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Control options by spec


#1

Some folks find it fun to play “control” decks in other games that aim to keep the opponent from basically playing the game (and therefore keep them from having fun).

I don’t understand this desire at all, but I do think the the options in Codex that get close to this (limiting how the opponent plays the game) don’t go all the way to keeping the opponent from playing, and certainly (and remarkably) don’t make the games any less fun!

Side note: I think a lot of this is done by
a) having an asynchronous game with no counterspells (Codex was not originally this way, and I’m so happy it got there; counterspells are never fun for the one being countered) and
b) making a lot of control options buildings (often low-HP buildings), and therefore attackable with units/heroes. Awesome!

The following is meant to be a list of ways each spec can function as a “control” spec. I’m limiting my definition of “control” to mean “using means other than attacking/patrolling to directly limit the opponent’s ability to play what they want or use the cards they’ve played.”

NOTES:
I’m not including Wrecking Ball and similar building damage cards because it can’t disable a Tech building on its own, and therefore doesn’t directly undo an opponent’s play or prevent an opponent from playing what they want.
I’m also not including Tech III, because those should just win you the game, even if Lawbringer Gryphon and Octavian attempt to do so in a control-y style.

I am including direct removal, including direct damage even if the card in question is sometimes used as a combat trick (allowing something to be finished off) instead of direct removal.

But I’m not including direct damage and other abilities that involves exhausting or sacrificing units/heroes (effectively similar to attacking), because I think people don’t think of “haste” or “burn that means my unit can’t attack or patrol” when they think of “control.” I realize this is arbitrary.

First draft: Please update, add, comment, etc.!

Neutral

  • Granfalloon Flagbearer - Limits your opponent’s ability to target what he wants with abilities/spells.

Bashing

  • The Boot - Directly removes a unit
  • Final Smash - Directly removes up to three units by killing, bouncing, and stealing
  • Hired Stomper - Directly removes a units play with direct damage

Finesse

  • Discord - Directly removes (potentially) several units, as long as they have 1 HP each
  • Appel Stomp - Directly undoes the opponent’s patrolling choices through sidelining

Red

  • Bloodburn - Not very control-y, but can become direct removal of a 1-HP unit every turn with direct damage
  • Scorch - Directly removes a weak unit in the patrol zone, using direct damage
  • Pillage - Reduces the amount of gold the opponent has to work with on their next turn

Anarchy

  • Detonate - Reduces the amount of workers the opponent has to work with for the rest of the game or directly removes a building card
  • Maximum Anarchy - Directly removes all units and heroes; analagous to “Wrath of God” from MtG
  • Gunpoint Taxman - Potentially reduces the amount of gold the opponent has to work with on their next turn
  • Marauder - Reduces the amount of workers the opponent has to work with for the rest of the game

Blood

  • Kidnapping - Potentially undoes an opponent’s patrol choice and/or “removes” up to two of the opponent’s units/heroes by allowing favorable combat that does not involve your own units
  • Bloodlust - Directly removes up to two of the opponent’s units/heroes, as long as they each have 1 HP, using direct damage
  • Ogre Recruiter - Prevents the opponent from using one of their units by stealing it

Fire

  • Fire Dart - Directly removes a unit with direct damage
  • Ember Sparks - Directly removes a unit or hero in the patrol zone, or several weak patrollers, using direct damage
  • Flame Arrow - Directly removes a unit or hero with direct damage
  • Burning Volley - Directly removes a unit or hero, or destroys a building, or removes several weak units, using direct damage
  • Bamstamper Lizzo - Directly removes a unit with direct damage
  • Molting Firebird - Directly removes (potentially) several units/heroes, as long as they have 1 HP each, using direct damage
  • Firehouse - Directly removes (potentially) several weak units/heroes, using direct damage

Balance

  • Moment’s Peace - Prevents the opponent’s units from attacking you next turn (pre-emptive limited “Fog”)
  • Nature Reclaims - Directly removes an upgrade, ongoing spell, or building card
  • Tiny Basilisk - I’m breaking my own definition in including this here, because Deathtouch warps combat dramatically, often essentially preventing the opponent from attacking at all; because it kills without regard for HP, attacking with it often functions more like control removal than traditional attacks
  • Faerie Dragon - Can effectively remove a unit from the patrol zone by making it flying (cannot defend against ground units), and can remove a damaged unit with damage on it by replacing its HP with 1 HP
  • Potent Basilisk - Directly removes an upgrade or ongoing spell; Deathtouch is also somewhat “control-y” as explained above for Tiny Basilisk; untargetable limits opponent’s options for answering it

Feral

  • Calamandra Moss - Midband makes it much more expensive to use spells abilities against your units

Argagarg Garg

  • Polymorph: Squirrel - Effectively removes a unit for your turn and your opponent’s next turn by turning it into a very weak unit

Collected Codex Resources
CAPS 2017: Jadiel ([Feral]/Future/Truth) vs. FrozenStorm ([Demon]/Necro/Finesse)
#2

I think anything that lets you attack or damage something without getting hit back counts as “control.” Firebat can indefinitely hold of a string of weak units, without ever dying. And long range / flying / indestructible are all good ways to prevent the opponent from building up a board state. Maybe just mention those abilities as an overall, though, rather than listing all the individual cards?


#3

I think control must by definition fall outside of the normal means of interaction. I think that most control decks typically don’t interact in a way that would be obvious to a day 1 player who has just played their first or second game.

In this context, attacking with creatures for sure would be blatantly obvious and I don’t think you could label them control.

Being able to win without attacking, like using tap abilities to kill everything an opponent plays, in this context, would be fair game for a control level, because I doubt a new player would conceive of that sort of strategy after only 1 or 2 games.

Using a bunch of swift strikers IMHO would not count as control, even though both are just different ways to accomplish the same thing (killing without taking damage, in Eric’s terminology).


#4

Blue

  • Building Inspector - Makes building Tech Buildings, Add-ons, and building cards more expensive
  • Porkhand Magistrate - Again, I’m breaking my own rules: Porkhand exhausts to use its ability, but disabling lasts longer than Porkhand is exhausted; removes an opponent’s unit for your turn, the opponent’s next turn, and your next turn
  • Reputable Newsman - Prevents the opponent from playing any spells with the specified cost
  • Jail - Dramatically slows down the opponent’s ability to play units
  • Lawful Search - Allows you to see the opponent’s hand or discard, so that you can play and tech to directly address their plans
  • Arrest - Directly removes an opponent’s unit for your turn, the opponent’s next turn, and your next turn

Law

  • Injunction - Directly removes an opponent’s tech building and a whole range of their units for your turn, the opponent’s next turn, and your next turn; perhaps the most “control-y” spell in the game
  • Community Service - Prevents the opponent from playing one of the units in their discard pile or hand by stealing it
  • Judgment Day - Directly removes all units except Tech III, and can do it the turn you play Bigby
  • Tax Collector - Potentially reduces the amount of money the opponent will have to work with on their next turn
  • Guardian of the Gates - Forces the opponent to choose between attacking and having their unit available the following turn
  • Arresting Constable - Porkhand Magistrate, but you pay $1 upfront when playing it instead of every turn you use the ability, and affects Tech II units as well
  • Censorship Council - Prevents the opponent from playing more than 1 card from hand each turn; very control-y building

Peace

  • Boot Camp - Undoes an opponent’s patrol by sidelining a unit or hero
  • The Art of War - Again, breaking my rule, but this is similar to Deathtouch: the turn you play this, Oni can kill any one unit, hero, or building, probably without consequence; his readiness, in conjunction with the swift strike and ATK-boost, often means the opponent can’t attack you on their next turn

Truth

  • Free Speech - Prevents the opponent from using any spells or hero abilities on their next turn; one of the most “control-y” spells in the game
  • Dreamscape - By making all units Illusions, effectively prevents opponent from playing buffs on any of their own units
  • Mind Control - Removes an opponent’s unit by stealing it
  • Spectral Flagbearer - Limits opponent’s ability to target the units they want with spells and abilities
  • Eyes of the Chancellor - Undoes any invisibility or stealth effects the opponent has created, while making one of your own units untargetable by the opponent

Black

  • Thieving Imp - Reduces the number of cards in your opponent’s hand
  • Deteriorate - Directly removes a 1-HP unit
  • Sacrifice the Weak - Directly removes your and your opponents’ weakest units

Demonology

  • Vandy Anadrose - Maxband directly removes one of your units and one of your opponent’s, with a full round delay
  • Shadow Blade - Directly removes a patrolling unit hero with direct damage; reduces the number of cards in your opponent’s hand
  • Voidblocker - Makes attacking more unit-expensive
  • Banefire Golem - Directly removes any number of 1-HP units and heroes with direct damage, if it can survive for a turn (but doesn’t limit Golem’s ability to attack/patrol)

Disease

  • Orpal Gloor - Midband and maxband directly remove 1 to 3 1-HP units, or reduces the attacking power of larger units
  • Sickness - Directly removes 1 or 2 1-HP units/heroes, or reduces the attacking power of larger units/heroes
  • Spreading Plague - Directly removes any number of previously “marked” units/heroes
  • Carriorn Curse - Prevents the opponent from playing up to two spells/upgrades/buildings next turn and reduces their hand size
  • Death and Decay - Directly removes potentially all of the opponent’s units/heroes, and reduces the ATK of any that survive
  • Plague Spitter - Can undo an opponent’s patrol by turning a flying unit into a ground unit; very rarely functional, though
  • Gorgon - Deathtouch (see Tiny Basilisk)
  • Cursed Ghoul - Directly removes a 1-HP unit, or reduces ATK of a larger unit
  • Cursed Crow - Reduces the number of cards in your opponent’s hand
  • Abomination - Directly removes all 1-HP units, and reduces ATK of all larger units
  • Plague Lab - Directly removes all opposing 1-HP units, and reduces ATK of all larger opposing units; can potentially remove more as the game progresses

Necromancy

  • Nether Drain - Undoes two levels an opponent put into their hero, and prevents them from gaining levels if your hero dies this turn
  • Doom Grasp - Directly removes one of your units and one of your opponent’s units or heroes
  • Death Rites - Turns the death of each of your units into removal of your opponent’s units
  • Hooded Executioner - Directly removes each opponent’s weakest unit
  • Corpse Catapult - Again, breaking my own rules, but since you never really want to attack with this, it seems fair: this eventually just destroys an opponent’s tech building every turn
  • Wight - Again, breaking my own rules: the combination of unstoppable and deathtouch effectively makes this a hero removal spell with a one-turn delay an the option to patrol in the meantime

#5

You just did, which is good enough for me. I want this to be a dialogue rather than a perfect guide.

@EricF I’m also making the list posts into wikis, so you can modify as you like. (:


#6

White

  • Morningstar Flagbearer - Limits your opponent’s ability to target what they want with abilities/spells
  • Grappling Hook - Cheaply allows you to undo/adjust the way your opponent patrolled
  • Snapback - Removes (and replaces) an opposing hero for this turn, the opponent’s next turn, and your following turn; one of the most powerful starting control spells

Discipline

  • Grave Stormborne - Breaking my rules, but Grave’s Readiness means that he can still attack on the turn he makes use of his maxband, which directly removes a unit or hero
  • Martial Mastery - Looking at the opponent’s hand allows you to play or tech to directly address your opponent’s plans
  • Versatile Style - Directly removes an upgrade OR removes a flier for this turn, opponent’s turn, and your next turn OR negates a invisibility effects this turn
  • Focus Master - Can make it awkward, expensive, or unit-intensive to kill your units/heroes
  • Mind-Parry Monk - Prevents your opponent from targeting your units and heroes with spells/abilities; one of the most control-y units

Ninjutsu

  • Shuriken Hail - Directly removes (potentially) several 1-HP patrollers
  • Porcupine - Deathtouch (see Tiny Basilisk)
  • Fox’s Den School - Making almost all of your units invisible can dramatically limit the opponent’s ability to deal with them

Strength

  • Entangling Vines - Effectively permanently removes an opposing unit
  • Thunderclap - Undoes the opponent’s patrol by sidelining up to 3 cheap units
  • Earthquake - Directly destroys all of the opponent’s damaged buildings with direct damage
  • Jefferson DeGrey, Ghostly Diplomat - Directly removes all opposing token units
  • Morningstar Pass - Prevents the opponent from damaging your base, add-ons, tech buildings, and card buildings; expensive to deal with

Purple

  • Forgotten Fighter - Removes a weak opposing unit with bounce

Past

  • Prynn Pasternaak - Midband has potential to severely reduce/limit your opponent’s hand/what they can play for a turn; maxband offers direct temporary removal for 1 to 2 units, and can be used to sideline units
  • Vortoss Emblem - Making a unit a Flagbearer limits the opponent’s ability to target what they want with spells/abilities
  • Undo - Removes a unit, using bounce
  • Origin Story - Removes a hero, using bounce
  • Rewind - Removes all units except Tech III, using bounce, and can be played the turn you play Prynn
  • Stewardess of the Undone - Removes a starter unit, using bounce
  • Slow-Time Generator - Dramatically reduces the gold available to your opponent on their next turn, and potentially reduces the amount of gold available to both players going forward

Present

  • Ready or Not - Essentially removes all opponents’ exhausted units for their next turn and your next turn
  • Sentry - Potentially makes it awkward or expensive to damage your patrollers outside of combat
  • Chronofixer - Prevents opposing heroes from leveling
  • Tricycloid - Directly removes a unit or hero, or up to 3 weak units/heroes

Future

  • Unphase - Limits your opponent’s ability to target your most valuable unit/hero
  • Assimilate - Removes an upgrade, ongoing spell, or building card, by stealing it
  • Double Time - Effectively force your opponent to skip the turn after Double Time comes into play
  • Reaver - Directly removes 2 units/heroes with direct damage OR significantly reduces the amount of gold available to the opponent for all future turns; has a 3-turn delay
  • Xenostalker - Removes up to 4 1-HP ground-based patrollers when it attacks, using direct damage