U/B Control

5-0 Modern Constructed League by osmanozguney

Lands (23)
2 Swamp
4 Tectonic Edge
4 Polluted Delta
3 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Darkslick Shores
1 Flooded Strand
3 Island
2 Watery Grave

Creatures (9)
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1 Vendilion Clique

Instants and Sorceries (28)
4 Cryptic Command
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Mana Leak
2 Remand
2 Smother
2 Victim of Night
4 Ancestral Vision
2 Collective Brutality
2 Damnation
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Serum Visions

Sideboard (15)
2 Countersquall
3 Engineered Explosives
2 Rain of Tears
2 Ravenous Trap
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Thoughtseize
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Damnation

Woah! We haven’t seen this deck in…well…ever. I know I haven’t sat down in front of an opponent and watched them play a Dimir Control deck against me in Modern. Let’s evaluate this deck top to bottom and see if this good finish is a fluke or whether this deck can be a real contender.

The Game Plan

The game plan is to simply respond to what the opponent is doing what the first 4-6 turns of the game and run them out of cards. Cards like Damnation, Snapcaster Mage, Ancestral Vision, and Cryptic Command are cards that inherently trade up in value and help the deck establish control. Cards like Inquisition of Kozilek, Collective Brutality, Victim of Night, Mana Leak, Smother, and Hero’s Downfall trade one-for-one and elongate the game, allowing the deck more time to get to those aforementioned cards and gain momentum.

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The deck, eventually, wins the game with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Vendilion Clique, or some attacking with Creeping Tar Pit, which are surprisingly relevant because of the potential board stalls this deck can have with some midrange decks in the format. The deck really wins by leveraging the advantages it has gained earlier and using them as best as it can, and it is adept at doing this. Being able to out-value the opponent is this deck’s strongest suit and is what we need to exploit if we think this deck can be a contender.

The Obvious Comparison

Especially with the inclusion of Tasigur, the Golden Fang, the most obvious comparison to make with this deck is to Grixis Control. So, let’s look at a Grixis Control list and compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Grixis Control   

5-0 Modern Constructed League by Kerrick_

Lands (22)
1 Blood Crypt
2 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Island
1 Mountain
4 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Spirebluff Canal
2 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Swamp
2 Watery Grave

Creatures (7)
4 Snapcaster Mage
3 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Instants, Sorceries, and Artifacts (31)
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Serum Visions
2 Countersquall
4 Cryptic Command
3 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Spell Snare
3 Terminate
4 Thought Scour
1 Engineered Explosives

Sideboard (15)
2 Anger of the Gods
1 Damnation
2 Dispel
4 Fulminator Mage
1 Izzet Staticaster
2 Sun Droplet
3 Surgical Extraction

Let’s highlight the differences based on the inclusion of red in this deck. For example, this deck plays Kolaghan’s Command, Lightning Bolt, and Terminate, which are key cards for the deck. The Dimir deck, on the other hand, gives up access to those cards but gains access to better mana and Tectonic Edge, which can be a huge asset in many games. The Dimir deck isn’t playing Thought Scour, despite the inclusion of Tasigur, which is interesting to note. Instead of these cards, we get Smother, Victim of Night, Mana Leak, Hero’s Downfall, and Damnation.

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Overall, I think the difference that we see here is a classic one: card quality versus manabase. The Grixis Control deck has the better cards, and the Dimir Control deck is forced to play slightly worse cards, but has a better and more consistent manabase. It is capitalizing on the fact that the deck concept is so strong that they don’t need the strongest possible cards for the strategy, and they would rather secure percentage point in matchups against the aggressive format with Dredge and Infect. They do this by having more lands that come into play untapped and don’t deal as much damage as the Grixis deck’s lands. Comparing the cards isn’t as effective as comparing the overall strategies, which is where the major difference between these decks is seen.

The Sideboard

All of these sideboard cards seem really solid and well-selected to me, and I love that this deck’s creator chose to pack the hate for Dredge with Ravenous Trap and Surgical Extraction. Other inclusions, such as another Damnation and Rain of Tears seem especially strong as well. One of the big weaknesses this deck has when compared to Grixis Control is that they don’t have access to Anger of the Gods for the sideboard, which is a great multifaceted tool against many decks, but the percentage points lost in those aggro matchups should be made up by the better manabase.

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Rain of Tears in the mirror seems insanely good, as we’ve seen land destruction in control mirrors be potentially game-deciding in Modern. Engineered Explosives is obviously good and although it does max out at two in this deck, it still seems great. Thoughtseize and Vendilion Clique are standard, and should not be cut entirely from the deck under any circumstances. Overall, I really like this deck, and think that there’s a possibility that it replaces the more traditional Grixis Control decks in the format. Only time will tell, however, but I highly suggest you pick this deck up if you’re looking for a new take on control in Modern.

Thanks for Reading.   

Want something a little more aggressive? Read my article from last week for a previously unknown deck that is primed to take the format by storm.

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