History Blue-White Control was the original "Best Deck", winning the first (Vintage) World Championships in 1994, piloted by the capable hands of Zak Dolan. His deck had Serra Angels and Kismets, but the game and the deck have evolved much in these 12 years.
As of the release of Dissension, UW Control gained some of the most important cards it needed to return to it's rightful place as a competition deck... Hallowed Fountain and Azorius Chancery .
With that, and a few choice cards from the subsequent sets, Coldsnap and Time Spiral, UW Control is a top Tier Standard deck as of Champs, 2006.
What is UW Control? Like most Control decks, this deck not surprisingly wants to control the flow of the game, and there are numerous paths by which it does so. In general, it wants to use blue's counterspells and card draw to maintain huge card advantage and to stop the opponent's spells from affecting or landing on the board, and white's sweepers and removal to gain still more card advantage & tempo, and stopping anything that does resolve from having a huge impact. It maximises the effectiveness of these by using very few permanents other than lands, making the opponent's removal dead and making sweepers one-sided. UW Control then closes out the game with either long-term attrition devices or a small number of powerful , game-ending creatures .
So, what about a few lists?
Certainly. There are three main 'schools' of UW Control widely played in Standard at the moment, each with it's own advantages, disadvantages, good and bad matchups.
The first is reminsicent of the older decks, masters of card advantage and permission, that essentially play the "Draw, Go." game. Funnily enough, these are known as Draw-Go or Do Nothing decks.
The second is a newer development, a much more proactive deck designed to control tempo, but not procure such stable card advantage as Draw-Go types. These are known as Proactive or Flare-esque UW decks, after the similarly-styled three-colour deck of this and last season, Solar Flare.
The third is an off-shoot of the Draw-Go decks, that replace some cards with 'bad' alternatives to maximise synergy with the Coldsnap "Snow" engine.
// Lands Yesterday's Mana, Today's Removal, Tomorrow's Win Conditions. The manabase is an essential part of any Control deck. We need to run a high number of land, usually at least 23, at most 27. Depending on your choices, you can cut slots back, but 23 is about a hard minimum. Basics, Ravnica Picklands and Ice Age Block Painlands; Obvious, run as many as you like. Covered below are the 'interesting' lands.
Calciform Pools - These are really good, in my opinion. For the long-CA battles, dumping random spare mana into this storage land allows you to make decisive plays like hardcasting Akroma with 8 mana open, or making 8 1/1 Flyers off a Mesa at end of turn.
Azorius Chancery - Karoos are also spectacular lands. They are essentially card advantage in a land, and although they hurt against LD, they still maintain your next land drop. They allow you to cheat on the number of lands you run slightly.
Boreal Ledge - A nice manafixer for Snow builds, but it's annoying in the turns 2-4.
Flagstones of Trokair - A defence against Wildfiring, a good tempo disruption for your opponent if you get yours down first, and useful colourfixing and deck thinning. Not essential, but useful if you can get them.
Vesuva - It's okay as colourfix, has good synergy with Flagstones, but it's not essential. Can be a Factory in the Factory wars.
Terramorphic Expanse - Runnable, but be wary. I personally have had games where otherwise great 7-card openers have to be shipped back because of this land.
Scrying Sheets - The main benefit behind the Snow build. This is card advantage supreme. If you're running Snow, you should probably have 3 of these minimum.
Desert - A great addition. While you still take a hit from the opponent's creature, this is a great help against Looter il-Kor, Saprolings, Savannh Lions, the Crusaders, Soltari Priests... and you can even get double-desert action to hit even more potential targets! Also synergises well with token chump blockers.
Mouth of Ronom - Great removal for a snow build. Gets rid of Teferi, Firemane Angel, Hierarch, and most other dangerous creatures with 5CC or less.
Urza's Factory - Control matchups are won on who gets this active first. Play it.
Ghost Quarter - A neat colour filter if you have a Flagstones of Trokair in play, but mostly used to Wasteland the opponent's Tron, Scrying Sheets, Duals, Storage Lands, etc.
Akroma, Angel of Wrath - She's big, she's fast, she flies, she's tough to kill, and most players would want to tap her, but they can't do it to attack. Downside is that she costs 8, which is very precarious. That's why people like using Debtor's Knell and Ressurrection, or so I have read.
Windreaver - Windreaver is fairly cheap on the wallet and on the mana, but he's more fragile than many creatures, particularly with Sudden spells floating around. They're not -too- common, but be wary. Otherwise, this guy is almost indestructible in the long term, and can end games very quickly by Transmuting itself swinging for 5, and then reverting for defense at end of turn.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir - A master of temporal control, shutting down almost all of the Time Spiral mechanics, combat tricks, EOT burn, opposing counterspells and more besides, with Flash speed so you don't have to worry about tapping out for a monster play by the opponent, awesome artwork and 3-power, 4-toughness of double jesus-stick bashing goodness. This guy is the nuts. He's Control's answer to Muhammed Ali... while he was in his prime!
Draining Whelk - Mana Drain is all grown up. This guy is amazing for his ability to shutdown ANYTHING your opponent casts on their own turn, instant speed (so he has effectively got Haste), and he flies. He is also famous for swallowing Akromas and making himself a two-turn clock.
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV - He's got a savage tempo-wrecking ability, but he loses significance rapidly as the game progresses. Best out of the SB for those matchups where busting him out Turn 3 off a Signet can be a spinebuster.
Adarkar Valkyrie - Not a bad winner, and also replaces itself should you need to sweep the board. Two of them together are essentially invincible. Good in a Scrying Sheets build too.
Rimefeather Owl - I've seen many a Snow deck packing a single of this guy, but i honestly don't think he's all that great, not without the Dragon to support him. He's playable, at the least.
Think Twice - Subtle, but insanely useful. Insanely. I wouldn't play Draw-Go without 4 of these.
Whispers of the Muse - Old-timer is back for play again. Running a playset means you can cycle them early to find your land drops, and recur them in the lategame to out-draw your Control opponents. Sometimes found to be useless, however, as you'd rather make tokens, and dead early on.
Compulsive Research - Strong draw, good depth, but is a sorcery. This means Draw-Go has to be careful with it, but the Resurrection decks love it because they can go T3: Research, dump Akroma, T4: Resurrection on Akroma, GG?
Careful Consideration - Not actually CA unless you play it on your turn, but it's useful in either deck as it digs deeper than pretty much anything else.
Telling Time - Again, not card advantage, but digs deep, smooths draws, clears chaff, and can be played at the end of your opponent's turn.
Tidings - Fantastic explosion of CA to restock your hand midgame. Best against non-U decks, because you don't have to worry about them countering it, and anytihng the opponent plays can probably be dealt with when you untap.
Court Hussar - Like Telling Time, but you get a free 20-turn clock and a wall against Aggro. Solid stuff. Good with Debtor's Knell with empty graveyards, too, basically a super-Phyrexian Arena.
Plagiarize - A useful SB addition for mirror matches and decks like Tron or Flare. When they play their Compulsive Research, respond with your Plagiarise and net a healthy +4 CA (You draw 3, use 1, they discard 2 or a land). Similarly, Tidings or Careful Consideration is a good grab.
// Counterspells While Counterspell is not considered appropriately costed anymore, we still have a variety of useful "No"s available to us.
-------------------------------- WarSong wtf is an extended sideboard?? It's the other cards I keep with my deck for last minute SB changes depending on what I see before the tourney starts.
Few notes: 1) Think twice is amazing. 2) Teferi went from my SB card to the best addition to my MD ever. Wow is all I can say. 3) Controvert VS "big" decks like solar pox is just soo good. So powerful late game it is ridiculous. Not worthy of a MD slot, but definite SB-in vs the big decks. 4) I AM thinking of replacing tidings. I find 3 is too many, I draw into them often early when I don't want them, but they DO WIN GAMES. I have tested not running them at all, and it is a disaster. When they are used and open mana is left for counters, the tempo swing is ridiculous. I win magic games with my UW because of tempo, something we should all be trying to go for. tempo tempo tempo into a teferi and akroma and plenty of backup control is ridiculously powerful. 5) I originally hought teferi's moat was stupid, until i dropped it down against a zoo deck and it single handedly turned in to a time walk for like 4 consecutive turns. 6) i like poo.
2-2 at tonights FNM, after 2 close game 3's went south from lack of WinCons. Played:
3 Hallowed Fountain 1 Calciform Pools (lol im a fourth Fountain) 4 Adarkar Wastes 2 Urza's Factory 7 Island 7 Plains
4 Court Hussar 3 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
4 Remand 4 Cancel 3 Repeal 4 Compulsive Research 2 Careful Consideration 3 Condemn 3 Faith's Fetters 4 Wrath of God 2 Resurrection 1 Debtor's Knell
SB: 2 Trickbind (Unable to find anything before FNM to replace these, looking for 2 more Teferi for this spot) 1 Teferi 2 Sacred Ground 3 Disenchant 1 Condemn 1 Faith's Fetters 3 Story Circle 2 Ivory Mask
Round 1: Boros Deck Wins Game 1 is slow, Court Hussars blocking some of his threats, trading once or twice, Wrath sweeping, I take a lot of burn damage, and eventually get burned out of the game. Game 2 I get down an early Story Circle and Ivory Mask, essentially winning the game. It's slow finding an Akroma, but eventually I do and he scoops automatically. Game 3 is very close, I stabilize with Story Circle at around 6, taking another round of Lion beats, going to 4, before Fetters land on the Lions and I take over with Akroma beats.
Round 2: Zoo Game 1 is a land slide for him. I do not draw a Wrath or Akroma the whole game, and he has me dead by turn 6 or 7. Game 2 I get Story Circle naming Red, and it takes me all the way to late game for the Akroma Rez --> win. Game 3 I get a little color screwed with U, and his Cryoclasms (Doh Sacred Ground would be nice) nail my islands. I can't really do much, and he wins in short order.
Round 3: B/U Control This guy is the top rated player in my area. He is very good, and the deck reflects that. All he plays are Bobs, Hippies, and Shadowmage Infiltrators, backed up by Counters and Bad Moon, for massive card advantage. Game 1 is kinda slow, we exchange Hussar/Bob blows early. I Condemn 2 of his Bobs, leaving him sorta low on creatures. Eventually he hits a Bad Moon and an Infiltrator, to go along with his Bob, which I wrath away. Eventually I hit the Research to dump Akroma, pop a Rez when hes tapped out, and win in short order. Game 2 was the longest game I have ever played. Honestly, we did almost nothing. I get a very early Story Circle Black, and the rest of the game is draw, creature, go. Hes sitting on 4 creatures and 3 Phyrexian Totems. I can't tap out, or the Totems kill me. He Withered Wretches 2 of my Akromas and Teferi out of my graveyard, so I have 1 WinCon left in the deck. I topdeck it when hes tapped out, and hardcast Akroma with dual Cancel in my hand. She goes all the way.
Round 4: R/B Gorgadon/Wildfire combo I win. He can't sac out to play Gargadon, because he knows I have the counter. I get to take my sweet time setting up the Rez. He doesn't get a Wildfire, and I beat him down. Game 2, I get turn 2 Sacred Ground, but Akroma does not show up even after numerous Hussars/Researches, so I basically have to try to hold the fort. I get caught with my pants down on 2 Persecutes, which really just rip me apart. I lose to dual Gargadons. Game 3, again is slow and long. I can't draw a WinCon, even with the game very well under control. He gets some discard, that hits me pretty hard. I just can't draw a WinCon before his Gargadons come out to play. Really disappointing loss.
The sideboard is being reworked. It will eventually look like
3 Teferi 3 Disenchant 2 Sacred Ground 3 Story Circle 2 Faith's Fetters 2 Ivory Mask
The 4th Condemn is going MD, as it was a SUPERSTAR card this week. Urza's Factory may be dropped to 1 MD, it really hurt me more then it helped, as it aided the color screws more often then it made guys. I may drop a Repeal or Fetters for a Sacred Mesa. My friend who played a near identical build won the tournament, the only difference being he had Sacred Mesa MD.
Match 1. I fetter and condemn his early threats, stabilize and go aggro with 3 hussars, and the game is over in less than 10min, probably a new record for this deck =)
Match 2. He has sided in 4 cryoclasm, 4 stone rains and some soilifuges, and he resolves cryoclasm turn 3, 4 and 5, and then kills me with a lion.
Match 3. A mix between Match 1 and 2, he resolves two cryoclasms, but I manage to stabilize and win quite fast.
Game 2 vs GhaziGlare-Aggro
Match 1. Pretty uninteresting, he overextends, I wrath and win. That's it.
Match 2. This is a long game of him trying to play creatures and me fettering and countering, but not putting any preasure on him either, but finaly I manage to drop my mesa just before time is called and kill him on the last turn.
Game 3 vs Zoo
See game 1 except I go 2-0 instead of 2-1
As I'm now ranked #1, I get paired against #2, which is the monowhite lifegain deck.
Game 4 vs stupid stupid lifegain
Match 1 (as if there'd be more than 1)
He drops an early wayfarer, but I draw karoos to stay on the same amount of land even though he holds back lands to find his tron pieces. He plays a second wayfarer and I wrath. He manages to drop a howling mine, and I start making factory tokens. From here on every turn from my side is: draw 2 cards, play a land, swing with everything, discard a card, and his turn is proclamation in upkeep (and later double proclamation), sacrifice 1 or 2 martyrs, gain a bunch of life, pass the turn, I make a token and repeat. I finally draw mesa and start making 7 pegasi/turn. He tries to wrath, but fat chance. It ends with me getting decked with 16 assembly tokens , 37 pegasi and a court hussar swining for 70 damage/turn, but he's gaining about 50 lives/turn, and he ends the game on about 200 lives. All in all I probably dealt 500 damage, and he gained about 700. This is an unwinnable matchup pre-sideboard I'd say, and you'll never get to sideboard unless you conceed game 1 to try to get 2 quick wins post-sideboard.
MrIndigo]What else is required, guys? Any suggestions? And anything on G or B or R splashes?
More than that, I will focus on sideboard choices (i.e. run Repeal if aggro is spreaded in your area.... run Moratorium Stone or crypt inf Solar Pox is commonly played.... etc.)
For budget players and creatvive builders, I'll also focus on choices of cards (i.e. drawing: telling time, think twice, whispers of the muse, tidings wrote:
What else is required, guys? Any suggestions? And anything on G or B or R splashes?[/quote] More than that, I will focus on sideboard choices (i.e. run Repeal if aggro is spreaded in your area.... run Moratorium Stone or crypt inf Solar Pox is commonly played.... etc.)
For budget players and creatvive builders, I'll also focus on choices of cards (i.e. drawing: telling time, think twice, whispers of the muse, tidings; finishers: windreaver, Akroma, whelk, Teferi; removals: fetters, condemn, wraths; etc.).
What was to say about splash, you more or less already said it.