Modern UB Control

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Posted May 30, 2017 by Abdullah Elhawary in Tabletop

I have awoken from my slumber to provide you with the easily the best man-made Modern analysis available out there. I’m back to writing weekly or biweekly articles about everyone (excluding PVDDR)’s favorite format ; Modern. The format hasn’t drastically changed in the last two months besides the fates of UR Storm and Jund. Once touted as a janky deck and a format staple, respectively, the two have switched positions in some weird Freaky MtG Friday.

That being said, Modern is still very much about playing efficient creatures and beating down so it won’t surprise you that control decks have been putting up 5-0’s quite regularly. UW, Jeskai and Grixis control have all had their time in the spotlight. Straight two color decks like UB have always lacked a spell that rivals Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile. The printing of Fatal Push changed that, as it is widely considered to be the best removal spell in Modern currently. MTGO player, osmanozguney, combined the cheap black interaction with blue’s plethora of counterspells and draw spells to earn himself a 5-0.

UB Control

Deck by osmanozguney

Maindeck:

Lands (24):
4x Creeping Tar Pit
4x Darkslick Shores
4x Island
4x Polluted Delta
2x Swamp
4x Tectonic Edge
2x Watery Grave

Creatures (4):
4x Snapcaster Mage

Sorceries (15):
4x Ancestral Vision
4x Serum Visions
2x Thoughtseize
2x Collective Brutality
3x Damnation

Instants (13):
4x Fatal Push
1x Countersquall
2x Mana Leak
1x Remand
2x Hero’s Downfall
3x Cryptic Command

Planeswalkers (4):
1x Liliana, the Last Hope
2x Jace, Architect of Thought
1x Ob Nixilis, Reignited

Sideboard:

2x Ceremonious Rejection
2x Surgical Extraction
1x Thoughtseize
1x Collective Brutality
1x Crucible of Worlds
1x Countersquall
1x Engineered Explosives
2x Vendilion Clique
2x Ravenous Trap
1x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1x Grave Titan

Card Choices

Manabase

 

The main draw of playing a 2 color deck in Modern is the mana base. You gain access to powerful colorless lands and don’t take a lot of damage from your lands. Having a nearly painless manabase and spells in the form of lands are two powerful resources that control decks rely on.

Creeping Tar Pit is your main win-condition, alongside Snapcaster Mage. The low creature count means you can’t really swing it liberally into open mana. Although it isn’t as beefy as other manlands, being unblockable is a huge deal and allows you to close out the game fairly quickly. Tectonic Edge is a house against other control decks, Tron variants, Scapeshift, Titanshift and GBx decks as it either denies them critical lands in the form of Eldrazi Temple, Tron lands and manlands or it denies them access from plentiful mana which allows them to take over the game.

Removal Suite

Removal is the bread and butter of most control decks and this UB deck has plenty of it. I have already discussed Fatal Push briefly and called it the best removal spell in the format. It hits Death’s Shadow, Tarmogoyf, almost all the creatures in Affinity, the cost reducers in Storm, all the creature in Burn and much more all for one mana.

Hero’s Downfall may seem bad at first sight, but without it the UB deck becomes weak to Eldrazi Tron. Having the ability to kill any creature regardless of cost or toughness at instant speed is a huge deal. The added benefit of being able to snipe off planeswalkers like Liliana, Karn, Ugin, Nahiri, Saheeli, Elspeth and Jace comes up sometimes so it’s nice to have an answer.

Wraths such as Damnation are auto-includes in most control decks in Modern because of decks that can swarm the battlefield like Affinity and Abzan Company. Addtionally, getting a 2 for 1 (or more) against Death’s Shadow is usually back-breaking because of the few threats they have. Against Eldrazi decks is probably where Damnation will shine brightest simply due to the fact that they take a while to build out a board and have to commit at least 2 creatures that cost 4 or more mana.

Disruption Suite

   Image result for thoughtseize  Image result for cryptic command

In addition to removal spells, this UB deck is equipped with Modern’s finest disruption in the form of discard and counterspells. Thoughtseize is great against combo decks like Storm, Ad Nauseam and Scapeshift as you can strip away their payoff cards. Similarly, both Affinity, Tron and Eldrazi Tron are built in a way to maximize a few cards which practically neutralize the deck if stripped away.

Collective Brutality can pull double or triple duty in some match-ups; the most prominent of which is Burn. Since the Burn deck trades cards for life points, trading off 3 cards for what is effectively 3 cards leaves you in quite the commanding position. The flexibility of this card is quite unreal and it’s almost never a dead draw.

Cryptic Command is one of the many counterspells this deck has access to and easily the most powerful. Besides the obvious counter/ draw modes, tapping down your opponents team and racing with your Snapcasters and Tar Pits comes up quite often. The number of Remand’s, Mana Leak’s and Countersquall’s is up for debate but this deck needs some cheap counter-magic.

Planeswalkers

 Image result for ob nixilis reignited

Far and away the most interesting part of this deck is the 4 planeswalkers it runs in the mainboard. Liliana, the Last Hope has slowly but surely become a Modern staple and for good reason. It’s plus ability kills a lot of relevant creatures or buys you time. The minus ability to return Snapcaster Mage makes me happy as I’m writing about it because value is practically my middle name. The ultimate is game ending and is a real threat because of how quickly Lili can reach it.

Jace was a standard staple who always felt that he lacked a shell in Modern. However. he has been picking up steam for the last few months, first in UW and now in UB. Making your opponents creatures less threatening, generating card advantage through a mini Fact or Fiction and a nice little ultimate makes Jace the complete package. His and Lili’s plus abilities work quite well with each other as they can combine to subdue your opponent’s largest threat.

Ob is easily the weirdest addition to this deck because it’s an extremely fringe sideboard card in some GBx decks. That being said it seems like a perfect curve topper for this deck as it provides card advantage and removal. Ob also comes down and pluses to a very high loyalty which makes him quite difficult to kill.

Match-up Guides:

Affinity:

In:
1x Engineered Explosives
2x Ceremonious Rejection

Out:
2x Mana Leak
1x Remand

U/R Gifts Storm:

In:
1x Collective Brutality
1x Thoughtseize
2x Countersquall
2x Vendilion Clique
1x Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Out:
2x Hero’s Downfall
3x Damnation
1x Ob Nixilis, Reignited
1x Ancestral Vision

Eldrazi Tron:

In:
2x Ceremonious Rejection
1x Thoughtseize
1x Crucible of Worlds
1x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
2x Vendilion Clique

Out:
4x Fatal Push
2x Collective Brutality
1x Countersquall

Burn:

In:

1x Collective Brutality
1x Countersquall
1x Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Out:
3x Damnation

Death’s Shadow Aggro:

In:
1x Engineered Explosives
2x Surgical Extraction

Out:
3x Cryptic Command

Abzan Company:

In:
1x Engineered Explosives

Out:
1x Remand

Dredge:

In:
2x Ravenous Trap
2x Surgical Extraction
1x Collective Brutality

Out:
4x Fatal Push
1x Ob Nixilis, Reignited

GBx:

In:
1x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1x Grave Titan
2x Vendilion Clique

Out:
2x Collective Brutality
2x Thoughtseize

Titan Shift:

In:
1x Thoughtseize
1x Crucible of Worlds
2x Vendilion Clique
1x Countersquall

Out:
4x Fatal Push
1x Ob Nixilis, Reignited


About the Author

Abdullah Elhawary