Vault Tour Denver has brought Control the Weak to the forefront of the meta, but even if it didn’t, it is an extremely potent card when played right. I have touched on playing with Control the Weak in my Reviewing discard pile article. But what about playing against it?
A common strategy in Keyforge is switching between two houses while accumulating a third house for a big turn. Some houses or house compositions are more suited for big turns than others, but almost all decks have a house that is more about burst or big swings, that is the house for which you want to craft a hand. Most commonly a big Library Access Logos turn or a burst in Untamed.
Crafting your hand in this way is dangerous against Control the Weak, as you’re signaling to your opponent that you’re doing so by not picking a house over several turns. If you know your opponent has Control the Weak in their deck, you need to be careful with this.
Imagine you have a board of The Terror and Tocsin, and a hand of Red-Hot Armor, Full Moon, Niffle Ape, Nature’s Call, Francus and Hallowed Blaster.
Playing Untamed here is sub-optimal, you would rather draw another creature to get more value out of Full Moon with Nature’s call, another creature here is worth 2 Æmber.
Playing Sanctum is developing a board, but it’s just two cards, you much prefer to develop 3 cards if possible.
If you’re not up against Control the Weak, playing Dis is a strong play. You cycle a card in hopes of getting a better Sanctum or Untamed hand for the following turn, and you get to do some damage with Tocsin.
But if there is risk of Control the Weak, playing Dis would mean your opponent might kill your Tocsin into Control the Weak, resulting in a sad turn of reap for 1 and pass.
Another thing to consider, and this is also very relevant against Restringuntus, is to keep a varied board. This goes against what you usually want to do, which speaks to the power of these cards. You usually want to have a board heavily composed of one house so you can go back to it to reap or remove pesky enemy creatures.
The problem with this is that Restringuntus can prevent you from playing that board and stopping you from dealing with it. While Control the Weak can force you into a house where you have no board, and you’re forced to play things out of hand only, without using your board.
It is also important to assess the amount of damage Control the Weak is likely to do, in order to decide whether to play around it. It is never good to skip a turn because of it, but sometimes it is better they use their Control the Weak on a turn that does minimal damage than when they’re checked and prevent you from getting them off a key. A well placed Control the Weak can essentially be a key cheat.