Today I am going to discuss the philosophy behind the Second Sun Control Challenger deck, and general game play and sideboarding advice. I’ll also suggest a priority list for upgrades that will maximize the deck with the fewest number of cards so that it can be done incrementally.

If you are interested in the Hazoret Red or the Counter Surge Challenger decks, I wrote similar articles for each of those over the last couple of weeks. If you are looking for the Vehicle Rush deck, tune in next time where I’ll be closing out the Challenger Deck series with the incremental improvements for that deck.

The Second Sun Control deck is designed to stall the game long enough for you to cast two copies of Approach of the Second Sun. It does this by controlling the board with spot removal like Cast Out and board sweeping effects like Settle the Wreckage. It also plays counterspells to fight decks that rely on noncreature spells, and lots of card advantage like Glimmer of Genius and Search for Azcanta.

As a control deck, you’re usually weak to decks that are very fast, like the Hazoret Red Challenger Deck, and stronger against slow, creature-based decks like Counter Surge. Since you are a combo deck as well, you expect to win most of your game 1s, but then have to fight more in games 2 and 3 when your opponent can switch out their removal spells for cards like Duress or Negate. Of all of the Challenger Decks, the Second Sun Control deck is the closest to the desired final product for this archetype, but the ideal version of this deck has a lower ceiling than the other Challenger Decks. If you see yourself making the upgrades slowly or not at all, then this is a good choice for you.

You want to maximize your card advantage without sacrificing board presence, and Settle the Wreckage is one of the best cards in Standard to help you do that. Unlike Fumigate, Settle the Wreckage can be cast on your opponent’s turn and protects you from haste threats or creatures that appear at end of turn, like Scrapheap Scrounger or The Scarab God tokens. For these reasons, I would want to upgrade that first. The downside of playing multiple copies of Settle the Wreckage is limited because if you draw and cast a second copy, then it is likely that your opponent will not have that many lands anymore.

Renewed Faith is a low impact card and gaining a little bit of life will rarely matter. I would remove it for Settle the Wreckage. You are not looking to win the game through creatures, and Kefnet the Mindful is slow and unlikely to be able to block when you need it to, so I would cut it from the list and focus on your primary win condition: Approach of the Second Sun. Since you are slowing down the game as much as possible so you can combo, Supreme Will is going to be a less effective counterspell (especially after your Settle the Wreckages give your opponents more lands), so I would also shave one of those for the 4th Settle the Wreckage.

-1 Renewed Faith
-1 Kefnet the Mindful
-1 Supreme Will

+3 Settle the Wreckage

Aether Meltdown looks like a good card on its surface, but it rarely completely answers the cards we want to answer. Cards like Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Bomat Courier, Llanowar Elves, and other small threats do not need to have power to cause headaches, so I would replace two Aether Meltdowns with Seal Away, a card that cleanly answers small threats and larger creatures alike.

-2 Aether Meltdown

+2 Seal Away

Now that you have settled the early game, you want to tighten up the late game. Conditional counterspells like Censor and Supreme Will lose a lot of value later in the game, so you want something that can counter anything instead. Disallow is a versatile option here because it can cleanly answer any type of nonland permanent. It can also buy you a crucial turn by countering activated abilities such as crewing a Vehicle, destroying a flipped Search for Azcanta, preventing a God-Pharaoh’s Gift trigger from resolving, and plenty of other options. I would swap the remaining Aether Meltdowns for Disallow.

-2 Aether Meltdown

+2 Disallow

Search for Azcanta allows you to have a form of card selection, ramp to the 7-mana requirement for your win condition, and gain an immense advantage in the late game. It fills a similar role to Supreme Will in card selection, but is repeatable every turn. It is also one of the few pieces of the deck that sees play in other formats such as Modern and Legacy and may give you an entry point into those formats if you ever want it.

-2 Supreme Will

+2 Search for Azcanta

The next upgrades I would make are to my mana base. I know it isn’t exciting, but this will improve the consistency of your draws and allow you to cast your spells on time. You have added a few more white spells in Settle the Wreckage and Baffling End that are important to cast on time, so you want to increase your white sources, if possible. I would do that by adding four Glacial Fortress over Islands. Then I would replace another Island and a Plains with Scavenger Grounds due to the popularity of God-Pharaoh’s Gift and The Scarab God in Standard.

-5 Island
-1 Plains

+4 Glacial Fortress
+2 Scavenger Grounds

Sideboarding

I would remove the Spell Pierce from the deck, because the way the deck is designed your games will be going long and your opponent will be able to cast their spells through Spell Pierce. Instead, let’s add two Fragmentize to help you in matchups against your opponents playing a lot of Vehicles (like in Vehicle Rush), which are difficult for your deck to answer profitably. If your opponent is basing their strategy around enchantments like Sagas or Anointed Procession, then these will help you out too.

Out of the Sideboard

In the Sideboard

Again, Kefnet seems out of place and ineffective in most matchups. I would not want it in almost any matchup since it is low power at what it does. Instead, I would add a Nezahal, Primal Tide for the mirror match because your opponent cannot counter it and it gives you late-game inevitability. This plan is especially punishing in matchups where your opponent takes out their removal spells against your deck.

Out of the Sideboard

In the Sideboard

Renewed Faith in the sideboard is a bit puzzling and I do not know when I would want that card over other options available. I would play Authority of the Consuls because it gains life and mitigates haste threats to stall to the late game.

Out of the Sideboard

In the Sideboard

Glyph Keepers are a resilient threat that help you win when your opponent has resolved a Lost Legacy against you and stripped your Approach of the Second Sun, but that card is less common these days and you want a big body that can block effectively and give you value. The best option for you here would be Torrential Gearhulk, which will allow you to rebuy Settle the Wreckage or Farm // Market or your card drawing spells. Once I have made all of the other changes above, I would upgrade into Gearhulks.

Out of the Sideboard

In the Sideboard

In the end, this is my final product:

Second Sun Control

If you want to take down FNM or dominate your kitchen table, what changes would you make to the Second Sun Control Challenger Deck and in what order? What cards from Dominaria do you think will be good upgrades? Let’s discuss in the comments!