I am a control player at heart. Last week I was sitting at my desk brewing an idea of what to play at the upcoming FNM because I was tired of playing my Esper Planeswalkers deck. Don’t get me wrong I really like that deck and I think it’s still viable, but I wanted a change. I decided to take a page out of Andrew Cuneo’s playbook and make a U/W creature-less control deck. This is more of a draw go style of deck where the majority of your turns are draw, make your land drop, and then pass the turn holding up counter magic for whatever your opponent has. Once the coast is clear you’ll want to get your Planeswalkers into play. If your counter magic fails, you always have a board sweeper to fall back on.
Decklist:4 Jace, Architect of Thought 1 Jace, Memory Adept 2 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage 3 Syncopate 3 Dissipate 2 Negate 4 Azorius Charm 3 Sphinx’s Revelation 4 Supreme Verdict 2 Terminus 3 Entreat the Angels 1 Staff of Nin 2 Detention Sphere 1 Evolving Wilds 2 Ghost Quarter 4 Azorius Guildgate 4 Glacial Fortress 4 Hallowed Fountain 5 Plains 6 Island SB: 1 Oblivion Ring 1 Terminus 1 Negate 2 Thalia, Gardian of Tharaben 2 Dispel 2 Witchbane Orb 3 Rest in Peace 3 Geist of St. Traft
Your Planeswalkers and Entreat the Angels are your win conditions. Everything else is about controlling the board, hindering your opponent, and/or drawing to your threats. The Staff of Nin is there as an “8th Planeswalker” in that it provides you with card advantage and is a source of creature removal or damage to your opponent. With this deck it’s ok to treat Entreat the Angels as a pseudo Serra Angel and cast it for 1 if you need some early stabilization, or if you want to get a threat down while holding up counter magic. Against a control deck you want to try not to tap out when playing Entreat the Angels. You always want to hold up counter magic for their counter magic, Terminus, Detention Sphere, and other removal. Against aggro feel free to tap out to cast a bunch of angels unless you suspect a Thundermaw Hellkite . Let me tell you it is unpleasant being at 5 life, tapping out to cast Entreat the Angels, and then your opponent slamming a Hellkite. Often times your opponent will side out their removal because you aren’t playing creatures.
– Ok, I know a lot of you are instantly looking at that sideboard saying “What the hell Davis?!! Witchbane Orb?! Are you serious?!” Well yes I was being serious. It was a last minute meta-game call because in my meta I’ve been seeing a lot of red aggro-burn decks, some mono-black and red black control decks running Liliana’s and Rakdos’s Return’s. The orb does a pretty good job at stopping those so I included it, but I would call those flex-slots that you can use to tailor your sideboard to your meta-game.
– Rest in Peace is in there for the required graveyard hate for all of the Unburial Rites and Runechanter’s Pike’s running around. Plus it has decent synergy with Jace, Memory Adept’s mill abilities.
– The extra counter magic is there for control matchups to fight their Sphinx’s Revelations. The Dispel’s are mainly there to help you win counter wars.
– Geist of St. Traft is also there for control decks. Getting it down early and having counter magic backup is usually bad news for your opponent.
– Terminus is kind of self explanatory. You bring it in against aggro. Enough said.
– Thalia, Gardian of Tharaben. Cut this card. I had it in the sideboard for the a control mirror, and/or U/W/x Flash. I saw both kinds of decks. I sided it in once and was completely unimpressed. I would probably cut it in favor of additional counter magic, but that’s just my preference. Consider them freebie slots.
Round 1 – U/W/r Flash 2-0
Game 1: I got there mostly from him Thought Scouring a lot of his relevant spells away and me milling him with Jace, Memory Adept. A timely Sphinx’s Revelation for 6 when he had 4 Pillar of Flame’s in hand sealed the deal and it was on to game 2.
SB: -2 Terminus, -2 Detention Sphere, -2 Supreme Verdict, -1 Jace, Architect of Thought, -1 Negate, -1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, -1 Entreat the Angels. +3 Geist of St. Traft, +2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, +3 Rest in Peace, +2 Dispel.
Game 2: Game two was fairly uneventful. Tamiyo and Jace, Memory Adept + Rest in Peace did a good job holding down the fort. I won by milling him out. Rest in Peace was really effective because he had a lot of graveyard synergy with Thought Scour and Snapcaster Mage. Thalia managed to eat a Pillar of Flame and that was about it. I never saw Geist of St. Traft.
Round 2 – Reanimator
Game 1: I got crushed underneath the weight of Thragtusk’s, Angel of Serenity’s, and Restoration Angels. Sideboard action quick!!
SB: -2 Negate, -2 Syncopate, -1 Staff of Nin. +3 Rest in Peace, +1 Oblivion Ring, +1 Terminus.
Game 2: Multiple board sweepers helped quell the early threats. Jace, Memory Adept + Rest in Peace carried the load and won the day, onto game 3.
SB: No changes
Game 3: Once again board sweepers helped in the early game and Rest in Peace did its thing fighting the graveyard shenanigans. I did stumble onto a bit of a nonbo with Rest in Peace and Tamiyo. I really needed to ultimate Tamiyo as I was starting to run out of answers to his threats but realized mid-game that I don’t get the cards back because they are exiled by Rest in Peace. Oh no, what am I going to do! Fortunately, drawing an Oblivion Ring and then taking off the last two counters from a Jace, Architect of Thought finding a Jace, Memory Adept was a timely solution. I O-ringed my Rest in Peace, pulled Tamiyo’s ultimate, played a Supreme Verdict, played Jace, Memory Adept, and milled him out winning on turn 4 of extra time. Whew!
Round 3 – R/B control
Game 1: Opponent played a Liliana of the Dark Realms and crushed me with land drops and Rakdo’s Returned me out of the game. I couldn’t draw a counter spell to save my life.
SB: -2 Negate, -2 Jace, Architect of Thought, -1 Entreat the Angels. +3 Geist of St. Traft, +2 Witchbane Orb
Game 2: An early Geist of St. Traft and a Witchbane Orb won this game without much fanfare and it was on to game 3.
Game 3: I won this game on the back of a turn 4 board sweeper, turn 5 Witchbane Orb, turn 6 Staff of Nin, and finished him off by milling him with Jace, Memory Adept. He conceded showing a hand with 4 Rakdos’s Return’s. Eugh!
Round 4 – U/W/r Flash
Game 1: I couldn’t draw any relevant spells (having 26 lands will do that to you sometimes) and lost to Restoration Angel’s and Snapcaster Mage’s.
SB: -1 Jace, Architect of Thought, -2 Terminus, -2 Detention Sphere. +3 Rest in Peace, +2 Dispel.
Game 2: I got greedy and kept an opening hand that I probably shouldn’t have. I had 2 lands and a couple Azorius Charm’s, a Rest in Peace, and a Supreme Verdict. I didn’t see another land until it was too late and I was just half-past dead. Good games!
Due to the current general meta-game being so diverse, I think this deck is viable however it might be 1 or 2 cards away from being really dominant. If I were to play it again however I would make a few changes. I would probably do something like this: -1 Entreat the Angels, -1 Jace, Architect of Thought, -1 Detention Sphere, and -1 Terminus. I would then add 4 Azorius Keyrune. Keyrune gives you mana for Sphinx’s Revelation or an attacker when you need it that has good evasion and doesn’t get killed with a board sweeper or an Angel of Serenity. Having additional attackers reduces the need for an Entreat the Angels. I would adjust the sideboard by -2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and +1 Terminus, +1 Detention Sphere. With my local meta-game I still like Witchbane Orb, but I completely understand if you want to eschew it for something else. All in all I really like this deck and if you like control, or want to play a deck with a twist, give this a shot at your next FNM!
Thanks for reading and until next time may you always be able to say no to your opponents spells.
“4/3 of all American’s can’t do fractions”