Breaking Down U/W Control

This past weekend’s events really paid off. I played about 20 or so Leagues and worked hard to be as prepared as possible for the event. In doing so I’ve also discovered that Approach of the Second Sun is a bad card and you shouldn’t play it. Fortunately, I also had the best result you can achieve in an event with a WIN in Atlanta. Since I have already discussed the whys of the deck, I’m going to spend some time discussing how I approach sideboard and matchups. Before I get into that I’m going to put the decklist up for viewing.


I’ve kind of talked everything about the deck to death so let’s get into card choices.

Cast Out

For a long time, Cast Out was one of the staples of the {U}{W} strategies and was an easy three or four of in every deck. However, for this event, I started with four and found myself down from that with every League. Cast Out was slow, clunky, and with the popularity of {U}{W} it wasn’t even a solid answer. Blink of an Eye was picking up in popularity and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria was everywhere. With all the {U}{W} decks playing some number of Field of Ruin and Ipnu Rivulet, Cast Out became incredibly temporary. Against Green decks, Blossoming Defense is a cheap way to interact with the expensive Enchantment. While I do like some number of the card against the Red decks, there’s a number of things Cast Out falls short against. Because of this I’m down to two in the main deck and was fairly happy with how it played out. Post board I included another copy and Ixalan’s Binding as an answer to The Scarab God or Hazoret the Fervent. But, with the absence of The Scarab God and the extra cards being unneeded against Red decks, I think I’ll be cutting them in the future. With The Scarab God decks also having access to cards like Syncopate and Blink of an Eye, something expensive like Cast Out might not even be the right kind of answer for the price.

Blink of an Eye

The functional Into the Roil reprint has done more than enough to carry its weight. While Seal Away is an incredible card, it’s brought about some creatures that line up well against it. Between tokens and Heart of Kiran, I don’t want to be stuck staring down a Seal Away. Even more beneficial is that Blink of an Eye is great against Planeswalkers as well. Giving yourself time or early tempo on the cheap is all you really need. The fact that it can cycle also gives a huge bonus in the mid to late game. Over the weekend, I bounced pretty much everything from tokens to my own Gearhulk. I used to have a third one available and I may return to one over the Commit // Memory. I think there’s no need to Memory in most of your games, so Commit is more an expensive way to bounce something.

Search for Azcanta

Last season, Search for Azcanta was a powerful enchantment and saw play in multiple copies in Blue decks as the premier way to take over the game. Despite starting at a higher number, it turns out Search wasn’t the greatest thing. It has become a little slow and clunky, and being so mana intensive is sometimes a detriment. While clearly powerful in the mirror and against midrange decks, there’s a lot of pressure from the creatures and planeswalkers in this format that can make Search for Azcanta a little too slow to have multiple copies. We’d rather be interacting most of the time, and in the mirror you have to worry about four Field of Ruin regardless. I’m fairly happy with one at the moment.

Syncopate

While I sing the praises of Syncopate, when you’re trying to tap out for Teferi or utilize Gearhulk efficiently, Syncopate can turn out to be not enough. Instead, I tried to utilize the harder counterspells. Despite being inflexible at times, I feel being cheaper and having a more narrow counterspell would play better. While Syncopate might find room in {U}{W} decks in the future, I think right now I’d rather play Essence Scatter and Negate.

I’m not a big fan of sideboard guides, but since folks have asked for them, I’ll include some of my strategies when I sideboardl; and, at the end of the article, I’ll include my updated decklist.

VS Mono Red Aggro
In:

Out:

Vs Mono Red we really want to make sure we’re able to act early and often. Against the Red based aggro decks, cards like Fumigate don’t actually line up that well because of Scrapheap Scrounger and Rekindling Phoenix. The Red deck is great at outputting massive damage early then being able to sit back on one creature. Tapping out for one-two life isn’t enough to justify leaving it in.

VS {B}{R} Aggro

In:

Out:

The {B}{R} deck has a lot more focus on Artifacts, so Forsake the Worldly is going to be wonderful here. Essence Scatter is a little bit worse against Scrounger and the deck has a lot more noncreature spells post board. While Teferi is a fantastic card, since we’re boarding in Lyra we’re going to want to not get caught with a ton of highly expensive cards to pair along with it. I think, in general, you want to keep in one Teferi as it pairs well with lots of cards and you want to be able to bury them in card advantage at some point. I know some players like to board out Glimmer of Genius or Torrential Gearhulk, but I think you need to find certain cards and use Torrential Gearhulk to be able to claw yourself back in or cement your victory.

{G}{B}/Sultai Snake

In:

Out:

The Snake decks are traditionally good matchups. While they can dodge removal and use Walking Ballista as a fireball, in general, the matchup lines up well. Now the sideboard might look a little weird but the Green decks all have the same exact plan of boarding in a bunch of Naturalize effects making Seal Aways and Cast Outs more of a liability over everything else. Karn has been particularly impressive against the deck, either letting you draw a ton of cards or create enough blockers to give you time to draw.

Mono-Green

In:

Out:

The matchup here is already outstanding. They have vehicles so we want a solid removal for those and as the plan includes boarding in a ton of Naturalizes we want to sidestep that board plan all together.

VS {U}{W} Control

In:

Out:

Between Blink of an Eye, Teferi, and Forsake the Worldly a card like Cast Out is a liability rather than an answer. I’m okay with my opponent keeping theirs in when we have so many answers that are nice and clean. At worst Forsake kills Torrential Gearhulk and can cycle. Either way this is a relatively normal control mirror. You know your opponent has creatures post board so keep in all your Essence Scatters.

Here’s likely what I’m playing this weekend! Hope this article helped a bit!


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