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MtG Standard Deck: Sphere of Safety Control

Magic Card Back

Hello, Magic players, and welcome to another of my awesome budget Standard decks! This time around, I’ll be covering another control deck, this one focused around White enchantments like Pacifism and Oblivion Ring, paired with Sphere of Safety. The goal of this deck is to lock down your opponent’s board until you can resolve the Sphere of Safety, at which point you’ll be near untouchable by creatures and able to swing in for the win with massive fliers boosted with Ethereal Armor.

This deck is focused on stopping creatures in their tracks, and is well-positioned against the aggro-heavy standard metagame. It can then fly over their head and finish the game. The primary strength of this deck is that most players in standard will not have brought sideboard tech against an Enchantment heavy deck, since enchantments not very prevalent in the Standard metagame right now. Things may get hairy against a blazingly fast aggro deck, but you should be able to stem the tide enough to last until turn 5 and the Sphere of Safety. The matchup against other control decks (such as my counterspell control deck from a few months ago) is this deck’s main worry. In this kind of matchup, both decks often just end up in a stalemate, with neither side committing resources to the board for fear of it getting removed.

The Main Deck

Burden of Guilt

4

Burden of Guilt is incredibly weak as far as slowing enchantments go, but it can be absolutely essential in stopping early game threats, considering that the current Standard environment is awash in one CMC 2+ power creatures, such as Champion of the Parish, Rakdos Cackler, and Gravecrawler. It’s also only one mana, so it’s necessary to keep a good curve.

Pacifism and Its Variants

Pacifisms

Cheap removal enchantments are the bread and butter of this deck. They really help gum up the board, and add enchantments to the board in order to work your magic with Ethereal Armor and Sphere of Safety. The main plan is to prevent creatures from hitting your precious life total. Use Defang when necessary, but Pacifism should be your first priority on attacking targets. Arrests should be saved for creatures with important abilities, such as Arbor Elf or Ætherling.

Oblivion Ring

22

Oblivion Ring is a dependable classic in White’s arsenal. It’s able to deal with any problem permanents, such as Artifacts or Planeswalkers, and it removes creatures that you just cannot allow to stay on the field, like Huntmaster of the Fells.

Sphere of Safety

24RTR

Sphere of Safety, as indicated by this article’s title, is the linchpin of this deck’s strategy. With it, you can completely lock down your opponent from attacking, since you’ll probably have at least 4 other enchantments out, meaning that your opponent has to pay 5+ mana in order to attack you. Between the sphere and all the other enchantments, you’ll never be attacked again, or, if you are, it will only be by one creature at a time. From behind this wall, you can start turning the game around and winning with the deck’s creatures, boosted with Ethereal Armor.

Ethereal Armor

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Ethereal Armor is one part of the main win condition for this deck. After you stall out the board, you can drop an angel or an Azor’s Elocutors and equip it with Ethereal armor, which will boost the creature to immense levels off of all the stalling enchantments you’ve played. I’m running 4, since we definitely want to draw at least one, and each extra only helps end the game faster.

Angels and Politicians

Creatures

No deck is complete without win conditions. For this deck, we’ll be relying on a few angels and some politicians. [card]Serra Angel[/card] is a classic control finisher dating back to the early days of Magic, and it still kicks some serious ass to this day. The same goes for the Angel’s little sister, Serra Avenger. While you can’t play it during the first 3 turns, on turn four or later, its low mana cost means that you could potentially play two of them, or one and a Pacifism. The angels are absolutely essential to the deck, providing a solid win condition when combined with Ethereal Armor. Azor’s Elocutors is not as essential. I’ve included it because of this deck’s ability to freeze up the board, but it’s nowhere near as good in combat, since it lacks both flying and vigilance. However, its instant win ability can actually trigger in this deck, and this is probably the best place you’ll find for it. You may want to replace it in your own versions of the deck. As replacements, I’d recommend Angelic Wall, Palisade Giant, Haunted Guardian, Stuffy Doll, or perhaps Luminate Primordial. Whatever creature you choose should be able to absorb a beating. It’s not even necessary for them to be able to give a beating at first, since we have Ethereal Armor for that.

The List:

Creatures:

  • 4x Serra Angel
  • 4x Serra Avenger
  • 2x Azor’s Elocutors/Angelic Wall/Whatever

Enchantment:

  • 4x Arrest
  • 2x Burden of Guilt
  • 4x Defang
  • 4x Ethereal Armor
  • 4x Oblivion Ring
  • 4x Pacifism
  • 4x Sphere of Safety

Land:

  • 24x Plains

The Sideboard

The sideboard I’ve put together for this deck is just as focused on enchantments as the main deck. However, these enchantments are much more focused to combat specific threats.

Nevermore

25

Nevermore is probably the most important sideboard card. The only reason I’m not running it in the main deck is because it is a wasted card slot in the first game of a match. In the second and third games, however, Nevermore shines. With it, you can prevent whatever problems you might need. Is someone playing a midrange deck? Ban those Restoration Angels. Is someone playing Junk Rites? Prevent them from using the all important Unburial Rites, or any number of other cards that may be giving you problems.

Rest in Peace

18

Rest in Peace is one of the most powerful graveyard hosers ever printed, and it fits perfectly into this deck. Use it against anybody who abuses their graveyard for a quick and easy win.

Soul Tithe

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Soul Tithe is a great jack-of-all-trades card that provides another way to deal with problem noncreature permanents. Even if it doesn’t destroy the card in question, it’s still a drain on your opponent’s mana, preventing him from playing much else.

Blind Obedience

6

Bring in Blind Obedience against decks with a lot of haste, such as Naya/Gruul Blitz. The extort can also help buffer your life total against such a strategy, as well.

Glaring Spotlight

229

I know it’s not an enchantment, but Glaring Spotlight is necessary when facing the very popular Bant Hexproof archetype, since it allows you to pacify their creatures. The sacrifice ability can also be helpful for getting that last hit through, as well.

That’s the end of my deck primer! I hope this deck works out well for you budget players out there. If you have any additions or comments to make, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at jake@geekenstein.com.

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Jake Petersen

I am an avid video gamer and player of Magic: The Gathering. If you want to discuss either, or my articles, leave a comment or contact me at JakePPetersen@gmail.com. I love interfacing with fans, so feel free to hit me up.
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  • AndyB

    Could be a place for Gideon, Champion of Justice. Heliod / Spear of Heliod work well too.

    • Jake Petersen

      I haven’t updated this for the new Standard yet, although that may be an article at some point in the future. Unfortunately, I’d have to take the deck out of budget territory (and into Blue/White), since O-Ring and Defang have rotated without any suitable replacements in Theros.

  • Andy B

    Thanks for the decklist I’ve cobbled together something similar as I don’t have all the cards. I found this one after seeing the post Theros decklist on Wizards.com. Have bookmarked your site for further inspiration for decks!