The spoilers have started in force, so we can go ahead and plan and perhaps brew some more.
Although UW Control in its current form will (gladly) be dead, that doesn’t really mean control in general will be dead (even though plenty of people will probably once again predict its death). It just has to find new ways function.
Gerry Thompson talked about this deck quite recently in his daily column on SCG.com. This deck is going to survive the rotation pretty much intact. Sure, mana base will be a bit worse, but otherwise you’re only losing [card]Duress[/card] and [card]Mutavault[/card]
3 Prognostic Sphinx
4 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
3 Jace, the Living Guildpact
1 Liliana Vess
1 Mana Confluence
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Watery Grave
3 Bile Blight
4 Hero’s Downfall
3 Drown in Sorrow
4 Dark Betrayal
3 Silence the Believers
You probably won’t need four [card]Dark Betrayal[/card]s in your sideboard after rotation, either. All in all, [card]Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver[/card] is pretty underrated right now. It will see much more play in the future.
This deck hasn’t gained anything new from the cards spoiled thusfar, but I don’t think it really needs anything either.
Conley Woods already tried out [card]Necromancer’s Stockpile[/card] at the latest Pro Tour. It didn’t really work out, but as usual, it was the most interesting deck in the tournament. Sadly, quite a few of the better cards are going to be going away with Return to Ravnica and M14. However, there’s light in the horizon. Well, not much, since we’re talking about black here, but some. Delve is the new mechanic for Sultai and one of the two creatures with Delve is already a zombie. We’ve also been told one of the race types for Sultai is zombies, so I’m guessing we’ll get more.
Now, the currently spoiled Delve-Zombie is a 3/5 with deathtouch for 7B. That’s probably too much to be viable in constructed. I don’t think you’d want to pay more than 3B for that creature in standard and you can’t really get four cards into your graveyard with the current tools fast enough to get him out early enough and even if you could, you can’t really compete with cards like [card]Polukranos, World Eater[/card]. However, if you can ditch that zombie to the Stockpile, you can get at least some benefit from it.
On the other hand, there aren’t that many good Zombies left from Theros and M15. [card]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/card] and [card]Spiteful Returned[/card] are the only two really viable ones. However, if there’s another engine we can use to get benefit from with the selection of creatures we have, many of the weaker ones will easily become viable. Of course, [card]Tymaret, the Murder King[/card] can be used as a card drawing engine (like Conley did), and maybe things like [card]Siren of the Silent Song[/card] or [card]Servant of Tymaret[/card] could work, if the format is slow enough. If there are good sacrifice outlets, maybe [card]Black Cat[/card] or [card]Returned Reveler[/card] could work as well.
Now, if the fetches are being played widely, one should find a way to play against them. How do you do that? [card]Ob Nixilis, Unshackled[/card]. The problem is that you need it on the battlefield quite quickly, which requires some planning, and the fastest way I could come up with, requires green ([card]Elvish Mystic[/card]) and red ([card]Generator Servant[/card]), which would mean Jund colors, which in turn requires pretty good mana which in turn requires fetches. Oh, wait, Ob doesn’t punish us from using them… And, turn one Mystic into turn two Servant can turn into turn three Ob Nixilis.
There’s plenty of cards to be spoiled yet, so perhaps there are even better, more consistent ways to do this. Remains to be seen.