UW Control, the Beautiful Deck

Luis Salvatto


Hello everyone, as many of you know, I’m actually tie in the first place of Player of the Year 2017-2018, and my last accomplishment from this season was made by such a beautiful deck, UW Control.

Jace, the Mind SculptorTeferi, Hero of DominariaTerminus

At this moment everyone knows that this is one of the best decks or at least tier 1 deck in Modern. White is the best color to deal with all permanents and blue is the best color to control your opponent and gain card advantage, “Azorius” is getting better again for this format.

I will explain my decklist choice, tips for gameplay, and Sideboard Guide today.

My Decklist and Current Results

This was my list for GP Stockholm 2018:

I ended up the swiss portion 12-2-1, losing a UW mirror, against UR Storm (both made top 8) and draw with the 9th player in a mirror.

Round Opponent Result
Round 1 BYE
Round 2 BYE
Round 3 BYE
Round 4 BG Midrange Win
Round 5 UR Storm Win
Round 6 Grixis Shadow Win
Round 7 Jund Win
Round 8 Bridgevine Win
Round 9 Bant Spirits Win
Round 10 UW Control Lose
Round 11 Hardened Scales Win
Round 12 Jeskai Win
Round 13 UR Storm Lose
Round 14 UW Control Draw
Round 15 Abzan Company Win
Quarter Finals Bant Spirits Lose

My previous tournament was GP Detroit 2018, Trios Modern, when I play a similar version with a few small changes. We ended up 10-4, and my personal score was 11-3 (in two matches my teammates already finish but we kept playing just for fun).

Round Opponent Result
Round 1 Dredgevine Win 2-0
Round 2 Elves Win 2-0
Round 3 Humans Win 2-1
Round 4 Spirits Win 2-0
Round 5 Bant Reliquary Win 2-1
Round 6 Mardu Pyromancer Win 2-1
Round 7 Humans Lose 0-2
Round 8 Tron Win 2-0
Round 9 Tron Win 2-0
Round 10 Jund Win 2-1
Round 11 4C Shadow Win 2-0
Round 12 UW Control Lose 1-2
Round 13 Humans Lose 0-2
Round 14 Humans Win 2-0

And at the Pro Tour 25th Anniversary I ended up with:

General Things

Which is better? 4 《Opt》 + 4 《Terminus》 or 4 《Serum Visions》 and split sweepers?

OptTerminusSerum VisionsSupreme Verdict

I thinks it is really close, both versions try to clean the table in different ways but with similar efficiency, I prefer to play 《Opt》 + 《Terminus》 since I like to play the cantrips on my opponent turn to decide better and don’t tap on my turn, also the chance of 《Opt》 + 《Terminus》 is really high if you play 4 of each, and in some matches 《Terminus》 is better than 4 mana sweepers (《Spell Queller》, 《Selfless Spirit》, 《Vengevine》, 《Bloodghast》, 《Kitchen Finks》, 《Eternal Witness》 decks, 《Hangarback Walker》 etc).

《Terminus》 or 4 mana sweepers makes a real difference in the way to approach the games, but your plan is the same in both versions, try to keep the battlefield clean and win, thanks to your Planeswalkers and 《Celestial Colonnade》.

Is 《Hieroglyphic Illumination》 an insane new technology?

Hieroglyphic Illumination

I disagree, the card is better than I expect, and maybe you can run two copies, since it is very versatile having the option of “Cycle” or 《Divination》 at instant speed, but I think the correct number of 《Hieroglyphic Illumination》 is not 4 at least in UW, maybe Jeskai can play 4 since it has a lot of cheap interactions and more ways to find spots to spend 4 mana and gain extra cards.

Why 《Crucible of Worlds》?

Crucible of Worlds

I love this card which is extremely good against all non aggro decks (half of the Modern field I guess), and even against aggro decks, you can make a good use in game 1 when you have troubles to find your lands.

Field of RuinGhost QuarterFlooded Strand

It is the best friend of 《Field of Ruin》 or 《Ghost Quarter》, and also allows you to gain an insane amount of card advantage when you have 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 in play, since you can 《Brainstorm》 and fetch (or 《Field of Ruin》) from graveyard and you don’t have to keep extra lands in your hand. Also a lot of decks have few basic lands, so attacking their manabase is very easy, and it makes your 《Path to Exile》 much better.

《Crucible of Worlds》 is also the best answer to 《Liliana of the Veil》 on turn 3, since you can discard your lands and don’t lose actual card count, while your opponent discard their hand.

It gives you free games against Urza Tron, sometimes 《Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle》, and control mirrors.

Singleton Card Selections

《Timely Reinforcements》

Timely Reinforcements

You really need to stop aggro decks before find a sweeper, and sometimes you need to gain life against 《Lightning Bolt》 decks, this is a card that I will play always in my maindeck.


Spell SnareNegateMana LeakLogic Knot

I like the diversity, sometimes 2 copies of any of them (except 《Logic Knot》) can be rough, before making this list, I was playing 1 《Spell Snare》, 1 《Negate》, 1 《Mana Leak》 and 2 《Logic Knot》, but I cut the 2nd 《Logic Knot》 because sometimes the 2nd copy was a bit awkward in the midgame when you don’t draw fetchlands, and also with 《Rest in Peace》 in the sideboard is worst.

《Vendilion Clique》

Vendilion Clique

Usually a sideboard card but I wanted to make a room for my sideboard so I run 1 《Vendilion Clique》 in the main deck. Sometimes his ability is really good, especially against combo deck or control mirror. You can target yourself to try to find a 《Terminus》 (or after putting it on the top with 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 but you don’t have other cantrip), before taking lethal damage in a combat.



This is a 5th one mana removal, fantastic in early turns, and another solution to 《Gaddock Teeg》 when you are locked by 《Meddling Mage》 on 《Path to Exile》.

《Detention Sphere》

Detention Sphere

Expensive but it can catch all permanent. I think you need at least 1 answer which can treat artifacts, enchantments or Planeswalkers besides 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》.

《Hieroglyphic Illumination》

Hieroglyphic Illumination

I cut 2nd 《Search for Azcanta》 for the 《Hieroglyphic Illumination》 since drawing two 《Search for Azcanta》 is really bad. In addition, 《Search for Azcanta》 is getting worse post-board games because you usually don’t have bad cards and its ability isn’t impressive. Therefore, I really like 2nd 《Search for Azcanta》 pre-board, but 《Hieroglyphic Illumination》 is a better card for post-board games.

《Search for Azcanta》

Search for Azcanta

A way to make your draws better, and also a way to find Planeswalkers if you draw only white cards to hold the game.

《Ancestral Vision》

Ancestral Vision

A card that is nuts on turn 1, sometimes fine in the midgame. It is usually bad against aggro decks which is the main reason not to play more than 1, since you can’t afford draw 2. Though, it is really good against non aggro/non combo decks in any stage of the early-middle game.

《Supreme Verdict》

Supreme Verdict

Playing 4 《Terminus》 means that sometimes 1 or 2 《Terminus》 are stucked in your hand and you need a sweeper on turn 4 to live. It is good against some blue aggro decks like 《Death's Shadow》 and UR Delver, but it is not great against Spirits deck since it is exiled by 《Spell Queller》 and countered by 《Selfless Spirit》.

The Core of the Deck

5 Planeswalkers

Jace, the Mind Sculptor


I really love having 3 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》, since sometimes you just play the first one as 4 mana 《Brainstorm》 to set up 《Terminus》 and let him die. After that, I want a second copy and having 3 allows me to draw multiple and I don’t have to protect the first one.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria


It is an answer for all permanent, gives you a lot of advantage in terms of card, mana and life because opponent doesn’t want him to live. But with 5 Loyalty and the ability of untap 2 lands allow you to play at least 1 《Path to Exile》 and those factors make really hard to kill him.

3 《Cryptic Command》

Cryptic Command


One of the best blue cards in Modern, the only reason not to play 4 is that sometimes having too many in the early game is not good. Thanks to one of the another best blue card in Modern: 《Snapcaster Mage》, you can play more copies in the lategame, dealing with annoying permanent, preventing combat and draw card, or just the most historical mode, counter and draw.






Hallowed Fountain


Flooded Strand


Celestial Colonnade


Glacial Fortress


Field of Ruin


Ghost Quarter


Nothing special about the manabase, some people like to play the 5th fetchland instead of 《Ghost Quarter》, it is obviously mistake if you play 《Crucible of Worlds》 though. Some people play more or less basic lands, but I like having 6 《Island》 and 3 《Plains》 since minimum non-basic for me is 4 fetch, 4 《Celestial Colonnade》, 5 《Wasteland》, 3 duallands (2 《Hallowed Fountain》 and 1 《Glacial Fortress》).

Sideboard Guide

5C Humans

Against 5C Humans


Logic Knot Mana Leak Negate
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria Crucible of Worlds Ancestral Vision


Baneslayer Angel Lyra Dawnbringer Vendilion Clique
Timely Reinforcements Celestial Purge Porphyry Nodes

Against KCI


Terminus Terminus Path to Exile Path to Exile
Search for Azcanta Spell Snare Oust Snapcaster Mage
Crucible of Worlds Timely Reinforcements


Dispel Dispel Disdainful Stroke Negate
Rest in Peace Rest in Peace Stony Silence Stony Silence
Surgical Extraction Vendilion Clique

Before releasing 《Sai, Master Thopterist》, sideboarding was easy because you didn’t need the sweepers, but nowadays, KCI players try to grind us out with it and things seem more complicated.

TerminusSai, Master ThopteristPath to Exile

They also board out a lot of 2 drops, so 《Spell Snare》 is bad. I like to have at least 3 sweepers and 2 《Path to Exile》 to stop their creatures, and the rest of the hate cards to control their combo.

Hollow One

Against Hollow One


Logic Knot Mana Leak Negate
Crucible of Worlds Ancestral Vision Vendilion Clique


Baneslayer Angel Lyra Dawnbringer Timely Reinforcements
Rest in Peace Rest in Peace Celestial Purge


Against Spirits


Logic Knot Mana Leak Negate
Crucible of Worlds Timely Reinforcements Ancestral Vision


Baneslayer Angel Lyra Dawnbringer Vendilion Clique
Dispel Dispel Porphyry Nodes

Against Mardu Pyromancer


Path to Exile Path to Exile Path to Exile Vendilion Clique
Crucible of Worlds Logic Knot Oust


Rest in Peace Rest in Peace Baneslayer Angel Lyra Dawnbringer
Timely Reinforcements Negate Celestial Purge


Against Tron


Terminus Terminus Terminus Terminus
Supreme Verdict Timely Reinforcements Path to Exile Oust


Dispel Dispel Disdainful Stroke Negate
Stony Silence Stony Silence Surgical Extraction Vendilion Clique

UW Mirror

Against UW Control


Terminus Terminus Terminus Terminus
Path to Exile Oust


Dispel Dispel Disdainful Stroke Negate
Surgical Extraction Vendilion Clique

UR Storm

Against UR Storm


Terminus Terminus Terminus Oust
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria Timely Reinforcements Crucible of Worlds Path to Exile


Dispel Dispel Disdainful Stroke Negate
Rest in Peace Rest in Peace Surgical Extraction Vendilion Clique

Post-board, UR Storm usually tries to put 6-8 Goblin Tokens on turn 2 or 3, so I like to have 3 ways to deal with them (you can stop this with 《Dispel》 even if they try to do on turn 2).

Empty the WarrensDetention SphereSupreme VerdictTerminus

They should do this because you have more efficient ways to stop the graveyard combo, even though they can rebuild their hand thanks to 《Pieces of the Puzzle》. In Game 1 it is super important to kill all the 《Goblin Electromancer》 and 《Baral, Chief of Compliance》.

Midrange BGx decks

Here we only switch a few counterspells for versatile cards because they are bad after discarding spells.

Against BGx decks


Logic Knot Mana Leak Negate


Timely Reinforcements Vendilion Clique Celestial Purge

Against Hierarch / Company Decks


Mana Leak Negate
Logic Knot Ancestral Vision


Dispel Dispel
Porphyry Nodes Vendilion Clique


Against Bridgevine


Logic Knot Mana Leak Negate
Search for Azcanta Ancestral Vision


Rest in Peace Rest in Peace Surgical Extraction
Timely Reinforcements Celestial Purge


I strongly recommend to adapt this Sideboard Guide with your thought about the matchups. I think my sideboarding is fine but sometimes you can improve it and when you don’t have enough time for game 2 or 3 you should bring in 2 Angels to finish the games on time.

Lyra DawnbringerBaneslayer Angel

I’m able to answer particular questions about the deck or the sideboard, feel free to contact me. Hope you enjoy this article, now is time to play some Standard and Limited for Worlds 2018 and Team Series Finals, and after that, a PotY Playoff!

Wish me luck, thanks for reading 🙂

(Editor’s Note: It was written before Magic: The Gathering Wolrd Championship 2018 and Team Series Finals.)

Luis Salvatto

Recommended Items

Related Articles