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Modern UB Control


Currently in Modern, a lot of strategies are jockeying to be the most unfair or over-the-top deck. There are a number of reasons why this is true, but most of them have to do with the absence of permission decks and prevalence of BG Thoughtseize decks as the tier one control deck. We've seen Groyo's Vengeance make a comeback alongside Ad Nauseum; not to mention the breakout performance of Collected Elves at GP Charlotte and Titan Bloom's continued success. Splinter Twin is still the goto tier one combo deck, maintaining about 12% of the field.

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For a player who wants to maintain a controlling edge over the metagame, they might feel pressed into a tough spot when holding a grip full of Dark Confidants and Maelstrom Pulses while staring down an opponent with access to Collected Company or Goryo’s Vengeance. In order to adequately one-for-one many of these all-in combo cards, a proactive control deck needs Thoughtseize exactly on turn 1 before it can tap out for a Tarmogoyf or an Outpost Siege. Given the explosiveness of the format, a reactive counterspell game might really be the best option to go with. In general, when fragile fast combos are the decks to beat, the natural predator is cheap disruption. So what kind of disruptive strategy am I exactly referring to?

In order to attack the combo-heavy metagame, Osman Ozguney took a UB control deck to a 4-0 finish in a recent daily event. That name may sound familiar to people who followed Pro Tour Fate Reforged closely. Osman piloted a UB Faeries deck to a solid record in the Modern portion of the tournament, so it's safe to say he's comfortable with UB in Modern. Here's the Daily Event list.

In a nutshell, this deck is doing every disruptive thing you want to be doing in Modern right now. I really appreciate the full discard suite along with plenty of countermagic as a way to attack combo decks in two directions. Not only is Osman is putting himself in a great position to fight the linear combo decks, but he’s also giving himself a great matchup against Elves and Affinity (among other creature decks) with access to three copies of Damnation in his 75.

While I really like the overall structure of the deck, there are a few things I’d like to change. I’ll just touch on a few points that might not be so obvious.

First of all, I’d like for the deck to operate draw-go as much as possible. While card selection via Serum Visions is nice, this deck’s strategy is about one-for-one trades and staying alive. Forcing yourself to awkwardly tap U during the game to hit your land drops isn’t where you want to be against Twin or other combo decks. That being said, card selection is one of the main reasons why you play blue in the first place, so cutting that element entirely would be foolish. As for card selection spells I want to include, I actually like [Thought Scour] for several reasons. While it isn’t card selection per se, it has a lot of synergistic qualities to help make it worthwhile. It's an instant, it fills the graveyard for Snapcaster and Delve, and it can put flashback cards into your graveyard. Osman’s deck configuration doesn’t have much in terms of flashback spells, but the UB color combination has access to a couple important ones.

One way to give the deck a large amount of card selection is through graveyard-filling cards. I've already mentioned Thought Scour, but I think another great candidate for this deck is Forbidden Alchemy. This card needs little explaining as it's just an excellent value engine in many ways and operates completely on your opponent's end step. Another graveyard card I like right now is Darkblast. In certain board states, this can be a grindy insurance policy against Elves and Infect. It's also extremely relevant as a cheap answer for Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique, and Dark Confidant among others. It will also help fuel your graveyard for your own Snapcasters and Tasigurs if needed.

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In terms of the mana base, I really want to fit at least a couple copies of Sunken Ruin as it helps get to BB by turn 2 or 1UUU by turn 4. Having a more reliable mana configuration means the deck can rely on Victim of Night over Go for the Throat or Dismember.

In terms of finishers, I don't think [[Batterskull] is an optimal choice right now. Considering the large presence of Kolaghan's Command, your living weapon is likely to bite the dust fairly often. The deck is built to go extremely long, and I don't see much of a problem relying on Creeping Tar Pit and Tasigur, the Golden Fang to get the job done game one. In game two, you’ll be able to board into a more preferred finisher package depending on your matchup.

After a brief tuning session, this is the 75 I came up with.

Conclusion

That's my take on UB Control. What do you think of my card choices? Leave a comment below.


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