Ride the Lightning

Control decks in Modern are very interesting because of the huge diversity of strategies that are viable in the format. The breadth of things that you have to be prepared for means that players try all manner of crazy combinations in order to make sure that their answers stretch far enough. Jeskai control has always existed in the format, and {W}{U} has been popular in recent months. Habakiri is eschewing those options in favor of looking into straight {U}{R} Control:

Keranos, God of Storms
This deck occupies an interesting spot in the Modern metagame. Typically, these decks struggle against large creatures like Tarmogoyf or Death’s Shadow and have had to resort to cards like Vedalken Shackles or Threads of Disloyalty. Habakiri has solved that problem with Tamiyo, the Moon Sage and Young Pyromancer; the plan being to lock down one of the large creatures and generate blockers for the others. That typically isn’t a great long-term plan, but you’ve got Crucible of Worlds alongside Ghost Quarter and Tectonic Edge to try to lock your opponent out of casting too many of those cards.

This is a deck that is built to prey on creature decks. The raw efficiency of Lightning Bolt, Snapcaster Mage, and Electrolyze is hard to keep up with, particularly when it’s backed up by Mana Leak and Cryptic Command to prevent cards like Collected Company helping your opponent pull ahead of your removal.

For me, the biggest draw to this deck is the top end. Keranos, God of Storms is an incredible way to pull ahead, particularly against opposing control decks. Keranos doesn’t get hit by Supreme Verdict, Lightning Bolt, or Path to Exile and will just sit in play generating card advantage and dealing damage to your opponent. Torrential Gearhulk is similarly powerful, and teams up very well with Snapcaster Mage and Lightning Bolts to help you turn the corner quickly and get your opponent dead.

If you expect to play against a lot of creature decks, this seems like a fantastic choice with a lot of flexibility. For example: Roast is good choice for opposing Reality Smashers, but you could easily play more copies of cards like Flame Slash, Burst Lightning, or Dismember depending on exactly what it is you’re trying to kill. You can also choose whether you want Young Pyromancers to give you the ability to play more aggressively, or if you’d prefer to play longer games with cards like Vedalken Shackles or Blood Moon. There’s tons of variations, which means you can always find a way to take advantage of what your opponents are doing while keeping them guessing the whole way.

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