W/U Control in Modern

by Martin Dang on 28 June 2018, Thursday

Martin Dang

 

W/U Control in Modern

Grand Prix Barcelona is coming up. Not only will I be playing Modern there, but I will also be playing Modern at Pro Tour 25th Anniversary as well. Since there is no Limited portion at the upcoming Pro Tour, I can focus my attention solely on playing Modern for the next month.


I started off with Jeskai but abandoned it after 15 matches. The deck is more of a tempo deck than a control deck, and even though the deck is very good against creature decks, it's not favored against other slower decks or combo decks because of the red spells. I wanted to play a deck which had a good game against the entire field.

Having played a ton of W/U in Standard recently, I thought I would try out a W/U deck in Modern. I looked at some of the lists online and started from there, quickly identifying the cards I like and dislike.

 

Celestial Colonnade


Playing The Deck

As control is a very reactive strategy, you'll have to play it a lot to know what to do and when to do it. You also want to learn all the crucial interactions with the major decks in Modern. Familiarizing yourself with matchups and their land bases is also important because you are playing with Field of Ruin and Spreading Seas.

After 70 matches or so, I tuned the deck and ended up with this list:

 

Card Choices

There are many ways to tweak the deck towards a specific metagame, and I do change the deck a bit from day-to-day. However, this is the most solid version I've had so far. Most of the cards are self-explanatory, but there are some choices I wish to highlight.

Firstly, I am playing Serum Visions over Opt.

 

Serum Visions Opt


I've noticed that many players have chose to play Opt over Serum Visions, Although I switched to playing Opt in Grixis Death's Shadow a while back, I think Serum Visions is miles better in this deck.

Opt is better in Game 1, because playing Serum Visions on turn one can sometimes be awkward. Will you keep Path to Exile on the top of your deck against an unknown opponent? There are various situations where you do not wish to make your decision before your opponent makes his move. With Opt, you can wait for your opponent to play his first land and have a greater chance of identifying what he or she is playing. That way, you can decide better what you need.

Serum Visions, on the other hand, gets much better than Opt after sideboarding. You often sideboard in a lot of hate and you want to dig deeper to get them.

 

Search for Azcanta Wall of Omens


I played with two Search for Azcanta for a long time, but the card feels clunky against combo and aggro. Against control, it is often met with a Field of Ruin. I also decreased the number of Wall of Omens from four copies to just two. It's not impressive in many matchups, but I think you need cantrips to be able to go down to 25 lands.

Sideboarding is where this deck gets its edge. Knowing what your opponent is playing after Game 1 makes it much easier to be reactive. Also, this deck has access to some of the best sideboard cards in the format. They are so powerful against the matchups they were intended for.

It feels like you're a bit behind against most decks in Game 1, but the matchup improves a lot after sideboard. This is also why ninety percent of my matches which I've played went to Game 3. The plan with the W/U sideboard is to prevent opponents from executing their plan. Knowing what their deck is all about enables us to stop them more easily.

The best thing about this deck is that it's tough to sideboard against. W/U attacks from so many different angles and doesn't have a major pressure point. Hence, no single card can hose the deck.

I've had people sideboarding Rest in Peace, Grafdigger's Cage and Blood Moon in against me, but with almost no graveyard interaction and eight basic lands, it is fairly easy to play around those cards. For them, especially if they're an aggro deck, to spend an early turn, mana and a card to play something like this, gives me a huge advantage.

Here are my results so far:


Creating a matchup table like this gives me an overview of what decks I've played against and how well or how poorly I've done against them. However, it doesn't say too much about the deck because I've tuned it slightly. Also, the sample size is very small, but I wrote down lots of notes each time I learned something new. I also note down some ways where I feel a specific matchup could be improved.

Basic Sideboarding Guide

Humans

 

Wrath of God Day of Judgment Supreme Verdict


Humans is the most played deck on Magic Online and it is also the main reason that we play three sweepers with different names so that we don't get trapped by Meddling Mage.

The matchup is overall slightly favored for W/U. Their plan is to fill the board and prevent you from sweeping the board. They hinder you by playing Kitesail FreebooterThalia, Guardian of Thraben or Meddling Mage. Thankfully, a well-timed Path to Exile on one of those creatures, followed by a sweeper often gives you the win.


+2 Timely Reinforcements
+2 Stony Silence
+1 Blessed Alliance
+1 Celestial Purge

-1 Negate
-1 Search for Azcanta
-3 Spreading Seas
-1 Logic Knot

R/G Tron

 

Spreading Seas Field of Ruin


This matchup is favored overall. W/U plays 4 Spreading Seas, 4 Field of Ruin and a Ghost Quarter. These cards buy you a lot of time. Once you've built up your mana, hard counters prevent them from resolving their overcosted cards.

+2 Stony Silence
+2 Negate
+1 Vendilion Clique
+1 Disdainful Stroke

-1 Wrath of God
-1 Supreme Verdict
-1 Day of Judgment
-1 Oust
-2 Wall of Omens

Hollow One

Another favorable matchup. Game 1 you're a bit behind because it's hard to deal with the threat that keeps coming back from the grave, but with 3 Rest in Peace coming in after board, those should no longer be a problem.

+3 Rest in Peace
+2 Timely Reinforcements
+1 Celestial Purge

-1 Search for Azcanta
-3 Spreading Seas
-1 Logic Knot
-1 Negate

Krark-Clan Ironworks

This matchup is very favorable for W/U. Game 1 might be close, but W/U sideboards in 11 cards in this matchup. Your plan after sideboarding is to play one (or more) of your five hosers (three Rest in Peace and two Stony Silence), and protect them. This is why Dispel comes in. Even though Dispel counters only their sideboard cards, you need it to protect your enchantments.

+3 Rest in Peace
+2 Stony Silence
+1 Disdainful Stroke
+2 Negate
+1 Vendilion Clique
+2 Dispel

-2 Wall of Omens
-1 Oust
-1 Search for Azcanta
-1 Wrath of God
-1 Supreme Verdict
-1 Day of Judgment
-1 Logic Knot
-1 Secure the Wastes
-2 Snapcaster Mage

Burn

Here is a matchup that is unfavored for W/U. You are very likely to lose Game 1 because they're just too fast. After sideboarding, things get closer to 50/50.

+2 Timely Reinforcements
+1 Celestial Purge
+2 Dispel
+2 Negate
+1 Blessed Alliance

-2 Cryptic Command
-1 Search of Azcanta
-4 Spreading Seas
-1 Logic Knot

With roughly a month before the biggest Pro Tour ever, I will be trying out plenty of other Modern decks. For now, though, W/U is my frontrunner, and it's the deck I intend to play at GP Barcelona this weekend.

Thanks for reading!




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