Hey guys! Today we'll take a look at a variation of Control style list for Death. Control decks in Death usually use Blood Ritual as their god power as it is the case with this one and there is one interesting statistic with this one. This god power has been proven to fit the best in this type of a Death deck which is shown pretty well in the last 30 days with a win-rate of 58.7% in Mythic rank. It is one of the hardest decks/god powers to properly pilot with and we can see that as we add lower ranks to the same statistic. When Gold and better are included the win-rate is 56.8% and when Shadow and better are included the win-rate drops to 53.6% and finally when we look at all ranks together it drops further to 51.5%. I just had to share this one as this doesn't seem to happen with other god powers that much.
Okay, let's take a look at the list:
Reap and Amazon Hearteater might be also on this list as they are also common in these decks but aren't quite as popular as the ones shown here.
Dust to Dust is a go-to anti-aggro removal tool and it is all it does and does it incredibly well. Since it doesn't deal damage it ignores Protected and no matter how healthy the creature is, if its 3 mana or lower the opponent isn't able to play around this card in any other way than just not playing the creature. In slower matchups, it's a really bad card and it usually just sits in your hand until you find a decent target to remove, but it does its job when necessary so it is a must inclusion in control variants of Death because it opens up a lot of room for greedy value choices.
Apocalypse Now, the best removal in the game right now. There isn't anything that survives it, so it serves like a big value card or just a "Get Out of Jail Free card", and you got two of them! It's pretty much self-explanatory why this card is an auto-include in all of the Control variants of Death decks.
End Times is another big removal. Even though it doesn't remove just about everything, it does remove most creatures and it leaves a large body after that you can on a later use on a later turn for some Leech action. You can't go wrong with this one, even in some cases, you can just play this as a 9/9 creature if needed.
Demogorgon is always on the core list for Control decks and I think everyone by now knows why. It can just stop all creatures from your opponent while also healing you and while it is on the board it can continue sustaining you until it gets removed. I think that this will finally change a bit with a new expansion set as we've seen there are a lot of anti-sleep support cards that might be enough to counter this card and lower its prevalence in this archetype.
Echophon, Atlantean Hydra, once you reach the 9 mana this is the best creature you can have, so it isn't a surprise that almost every Control deck runs this card. Since it is easy to control the board in the late game with this deck. Echophon will easily enter the board where it can remove what's on it and most of the time just win the game. Unless you are in the mirror matchup your opponent will have a hard time removing this card without Apocalypse Now in their disposal.
Raise Dead is here to give value. It doesn't matter if you revive another Echophon or the End Time (9/9) or maybe even your opponent's creature that seems suitable in the situation. This spell costs 5 mana but rarely it gives value as a 5 mana card or worse so it is a reasonable inclusion. It is good in every matchup because of its flexibility and overall power. Just a broken card, that's all.
Lategame, Not So Late
Mana ramp cards really help this deck to go "full-greed mode" and do it more or less consistently. Ramping mana faster lowers the impact of lower mana cards so giving your opponent mana also isn't an issue because if they aren't careful they could easily overextend into one of your board clears and lose the game on the spot. Another thing that can change considerably because of mana ramp cards is your mulligan. If you get Runed Asp early on, you can safely keep in hand more expensive cards because there won't be any risk to do so. You could say that mana ramp cards are core to this deck but that's not necessarily true as you could easily replace those cards with more early game cards to fight off the aggression that way but it all comes to preference.
As I said earlier, a mulligan is directly affected if you have ramp cards in your hand so this stage will mostly vary because of that besides the usual case of faster and slower matchups.
Against aggressive decks you basically need to survive until 7 mana and you win almost 100% of the time because your opponent won't be able to pressure you once you are able to start dropping Demogorgons, Apocalypses, etc. so you need to keep anything that can help you achieve that.
Keep in hand (without a ramp card): Blight Bomb, Deuteria, Athenian Archer, Pyramid Warden, Dust to Dust.
With a ramp card already in hand, keep: Dust to Dust, Amazon Hearteater, Pyramid Warden, Wetlands Ogre
Against slower decks there won't be a need for any early game cards because you will be able to stabilize eventually and sustain yourself with your god power easily. Now, this doesn't mean that you can keep anything but the mulligan will be more lenient.
Keep in hand (without a ramp card): Jason, Pyramid Warden, Deuteria, Wetlands Ogre, keeping Dust to Dust is still a good idea, you can expect to use it early on and maybe only then, so consider keeping it in these matchups also.
With a ramp card already in hand, keep: Apocalypse Now, Demogorgon, Wetlands Ogre, Amazon Hearteater, Dust to Dust (for the same reason as above)
It might seem that some of these keeps with a ramp card are risky but most of the time they aren't because your average topdeck will be a playable card even when you keep the greediest hand possible.
There aren't a lot of specific cards that you should aim for when considering Sanctum. Those that come to mind are Value cards Opalised Roots and Born Again, bigger creatures are good as well, defenders deck could be of interest to you.
The more important thing is to take cards that will help your opponent a lot. One of them is Imperious Smite as this will always be hard to play around since you are playing bigger creatures most of the time. Since most of the time you will have single bigger creatures Lightning Strike will be really effective against you so take it if you can. Blackblood Blast can also be something you don't want to give to your opponent as that would really help them get some value. Devouring Blade can be unpleasant to play around, so it is much easier to take it. Exorcise and Solemn Lecturer are only good for your opponent if they already have some tempo on the board so if you aren't losing badly you don't have to worry about these too much.
One thing to note, never go for draw cards unless you don't absolutely need to or if you just want to take it away from an aggressive opponent that is running out of steam already. In other cases, you won't have much use of it because the main way you win games is by out-valuing your opponent and usually going through the entire deck, so being second in drawing the last card will always be a good thing.
Heavy on the Budget
Yeah, this list is quite expensive, it goes around 1.66 ETH (~$230) but we can make some affordable swaps. If you cut out Deuteria and Jason, you can swap in second Blight Bomb and Veteran Archer. You will lose the unique aspect of those cards that give you more cards in the deck and of course more value but you can, in turn, solidify more early game defense. Other than that you can consider Amplureal, Sentient Shard to try and preserve that effect of extra cards in the deck even though it won't be even close to those two cards. These changes will shave off around 0.5 ETH (~$70) which is a good trade-off for only two cards.
Okay, that's it for today's review. Control Death has been highly placed Control deck in the meta for quite some time and I don't think this will change until the new expansion just because it doesn't have a serious competitor in the value game other than Forage Nature decks, while it also has quite a consistent defense against early game aggression.
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Thank you for reading!