Hello and welcome to this fourth installment in The Exiled Zone. I haven’t typed up an article for quite a while as there hasn’t been much to discuss, but now, thanks to a great idea from Islands at the Gleemax Magic Forums I can discuss a very interesting deck.
That deck is Domain Compression Control. The name itself, I know will make you gasp and shun and automatically dislike me. For all of you still here, I must acknowledge that I had the exact same reaction when I read it first, but trusting Islands, a great and intuitive deck-builder I read on and even went so far as to test it out.
After you see the deck-list you will surely wonder why I even bothered testing it out, why I didn’t commit suicide or something. But something about the list, and the good feedback of those who dared try it before me urged me to give it a go. And boy is it fun. It doesn’t win 100% of the time, but it puts a smile on your face 100% of the time.
The idea of the deck is to gain immense tempo through the use of some domain cards and some great tempo building cards from all five colours. It utilizes cards that can’t be used in any other deck and with a mana-base comprised of only basic lands and Terramorphic Expanses, through the use of Rampant Growth, Armillary Sphere and the such it always can get all five colours on turn five.
Islands uses a very carefully and skillfully chosen selection of singleton cards that tend to always appear when you most want them to. I’ve added a bit of my own twist, and so do not run the exact list that Islands runs, but here it is:
19 x Basic Lands
4 x Terramorphic Expanse
3 x Macta Rioters
2 x Wild Nacatl
2 x Hag Hedge-mage
2 x Wall of Reverence
4 x Rampant Growth
4 x Ponder
4 x Maelstrom Pulse
3 x Worldly Counsel
2 x Kiss of the Amesha
2 x Exploding Borders
2 x Traumatic Visions
1 x Naya Charm
1 x Jund Charm
1 x Voices from the Void
1 x Martial Coup
3 x Armillary Sphere
There she is. As you can see, the deck has eleven cards that can search for lands. The Rampant Growths, Traumatic Visions, Exploding Borders and Armillary Spheres. Rampant Growth are simply brilliant at ramping, Visions can get you out of a corner, and then counter there late game bombs, Borders can really win you the game with some vital damage to the head and are great to recur late game with Hag Hedge-Mages and Armillary Sphere completely ensures turn 5 domain.
Different cards make use of your ability to manipulate your basic lands. Wild Nacatls make for early and late game swingers that apply pressure to your opponent’s board. Macta Rioters are usually played mid-late game as a 5/5 bully for three and attempt to apply constant pressure to your opponent as you try to eliminate all their threats.
Ponder and Worldly Counsel can help make sure you draw into the right lands, or out of a block or lands or into that bomb Martial Coup (for example) that you need. Maelstrom Pulses help clear the board so that your Macta Rioters can eventually swing in for the game if need be.
Then we come to the game-break/making cards and the other singletons. Kiss of the Amesha for one is a card that I laughed at, at first, but decided to try it out, to much avail. It can turn the tides on the game and allow you the extra turn you need to win the game (which this deck can do out of no-where). Martial Coup wins games (especially with so much ramp), and so does Voices from the Void whereas Jund Charm and Naya Charm have abilities that completely shut down your opponents turn and once more give you the turn you need to win.
Basically, this deck wins out of nowhere and anywhere. It’s a joy to pilot.
My cousin and I got together and did some play-testing against some of our more competitive decks (Jund Cascade Aggro, Esper Beatdown and Bant Aggro) with the following results (oh, and if you these don’t convince you as to how fun this deck is, then your as crazy as running Kiss of the Amesha:
Vs. Jund Cascade Aggro: Domain played, drawing and keeping a first hand containing some three lands, two Ponders, a Wall of Reverence and Kiss of the Amesha. They played an island and then Pondered into a Wild Nacatl.
Jund dropped a land and passed. Domain drew into a Maelstrom Pulse and used its second Ponder into three lands, choosing to shuffle and then drawing into a mountain, much to the liking of its Wild Nacatl which it played.
Jund played a turn two Rip-clan Crasher swinging in for two.
18 – 20
Domain played the mountain, boosting the Nacatl and swung evening them up at eighteen all. Jund played another Crasher turn three and swung in for four damage, giving it a good lead.
Domain played its Maelstrom Pulse, killing both Crashers and swings with the kitty for two damage.
Jund played a turn four Hellspark Elemental and swung at its opponent’s empty field, waiting until playing his Colossal Might, dealing a massive seven damage, once more giving it an extensive lead.
Domain, seemingly at a large disadvantage, has all five colours out at turn five and drops a largely needed Wall of Reverence. It swings with its fully buffed 3/3 kitty, dealing three damage and gaining him three life at the end of turn.
Jund taps out for a Sygg, River Cutthroat and a Boggart Ram-gang, swinging with the gang for three damage (Domain, not blocking in fear of the Ram-gang’s wither) and drawing a card at the end of turn.
Once more, Domain is at a disadvantage, and has to hope he draws a good card. And as usual it does. He taps out for a Kiss of the Amesha, gaining seven points of life and drawing two cards. It swings with the kitty who is blocked by Sygg, and domain gains another three life at the end of turn!
Jund drops a Crasher and swings with its Ram-gang dealing three damage. Domain swings with its Nacatl again which is not blocked and Domain is finally on top, gaining again three life.
Jund swings with his Ram-gang and Crasher, the Crasher is blocked by the Wall of Reverence and the Ram-gang is let through once more. Jund smiles and taps two for a Colossal Might. Domain smiles and taps out for a Traumatic Visions.
Domain plays an Exploding Borders, searching for another land and dealing five valuable points of damage to its opponent. Then it swings at its empty field with a Nacatl.
Jund sighs and drops two Boggart Ram-Gangs, sighing over not having a Bloodbraid Elf or Bituminous Blast! Domain top decks…. a Martial Coup, and taps out for six tokens and sweeping the board. Jund looks at his hand and plays a Volcanic Fallout, killing all the tokens, but also killing himself.
What a game! Not only did the game finish with Domain at full life, but it came back from being at one point being at seven life. This game displays the great usefulness of Kiss of the Amesha in this deck, which single-handedly saved him the game, allowing him to stall into Wall of Reverence, which allowed him to stall into the game-breaking Exploding Borders and ultimately Martial Coup. This game was a blast to play, but didn’t top the next game, against Bant, which was probably the most fun game of Magic I’ve EVER played, and I’ve had some.
Vs. Bant: Once more, Domain won the toss and chose to play. Riskily, it kept a land with one land, Rampant Growth, Armillary Sphere, Naya Charm, Maelstrom Pulse and two Hag Hedge-Mage. Plenty of mana-ramp, but it needed that extra land. Luckily, it drew a land the next turn and Rampant Growth into an island.
Bant dropped its second land and passed turn. Domain pondered into another Rampant Growth, which it played into a swamp, needing only a plains to complete domain. Bant dropped a menacing turn three Rhox War Monk.
Domain drew happily into a plains and was forced to Maelstrom Pulse the Rhox, before it got out of hand and dropped an Armillary Sphere. At this point it had 2 Hag Hedge-Mages and a Naya Charm in hand.
Bant dropped an Aven Squire. Domain sacked its Sphere and searched for another forest and another swamp in aid of its Hag Hedge-Mages. He plays the forest, and then a Wild Nacatl.
Bant plays a Finest Hour and swings for a total of eight flying damage that turn. Domain can’t do anything and seems in bad situation.
Domain has the option to drop both Hag Hedge-Mages that turn, but decided to keep mana open to Naya Charm, not being able to afford much more points of damage. Bant discards an Ancient Ziggurat and Domain puts a Maelstrom Pulse on the top of its deck, than Ponders into it and swings for three with Nacatl.
Bant Bant Charms my Hag (quite foolishly) and Path to Exiles my Nacatl, before trying to swing for another eight damage, but I Naya Charmed killing his Squire. He passed to Domain who drew into, once more at a very opportune time, a Kiss of the Amesha. He played it and once more had a good chance in the game.
They were both top-decking at this point in time. Bant into a land. Domain into a land.
Bant into a second Finest Hour. Domain needed something this draw, but got once more another land. Bant drew into an Akrasan Squire and played it. Domain drew a Ponder, and went into another Kiss of the Amesha. Once more perfectly timed. It drew into a Worldly Counsel which it played going into a Hag Hedge-Mage. Using its abundance of lands, it then played the Hag Hedge-Mage, getting the Maelstrom Pulse back.
Bant played a very dangerous Behemoth Sledge and equipped it to the Squire before swinging. Domain blocked but was overrun by a barrage of trample and lifelink. The tides had changed again, in a very menacing way.
Domain played its Maelstrom Pulse, killing both Finest Hours, then taps three for a Macta Rioters (now a 5/5). Bant plays a Quasali Pride-mage and swings for five with the Squire. Domain blocks with the Macta Rioters, and they both die. Bant equips the Sledge to the Pridemage and passes.
Domain top-decks….. another land and can do nothing. Bant plays a Tidings and draws four, then swings.
The game seems easily Bant’s game, but Domain manages to draw a Wall of Reverence, hoping to stall into what he thinks is the once card that can save him and his 20 or so lands. Martial Coup. But there’s only one in the deck, and he needed it quick smart.
Bant Bant Charms the Wall of Reverence and all is but lost for Domain. Bant then Tidings and swings with his Pridemage.
Domain looks at the top of his deck and remembers the days when he was young. When he played Yu-Gi-Oh! and believed in the heart of the cards. When he would extravagantly draw cards, yelling “Draw!” as he did so. And now, for the first time in years. He closed his eyes, believed in the heart of the cards and yelled, “Draw!”.
He closed his eyes, and tapped all of his mana, Nasif style. He put down the drawn card face-up on the table. And waited for his opponents reaction, that being:
“No way! NO BLOODY WAY!”
He opened his eyes and stared at the Martial Coup on the table and laughed. Now there were no more creatures on the table but the 17 1/1 soldier tokens on Domain’s side of the table. Although, the battle was not over yet.
Bant played two Rhox War Monks and an Akrasan Squire. Domain played a Ponder into a Maelstrom Pulse and Pulsed both Rhoxes. He then swung with all, losing a token, killing the squire and dealing 16 damage.
Bant played a Knight of New Alara and a Quasali Pridemage and passed. Domain played a Wall of Reverence and swung with all but one token, losing two tokens and dealing 13 damage.
Bant played an Ajani Goldmane and used its plus one ability to gain two life, before equipping the Behemoth Sledge to the Quasali and swinging for five. Domain blocks with Wall of Reverence and Bant passes
Domain plays a second Wall of Reverence and swings with all fourteen tokens, dealing thirteen damage. Bant top-decks amazingly a….. land and uses the Ajani +1 effect once more.
Domain plays an Exploding Borders, taking Bant to 10, the alpha strikes for a brilliant come back and win! This battle took approximately one hour, one of the longest one vs. one battles I’ve ever played and quite a memorable one. Unfortunately, the prolonged time this game took meant that we’d no more time to play-test against Esper, leaving Domain Control with a nice 2-0 record, though, keeping in account that Jund could play neither Bloodbraid Elf nor Bituminous Blast in its game.
Well, we now come to the end of this article. I really encourage you to test Domain out. Excluding Maelstrom Pulse (which can be replaced with Path to Exile if your budget demands, the deck costs barely anything and is a load of fun to play. More than that, it can win. Other cards to consider, that others have tested to great avail are both Obelisk of Alara and Lavalanche. Oh and I realised that Exiled from the Battlezone in an article called the Exiled Zone makes little sense. So I have changed my signing off line somewhat.
Waiting for Oblivion Ring to be destroyed,