UW Control – MTG Arena

UW Control – MTG Arena

UW Control | MTG Arena

If you're like me, you recently picked up MTG Arena and started dabbling in the competitive ladder grind. If you're not, trust me - it takes time. If you're looking for any advice for building your first deck on MTG Arena, the best advice I could offer you would be to use your rare wildcards on lands. When you have your entire Mana base covered (or a reasonable amount), you should then invest those wildcards into rares for the deck you're interested in playing. Perhaps consider looking at the meta game on sites like mtggoldfish. Checking this out to find out what cards are used in some of the most frequently played decks that are winning so you can transition between decks if you need to. For instance, you can start building a Sultai Midrange deck using Explore creatures such as Jadelight Ranger or Merfolk Branchwalkeras they are also pretty good in a Bant Midrange deck as well! Or, if you're like me, you would take none of this advice, and go blow all your rare wildcards on cards for a deck that no one plays. If you did this as well, I salute you!


I am a Control player at heart, and any chance I get to play a control deck I take it. I feel like I perform best in Magic when I understand of the strategies being played in a format and play the bigger, slower game plan. I started off this season playing Grixis Midrange which got me all the way to Platinum, which was great and all, the only problem was that the goal of playing on MTG Arena was to play against some of the best in the world. To do that, we still had to get to Mythic. What a grind! While I hear it's much easier in constructed than it is in limited, you really have to invest time to get Mythic. You have to be winning much more than you're losing and that shouldn't be a surprise at all if your goal is to play against the best. Grixis Midrange didn't seem to have what it look to make the leap for me, I was constantly getting punished by cards like Narset, Parter of the Veils and Teferi, Time Reveler. I did play quite a bit of UW Control with Approach of the Second Sun so I was pretty confident in my ability to play that style of deck in Standard, and threw all of my Wildcards out the window, and started off on the path of maximum resistance. I was about to make a deck that wasn't listed online already!


So, on MTG Arena, I started making a UW Control deck that I was pretty happy with. Most of my opponents were playing linear Creature/Planeswalker strategies, and going over these decks with a bigger game-plan was pretty easy with UW, just play more sweepers like Cleansing Wave and Settle the Wreckage. As for Planeswalkers, we've got that covered because we play lots of counters! Here's the deck.

UW Control

Planeswalkers (9)
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Teferi, Time Raveler
Ugin, the Ineffable
Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor

Instant (17)
Chemister's Insight
Devious Cover-Up
Settle the Wreckage
Dovin's Veto

Sorcery (3)
Cleansing Nova

Enchantment (5)
Seal Away
Search for Azcanta
Lands (26)
Field of Ruin
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain

Sideboard (15)
Blink of an Eye
Commence the Endgame
Dovin's Veto
Ixalan's Binding
Lyra Dawnbringer
Narset, Parter of Veils
Prison Realm
Teferi, Time Raveler

Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor is the newest addition to the deck. I didn't originally play this Planeswalker because I didn't really understand the role that this card did in the deck. As you can tell from the list, we're not designed to be a tap-out style control deck, and could honestly benefit a great deal if we went into the Bant spectrum to gain a card like Wilderness Reclamation. Being that our strategy is to play with open lands at all time, Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor wasn't an obvious choice to me as something to include. What Kasmina ultimately does though, is provide some stabilization on the board immediately while also filtering through our deck for us! Her static ability generally isn't relevant, but hey - little effects here and there that make us easier to kill are always a big plus.

Some keynote card choices in the deck is the 3rd copy of Settle the Wreckage as well as 2 main deck Revitalize. I decided to go with Cleansing Wave over Time Wipe because Nexus decks were able to get out of control without the ability to deal with their enchantments, particularly Wilderness Reclamation. When used with Teferi, Time Reveler, Cleansing Wave at instant speed is quite valuable in that match up. What I've found in the format thus far is that most decks can't handle their own if you drag the game into later turns. They just can't compete with the power of Teferi, Hero of Dominara or Ugin, the Ineffable. When backed with counterspells, we're really safe against everything else going on.

In MTG Arena War of the Spark Season 1, this deck got me to Mythic when Grixis Midrange felt like a struggle against all those Sultai decks playing the Explore package with Command the Dreadhorde. Unlike that deck, this one has much more game against that deck.

Something to consider though is how many decks are playing what I consider our nemesis in the format, Teferi, Time Reveler. He is pretty gross to get around as a control player, which is why most often than not, you really need to understand how to use your life as a resource against Bant and Sultai decks to ensure you're able to counter that Planeswalker at all times. We're not stone dead to him, as we have big Teferi, Kasmina and Ugin to threaten him. If you want to make the Command the Dreadhorde match-up tilt more in your favor, consider cards like Narset's Reversal, or more enchantment / exile removal in the form of Seal Away, Prison Realm, Settle the Wreckage or even Ashiok, Dream Render as ways to enhance your experience.

If you're asking yourself why you would play this over Esper Control, the answer is simple - like many people who get into MTG Arena, I didn't have all the cards for Esper Control, so I had to innovate something based on what I knew. This is the fruits of my labor online and got me to Mythic, which I am pleased about! I think one major factor to playing a deck off the radar that not enough people consider is that your opponent can't just search it online somewhere. Having hidden information in the age of information is extremely underrated and needs to be appreciated more than it currently is.

I'm going to continue building versions of this deck to at the very-least get to Mythic in War of the Spark Season 2! I hope to see you on the Battlefield, and hope to have new innovations that I can share with the world!

I will be continuing my streams after being off-air for 3 years over on Twitch, where you can leave some feedback about this post or just come say hello to see what is going on. We will be streaming Wednesday, Thursday 9pm EST and Sunday at 6PM EST.

Talk again soon!


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MTGBlogger returns.

MTGBlogger returns.

May 2nd, 2018 was previously the last time I streamed MTG content on Twitch.tv. The world has changed. The times have changed, and the rules of streaming have changed significantly since we last saw each other.

One question I’m sure someone will ask me is “What have you been up to Blogger!?”. I know I’ll answer this question repeatedly as our time on and off stream passes by, but I know you are truly interested in the answer, so it’s my pleasure to answer. I’ve been living my life, learning new skills enjoying the people in my life and growing as a person. The old saying goes something like ” If you love something set it free, and if it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was. “

This is MTG. I can’t just play MTG anymore without considering streaming it, blogging about it or vlogging it. Playing the game is fun, but sharing the experience with you is even better. Something my inner-circle of MTG friends all agree on is, MTG is a great game, but it’s the people that really make the experiences worthwhile. Sitting around a table grabbing dinner after a weekend tournament, talking about the plays-of-the-day is great and all, but it’s nothing compared to who you’re talking with and the memories we make along the way. Personal stuff right?

Let’s rewind the clocks back even further to June 2nd, 2016. Almost 3 years ago, was the last real stream we had, it was Standard. 3 years ago I remember striving to produce content that was pixel-perfect, audio sounding so damn good, lighting not too imbalanced and background noise to an absolute minimum. To get all of this correct, it’s almost like I was living alone, when in-fact I wasn’t. I am a family man and I had to create an environment that would be stream-friendly. To get this production to the levels we enjoyed, it required more than just myself, it required all hands on deck to control life totals, change scenes as well as sponsors to give-away free products to our audience. There is a cost to success and this cost is my family and 3 years ago, streaming felt like a 2nd job that took me away from it and other things in my life that needed attention. I wasn’t giving these things the attention they deserve.

Getting personal for a moment, if you want to know if your in a stable relationship, Magic: The Gathering is a great way to test it! Just tell your significant other that you will be unavailable for 6/7 days out of the week for about 3 years and see how you do. I am still in the same relationship with a person that is extremely understanding and beyond reasonable. To be successful, I believe you need an amazing team of people behind you. I didn’t know how to balance my personal life and work life properly. 3 years ago, I was working 5 days a week while playing in Magic events 3 times, streaming 4 days a week and also writing an article for mtgblogger.com once per week. Working to maintain all of these services, mostly alone for 3 & 1/2 years under these conditions would ultimately mean that something would have to give and eventually, that something would be producing content under the MTGBlogger brand. Near the end of 2016 I had so much help from close friends, it made live streaming so much easier on me because I had a team helping me. All I had to do was update a few stream elements, turn on our streaming service and connect with you – so it was very easy! It’s hard to imagine that the extra curricular elements to streaming, video editing, mailing out prizes and writing didn’t feel like work for such a long time, but it’s true, I really enjoy sharing content with you & for you.

What has changed and why is now the time to get back into Magic and producing content with MTGBlogger again? Lots of things. Twitch has made it more accessible for viewers to subscribe to their favorite streamers, and WotC has produced a product that doesn’t feel like something out of the 90s! MTG Arena is a great place to play the latest Magic and provide content in a way that is new and exciting. I will leverage these new tools to make an effort to be available for you and my family at the same time. Now, with MTG Arena I don’t have to attend these 3 weekly events anymore to get inspiration to write the article for the week or the next upcoming video on our YouTube channel. I can be home and achieve these things, which is extremely convenient. The technology just wasn’t there and neither was the prize support. Attending multiple events is surprisingly costly when you’re trying to clout farm and establish yourself in the MTG community, but I am excited to plant my feet and work towards the next goal of streaming quality MTG content again. So, whose with me?

JRec (MTG Arena)

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