There’s been an uptick in the success of U/W Control decks in Modern lately. With the ability to control the game and turn things around with planeswalkers, this has been an effective strategy for beating a diverse metagame. No longer are these control decks packed full of instants though, as only 20% of the deck has the spell type control tends to be most known for.
Instead, these decks are focused on Gideons. Gideon of the Trials is cheap to get into play and hard to deal with. Shutting off your opponent’s source of damage forces them to overcommit, which is exactly where you want to be with all of your sweepers. Gideon also lets you turn the corner by making a powerful attacker that’s hard for many decks to remove. The emblem can feel silly in Standard, as dealing with a Gideon when you’re already attacking is often trivial, but there are decks in Modern that are looking to combo off and can’t actually deal with the emblem at all!
Additional Gideons tend to go well with Gideon emblems, and I suspect the number played in Modern decks will only get higher with the change to planeswalker rules. Now that each planeswalker is legendary and you can have two different Gideons in play at the same time, you’re incentivized to diversify your portfolio. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is here to build an army and close out the game, but I’ve also seen plenty of lists with Gideon Jura to help control the board. When you couldn’t have Jura and Trials in play at the same time, it made it harder to use Gideons to lock your opponent out, but I suspect those numbers are going to go up and up!
Jace, Architect of Thought does work against aggro strategies by shrinking their team and against control strategies through card advantage. Left unchecked, Jace can ultimate as a win condition.
The only creatures in this deck are rarely used for their offensive prowess. Snapcaster Mage offers options and card advantage by flashing back key spells from your graveyard. Wall of Omens is additional card advantage rolled into protection for your planeswalkers. When you’re ready to win with damage, look to Gideons and Celestial Colonnades to get the job done.
Controlling the board and punishing your opponents for overextending into your Gideons is the name of the game. Uncounterable Supreme Verdict is the best sweeper. If those aren’t enough, you have some spot removal in a playset of Path to Exiles and a couple Detention Spheres.
Cryptic Command will utilize every mode. Tap down a team to buy yourself extra turns to find your sweepers. Countering a spell is always strong, and your second mode allows Cryptic Command to replace itself by drawing a card. While bouncing a permanent is relevant, you’ll target your own cards more often than not. Bouncing Snapcaster Mage to cast Cryptic again, or even resetting a planeswalker or Detention Sphere, are all common lines of play.
Spreading Seas does so much for such a small investment. For 2 mana, you’re getting a card that replaces itself, “kills” creaturelands, and can help turn off Valakut and Tron. When the opponent gets color screwed, that’s a nice bonus.
Some additional interaction in Negate and Mana Leak gives you some early answers and Gideon protection. Serum Visions is the most powerful way in Modern to guarantee smooth draws and to find the key spells you need in short order.
I expect the number of Gideons played in the format to continue to rise with these recent rule changes!