When it comes to the progression of Magic: The Gathering I have reached the equivalent of a mid-life crisis. Some players have played since the inception on Magic back in 1993 and some players have only begun their journey planeswalking through the Multiverse within the last few years. The former remember when a deck could contain twenty Black Lotus, twenty Ancestral Recall and twenty Lightning Bolt. The latter know that on turn four you should be casting Collected Company and hopefully getting two creatures into play.

Me on the other hand? I think you should be using Astral Slide to exile your Eternal Witness while damage is on the stack. I believe in a world where Krosan Beast is one of the biggest creatures you will cast for four mana. I think when it comes to aggression, that UG Madness is the top dog. I also believe that when you want to play control, your graveyard should be full and this is what you’ll close a game with:

Truly the very thing that nightmares of made of

Teeth M.D.

Lands (22)
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Tropical Island
Underground Sea

Creatures (13)
Delver of Secrets

Spells (26)
Abrupt Decay
Circular Logic
Fact or Fiction
Force of Will
From Under the Floorboards
Thought Scour
Vedalken Shackles
Sideboard (15)
Engineered Plague
Maelstrom Pulse
Mindbreak Trap
Toxic Deluge
Vraska the Unseen

That’s right, I am bringing Dr. Teeth back. There is a face that only a mother could love. Get ready for the triumphant return of Psychatog and we’ll be running it out of a Sultai Control shell. There was the option to run with a Grixis Control shell, but I felt that having access to Abrupt Decay and Tarmogoyf was more than worthwhile to forgo the red in favor of green. Here we’ll dive into the card choices to figure out how we plan to revive this other old archetype I loved and cherished in Standards past.


Delver of Secrets is here as an early threat to push through some quick damage. We have all the requisite spells to transform the young wizard and get a fast start. Although we are a control deck, Delver is a decent threat that calls for an answer early or we can ride that to victory.

Tarmogoyf is one of the largest creatures that you will find at two mana and plays defense very well before we are ready to shift gears and go on the offensive, which it does very well.

Psychatog, being the primary win condition of the deck, loves to see the game go long. Very often in control decks we find our graveyard to be quite large. Psychatog doesn’t mind this at all since it can use this as a resource to grow large enough for a potential one-hit KO. It also makes combat math and damage based spot removal miserable for an opponent to figure out given both abilities.

Our last creature is more of a “fun of” value tool for combat. Wonder provides us with a good way to avoid blockers and therefore push damage. It also allows us to block any oncoming Insectile Aberration or Vendilion Clique coming our way. There is also the potential to surprise block a Creature with flying when they don’t expect you to have a 4/5 flying Tarmogoyf.

Our last option in creatures is From Under the Floorboards. We can easily use it later in a game to just get six power on board and gain some life. If we are able to discard it to a Psychatog then we are able to take advantage of the X cost which allows us to potentially get more than three zombies and gain more than three life. This can be relevant in aggressive matches as well as having a way to quickly close out a grindy match and eliminating the concern of spot removal or sacrifice effects.

Speaking of the things nightmares are made of!

SpellsCard Draw/Selection

Here we begin with Legacy staple Brainstorm. Very few cards match the  potential draw fixing that Brainstorm provides. Alongside a single fetchland you are able to get three cards and then shuffle two away for a fresh look at some new cards. Perhaps against Storm we will have a Darkblast in hand, which is dead in the match up. Brainstorm allows us to potentially draw into counter magic or a quicker clock to close the game while burying the dead card.

Thought Scour can help in filling our yard and replaces itself which is important. Filling our graveyard grows our Tarmogoyf, provides fuel for Psychatog, and is able to clear away dead cards after a Brainstorm. In the old style Psychatog decks we had cards like Careful Study and Deep Analysis, however we likely want to keep most of our cards at instant speed and be able to fill our yard at the same time, so we are going with Thought Scour as a replacement for these options.

Fact or Fiction is our get ahead card which gives our opponent a difficult choice to make out of our top five cards. They can give us a card that they don’t want us to have or they just gives us a lot of cards which is great as well since anything unnecessary can be discarded, then exiled to Psychatog.


We’re a BGx deck and I am sure you know that we have Abrupt Decay as a result. I talk a lot about Decay in my BGx decks and of course the ability to kill most of the creatures of Legacy without being countered is a huge upside. The ability to remove a Counterbalance from the board is another of the benefits of having access to Decay.

Darkblast is our early answer to many threats. The fact that it can dredge to come back and continue to answer smaller threats is great. Naturally being somewhat graveyard oriented the dredge three isn’t a downside. In a fun world should we need to cast it multiple times in a turn we can cast in our draw step, Dredge it back for our draw for turn and cast again. If we need to cast it a third time, now we can Thought Scour ourselves, replace the draw off that with dredge and Darkblast again. In case you aren’t counting and can’t keep up; that is three times cast, nine cards added to the graveyard and then potentially +4/+4 for our Psychatog out of nowhere. Remember when I mentioned how quickly combat math becomes difficult with a Psychatog in play?

The next removal spell to discuss may seem like an odd one. Here we have Recoil. It can answer any permanent in play, then forces a discard. If your opponent is on very few cards in hand, if any, then Recoil is a great form of permanent destruction. It is also a decent answer to planeswalkers which isn’t always easy for blue or black spells to answer once the planeswalker has hit the board.

Vedalken Shackles is our last piece of “removal” in the maindeck. I decided to put removal in quotations because rather than just removing it, we get to take it over and use it against our opponent. Great for some of the early threats in Legacy and later in the game we can even use it a bit more ridiculously to take over something like a Griselbrand.

Poor little guy is scared. We’ll take good care of you over here!


The sideboard is made up of a lot of cards to help against combo decks and swarm strategies. Both things that I imagine we would likely need some help against.

We also have the Vraska the Unseen for the grindy control mirrors. I have an affinity for this card as regular readers may have guessed if they read my earlier article on Modern BG Superfriends

A few sideboard slots are dedicated to protecting our threats and getting value against spot removal.

It would certainly take some testing to get a good idea of how the matches play out and what cards would be necessary.

Initial Thoughts

Not quite your average tempo or control deck. There is the possibility that we should be closer to the tempo plan with cards like Daze and Ponder. Then there is the chance that we should be closer to a true control plan similar to Shardless Sultai. Running cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Ancestral Vision, discard, Shardless Agent, etc. For old times sake I would love to fit some Compulsion, Deep Analysis and perhaps Cunning Wish into the deck but in Legacy these cards are slow and we generally won’t have the time to play that kind of game.

I will potentially run this at an event soon, still currently having fun with my Stax list that I wrote about last. Doing pretty well with it as well. I will likely begin Tweeting about my experiences with my brews when I get the chance to take them out for a spin so stay tuned!


Happy brewing to each and every one of you. If anyone has an idea for a brew that they would like to see, I will gladly take requests and challenges on twitter. 🙂

Aaron Gazzaniga manages a restaurant and in his off time has been an avid magic player/brewer since 2003. Having begun in Odyssey Standard Block and always favoring control and prison style decks, we come to this moment in time where Aaron finally gets to talk about and share his ideas. If you want to contact Aaron tweet @aarongazzaniga

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