Jul 11, 20184716 views

Tuning Jeskai Control In Modern

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How’s Jeskai Control doing in Modern?
This is pretty much always a question on my mind when I’m looking to pick up a Modern deck. Jeskai Control has been a solid choice lately and is one of the most played decks in Modern, making it one of only a few options for a Modern Control mage.
Today I'll share my thoughts on Jeskai Control and its place in the Modern metagame, as well as go over some of the newest card choices designed to crush the current metagame.
Let's start with a look at a current build that’s had recent success at Grand Prix Barcelona.

Jeskai Control by Javier Dominguez
Grand Prix Barcelona 2018, 3rd Place
3 Celestial Colonnade 4 Cryptic Command 2 Electrolyze 2 Field of Ruin 4 Flooded Strand 1 Glacial Fortress 2 Hallowed Fountain 3 Island 4 Lightning Bolt 2 Lightning Helix 3 Logic Knot 1 Mountain 1 Negate 4 Opt 4 Path to Exile 1 Plains 4 Scalding Tarn 2 Search for Azcanta 1 Secure the Wastes 4 Snapcaster Mage 1 Spirebluff Canal 2 Steam Vents 1 Sulfur Falls 1 Supreme Verdict 2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 1 Wrath of God
Sideboard
2 Ancestral Vision 1 Baneslayer Angel 2 Celestial Purge 2 Damping Sphere 2 Dispel 1 Lyra Dawnbringer 1 Negate 1 Settle the Wreckage 1 Surgical Extraction 1 Vendilion Clique 1 Wear/Tear
Javier Dominguez has been having success with the deck and this is a great jumping off point to tackle the current metagame.
Search for Azcanta has already proven itself as a win condition and I think it’s safe to say Teferi, Hero of Dominaria has done so as well by now.
I like the split of two copies of Teferi and two copies of Search for Azcanta which has become the standard for Jeskai Control right now. Running too many copies of the same win condition can be problematic, especially when you draw multiple copies and they’re legendary. Before Teferi was printed I liked running three copies of Search for Azcanta, but drawing it in multiples was less than ideal. In most situations I’d much rather draw one copy of Teferi and one copy of Search rather than two copies of either. Search for Azcanta is also great on turn two and great on turn ten, whereas Teferi is a stronger midgame card, which is where Search for Azcanta often struggles to be impactful.
It was certainly a surprising turn of events that Jace, the Mind Sculptor ended up being a dud and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria ended up being a stud. What the heck happened to make it so that we’re living in such a bizarre timeline that Jace, the Mind Sculptor got benched for a more expensive blue planeswalker?
Jace, the Mind Sculptor is the hero Modern deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
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The one it needs is Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. The biggest upside to Teferi is that he can untap your lands immediately after you play him, which is crucial for not only protecting Teferi, but helping make sure your opponent doesn’t kill you or land a ridiculous haymaker the turn after you cast him.
Being able to cast Teferi and then have up Logic Knot mana on turn five is incredibly amazing, and makes you feel like quite the genius, since some matchups you need to make sure you never tap out.
The other major benefit is that Teferi is much better at staying on the battlefield while netting you cards than Jace. Your most common play pattern of landing Teferi and using his +1 leaves him at five loyalty. Jace is incredibly awkward when you have to decide whether or not to use his +2 fateseal ability and not draw any cards immediately, or just risk Jace dying to the common Lightning Bolt.
Teferi or Jace staying alive for a few turns is usually enough to win you games with card advantage anyways, so trading Brainstorm for just drawing a card isn’t that big of a deal.
Here’s what I would run:

Jeskai Control
4 Snapcaster Mage 2 Supreme Verdict 4 Cryptic Command 1 Sacred Foundry 3 Lightning Helix 2 Logic Knot 3 Electrolyze 4 Path to Exile 2 Search for Azcanta 3 Celestial Colonnade 2 Field of Ruin 4 Flooded Strand 4 Lightning Bolt 2 Hallowed Fountain 1 Plains 4 Serum Visions 4 Scalding Tarn 2 Steam Vents 2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 1 Mountain 3 Island 1 Sulfur Falls 2 Remand
Sideboard
1 Baneslayer Angel 1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion 1 Settle the Wreckage 1 Wear/Tear 1 Detention Sphere 1 Crumble to Dust 1 Surgical Extraction 2 Negate 1 Dispel 1 Vendilion Clique 1 Celestial Purge 2 Damping Sphere 1 Cleansing Nova

The most interesting deviation in my list at the moment would be Remand, which is a card I’m absolutely crazy in love with the way the current format is.
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For starters Remand is another excellent card to pair with Teferi. Casting Remand isn't really any more special than casting Logic Knot after using Teferi's +1 to untap two of your lands, but it’s approximately just as good, and much more annoying. Backing up Teferi from the big plays your opponent can make with two mana countermagic is devastating.
While Remand is lackluster in a bunch of matchups that Jeskai is already good against, it’s great against problematic matchups and cards. Cards like Gurmag Angler, Faithless Looting with flashback, Lingering Souls, Krak-Clan Ironworks, or Karn Liberated all bow to the subtle might of Remand.
Whereas Logic Knot is nearly useless against a Humans deck that has out Cavern of Souls or Aether Vial, at least Remand can still draw you a card by being cast on an uncounterable creature or one of your own cheap spells. It’s also excellent against other blue decks with Snapcaster Mage, or ones that dare to get into counter wars, since you can Remand your own spells in response to their counters to fizzle their countermagic.
Don’t get me wrong, Negate or Logic Knot also work great, but Jeskai has a lot of win conditions now and just buying time is often all you need to close out games.
I feel similarly about Electrolyze, although my love is more ubiquitous in this case, since Jeskai already runs at least a couple copies, but I just want to cram as many copies in as I can. It’s not hard to pick up a two for one against a slew of decks or even a three for one against Affinity or Humans. In less aggressive matchups it’s also nice to keep your countermagic up and be able to get in some extra damage and card draw at end of their turns.
Having access to so many cards that draw more cards also helps insure you hit your often crucial fourth, fifth, and even sixth land drops on time. Speaking of hitting land drops, that’s one of the main reasons I prefer Serum Visions over Opt, and all of this combined allows me to get away with only running 24 lands instead of the usual 25.
As for the sideboard, all go over each of my more interesting card choices:
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Baneslayer Angel, sometimes alongside Lyra Dawnbringer, is an interesting new addition to Jeskai sideboards, mainly spurred on by the rise of B/R Hollow One. A 5/5 first strike matches up well against all the creatures and removal they typically have access to against you postboard. It gives you a proactive gameplan, albeit a bit of a clunky and expensive one
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Elspeth, Sun's Champion fills a similar role to Baneslayer Angel, a mana more costly, but harder to remove and more versatile. If more and more people are expecting Baneslayer Angel out of your sideboard it’s great to have Elspeth.
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Settle the Wreckage is once again another major consideration due to B/R Hollow One, since exiling their creatures is crucial. Just decent removal against any creature deck and nice to have alongside Snapcaster Mage. Also randomly great against Bogles.
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A copy of Crumble to Dust is just worth it in my mind. There’s enough Tron and it’s otherwise such an annoying matchup. You have so many ways to draw cards, it isn’t that hard to find even when you only have one copy.
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Surgical Extraction is not a card I’m usually a fan of, but with the rise of Ironworks Combo as well as B/R Hollow One it gets a nod. You also have so much card draw that having one copy of a card that’s potentially card disadvantage isn’t so bad.
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In general I prefer versatility over raw power which is why I like more copies of Negate than Dispel.
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Damping Sphere is a versatile hate card, even if it’s not as powerful as other options for any given matchup. It’s also annoying since it makes your Snapcaster Mage pay an extra tax to cast their spells. But it’s going to hurt your Tron, KCI, and Storm opponents way more than it hurts you.
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Are there any goodies is M19 for Jeskai Control? Cleansing Nova is worth a try, although I doubt it’s powerful enough to make a final cut. It’s nice to have a more powerful sweeper against Affinity or Bogles and randomly be able to plow up multiple artifacts and enchantments against a lot of decks, but an extra mana is a lot for a sweeper. Another option is Isolate, since it can hit random non-creature cards like Expedition Map, Chromatic Star, and Springleaf Drum. Overall though it doesn’t hit enough in the format to warrant a maindeck slot, and just comparing it to Path to Exile says a lot about it’s power level.
So when should you pick up Jeskai Control and is it a good choice right now?
Overall with the metagame shaped as it is, the big incentive to play Jeskai Control is because it’s one of the few decks that truly punishes Humans. As far as the major matchups go:
Good Matchups: Humans, Mardu Pyromancer, Burn, Affinity, (usually anything creature based.)
Bad Matchups: Tron, B/R Hollow One, Ironworks Combo (usually anything ramp, graveyard, or combo based.)
As with most decks in Modern Jeskai is a deck with some pretty polarizing matchups that you feel great about and others not so much. Anytime you expect there to be a high density of creature decks, and a lower density of combo and big mana decks Jeskai is an excellent choice.
As for this moment I feel like the amount Tron, B/R Hollow One, KCI is on the rise, and the amount of Humans decks is good but still not infesting Modern by any means. For this type of environment, Jeskai would be a solid choice, but by no means a stellar metagame call.
Still Jeskai is still very much capable of beating even it’s bad matchups and is a great, consistent deck choice.


Previous Articles · Meet the Massdrop Teams: http://dro.ps/mtg-team-announce · *2nd* at Pro Tour Ixalan: http://dro.ps/ixalan · Unclaimed Creature Types: http://dro.ps/ari-creatures · Why I Never Drop From Tournaments: http://dro.ps/eric-nevergiveup · The Art of Sideboard Construction - Sultai Energy: http://dro.ps/jon-sideboard · A Commoner’s View on Pauper: http://dro.ps/mark-pauper · Blue Moon Beach Control: http://dro.ps/scott-bluemoon · Top 5 Modern Decks: http://dro.ps/pascal-modern · Storm in Vintage Cube: http://dro.ps/ben-storm · An Early Look at Rivals for Standard: http://dro.ps/shaun-rivals · A Standard Approach to Evaluating New Cards: http://dro.ps/rob-newcards · Drafting Rivals of Ixalan: http://dro.ps/tim-ixalan · Team Sealed Secrets: http://dro.ps/eric-secrets · Steal My Standard Ideas: http://dro.ps/tommy-secrets · Vexing Devil. Any Questions?: http://dro.ps/jon-devil · Team Massdrop Rivals of Ixalan Limited Primer: http://dro.ps/ari-primer · Gestation of RG Eldrazi: http://dro.ps/ben-gestation · Top Tim Tournament Training Tips: http://dro.ps/tim-tips · What Makes Someone Bogle?: http://dro.ps/tommy-bogle · A Pauper Adventure: http://dro.ps/pascal-pauper · Blue Moon at GP Phoenix: http://dro.ps/rob-bluemoon · Brawling into Dominaria: http://dro.ps/scott-brawling · Looking at The Current Lands(cape) of Legacy http://dro.ps/jarvis-land · Deconstructing Dominaria Limited: http://dro.ps/jon-dominaria · Diving into Dominaria Standard: http://dro.ps/mark-dominaria · What are your.. drives?: http://dro.ps/tommy-drives · Top 10 Cards for Dominaria Modern: http://dro.ps/rob-dominaria · Brewing Standard with Dominaria: http://dro.ps/pascal-dominaria · Dominaria Team Sealed: A Case Study: http://dro.ps/tim-dominaria · Battlebonding in Vintage and Legacy: http://dro.ps/jarvis-battlebond · Decks I Almost Played at PT Dominaria: http://dro.ps/ben-dominaria · RB Chainwhirler for the Non-Aggressive Player: http://dro.ps/jon-chainwhirler · Top 4 at GP Vegas: http://dro.ps/mark-top4vegas · Return to Core Set Limited: http://dro.ps/eric-core · Drafting Rares with Core Set 2019: http://dro.ps/ari-core
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MarkJacobson and Lukas Horosiewicz
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You're alive! I was concerned. Hope you're doing well!
What are your thoughts on Alipne Moon for Jeskai's sideboard?