Video Series with Ryland: UW Control

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Hey, everyone! I recently got back from the highly anticipated SCG Season One Invitational in Roanoke. While the namesake event did not go well for me with my usual weapon of choice (Jund Shadow), my choice for the Open performed much better. Today I'll discuss what led me to try my hand at UW Control at the Open, before running the deck through a league on MTGO.

The night previous to the Open I contemplated many deck choices for the event that I thought might be a fun departure from my typical Shadow list. I considered Krark-CIan Ironworks, Eldrazi Tron, Storm, Abzan, and everything in between. After some thought, and with my friend's Eldrazi Tron deck in my backpack, I slept soundly thinking I would be registering it as my 75 the next morning. When I woke up however, I had a quite sudden change of heart—I hadn't seriously considered it much previously, but UW Control sounded like a blast. I have always enjoyed playing control decks and it had been a while since I had the pleasure of doing so. In addition, UW has a good matchup against the ever-popular Grixis Death's Shadow deck, which helped solidify my decision. I quickly threw the deck together, trusting the list's specifics to a long-time advocate of UW, MTGO user bennyhillz. I used his list card-for-card, with no deviations.

The deck performed far better than I had hoped. This particular list was amazingly smooth, and had much more game in a large variety of matchups, not just the expected few. At the end of the first day I was 8-1, having lost only two games to Dredge in Round 7. While I was disappointed to miss a "perfect" day by such a close margin, I was still quite pleased with the deck and the results up to that point, especially considering that I had played against eight different decks in those nine rounds. The second day of the tournament started similarly strong but ended in some disappointment as I lost my final two rounds, both of which were win-and-ins to the Top 8. Instead, I ended up on 12th place.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the list (if that wasn't clear already) and I fully intend to continue playing it as I move forward. As such, it is the perfect choice for today's league! I don't yet want to change a single card from the list (again, full credit to bennyhillz), as I think the current list is very well tuned. Many people are playing with a single copy of Glimmer of Genius . While I don't currently have a desire to swap any card for it, Glimmer is definitely on my radar, and something to continue thinking about.

Enough about the past weekend, let's hop into those games! As I said last time, I'm interested to hear what kind of content you'd like to see moving forward, so I can continue to evolve and improve my videos. Please let me know your thoughts, and any improvements you would like to see concerning formatting, presentation, or whatever else strikes your fancy. If you'd like to see similar content, check out my Twitch channel for some more live Modern!


12 thoughts on “Video Series with Ryland: UW Control

  1. Game 1, when the opponent played Courser and you decided to counter draw with Cryptic to look for a Plains, you could have counter bounced Blood Moon and fetched Plains with your Flooded Strand.

    1. Hi Andy!

      At the time my thought was that I wasn’t necessarily digging aggressively for the plains, I was just more concerned with the card advantage the Courser could have accrued over the next few turns while I was still messing around. In addition I figured that my opponent had only 1 card left and that it was likely nothing.

      That said, I probably should not have Cryptic’ed the Courser. What was likely the correct line would have been to Cryptic EOT bouncing the Blood Moon, and then killing my opponent with 2 Colonnades. I had enough mana to activate both and my opponent was at 8. The only card I can imagine they would have would be Beast Within, at which point I would just kill them with the beast of the course of the next couple turns. The counter point would be that if my opponent DID have Beast Within, I would be giving them 1 free turn to resolve whatever they may have drawn off the top. However, with the number of cards I had and how high my life total was, that wasn’t really a concern.

  2. Near the end of Match 1 you were likely going to win anyway, but you could have:

    1. Played path targeting your own wall, getting basic plains

    2. Island, Snap, Path targeting Courser.

    3. Attack for 6

    4. Pass with Mana Leak up and 3 U and 2 W available mana making the mana denial plan very difficult.

    1. Hi Matt!

      Certainly seems like a reasonable line, and I also agree that at that stage of the game most lines look good. Definitely our game to lose at that point! Thanks for watching.

  3. I think I watched you play a bit. I was at the invitational as well. (Also scrubbed out, also did better in the open, although not as well as you)

    how did the mainboard seas feel? I mean they seem quite good in general vs all the greedy mana. It’s like a mini moon+cantrip to slow people down

    1. Hi Aaron!

      Seas are incredible. I honestly think they are the biggest draw to playing the deck (especially over other control decks). I rarely side any number out and they are frequently a deciding factor for the game’s result. Thanks for watching!

    1. Hi Matt!

      Spell Queller is a sweet tool for certain control decks but I don’t think this is the one. The biggest reason is that we are largely a tap-out control deck looking to manage threats after they resolve (albeit countering some that we can’t deal with otherwise). With the large number of walkers and verdicts we have, playing at instant speed can at times be an issue. In addition I’m not a huge fan of the Non-bo with our own Verdicts.

      I do realize that you are asking about SB Quellers and not MD ones, so it may seem like a lot of my issues with the card won’t necessarily come up. However, for the matchups where I need to overload on counters, I would prefer just to have access to things like Dispels and additional Negates.

      The biggest reason for this (and perhaps the only important reason Quellers aren’t in the board) is that Negates and Dispels have more matchup overlap. I need my counters to be cheap and efficient against decks like burn and Queller is neither of those. On top of that, in the matchups where I need my additional counterspells, I typically need them to be hard counterspells, not temporarily stored under my Queller until a later date. It may seem like people are going to be boarding out all of their removal against UW, but it’s not uncommon to see something like Echoing Truth, or some kind of lingering removal intending to hit a Gideon or a Colonnade.

      If you can find room in the board for them, they can definitely be good, I’m just not convinced it’s optimal. Just my two cents. Thanks for watching!

  4. Excellent video series. I was impressed with Gideon of the Trials’ performance in the league, and I think the 60 looks pretty solid overall. I do think I’d like to see another Geist to help close out games in which you have to win quickly, but that’s more of a quibble than anything else.

    1. Hi Roland!

      I appreciate the kind words, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Gideon of the Trials has been outstanding for me so far; I have also been quite impressed. Another Geist in the board definitely seems reasonable, the only issue being that I don’t think I could find the space. Interestingly enough, having access to Gideon of the Trials makes having additional cheap closers in the board such as Geist less necessary, since Gideon does double-duty in that regard! Thanks for watching!

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