Sultai Control by Jun Ishihara at Pro Tour Aether Revolt

Creatures (8)
2 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Noxious Gearhulk
2 Tireless Tracker
3 Torrential Gearhulk

Non-Creature Spells (28)
2 Liliana, the Last Hope
3 Vessel of Nascency
2 Disallow
2 Fatal Push
3 Glimmer of Genius
3 Grapple with the Past
3 Grasp of Darkness
1 Negate
1 Overwhelming Denial
2 Pick the Brain
2 To the Slaughter
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald

Lands (24)
2 Aether Hub
4 Blooming Marsh
2 Botanical Sanctum
4 Evolving Wilds
1 Forest
2 Island
2 Lumbering Falls
4 Sunken Hollow
3 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
1 Appetite for the Unnatural
2 Fatal Push
4 Grim Flayer
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Negate
1 Overwhelming Denial
1 Pick the Brain
1 To the Slaughter
1 Transgress the Mind
1 Yahenni’s Expertise


While Mardu Vehicles undoubtedly dominated Pro Tour Aether Revolt, a few decks not seen before in this Standard format put up some impressive results. Deck of the Day #36 featured Martin Juza’s Jund Energy deck that made top 8, but was dispatched by the Vehicles menace. When looking further down the list of best-performing Standard decks, a few interesting ones pop up, including the deck that we’ll be featuring today: Sultai Control. Jun Ishihara was unable to break through and top 8 the Pro Tour, but his Standard performance was impressive, as he posted an 8-2 record in the constructed side of the tournament.

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The deck operates very differently from normal control decks that we have seen in this format. Instead of winning through the Copycat combo or only through Torrential Gearhulk, this Sultai Control deck also has Ishkanah, Grafwidow, Noxious Gearhulk, and Liliana, the Last Hope as reasonable ways to kill the opponent. The rest of the deck resembles closely a mashup of the B/G Delirium deck from Kaladesh Standard and the U/B Control deck that Jim Davis had some success with in the two weeks prior to the Pro Tour. The shifting gameplans that this deck can have is certainly a strong point. The sideboard is a little untuned, and is more of a series of cards that could be good in a particular matchup, rather than more copies of the cards you know you will want in any particular matchup.

image-24 image-2

This Sultai Control deck also appears to be well-positioned in how the metagame shaped up at the Pro Tour. Against Copycat decks, it can afford to play the long game, with enough counter spells, kill spells, and card advantage to remain in control. Against Mardu Vehicles, cards like Ishkanah, Grafwidow, Grasp of Darkness, and Fatal Push are all fantastic cards at slowing down Mardu’s engines. Additionally, To the Slaughter is an excellent card in this format, both against Mardu Vehicles and Jeskai Copycat, and has some good game against the B/G Constrictor decks as well, as they tend to not have any unimportant creatures on the battlefield.

Going forward, this deck seems to be a very solid choice for players who are looking for a control deck that is well-positioned in the format. Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-2 Tireless Tracker

-1 Overwhelming Denial

-2 Pick the Brain

+2 Ishkanah, Grafwidow

+1 Vessel of Nascency

+1 Grapple with the Past

+1 Grasp of Darkness


-1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow

-1 Overwhelming Denial

-1 To the Slaughter

-1 Yahenni’s Expertise

-1 Transgress the Mind

+1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

+1 Negate

+1 Noxious Gearhulk

+2 Appetite for the Unnatural

This is day 38 of’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can ready day 37 here, where we covered the winning deck from Pro Tour Aether Revolt.

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