Spread the Sickness – Modern Part 4 – Control Decks by Grant Hislop

UB Mystical Teachings – A Pauper Video Article by Grant Hislop


Hello again.

This is the 4th part of the series on the decks of Modern. Parts one can be found here, two here and three here.

Previously, we’ve looked at some of the Aggro, Mid-Range and Combo strategies available to the Modern mage. Today, it’s time to have a look at Control.

Due to the unexplored nature of the format, it’s very difficult to build a control deck to answer the rest of the decks, given that we don’t know fully what they are. This doesn’t mean Control doesn’t exist, it just means that the decks will be running more generic answers. [Card]Counterspell[/Card] doesn’t care if it’s countering a [Card]Wild Nacatl[/Card] or a [Card]Hive Mind[/Card], for example.

With that said, it’s very difficult to build a pure control deck in an unknown format, so most of these decks lean a little towards Combo-Control or Aggro-Control.

As before, decks are presented in no particular order. Except the first.


This is one of the pillars of the format. We abuse the interaction between [Card]Cloudpost[/Card], [Card]Glimmerpost[/Card] and [Card]Vesuva[/Card] to generate an obscenely large amount of mana, which we use to power out Eldrazi’s. I know for a fact that Adrian Fraser finds this deck particularly delicious. It’s unclear if this is due to it’s power-level, or just due to his predilection for eating [Card]Glimmerpost[/Card]s….

We’re a quasi-ramp, quasi-control deck, with one of the most busted late games going. You need to have a way to deal with a hard-cast Emrakul, or stop him being cast in the first place.

This particular version runs [Card]Gifts Ungiven[/Card], I loves me some [Card]Gifts Ungiven[/Card], and the [Card]Mindslaver[/Card] lock is easily fetchable here.

The main problem with this deck, aside from being Public Enemy #1, is the appalling Mirror. It’s possible to hard-cast Emrakul on Turn 3 in the mirror. Skill game.

1 [Card]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/Card]
1 [Card]Kozilek, Butcher of Truth[/Card]
3 [Card]Trinket Mage[/Card]
1 [Card]Wurmcoil Engine[/Card]

2 [Card]All is Dust[/Card]
1 [Card]Brittle Effigy[/Card]
2 [Card]Chalice of the Void[/Card]
3 [Card]Condescend[/Card]
1 [Card]Crucible of Worlds[/Card]
1 [Card]Dimir Signet[/Card]
2 [Card]Echoing Truth[/Card]
4 [Card]Expedition Map[/Card]
4 [Card]Gifts Ungiven[/Card]
1 [Card]Mindslaver[/Card]
2 [Card]Oblivion Stone[/Card]
1 [Card]Pithing Needle[/Card]
3 [Card]Remand[/Card]
1 [Card]Simic Signet[/Card]
1 [Card]Spell Burst[/Card]

1 [Card]Academy Ruins[/Card]
1 [Card]Buried Ruin[/Card]
4 [Card]Cloudpost[/Card]
1 [Card]Eye of Ugin[/Card]
1 [Card]Ghost Quarter[/Card]
4 [Card]Glimmerpost[/Card]
9 [Card]Island[/Card]
4 [Card]Vesuva[/Card]

Some Level of Blue.

This was a stand-out of old-old extended. Using [Card]Counterbalance[/Card] and [Card]Sensei’s Diving Top[/Card], with [Card]Tarmogoyf[/Card] as a win condition/defender. With Top banned, and removal rife, it loses some of the sheen of previous versions. It’s unclear where this deck sits in terms of tiering, but it’s likely that this is pretty close to where a lot of peoples testing begins for a Control deck.

We have the [Card]Punishing Fire[/Card]/[Card]Grove of the Burnwillows[/Card] combo, and a bunch of ways to draw cards, and some cheap disruption. As I said above, generic answers, as we can’t afford to be specific yet.

3 [Card]Spellstutter Sprite[/Card]
4 [Card]Tarmogoyf[/Card]
3 [Card]Vendilion Clique[/Card]
1 [Card]Venser, Shaper Savant[/Card]

3 [Card]Cryptic Command[/Card]
2 [Card]Lightning Bolt[/Card]
4 [Card]Rune Snag[/Card]
4 [Card]Path to Exile[/Card]
3 [Card]Punishing Fire[/Card]
2 [Card]Repeal[/Card]
2 [Card]Spell Snare[/Card]
2 [Card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/Card]
1 [Card]Voidslime[/Card]

1 [Card]Breeding Pool[/Card]
3 [Card]Flooded Grove[/Card]
1 [Card]Forest[/Card]
4 [Card]Grove of the Burnwillows[/Card]
2 [Card]Hallowed Fountain[/Card]
5 [Card]Island[/Card]
4 [Card]Misty Rainforest[/Card]
4 [Card]Mutavault[/Card]
1 [Card]Scalding Tarn[/Card]
1 [Card]Steam Vents[/Card]


3 [Card]Ancient Grudge[/Card]
2 [Card]Kitchen Finks[/Card]
2 [Card]Krosan Grip[/Card]
1 [Card]Lightning Bolt[/Card]
2 [Card]Negate[/Card]
1 [Card]Repeal[/Card]
2 [Card]Threads of Disloyalty[/Card]
2 [Card]Trickbind[/Card]

Wizard Tribal.

This deck looks pretty spicy. A whole bunch of [Card]Counterspell[/Card]s, and some card draw. Sign me up.

This is basically a Faerie deck, splashing for [Card]Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir[/Card] and [Card]Azami, Lady of Scrolls[/Card], to add inevitability. Teferi is insane vs Control mirrors, and is a respectable size. You don’t want too many 5 drops however, so we’re only including the singleton, even with no ways to find him. He’s not necessary to the deck winning, he’s just gravy.

It’s worth pointing out that the singleton [Card]Steam Vents[/Card] both supplies R for the SB [Card]Blood Moon[/Card], and lets us [Card]Engineered Explosives[/Card] for 3. Which may or may not be relevant.

1 [Card]Azami, Lady of Scrolls[/Card]
3 [Card]Glen Elendra Archmage[/Card]
3 [Card]Sower of Temptation[/Card]
4 [Card]Spellstutter Sprite[/Card]
1 [Card]Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir[/Card]
4 [Card]Vendilion Clique[/Card]

2 [Card]Engineered Explosives[/Card]
4 [Card]Rune Snag[/Card]
4 [Card]Path to Exile[/Card]
4 [Card]Spell Snare[/Card]
3 [Card]Thirst for Knowledge[/Card]
3 [Card]Vedalken Shackles[/Card]

4 [Card]Glacial Fortress[/Card]
1 [Card]Hallowed Fountain[/Card]
10 [Card]Island[/Card]
2 [Card]Misty Rainforest[/Card]
4 [Card]Mutavault[/Card]
2 [Card]Scalding Tarn[/Card]
1 [Card]Steam Vents[/Card]


4 [Card]Blood Moon[/Card]
1 [Card]Engineered Explosives[/Card]
4 [Card]Negate[/Card]
2 [Card]Relic of Progenitus[/Card]
4 [Card]Threads of Disloyalty[/Card]


This deck plays a bunch of value creatures, board sweeps, and [Card]Reveillark[/Card] to recur the early guys. It had a horrible Faeries matchup before, but with that no longer being a deck, it’s possible that now is the time for the ‘Lark to shine.

It’s worth noting that this particular version has an insane Zoo matchup, so if you’re expecting a lot of that, then this is an excellent shout. It’s not very good vs the 12-post decks. It’s possible that it’s reasonable to ignore that, and be content with reasonable matchups elsewhere. Time will tell…

2 [Card]Blade Splicer[/Card]
2 [Card]Glen Elendra Archmage[/Card]
3 [Card]Meddling Mage[/Card]
4 [Card]Mulldrifter[/Card]
3 [Card]Reveillark[/Card]
3 [Card]Vendilion Clique[/Card]
4 [Card]Wall of Omens[/Card]

4 [Card]Cryptic Command[/Card]
2 [Card]Gitaxian Probe[/Card]
4 [Card]Path to Exile[/Card]
3 [Card]Preordain[/Card]
2 [Card]Wrath of God[/Card]

1 [Card]Arid Mesa[/Card]
4 [Card]Celestial Colonnade[/Card]
2 [Card]Hallowed Fountain[/Card]
3 [Card]Island[/Card]
3 [Card]Mystic Gate[/Card]
2 [Card]Plains[/Card]
2 [Card]Scalding Tarn[/Card]
4 [Card]Seachrome Coast[/Card]
3 [Card]Tectonic Edge[/Card]


1 [Card]Glen Elendra Archmage[/Card]
3 [Card]Kitchen Finks[/Card]
1 [Card]Meddling Mage[/Card]
3 [Card]Spell Pierce[/Card]
2 [Card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/Card]
2 [Card]Threads of Disloyalty[/Card]
1 [Card]Vendilion Clique[/Card]
1 [Card]Venser, Shaper Savant[/Card]
1 [Card]Wrath of God[/Card]


I guess that’ll probably conclude this series on Modern. It’ll give you some sort of idea about what’s actually possible in this format, and has hopefully gotten you at least somewhat excited about the format.

To be honest, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s actually possible in this format. There are an inordinately large number of decks that are possible. It just remains to be seen what’s actually playable, and get some sort of idea regarding the tiering of the decks, so that we can actually start attacking the format, rather than just posting decklists.

I think that next time I write, it’ll be about something a bit more casual. There’s not really much competitive Magic going on at the moment. I’m not Q’d for the Pro Tour, and I don’t have any real incentive to grind MODO, other than for the obvious, so now seems like as good a time as any as to look at something more ‘fun’.

Please post any comments below and I’ll be sure to reply to them.

Stay Classy, mtgUK.



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