Strikers in somewhere? When running Rage like that…it’s just hard to NOT work them in somehow. I know the Shriever’s discourage it, but that character is just so ridiculously good.

    1. Been following Neil’s deck posts to try and glimpse the merciless side of the game a bit better — I see a degree of synergy between Deadly Strikers and Shriever Attack. Situation is basically one of the following:

      They can block to kill with something big if you attack — threat of a 1-for-0 nontrade. Shriever Attack is 2 to that blocker, giving you a way to maybe pick off that big blocker with a card that normally can’t. Could easily be your 2 cards trading for 3+ of the opponent’s cards, with 4 damage on top.

      They can steal it — another 1-for-0 nontrade. I’m not sure how that plays out when it gets destroyed, but it’s still bad news. Being able to kill your own stuff in an emergency and deal damage at the same time is a decent counter.

      You want to end it before they get another turn — basically win acceleration to avoid something unexpected or impending. Attack while you can, then Shriever Attack to get 4 more damage out of each Deadly Striker.

      …just an outside view looking in.

      Could they go in place of the Surplus Soldiers? That card is basically a chump blocker in a deck that can spam much better low-cost blockers, and I don’t see the resource bump as so much of a big deal that it is essential.

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      1. You may as well be a Spoils player Theorist, you’ve got it right :)

        It’s not a good deal for the opponent either way. The incredible thing about Striker is that they either take 4 damage now and 4 damage later, or just 4 damage now. If they can’t block and kill striker, they have no choice but to take the first. If they can block and kill striker without losing a character, that’s their best bet, but they’re still taking 4. Usually they block, lose a character, and take 4 damage. He’s even nastier with Craghammer on him.

        Seems that Neil was going for a >2 health theme for Shriever/Bleeder reasons. But as you note, Striker might be a worthy exception.

        Surplus is a good bit of acceleration for Warlord (more necessary because of the Arcane Research environment) and combos well with Noble Sacrifice. I’d be rooting around more in the Limited Liability/Tac Vac/Deparment area.

  2. Yes, Shriever Attack after combat can be a good way to deal with really big guys. Noble Sacrifice is preferable there, or a punch from the Mangod. A problem with post-combat S.Attack on your turn is you’ll also lose non-combatants (like Assassins & Swords) if you had a Torrential Bleeder ping them already. Usually Bleeder means you want to S.Attack in your opponent’s turn when possible.

    I could happily run 1x Deadly Striker as a Crest target to grab whenever it looks like I need a bit more aggressive reach. I’m not convinced that I’d want to draw it often though. It’s a very aggressive card, all about getting damage in, and doesn’t do much to hold the fort (since it can’t survive the deck’s sweepers).

    I’d cut a Department of Rejections first. It’s conditional, and sometimes just a face-down resource. I see Limited Liability as an auto-4-of in just about any deck that can support it.

    Craghammer would be a lot of fun. I’m tempted to cut one or two Departments just to try it out. Like the Striker, I suspect Craghammer is more aggressive than the deck wants to be. (Maybe I’m underestimating the deck’s aggro potential though.)

    The thing I’d most like to improve is the deck’s first-turn potential. I know I already mentioned it, but Ceremonious Groomer ticks a lot of this deck’s boxes. It comes out on the first turn and is big enough to survive the deck’s sweepers, and gets even better when it dies.

    1. Great call on the Groomer :) That gives you some more acceleration. Would you think in lieu of Surplus or in addition to?

      Striker carries with it the weight that you give Limited Liability. If a deck has Rage, I think 3-4 Deadly Strikers is a must. But as you said, in this deck it’s less than ideal because of the persistent turn damage/Shriever/control aspect. It might not be a good fit. 4 resources for 4 damage is still never a bad thing. It can often be game-winning. And if you don’t Shriever, the cost-benefit just shoots through the roof.

      1. Definitely in addition to; I’m all about the Surplus Soldier. I’d like to run Smear Campaigns, just to put them on Soldiers before they die, for extra acceleration. Only I know they’d be inconsistent, and terrible as removal cards. 😉 Midget Mine could also be decent acceleration, even if you have to use it on your own Surplus Soldier.

        Another Crest target with potential is Padamose, Emperor of Marduun. Giving Athalamund +1 strength and +1 life makes him a pretty heavy duty killing machine. That puts all the 3/3/x characters into range for easy kills, and means he can punch out up to an x/8/x. Padamose also auto-kills Wanton Wizard, Dwarvish Grimalkin, Montgomery Blatherscythe, Defiler of Innocence, Quotidian Ejector & Rummaging Millipede, and puts bigger things in range of Bleeders and Shrievers.

      2. Mmmmm now Padamose is interesting. That could be really interesting. I wonder if it’s more “shiny” than practical though. Worth a try. Definitely worth a try.

        I’m in love with the Surplus Soldier + Smear Campaign. I was looking at ways to do things like that with Delusive Strumpet but it didn’t pan out.

        Are we just trying to get poor man’s acceleration here? Perhaps it’s best just to run Research 😀

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