A Guide to W/U Control (Part 1)

by Martin Dang on 21 June 2018, Thursday

Martin Dang

 

A Guide to W/U Control (Part 1)

Hey everyone! It's been a while since my last article. Since then, I've began studying again and I also became a dad on 16th April 2018! Hence, my main focus has been on my family and my schoolwork. Taking a step away from Magic has made me appreciate the game more and it's no longer about the relentless chase for Pro Points and results. Fatherhood has given me a new perspective and I love still love Magic very much.

Today, I'm going to talk about the W/U control deck with Approach of the Second Sun which I played at Pro Tour Dominaria, as well as the modifications I made for Grand Prix Copenhagen.

 

Approach of the Second Sun


For Pro Tour Dominaria, I tested with the usual crew of Team Genesis and Team Revelation. Since the Pro Tour was further away from the set release, the metagame would be more defined, making us feel that a control deck might be the way to go. We expected a lot of B/R Midrange, Mono-Red, W/U Control to be the major decks, with B/G variants as the distant number four. 

In our testing, we discovered and confirmed the "Rock-Paper-Scissors" of the format. Mono-Red beats B/R, B/R beats W/U, while W/U beats Mono-Red. The matchups were tight and none of the decks were particularly dominant over the others (no more than 55%), so selecting any of these three decks was a good choice. Half of our team ended up playing B/R, while the other half played W/U.

I chose W/U because it seemed decent against the metagame and also very good against a wide range of random decks which may show up at the Pro Tour. I expected the field to pay some respect to the Red decks, so they would be forced to run some removal spells in the main deck. This is good for the W/U players because their removal spells are dead against us in Game 1. With that in mind, we starting tuning the decks so that they could function well in the three-deck metagame.

Firstly, we added Approach of the Second Sun which is good in the mirror because it meant that there more spells which demand countermagic. The W/U deck doesn't have that many counterspells to begin with so having two additional "threats" in the mirror was crucial.

 



How To Play The Deck

This is a classic control deck. You play no creatures and blank all your opponents' removal spells. You play lots of removal spell to keep yourself alive and counter the most powerful spells your opponents have. Then, find some time to gain some card advantage via Glimmer of GeniusSearch for Azcanta, and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. After that, you'll be able to stabilize and find your win conditions to win the game.

 

Glimmer of Genius Search for Azcanta


When playing a control deck, remember to have patience. You don't have to kill or counter everything as quickly as you can. Use your resources smartly, especially in the beginning, and trade your cards one for one. You will often play more lands than your opponent so you're actually having "card disadvantage" in the early stage of the game.

However, cards like Settle the WreckageFumigate, and Glimmer of Genius, can recover some of that card ecomony once you survive to turn four, so don't just point a spot removal on the first thing you see. Use your life total as a resource because you can afford to take some damage in the early game. As long as you establish firm control, it does not matter even if you're down to just 1 life!

 

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

 

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is the key card of the deck. The card is so powerful and the game plan is to deal with your opponent's board to clear the way for Teferi to land. After drawing a card and untapping two lands, you should be should to counter or remove the next threat.

This deck is very good in Game 1 but plenty of good sideboard cards come in against us in Game 2 or 3. Hence, we worked on the sideboard plan a lot, trying to get the best fifteen cards we could agree upon. In the end, our 75 ended up like this:


 

The deck performed alright and the metagame was much "redder" than we anticipated. We came prepared but if we had known the metagame was that lopsided we would have had more cards against the Red strategies instead of focusing on the mirror. 

I went 5-5 in the Constructed portion of the Pro Tour:

  • 1 - 1 vs. Esper
  • 3 - 1 vs. Mono-Red
  • 0 - 2 vs. Green Stompy splash Blue
  • 1 - 1 vs. B/R

The Green Stompy deck splashing Blue was a very difficult matchup for control but I don't think that the deck is very good against Red. I don't expect the deck to be popular in Standard. I didn't do great in Standard but I went 5-1 in the Limited portion. That puts me in second place in the race for Draft Master. Anyway, here is the we had for the Pro Tour!

Against W/U Control

-2 Fumigate
-3 Settle the Wreckage
-4 Seal Away
-2 Approach of the Second Sun
-1 Essence Scatter

+3 Torrential Gearhulk
+2 Walking Ballista
+3 History of Benalia
+2 Negate
+1 Invoke the Divine
+1 Glimmer of Genius

Against B/R Aggro

On the draw:

-2 Approach of the Second Sun
-2 Essence Scatter
-2 Fumigate
-1 Field of Ruin
-4 Disallow

+3 Torrential Gearhulk
+1 Lyra Dawnbringer
+1 Settle the Wreckage
+1 Sorcerous Spyglass
+2 Walking Ballista
+1 Glimmer of Genius
+2 Negate

On the play (As above, except with these changes)

+1 Field of Ruin
+1 Disallow
-2 Walking Ballista

Against B/G Constrictor

-2 Syncopate
-1 Negate
-2 Blink of an Eye
-1 Seal Away
-1 Disallow

+3 Torrential Gearhulk
+1 Invoke the Divine
+2 Walking Ballista
+1 Glimmer of Genius

Against Mono-Red

On the draw:

-2 Search for Azcanta
-2 Syncopate
-1 Negate
-1 Disallow

+1 Lyra Dawnbringer
+2 Torrential Gearhulk
+1 Settle the Wreckage
+2 Walking Ballista

On the play (As above, except with these changes)

+2 Search for Azcanta

-2 Syncopate
-2 Walking Ballista
-2 Fumigate

Against U/B Midrange

+2 Walking Ballista
+1 Sorcerous Spyglass
+1 Glimmer of Genius
+3 Torrential Gearhulk
+1 Negate

-2 Fumigate
-3 Settle the Wreckage
-2 Blink of an Eye
-1 Seal Away


Against B/W

+1 Lyra Dawnbringer
+3 Torrential Gearhulk
+1 Settle the Wreckage
+1 Invoke the Divine
+1 Sorcerous Spyglass
+1 Negate

-1 Seal Away
-2 Essence Scatter
-2 Fumigate
-2 Approach of the Second Sun
-2 Disallow

Tomorrow, I'll share the changes I made, as well as my adventures at Grand Prix Copenhagen! Thanks for reading!




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