UW Control with Aggroathlet (2nd Place @ MTGO PTQ)

My name is Maximilian Baier (Aggroathlet on MTGO) and I recently placed second in the MTGO PTQ with my version of UW Control.  I’ve played Modern since 2014 and would consider myself a control player through and through. Beginning with Grixis Control, I quickly found my preference with UW Control.

I decided to play in the online PTQ on a whim when a friend told me to come over and play the event alongside him. About 9 hours later, I was 11-0 and headed to the finals.

I ended up playing UW Control as it was the only had this deck I had complete online and I was well aware of its match-ups and how to properly navigate them. Also, I think this deck is, with the exception of the Storm and Titanshift match-up, really well positioned in the meta and has nearly no really bad match-up. Furthermore, after sideboarding, you can find quite a bit of success with the proper experience. 


Aggroathlet’s UW Control [May 2018]

Planeswalkers (4)
Gideon of the Trials
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Creatures (3)
Snapcaster Mage
Wall of Omens

Spells (20)
Serum Visions
Supreme Verdict
Terminus
Timely Reinforcements
Wrath of God
Cryptic Command
Mana Leak
Negate
Opt
Path to Exile
Settle the Wreckage
Spell Snare
Sphinx’s Revelation

Enchantments (8)
Detention Sphere
Search for Azcanta
Spreading Seas
Lands (25)
Celestial Colonnade
Field of Ruin
Flooded Strand
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Mystic Gate
Plains

Sideboard (15)
Negate
Supreme Verdict
Timely Reinforcements
Celestial Purge
Condemn
Disdainful Stroke
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Rest in Peace
Runed Halo
Stony Silence
Vendilion Clique

Aggroathlet’s Decklist on MTG Goldfish


To be honest, I sort of threw this list together about 15 minutes before the tournament started. I enjoy testing cards in tournament settings and designed this list expecting to see quite a bit of creature decks.

I decided to play a split of four different sweepers with one extra Supreme Verdict in the sideboard. Furthermore, I wanted the one-of Timely Reinforcements in the mainboard to hedge against aggressive creature builds. Since I included one Terminus, I wanted to play at least one Opt for the chance to flip it during my opponent’s turn. I never managed to do this but the Opt felt good with my Snapcaster Mages anyhow.

I was quite satisfied with the two Negates in the mainboard. I thought I probably will handle the creatures effectively with my sweepers and removal-spells, but i wanted to run a few counterspells for planeswalkers and similar. 

Call me childish, but I really hate to play against Blood Moon. I wanted to improve my match-ups against the Blood Moon decks so I ran seven basic Islands and three Plains over Glacial Fortress and other similar non-basics.


Tournament Report

Round 1 vs. Humans (2-1)

I don’t really remember the specifics of this match or whether or not I lost in the first or second game. I do remember that my wrath split was the best Idea I’ve ever had. At one point, my opponent had three Meddling Mages on Supreme Verdict, Detention Sphere, and Settle the Wreckage but I was holding Wrath of God.

In game three I had a early Terminus cast for its miracle cost on turn three followed up by second wrath spell shortly thereafter.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out: 1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 1 Jace, the Mindsculptor 2 Negate 1 Search for Azkanta 1 Mana Leak
  • In: 1 Timely Reinforcements 2 Celestial Purge 1 Supreme Verdict 1 Condemn 1 Vendilion Clique

Round 2 vs Infect (2-1)

It was pretty funny since my friend that also queued the PTQ sleeved Infect for the event and challenged me two evenings before.  From this experience, this match-up seemed tough for me. Apparently, that wasn’t the case.

Game one was pretty easy since I was on the play. I curved out quite nicely, casting Path to Exile into Spell Snare into Gideon of the Trials. In game two, he turn three killed me. Ouch. Game three was pretty similar to game one except Gideon showed up two turns later and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria ended up winning the game for me. Runed Halo also came in clutch here.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Sphinx’s Revelation 1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 1 Cryptic Command 1 Search for Azcanta 1 Timely Reinforcements
  • In 1 Negate 1 Condemn 1 Supreme Verdict 2 Runed Halo

Round 3 vs Jeskai Control (2-1)

This was a pretty intense Match. During game one I cast a turn two Search for Azcanta and then, at the end of my opponent’s turn cast Cryptic Command attempting to bounce his Celestial Colonnade.  I followed that up with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. The old but gold bait of the year. It worked and I won.

During game two, I tried the same but he learned something and had double Teferi, Hero of Dominaria to put my own double Teferi, Hero of Dominaria away.

Game three was a really long game and I was on the plan of running my opponent out of time.  I happened to resolve an Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, however, and my priorities changed. Nothing more to say about that.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Settle the Wreckage 1 Wrath of God 1 Wall of Omens 1 Timely Reinforcements
  • In 1 Negate 1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion 1 Disdainful Stroke 1 Vendilion Clique

Round 4 vs Affinity (2-1)

In game one I kept a bad hand and lost due to having no wraths. I was happy, however, since Affinity post-board is like a free win most of the time. He cast two Antiquities War but I had a Detention Sphere and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria to remove them. He also boarded in Hazoret the Fervent but I had Path to Exile to answer it. I was thankful for an easy match up after the grind in round three.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 1 Mana Leak 1 Negate (on the Draw) 1 Sphinx’s Revelation 1 Search for Azcanta
  • In 1 Supreme Verdict 2 Stony Silence 2 Runed Halo 1 Condemn 1 Vendilion Clique

Round 5 vs Ponza (2-1)

This one was intense. In game one I started by punishing his Utopia Sprawl with Spreading Seas. In game two I punted hard and removed Inferno Titan instead of Pia and Kiran Nalaar which was later used to kill me. In game three I cast four Spreading Seas and locked him out of the game.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Serum Visions 1 Settle the Wreckage 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 1 Timely Reinforcements 1 Spell Snare 1 Sphinx’s Revelation
  • In 1 Negate 1 Disdainful Stroke 2 Celestial Purge 1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion 1 Supreme Verdict

Round 6 vs Titanshift (2-1)

I was pretty sure I’d lose this one. In game one I just died to Scapeshift. Game two was one of those unforgettable and seemingly unwinable games that I somehow managed to win. I had two Runed Halos; one on Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and one on Bloodbraid Elf. I had just two life but my opponent could not kill me since I was able to answer all of his threats. He resolved four Primeval Titans and I took care of all of them and managed to ultimate our good boy Teferi, Hero of Dominaria for the win.

In game three he kept three mountains and I denied his single source of green. I later Jace, the Mind Sculptor’ed him to death.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Supreme Verdict 1 Wrath of God 1 Timely Reinforcements 1 Settle the Wreckage 1 Spell Snare
  • In 1 Negate 1 Disdainful Stroke 1 Vendilion Clique 2 Runed Halo

Round 7 vs Hollow One (2-0)

I was always scared of Hollow One. I was so wrong. In game one he cast a turn two Gurmag Angler followed by a turn three double Hollow One but I had Path to Exile and Detention Sphere to respond. In game two I grinded him out. I think he cast a Collective Brutality on turn five and saw Path to Exile, Celestial Purge, Settle the Wreckage, Supreme Verdict, and Snapcaster Mage. Then he scooped.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Sphinx’s Revelation 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 1 Cryptic Command 1 Spell Snare 1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 1 Serum Visions 1 Snapcaster Mage 1 Search for Azcanta 1 Negate 1 Cryptic Command
  • In 1 Condemn 1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion 2 Celestial Purge 1 Supreme Verdict 2 Rest in Peace 2 Runed Halo 1 Timely Reinforcements

Round 8 vs Red Green Tron (2-1)

In game one he crushed me with natural Tron. I think game two I won with beatdown-mode Gideon + Clique. In game three I ultimated Jace, the Mindsculptor AND Teferi, Hero of Dominaria to show him full dominance. If I had more time on the clock, I would have exiled his full board for the flawless victory. He had the “lootland” from the second Innistrad block. It was pretty annoying since I had to aim my land hate at his Tron lands instead.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Settle the Wreckage 1 Wrath of God 1 Supreme Verdict 1 Timely Reinforcements 1 Terminus
  • In 1 Negate 1 Disdainful Stroke 1 Vendilion Clique 2 Stony Silence

Round 9 vs Affinity (2-0)

This game went pretty similar to the other Affinity match except that I didn’t loose the first game. In game two he took a mulligan to five and died to a Supreme Verdict. GG WP

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 1 Mana Leak 1 Negate (on the Draw) 1 Sphinx’s Revelation 1 Search for Azcanta
  • In 1 Supreme Verdict 2 Stony Silence 2 Runed Halo 1 Condemn 1 Vendilion Clique

After winning the first nine rounds I in the top 8.  I was motivated to win this event!

Top 8 Quarter-Final vs GW Value Town (2-0)

I was pretty afraid of this game but my opponent was either tired or really really unlucky because he didn’t do much and conceded pretty fast game one and game two after I cast a wrath spell.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 2 Spreading Seas
  • In 1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion 1 Supreme Verdict

Top 8 Semi-Final vs Bant Knightfall (2-1)

This guy was probably the best opponent I played during this tournament. In game one he mulliganed to four and nearly won the game. Game two he just outtempoed me with Spell Queller and Unified Will. He played really tight and clearly knew the match-up well. In game three I resolved Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and she fogged the crap out of his deck. After eight turns of happy fogging, I finally drew a Cryptic Command to take over the game. His Birds of Paradise which had a +1/+1 counter from his Gavony Township stopped Elspeth, Sun’s Champion from accruing loyalty. I remember winning after I drew a wrath spell (as usual).

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 2 Spreading Seas 1 Serum Visions
  • In 1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion 1 Supreme Verdict 1 Negate

Top8 Final vs Tron (1-2)

After I checked for my opponent’s prior events, I learned that he played something with Tron lands. I kept a sweet hand with Field of Ruin and Spreading Seas but he had natural Tron and all extra copies of all Tron lands twice. In game two I managed to grind him out with Stony Silence and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. In game three I had a pretty sweet hand. Search for Azcanta, Vendilion Clique , Negate, Cryptic Command, Disdainful Stroke, Hallowed Fountain and Island. I drew four spells in a row after milling two away with Search for Azcanta and he finished me off with Emrakul, the Promised End.

Sideboarding for this match-up:

  • Out 1 Settle the Wreckage 1 Wrath of God 1 Supreme Verdict 1 Timely Reinforcements 1 Terminus
  • In 1 Negate 1 Disdainful Stroke 1 Vendilion Clique 2 Stony Silence

Last But Not Least

After playing this list, I think I’d change the Condemn in the sideboard for either a Crucible of Worlds or a second Disdainful Stroke. Tron and Control are not perfect match-ups and I think I would like to improve those. If I would not have played this big event, I maybe would cut the mainboard Timely Reinforcements for a second Gideon of the Trials or a second Mana Leak.

The Terminus is not a must-have but I liked it a lot and I will stay with it for now. I believe that you can find success with nearly all similar UW Control lists in the current meta since the diversity of the wrath spells and removal spells gives you a big edge against the creature-heavy strategies.

-Maximilian Baier