Into the Wild Blue Modern

Emphasis on wild. Who doesn’t love wild?

It’s no secret I’ve been a fan of Collected Company over the past couple months, but I’m going back to my roots: Blue. I love a good slow deck, but it can be difficult to control all of the different decks in Modern. The best part of Counters Company was its proactive nature. As they say, the best offense is a good defense.

I learned from my Collected Company experiences. I will apply pressure and disruption while sculpting my hand rather than just sitting around. Which deck to choose? Today we’re going to look at {U}{R} Breach, {W}{U} Control, and {U}{B} Tezzeret.

Let’s get to it!

U/R Breach

Blue Moon is a fringe deck of the past. I love the deck in theory, but sometimes Blood Moon doesn’t do anything. The games drag out and it desperately needs a way to win quickly. Batterskull attacking five times or Pia and Kiran Nalaar isn’t where I want to be in Modern. If you don’t have an “oops I win” interaction there’s very little chance to win a bad matchup.

Until now . . . 

Here’s my latest list:


Through the Breach plus Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is a great combo that threatens to destroy many of the opponent’s resources. The combo only deals fifteen damage so there’s a chance the game will continue, but Lightning Bolt and Snapcaster Mage can deal the final blow.

This is a tempo deck at heart. Remand is the counter of choice because velocity is more important than card advantage. Mana Leak could also work in the deck, but Through the Breach and Emrakul don’t do anything by themselves. I need the filtering to make sure both of the combo cards are in my hand quickly. Logic Knot could also get the nod, but delve can be awkward with Emrakul potentially shuffling your graveyard into the library. This is the same reason there are only two Snapcaster Mage.

Since Blood Moon doesn’t work against every deck I only have three in the main. I started with two, but it’s very important to draw early in order to destabilize the opponent. Spreading Seas is a consideration as a different way to mess with the opponent’s mana that helps you find the combo.

I enjoy the combo finish in this deck because cards like Roast don’t need to be included. This deck isn't looking to kill every threat individually. Electrolyze and Izzet Charm deal with small creatures that enter the battlefield in the early turns. Izzet Charm is a very well-rounded card for a deck like this as it deals with a variety of Modern threats and enablers. The draw two cards and discard two cards effect is also very powerful when you play four Emrakul and four Through the Breach. I think of it like a Mana Leak effect that also has the ability to loot.

Cryptic Command
Cryptic Command and Vendilion Clique are the mid-game interaction spells. They disrupt the opponent and draw cards; what’s not to like? Vendilion Clique is great in this deck as it can cycle redundant combo pieces or take the opponent’s interaction for your 15/15 spaghetti monster. Cryptic Command is versatile here as tapping opposing creatures and drawing a card doesn’t mean the game is lost. It buys you a turn to assemble the Emrakul Breach combo. Bouncing a permanent can also be important because cards like Ensnaring Bridge can be annoying. I could also maindeck an Abrade to kill pesky artifacts because I would rather not face Aether Vial.

The mana base is consistent as there are nine basic Islands to take advantage of Blood Moon being in play. Cryptic Command asks you to play many Blue sources as does the Vedalken Shackles in the sideboard. Shackles is another powerful Modern card that doesn’t see much play these days. Some decks don’t care about it at all, but others will lose to it single handedly.

I’m choosing a split of snow-covered and basic lands as a distraction. Since I’m a {U}{R} deck I can look like Gifts Storm to begin. There are more snow-covered than regular basics to have a better chance to tip off the opponent early. If I have plenty of snow-covered lands to begin it could also signal Skred which I don’t have. I take a similar approach with my off-color Blue fetches by playing Polluted Delta, Flooded Strand, and Misty Rainforest. This can signal Gifts Ungiven as well. It also gets around Pithing Needle/Surgical Extraction effects.

Young Pyromancer is a great threat that can take the opponent by surprise after sideboard. It works very well in the deck as you play plenty of instants that draw into more spells. It’s the backbone of the best fair deck in Legacy, Grixis Delver, too.

This is a control deck that can easily win against historically bad matchups like Tron so I’m going to investigate further. Search for Azcanta is likely strong enough in this deck even though it doesn’t work well with Blood Moon. There are tons of possibilities for {U}{R} Breach. Give it a spin!

Up next we have an oldie, but goodie . . . 

W/U Control

Ixalan has proven to be a dynamic set as it provided some upgrades to existing Modern decks. In this case Spreading Seas gets a friend in Field of Ruin. Tectonic Edge doesn’t play well with Celestial Colonnade as I want as much mana as I can get. Ghost Quarter gives my opponent a land, but I’m set back a turn. Field of Ruin can act as a more powerful Wasteland when the opponent is out of basics to search as it is still thinning my deck.

Without further ado, I give you {W}{U} Control:


Runed Halo
I’ve been impressed with a lot of what {W}{U} has been doing lately. Search for Azcanta has proven to be a great card advantage engine. Sphinx’s Revelation is a very clunky spell for Modern and I would prefer getting extra cards without needing so many lands in play. Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin can find every spell in my deck except for Snapcaster Mage.

The Planeswalker package can protect my life total, generate card advantage, and Gideon’s emblem stops me from losing. I haven’t had too many games where the Planeswalker rule has come into effect to have multiple Gideons in play, but it does happen.

Runed Halo is a card that has fallen out of favor, but I’m playing it to stop Grapeshot and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle from killing me in Game 1. An important element of the Modern decks I chose is to not have too many auto-lose matchups in the first game. W/U is good at killing creatures, but can fall short against other angles of attack. The downfall of Runed Halo is that my Planeswalkers don’t have protection from the chosen card. This means naming Reality Smasher or Death’s Shadow doesn’t leave me completely clear. It’s not all bad as Supreme Verdict can clean up the pieces.

Wall of Omens
Wall of Omens is notably absent from this deck as I already have velocity from Serum Visions and Spreading Seas. It’s important to have enough ways to close the game. I think of Runed Halo as a lock piece replacing the wall.

Disallow is a strange singleton but takes the place of Logic Knot as delve doesn't combo with with Search for Azcanta. I’m sure I won’t counter many activated abilities, but in Modern there are plenty of weird interactions so anything can happen. Cryptic Command is expensive so I would prefer to have one of the hard counters cost three instead of four.

Detention Sphere isn’t very popular, but is surprisingly strong in W/U Control. It’s another catch all answer which is important. I have many ways to kill Lingering Souls, too! Jace’s +1 and Supreme Verdict ensures I’m not too weak to go-wide strategies.

Disdainful Stroke in the sideboard gets the nod over Ceremonious Rejection. Both counters are great against Eldrazi, but I want some splash damage against combo decks like Ad Nauseam, Storm, and Scapeshift.

Vendilion Clique and Geist of Saint Traft are my sideboard creatures versus spell-based decks. I only want two of these because they need to be considered in combination with Gideon of the Trials. My one top end spell in the sideboard is Elspeth, Sun’s Champion to fight Death’s Shadow and Jund.

If Blue control is what you like to do this might be for you.

Up next, we have a wild brew . . . 

U/B Tezzerator

As I was searching for inspiration on where to take my Modern focus next, I stumbled on this beauty:


Ensnaring Bridge
Meltiin won a Magic Online Modern tournament with a fresh take on artifacts. The coolest aspect about this deck is the large amount of absurdly powerful cards it gets to play. Ensnaring Bridge can protect your Planeswalkers and Witchbane Orb protects you while Planeswalkers ramp up to their ultimates.

The Black cards are able to empty your hand quickly so only Ornithopter and Noble Hierarch can attack with the bridge in play. Liliana of the Veil’s +1 ability some nice synergy with the bridge and Collective Brutality can be escalated twice to immediately get three cards from your own hand in a pinch.

The weakness of Liliana of the Veil is go-wide strategies. If I make the opponent sacrifice a creature I want it to be impactful. When this isn’t the case three Damnations can pick up the pieces.

We see Search for Azcanta make its way into yet another deck as it can find any spell in your deck except Walking Ballista. There is some tension between the search and Relic of Progenitus, but I think it’s strong enough to play anyway. I’m seeing a trend of new decks emerging involving Search for Azcanta and lock pieces that prevent losing to Grapeshot. Hexproof plus Ensnaring Bridge ensures you lose to very few things in a format as crazy as Modern. Gone are the days of draw-go and I imagine combo decks will adjust to this maindeck hate.

{U}{B} Tezzerator has a lot of the bases covered against fair decks, but can fall short versus land-based strategies. For this reason there are a whopping four Crumble to Dust. It’s very clear Meltiin hates tron lands and can ramp it out on turn three thanks to talismans.

This deck gets to play other deranged cards in the sideboard such as Night of Soul’s Betrayal and Damping Matrix. Since there is only a single creature in the entire deck some forgotten stars can enter the fray.

I would like to see a Field of Ruin over Ghost Quarter as there are plenty of Swamps to search. Academy Ruins is nice as it can return threatening cards such as Walking Ballista over and over again. I would consider cutting it for a colored land source as Liliana of the Veil could get awkward. The same concern arises with Spire of Industry. If I don’t have an early artifact it could stop me from casting a Planeswalker. The ability to make Red mana can be key after sideboard. It might be worth playing a Talisman of Indulgence so Tezzeret the Seeker can search for Red mana to cast Crumble to Dust.

The base of disruption consists of Inquisition of Kozilek and Collective Brutality ensuring you can interact with a wide variety of opponents. This is the base I’m looking for when choosing the right Blue deck for me. Tezzeret shells have enough raw power that I’m considering giving this a spin.

I’m seeing more copies of Sorcerous Spyglass pop up in Modern and Legacy. It’s an under-the-radar card that is getting some respect. Maybe it will get some love in Standard soon, too.

That’s all I have for this week. Blue decks don’t have to be slow and can attack from many angles. I’ve been bouncing from deck to deck because there are so many fun options to consider. This is the first time in recent memory an established format has been so wide open; don’t let it go to waste.

Thanks for reading!

—Kyle


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