Building a control deck in Eternal is an intersting challenge as control decks needs to address a number of unique challenges. First of all, control decks generally have a higher curve than aggresive decks, which necessitates them playing more power and fewer action spells. Secondly, many of the cards in a more aggressive deck play the same role – units attack, removal spells clear the way, and so on. A control deck may need more situational spells to deal with the variety of situations that may come up, or there simply may not be redundant copies of a card availaible, making the deck less consistant. Finally, control decks generally need some kind of finisher card in order to close out the game once it has gained control. All these restrictions make control decks very complex to build, and they can often end up looking very different depending on how the deckbuilder approaches each of the individual problems. In this article, I’d like to discuss what tools each faction and multifaction combination offer control decks, starting however with factionless cards.
I stop first to discuss Factionless cards not because there are many solid factionless choices, but because it contains one of the most important control cards. Seek Power is an absolutely critical card in many 3+ faction decks, allowing them to find influence they need while also serving as a sort of “depleted power” that allows them to keep their actual power count low, reducing flooding. Aside from Seek Power, the multifaction Strangers see some play in Control decks, often in PSx decks to enable Champion of Cunning.
While not traditionally considered a control faction, Fire does have a few good cards to offer control decks. The omnipresent Torch is an effective early game removal spell for control decks, not just aggro. Other burn spells work just fine as control removal, from cheap spells like Piercing Shot to potential game enders like Obliterate and Flame Blast. Moving more into sideboard cards, Fire gives you access to attachment removal, from the incredibly efficient Ruin to the maindeckable Furnace Mage. While these are Fire’s main control contributions, it also gives you access to a recurring finisher in Worldpyre Phoenix and a few multipurpose Relic Weapons.
Time is another color that is often included to help sustain 3+ faction decks, as both Secret Pages and Amber Acolyte team up with Seek Power to give Time decks unparalleled access to basic sigils. Ephemeral Wisp makes use of the sigils to become a recurring blocker and protect control’s health. Scorpion Wasp offers control decks a unique removal spell that can slay aegis units or deflect an incoming relic weapon for a turn. Time is also the only faction other than Fire with access to attachment removal, in the form of Decay and Passage of Ages. Ancient Lore, while expensive, does give control decks access to card draw without dipping into the Primal faction. Finally, Time also has a number of efficient units that you can play if you’re looking for a more unit focused approach to control.
By far the largest draw to the Justice faction is Harsh Rule, the only unconditional multitarget removal spell in the game. Vanquish offers an additional efficient removal spell for control decks looking to remove large units. Aside from direct removal spells, Justice also offers removal in the form of weapons, namely Auric Runehammer and Sword of the Sky King. While the Runehammer is used almost exclusively for removal, the Sword’s sheer size allows it to also play the role of a finisher. Valkyrie Enforcer is a targeted Silence attached to an efficient flying body, which allows it to deal with units control finds problematic while also putting the opponent on a relevant clock. Inspire offers the otherwise drawless Justice faction a way to turbo through its deck while improving its units and weapons, while Protect functions as a psuedo negate that can also protect you and your units from curses. While not a common control card, Treasury Gate bears mention as a source of extra units when combined with Relic Weapons.
Primal is certainly a faction with a number of different control options. It is the source primary card selection, with straight card draw from Levitate, Push Onwards, and Wisdom of the Elders, long term card advantage from Staff of Stories, direct tutoring from Celestial Omen, and a multipurpose draw/removal/occational finisher in Channel the Tempest. In addition to Primal’s plethora of card draw options, it offers a number of different removal options. Permafrost is the cheapest, but vulnerable to silence and it doesn’t handle abilities. Lightning Storm offers control decks mass removal for far cheaper than Justice’s Harsh Rule. Lightning Strike is limited to attacking characters, but can hit relic weapons in addition to units. Polymorph is slow and somewhat expensive, but it transforms the targeted unit, turning off its abilities and ending any void recursion plans your opponents may have had. Eye of Winter requires power every turn, but is able to lock down almost any unit in play. Besides unit removal, Backlash prevents your opponent from freely casting spells, while Rain of Frogs can deal with problem cards before they are even cast. Finally, Primal offers two interesting finishers in Scourge of Frosthome and Hatchery Hunter. The Scourge is incredibly expensive but turns off your opponent from ever casting a spell again, while the Hunter can turn a hand of excess power and removal into cheap flying threats.
If Primal is the faction of card draw, Shadow is definitely the faction of removal.Suffocate, Annihilate, Vara’s Favor, Devouring Shadow, Execute and Deathstrike are all removal options for control decks, each with their own pros and cons. Plague is a source of mass removal and permanently shrinks all of your opponent’s units. While Shadow cannot direcly remove an attachement, they can attack spells and attachments in the opponent’s hand with Sabotage. If you’d rather lock your opponent’s whole hand down, Azindel’s Gift ensures that your opponent will never have a hand on your turn. Shadow also has a number of units with interesting abilities, including graveyard hoser Steward of the Past and lategame value machine Vara, Fate-Touched. Finally, Shadow is home to the ultimate one card finisher, as The Last Word can kill any opponent, regardless of their health.
Rakano is not considered a particularily controlling color pairing. However, it is home to some powerful relic weapons in Sword of Icaria and Starsteel Daisho as well as the empowering Rakano Artisan. Rise to the Challenge is a powerful enabler that finds and improves any weapon or unit in your deck, generally a finisher. And speaking of finishers, Rakano offers control a fast, difficult to kill finisher in Icaria, the Liberator, which is immune to most removal spells and turns the top unit or weapon of your deck into a second finisher if she herself is not enough to get the job done.
Combrei is often considered a “do everything” faction, as it contains efficient units with powerful abilities. Control is often interested in Desert Marshal as a way to silence units on the opponents turn or Combrei Healer as a roadblock against aggressive decks. To further frustrate aggressive decks, Stronghold’s Visage increases control’s effective heath by 2 per turn and offers some additional synergy with relic weapons. The Grand Parliment offers control a way to play multiple threats without investing more than a single card. Finally, Knight-Chancellor Siraf is a late game finisher that can be played as an early game blocker.
The Elysian faction is commonly played in control, but few actual Elysian cards are played. Storm Lynx serves as a solid blocker against extremely aggressive decks and as a way to pressure control. Amaran Camel offers control players a consistant source of life gain if they can keep it around, often combining with Crystalline Chalice to form a powerful engine. Call of the Ancients servers as a finisher for control, populating your deck with powerful, undercosted units. Curiox, the Collector is a large finisher that shuffles a 0 power draw spell into your deck with you draw him. Unexpected Arrival used to see widespread play when Scourge of Frosthome was the only 10 cost unit you could get, but its current inherrant randomness makes it an unreliable finisher.
Feln offers control a number of useful cards with unique effects. Harbinger’s Bite is cheap way to keep aggro from overwhelming you or pop aegis. Feln Bloodcaster is a fantastic early blocker with a powerful late game ultimate. Recurring Nightmare is a figurative Nightmare for some decks to deal with, quickly taking them down. Feeding Time combines unconditional removal with transformation, adding even more removal options to PS decks. Champion of Cunning is a finisher powerful enough to see play in aggro, midrange and control decks alike. Withering Witch combines with a mass damage spell like Lightning Storm or Plague to turn into a one sided Harsh Rule. Black Sky Harbinger also combines with Withering Witch and offers you a good life buffer while doing so. Snowcrush Animist is another source of mass removal and a good way to push units through. Finally, Dimensional Rift is basically the biggest finisher you can cast in this or any other faction.
The Stonescar faction offers control a number of unique effects. Statuary Maiden, like Champion of Cunning, offers a unique effect powerful enough to build whole decks around. Treachery attacks the opponent’s hand, discarding powerful units before they can be played. Black Iron Manacles serves as another card to punish slow decks for drawing excess cards and slowly grind them out. Finally, Smuggler’s Stash can draw up to four cards from the void, which is the best card advantage available in the game.
Control decks rarely need to limit themselves to only one or two factions, allowing all sorts of interesting combinations to come about. Many decks play cards not mentioned on any of these lists, cards that they’ve chosen to fit their specific gameplan or solve a particular problem. Overall, control decks are some of the most interesting decks to build in Eternal. As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and now have some idea of what kinds of options are out there for control!