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Written by Scott Campbell on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern


Scott Campbell

Scott Campbell, also known as MTGPackFoils, has played Magic: the Gathering since Revised. He mostly plays Azorius based Control, or Golgari based Midrange decks. He also enjoys MLB, D&D, and is a former DJ.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Legit MTG. I am back to look at a current Modern archetype with some Core Set 2021 cards. Since my last article Wizards of the Coast has updated the Banned & Restricted List which did impact Modern, and perhaps has at least brought back some attention to this beloved color pairing. On July 13th Arcum’s Astrolabe was banned from Modern, and on that day several dozen star systems cried out in celebration throughout the known galaxy. That card made color fixing too good, providing players access to a wide spectrum of colors as early as turn three, and decks using that card all became “good stuff” decks. Before the end decks using Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, and other decks using Wilderness Reclamation were some of the top strategies in the format. 

However that was the past, and time moves on. As many of you know I am a fan of the colors that make up the Azorius Senate. White, and Blue have been at my side since the game’s existence, and while I do enjoy other strategies (Jund, Dredge, and Burn to name a few) this is a color combination that’s become part of my identity in the community. This is part of what makes this game so great. Having the sense of belonging within a community, and being part of a tribe, sometimes has its own rewards. 

With the changes to the format, and the release of Core Set 2021 this gives us options to try a few new tricks. To brew. To see if we can create something that at the very least will be fun to play. Now with Bant decks having to be more dedicated now in their mana base this gives Azorius a little room to breathe. Looking at the available card pool, previous decks, and what we have now I came up with a control deck that does not use Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Yes I know Donald Southerland I have human emotion, make my own choices, and don’t just exist. Like a plant. However hear me out here: Teferi Tribal.

Just when you think you Just Can’t Get Enough we get yet ANOTHER Teferi that can slide in, right on the curve, with the other two Teferi planeswalker cards. Each of them can complement each other, protect themselves from a creature attacking, and once you land Teferi, Time Raveler the others can come in without being countered. Along with Force of Negation this feels like the basis of a solid Modern Azorius Control deck. Is it? Let’s take a look.

How the deck works

You are the traditional “Draw-Go” control deck. You gain your leverage in the mid-to-late game by countering, or removing, your opponent’s threats until you can play a planeswalker with counterspell back up. While the deck may feel one dimensional in that aspect there are many decision trees you would need to look at in order to navigate the game towards a victory. Being efficient with your mana, and knowing which counterspells to use for which situation will be key in that regard. Sometimes it may be best to use a Mana Leak on something that Spell Snare can cover because what you are countering is your opponent’s only play that turn.  Later on in the game Spell Snare can cover a removal spell or another threat where Mana Leak will often be responded to by your opponent paying 3 more mana.

Why this deck may be for you

  • You love interacting on your opponent’s turn.
  • You want to be the one to tell someone “no”. Welcome to the club.
  • You love planeswalkers more than creatures.

Why this deck may not be for you

  • The win conditions are few or too fragile for your liking.
  • You don’t like drawing the wrong half of the deck.
  • Sometimes your cards do not pair up well against certain matchups.

Teferi, Master of Time over Jace, the Mind Sculptor?

I know this is perhaps the most contentious point of the build, however the instant speed activations you have with Teferi, Master of Time work well with Teferi, Time Raveler’s +1 ability. If you don’t happen to have a sorcery speed spell to cast on your opponent’s turn you could draw into one at instant speed for no mana cost with the new Teferi. Alternatively when something is on the stack you can draw into a much needed counterspell if one is not currently in your hand. Your plan on your turn might change by the time the opponent takes their turn, and passes back to you. What once may have been a good card in your hand may be bad, and Teferi, Master of Time helps you keep the best hand sculpted at nearly every point in the game. 

Why Frantic Inventory over Opt

While part of that decision is the desire to try a new card it is the fact we finally have a fixed Accumulated Knowledge. Those who have been around a long time know that Accumulated Knowledge is one of the best draw spells printed, however it’s symmetrical design has prevented it from seeing a lot of play. With this now fixed version you are the only one that benefits from how many are in your graveyard. You can even, in a pinch, flash this back with Snapcaster Mage later in the game to dig even a bit deeper. While exiling a copy from your graveyard is not ideal if you have already cast 3 of them in the game you have wound up drawing 9 extra cards total off of that flashback with Snapcaster Mage. That should be enough to get you across the finish line.

Possible pitfalls

  • Burn decks can get under you. Prowess, and Boros Burn especially.
  • Infect decks can be problematic to navigate putting pressure on your few spot removal spells, or sweepers.
  • Enchantments such as Blood Moon and Choke will be problems. Prepare for them.
  • Decks that can interact with your hand early can be problematic.

These are just some examples that one would face when piloting a deck like this, and it’s part of why these strategies are not highly favored among a lot of tournament players. You will want to build your sideboard accordingly, and interact during points of the game where it is disadvantageous for the opponent, or causes them to focus on one path to victory allowing you to fight more fairly. For instance cards like Leyline of Sanctity can help protect you against direct damage, and discard effects. Field of Ruin and Ghost Quarter can help against Infect decks, as well as big mana decks like Tron. Runed Halo can shut down decks that attack with one creature as their primary win condition, and allow you to focus on their secondary attacks. You will want to keep an eye on your matchups, and build your sideboard with cards that have applications against a variety of archetypes as you will be playing a lot of sideboard games with Draw-Go. With plenty of practice, and key plays you can turn something that someone may think does not work into a deck that is difficult for them to defeat.

In Conclusion

Blue based control decks have always had a rough road in Modern due to the size, and complexity of the format. Even with the new additions from Modern Horizons it was not enough to place this archetype at the very top of the metagame, and that’s fine. Control decks are made to keep formats in balance. Not to place them out of balance. The pillars of Magic (Aggro, Combo, and Control) being in balance are key to the success, and health, of a format, and they all can be mastered with time. Even Draw-Go control.

Do you play this archetype? What are your thoughts? Have you tried any cards that I have not discussed? Leave your comments below, and follow me on both Twitter as well as Facebook.

Next Week

With everyone talking about how much they love Jumpstart, and the game having Dogs and Cats, I’ll be talking about my favorite pets. Stay tuned.

Until then…



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