Standard 2022 Golgari Control Deck Guide: The Bane of Aggro Players
Hello everyone! Today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite control decks I’ve been crushing with in 2022: Golgari Control. So for those entrenched in 2022, Black based Control decks are certainly nothing new. Generally revolving around early plays like Eyetwitch and Shambling Ghast to gum up the board for your planeswalkers and wraths later, the strategy is generally very effective.
However, I have an issue with these types of Black control decks, the other control matchups. Although these decks tend to dominate the creature matchups, you’re very sad once a Dimir player decides to come in an ruin your day. They aren’t unwinnable of course, but I like my decks to be a bit less polarizing. That’s when I found this spicy little number.
This deck nixes the early game creatures for more removal and mid game action, something I was a very big fan of. After extensive play, the base felt quite good, but I had a few improvements to make. After a really nice win streak in Mythic, here’s where I ended up with this list.
Like most of my deck upgrades, the base stays the same and mostly some card roles are shifted. I liked what the deck was going for, I just wanted a few more threats and a few less removal spells. Why? I’ll explain.
Table of Contents
- CARD CHOICES
- LESSON BOARD
- NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS
- TIPS AND TRICKS
Lolth, Spider Queen
Lolth is such an interesting inclusion as she would be at her best in a creature deck, but we have very few creatures here. Despite that, she is still insanely powerful with her 0 drawing a card every turn for minimal cost and he minus making a really nice defensive force. Hard to argue with this efficiency.
The late game finisher. Onyx really does it well whether you’re behind, at parity, or ahead. Her plus is card advantage, her minus is removal, her ultimate wins the game, and her static can help you stabilize or win the game by itself. She’s just an insanely powerful card, albeit a little pricey.
I opted to go for Florahedron over Emergent Sequence for a few reasons. Florahedron can be a land when you want it, comes into play untapped so it can block immediately, and it’s a creature to get back with Blood on the Snow. Emergent Sequence does help color fix, but I’ve functionally never had color issues so that seemed to be a minuscule upside.
Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager
I’m pretty shocked I have seen functionally no Grakmaw in 2022, and I don’t know why. There’s very little exile based removal so Grakmaw is almost always going to be a 2 for 1. It’s great defensively as you get 2 3/3s to block with and great offensively as most players will have to toss a removal spell at it eventually just for you to get a functional second copy! Since this is also decent in multiples, I’m unsure if 3 or 4 is the right number.
I’ve never been a large Thirst fan, but it is very effective removal and can kill anything when kicked. Always happy to play 2, but never more than that generally speaking.
I’ve been on the fence about Field Trip, but I think Ramping and access to the lesson board is good enough to warrant it’s inclusion. Although we only have 2 5 drops to capitalize on the ramp, getting a Mascot Exhibition in hand and an extra land for the multitudes of mana sinks you have is just good in general.
At first I thought this was going to be way too niche to warrant it’s inclusion as it would be good against Monowhite and nothing else. While this is bad against other control decks, you’d be surprised how many permanents are 2 CMC and less!
This can pick off annoying permanents like Paladin Class or Ranger Class and recoup mana doing it! The best part about this card is that you can very often just cast this “for free” with the mana you get back on it and if you cast this against an aggro deck, it’s generally game over.
Blood on the Snow
The main snow payoff in the deck. The ability to wrath and rebuy something is extremely powerful and can easily shift the game into your favor no matter how far behind you are. We don’t have an excess of things to get back, but 7 threats you’d be happy to return and 4 emergency Florahedron is a very reasonable number.
2022’s 2 mana removal spell of choice. This will kill most early threats early and kill most other things late.
With the decline of Goldspan Dragon this has become less important, but I still like 2 copies. This will almost always kill the thing you are most afraid of and gets around target triggers like Ward which is very nice.
If you were wondering why play Green over White, this is mostly why. Chariot is just an insane card and good in literally every matchup. It’s a huge roadblock against aggro and immense pressure against control. Golgari is a control deck at heart, but to win games off of Florahedron into Esika's Chariot is super satisfying. Chariot single handedly gives the deck a lot more pressure than the average 2022 control deck which I think is really important regardless of your matchup.
Binding the Old Gods
An all star that’s been noticeably missing from 2022. Binding is as simple as it comes, a universal removal spell into a ramp spell. This is a great rate and obviously excellent considering we make really good use of that mana with the creaturelands.
The second snow payoff. Although colorless lands aren’t great in this deck, having free pressure in control mirrors or a reasonable blocker against aggro decks is more than welcome.
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
I went with a 2/1 split between Hive and Lair which is funny considering I think Lair is the more powerful of the 2. Why two Hive then? The exile clause is very important in Blood on the Snow mirrors to get rid of the really threatening cards and leave them with a bad reanimation target.
Lair of the Hydra
A very solid land that can become humongous in the late game.
Confront the Past
Great at killing opposing Walkers or reanimating your own.
For when you really need a land.
An emergency Naturalize.
If you desperately need blockers.
The card you’re hitting 99% of the time. You don’t actually need 3, but that is technically the ideal number since we have 3 Learn cards. It’s the best payoff in the Lesson board and this deck can easily hit 7 mana.
NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS
I love Eyetwitch and it could definitely be included in this deck, but I don’t think it needs it. It’s solid against the creature decks, but we have Field Trip to access our learn board and Eyetwitch only excels when it gets to trade. Very solid, but unnecessary.
Similar to Eyetwitch, this card is amazing against aggro, but pretty meh otherwise. You could play it, but I don’t think you need to.
Feed the Swarm
I have considered Feed as a means to interact with the Class cards while not being dead otherwise, but I think the life loss is too brutal and we have Binding the Old Gods anyway.
Hunt for Specimens
Same logic as Eyetwitch.
I have considered this as a decent answer to creaturelands and could replace something like a Bloodchief's Thirst.
Valki, God of Lies
I’ve definitely considered playing some Snow duals and Valki to get an interactive creature and Tibalt later. I think it’s a little too bad as it turns on the opponent’s removal nicely and makes the mana slightly more inconsistent, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for playing it.
I love me some Scavenger, but our deck is too controlling to want it.
Witch is really strong, but I don’t think this list has enough instants or sorceries to warrant the inclusion.
I don’t think the deck needs more late game, but having one copy of this seems pretty sweet and quite powerful.
See the Tangled Florahedron section above.
This could potentially be really good if we played more creatures as a removal spell and a way to exchange a little idiot for a Planeswalker. The deck currently isn’t built to support this, but it could potentially be.
I think we’re already good against aggro, but playing this as a 1 of would make the deck slightly better against it.
Sarulf, Realm Eater
I’ve seen other Golgari lists play this, but I’ve been unimpressed. It turns on opposing removal too well and is only great when you draw a lot of removal, but what isn’t good when you have complete control over the opponent’s board?
Nissa of Shadowed Boughs
I’ve come back to this card time and time again, but I really can’t justify playing it. Losing your land to a removal spell is really scary early on and this just isn’t that strong.
I wouldn’t play this card unless you were super cool. In all seriousness, it’s a bit slow compared to something else like another Walker or the previously mentioned Burning-Rune Demon.
TIPS AND TRICKS
When casting Lolth, Spider Queen, you functionally always want to -3 first no matter what the board state looks like.
Opposite of Lolth, I try to avoid -3ing with Professor Onyx unless she’s going to get killed anyway or I desperately need to kill something immediately.
You’re going to want to play Tangled Florahedron as a land way more often than a spell, even if it means passing the turn. I only cast it if I don’t think it’s going to get removed immediately, I need a blocker, or I already have a lot of lands.
Unlike other Legends, playing a Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager when you have one out is actually pretty good as it gives your current Grakmaw a counter and makes a 3/3.
Even if it’s early in the game, grabbing Mascot Exhibition of of Field Trip is usually the right play.
Esika's Chariot can copy any token, not just Cat tokens! Use this with your Hydra token from Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager or Spider from Lolth, Spider Queen.
If you want to activate a creature land but you think your opponent has a removal spell, I tend to start with Hive of the Eye Tyrant unless I think the exile will matter. If I think it will, then I activate Faceless Haven first.
Thank you for reading!
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