Cruel Ultimatum in Standard

Hello there. As a new writer for MTGOAcademy I would like to write about a Standard deck that I have taken a great deal of interest in by taking it into the 2-man Queues and writing about my conquest and defeats. As I mentioned before, today I am going to cover a deck that has seen some play in today’s Standard format but once used to be very popular and one of the top decks to play. The deck I am going to cover is Cruel Ultimatum, Cruel Control, or CC which ever name you know the deck by. The deck is quite simple it packs a ton of removal with certain creatures to help take board advantage, all while increasing your land count to land a devastating Cruel Ultimatum bringing you more momentum and hopefully sealing the deal to your victory. Without further ado I will share with you the decklist I came up with and hope that maybe you guys are willing to discuss what other cards can go into the deck and why they are better than the cards I chosen.

Cruel Control! Click the arrow to download the above deck in .txt format

As you can see the deck packs a total of fifteen removal cards eleven being spells and four creatures. Including a good amount of hand disruption with four Blightning, three Sedraxis Specter, and two Cruel Ultimatums totaling nine cards. Let us not forget Siege-Gang Commander doubles as a beater and direct damage menace while Creeping Tar Pit is sneaky enough to slip through enemy defenses for that closing damage. Now let us go into the 2-man queue and see how we did.

vs. Shelby GT (Jund): Won

Game 1 was quite simple I played a Turn 3 Jace Beleren and began drawing cards, while responding to his creature drops with Gatekeeper of Malakir and removal in the forms of Terminate and Lightning Bolt.

Game 2 he landed a early Sprouting Thrinax, but was met with a Lightning Bolt quickly, I tried messing up his mana base by casting Spreading Seas on his single Forest. He was expecting it and use his new found Grixis colors and landed a Sedraxis Specter. While taking small beats from his Saprolings I built up my mana base and used Suffer the Past to gain life while doing damage until I built up to nine lands that allowed me to play Cruel Ultimatum to seal the deal.

Sideboard -2 Staggershock -2 Consume the Meek -4 Gatekeeper of Malakir +4 Goblin Ruinblaster +2 Suffer the Past +2 Negate

vs. McLoving (Next Level Bant): Lost

Game 1 on his Turn 3 he landed a Borderland Ranger followed by a Turn 4 Elspeth, Knight-Errant against my Sedraxis Specter. Fortunately for me, I had some decent removal spells with Staggershock, [cardLightning Bolt[/card], and Terminate to remove a lot of his threats leaving him with a Soldier token and a Noble Hierarch. Knowing I was in trouble I quickly made a few land drops and landed a Cruel Ultimatum bringing me up to 18 again and him down to 13. With a filled hand on my side and him top decking he had no chance on catching up.

Game 2 he mulliganed down to six cards in hand and played Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch, which both met a Lightning Bolt. We both set up our mana base while he landed a Elspeth, Knight-Errant and a Gideon Jura and took complete board control.

Game 3 he started off fast with a Noble Hierarch into a Vengevine swinging for 5 off the bat. Eventually I killed it with a Vampire Hexmage and a Goblin Ruinblaster. He gained the upper hand by landing a Sphinx of Lost Truths and a Kor Skyfisher after I wiped board with Consume the Meek. Suffer the Past keep me alive for a while until he was down to 7 life and I was at 2 all he had was the Sphinx. I had the Ultimatum in hand with six lands, I topped a Blightning ruining my chances to win.

Sideboard -4 Gatekeeper of Malakir -4 Spreading Seas -2 Staggershock +2 Suffer the Past +4 Negate +4 Goblin Ruinblaster

vs. Roberto_Sanches (Red Deck Wins): Won

Game 1 I started off by wrecking his mana base with Spreading Seas on his Mountain and killing his creatures with a kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir and Lightning Bolts, until I could land two back-to-back Siege-GangCommanders. He killed both Commanders and a token, but couldn’t stop the rest of my goblin horde. Game 2 I mulliganed down to six and kept a hand with three land but no red mana source. He went Turn 1 Goblin Guide, Turn 2 Goblin Guide and Lightning Bolt, Turn 3 Plated Geopede, Turn 4 Manabarbs sealing the deal. Game 3 I’m sorry to announce that he was disconnected and timed out.

Sideboard -2 Consume the Meek +2 Suffer the Past -4 Gatekeeper of Malakir +4 Negate

vs. eckozor (Vengevine Jund): Lost

Game 1 he started off with a Nest Invader which was killed by Lightning Bolt, leaving a token behind. He played enough land to get a Siege Gang Commander, but due to removal he only gained three tokens, after sweeping board with Consume the Meek I ate two back-to-back Blightnings, forcing me to top deck as he played Bloodbraid Elf into a Putrid Leech, there was no coming back from that.

Game 2 started off his a Nest Invader followed by a kicked Goblin Ruinblaster leaving me with two lands. I tried to gain some board control by building mana base up but he played a Sprouting Thrinax and a Bloodbraid Elf revealing another Sprouting Thrinax by then it was to late for me to do anything.

Sideboard -4 Gatekeeper of Malakir -2 Staggershock +4 Goblin Ruinblaster +2 Suffer the Past

vs. TheWeekThatWas (Eldrazi Green): Lost

Game 1 he started off fast by gaining a plant token, Nest Invader, and two Lotus Cobras. I barely had a chance to remove both his Cobras before he played a Beastmaster Ascension giving it four counters. Sitting with three land and only a Lightning Bolt, the game was over quick. Game 2 starting off with a hand with no removal was a bad idea, since he played a Birds of Paradise then a Nest Invader followed by a Manabarbs. To make matters worse a Turn 4 Eldrazi Monument with 3 creatures out is not a very good thing for me, especially when he plays a Vengevine on his following turn.

Sideboard -3 Siege-Gang Commander +3 Vampire Hexmage

After reviewing my games a lot of them were very close, the only deciding factor was if I was going to draw my seventh land to play Cruel Ultimatum. I feel like a change in the sideboard would better this deck as following: 3 Suffer the Past, 3 Negate, 3 Goblin Ruinblaster, 3 Pithing Needle, 3 Consuming Vapors. The new Sideboard should help deal with recursion of Vengevine while gaining life and
causing damage. Pithing Needles I feel are extremely good since it shuts down Planewalkers and man lands. [cardConsuming Vapors[/card] is for the Aggro decks such as Eldrazi Green and Red Deck Wins to help keep them
in line a bit. Also debating on taking out the Staggershocks and adding an extra Cruel Ultimatum and another land.

Like I stated before, this deck used to be very popular before the last rotation due to the fact that it was a 5-Color Control deck packing Wrath of God which is a much better removal spell than Consume the Meek. Despite taking a heavy hit with the rotation, I still feel this deck has a lot of potential in today’s meta game and is more than capable of netting you some Tickets.

Well today I wrote about my conquests and my defeats, but have taken in a lot of information to help me tweak the deck a bit more and make it more competitive. With M11 is around the corner who know what potential beauties it will bring the deck. It has
been a honor to write for you guys and MTGOAcademy and hopefully I can write some more articles in the future for your reading pleasure.

Until next time good luck and have fun,

Michael Salgado

  1. Good article, shame you didn’t win more but they did seem close.

    Was a good insight into the deck and maybe with a few tweeks and some more luck hitting the 7 lands it could definately get some more wins.

  2. Last night I ran it again and broke some what even going 5-3. Thought Hemorrhage is needed in the sideboard to battle Venegevine better and Emrakul. Thought Hemorrhage naming Emrakul is GG for polymorph

  3. Nice article. Played a kid last night that ran a similar build. Though I think he should have spent more time learning how to play the deck. He made a lot of play mistakes. Though if he would have caught himself I would have been toast.

  4. The deck doesn’t forgive to many play mistakes which is the only drawback but once you get going with it, it can win games pretty easy

  5. I’d love if you explained your sideboard and why you bring in each card in each MU. Otherwise, great article, and welcome to the family!

  6. thanx glad to be joining up. Suffer the Past I would bring in to combat Vengevine and RDW to remove Hellsparks and Hell’s Thunders. Vampire Hexmage is for planewalkers or if they have alot of x-2 or x-1 creatures the first strike can take care of them quick. Also Consume the Meek is against creature heavy decks Eldrazi Green, NLB, WW.

  7. Thanks for the article. I like reading about different decks in standard and how they play out. This was a good read. I’ve played around with a pyromancer ascension version of cruel control a bit, and its a blast to play.
    RE: last comment, It also looks like you boarded in Hexmage against the Beastmaster ascension. Is that right?

  8. This is an interesting deck, and Standard is quite competitive; seems to be a very fast format. I would probably work on the mana curve a bit; removing the Sedraxis Specters and substituting either Vampire Nighthawks (same CMC), or Black Knights for CMC 2. The sooner you can play threats against your opponent, the quicker they will have to respond. Novice control players might waste time countering everything you play before Cruel Ultimatum. I would look for more synergy. A nice item in the CMC 3 portion of the curve would be Goblin Assaults, and in the CMC 1 range, you could put Quest for the Goblin Lord = great synergy with Siege Gang Commander.