It has been a couple of weeks since I played in a major tournament, 2 months to be exact. I started testing for Grand Prix Providence since new Standard hit. My team was preparing for SCG Regionals, so I built the gauntlet on MTGO to help them. We had most of the Indy Open decks on my account but one teammate told me he wanted to test against a U/B Contol list posted by Shaheen Soorani. I wasn’t completely sold on Shaheen’s list. However, after a couple of matches I completely fell in love.

Initial U/B Control List

Creatures (4)
4 Torrential Gearhulk

Planeswalkers (5)
1 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
3 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

Instants and Sorceries (25)
4 Anticipate
3 Glimmer of Genius
4 Grasp of Darkness
3 Murder
4 Scatter to the Winds
1 Summary Dismissal
3 Ruinous Path
3 Transgress the Mind

Lands(26)
3 Island
8 Swamp
1 Aether Hub
2 Blighted Fen
4 Choked Estuary
4 Submerged Boneyard
4 Sunken Hollow

Sideboard (15)
1 Confirm Suspicions
3 Essence Extraction
1 Negate
1 Summary Dismissal
3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
3 Flaying Tendrils
1 Ruinous Path
1 Transgress the Mind

After playing this deck for a couple of leagues, I found some holes in it that I wanted to improve. First off, I wanted to change the manabase a bit. I felt like the manabase came into play a little too tapped with Submerged Boneyard and the other dual lands early. I also wasn’t impressed with Anticipate early on since I felt like I kept looking for a land most of the time. With the sideboard, I was a little unimpressed with the Ob Nixilis Reignited. I decided on swapping out 2 Submerged Boneyard for For 1 Swamp and 1 Island, which I feel greatly improved the manabase.

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Then, I took out the 4 Anticipate for 1 Island and moved the copies of Essence Extraction to the main. I also decided on taking out a Blighted Fen for a Blighted Cataract, as it will be good in the more grindier matchups. The 4 slots in the board freed up space for 2 Lost Legacy, 1 more Negate, and a Ceremonious Rejection. This helped a bit when it came to the Delirium and Marvel strategies that I knew would be around in force. After doing a couple more leagues I found what my worse match up was by far: the Metalwork Colossus decks. I realized that I needed a way to exile these creatures, and Lost Legacy doesn’t help with that. After some help from Bob Healey and Caleb Scherer, we all came to the conclusion that Void Shatter is just a better Cancel than Scatter to the Winds. The exile effect does a lot of work in many matchups. After a week of testing this is where the deck ended up:

Second U/B Control List

Creatures (4)
4 Torrential Gearhulk

Planeswalkers (5)
1 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
3 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

Instants and Sorceries (24)
3 Glimmer of Genius
4 Grasp of Darkness
3 Murder
4 Void Shatter
1 Summary Dismissal
3 Essence Extraction
3 Ruinous Path
3 Transgress the Mind

Lands (27)
5 Island
9 Swamp
1 Aether Hub
1 Blighted Fen
1 Blighted Cataract
4 Choked Estuary
Submerged Boneyard
4 Sunken Hollow

Sideboard (15)
1 Confirm Suspicions
1 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Negate
1 Summary Dismissal
3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
3 Flaying Tendrils
1 Ruinous Path
1 Transgress the Mind
2 Lost Legacy
Leading up to the Pro Tour, I was trying to see if there was a way to deal with a swarm of creatures that’s better than Flaying Tendrils. The only card I could think of was Radiant Flames as it was a relatively easy splash…so I thought. Granted, I am not the best at figuring out a manabase, but adding in Smoldering Marsh added more enters the battlefield tapped lands and severely hurt the blue count. The fast land would only be good in the first couple of turns, but again adding extra tap lands was not where I wanted to be in a world with Smuggler’s Copter. Because of the speed of the format and 2 vs. 3 toughness not being as big of a gap as it was last Standard, I decided to stick with Flaying Tendrils.

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As the Pro Tour unfolded, we all saw some really cool decks but also learned where the format will be a week later. Control ran rampant, and we saw ver few Copters, compared to first Standard event in Indianapolis. Yasooka and Romão ran through the field with two different style of control decks. One with more hard removal, and one with more enchantment based removal. Both are very good, so I had to consider the opportunity to play one of those. After trying both builds, I was thoroughly unimpressed with both deck and I settled on U/B Control.

Here I show my final list and what I am bringing to Grand Prix Providence:

Final U/B Control List

Creatures (4)
4 Torrential Gearhulk

Planeswalkers (5)
1 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
3 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

Instants and Sorceries (25)
3 Glimmer of Genius
4 Grasp of Darkness
3 Murder
4 Void Shatter
1 Summary Dismissal
2 Anticipate
2 Essence Extraction
2 Ruinous Path
1 To the Slaughter
3 Transgress the Mind

Lands (26)
5 Island
9 Swamp
1 Aether Hub
1 Blighted Fen
4 Choked Estuary
Submerged Boneyard
4 Sunken Hollow

Sideboard (15)
1 Confirm Suspicions
2 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Negate
1 Summary Dismissal
3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
3 Flaying Tendrils
1 Transgress the Mind
1 Dispel
1 Sphinx of the Final Word
It seems a bit odd that after I talked down on Anticipate earlier, that I would add them back into my list. However, there’s a good reason for it. I needed something to do on turn 2 that also serves a bit as a cantrip. Also, it adds some extra value when paired with Torrential Gearhulk. The To the Slaughter was added as a concession to the G/R Pummeler deck. I can answer most creatures but a resolved Bristling Hydra is a big pain, and that’s the best way to answer it. In the sideboard, I added an extra Ceremonious Rejection, a Dispel and a Sphinx of the Final Word as a concession to the uptick of control decks in the format.

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Overall I think this deck is sweet at attacking the different decks in the format and doing it efficiently. It has 9 removal spells for Copter and a total of 14 removal spells overall. We have a lot of instant speed interaction to battle other control decks with Anticipate and Glimmer of Genius. To round it off we have 8 ways to combat midrange decks with counterspells and discard spells.

I’m very excited for Grand Prix Providence this weekend, and I hope to be able to bring the trophy back home!

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