Drafting Cube : Black White control

Black white control is the anti aggro control build. Imagine a tombstone rock build, then take out the green. That’s basically Black White control. Imagine a deck with Path, O Ring, Vindicate, Mortify, GFTT, Damnation, Catastrophe, Dismember, and all the other awesome bits of removal in the cube. That’s your deck.

Why play black white control?

As you’ve got so much point removal, midrange rolls to you as midrange usually does, with only Blastoderm and the trolls creating much of a problem. Since you’ve got plenty of wrath effects, you can also have aggro roll to you in most matchups, since you’ll be able to reliably wrath turn 4-6, hopefully keeping you out of the red zone. Also, since you have so much removal, it might be possible that you’ve created a derth of removal in other decks, and therefore your creatures will last longer and win you games quicker and more reliably. Access to black gives you access to Demonic and Vampiric Tutor as well.

Why not to play black white control?

It gets steam-rollered by blue-based control, since the only creatures that deck is likely to be little utility mulldrifter-style cards, which aren’t important to the decks plan once they’re in play, and big untouchable fatties, which can only be answered by a wrath, or another finisher. Also, it accumulates card advantage easily, and has counterspells, which can really screw up your plan.

Drafting Black White control

Your list of priorities basically goes like this early draft.

  • Mass removal
  • Finishers
  • Point removal

With the latter two switching as the draft progresses.Obviously this isn’t a hard and fast rule, since getting a Grave Titan pack three in the same pack as austere command, having already drafted Wrath, Damnation and DoJ, is easily a pick to the Titan. The reasoning behind this order is basically due to scarcity ; There are only 10 (soon to be 11!) wrath effects in BW in my cube (counting Balance and Moat), which means only two in every five packs will start with a wrath effect in it, and they’re high picks for a lot of decks, and are really unlikely to table unless you’ve got 8 aggro players at a table. To really get this deck to work, you want three of them, but two can do, if one of them is Black Sun’s Zenith.

There’s a lot of finishers for this deck, but that doesn’t mean you should let them slide by. Grave Titan, Wurmcoil, Baneslayer and Kokusho are all great finishers, and even weaker stuff like Cloudgoat Ranger or Ob Nixilis should be considered. One of the main problems with this deck is that you draw removal, and you draw removal, and you draw removal, and you’re in the super late game, there’s nothing to kill on the table, and you’re killed by Words of War, or Stormbind, or even just some burn. I would like to run a deck which has at least 3-4 finishers, since that means I’ll probably have drawn one by the time I get to the mana for it.

Finally, there are 18 bits of point removal which kills creatures in BW in my cube, which means on average, you can expect a 6 bits of removal in each round of packs. Due to the relative scarcity of the other two elements of the deck, it is often correct to pick these within the first 5 picks pack 2 and 3, since they’re likely to be taken. I’d say the same for pack 1,but obviously you mightn’t have decided your archetype by that point.

Signs noone is playing black white control

If any of these cards come to you pack one, snap them up and move into this build:

  • Vindicate (!)
  • Consuming Vapors
  • Kokusho
  • Grave Titan (!)
  • Oblivion Ring
  • Phyrexian Arena
  • Demonic Tutor
  • Mortify
  • Bane of the Living

If you’re getting Vindicate passed to you, that’s a clear sign noone who’s seen that pack is in black white. Not seeing it does’t mean someone IS in black white control, since it’s great in any other white/black build, and it’s a card most people will happily splash for.

If you’re getting Kokusho or Grave Titan, it’s safe to say noone is playing a slow black deck at the table. These two are probably easily in the top 5 finishers in the cube, and are both first pickable.

Seeing O-ring and Mortify aren’t strong signs, but they’re versatile cards which see play in any white (or white black deck). Having mortify table means that you’re safe in your archetype, since it’s versatile and efficently costed.

Seeing Demonic Tutor or Phyrexian Arena should be ringing huge bells in your head. They’re both immensely powerful, and I can see few reasons to pass either if you’re in black.

Bane of the Living is a wrath effect which isn’t often taken by a lot of control players here, but which can really shine in this deck. It’s ability to selectively wrath the board so you come out on top is incredibly versatile, but the effect is too expensive for most blue based control decks to worry about.

Sample Decklist
  • Nekrataal
  • Skinrender
  • Mirran Crusader
  • Bane of the living
  • Wurmcoil Engine
  • Yosei, the morning star
  • Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
  • Razormane Masticore
  • Sensei’s Divining Top
  • Day of Judgment
  • Nevinyrral’s Disk
  • Animate Dead
  • Profane Command
  • Go for the Throat
  • Journey to Nowhere
  • Mortify
  • Disfigure
  • Consuming Vapors
  • Akroma’s Vengeance
  • Mind Stone
  • Mana Crypt
  • Phyrexian Arena

Like a lot of decks, there are several 3 colour variants this deck can evolve into mid draft.

The first is rock control. If you start seeing green midrange fatties, some more aggressive black elements, and one of the strong recursion engines, like Volrath’s Stronghold or Genesis coming round, as long as you can play it all, I’d start taking them, in an effort to build WGB. Why do you want to play this deck? Because nothing beats good ol’ rock.

The second is esper control. Blue is the main control colour, and even if you’re just splashing for some tempo counterspells, or some card draw, blue can add a lot to the deck in terms of consistency, as long as you have the fixing for it. If you open power pack 3, that’s a viable splash to make (obviously) , or maybe a big blue shroudy finisher. What I wouldn’t get pulled into blue for are Vedalken Shackles, Man-o’-war or Venser. Shackles won’t work unless you’re properly into blue, and will require you to take more blue cards later in the draft. Man-o’-war and Venser are just unecessary – you don’t need to bounce their creatures, that’s what your removal is for. Only take them if you’re super low on removal.

Red is occasionly splashed for Pyroclasm, Wildfire, or an Earthquake, since they’re extra wrath effects which can help you seal wins. It also allows you to play a lot more removal in the form of burn. If you get plenty of bolts ¬†and lightning coming round, you can take them with little fear, since even if you don’t get to run them, burn can be a problem for this deck to deal with.


Black white control is a serious beast if build correctly, and has a lot of favourable matchups. Unfortunately, most of the cards which really break the deck are either rare, or are high picks for other decks, so this deck can frequently be forced into a 3 colour variant, and it also means the deck usually cannot be forced. On the upside, this deck is pretty fun to play, and it’s a lot more interactive / less frustrating to play against that blue based control decks, so all in all, good fun!

Thanks for reading,



2 responses to “Drafting Cube : Black White control

  • tomchaps

    Wait, no mention of Desolation Angel? That card is arguably the single best WB finisher of them all, and likely to pull me into the archetype all by itself. Do you not run it in your cube?

    • sexyindiancurry

      I used to run it, but when I had to choose the top 3, Vindicate was a given, and Gerrard’s Verdict was preferred to DA by my group. I suppose I could readd it instead of Mortify.

      I didn’t include it because I completely forgot about it. I may revise it to include DA.

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