A Guide to W/U Control (Part 2)

by Martin Dang on 22 June 2018, Friday

Martin Dang

A Guide to W/U Control (Part 2)

Hello again, in yesterday's article, I shared the list we played at Pro Tour Dominaria and also shared the general ideology of the deck. Today, I'd like to share the changes I made to the decklist, and share some stories about Grand Prix Copenhagen which I most recently made the Top 8 at.



Why The Sideboard Is So Crucial

In Game 1, you have a very straightforward game plan. After sideboarding, things get a little trickier. Often, you want to sideboard n more threats and attack them from different angles so that their sideboard cards will become less efficient. For example, many would argue that History of Benalia should come in against Red decks but after countless games of playtesting, we have determined that they don't do enough unless you play two copies in a row on turns three and four. 

If you enjoy control decks, I recommend that you try out this deck. It is very consistent and packs lots of powerful spells. However, I encourage you to get lots of practice before heading for your tournaments to ensure that you can make the correct decision at a reasonable pace of time. Otherwise, you'll often be unable to win Game 3 if things come to that. As the deck can be very slow, you need to play fast and play well.

Because of all the reasons above, the sideboard is super important!

Choices Matter In A Sea Of Red


Essence Scatter Negate

W/U is a very reactive deck, and you have to keep yourself updated with the ongoing metagame and update your deck accordingly. For example, it's not good to show up with 4 Essence Scatter in the main deck if you think there are more than 50% of mirrors in the metagame. On the other hand, it's also bad to play 4 Negate in the main deck if Red decks are all the rage.

Seven out of eight of the Top 8 deck at Pro Tour Dominaria were either Mono-Red or Black-Red. Hence, I expected a lot of Red to be at Grand Prix Copenhagen. I tested W/U a lot leading up to the Pro Tour, and I had a lot of practice with it. Hence, I decided not to switch decks and instead tune the deck to beat the metagame.

For this journey, I was traveling home with my good friend, Thomas Enevoldsen. He also played W/U at the Pro Tour, and we had a good discussion about the differences in our decks and our sideboard plans.


Censor Pull from Tomorrow Walking Ballista

The plan is still similar to before, except I removed the second copy of Approach of the Second Sun from the main deck. In a very aggressive metagame, having a seven-mana sorcery stuck in your hand is not ideal. I removed a land and added Censors, which can be cycled same I need more lands.

I also removed the Torrential Gearhulk and Glimmer of Genius package, switching to Pull from Tomorrow. This frees up sideboard slots and Pull from Tomorrow is a stronger card than Glimmer of Energy if you have no use for energy.

I added one Walking Ballista to the main deck. Sometimes, it helps you close the game faster. Sometimes, it helps you kill annoying creatures such as Bomat Courier or Glint-Sleeve Siphoners, and so on. This little addition has helped me win many games.


Gideon's Reproach Settle the Wreckage

I also added one Gideon's Reproach because that's one more two-mana spell to protect Teferi, Hero of Dominaria with. It also takes care of Heart of Kiran, which Seal Away won't. The fourth Settle the Wreckage was also added (instead of more Fumigates) because that card is just so good against Red decks.


Grand Prix Copenhagen

In the end, I played against four B/R decks and four Mono-Red decks at Grand Prix Copenhagen. I went 3-0 against both decks in Swiss, and then I took a draw with B/R. Then, I lost in the quarterfinals to Mono-Red.



Removing the Torrential Gearhulks from the sideboard allowed me to fight Red decks better. I added another Lyra Dawnbringer, one Aether MeltdownGideon of the Trials, but the most important addition was Ixalan's Binding.


Ixalan's Binding Sorcerer's Spyglass

Even though Ixalan's Binding is removal at sorcery speed, the effect is just too good. I've had plenty of games where I used Sorcerous Spyglass on Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and then played Ixalan's Binding on Rekindling Phoenix or Hazoret the Fervent. This effectively nullify up to eight cards in their deck!

Since the deck changed a little bit, here is the slightly updated sideboard plan!


Vs. Red & B/R Aggro

On the draw:

+2 Ixalan's Binding
+1 Invoke the Divine
+2 Lyra Dawnbringer
+1 Sorcerous Spyglass
+1 Aether Meltdown
+1 Gideon of the Trials
+2 Negate

-4 Disallow
-2 Blink of an Eye
-1 Fumigate
-2 Censor
-1 Pull from Tomorrow

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

+2 Censor
-2 Negate

If I had to play the deck again this weekend, I would play the exact same main deck, but I would probably swap out Gideon of the Trials for another Lyra Dawnbringer.


Be A Hero!

Anyway, those were the two W/U decks I've played in Standard so far. Which one is better depends entirely on the metagame, so choose wisely! It's funny how most players think I would pick the aggro deck since I won a Pro Tour playing Red, but I often lean towards control strategies when given a chance.

However, aggro and control decks both have a way of "blanking" your opponent's cards. The control deck blanks the opponent's cards by having no creatures in the main deck, so all the removal spells are useless. An aggro deck blanks the opponent's counterspells and slow cards, such as Disallow and Glimmer of Genius, because they often have no time to cast those. Of course, this is just an analogy, but the most important thing is that I very rarely play midrange!

Thanks for your time once more, and I hope you enjoy W/U control at your next tournament. Give W/U a chance to be your hero!

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