Video Article: UB Control with Jonathan Randle

Grixis Control in Scars of Mirrodin Block, by Grant Hislop


Standard UB Control – Match 1 Game 1 Part 1.

Standard UB Control – Match 1 Game 1 Part 2.

Standard UB Control – Match 1 Game 2 Part 2.


Standard UB Control – Match 2 Game 1.

Standard UB Control – Match 2 Game 2.


Standard UB Control – Match 3 Game 1 Part 1.

Standard UB Control – Match 3 Game 1 Part 2.

Standard UB Control – Match 3 Game 2 Part 1.

Standard UB Control – Match 3 Game 2 Part 2.


My Thoughts.

My thoughts on UB Control are rather mixed. Many of the spells it plays are particularly good in today’s environment, and I love playing with discard and Jace… but something feels missing. I think that, basically it is missing the white, Stoneforge Mystic, and everything else. It isn’t CawBlade and it felt like that too. It always felt like I was struggling. It’s game plan is nowhere near as quick, direct nor varied as CawBlade’s is. So, in short, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Having said all of that, there were some positives I took from it. One is that Gitaxian Probe is excellent, though again it would probably shine more in UW since a) you already have spells that give you knowledge of their hand in UB, and b) you aren’t as much of a sorcery speed deck as UW is. UB needs too many things to go right in order for it to take control of the game, and it relies far too heavily on Jace. Jace is it’s primary, and at times, solitary threat and that just isn’t good enough when everyone is playing Jace’s anyway. Sorry, it sounds like I’m rinsing the deck even more now, so let’s try and talk about the good points.

Consecrated SphinxI love this card. It does so much, yet still, somehow, I feel it isn’t enough. There are a variety of threats that UB could play… Wurmcoil, Sphinx, Titan, Volition Reigns, Karn, and on the whole I would play a mix of Sphinx and Titan. Sphinx is obviously a very powerful card, but in the list that I used in my videos in is somewhat counter intuitive. It is a very scary threat and you will obviously pull ahead if it sticks around… but what are you drawing from it? If you only have it and another card to win with then it isn’t doing much at all. It just doesn’t fit in my list.

Hmmm… okay well the card is great but terrible in the deck, not much of a good point.

Karn, The LiberatedI feel that this card could see some constructed play. He is impossible to kill, and can deal with anything.

My Conclusions.

I feel that UB is too fair, too weak. It trades one for ones with the aggro decks, and hopes to gain the Jace advantage against UW. The problem is is that it is far too threat light. Drawing all those extra cards means precious little if they don’t do anything. Any threat that it does play can be handled fairly easily, with the exception of Karn, which should maybe be the goal of the deck (exile some stuff, exile a Jace, ultimate, then try to find your Titan). UB doesn’t seem to have the sideboard weapons either. There are no Shatters, no Kor Firewalkers etc. It only has Memoricide, which is fairly rubbish anyway.

My opinion then is not very high of UB at the moment. It just isn’t anywhere nearly as good as CawBlade, and has weaker matchups against the entire field. If I were to play UB again I would try to explore a whole different angle of attack. Possibly something like Yasooka played in the GP. It needs to become more aggressive. Jace won’t get there by himself, not when your opponent has Jaces and doesn’t have to rely on them.

It’s Valakut matchup is worse since you apply no pressure and even if you strip their hand you still have to stick a Titan and cross your fingers, it’s aggro matchup is worse because you have to trade one for one whilst not giving them anything to worry about (and no Batterskull), it’s Splinter Twin matchup might seem better, but in reality it is the same problem as that of Valakut and it’s CawBlade matchup (and let’s face it, this is the be all and end all) is poor because you aren’t doing anything while they just deploy threat after threat and anyone of those will tear you apart if it isn’t dealt with immediately.

Magic has moved on from the super controlling, threat light decks of the past. Nowadays you need to be fast in your aggression, and be aggressive with your control.

I appreciate the theory behind UB, and it was a proven deck at last year’s Worlds, but now you simply have to be faster. One side note is that if you play on Modo you must be aware of time. You will have to play quickly, which isn’t an especially easy thing to do when you play control.
UB is good, but not good enough.


So what improvement do you think we can make to this deck? Did you notice any obvious misplays? And would you have done anything differently?

What deck would you like to see me play and record next?

I’d love to opened up discussion about UB Control and my video article series.



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