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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jun 25 2013 12:43pm
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http://www.wizards.com/mtg/images/daily/td/td54_crypticCommandSplash.jpg

Hello!

Welcome to another edition of Becoming A Modern Man! In this article I will be looking at a UW Control deck I put together, having picked up a playset of Cryptic Commands thanks to the price drop caused by Modern Masters.  I apologise for another gap between articles but I've just finished exams and I am now looking forward to taking advantage of the Modern Masters release.  Hopefully this will just be the beginning but I've got a big job hunt ahead so I'll have to see how much time I get.

I threw this deck together from a few ideas I'd seen in the Dailies so it's not the most polished list but I've been having fun with it.

DECK TECH

Creatures
Wall of Omens
Wall of Omens
Wall of Omens isn't strictly necessary for the deck but it's very helpful against aggro deck and is also a nice way to cantrip while building some defences.  It has the added advantage of working well with Restoration Angel and Sun Titan which helps too.

Snapcaster Mage
Snapcaster Mage
Snapcaster Mage fits in well with any spell heavy blue deck.  Snapcaster is great here being able to reuse your Path to Exiles, Mana Leaks and Cryptic Commands among other things for value.  Snapcaster is another creature that works well with Restoration Angel and Sun Titan so it's a good fit here.

Kitchen Finks
Kitchen Finks
Perhaps these should be Vendilion Cliques but I don't own those and Kitchen Finks is a powerful substitute.  The life gain can be very relevant against burn decks and aggro decks, it's one of the better cards you can blink with Restoration Angel and Sun Titan.  I've also seen decks running Blade Splicer in this spot which is another good aggressive option.

Restoration Angel
Restoration Angel
Restoration Angel is a fantastic card and one I've enjoyed playing with ever since it came out.  Thanks to flash Restoration Angel can come down at instant speed when it's convenient.  We've surrounded here with creatures that take great advantage of her blink effect so generally we'll be getting some value out of dropping her into play.  However, even on her own the Angel is a 3/4 Flyer which is a major threat.

Sun Titan
Sun Titan
Sun Titan is a fun big endgame that get us back a variety of different permanents from our graveyard.  Other decks I've seen run Baneslayer Angel in a similar role as a big finisher for the deck.

Spells

Sphinx's Revelation
Sphinx's Revelation
If you've played Standard recently then you'll know how powerful it is.  Revelation is a great late game play that can really shift things in your favour.  I'm still not entirely convinced that it's all that great in Modern due to the low curve and speed of the format.  I'm running 1 here as an experiment and I've had mixed results.  It does help your late game but I feel it's more important to handle your opponent's early game and ensure you survive the initial wave before taking a firm control of the game.  Still as a 1 of it's not a bad card and has come in handy in some matchups.

Cryptic Command
Cryptic Command
Cryptic Command is a Control players dream.  Cryptic Command is an incredibly versatile card and all four of its options are potentially useful.  Countering spells, drawing a card, bouncing a permanent or tapping your opponent's team are all great abilities.  Countering and drawing is probably the most common but depending on the situation you'll want to consider what the most powerful thing you can do.

Supreme Verdict
Supreme Verdict
An uncounterable Wrath is very powerful against the various creature heavy decks and can also be good against more controlling decks due to its immunity to counterspells.

Vedalken Shackles
Vedalken Shackles
Shackles is another card that has seen a big drop in price since being reprinted in Modern Masters and so I picked a copy up for my deck.  The card is very powerful as you can steal your opponent's creatures and use them against them.  Shackles is a very hard card to play against as you can start chumping your opponent with their own creatures and using their own resources against them.  The only real condition on that is having enough Islands in play for Shackles to grab the bigger creatures on the table, though you really don't need that many for Shackles to be effective.  I'm not sure if I'm running the right number of Islands, with 6 basic Islands and a full 4 Hallowed Fountains, but so far I haven't had too much trouble with this configuration.

Dismember
Dismember
Dismember is a very powerful removal spell which has to be cast for 1 mana in this deck.  Dismember isn't essential but it's a nice supplement to Path to Exile as a cheap instant-speed removal spell.

Detention Sphere
Detention Sphere
Detention Sphere is a nice addition to UW Control from Return to Ravnica.  It can deal with various permanents and is even better if your opponent has multiple copies of that permanent.  It's also particularly good against tokens, as it will remove all tokens of the same type.

Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Arguably the best counterspell in Modern.  Remand probably has a strong argument for that position but that's more of a tempo card than an actual counterspell.  When you want to deal with an opposing spell permanently for a small investment then Mana Leak is your card.  It's utility later in the game isn't so great but hopefully by that point you should have a firm control of the game.

Spell Snare
Spell Snare
Spell Snare is a very powerful counterspell for just 1 mana.  Modern has a lot of very powerful 2 drops from Dark Confidant and Tarmogoyf to Snapcaster Mage.  The format is very low curve generally and so Spell Snare is useful against the majority of decks in the format.

Path to Exile
Path to Exile
Probably the best removal spell in the format.  Extremely mana efficient which is useful for when you want to keep mana up for countermagic.

Land

Celestial Colonnade
Celestial Colonnade
Celestial Colonnade is arguably the best of the Worldwake manlands, particularly in Modern.  Colonnade is a big threat in the late game which makes it an ideal win condition in a control deck which actually doesn't take any additional slots up in your deck due to being a land.

Hallowed FountainMisty RainforestArid Mesa
Hallowed Fountain/Misty Rainforest/Arid Mesa
We have our UW dual, which also counts as an Island for the purposes of Vedalken Shackles, as well as some fetchlands to find our dual with.

Tectonic Edge
Tectonic Edge
To round out our manabase we have a playset of Tectonic Edges to help us deal with decks like Tron, which is fairly prominent, and other problem lands such as Academy Ruins and the various manlands in the format.

Sideboard

My sideboard is somewhat makeshift as I just put in some useful blue and white sideboard cards.  I haven't tested it fully in the current metagame so some tweaks may be necessary but I've been happy with it so far.

Stony SilenceRatchet BombRest in PeaceDispelSupreme VerdictDetention SphereAven MindcensorNegate

  • Stony Silence is a useful card to deal with equipment, Birthing Pod and the various trinkets in the Tron decks.
  • Ratchet Bomb is very good at dealing with creature heavy decks with a low curve, such as Affinity, as well as being very powerful against tokens.  Ratchet Bomb can also be brought back into play using Sun Titan which is useful.
  • Rest in Peace helps you deal with various graveyard based strategies.
  • Dispel is an additional counterspell for the deck.  Very useful against opposing control decks.  Negate fills a similar role but can also counter various combo pieces such as Splinter Twin.
  • Supreme Verdict and Detention Sphere add to the existing numbers.  Verdict is useful against creature heavy decks.  Detention Sphere is good against dealing with problem permanents such as Planeswalkers and Artifacts.
  • Aven Mindcensor limits your opponent's ability to search their library.  This is very good against Birthing Pod decks and Tron decks which need to search up their Tron pieces.

GAMEPLAY


The first matchup is against Affinity.  This was an interesting match.  Affinity is always going to be a difficult matchup due to it's potentially blistering starts.  I managed to stem the tide in Game 1 and just marginally pulled out the win.  In Game 2 we were quickly finished off by Inkmoth Nexus which poisoned me to death and in Game 3 I once again fell prey to the Infected Manland.  Nexus is quite difficult to deal with and it might be worth changing up the sideboard with a few more cards to help deal with it if Affinity is popular in the metagame.


My second matchup is against Red Deck Wins.  This is another tough match due to the speed of Red Deck Wins but provided you can make it into the later game you'll probably be ok, provided you can counter their burn.  This is a match that can be helped a lot through the sideboard, though my current sideboard isn't particular geared towards RDW.  Cards like Kitchen Finks, Timely Reinforcements and Leyline of Sanctity are very good against RDW.


The third matchup is against BW Tokens.  Our deck has a lot of cards that work well against Token strategies including Detention Sphere and Supreme Verdict and Ratchet Bomb out of the sideboard.  Lingering Souls is a bit of a pain as countering it isn't particularly effective but fortunately our opponent didn't draw too many of those.  We basically managed to take control of both games and denied our opponent a board presence allowing us to get the win.


My fourth matchup is against a Mindcrank Combo deck.  This is a very cool combo using Mindcrank and Duskmantle GuildmageMindcrank causes your opponent to put cards into their graveyard every time they lose life and the Guildmage's first ability makes your opponent lose life every time a card goes to their graveyard so together they create an infinite loop which both kills and mills your opponent to death.

CONCLUSION
I've mainly been messing around with Control decks in Modern since picking up Cryptic Commands and they are certainly a lot of fun.  If you enjoy playing control decks then I would definitely suggest trying a deck like this out, to some extent it's a more powerful version of the UW Flash decks that have been popular in Standard.  I just put this deck together so there's certainly some tweaks and changes required but I think the base of the deck is very solid and pretty powerful.

That's all for this article.  Hope to be back soon.  Not sure what deck I'll be covering next but I've got quite a few ideas.  In the meantime, feel free to check back over my previous Becoming A Modern Man articles and please continue to support PureMTGO.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)