The Torrent is Coming!



I remember thinking when I first saw Torrential Gearhulk that it was going to be a card that would definitely see play in standard, and now that it was basically the breakout card of Pro Tour Kaladesh the Hulk will be seeing more play to come I am sure.  My first impressions of all the cards from Kaladesh were that the White and Black Gearhulks were going to be the heavy hitters for control decks, but with the format going from the aggressive copter decks to the Aetherworks Marvel Decks the White/ Black/ (red) control decks have a lot harder time being able to stabilize against a deck dropping Eldrazi Titans on turn 4 or 5.   I do like the Mardu control list I made but it feels like it is lacking the ability to dig for answers as well as win conditions which the Jeskai or Grixis control decks don’t suffer from nearly as bad.   The other big card for Control in blue from Kaladesh has to be Glimmer of Genius, instant speed dig and card draw doesn’t get much better than this. The only other decision is which colors to play, Grixis? Jeskai? Esper?  I’ve been working on a list of each and trying to determine which I like best.  I feel that both Torrential Gearhulk and Glimmer of Genius are what put blue back on the map for control, giving us ample amounts of card advantage and a heavy hitter to boot!


Ever since I saw the spoiler for Torrential Gearhulk I knew I wanted to play them, the reason I didn’t was because I thought that the  Cataclysmic and Noxious Gearhulk’s were going to fit right into the white black control shell much easier and be able to build enough card advantage on there own.  I did play a Mardu list, basically the white black control list splashing red for Harnessed Lightning and Radiant Flames.  The Mardu list felt very good against the various aggressive strategies, but fell short to Eldrazi using Aetherworks Marvel.   Unless you could hit Aetherworks or Eldrazi with Lost Legacy after sideboard or Transgress the Mind, sooner or later one of them was going to be coming at your face.  Playing blue gives us the option of Running Void Shatter, Summary Dismissal, and Negate all of which are good against various aspects of the current format and Aetherwork Marvel, and those all happen to be instants that you can recast off of Torrential Gearhulk.  Now add a plethora of removal spells at instant speed, a couple board wipes and you have yourself a pretty decent control shell.


Now that Control did well in the Pro Tour we have to assume that there is going to be a spike in the play of control decks similar to those played on the pro tour, as they seemed to be able to hold there own against the Aetherworks Marvel decks along with the aggressive strategies of the format.  For those of you brewing Control decks you will have to keep in mind that these other strategies are going to adapt and try and be ready for you, probably slowing them down some but will more then likely also make them more consistent while also having answers.  I can already see a Temur Electrostatic Pummeler deck being good, a combo-centric deck using all kinds of protection, and there is already Mardu Aggro decks running around and Transgress the Mind along side Collective Brutality could be enough to keep the aggressive vehicle shells ahead.  However I feel the consistency of a blue control shell is going to be pretty good.

When I saw Glimmer of Genius spoiled I knew if a blue based control deck was played it was going to be in there, I do think this is one of the cards that makes blue based control strategies more viable.  Not only does Glimmer draw us cards at instant speed, it digs down deeper and gives us energy to use with Aether Hub or Harnessed Lightning, and Aether hub is one of the best cards in Kaladesh, specifically if you can generate enough energy to use it repeatedly.  Glimmer of Genius is also one of the best cards to hit off of Torrential Gearhulk, doubling your card advantage from one of the best cards for control, allowing control to dig for answers and creating more consistency to our control decks.


Now that I know what blue cards I want to be playing, we have to decide which colors go with Blue the best for a control deck.  Black Red and White seem to have the removal we are looking for but 4 color control seems a bit much, so my initial reaction  was to play a Jeskai list similar to Carlos Romao Deck that he played into the finals at the pro tour, however I am not sure it is geared towards the control match up enough, So I had a look at Shota’s list and wanted elements of both decks.  I also enjoyed my Mardu list and new it had answers for the aggressive strategies, so I found myself brewing my own Grixis List:

Grixis Control

Main: 34

3 Thing in the Ice

1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

3 Torrential Gearhulk

1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

1 Chandra, Flamecaller

3 Anticipate

3 Grasp of Darkness

4 Harnessed Lightning

2 Negate

1 Transgress the Mind

2  Radiant flames

3 Void shatter

1 Essence Extraction

2 Summary Dismissal

4 Glimmer of Genius

Lands: 26

1 Spirebluff Canal

2 Wondering Fumarole

4 Sunken Hollow

2 Smoldering Marsh

4 Aether Hub

4 Evolving Wilds

1 Mountain

2 Swamp

6 Island

Sideboard: 15

2 Ceremonious Rejection

1 Dispel

2 Transgress the Mind

2 Essence Extraction

2 Lost Legacy

1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

1 Radiant Flames

3 Dynavolt Tower


As you can see there is a mix of a little bit of both Pro tour Kaladesh’s Finalists decks as well as my own spin and preferred cards.  I really liked what Thing in the Ice did for Shota, a decent blocker in the early game against aggressive strategies as well as being a sweeper effect into a serious threat that is virtually unblockable the turn it flips.  The obvious Torrential Gearhulk’s which I liked Carlos’ number better, 3 I think is the right number as drawing Multiple in the mid to late game to completely fine.  I have decided to add a few more threats on the Planeswalker side of things though, Ob Nixilis acting as a better version of Jace, Unraveler of Secrets, at least in my mind.  Yes Jace digs which could be important, but being able to kill any creature and having a better ultimate I think makes Ob Nixilis Reignited slightly better.  I am playing one copy of Chandra, Flamecaller which seems to be good against both the aggressive / midrange decks by being able to board wipe, and her ability to pressure control with the tokens with haste each turn.  At worst Chandra can cycle your all land hand, putting you into a better position with hopefully better cards +1.  The rest of the deck is pretty straight forward, a bunch of removal, a little bit of counter magic, Anticipate and Glimmer of Genius for digging through your deck, a couple sweepers and your deck is finished.  The sideboard has pretty much what you would expect a deck like this to have some extra life gain and answers to various threats.  The only real different card in the sideboard is Dynavolt tower, I am planning on bringing this in against control giving me a way to pressure Planeswalkers as well as there life total by casting spells building energy and discharging it at there face.

Overall I am very excited about Kaladesh standard and I feel we haven’t seen all the innovation yet to be had, but I do think Torrential Gearhulk and definitely Glimmer of Genius will be seeing play for quite some time.  Control has various options and roads it can go down, and I fully expect the format to evolve, but at least we have viable control decks to keep some of these combo decks in check.

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