Top 100 Dimir Yorion Standard Deck Guide: Can a Control Deck be Tier 1?

ashiok-nightmare-muse

Hello everyone! I’ve been having a great time in this Standard format so far since it’s been evolving at a rapid rate. Since the popularity of 8 Shark, I’ve been hounded with requests on making it good again, and I did try, but was unsuccessful every time. I figured that Control had too tough of a time in the current metagame to be viable and I functionally gave up.

However, inspiration struck me in the middle of the night, as it did with 8 Shark. Ugin decks have been increasing in popularity and just playing interaction into Ugin was a strong game plan. Between Big Red, Mono Black Ugin, and Temur Ugin Control, I knew I had to try out old Dimir one last time. I don’t want to say I hit it big, but the results are rather convincing.

With a clean 8-0 in Mythic, I was quickly propelled into top 100, most notably beating THREE Lurrus Rogues opponents along the way. I figured that even if Control was good, Rogues would be there to gatekeep me, but that hasn’t been my experience in the slightest. Furthermore, a decent amount of members on my competitive Discord have taken up the list and have been performing well with it too! For example, one of the members has gone an impressive 16-4 through Diamond and into Mythic. With our record combined, that’s a staggering 24-4 or roughly an 85% win rate. Luckily for me, we both recorded our matchup data, so let’s take a look.

  • Gruul Aggro: 1-2
  • Rogues: 3-0
  • Esper: 5-1
  • Mono Green Food: 3-0
  • Temur Ramp: 3-1
  • Mono Red: 2-0
  • Golgari Ramp: 1-0
  • Temur Midrange: 1-0
  • Selesnya Yorion: 1-0
  • Selesnya Adventures: 1-0
  • Big Red: 1-0
  • Jeskai Control: 1-0
  • Dimir Control: 1-0

Quite the diverse set of matchups between the two of us and with all of them having winning records minus Gruul. I have yet to face Gruul on ladder but my teammate said the matchup seemed close, just a few poor situations led to the less than stellar record. Clearly this deck has some serious legs if this win rate and matchup data has any worth to it. Before I continue though, let’s look at this beauty.

Azorius Yorion got slapped around hard in the first weekend of the MPL/Rivals Splits, but I still think the deck did a lot right. Yorion Control is a powerful archetype and I’m very surprised that the community functionally gave up on it after one bad weekend. In fairness, the Azorius version really couldn’t beat Rogues and the Gruul matchup was rough, so it does make sense that there wasn’t really space for it to continue being a player.

However, when I thought about it, the solution seemed obvious to me. Azorius struggled against Rogues and Gruul because it lacked good creature interaction, so why do we have to play White? With Black, we get a plethora of interaction in any shape and form we want.

Lastly, if you’re looking to play this in Bo1, replace the 1 of Shark Typhoon for the 4th Elsepth’s Nightmare and you’ll be all good to go. Let’s talk about card choices.

CARD CHOICES

Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths

Companion: Yorion, Sky Nomad: I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why I play Yorion in this deck instead of just playing 60 cards. I see it the opposite way, it’s not that I happen to play Yorion in this deck, it’s that I GET to play Yorion in this deck. Control is famous for having answers for the first few turns, missing out on card advantage, then dying to an opponent’s better threats. Yorion doesn’t mitigate that, but it gives you something to do when you’re running out of plays. If you get to blink even one permanent, Yorion functionally did it’s job and if you ever get to blink multiple, you’re likely winning that game. At worst, a 4/5 flier isn’t the end of the world if you need to invest 8 mana to get it.

2 Ashiok, Nightmare Muse: Ashiok really hasn’t had their time in the sun since it came out, but the card is quite powerful. The fact that it can ultimate in 3 turns with a pretty back breaking effect is very powerful, and both of the other abilities are quite strong as well. I tend not to use the minus with Ashiok as it’s usually worse than just making a 2/3 and going for the ultimate, but you have to choose your spots. When Ugin isn’t good in the matchup, Ashiok becomes your secondary wincon. What’s your primary wincon you ask? Keep reading to find out.

4 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: “Everywhere I go, I see his face” – Spiderman and Standard players. Ugin has seen a huge uptick in play and it makes sense why, Ugin is just ridiculously powerful. If you’re ever facing a midrange deck, Ugin just comes by to smack your opponent for even daring to play fair Magic. Almost always a board wipe into a quick win con, prioritize hitting your land drops so you can castUgin on curve.

3 Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths: Standard was busted for nearly the entire time Atris has been legal which explains why it’s seen functionally zero play. However, Atris is not to be messed with. A 4 mana 3/2 menace that nets at least one card is a rather powerful effect. Here’s how you navigate picking the piles. Unless you’re desperate for something, pick the 2 every time. This deck is quite happy to have excess lands so the 2 will almost always be a land and a decent spell and the 1 is a good spell, so you still get a lot of value from it. 

4 Solemn Simulacrum: Sad Robot looks rather good right now, especially when we’re such a mana hungry deck. Powering out Ugin is really nice and occasionally getting to blink it is just extra value, but I frequently throw it under a creature the first chance I get.

2 Bloodchief’s Thirst: I like Thirst to have some versatility in your removal spells and it’s excellent against Rogues. Furthermore, if your opponent manages to land a Planeswalker, this gives you outs to it. This could be Eliminate, but I think Thirst does the job better. 

4 Extinction Event: Standard’s premium wrath effect right now. Exiling is very relevant and not letting your opponent ever draw a card at the cost of potentially missing a creature on board is worth it. Despite the fear of missing a creature, most decks run a lot of creatures in the same CMC slot (Rogues plays a lot of 1s, Gruul a lot of 3s), so a full board wipe is quite common.

4 Jwari Disruption: With two color decks, you get more liberty in how many utility lands you can add to your deck. Jwari Disruption isn’t amazing if you’re always counting on it to counter something, but a tapped Island that can sometimes counter a spell? That’s very strong. I prioritize the land over the spell as this deck is very mana hungry, but you can keep it if you’re already land heavy or you can near guarantee a counter soon.

2 Cling to Dust: I used to hate Cling to Dust, but when you play it in Control, it becomes way more likeable. It’s generally something you cycle early then you can draw 1-2 cards later in the game when you fill your graveyard a bit. Also, Cling is obviously good against random Escape cards which is nice, but I generally won’t hold it to hit an Escape card if I need something to do.

2 Essence Scatter: I split Scatter and Negate 2/2 as Standard is relatively split on what is better when. For the most part, no matter what you’re facing, Scatter is better earlier in the game and as it progresses later and later, Negate becomes more important. You can even look at Gruul where having a Scatter early is great where Negate is useless, but Negate is important for countering a Vivien, Emberclave, or The Great Henge. Adjust the Scatter and Negate numbers as needed.

4 Heartless Act: This Standard’s Doom Blade and a big reason to play Black over White in this deck. I said this before, but UW Yorion learned a painful lesson in that instant speed removal is very important in this format.

2 Negate: Pretty much the explanation from above, but Negate has felt a lot better than normal recently. With a lot of Ugin decks running around, having a 2 mana answer is certainly nice.

4 Neutralize: Negate and Essence Scatter are both great, but it feels really bad when you have the wrong counterspell at a critical moment. Neutralize, though one mana more, obviously doesn’t have this problem. The cycling ability is nice but I only do that when I’m desperate for a land or an answer to something on board that’s going to kill you. Also as a general tip, if a potential spell that your opponent can play is on average as good or worse than what you can deploy, you should just advance your board rather than holding a counterspell up hoping they play something relevant. Obviously this advice won’t always ring true, but too many people sit on their counterspells rather than playing a threat when their opponent doesn’t even have a strong play on their next turn or you can’t afford to play around what they could potentially do for whatever reason.

4 Mazemind Tome: Standard’s premiere value engine and excellent with Yorion. When you get to play this on turn 2 against anything but an aggro deck, the game becomes so much easier as you can happily hold up interaction and draw a card if you aren’t forced to do something. Always play the 4.

4 Omen of the Sea: Somehow one of the best cards in the deck. Instant speed Preordain is fine, but the threat of blinking it later in the game is really why we play it. If you have to, cracking it for the Scry 2 is a decent use of the card as well. 

3 Elspeth’s Nightmare: I don’t know how many different ways I can write how much I love this card, but I love this card. Killing a creature and getting a Duress is excellent value for 3 mana. Furthermore, although the last mode seems like flavor text, a lot of decks right now incidentally care about their graveyard, so all 3 modes are generally relevant and for 3 mana, that’s a premium rate.

1 Shark Typhoon: Shark Typhoon is a powerful card that you should always play 4 of, but it’s hard to say in what split of maindeck and sideboard. I think the 1 main is fine for now as there’s a decent amount of win conditions in the main deck and drawing an errant Shark Typhoon late in the game is excellent. 

4 Crawling Barrens: Here’s the actual MVP of the deck. I talked about this card back in 8 Shark, but Barrens has somehow only gotten better. Most Standard decks truly don’t have a good answer to Crawling Barrens and I’ve likely won more games off of it than all my other threats easily. If you have to choose between drawing cards or pumping a Barrens, I generally go for the card draw unless you need to end the game quickly or other various niche scenarios like setting up to attack down a potential Planeswalker.

31 Lands + 4 Jwari Disruption = 35 Lands 

SIDEBOARD

1 Erebos’s Intervention: The spicy one of. A common question I get is why I bother playing a card that’s a literal 1 of in an 80 card deck, and I do that when drawing the card late in the game is extremely good. It’s the same logic as the 1 Shark Typhoon in the maindeck, drawing it early is fine but it scales well into the late game. That’s no real surprise as an X spell, but Intervention is pretty solid at every stage of the game and I could see increasing the amount, but I wouldn’t know what to cut. We’re generally after the removal hlf of the card, but I’ve gotten a lot of value with the exile ability as well.

1 Essence Scatter: When you need more anti-creature interaction.

1 Negate: When you need more non-creature interaction.

1 Elspeth’s Nightmare: To fill out the 4 in the 75. If 2/3 modes are relevant, bring it in.

4 Mystical Dispute: This card is very good against Blue decks or super greedy decks.

3 Shadows’ Verdict: I don’t know why everyone hates this card so much. Verdict is excellent against aggro decks, Lurrus decks, and any deck that plays creatures and likes their graveyard intact (Rakdos). It’s a little pricey, but exiling all small creatures from the board and graveyard is excellent. It wasn’t intentional, but the only creatures you can hit on your side would be Crawling Barrens or Shark Typhoon tokens.

3 Shark Typhoon: Filling out the 4 in the 75. Shark Typhoon is good when you need to keep up mana constantly as you can deploy a threat on your opponent’s end step.

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING

GRUUL AGGRO

InOut
+1 Erebos’s Intervention-1 Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths
+1 Essence Scatter-2 Cling to Dust
+1 Elspeth’s Nightmare-2 Negate
+3 Shadows’ Verdict-1 Shark Typhoon

As per a lot of my decks, the boarding for Gruul is pretty simple, board out slow cards, board in interaction. Negate can be good to counter an expensive non-creature, but I find that it can be too risky when they just have a fast start. Cling comes out unless they show you a lot of Phoenix or Ox, and I mean a lot of them, not just a few. Your game plan is the same as Big Red’s, stall your opponent until you can Ugin them. 

DIMIR ROGUES

InOut
+1 Erebos’s Intervention-4 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
+1 Negate-3 Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths
+1 Elspeth’s Nightmare-4 Solemn Simulacrum
+4 Mystical Dispute-2 Essence Scatter
+3 Shadows’ Verdict
+3 Shark Typhoon

This matchup is not great game one, but then you just throw your sideboard at them which completely flips the match into your favor. Surprisingly, playing a draw go Control deck is rather effective against Rogues when you actually have enough Instant speed interaction to keep up with Rogues. Kill their creatures and don’t let them resolve an Into the Story and this matchup is easy. 

MONO GREEN FOOD

InOut
+1 Erebos’s Intervention-4 Solemn Simulacrum
+1 Essence Scatter
+1 Negate
+1 Elspeth’s Nightmare

This matchup can be scary as threats like Feasting Troll King, The Great Henge, and Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate are all absolute powerhouses against this strategy, however, none of those matter in the face of counterspells or an Ugin. As long as you can keep their most powerful threats off the board, the deck can’t pressure you that quickly and you should be able to outgrind them in the long game.

BIG RED / UGIN RAMP

InOut
+1 Negate-4 Extinction Event
+4 Mystical Dispute-4 Heartless Act
+3 Shark Typhoon-1 Elspeth’s Nightmare
+1 Erebos’s Intervention

This matchup is a breeze as you have counterspells and they don’t. Cut your removal and have more interaction. The only way you can really lose this matchup is a big Crawling Barrens, but you should be able to grind them out before Barrens become relevant. For a different Ugin ramp deck, like the Temur Control version, you don’t need the Erebos’s Intervention as they don’t play Crawling Barrens. If they play more creatures, you can take out cards like Elspeth’s Nightmare and Cling to keep in more removal.

ESPER YORION

InOut
+1 Negate-2 Bloodchief’s Thirst
+4 Mystical Dispute-4 Extinction Event
+3 Shark Typhoon-2 Heartless Act

This matchup is quite good for UB as you are a significantly better Control deck than they are. As long as you can keep important permanents off the board, this matchup will be very favorable as well. Even cards that are normally scary like Doom Foretold isn’t even that good most of the time. As a tip, try to avoid making small Shark tokens that can get hit with the first chapter of Elspeth’s Nightmare. 3 mana Duress is significantly worse if it doesn’t kill a creature of yours as well. Them resolving a Yorion for a lot of value is functionally the only way you lose this matchup so prevent that as best as you can.

That’s what I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!

DoggertQBones

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is a streamer and high ranked Arena player. He has one GP and PTQ Top 8, has 3-0d 3 professional draft pods, and loves writing and teaching!

8 Responses

  1. rafaelgmcf rafaelgmcf says:

    Hi. Please, why is it a 80 cards deck? Sorry I didn’t find why in the article, my english is not that good…
    Thank you

  2. 2feL 2feL says:

    Thanks for the article, very fun deck!
    I replaced some of the Atris’ & Simulacra with Master of Winds due to lack of wildcards, feels surprisingly decent so far especially vs the Rogue fliers.

  3. freybeard freybeard says:

    What an interesting deck. I took it for a spin and it was fun. Sequencing can be hard sometimes because there are so many things you want to do in one turn but most of the time you don’t have enough mana for it (I feel like I scry more than I draw for mazemind tomb which is tough since you really want the draw as a control deck). The removal suite is spot on as so many creatures (especially gruul where they get innkeeper + lovestruck beast + bonecrusher giant can all be wiped with a good extinction event) line up so well with the current decks. Shadow verdict feels really good in this deck where it can win a rogues game or a rakdos game by itself. The only thing I find really awkward is ashiok most of the time. This planeswalker feels more like a win more card most of the time. Unlike ugin which can remove multiple threats if resolved (insta value), ashiok sometimes feels very slow and the threat that we bounce back up will likely be played again since there are so many ways to draw cards in standard with the meta decks (village rites for rakdos, adventure + henge for gruul, into the story for rogues, etc). The nightmare creatures feels insignificant when everything has flying or trample. And lastly the crawling barrens are perfect as they are win conditions by themselves when the dust has settled after controlling the board. Overall very fun deck to play with Atris being one of the more interesting card. Thank you for sharing with us this deck!

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