I’m certain that I’m not the only one excited to play with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. As a dyed-in-the-wool white-blue mage, I always get amped when a new white-blue planeswalker joins the ranks, but in recent times, there hasn’t really been one that cut the mustard.
Teferi is here to change that. To flourish in Constructed formats, planeswalkers generally need to immediately impact the board, have a built-in mechanism to protect themselves, and help to quickly draw you further and further ahead. Happily, it looks like Teferi will be able to do each and every one of those things, and other cards joining us in Dominaria represent the perfect support cast.
Approach of the Second Sun has been the preeminent creatureless control deck in Standard for some time, but has really fallen off the map with the rise of The Scarab God. Well, now there’s another powerful, value-packed 5 mana play to be made—Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is the perfect engine card for white-blue control!
White-Blue Teferi Control
At first blush, this deck looks like a cut-and-dried Approach list with some minor additions from Dominaria. This isn’t too far from the truth, but there’s a lot more bubbling away under the surface now that we have some shiny new toys to play with.
When resolving a Teferi, the rather obvious goal you’ll have in mind is to untap with him online and ready to rumble. Of course, tucking away a problematic permanent with his -3 ability is all well and good, but the single loyalty counter remaining leaves him a little fragile. What I’m really interested in is making the most of his +1.
The fact that Teferi replaces himself immediately is excellent, and will go a long way in ensuring this planeswalker sees Standard play. 5 loyalty is no joke, either, although he still may require some additional defenses, and for that reason it’s the second half of the ability that makes things really interesting.
This list places an emphasis on instant-speed, 2-mana plays. Why? To have meaningful things to do with the lands Teferi untaps! Essence Scatter, Negate, and even Censor threaten to neutralize any play your opponent can make to combat your newly-played planeswalker.
The most important support card for this line, however, is also a new card from Dominaria. Seal Away is an insanely strong removal spell that will help to define the texture of Standard, and having flash means that it’s perfectly positioned to protect Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.
While it is definitely conditional removal, the fact that you can cast Seal Away after an opponent has attacked but before the creatures actually connect is huge. Often white’s “destroy target tapped creature” effects are at sorcery-speed, meaning the creature has already hit you and done some damage. Not so with Seal Away—it’s a straight-up Terminate for aggressive creatures (assuming they don’t have vigilance).
The fact that Seal Away doesn’t hit utility creatures is unfortunate, as is the fact that clever opponents can and will play around it. Nevertheless, this card will do a ton of work in Standard in the coming years, and flashing this in to protect a Teferi is one of the strong plays you’ll see Seal Away be a part of. In short: Seal Away is the real deal, and it makes Teferi even better than he would have been otherwise.
The Return of Draw-Go Control
Most of the cards in this deck can be deployed at instant speed—even Settle the Wreckage gives you an instant-speed Wrath effect, something very rare in control decks across all formats. Teferi and Approach, the two haymakers in this list, are obvious exceptions, and both cards influence the way you should play games out.
Picking your moment to deploy a Teferi will be a key skill when playing decks like this. It may be worth waiting until turn 6, so as to keep up Disallow or Supreme Will, or even turn 7 (assuming you’re hitting land drops) so as to defend your planeswalker with Cast Out or Settle the Wreckage (which tidily gives you the alternative option to draw cards with Glimmer of Genius). Slamming and jamming Teferi is rarely going to be the best way forward.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is an engine card for a potent control deck that threatens to make waves in post-Dominaria Standard. I’m keen to once again start saying those three little words every Magic player wants to hear: “Island, your turn.”