Deck of the Day: U/B Control

I’m regulary asked “what’s the best way to beat Temur and other Energy decks?” That’s not an easy question to answer. The energy mechanic is overpowering, but if this is going to be public enemy #1 going forward, a true control strategy gives you a great position.

U/B Control boasted the best game against Temur Energy at the World Championships. With the biggest and best threats to go over the top of Energy, it could outgun them in the late game. The Scarab God and Torrential Gearhulk are the weapons of choice… except this list isn’t actually going to play any of the pricey Hour  of Devastation mythic rare! The Scarab God is nowhere to be seen here. Instead, you’re relying solely on Torrential Gearhulk to win the game. You’re going to load up on instants and utilize your graveyard to the fullest potential before your big flash creature takes down the game.

Search for Azcanta is cheap enough to be cast early, but is mainly a tool on turns 4-6 where you can get the enchantment into play and still leave up mana for interaction. The card filtering is nice, but not what you came for. You came to find Azcanta. The extra land is fantastic, and in a deck with all instants and flash creatures, leaving up mana to cash in on the card advantage aspect is easy.

The only other non-instant in this deck goes to Harsh Scrutiny. This gives you a cheap play that often forces the opponent to play off curve. Stopping their heavy hitter or their 2-drop is excellent for a single mana, and the scry you get is always valuable in a deck with this much card advantage.

Almost every card in this deck is capable of serving double-duty. Hieroglyphic Illumination is the best card draw spell as it offers you either card advantage or an early cycler, flipping your Search for Azcanta more easily. Your other card selection spell goes to Supreme Will. Supreme Will can counter a spell in a pinch early on and won’t be dead later as you can Impulse for a key spell (or land, as needed).

Censor is still the MVP for these decks. It can force your opponent to play off-curve, and if you can nab a key spell with a Censor that’s huge. That it requires only a single mana to cycle into a new card means it’s never a dead draw.


Your creature removal suite is top-notch. Not only do you have the Harsh Scrutinies, but there’s a full playset of both Fatal Push and Essence Scatters. This gives you cheap ways to deal with more expensive threats, and trading up on mana gives you tempo gains as the game progresses.

Essence Extraction is a little limited in what it can accomplish, but it does kill many creatures in Standard and provides some life gain. Vraska’s Contempt is more of a catchall answer to the problems in Standard while providing additional life, so it’s worth the extra mana investment even if you can’t play a ton of them.

Disallow gives U/B Control the hard counter it needs for the later stages of the game. The face that it’s an answer to planeswalker ultimates and other nightmare triggers is a huge bonus. Commit // Memory gives you another universal answer to threats, a tempo boost, and a Timetwister effect (especially combined with Gearhulk for instant speed draw 7s) that this deck uses fairly often.

U/B Control is going to be able to put up serious results in the land of energy decks. Cheap removal, interaction, and card advantage is the best way to combat the Temur and Sultai menaces!

U/B Control

MINDOFAKID, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League

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