The article you are attempting to view is only available to StarCityGames.com Premium Members.
(If you are having trouble viewing this content, please consult this FAQ.)
There's just something about Dallas, Texas that brings out the best in Team MGG. With all the Ixalan excitement leading up to #SCGDFW centered on Dinosaurs and Pirates, Andrew Jessup had brewed up a simple but effective version of B/G Energy that looked to splash one of the most powerful cards in Ixalan – Hostage Taker. We all worked on the deck in the week leading up to the event, but something just wasn't sitting right with me.
Sure, the deck was doing well. Hostage Taker was overperforming expectations, while the standard Winding Constrictor / Energy package was as good as it always was. However, as I played against U/W Approach opponent after U/W Approach opponent, I began to feel the tingle. With every Glimmer of Genius cast, with every Settle the Wreckage I had to play around, that tingle would grow into a need.
I needed to find Azcanta.
I didn't start actually playing the U/W Approach deck until the Thursday before #SCGDFW, but once I did, I knew I'd be playing it in the event. The Sultai Energy deck that Andrew, Dan Jessup, and Brad Carpenter played was great, but I couldn't deny myself the chance to sleeve up a U/W Control deck.
Only, as I would find, it wasn't really a "true" control deck…
A Little Bit Combo-y, A Little Bit U/W Control
U/W Approach is a rare deck archetype, combo-control. Unlike most combo decks, it is not in any real rush to execute its combo, and unlike most control decks, its not trying to take control of the entire game. Rather, it is trying to control the game up until a point where it can execute its combo and win the game.
It may sound weird to call a single card a "combo," but the reality is that Approach of the Second Sun is essentially a combo with itself. Given enough time, Approach of the Second Sun is all you need to win a game. You don't need creatures, planeswalkers, direct damage, mill effects… just the card Approach of the Second Sun. As such, it makes sense that it's a perfect win condition for a control deck. You can pack your deck full of interactive cards because you only need three slots dedicated to winning the game.
Of course, what those interactive cards are is going to be dictated by the fact we can win the game on the spot, regardless of what our opponent has on the battlefield. This is very different from normal decks, which usually must completely take control of the game before they cast their Aetherling or whatever that will eventually win the game.
As such, our focus is more on temporary measures than hard control. We aren't going to need a lot of hard counterspells and it's okay if our opponents can play around our removal as long as it takes them extra time to do so. We don't need to draw a ton of cards, as we are much more interested in the particular cards that matter.
We these things in mind, let's take a closer look at the deck.
One of the main reasons U/W Approach is effective is how good Fumigate is. Fumigate had a really rough time when Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Heart of Kiran were premier threats in the format, but the truth is that it's probably the best five-mana sweeper of all time. The extra life you gain gives you a great buffer. If your opponent tries to hold back and play around it, that gives you more time, and the format is especially creature-centric at the moment.
Settle the Wreckage is a new card from Ixalan that slots perfectly into the deck. While Fumigate encourages your opponent to not deploy all of their creatures, Settle the Wreckage encourages them to not even attack with the ones they have! Multiple times last weekend, my opponents would leave creatures back for fear of Settle the Wreckage when I didn't have it, and that is a major advantage for any deck trying to stay alive. Settle the Wreckage also does a great job of answering sticky threats like Hazoret the Fervent, The Scarab God, and Scrapheap Scrounger, and giving you time to cast Glimmer of Genius when your opponent doesn't attack.