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Control deck

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A control deck, also known as a late game deck, is a deck that attempts to attain victory in the late game, through a combination of early game removal and Taunts, and powerful cards in the later rounds of the game. These decks focus on controlling the early game in order to survive through to the later rounds, where they can use a string of powerful spells, or a steady flow of larger minions to overwhelm the opponent.

The control deck is the opposite archetype to the aggro deck.

Notes[edit | edit source]

These decks spend the early game controlling the state of the board through the use of removal to destroy and neutralise enemy minions. Taunts are often employed to force the opponent to trade their spells or minions for the taunts, delaying hero damage and slowing the opponent's progression. During the early game their behaviour is therefore mostly defensive, dealing little or no hero damage but hoping in turn to prevent the opponent from dealing too much damage to them. Hero powers such as Armor Up! may also be used to bolster defences. This allows the player to survive into the later game, where their deck comes into its own.

Because of the focus on removal and neutralisation during the early game, a control deck can afford to focus upon powerful minions for use in the late game. If the deck can successfully keep the tables fairly level until they have enough mana to begin summoning larger minions, they have a good chance of winning the game, since these minions are often very powerful and relatively hard to counter or remove. Other control decks focus more upon combos or direct damage such as Pyroblast to win the match.

The focus upon the late game means that control decks can afford to expend a lot of removal during the early game, relying on their late game to turn the tide once the later rounds are reached. An apparent card advantage against a control deck may prove of little value when each of their cards is found to be worth at least two of the opponent's.

Because control decks require the late game to come into their own, it is vital that they stop the opponent from dealing too much damage to them during the earlier rounds. If an aggro deck is able to take their Health low enough in the early rounds, it is likely that the opponent will be able to neutralise their defences and deal the remaining damage necessary to finish the match, before the control deck is able to produce an effective counter.

The division between stalling and the more aggressive stage assault of the opponent is not always so clear. Mage control decks can use Freeze effects like Frost Nova, Blizzard and Ice Lance to repeatedly freeze their attackers in their tracks, buying time to draw a Flamestrike and clear the board, or to draw the Pyroblast necessary to finish the opponent that turn. Ice Block is an infamous card for this, often buying the mage just enough time to defeat their opponent.

A common choice for certain control decks is Alexstrasza. After spending the early game stalling, the player can use the dragon's Battlecry to set the opponent's Health to 15, effortlessly compensating for minimal damage-dealing in earlier rounds, then use burst damage to quickly defeat the weakened opponent.

Another choice is C'Thun. The cultists that precede him can buff him up slowly while being defensive, then the player can send him out to cleanse the board of minions using the Battlecry, and possibly destroy the enemy hero.

Rock, paper, scissors[edit | edit source]

Main article: Deck type#Rock, paper, scissors

In theory control decks beat aggro due to their nature to stall the game with small removals, taunts and heals/armor. Meanwhile midrange is able to build a strong board in early game, their midrange minions eating 2-3 small removals or the opponent wasting a hard removal in them. This and the already-established board often carry the midrange deck to victory in mid-lategame.

Removal, Taunts and healing are very important in withstanding aggro decks, which is the main purpose of control decks, with resets like Reno Jackson and Tree of Life working especially well.

Tempo decks can be won when they run out of steam, but are dangerous when they're more mid or late game oriented.