Back to Control

Who says that control is dead in Modern? The unbanning of Ancestral Vision breathed new life into various Jeskai and Grixis control decks, but this week Zult put up a great performance with a traditional Esper Deck that has no need for high variance cards like Ancestral Vision. Let’s take a look at what draw-go control looks like in the current Modern format:

Supreme Verdict
Supreme Verdict
The biggest thing to note here is the number of copies of Supreme Verdict. With Death's Shadow, Infect, Affinity, and other decks that have some amount of resiliency to spot removal being as popular as they are, Supreme Verdict is a clean answer to whatever they happen to be doing, as long as you can beat the follow-up Inkmoth Nexus - provided you can live to turn four or five to cast your Supreme Verdict. Previously, some builds of Esper would play cards like Lingering Souls instead, but Supreme Verdict is just more reliable in a format that is prepared for Path to Exile.

This is a deck built to ensure you can consistently prevent your opponent from killing you early, with Spell Snare and Path to Exile playing the role of early interaction, and Mana Leak and Logic Knot helping to buy an extra turn as well. You can follow-up with Cryptic Command to buy more time and Supreme Verdict to clean up. From that point on, your card advantage engines can proceed to take over the game.

The power here is less about what you can do to your opponent, and more about how you can punish them for playing around things. If they don’t want to cast spells into your open mana, you can cast Think Twice and Esper Charm to further your own gameplan. You can even proactively lock your opponent out of their draw step with Esper Charms and Snapcaster Mages once you’ve dealt with the first wave of threats.

After you make your way into the midgame, flashed back Think Twices and Sphinx’s Revelations are on the table, which begin to slowly put the game completely out of reach for your opponent. At some point, you can start attacking with Celestial Colonnades or casting and flashing back Secure the Wastes to end the game quickly once you’ve effectively locked your opponent out.

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