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Controlling the Terrain

Control is an exciting puzzle in Modern right now, thanks to the unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor. We’ve quickly gone past the phase where everyone thinks Jace is too degenerate for the format. The card has shown itself to be a pretty fair roleplayer in control decks, and the real question is what the best shell for it is. While everyone else is busy exploring various wu and ur variations, Guillame Matignon brought a very different take to the MOCS this past weekend:

Emrakul, the Promised End
The core of this deck is very similar to the wu control decks that we’ve become familiar with over the last couple of months. The difference is that you aren’t playing as pure a control game. You don’t have as many Logic Knots and Supreme Verdicts because Green lets you be somewhat more proactive.

Sakura-Tribe Elder is exactly what a control deck wants in this format. It’s an early play that gains you some life, ramps you a turn, and helps find basics so you can’t get crushed by Blood Moon. On top of this, you gain Nissa, Vastwood Seer and Courser of Kruphix, both of which help smooth your draw and buy you time to leverage your Jace endgame.

You still have a pretty standard suite of removal - Path to Exile is backed up by Bant Charm, which is one of the most flexible answers in the format if you’re willing to pay for it. Cryptic Command is your only hard counterspell, but Bant Charm can hit key cards in combo matchups and Remand is great in a deck that’s just trying to develop its mana and resolve haymakers.

The real difference between this deck and other control variants we’ve seen recently is how it turns the corner. Time Warp plus Snapcaster Mage, Jace, and Cryptic Command means that you can threaten to take an awful lot of turns in a row. All while developing additional value off of cards like Nissa, Sage Animist and Courser of Kruphix or beating down with Ashaya and Celestial Colonnade.

If you’re looking for a more proactive take on control decks in this format, this seems like a great choice. You’ve got plenty of cards that stand up well against Bloodbraid Elf, as well as powerful and varied set of answers and haymakers. You have access to all the powerful sideboard cards that White offers, and Explore and Sakura-Tribe Elder give you an enormous edge in Jace mirrors.

Masters 25 is now available for Preorder!