Budget Pox Control: Initial Impressions

 Just for review, here is how the deck works.  The ultimate goal is to set up a lock by keeping the enchantment Contamination on the battlefield using token producers or recursive creatures.  You use hand disruption, land destruction, and removal to help set up and maintain the lock, and it works pretty well… at least against most decks.

The main problem I had with the initial decklist is its weakness to decks with black spells or decks that contain Aether Vial.  If they manage to land an Aether Vial, you will suffer for it, and hand disruption will only partially solve the problem.  Creature removal, though something the deck packs a significant amount of, probably will not be enough to stem the tide since they just keep coming.  Decks containing a good number of black spells can still function reasonably well, even under the lock.  Another strike against the build presented in the article: the lock is pretty useless against colorless spells, namely artifacts.

Nether Spirits are also proving to be harder to find than I could have imagined, and I am not happy about the price either.  I decided initially to replace them with Reassembling Skeleton and that worked reasonably well, despite consuming a significant portion of the mana I was producing every turn.  After experimenting with them, I decided I wanted a card that would not be as mana-intensive, so I snap-bought a playset of Nether Traitors, not thinking that the drawback would be all that severe.  With Nether Traitor, you need another recursive sacrifice outlet in order to make him useful.  That is a HUGE downside, increasing the number of cards you need to have online for the lock to be effective.

The price of Hymn to Tourach has also changed my build.  I opted for Distress for the time-being.  It doesn’t offer card advantage, but it does allow me a peek at the opponent’s hand, assuming it doesn’t get countered.  It may change again if I can find a more viable alternative.

Overall, I cannot complain about the deck’s performance, particularly since I paid almost nothing to build it.  Once the opponent figures out what Contamination does and how the lock works, they usually concede before the game goes any farther if the lock is effective against them.  I have tried and tried to make a decklist that can function well without the Contamination lock to play as a maindeck so I am not a dog in game 1 against Pox decks, Aether Vial, and decks relying on artifacts.  This has proven to be a very difficult task indeed.  Advice and criticism toward this end would be much appreciated.

I would put up a decklist, but there are a significant number of uncertainties at the moment, so stay tuned.  If you want something to start from for yourself, check out mtgsalvation.com.  Enjoy!

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