UWR Control, or Jeskai Control, is a deck that aims to get to the late game by trading with the opponent using efficient 1 for 1 removal and counterspells, before winning in the with a combination of Snapcaster Mage attacks, burn spells, Celestial Colonnade, or Ajani Vengeant. The most important parts of this deck are the instants and sorceries. Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix, Path to Exile and Electrolyze are all powerful ways to deal with creature based strategies. The deck also uses counter magic to keep problematic cards that dodge removal off the table; Spell Snare, Mana Leak, Remand and Cryptic Command are all examples of this. Finally cards like Serum Visions and Ancestral Vision are included so that the player can find more counterspells, removal, or threats. In terms of creatures Snapcaster Mage is an auto-include in a deck like this, due to it granting the ability to recur your instants and sorceries. He effectively functions as copies 5-8 of your favourite burn or counterspell. Some versions of this deck opt for a more midrange style that includes a greater number of creatures. Common inclusions include Vendilion Clique and Restoration Angel. Creatures such as these can be exploited in a controlling way (i.e. forcing the opponent to discard cards) and can pressure the opponent’s life total. Jeff Hoogland has recently splashed Black in his UWR Geist deck to incorporate Crackling Doom to combat Bogles and the various B/G/x decks of the format, and Slaughter Games has been added to help improve the Scapeshift matchup. Recently, Nahiri, the Harbinger has been used in Jeskai control to search for an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn as its primary win condition. If you draw Emrakul it is not a concern, as Nahiri can cycle it back into your deck through Nahiri’s +2 ability. The addition of another colour simply cuts Tectonic Edge as this card is fairly weak in the metagame.
Sideboarding Against This Deck
The popularity of the deck has decreased recently because of relatively poor matchups against both hyper aggressive decks like Burn and those that play manlands such as Jund or Abzan. As a control deck, Jeskai control can struggle against very fast, and aggressive, decks, such as RDW or Delver because these can play more threats than Control has counters for. Whilst modern includes a lot of efficient removal, there are still relatively few efficient ways to deal with 1-mana creatures like Goblin Guide, save Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile. Midrange decks like Jund or Abzan can sneak in manlands such as Treetop Village which also avoid counterspells. However, against slower midrange decks Jeskai control is a very strong choice. For a larger deck list I recommend checking out I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid you can’t do that. which contains a good breakdown of the card options for this deck.
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