Mastering Blue-Black Control

Posted in Feature on October 25, 2013

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

If you are looking for a master, you need look no further than Shouta Yasooka. Time and time again, he's built awesome decks, from his Cryptic Command plus Doran deck at Pro Tour Amsterdam to his UB Tezzeret deck from every tournament in 2011. This time, he's decided to master some waves, all while still playing the blue-black shell he seems to prefer.

Master of Waves

The "normal" UB control part of the deck is the expected mix of removal, counterspells, and card draw. Syncopate, Essence Scatter, and Dissolve pair very nicely with Doom Blade, Hero's Downfall, and Opportunity, letting this deck play like every UB deck since Underground Sea was printed. As is common in the last couple of years, Planeswalkers also play a big part, with four Jace, Architect of Thought and three Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver pressuring the opponent and playing defense at the same time.

Jace and Ashiok, along with Domestication and Prognostic Sphinx, also increase the deck's devotion to blue. That in turn powers Master of Waves, which doesn't need all that much help to begin with. In fact, the four Masters, two Sphinxes, and four Mutavaults are all this deck really can expect to attack with, although Ashiok and Domestication can pull in an unwilling ally every now and then. It's a testament to how powerful Master of Waves is that this very controllish deck plans on killing with it, despite decks like this usually preferring to eschew almost any kind of actual win condition.

I also like the sideboard, with Wall of Frost and Tidebinder Mage adding more blue mana symbols and more permanent-based solutions. The decks those are best against will often have trouble removing them, making it elementary to hit devotion numbers of five+ by the time the Master arrives.

Even though Shuhei Nakamura reported that Shouta made his deck the night before the Pro Tour, he knows what he's doing, and the deck looks like a solid piece of work.

Shouta Yasooka's UB Control

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