Control War Pilot's Guide

Sifu walks you through GU's most meta-and-wallet-impacting deck of all time.

[8M] Sifu
Infinite Mana Professional Player, Seat of the Arena
January 03, 2023

If you visit r/GodsUnchained or hang out in the GU Discord channel, you might have noticed a good amount of mouth-breathing aggro players complaining about Magic. “Magic so OP, they have too much removal! How can I go face when they keep killing my creatures??“ .

Well, that’s only because the ultimate whale deck doesn't like to hang around the peasants in lower ranks. This deck, if you can afford it, will automatically bring you to Mythic with a 50+% win rate while pissing off your opponents to no end with your passive playstyle. I’m talking about control War. Currently, the best deck on ladder illustrated by the number of people getting top 10 this weekend ranked with it (highlighted played cWar).


Now, this deck is crazy expensive. We’re talking a minimum $2000 deck. More like $2500+ if you want an optimized list. So what to do if you don’t want to put that much money into NFTs during a global financial crisis with rampant inflation? First off, congratulations, you’re a smarter man than me, secondly, my wife would like to know if you’re single. Thirdly, you’re better off playing something else. This list cannot be played well on a budget.

So ask sugar mama/daddy, get a second job or sell a kidney, because you’re going to need some coin to put together this dream crusher of a list.

Key cards

This is my own slightly unorthodox list. I change it up all the time depending on the daily meta, so if you’re new to cWar, I recommend something like my teammate Hpain's list.


As with all control decks, you want a balance between early-game removals to survive and late-game value bombs.

Late game picks

Depending on the meta, you can get away with 2-4 big value drops not counting Demorgogans. Your options are:

At this moment the majority of the ladder is aggro and therefore you’ll probably want to pick just a few from this list. Let’s go over each one:

Jason, Medea’s Muse

The classic whale value card. Can go into any control deck and is very hit-or-miss. You can get crazy late-game or you can fill your deck with garbage that will make you miss on your important draws. Normally added when the ladder is more control-oriented and games tend to go to fatigue.

Avatar of War

As control War, you’re very vulnerable to getting burned down with face damage. Either with spells against Magic or the Slayer God Power against another War. Here the relic that comes with Avatar is a huge win condition. If your opponent is smart and just chipping away at your face, not letting you get value from your Demos, you can heal up and put a huge threat on the board. If you can swing twice with the relic, you’re very favored to win.

Strength in Numbers

It used to be popular pre-Mortal Judgement but is just not comparable to the power level of Thaeriel. Therefore it’s just a budget alternative at this point. The value can be good but is not consistent and you waste an entire turn without putting anything on the board.

Hector, Prince of Troy

Debatable if this should be considered a value bomb or just a big removal. He is great if you can find something to trade him into while having at least Protection and Leach in your void. The problem is setting it all up. You need to run a few suboptimal cards in your list to increase the reliability of Hector getting the right keywords. Even then, you can lowroll and he’ll just be a 6/6 with Blitz. His value increases in a tournament setting where you know your opponents have Demos available. Nothing better than trading Hector into a Demo or Witherfinger with protection and being left with a big thread.

Thaeriel, The Fallen

This dude lifts. When you’re done admiring his biceps, you’ll be further pleasantly surprised at how many games this card will win you. It has everything you need as cWar. Value, sustain, and burst. You’ll normally go for the Godblizt and +3/+3 cultist for max 15-face damage, but all the options can be good and give you answers to almost all matchups. Thaeriel is broadly considered to be the best value added to cWar.

Early/Mid game

Now that you got your late game in order, you’ll need to fill your deck with sustain and removals. War got the best Blitz creatures in the game which are mainly for removal but also double as a thread your opponent has to deal with if you manage to trade up. Furthermore, you’ll need a few weapons as well. The must-add removals/stalls are:

I don’t think there is any way you can get around those cards. They are all crazy strong and build the foundation for your list. Furthermore, the following list of cards is very attractive and should be strongly considered:

Now you should be close to a complete list and based on the meta, any of the following cards have their time and place:

And if you just want to have a bit more fun and troll people in auric gold, these choices are good meme options:

Overall play style

The main thing you’ll need to learn with control War, is when to sit back and spam Slayer while clearing the board and when to push for tempo with board control. This is true for all control decks, but even more so with War since your Slayer God Power is a ticking clock for your opponent (unless they are control Light).

Generally speaking, against aggro, you’ll pick Valkas Presence as GP and just remove stuff until you get to your late-game drops. Easy. Against other control decks is where you’ll need experience to master this deck. You’ll normally go for Slayer GP and just drag the game out while slowly chopping them down.

The counter

The one thing that’ll ruin your day as control War, is combo decks. You have no valid counterplay and you’re extremely unfavoured vs any OTK-list. Your best chance to squeeze out a 10-20% win rate is to slam their face with as much stuff as possible, as fast as possible, and just pray that they draw horribly. Luckily, the ladder consists of 80% agro players that spend their pip turn 1 even if they don’t have something to play.

Let’s go over some of the common matchups:

Hidden Rush Deception

Win rate: 30-55%You generally don’t want to face HRD. If your opponent is good, they’ll not overcommit with their hidden creatures until you have used several AoE’s. The reason why you’ll have a rough time is that the vast majority of your removal won’t do shit against hidden creatures. All your Blitz creatures will be close to useless and you’ll have to make it to 7 mana while praying that you have Demos ready. If you do, you’ll win.

Your list will greatly affect how well this MU goes. Pyramid Wardens, Auric Rush, Devouring Blade, Grand Hall, and especially Valkas Discovery will give you better fighting chances. You want to mulligan for Magic Missile Launcher, Savage Strike, and Carnage Strike.

Control Light

Win rate: 40%You’ll generally be slightly unfavoured vs an equally skilled player. I like Valka's Presence as GP but a few other top players do disagree with that choice.

This is one of the few matchups where you want to put consistent pressure on. You always want to threaten a bunch of face damage. If you give control Light too much breathing room, they will get too much value and avoid getting anywhere near lethal range. Your best card is Sole Survivor since it makes Order a lot less effective so make it count.

Also having weapon removal ready for their Lysander’s Spear is critical. If you cannot remove it within a few turns, you’ll very likely lose.

You’ll probably also need a decent Thaeriel with a good amount of burst to finish the job.

Constant pressure without overcommitting is the key. You need tempo the entire match. A very skill-dependent matchup that can easily go in your favor if the control Light player is not excellent.

Control Deception

Win Rate: 75%

Pick Slayer GP and avoid getting Demos or Thaeriel in your starting hand. Doh you might think, but don’t be greedy with the mulligan. Accept a mediocre starting hand instead of taking risks. Now, don’t draw if you can avoid it and just chip away at their face while clearing everything. The only chance they have is stealing your Demos/Thaeriel/Avatar all while not losing too much tempo. So your game plan differs depending on if you’re holding those key cards or not. If you don’t have them in hand, you chill. If you do have them, you put pressure on so that playing Cutthroat Insight results in a lot of face damage. Needless to say, if you do draw them (and can play them) you slam them down even if their full value is not realized. For example, I often play Thaeriel with a full hand, just getting 2x Cultist and burning my next card, just to keep pressure and avoid my opponent stealing it. If you’re playing against somebody without their own Demos, your win rate will be closer to 90% as they simply don’t have enough healing.

Control Magic

Win Rate: 80%

Same idea as control Light, but now they don’t have any healing and a lot less value. They will try to get to 9-mana while getting you low enough for their Flame of the Second Shatterings to finish you off, and all you have to do is put slight pressure on them and have your End to War ready for any potential big boys. You’ll normally win before they can get to 9-mana. The only thing you have to worry about is playing around Serris.

Card Draw Magic

Win Rate: 35%

This is rough. They have multiple ways to win and you have to pray that you’ll be ready with the right counters. You normally lose if they can get Oni with protection early game, they get Palla’s Wand equipped and you don’t draw your relic removal, you miss on your Magic Missile Launchers early game or your draw is subpar. Even just facing 2x Pyramid Wardens turn 1 and 2 (or mix in a few Scryers) will normally do too much face damage before you’ll manage to clear them off.

Your mulligan will be depending on your list. You can either try and out-tempo them if you have PW and Master Tactician in your list or you can try and outlast their burst.

If you have to try and outlast them (not preferred) you want to mulligan for your relic hate, MML, and twin strike Blitz creatures to deal with Oni better. If you play Grand Hall, your chances improve considerably. I play a single Vow of Champion to make this matchup better but it’s still unfavoured.

Try and get a Martyr of Whiteplane down before your Demo turn. They won’t let you get value of Demo if they are smart, but hopefully, you’ll force them to spend burn on them and thereby make you able to survive until your Avatar of War turn.


As always you’ll need a bunch of reps with a deck to be good at it but control War is not complicated so you should pick it up fairly quickly. Some might be angry at the “Pay 2 Win” part of control War, but it’s mostly because of the meta being so dominated by agro that it does so well. If combo ever becomes a popular choice on ladder you’ll quickly get control war back to around 50-60% win rate. But for now, have fun stomping your way to high Mythic. Good luck.

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