Vs Turbo Depths

Vs Turbo Depths

(last updated 5/31/18)


Role:  Control

Best cards (main):   Flickerwisp, Wasteland, Karakas

Worst cards (main):  Stoneforge package, generic beaters

Best cards (side): Pithing Needle, Path to Exile

Revoker targets: Vampire Hexmage, Lotus Petal, Expedition Map

Best Generic Sanctum Prelate Number: 1

Sample Decklists

The Source Primer

Deck Strategy and Key Cards

Turbo Depths is known by a number of names: Hexdepths, Depths, GB Depths, Turbo Lands… Whatever you want to call it, it attempts to remove all the counters from Dark Depths as quickly as possible with cards like Vampire Hexmage and Thespian’s Stage. Turns out most decks just fold to Marit Lage, and if you can do that in the first couple turns of the game, it doesn’t really matter what your opponent is doing, now does it?

The deck most frequently wins by assembling Thespian’s Stage and Dark Depths.  Thespian’s Stage copies Dark Depths, and then the Legend rule kicks in, forcing you to sacrifice one of the two copies.  You then opt to keep the Thespian’s Stage, which conveniently has no ice counters.  This in turn means that you will sacrifice the Thespian’s Stage copy and create a Marit Lage token.  The 20/20 Avatar tends to end games very quickly, and if it doesn’t, try again! Vampire Hexmage can also rip the counters off Dark Depths easily.

The deck is packed full of tutors like Sylvan Scrying, Expedition Map, and Crop Rotation to find the combo pieces. Those tutors also mean it’s pretty easy to run a few silver bullet lands like Bojuka Bog, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, and Sejiri Steppe. It also usually plays some combination of Wasteland and Ghost Quarter to deal with opposing problematic lands.

This deck is very consistently going to make a Marit Lage quickly, even if you disrupt it a bit. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Vampire Hexmage, and Dark Depths results in a turn two Marit Lage. Yeah, it’s that easy sometimes. It also has a number of proactive defensive cards like Duress, Thoughtseize, and Inquisition of Kozilek. The most important defensive card is actually probably Pithing Needle. This almost always names Wasteland in the dark to protect against one of the easiest ways to disrupt this deck. Sylvan Safekeeper, Not of This World, and Stifle are other defensive options. Stifle is relatively uncommon, but sometimes people splash blue for Brainstorm. I hear that card is good.

The Matchup and Important Interactions

This is a matchup where a ton of weird interactions can happen. If you haven’t played this matchup before, sit down and jam it for an afternoon. The reps are really important. Here are some non-obvious ones that frequently come up: Vampire Hexmage can rip counters off your Vial in response to an activation to blank it. Thespian’s Stage can copy a basic land in response to your Wasteland to protect itself. Crop Rotation for a Sejiri Steppe can protect the token or force damage through blockers.

In general, your mana denial package is cripplingly good against Turbo Depths. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s hard for the Turbo Depths player to win a game where they do not draw a Pithing Needle. Rishadan Port denies mana and forces early Thespian’s Stage activations before they have backup. Wasteland ruins everything they love. Karakas is the ultimate safety net. While it’s easy to focus on attacking combo pieces, don’t forget that Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is insane as well. Wasting Urborg can often effectively deny two mana to your opponent and substantially set them back. Most turn 2 or 3 ways to produce Marit Lage involve Urborg, so keep that in mind.

Your opponent probably won’t play this card, but just in case… As far a rules interactions go, take a look at The Tabernacles at Pendrell Vale‘s oracle text: “All creatures have “At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy this creature unless you pay {1}.”  This means that remembering the Tabernacle trigger is your responsibility, not your opponent’s; if you do not, it is resolved with the default choice, and you will lose all your creatures.  Feel free to put a die on top of your library or to put a land directly under your creature to help you to remember to pay.

If you can get to 21 life, do so, but not at the cost of ignoring your opponent’s board. Having the luxury of surviving one Marit Lage hit is amazing and gives you a great deal of flexibility in taking more aggressive lines later on. On that note, it’s a good idea to keep track of how many turns it is going to take you to kill your opponent vs how many turns you think they have until they make the giant tentacle monster. Using a Swords to Plowshares on Marit Lage might feel bad, but it’s actually not that big of a deal. They expend two cards for your one, and you still probably have a good number of bears on the board. You can usually race them before they can produce a second one.

Finally, I’ll suggest that you play to *not lose*. Your deck is incredible well-suited to winning this fight. You are more likely to lose a game to your own mistakes than you are to a lack of tools. Play around whatever opposing lines you can, and err on the side of playing safe when you have the luxury. Feel free to just sit on that Flickerwisp for most of the game; it’s your best non-Karakas answer to Marit Lage.


Your mainboard is so favored against this deck that you probably don’t need to adjust too much. Path to Exile is an all star, as it disposes of Marit Lage without giving your opponent 20 life. I usually bring in Surgical Extraction as well. If you can successfully deal with the first wave of the combo, extracting Dark Depths leaves them pretty dead in the water.

Of particular note, Pithing Needle usually names Thespian’s Stage; however if your opponent copies a different land with that Stage prior to the Pithing Needle, you may want to name the card it copied, as Thespian’s Stage does indeed copy the name of that card as well as its abilities. That being said, if you also have a Flickerwisp, you can still name Thespian’s Stage with the Pithing Needle, and just blink the Thespian Stage that copied another land afterwards.

If your opponent didn’t have Pithing Needle for game one, they’re coming in now. Also expect some number of answers to permanents like Krosan Grip or Abrupt Decay. Surgical Extraction will likely come in as well to try to rip out some of the annoying cards like Wasteland and Karakas. Silver bullet lands like Maze of Ith and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale are less common, but not unprecedented.

Closing Thoughts

This matchup is favorable for D&T, perhaps 60:40. It’s not quite to the point where the D&T player can literally play their cards in any order and still win, but the D&T player can make a number of errors and still likely win. The Turbo Depths player, on the other hand, might play perfectly and still have no way to wiggle through the hate. That being said, don’t underestimate Turbo Depths. Play tight and keep closing off your opponent’s outs. If you give you opponent too much time and make too many mistakes, you may lose to a Crop Rotation or two out of the middle of nowhere. The “Slow Depths” variant that is floating around is actually harder to beat than the normal version. The random value cards like Dark Confidant and Bitterblossom are actually harder to beat by far than the core of that deck.

Data as of 5/31/18
Win rate with WW D&T: 5-5 (50%)
Win rate with RW D&T: 3-2 (60%)