Of UW and Other Drugs by Chris Fernandez

Of UW and Other Drugs by Chris Fernandez

Hello everybody and welcome to another article by moi. Today we are going to talk about the many flavors of UW Control decks, both in Standard and Extended especially a build I’ve come up with for those PTQ grinders. But, before I begin, I wanted to address an important concern that has been bothering me for a very a long time.


I. PDS: Pro Douche Syndrome*

You see, I’ve traveled around the island (Puerto Rico) a lot and I have gone to a variety of card shops and something I’ve noticed is that, fortunately, there are so many different types of Magic players, however, there is one type of player that still plagues most of these stores and they are these… incredibly cocky players who mistakenly believe that being a “Pro” is about being a douche bag. This can be so harmful to the health of a community if stores are infected by these players. I know, because I talk. I literally talk to everyone and anyone who will listen in the Magic Community, Pros and Casual players alike, thus I learn about how these players view the game and the people that make this game either great or such a hassle. It breaks my heart to see players quit the game because the players they face at an FNM (Really, guys? At FNM? Of all tournaments?) actually insult them for having bad decks or laughing at them for being terrible at this game. It is infuriating that they lack the consideration to stop and think about what they are doing to these players. They ruin the experience for these guys, they mess with their fun, they humiliate them in front of everyone… This has to stop. I go to a store that suffers from this kind of behavior and I know for a fact that if this was not the case, our store would have more than 30-40 players at FNMs alone. Yet we see no more than 15, because they rather watch TV than to play with pieces of cardboard while these “Pros” humiliate them. You see, in their eyes, it isn’t worth it.

Personally, I try to make everyone’s experience an enjoyable one, whether that person is a “noob” or a seasoned player. I joke, I give advice, I make them feel at home. We all have many reasons for playing Magic, but one of them will always be the same: to have Fun. You need the people around you to have as much fun as you, that way they will keep coming back. If you aren’t having fun, then why ruin it for the rest? To echo two of my favorite writers, Zvi Mowshowitz and Zac Hill: the moment you aren’t having fun in Magic, it is a sign that you have to step back and re-evaluate why you are playing the game. If it means quitting for awhile, so be it. Taking a break from the game might help you gain perspective and you’ll be able to see the game in a whole new way. Who knows? You might come back a better player than before.

As a store, I would punish this behavior. I’d rather lose a client than lose 20 other potential clients because of this one person. I urge players to treat everyone else the same way you would like to be treated, not only in Magic, but also in the real world — show compassion, consideration, tolerance, and respect. Being a “Pro” is more than just being good at the game and winning tournaments, it is also about character and setting an example to others. Humility is a virtue. **

*Couldn’t come up with a better name.

**I hope that I got that point across well.


II. That U/W Ice Cream… of that Standard flavor.

Ah, the infamous UW Control deck, how I love thee. UW Control has been a staple in almost every format since what seems like forever. It has been in almost every format to date and I’m pretty sure it won’t go away any time soon, especially now that we see more than a billion ways to build this deck. Originally, I wanted to focus on my Extended version of the deck, however, I wanted this article to be long, thus I created a UW for Standard. It is a bit of a downer that I decided to write this article after Pro Tour Paris, since apparently an Aggro-Control version of the deck came in first place piloted by Ben Stark (Congratulations!). You can find the deck list here. Then, Greg McCleery from TCGPlayer.com wrote an article (found here) about the same deck, except his adaptation plays exactly zero copies of Jace Beleren and his Mind Sculpting alter ego. I can definitely see the merits of playing both, even if I wouldn’t play without Jaces someone who doesn’t have them can certainly do so, and Stark’s UW deck just isn’t my style, even if it is the best deck in the format. Therefore, I decided to go with a classical approach of UW:

Coconut and Blueberry Ice Cream Control.

Creatures – 10

3 Baneslayer Angel
1 Sun Titan
4 Wall of Omens
2 Sea Gate Oracle

Spells  – 24

4 Mana Leak
2 Condemn
2 Journey to Nowhere
2 Day of Judgment
3 Jace Beleren
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Spell Pierce
4 Preordain
1 Gideon Jura

Lands – 26

4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Tectonic Edge
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Seachrome Coast
1 Scalding Tarn
1 ">Arid Mesa
4 Plains
4 Island

SB – 14

1 Day of Judgment
1 Negate
1 Deprive
1 Flashfreeze
1 Spell Pierce
1 Condemn
2 White Sun’s Zenith
3 Leonin Relic-Warder
3 Oust

I love this set up quite a lot since it is pretty straight-forward, has a lot of ways to disrupt whatever opponent you face, has more card advantage than China has people. Let’s go over the cards of the deck:


1. Baneslayer Angel – Recently, I have re-discovered this card and its potential in the current format. Of course, this might change if Go for the Throat picks up as much as people are raving, until then though, Baneslayer does everything I want it to do in this deck. Against, Valakut you get a creature that comes down before their Titan and you can quickly race them while using cheap counters to slow their ramping down. Against, UB you have no obligation to throw her into harm’s way, but when you do and she survives, you kill them a lot faster than their Tar Pits can kill you. She literally stops Aggro decks on their tracks, they just have no way of beating you with her on the field (maybe a Journey to Nowhere or double Bolting her, but you have ways around that.). Facing the new UW deck from Paris, Baneslayer can certainly put up a good fight against those Hawks and Stoneforge Mystics and she can apply a ton of pressure on them and their Planeswalkers. Trust me; she will rarely see the sideboard.

2. Wall of Omens – The little Wall that could does a little more than become a speed bump against the Aggro decks, it also compliments Preordain in game one when facing anything that isn’t aggressive, and if it is aggressive, it will block while digging deeper into your removal spells. Additionally, it can protect your Planeswalkers from your envious opponents’ attacks, not to mention the decent synergy with Sun Titan, can’t ask for more.

3. Sea Gate Oracle – This 1/3 is mainly here for the same reasons as Wall of Omens. It compliments Preordain, curves out nicely after the wall against aggressive decks, applies some form of “early game” pressure on your opponents and their Planeswalkers while protecting your own, and it interacts well with Sun Titan. And who knows? Sometimes you can mise out wins from random Sea Gate beats.

4. Sun Titan – Many of you might be wondering why I only have one, and I don’t blame you. It is strange to see only one when half the deck interacts so well with it. My reasoning behind this is that I don’t want to play too many of this guy, but I don’t want to play 4 Baneslayers, just like I also want only one Gideon anywhere near my 75 (a second Gideon can be the 15th card in the sideboard, though). Also, in this version of UW I really wanted to bridge the gap between turn 4 and turn 6, which is why I play Gideons and Baneslayers instead of dedicating these slots to Sun Titan. Having a play in every turn of the game is crucial for me, since you can spend your mana a lot better, and when using counters, it is easier to protect a 5-mana spell with Mana Leak, than a 6-mana spell. Additionally, at 6-mana, Sun Titan is terrible against the aggro decks, especially if you miss land drops. However, you can consider another Titan in the sideboard.


1. Condemn, Journey to Nowhere, Day of Judgment – Why are these 2-ofs? Because, I have 4 Wall of Omens, 2 Sea Gate Oracles, 3 Baneslayer Angels, 1 Gideon Jura, and even Jace, the Mind Sculptor can Unsummon creatures. You see, when I began constructing this list, I wanted this deck to be able to win any game one. To make this possible, I had to put a few cards that were good in every match up, some that were incredibly swingy whenever it hit the field, then some MD hate like Spell Pierce for any surprises. Packing all this in, meant I had to make a few sacrifices like cutting down on the removal. There are more of them in the sideboard, so you can switch out the Spell Pierces and a Jace or two, so you can strengthen the Aggro match up. In game one, though, you really won’t have a problem fending off pesky creatures. Condemn still gets rid of Man Lands (and Tectonic Edge), Journey still gets their best guy, and Day will always wrath the board whenever things get too complicated.

2. Spell Pierce – The story behind this one is that I wanted main decked hate against other Control decks and Ramp decks that could play Jace very early, or simply relied on Cultivate and Explore to get to Valakut or whatever their end game was. Having these in the main ensures that you can have a more favorable game one. This deck s built in a way where you can have a favorable match against anything, without having to sacrifice anything for the other match ups. I mean, I rather havea couple of MD Spell Pierces than to over saturate the deck with removal that might not come in handy in a Control match or Combo. In fact, you might even face a random guy playing Pyromancer Ascension and you’ll be glad you had those Spell Pierces in the main.

3. Gideon Jura – Like I said, I really don’t want to see more near my main. I know that a lot of the recent decks are playing 1-3 copied of Gideon, but it is still so bad against the combo decks and you already have a lot of great cards against the decks it is good against. Not to mention that adding another 5-drop will really make that slot a little too crowded. Think about it.


1. Day of Judgment, Condemn, & Oust – There is something I like about having 5 pieces of removal come in from the sideboard, and it is that after sideboard, you are basically attempting to make the Aggro match as much of a Bye as possible. Against almost every aggressive deck in the format you will usually sideboard -3 Spell Pierce, -2 Jace Beleren and bring in +3 Oust, +1 Day of Judgment, and the 1 Condemn. Against control, you sometimes bring in the lone Condemn in exchange of the Wall of Omens or Day of Judgments, since these are useless in the match, and Condemn can hit Man Lands, in case your Tectonic Edges never come out or can’t use them because your mana base decided to choke for some reason.

2. Negate, Spell Pierce, Deprive, & White Sun’s Zenith – Just like Day, Condemn, and Oust makes certain matches impossible to lose, the counters and the Zenith are here to make the Control match almost an auto-win. These extra counters come in after you take out the less than stellar Wall of Omens and the Day of Judgments which tend to be terrible against other Control decks. Counters provide you with a way to stop their spells at any point in a game and to protect your own, while White Sun’s Zenith is just another way to create inevitability. They killed your creatures?  They handled the Titan? They handle your Planeswalkers? Why not create 4 or more 2/2 Cat tokens at the end of THEIR turn? You even get to shuffle them back in so you can keep doing this every time you draw it. Adding the Zenith is just another spell in a long list of spells they have to counter in order to keep themselves afloat.
Against almost every Control deck in the format you should sideboard something akin to: -4 Wall of Omens, -2 Day of Judgment; +1 Deprive, +1 Negate, +1 Spell Pierce, +2 White Sun’s Zenith, +1 Condemn.

3. Leonin Relic-Warder – This one is a little weird since I still can’t tell if it is going to be very useful or just a flop. I have it for those pesky Khalni Heart Expeditions, the new Artifact-filled decks, for the Relic decks, and for those trying to get cute with Luminarch Ascension. There might be other uses for it, but that’s mainly what I’m using them for. The sideboarding goes slightly differently when the Relic-Warder comes into the equation, so here’s a short guide:

A. Quest for the Holy Relic Decks – -3 Spell Pierce, -2 Jace Beleren; +3 Leonin Relic-Warder, +1 Day of Judgment, +1 Condem. I’m still not sure about this, but you really don’t want Spell Pierce, even if you have the upside of getting a Quest with it, it is just not worth it; they can still play their artifacts with Stoneforge’s ability, so you can’t counter those. The plan here is to keep their creatures off the table, sometimes even resetting the board (you usually hold on to the Relic-Warders until they finally land an equipment you can remove or if you really put the read on him, you can remove the Quest instead).  Otherwise, Baneslayer simply outclasses every other creature they have as long as they aren’t equipped. Furthermore, you still have a Sun Titan which you can use to get back your Relic-Warders.

I would like to mention that I don’t put Oust here, because on the off chance that they get a turn 1 Quest online, I will just be enabling them and that is something I want to avoid. If I’m going to stop him, I’d rather “permanently” deal with his ability go off.

On the other hand, I thought of simply playing with Divine Offering, and though the idea has not been completely discarded, I do like that Leonin can get some beats going until you can get an Angel online.

B. Standard “Affinity” – -3 Spell Pierce, -3 Jace Beleren, -1 Mana Leak; +3 Leonin Relic-Warder, +3 Oust, +1 Condemn. This one is somewhat straight-forward, Mana Leak, will be less than ideal in this match, the same with Spell Pierce, and you got the Relic-Warders that can deal with any Journey to Nowheres, or artifacts, or Tempered Steels that come your way, with the added support of Walls, Baneslayer, and Condemns, you will rarely have a problem with this deck.

C. Artifact Control – I’m going to go out on a limb on this one since I have done zero testing whatsoever. At first glance, this is how I would sideboard: -4 Wall of Omens, -2 Day of Judgment; +3 Leonin Relic-Warder, +1 Deprive, +1 Negate, +1 Spell Pierce. However, I realize that these decks play with Galvanic Blast, Pyroclasm, and Slagstorm, so depending on whether they remove them or not, the sideboarding might change. If you fully expect them to have these, you can add a Celestial Purge to the deck so you can kill Tezzeret, and sideboard like this: -4 Wall of Omens, -2 Day of Judgment; +1 Celestial Purge, +1 Deprive, +1 Negate, +1 Spell Pierce, +1 Condemn, +1 White Sun’s Zenith. Purges are also applicable for dealing with Red or Black man lands; it can remove Koth or Tezzeret; it can remove a variety of Vampires, Goblins, Grave Titans and Inferno Titans… And that’s it. White Sun’s Zenith can still be used to draw out their counters or to eat one of their Duresses.

4. Flashfreeze – The only one ‘Freeze. It is there for Elves (if need be) and for Ramp decks. Here’s a few more sideboarding tips for these particular match ups:

A. Valakut & Eldrazi Green – -4 Wall of Omens, -1 Jace Beleren; +1 Deprive, +1 Negate, +1 Spell Pierce, +1 Flashfreeze, +1 Day of Judgment. The one that seems a little out of place is Day of Judgment and it is because, I’m expecting them to bring in Thruns and the ways you have to deal with them are very, very few. So, Day can generally get them when they are tapped out so they can’t regenerate them. It helps that you can still get quite a few of their cards with the Day, even a Primeval Titan or Avenger of Zendikar. The rest are just counters so you can stop much of their ramp from ever resolving. Once they are on topdeck, you can use your Tectonic Edges to pick off their Valakuts as they come up, or you basically seal the game up with Jace.

Not many people play Eldrazi Green anymore, but I don’t like to discard decks based on that, since you never know when you’ll have to battle someone who just doesn’t want to let go of the deck. Thus I prepared a guide for this one as well: -4 Wall of Omens, -2 Jace Beleren; +1 Spell Pierce, +1 Day of Judgment, +3 Oust, +1 Flashfreeze. Day of Judgment kills everything even the Eldrazis that managed to hit the ground; Oust makes their Overgrown Battlements and the Treespeakers extremely slow; and  Flashfreeze/Spell Pierce stop Explore, random Growth Spasms, Summoning Traps, and Primeval Titan. The added counters will let you be able to handle Titans without having to fear the Trap. I would consider playing another Deprive, instead of the 3rd Beleren.

B. Elves – UW’s sideboard against this match may seem obvious (because it is), but it still seems a little shaky. Fortunately, it is only since I think Flashfreeze might be useful here, making sure you still have a way to counter their spells and most importantly, their Genesis Waves: -3 Jace Beleren, -3 Spell Pierce; +3 Oust, +1 Flashfreeze, +1 Condemn, +1 Day of Judgment. I don’t think you will need the ‘Freezes, if this is the case, you can leave it in the sideboard and a Beleren in the main.

The only match up that is rather important that I didn’t explain is RUG and BUG which usually goes something like this:  -4 Wall of Omens, -1 Gideon Jura, -1 Jace Beleren; +3 Oust, +1 Deprive, +1 Flashfreeze, +1 Negate/Spell Pierce. Taking Gideon out means I can keep my curve relatively low and use this slot for counters which is what matters a bit more in this match. Being able to control what they can and cannot play while also resolving your own Jace (resolving Jace is important in this match), will be what decides this game. Moreover,  Ousting their Lotus Cobras is vital to keeping yourself ahead of your opponent, even Ousting an Oracle of Mul Daya could mean the difference between life and death. You may or may not need the extra Day of Judgment, though, I doubt it, since once you deplete their resources by countering their action spells they will be left with lands and no gas. If a Thrun happens to come down, you still have Baneslayer Angel will keep your life total high, while outright killing your opponent.

One last match I would like to mention is that new Mass Polymorph deck Shaheen Soorani played at Paris. If people paid attention to the deck, you would do well to expect it at your next Standard event. Since that deck is like a UW Planeswalker deck (with a combo finish) in disguise, my sideboard would be something akin to this: -4 Wall of Omens; +1 Spell Pierce, +1 Negate, +1 Deprive, +1Day of Judgment. You counter their more important ‘Walkers, and the Days might come in handy to wipe out the board from any tokens. I would consider putting Ratchet Bomb, since the deck relies so much on tokens to go off, you can kill them all in response to a Mass Polymorph. Other than that, Baneslayer, Sun Titan, and Gideon will deliver the necessary beats to finish the game, or you can mill them with Jace.


III. The Blue, the White, and the Ugly.

If you skipped the first two parts: Welcome to the last part of the article and the whole reason I’m writing this. I want to share with you the Extended UW Control deck I came up with. It has everything I was looking for in a deck in this format and it was:

1.       A deck I could build with what I had. I mean, I can’t afford Cascade Bluffs, or Flooded Grove, or Mutavaults, or Thoughtseize, etc. Luckily, I had most (if not all) of UW’s mana base, all 4 Cryptic Commands, the Jaces, and so on. In Puerto Rico, like everywhere else, is hard to find people who can lend you cards when you are not part of their posse.

2.       An adaptable deck. One of the things I’m great at in this game is tuning. I love to tune decks and tweak them until my heart’s content. Since I’m horrifyingly bad at inventing deck, I scour the net to find a “netdeck” I like and tweak it. For that reason, I choose decks that are quite customizable and in colors that have the best tools and in the best variety for any metagame, so I can play around with my 75.

Last Extended season it was Scapeshift when it have the Ravnica duals. I tested the deck, loved it, looked at the viable cards available in the format and once I saw that I can do anything with the main deck and the sideboard, I began deciphering the format. Like I do whenever I pick up a deck, I tend to jot down every deck in that particular format and write down every sideboarding option I have. For example, a nice way to deal with Control, Living End, and Aggro decks was to use Primal Command. Primal Command could help you find some creatures so you can put pressure on control while also looking for ways to combo off; you could shuffle Living End’s graveyard back to his deck, which you could do WAY before they combo’d off since you ramped; and against Aggro, gaining 7 life and looking for a Kitchen Finks was back-breaking.

The same principle applies to the UW. You’ll see why.

3.       A deck that has great match ups across the entire format. This is very important, because you need to know which match ups you are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve a favorable build and get far into any tournament. Remember, no deck is unbeatable, but some decks get beaten by more decks than others. Back to my Scapeshift example, my worst match up was Faeries, and I gave up that match up. I was expecting a lot of Aggro and Dark Depths, so I prepared for that knowing that not everyone was going to play Faeries. It takes a lot of research to know what strategies work and don’t work when managing your 75. In the end, I was right; my only loss was to one Fae deck in Round 1 and the rest was smooth sailing.

These are my guidelines to how I tackle any format I face and I recommend you to keep them in mind as you’ll never know when they will come in handy. Without further ado, here’s my version of UW:

Blue skies and White clouds Control.

Creatures – 10
2 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Glen Elendra Archmage
3 Vendilion Clique
3 Kitchen Finks

Spells – 24
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Spell Pierce
3 Path to Exile
2 Day of Judgment
1 Oblivion Ring
4 Cryptic Command
4 Mana Leak
4 Preordain

Lands – 26
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 ">Seachrome Coast
4 Tectonic Edge
3 Mystic Gate
2 Glacial Fortress
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Arid Mesa
3 Plains
4 Island

SB – 14

1 Oblivion Ring
1 Day of Judgment
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Celestial Purge
1 Path to Exile
1 Jace Beleren
1 White Sun’s Zenith
2 Wall of Denial
2 Runed Halo
3 Oust

Onto a breakdown of each card:


1. Glen Elendra Archmage & Vendilion Clique – Both of these together make a tag team that can wreck opposing Control decks like no body’s business. Vendilion Clique is incredible at fighting Control and Combo decks alike, stripping their hand of their best spells while giving you all the information in the world. It is a great card to lure out counters at end of turn, allowing you to resolve your Jace or what have you. In game 1 against Aggro it can be a surprise blocker that can filter your hand from useless spells and if they aren’t applying enough pressure, it is a nice insta-attacker, or once they are topdecking you can keep them from drawing anything good. Against Combo, it is a card that gives you a lot of information and can disrupt their combo by taking out a much needed piece, while also whittling their life points for 3 a pop, putting them on a short clock.

Glen Elendra Archmage is another card that once it resolves it just stops every non-creature spell your opponent ever thinks of playing. The dynamic duo of Archmage and Vendilion is deceptively powerful in game 1 against any deck. Sure it does a fine job at disrupting Control and spell based Combo decks, but against Aggro, Archmage can take down a Bloodbraid Elf and come back to tell the tale, or she can just chump block twice which can still give you enough time to establish control of the game.

2. Wurmcoil Engine – I really wanted this one to be Baneslayer Angel and apply the same idea I used in the Standard version, but in Extended, Wurmcoil Engine’s power is just undeniable. I like it even more now that Faeries will decide to play Go for the Throat, which can’t deal with a Wurmcoil. Sometimes a resolved Engine is enough to turn the entire game around; I’m not exaggerating. Furthermore, Engine performs the same task as Baneslayer – being a big, hard to deal with creature that can gain you enough life, and make Bitterblossom much more of a hassle for the Fae players. Making Blossom into more of a liability than a blessing ensures eventual victory in most cases.

3. Kitchen Finks – Explains itself. Mainly a speed bump against the Aggro decks and a decent sized beater to put Control decks on a clock if need be. Aggro decks will have a tough time handling all of the decks creatures, the Archmage and Clique are rather terrible against them. Kitchen Finks will buy you all the time in the world. Game one against Control, you might not want to play this one on turn 3, you don’t want to be the aggressor since you will have plenty of time for that. The deck plays Clique and Archmage that allow you to change your role later in the match. However, against Aggro, Kitchen Finks will probably come down on turn 3 all the time. You can use it to block or to attack back, depending on the situation.


1. Spell Pierce – Just like in the Standard version, this card is maindecked as a “surprise” foil for Control and Combo decks. I wanted insurance in game one against the Scapeshift decks and other random combo decks that rely on resolving spells to win (even Splinter Twin). Against other decks, you can shuffle them back with Jace and Fetchlands, or randomly counter removal, Tezzerets, Genesis Waves, etc. Again, you will most likely board them out when facing certain decks.

2. The Rest – I would discuss the rest, but they are well-known staples of the deck already. You have the usually Jaces, the same 4 Commands, Mana Leaks, the mass removal, the random Oblivion Ring for any troublesome permanents, and the Paths for annoying creatures like Vengevine, Mistbind Clique, and Demigod of Revenge.


1. Oblivion Ring, Day of Judgment, Path to Exile, & Oust – The usually removal suite which come in after you take out Spell Pierces among other cards against Aggro deck. Oblivion Ring’s application is a bit more broad as you can kill Planewalkers, Prismatic Omens, Pyromancer Ascensions among other non-creature permanents that can slip through counters. Oust is there to slow down Elves, keep Fauna Shaman in check, and to keep mana dorks off the table against Naya and Mythic Conscription, deals with Putrid Leech without giving them lands, etc. Path to Exile is extra insurance for these creature-based match ups and really stop Mistbind Cliques, Vengevines, Demigod of Revenge, and anything else from blowing you out.

2. Wall of Denial & Kitchen Finks – Finally, a card that seems out of place. What is my reasoning behind Wall of Denial? Well, you know how I like to make my match ups to be impossible to lose? This is a good way to do that. It is extremely hard for Aggro decks to get past this Wall, it can block Mistbind Cliques, it can block Baneslayers, block Demigods, block Mark of Mutiny’d Wurmcoil Engines, etc. Not that I will use it in every circumstance, but it is another sideboard to keep in mind if I find myself facing a very strange deck. People like to innovate; I like to be ready for their innovations.

The 4th Kitchen Finks is so you can reliably draw into them and you have a creature that survives Wrath. Besides, the more the merrier.

3. Runed Halo – I’ve been torn between Runed Halo and Leyline of Sanctity, but Runed Halo seems to be the winner here. I believe that, in this case, it is all about personal preference and I prefer the Halo. The problem with Leyline is that if you open with it, you are lucky. If you don’t open with it, you are stuck casting it later and there are way too many ways to punish you for hard-casting the thing. Additionally, if you happen to draw more than one copy, they will be stuck in your hand, because you don’t want to be blown out by casting a second copy, only to get it countered and then the other one bounced by a Cryptic Command. Runed Halo, on the other hand, is great in multiples and comes down on turn two, usually where there are no counter spells to fear and what not. Runed Halo also has far more applications in any given game than Leyline. Rune Halo can stop a certain attacker, or stop Cruel Ultimatum, or Mistbind Clique, or Vendilion Clique, Identity Crisis, Lightning Bolts from Pyromancer, and so on. Though the same can be said about Leyline, the aforementioned creatures still won’t do any damage.

4. Jace Beleren & White Sun’s Zenith – For the last time I will mention that I love to make my decks as resilient as possible, because I hate losing to variance (did not draw my sideboard cards or whatever), as a result these two cards wiggled themselves into the sideboard to make life harder for other Control decks. They no longer have to worry about Glen Elendra Archmage, Vendilion, Wurmcoil, Mind Sculptor, and counters, but instead they have EOT White Sun’s Zenith and another Jace threating to destroy them. The latter gets to draw and draw and draw and draw, whilst the former will create a steady stream of 2/2 attackers. You know have more ways to overwhelm them on the board and in the card advantage battle.

5. Celestial Purge – This is a card I’m sure not many people expected to see in this sideboard and it’s a card I’m still not exactly crazy about. However, it is another way to deal with Koth, red and black man lands, Tezzeret, Demigod of Revenge, Necrotic Ooze, Bitterblossom (doubt it, but you never know), Putrid Leech, Bloodbraid Elf, Hero of Oxid Ridge, Figure of Destiny, and more. The applications are there, so there is no mistaking its utility.

Much like the Standard build, I’m still not finished with the sideboard, as I still can’t figure out what I want as a 15th card. Again, like I said before, I’m willing to bet that I will end up with a Ratchet Bomb, just to make my game against Faeries that much better.

Well, I’m almost at the end of another long article. As a bonus, I will throw in a small sideboarding guide that you can use as a guideline and it is just that, guidelines, so feel free to experiment with the deck.

1. Faeries – -2 Day of Judgment, -2 Glen Elendra Archmage; +2 Runed Halo, +1 Path to Exile, +1 Oblivion Ring. Cards to consider: Wall of Denial, Ratchet Bomb and Essence Scatter****

****At one point, I had Essence Scatter in the deck so I had another way to battle Mistbind Cliques — I really don’t want this card to resolve its Champion ability.

2. Elves – -3 Spell Pierce, -2 Glen Elendra Archmage, -1 Mana Leak; +1 Day of Judgment, +3 Oust, +1 Path to Exile, +1 Oblivion Ring. Cards to consider: Kitchen Finks

3. Red Deck Wins & Boros – If it has many unearth creatures: -3 Spell Pierce, -2 Day of Judgment; +2 Wall of Denial, +1 Path to Exile, +1 Celestial Purge, +1 Kitchen Finks. If its creatures are permanents (no Hellsparks, Hell’s Thunder, Ball Lightnings): -3 Spell Pierce, -3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor, -2 Glen Elendra Archmage; +1 Path to Exile, +2 Wall of Denial, +1 Celestial Purge, +1 Kitchen Finks, +3 Oust. Cards to consider: Runed Halo and Oblivion Ring, or consider boarding out Vendilion Cliques instead of the Pierces if you feel they are more useful.

4. Naya – -3 Vendilion Clique, -2 Glen Elendra Archmage, -3 Spell Pierce, -1 Mana Leak; +3 Oust, +2 Wall of Denial, +1 Kitchen Finks, +1 Day of Judgment, +1 Oblivion Ring, +1 Path to Exile. Cards to consider: Runed Halo and Ratchet Bomb.

5. RG Valakut – -2 Day of Judgment, -1 Oblivion Ring; +2 Runed Halo, +1 Kitchen Finks. Since most of the deck is already geared to battle Valakut, another Kitchen Finks mean you can apply pressure (who also gains you a bit of life in the process) and Runed Halo makes sure you don’t die to Valakut if they manage to continue their game plan after dealing with all of their threats. Cards to consider: Another Spell Pierce or a singleton Spreading Seas.

6. UGr Valakut – -2 Day of Judgment, -2 Path to Exile; +1 Kitchen Finks, +1 Oblivion Ring, +2 Runed Halo. This one What sets this one apart from the other Valakut deck is its total dependence on Prismatic Omen. As long as you keep Omen off the table and Runed Halo on Valakut, it will be very hard for you to lose. Oblivion Ring so you have more chances to draw ways to deal with a resolved Prismatic Omen. Cards to consider: Leonin Relic-Warder, War Priest of Thune, Into the Roil.

7. Control – -2 Day of Judgment; +1 White Sun’s Zenith, +1 Jace Beleren. Cards to consider: Oblivion Ring, Negate, Runed Halo, Deprive, Celestial Purge. There are many flavors of Control in the format, some UR with a Demigod end game, which you have Celestial Purge, Oblivion Ring, and Runed Halo; others UW or 4 colors who can side in Leyline for your Vendilion Cliques of which you can deal with another Oblivion Ring, or they can Cruel Utimatum you, so you can Negate, Deprive, or Runed Halo them. These are alternatives that you can consider since you don’t always need to keep the Finks in.

8. Jund – -2 Glen Elendra Archmage, -3 Vendilion Clique, -1 Jace the Mind Sculptor; +3 Oust, +2 Wall of Denial, +1 Kitchen Finks. Cards to consider: Runed Halo, Day of Judgment, Path to Exile, and Celestial Purge. Sideboarding here is a little tricky, since you want to be able to maintain a foothold on card advantage. You can do this by countering the Blightnings, Ousting Putrid Leeches to keep the pressure at a minimum, Wall of Denial holds any creature back, and Finks trades with whatever attacks you. Between all the counters and blockers, you can defend a Jace so you can stay ahead of them. Replacing the Spell Pierces with Runed Halo might also work in keeping Blightning in check among other things.

Here you got the most important decks in the format. I have more decks listed, but this article is already way too long, so I won’t drag this on anymore. Hope you enjoyed the ride and if you still want to know the sideboarding guide for the other decks, you know where to find me!

Until next time,

PS: My playlist as I wrote this: Atargatis, Avantasia, and Angra.

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