Hey all, Corey Burkhart back with another weekly installment here. I’m writing this one week before Hour of Devastation is released online, thus, I’m going to be taking a look at another Eternal format deck I’ve been working on: U/W Control.
Azorius Control doesn’t occupy a large share of the metagame. It’s flown pretty well under the radar, but has been cropping up to interact with the large creature decks in the format. As I explained last week, Eldrazi Tron and Death’s Shadow are the two most popular decks, and the two I aim to defeat right now when preparing for a Modern tournament. U/W Control matches up well against both.
This starts with U/W Control’s removal suite. When talking about Eldrazi Tron and Death’s Shadow, you need to be able to interact effectively against their top tier threats. Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, Death’s Shadow, and Gurmag Angler are the creatures you need to be prepared to beat. This deck comes prepared with Path to Exile, as well as a full set of Supreme Verdicts to take on the fight. While this isn’t enough removal on its own, the uncounterable nature of the Supreme Verdict gets around Stubborn Denial from Death’s Shadow.
One thing about Eternal formats, Modern included, is that you cannot just focus your deck on beating the top decks. You still need to be prepared for all sorts of opposing starts. Supreme Verdict does a great job of cleaning up the linear creature openings, and a full suite of Cryptic Commands help you against the combo decks. Pair this with an ability to Spreading Seas and Tectonic Edge your opponent’s lands, and U/W Control actually performs fairly well against Tron and Scapeshift, which is not something I’m used to seeing from a blue control deck in any format.
My absolute favorite part of this deck, and why I piloted a version similar to this at the Team Grand Prix in San Antonio a few months ago, was the late game. Playing a Jace, Architect of Thought, 2 Gideon Jura, and an Elspeth, Sun’s Champion is like taking all your favorite pals from Standards past out for a spin. Jace matches up really well against the token decks—Bitterblossom is picking up in popularity, and Lingering Souls still sees play.
Gideon Jura matches up well against the single large-threat decks with his Assassinate ability, and he’s an exceptionally quick clock.
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion is my favorite card that I haven’t been able to cast as much as I would like. Elsepth cleans up the board of all the large creatures, provides you with an army of your own, and as we know from Standard, she ends the game quickly while being exceptionally tough to keep up with because of her blocking Soldiers.
The combined power of the blue and white superfriends make for a potent combination. Cheap interaction, mass removal, powerful card advantage sources, and powerful planeswalkers make this a deck I’ve really liked playing in Modern lately.
Sideboarding with this deck can be challenging. You have Snapcaster Mage in your main deck, who’s not as effective as he is in other decks because of the smaller amount of cheap interaction relative to other decks and strategies. But after sideboard, you’ll frequently board in Rest in Peace against graveyard-style decks like Storm, Dredge, and Death’s Shadow. This makes determining how many of your own graveyard value cards to leave in tough, and I’ve found that it varies based on the matchup.
Another challenge in sideboarding is that you have a full set of Spell Quellers. Spell Queller has been showing its face in Standard since its printing, but this card has really impressed me in Modern where there are not many spells that cost more than 4 mana. The oddity here is that Spell Queller plus Supreme Verdict is a really poor combination, and you’ll leave a couple of Supreme Verdicts in your deck in some matchups where you bring in Spell Quellers, so in those matchups you need to be particularly careful in planning when and what you choose to hide in exile.
I’ll see you later on this week with another video series, but until I do, here’s the deck list I’ll be recording with!