Cascade Control by Ben Botts

I met Ben Botts (aka @Bottsthoughts) on Twitter. He reached out to me and said that he had a nice finish with the Cascade Control deck, so I extended him an invitation to write a report. After you’re done reading this, tell Ben what a great job he did ๐Ÿ™‚ –m

Hey guys my name is, Ben Botts. I’ve been into Magic since 2002. I was first introduced to the game by a close friend of mine, Ernest. He showed me the game. And another of his friends, Little Jon, showed me combo/control decks. Ever since then I have had a healthy addiction to those archetypes. And I do not plan on attending therapy.

Moving on to the present — I recently played in a standard tournament at my local card shop. I’ve followed the top deck builders/writers/theory crafters for quite some time, and I always enjoy taking an idea of theirs and putting it to physical application. With that said I caught up on Flores and his current projects in deck building. Contacted him via Twitter, and told him that I had recently top 4’ed with his deck. He then replied (Which was an AWESOME honor) asking me if I’d like to post a tournament report. Of course I naturally had to standstill, ponder my demands, mulldrifter over my stipulations …

Are you kidding me? I replied quicker than a virgin during his first time… with a girl.

Without further banter here is the deck I played along with a tournament report.


Cascade Control v 1.5

1 Obelisk of Alara

1 Enigma Sphinx
4 Enlisted Wurm
4 Bloodbraid Elf

4 Baneslayer Angel

4 Deny Reality *
4 Captured Sunlight

2 Primal Command

4 Esper Charm
4 Blightning

3 Reflecting Pool **
2 Exotic Orchard **
1 Graven Cairns
1 Sunken Ruins
1 Wooded Bastion
2 Island**
2 Plains
1 Forest
1 Swamp
4 Vivid Grove
4 Vivid Meadow
4 Vivid Crag
1 Vivid Marsh **

4 Ignite Disorder
4 Grixis Charm
3 Hallowed Burial
2 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Primal Command

* Deny Reality was the only maindeck change. Bituminous Blast was taken out in favor of non-specific permanent bounce. Since a majority of the players were running Kithkin I didn’t want to risk throwing a BBlast at a creature only to have a Forgetender give up it’s place on the board to prevent removal, or have a Harms Way litter my dome for 2 while saving their creature.

** The mana base was shifted slightly only because Deny Reality is a U/B spell whereas Bit Blast is a R/B spell. (I know that was mundane, but some people may see that and be like “Wow … good call”)

And also I could only find 3 of my Tempest Reflecting Pools … ๐Ÿ™

Date: September 12, 2009
Place: Cardz-N-Things of Fayetteville, NC
Owner: Al Archibeque
Type 2 Tournament
19 People present

Round 1: I think his name was Josh, he had a Mono-U Control deck

Game 1: I win the roll. I start off with a Vivid. He plays an Island. This is the pattern for the first 5 turns. He had not played any threats – so I assumed he was gripping a variety of Essence Scatter/Negate or Cryptic/Unsummon. I was not about to barrel out the gates against him since I wanted to force him to discard, or make a play mistake. The unfortunate design flaw of running Mono-U in this format is there are not any efficient beaters to couple w/ counters. Anyways this game was pretty much over when I cast Bloodbraid which flipped an Esper charm (at him). Next turn Deny Reality targeting my own Bloodbraid ~ flipped a Captured Sunlight ~ into a Blightning. He was rather disgruntled, and shrugged for a few more turns. He never played a single creature. And I never saw a Cryptic. 4 blightnings later and 2 red zone dances with my Bloodbraid & Enlisted Wurm turned sideways and it was off to game 2.

Game 2: He literally never made it past 3 lands. He swore up and down he had 24 in his deck. I saw 3 this game, and it was a no-brainer goldfishing affair. Bloodbraid~Esper. Deny Reality~Bloodbraid~Blightning. Enlisted~Baneslayer. He scooped.

1-0 Match (2-0 games)

Round 2: Piper was his last name, and Bant was his tune.

First off – this kid – awesome personality. He and I spent the first 7 minutes of the round shuffling, ribbing each other, and make jokes about horrible cards like Bloodbraid, Rafiq, and Broodmate Dragons and what not. Apparently his good nature won him the die roll.

Game 1: He comes out way faster than I could manage. A Timely Essence Scatter backed with a Negate on my Cascade shennanigans ended this game before I could spell WURBG with my trade binder.

Game 2: Different story. -4 Blightnings, +4 Grixis Charms. I was on the play. So on his turn 3 he successfully tapped out for an Eslpeth. EOT – Grixis Charmed that pretty lady back to his hand. On my turn 4 I played a BBE ~ Esper Charm, discard 2. Turn 5 was a beast turn for me. Deny Reality on his Eslpeth, once again ~ BBE ~ Grixis his tri-land back to his hand. He was playing catch-up after that for the rest of the game. I never over-extended beyond my enlisted worm and my 2 BBE that ended up carving his life total to a nice zero.

Game 3: Let me say that this game was my favorite. Piper was on the play. It was Land, Noble Hierarch, go. Mine consisted of the redundant power play of a Vivid, go. For time and constrant of a broken record my next 3 turns were as my first. And Piper’s were a crazy mess of turn 2: land, Jace, draw, go. Turn 3: Land, Jace Draw, Rafiq, swing with Hierarch (18 to his 20). On my turn 4 I dropped a BBE ~ Grixis … killed his Rafiq. Didn’t matter for him. He proceeded to drop a second Noble Hierarch along with another Rafiq. Turn 5: Instead of playing a Deny Reality (Which I thought would be a mistake) I cast a Captured Sunlight instead (putting me back to 22), and opted to draw off my Esper Charm. On his Turn 6: He had access to 8 mana … I was contemplating the worst … and he played Ajani. Rolled him down to 3 Making Rafiq and company pretty thick skinned. He played his Elspeth, pumped Rafiq an additional +3/+3 … making him a 7/7 before Exalted triggers. Exalted Triggers and he is now a 10/10 with a cute ability … Piper drops me to 2 – satisfied that I will be scooping upon my draw phase. I rip my Hallowed Burial. Do a silent fist pump. Chandler dancing ensues, and I drop the baby on to the field. He shrugs – says a few unpleasent things about my H.B. And I bought myself 1 turn. That was all I needed. Next turn for me resulted in a Baneslayer, or as I’ve come to call her Barn’slayer, from my trusty Enlisted Wurm. And I began the long climb back from 2. Piper extended his hand after another turn, and commented on the deck I was playing. I told him to thank Mike Flores for the deck build. And to thank WotC for the concept, and cards.

2-0 Match (4-1 games)

Round 3: Kithkin # eleventy billion … seriously … name need not be smeared.

I know by now you would be expecting another amazing round summary to follow this previous one. But sadly I went up against an empty chair across from me. Sat there for 5 minutes, and thought surely this guy was going to be showing up soon. It’s a casual tournament, and I’m not a rules shark. So I won’t be slamming down game losses unless an act of grievous misconduct took place. I won the die roll (Now this is not very often for me to win the die roll – I tend to favor the luck of Ravnica draft die rolls – where going 2nd meant game for me. No jokes)


game 2: -4 Blightning, -1 Enigma Sphinx, -1 Obelisk of Alara, +3 Firespout, +3 Ignite Disorder.

Now let me just state: Yes. Ignite Disorder. Come on – I played grixis Charm. Under-rated, and they smash face.

Game 3:
The game was never close. I managed to keep the “I hate Kithkin” hand in my opening grip. Turn 3 Firespout (He missed his Forge Tender drop). followed by a turn 4 BBE ~ Ignite Disorder. This proceeded to be the game plan. Primal’s kept me above the curve on Life to dmg per turn. After a few Enlisted Wurms brought in another BBE and a BSlayer … He said Game 3 should be better.

And it wasn’t. I simply rinsed and repeated game 2 amidst his complaints and frustrations with, “Who plays Ignite Disorder?! Who?!?” goodbye Sprectral Procession tokens.

3-0 Match (6-2 games)

Round 4: Good friend John (Kitchen # zzzz ….)

We ID since we both were 3-0. And neither of us wanted to spend 50 minutes of see-saw when we could be relaxing for the top 8. I myself enjoyed a great EDH game with another friend of mine, but that is another topic entirely.

Top 8:

I am paired up against another friend, Charles, who is playing … you guessed it: Kithkin.

I won the die roll (I took each of these as a sign that this coming weekend will not show me the same courtesy. As is my luck w/ die rolls mentioned beforehand)

As with the previous match-up against Kithkin the same story is told without typing it out. But I will note that he started both games 1&2 with slow openings; slow enough for me to take board position. After I resolve 2 BBE’s ~ Esper/Grixis it really wasn’t difficult to stay ahead of the curve both games.

He scooped Game 2 when; 4 straight turns; I threw Esper Charms at his hand repeatedly.

The Top 4 was less then stellar … All of us (Friends) chose to split (Preferring strong drink over cardboard. Would you disconcur?). A total of 60 packs amongst the four of us. I would say for being able to play for free I banked a nice dividend.

Oh … right … the deck list in question; well it is a Flores Original. The only thing I did that was eschewed from the original build were the Bitumanous Blasts – replaced w/ Deny Reality’s in the maindeck. As well as the Ignite Disorders and the Grixis Charms in the side.

The reasoning behind the Deny Reality, Ignite Disorder, and the Grixis Charm was simple. We have a huge Aggro market here at my shop. So to counteract the efficiency and dominance of said archetype I bring in Ignite Disorder simply because for 2 – or Cascaded it is capable of roasting a few weenies. Where as the Grixis Charm gives me a number of choices that don’t have to worry about a Burrenton Forge-Tender. Return Target permanent was amazing for me. As was the Target Creatures gets -4/-4. Only once, and only because it ended the game did I pick the third module on Grix Charm. I pumped both my BBE’s to 5/2’s.

Grixis Charm to me?

UBR – Instant … choose either Boomerang, Death Pulse, or Path of Anger’s Flame.

I would’ve said Sudden Death in place of Death Pulse, but unfortunately Charms don’t have split second. And I didn’t want to hear about this typo later on because I am sure this post is rife with them as is. ๐Ÿ™‚


The deck is simple, effective, and played straight through rough patches. Hopefully Zendikar will give us a few new things.

Remember when you cascade past a Baneslayer, and your opponent sighs with relief … just remind them that you have 3 more in the deck that are closer now. And watch them panic every time you cascade with an Enlisted Wurm.

Thank you,

Ben Botts
@Bottsthoughts on Twitter

facebook comments:


#1 TimWilloughby on 09.21.09 at 3:33 am

Your decklist doesn’t reference Firespout, but you appear to be casting it quite happily against Kithkin. Is it really in there? It seems like the worst kind of blank to cascade into to me, but perhaps I’m missing something.

#2 MTGBattlefield on 09.25.09 at 2:27 am

Cascade Control by Ben Botts…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#3 Five With Flores » My Weekend with King Hulk by Ben Botts on 05.09.10 at 7:13 pm

[…] Anyone who wants to check out Ben’s last contribution to Five should read Cascade Control by Ben Botts. […]

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