Ramp – Green and Purple are a great base for long-range decks (Cyrodil, Telvanni, Ebonhart, Scout). 3 Thorn Histmage + 3 Odirniran Necromancers is the overall best option for ramping.
- Martin Septim – great. wins battles early game. ramps mid-game and is a win condition late-game.
- Tree Minder – viable if you can't use Histmage, otherwise suboptimal
- Dragon of Elderspine – viable in a deck with Dragon synergy, otherwise suboptimal
- Venomtongue – good with combos (i.e. Unstoppable Rage, Archer's Gambit, Squish the Wimpy, otherwise, it's slow and inconsistent.
- Hist Grove – good against control, bad against mid-gro, horrible against aggro
Low-cost creatures that only offer good stats will become obsolete mid-late game once the opponent uses creatures with higher stats. However, utility effects can still help you win battles against big creatures late game. Draw cards like Scout's Report and Thieves Guild Recruit also scale well.
Here are examples of low-cost cards with effects like drain, lethal, guard, ward and shackle that can stabilize, stall and maintain field presence against aggro decks.
- Yellow: Golden Initiate, Hive Defender, Mehrunes Dragon Seducer
- Blue: Shrieking Harpy, Wardcrafter, Daggerfall Mage, Icy Shambles
- Green: Fighter's Guild Recruit, Sanctuary Pet
- Purple: Ald Velothi Assassin, Barrow Stalker, Skinned Hound
- Multicolor: Blackhand Messenger
Removal – Actions with removal are good for control decks because they act immediately. If you summon a creature, you have to wait a turn before attacking, so the opponent can still attack your face with it next turn. Also, enemy creatures with cover are safe from attack for a turn. Or the enemy could silence (or use removal on your creature). Actions like Piercing Javelin, Edict of Azura, Channeled Storm, Lighting Bolt, Sorcerer's Negation, Cast Into Time can reach them where other cards can't.
Magicka Curve – It varies a lot based on context, but generally speaking: No 0 costs. Few, if any, 1 costs. Apart from that, control decks tend to have a relatively even distribution of card of all costs from 2 to 7+. Some control decks peak at the 2-3 area and have another peak at the 7+ area, with a gradual smile-like curve in between. Decks with Conscription may have a big spike at 2.
A common mistake I see in control lists is a lot of ramp but not enough late-game cards to justify it. How many 7+ cost cards should a long-range deck have? ~8-12 for 50 cards. ~12-18 for 75 cards.
A few examples of high-cost cards to consider:
- Red: Belligerent Giant, Unstoppable Rage, Vigilant Giant, Aspect of Hircine, Mulaamnir, Red Year
- Blue: Ancano, Laaneth, Mighty Conjuring, Sotha Sil
- Yellow: Dawn's Wrath, Mantikora, Miraak Dragonborn
- Green: Razum Dar, Debilitate, Gentleman Jim Stacey, Tazkad the Packmaster
- Purple: Mannimarco, Dark Seducer, Blood Magic Lord, Nahagliiv, Reanimate
- Neutral: Wild's Incarnate, Odahviing, Paarthurnax, Conscription
- Multicolor: Euraxia Tharn, Divayth's Experiments, Ayleid Guardian, A New Era
Playstyle – Long-range decks usually don't attack face early-mid game. Instead, you play to maintain field control and card advantage, until the opponent bleeds out of cards. Then, you fill out your board with creatures, and attack all at once when you're confident you can finish them off this or next turn.
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