Up until recently, the major distinction between Jeskai Control and U/W Control in Modern has been that the former operates at instant speed as a traditional, reactive control deck while the latter plays more of a tap-out style, laying up some early defenses before slamming powerful planeswalkers that take over the game.
In recent months, even U/W Control has moved to a more reactive plan centered around the power of Terminus as a sweeper against typical creature decks as well as the graveyard-based decks that use recursive threats as a built-in answer to most sweepers, like R/B Vengevine and B/R Hollow One.
However, there is still room for the older style Azorius deck, so long as you're willing to commit fully to the tap-out plan. Today's list has a scant five counterspells, three of which are Cryptic Commands, which have plenty of functionality outside of the counterspell mode. Instead of Logic Knots, we have more two-drop cantrips, up to a full set each of Wall of Omens and Spreading Seas.
Both the disruptive half of that duo and the defensive half put in work here, slowing down the opponent so you have time to make more land drops and cast planeswalkers on an even battlefield. Following up those planeswalkers with a sweeper ensures continued card advantage, which rather quickly runs away with the game.
And if your opponent is playing a combo deck, most of the planeswalkers here apply significant pressure as well, giving this version of the deck the ability to switch tactics to a more aggressive mode when needed, a plan that is further supplemented by the copies of Geist of Saint Traft in the sideboard.
The commitment to this tap out plan is nowhere more evident than in the single copy of Oath of Teferi. It typically blinks one of your two-drops, where you can conveniently move a Spreading Seas to a creature-land played later in the game, but the real value comes from the second ability. These planeswalkers are powerful enough on their own, but getting to activate them twice a turn so your Gideons always turn sideways and your Jaces get to play defense and gain card advantage at the same time is ludicrous.
Maybe it's win more as a five-drop, but the reality in Modern is you need to be doing very powerful things to trump what the rest of the format is up to. And I'd rather try to trump what they are doing with powerful synergies of my own than take the Jeskai route of having to have a direct answer to nearly every threat.
- 1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
- 2 Gideon of the Trials
- 1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
- 1 Jace, Architect of Thought
- 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
- 2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria