Last week, our Discord users debated this topic: What is Goat Control's worst/hardest matchup? Assume that all players are competent and have fairly standard maindeck and sidedeck choices. For your convenience, we've given you a summary all of the impassioned arguments that our Discord users made below.
Aggro vs Goat Control
The first and most immediate but not necessarily the most accurate answers to be raised were aggro and Burn. But when we talk about “aggro,” it is very important to be specific about what kind of aggro we mean. ACP argues that “Goat Control vs aggro is always close,” and that this is really “just an argument against ‘Aggro beats Goat Control.’” The most popular aggressive deck at the moment is undoubtedly Anti-Meta Warriors, which sometimes eschews King Tiger Wanghu in favor of cards like Don Zaloog, Blade Knight and D.D. Assailant. These cards typically “play very ‘fairly’” and “Goat Control has plenty of tools to fight back.” Wow Wink summarizes that “Aggro beats mediocre/bad [Goat Control] hands and loses to good ones.”
Certain variants of Anti-Meta Warriors have distinct potential against Goat Control, particularly those that “play either ‘protect the Wanghu’ or ‘protect the Blade Knight.’” Such well-constructed decks can, in James400’s words, “win mid/late games as well since you have outs for your opponent’s threats, like Compulsory Evacuation Device for vs Thousand-Eyes-Restrict and Asura Priest/King Tiger Wanghu for Scapegoat.” Shane and Silver stress that aggro excels in such late-game scenarios because of superior topdecking potential.
Burn and PACMAN vs Goat Control
By a similar token, Burn decks can be built in many different ways and it may be difficult to construct a list that is truly oppressive against any and all variants of Goat Control. Some go as far as to say that an optimized version of Shane’s Drain Lockdown Burn deck from FLC3 is the best deck in the entire format.
Jazz posits PACMAN, a stall deck based around Des Lacooda and Swarm of Scarabs/Locusts, as one of Goat Control’s worst matchups. The most controversial point here seems to be whether or not Goat Control can overcome PACMAN with the proper Side Deck. ACP argues in the affirmative, Jazz in the negative, and most others seem to fall somewhere in between, with Brandis72 noting wishy-washily that “a lot depends on how good the PACMAN list is.” A lesser point of contention is the optimal side material for the Goat player. Shane argues that “Royal Decree is horrible vs PACMAN because they just destroy it” with Swarm of Locusts and so on. James400 and others cite tangential success with Legendary Jujitsu Master, who doesn’t seem to fit the matchup on paper but happens to be able to attack under Gravity Bind and Level Limit - Area B.
Reasoning Gate Combo vs Goat Control
Among others, ACP ranks Reasoning Gate Combo as one of the worst matchups for Goat Control in terms of both theory and results. He notes that, “Reasoning Gate Combo crushes Goat Control if they call level 4 on Reasoning every time,” but goes on to say perhaps more controversially that, “If there's some deck that ruins Goat Format because no one can figure out how to beat it, I think that deck is way more likely to be Reasoning Gate Combo than aggro.” The deck certainly has a lot going for it against Goat Control, with “a lot of avenues to win” and “only limited tools to fight back” on the other side.
ACP says that after sidedecking, the plan for the Goat Control player is usually to, “Just hope they run a lot of monsters into your Threatening Roar and hope you can do something afterwards.” But Goat Control certainly has more than a few silver linings to latch onto in the matchup. Maintaining that “you can be -5 against Reasoning Gate Combo and still be winning handily” with Goat Control, Jazz recalls winning “tons of games against Reasoning Gate Combo with a bunch of dead cards,” or even by “wasting cards to build stronger board presence or do more lifepoint damage.”
Chaos Control vs Goat Control
For virtually all of 2017, Chaos Control was widely believed to be a bad matchup for Goat Control, but expectations appear to have tempered over time across the board. Even ACP, the staunch advocate of Angel Chaos, admits that while “of the chaos variants, Angel Chaos does the best vs Goat Control,” the matchup is still largely “about even/who plays better.” The chaos matchups remains a point of contention, but in different ways: today’s players seem more concerned with whether or not Chaos Control wins the matchup with Goat Control at all.
The Verdict on Goat Control's Worst Matchup
While our users disagree on the specific deck that is most likely to beat Goat Control, there is a broad consensus that it has a hard time dealing with these three decks: Anti-Meta Warriors, Reasoning Gate Combo, and Burn. We recommend giving them a shot if you're having a tough time beating Goat Control.
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If you want to find out more about Goat Control, including its strengths and weaknesses, we recommend reading our deck guide to Goat Control by clicking here.