For as long as there has been Magic, there has been U/W Cheons. U/W control took down Pro Tour 1 in the hands of Michael Loconto, and continues to be a force every year in Standard, Cube Drafts, and more. Now is no exception.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is another threat that’s tough to deal with. Backing him up with removal, sweepers, and counters makes for an especially potent threat.
Disallow has allowed control to play on a slightly different axis. While you once needed to make sure you had a counter for their turn-3 Liliana, you now have a bit more inevitability in those spots. Countering a planeswalker ultimate or Ulamog trying to exile some permanents is a game changer. You can now deal with the threats at your leisure like never before.
With that said, it’s still nice to just make sure Liliana and the like never hit the board in the first place. Negate is a great answer to planeswalkers and Vehicles while protecting your planeswalkers and Gearhulks in the late game.
This is a Gearhulk deck, so 4 copies of Glimmer of Genius is a no-brainer. Scry, instant speed, and card advantage all make sure you can stay ahead, or get back into the game when you’re behind. Note that without Aether Hub, Dynavolt Tower, or Harnessed Lightning, U/W has absolutely no use for the energy (at least in the main deck—there are Towers in the sideboard). There are also zero copies of Anticipate, so your Gearhulk isn’t as likely to cash in for a new card as it might be in other builds of control.
Instead of card filtering, this list is heavy on early interaction. That makes sense in a world of B/G Aggro and Mardu Vehicles. There’s a full playset of both Blessed Alliance and Immolating Glare, letting you punish early attackers hard. In fact, if your opponent knew your list, and you kept up 2 mana on turn 2, they should virtually never attack. This is even more true without Anticipate. Luckily for you, it’s going to be real tough for them to know your list, but this is relevant in Top 8s where deck lists are exchanged.
If they keep their creatures back for fear of open mana for too long, however, there are 3 Fumigates to make them pay. That’s a lot of answers to creatures.
But it doesn’t stop there—there are 3 more copies of Stasis Snare. If your opponents aren’t attacking into your open mana for fear of Glare or Blessed Alliance, Stasis Snare can still get them. It’s also an answer to Gideon or creaturelands that your Fumigates couldn’t handle.
Finally, you have Quarantine Field for anything that slips through the cracks. While you have answers to planeswalkers that turn into creatures like Gideon, or an ultimate, just the plus abilities on Ob Nixilis Reignited or Sorin, Grim Nemesis can be completely back-breaking if you don’t have a Negate or Disallow ready.
U/W Control is a bit light on ways to deal with Saheeli Rai, but you have a ton of answers to Mardu and G/B. This could be the perfect call for a known metagame going forward.
Paul Hinderman, Top 16 in a Standard Classic