Standard 2022 Dimir Control Guide: Control Your Way to Mythic

Iymrith, Desert Doom Art by Antonio Jose Manzanedo
Iymrith, Desert Doom Art by Antonio Jose Manzanedo

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to go over what is considered the best Control deck in 2022: Dimir Control. If you’ve been a long time reader, you know I tend to have an affinity towards Dimir decks, and this was no different when approaching 2022.

I will say though, that building this Dimir list has easily been harder than probably any other deck I’ve brewed for 2022. Since this is Bo1 and there’s such a wide range of decks, making a good list that can feasibly tackle everything in game one is an extremely tall ask.

Even now, I’m not positive that I have the “right” list, so if you feel that you need to adjust it based on what you’re seeing, don’t be afraid to do so. Control is often times extremely contextual and where you are on the ladder can even have a drastic impact on the matchups you’re facing and what cards you need.

Before I continue, let’s see where I ended up with Dimir for this article.

2022 Dimir Control v3 

Planeswalkers (2)
2
Professor Onyx
Creatures (3)
3
Iymrith, Desert Doom
Spells (29)
3
Jwari Disruption
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
4
Flunk
1
Negate
1
Power Word Kill
2
Poison the Cup
4
Saw It Coming
3
Soul Shatter
4
Behold the Multiverse
4
Crippling Fear
1
Shadows' Verdict
Lands (26)
4
Clearwater Pathway
2
Crawling Barrens
1
Hall of Storm Giants
4
Ice Tunnel
7
Island
8
Swamp
Cards (60)

CARD CHOICES

Poison the Cup Art by Colin Boyer
Poison the Cup Art by Colin Boyer

Professor Onyx

There’s a huge amount of debate on what Planeswalkers should be run in Dimir, but the argument generally centers around Onyx, Lolth, Spider Queen, and Mordenkainen. For my money, I just like two copies of Professor Onyx.

All of her abilities are really good and her passive is a huge draw to her, making it that you can likely stabilize from most spots as long as she can live the turn. Her plus is card advantage, her minus is removal, and her ultimate is game winning. What else can you ask for in a card?

Iymrith, Desert Doom

Most Dimir lists nowadays don’t run Iymrith, and I’m not positive why. Iymrith has consistently overperformed for me whether it was as a threat to end the game or a really good blocker against creature decks.

It can be a bit of a liability against decks with cheap removal as they can remove it before it does anything, but that’s only going to put you and the opponent, at best, at mana parity; and that’s the worst case scenario!

On average, Iymrith is going to stop the opponent from attacking for many turns, then start swinging when the coast is clear for a fast clock and card advantage.

Bloodchief's Thirst

Thirst is a card I’ve been super on the fence about since I’m not a particularly big fan of it, but having early interaction for decks like Monowhite and Monogreen is crucial to surviving long enough to cast a high impact spell. I was waffling between 2 and 3 copies, but I opted for 2 right now. You’ll technically always have targets, but 4 mana to kill a threat is not a rate Control is super happy to pay.

Crippling Fear

Ideally you wouldn’t have to run any board wipes in Bo1, but Monowhite and Monogreen go too wide to make that a possibility. Nevertheless, Crippling Fear will functionally win the game against Monowhite and will do some serious damage to Monogreen assuming their creatures don’t get too beefy too quickly.

Shadows' Verdict

More or less the same logic as Crippling Fear, except it’s 1 more mana but can hit creatures with larger toughness like Old-Growth Troll, Righteous Valkyrie, or Angel tokens.

Jwari Disruption

MDFCs are really good in decks that want to play a lot of lands, and Disruption isn’t super exciting or anything, but it fits the bill well. It can tag a spell in the early game, be a land when you need it, or help stymie double spell turns later in the game.

Flunk

Currently, Flunk is the 2 mana removal spell of choice due to the sustained popularity of Izzet Dragons and Angels. Ideally you could just play 4 Power Word Kill instead, but the risk of it being a literal dead draw against some amount of decks is too risky a proposition. Regardless, Flunk isn’t amazing but it gets the job done more often than not.

Negate

I really wanted to play another counterspell, and I think Negate is where I want to be. It’s obviously going to be embarrassing against something like Monowhite, but even against something like Monogreen you can tag an Esika's Chariot or Ranger Class which is quite powerful. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m even supposed to play more Negate.

Power Word Kill

Early interaction is key and I wanted one more copy of it. This does miss some important creature types, but it’ll do the job most of the time and being an Instant is very important.

Poison the Cup

A pretty stock Murder variant. I haven’t been super impressed with this card or anything, but having some hard removal that can also sometimes scry 2 has definitely been helpful.

Plus increasing the Foretell count in the deck makes it harder for your opponent to predict what spells you actually have and makes Iymrith better as well.

Saw It Coming

The hard counterspell of choice. The option to Foretell is nice, but otherwise it’s Cancel.

Soul Shatter

Soul Shatter is probably my favorite removal spell as it cleanly answers Goldspan Dragon, Iymrith, Desert Doom, any Walker, etc. The main issue with it is that you can’t control what it hits and if the threat you really need to kill isn’t the most expensive threat on their board that could be a huge issue.

I used to play 4 of these, but it is a bit clunky and not always hitting your intended target made me cut a copy.

Behold the Multiverse

Just a great draw spell, not much to say here.

Hall of Storm Giants

Since we run so many lands, having some amount of creature lands is a must. Hall is very pricey to activate, but it is a large threat that can close games quite quickly.

Interestingly enough, I’ve actually found that Hall was much better on defense than on offense, staving off attacks from some larger creatures as the 7/7 is such a large roadblock. You could probably play anywhere between 1-3 copies, but I’ve liked 1 for now.

Crawling Barrens

Maybe I’m biased, but I think Crawling Barrens is really good in Dimir decks. It always comes into play untapped and being able to grow it instant speed is such a draw to the card. Even if both players are stalled out, you can easily grow Barrens to a 10/10 and just threaten to 2 shot the opponent while holding up counter magic.

Drawing both will feel awful, but I felt like I didn’t see it enough with only one copy. That being said, there’s no way you could go above 2 copies either.

POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS / NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS

Reject Art by Zoltan Boros
Reject Art by Zoltan Boros

Disdainful Stroke

I used to run 1 copy of this, but it being mostly dead against Monowhite and Monogreen was concerning. Furthermore it wasn’t even that amazing against the Control decks so it was a pretty easy cut.

Into the Roil

Roil is ok, but I’m generally not a big fan of Tempo cards in my hard control decks. Control is all about 1 for 1ing the opponent and a card that won’t always do that doesn’t make much sense.

Reject

The card isn’t bad realistically, it’s just unnecessary in a deck that can play Instant speed removal.

Divide by Zero

Unlike Into the Roil, Divide by Zero will always bounce a spell and net a card you more or less want, making it a pretty appealing option. I really like the idea of Divide by Zero, but have yet to find a reasonable cut to slot a few copies in.

Jace, Mirror Mage

Jace can be a little low impact and the 0 doesn’t work well with expensive spells, but he is pretty good and wouldn’t be surprised to see one copy or so in Dimir at some point.

Silundi Vision

I like my MDFCs and Silundi Vision is solid, but it would be better if we had more exciting spells we’re looking to hit like Alrund's Epiphany.

Graven Lore

Most Dimir lists play this or Iymrith, and I opted for Iymrith. If you’re not an Iymrith fan, you should definitely be playing these.

Mordenkainen

Mordekainen is a great card, but as I said before, I prefer Liliana. His plus ability is definitely better and the minus can be better, but giving opponent’s a good target for the removal that was rotting in their hand into killing Mord is such a common play pattern with the card.

Furthermore, Mordenkainen’s ultimate is not particularly powerful either and puts you on a pretty fast clock to win the game or deck out.

Alrund's Epiphany

I had Epiphany in my older versions of Dimir and really liked it, but was forced to cut it after some time. The deal with Epiphany in Dimir is that it was a placeholder, it wasn’t really bad anywhere so you play it game 1 then swap it out for more targeted cards in the board games.

I put Epiphany in this deck initially as I didn’t recognize why I liked it in Bo3 Dimir decks, but once I did, I couldn’t justify it anymore. This deck needs every single slot it can get as being able to answer any deck you come across is not an easy task.

Hunt for Specimens

I’ve seen newer versions of Dimir running this, and I get it in theory, but don’t love it in practice. I view this as a functional Revitalize, albeit slightly better, especially against Monowhite. This isn’t bad or anything, but I personally think it’s too low impact most of the time.

However, getting Mascot Exhibition from your board is just a really powerful play, so I may be undervaluing this as well.

Baleful Mastery

I don’t see much of a reason to play this over something like Poison the Cup. Sure it can hit Planeswalkers, but so few decks play walkers that seems like such a small advantage.

Furthermore, the exile clause is next to irrelevant in the format and if you need to cast it for 2 mana, you’re either about to win or about to lose anyway.

Ebondeath, Dracolich

This is a Flash threat that can also be a great blocker and an annoying recursive threat in the late game. Despite that, turning on opponent’s small removal spells is too large a detriment.

Lolth, Spider Queen

I really like Lolth, just not in Dimir. We don’t have any other creatures to make use of the passive and we’re giving the opponent targets for their dead removal. Hard pass.

Tergrid's Shadow

This card is actually pretty good yet seems to never be considered. I was close to playing one copy of it and likely will try that at some point. This and Iymrith is an obvious nonbo, but if you aren’t running Iymrith, I feel like 1 copy can be pretty nice.

Blood on the Snow

If you want to run a copy of this in your Iymrith build, I think that’s super reasonable. You would need to play mostly Snow lands then, but that’s not really an issue. I wouldn’t play this in the creatureless versions as it’s going to be really hard to recur something consistently.

Narfi, Betrayer King

If Frost Bite wasn’t so popular, this would actually be a reasonable option as a really annoying recursive threat.

Zareth San, the Trickster

I’ve tried one copy of this a few times and have been reasonably impressed as you can ambush an attacker and connecting nets you so much value. The main issue is that this is a juicy target for removal and it’s very hard to get it to connect multiple times. Can’t really justify it, but it’s so close.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Crawling Barrens Art by Jonas De Ro
Crawling Barrens Art by Jonas De Ro
  • Unless your Professor Onyx or you’re in danger of dying, I try to avoid using the minus as long as possible. The goal is to untap with her so plussing is generally what can make that happen.
  • It’s ok to hold Iymrith, Desert Doom back for an extended period of time if it means your opponent can’t attack. Dimir wins becuase it has the best inevitability in 2022, so don’t be afriad to make games go late if you’re not positive you can close it quickly enough.
  • In general, I will Jwari Disruption absolutely anything I can. It’s a treat to counter something for 2 mana so even if it isn’t high impact, nabbing it is almost always a good exchange. On the other hand, don’t be afriad to run this out as a land early if it helps your curve. That’s the primary purpose
  • In general, I’d rather hold up interaction on turn 2 over Foretelling in most circumstances unless they’re also on Control. However, I wouldn’t bluff interaction on turn 2 if I can Foretell something instead.
  • Since Poison the Cup gives an advantage on cast if Foretold first, a lot of players will always try to Foretell this to get it. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but just casting it as Murder is generally better than messing up your curve to get a Scry 2.
  • I wouldn’t start pumping Crawling Barrens over Foretelling cards unless I believe it could be a relevant blocker a turn or two down the line.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is a streamer and high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, GW Company in Historic, and Temur Koma in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

6 Responses

  1. IamJoeMontana says:

    Was expecting it, thank you very much!!
    No sideboard?
    I’m playing a version with Epiphany, have a look and tell me your opinion if you want:

    4 Clearwater Pathway (ZNR) 260
    3 Crippling Fear (KHM) 82
    2 Divide by Zero (STX) 41
    3 Flunk (STX) 71
    1 Professor Onyx (STX) 83
    2 Mordenkainen (AFR) 64
    2 Hall of Storm Giants (AFR) 257
    4 Saw It Coming (KHM) 76
    2 Shadows’ Verdict (ZNR) 124
    4 Ice Tunnel (KHM) 262
    5 Snow-Covered Island (KHM) 279
    7 Snow-Covered Swamp (KHM) 281
    4 Jwari Disruption (ZNR) 64
    3 Bloodchief’s Thirst (ZNR) 94
    2 Poison the Cup (KHM) 103
    4 Alrund’s Epiphany (KHM) 41
    2 Hunt for Specimens (STX) 73
    2 Crawling Barrens (ZNR) 262
    3 Behold the Multiverse (KHM) 46
    2 Blood on the Snow (KHM) 79

    Sideboard
    2 Environmental Sciences (STX) 1
    2 Mascot Exhibition (STX) 5
    1 Confront the Past (STX) 67
    2 Necrotic Fumes (STX) 78

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Looks excellent imo. No way purporting the Iymrith version is the only way and I really like Epiphany in Control.

  2. IamJoeMontana says:

    Thanks Doggert!!
    Your guides are really helpful, especially the tips and tricks.
    Any chance to also add some mulliganning tips for Dimir, izzet and Monogreen?
    Thanks!!

  3. Ownage_Mobile says:

    Have you considered Xanathar, Guild Kingpin as a finisher? If he sticks, he basically functions as a budget Mindslaver lock like Blue Tron… you play spells off the top of the opponents deck until you get to a land, and then you can end your turn after doing whatever else you want to do and you can have them do nothing but draw land the rest of the game. It’s quite fun.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Xanathar is interesting but I think it’s too bad the situations where you play it and it gets answered to want. That being said, it is definitely a powerful threat if it’s able to stick

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