Planeswalkers feel perfectly suited to Modern. They’ve always been just too powerful for the limits of Standard, and don’t even get me started on Limited! But for Modern, they’re very well balanced.

Nahiri, the Harbinger has changed the shape of Modern dramatically thanks to the presence of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. This combination means that a single Emrakul in your deck will deal a ton of damage, and your opponent’s board both literally and figuratively will be annihilated in just a few short turns. A planeswalker with 4 loyalty that ticks up by 2 each turn is an incredible nuisance to manage with combat damage.

Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and Gideon Jura highlight my point about planeswalkers in Modern. They’re both excellent cards, can bring you back from the brink of a loss, and can turn the corner and win the game from there. These cards were fairly oppressive in Standard, and are absolute bombs in even Powered Cube Drafts. In Modern, they see only a little bit of play, but they create compelling gameplay with the power level to turn a game around.

Winning with 5- and 6-mana planeswalkers means you’re going to need to interact. Modern isn’t even the promised turn-4 format anymore, and can see games end on turns 2 and 3. Slowing your opponent down across multiple fronts is going to be important.

Chalice of the Void is not incredible in every matchup, but there are plenty in which it shines. Turning off 1-mana spells against Delver, Elves, Burn, or Infect can be game-winning, especially on turn 1 before they can make a single play! Chalice is relatively versatile, but it’s mostly there to be played for 1. This means that RW Prison likely won’t play 1-mana spells of its own, which rules out Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile.

Instead, you have Anger of the Gods and Wrath of God. You’ll want to sweep the board before playing a planeswalker, and most decks rely on creature damage to win the game.

Removal spells with incidental life gain are always useful in control decks. Lightning Helix and Blessed Alliance will both get the job done. If you’re falling too far behind, especially after a sweeper when they’ve only been able to play 1 additional creature, then Timely Reinforcements should help get you right back in the game.

This deck is playing lots of basic Plains, but Blood Moon can stop your opponent in their tracks. There are many decks that simply can’t function under the Moon, which is ideal, but it can also hamstring the game plan of an opponent that has a few basics. If a deck that wanted to play several spells per turn is now limited to one spell, at most, during each turn cycle, you’ve bought yourself tons of time to take over.

Likewise, main-deck Leyline of Sanctity will singlehandedly beat some decks, and do a number on many others. Even if you have to hardcast it later in the game, it’ll disable a Valakut deck. It’s also an ace against Burn decks, versions of Ad Nauseam, and can stop all the discard spells from black decks. While many decks may have an answer, finding it will give you time to get set up, or play a Chalice to shut them down.

The innocuous monkey in Modern has begun to earn some banning discussion. Simian Spirit Guide may not look like much, and it is card disadvantage, but that burst of mana is incredibly strong in many Modern decks. Playing a Chalice of the Void or Blood Moon earlier than you should be able to can completely cripple an opponent’s strategy. They may play out too many creatures thinking you can’t sweep the board the next turn, but a Spirit Guide can completely change that. Spirit Guide, in addition to much of the fast mana in Modern, is really powerful.

If you like Planeswalkers and not attacking with any actual creatures that aren’t Emrakul, RW Control could certainly be the deck for you…as long as you don’t mind the dirty looks at FNM from opponents you cast turn 1 Chalice or turn 2 Blood Moon against!

RW Prison Control

NoOuts, MTGO Competitive League 5-0