Hi everyone. I haven’t created any content in quite a long time, and I don’t plan on resuming any video content anytime soon. However I wanted to share my findings with my fellow UWx family, and an article seemed like the best way to do so. I have been playing a lot of what I am calling Jeskai QuellerBlade over the last days/weeks trying to learn, more than anything, about how to build this new deck. First off, I don’t know the optimal build of this deck yet, and I feel like I still have a lot of cards to test. That said, I am 12-3 in the last three MTGO leagues, I have learned a lot, and a core set of cards is beginning to come together. Second, these are just my opinions about what I’ve experienced so far. While they are based on experience over theory crafting, feel free to disagree, do your own testing, etc…. As a side note, if I went 12-3 an actual good magic player would’ve likely went 15-0.
Azorius. I think UW wants to play more ways to slow the game down, and do well in a longer game. Maybe not pure control, but fundamentally, UW lacks the burn spells that help Jeskai end the game. To me this means UW should play main deck Force, likely 3 maybe 4, 3-4 late game walkers like JTMS, and a healthy number of Cryptic Commands. I also think they should try to squeeze in a couple of other sword carriers besides just Snap and SFM, I’d go for a couple of Cliques. I don’t think they should play Queller, more on that later. I will say that I am not a UW expert, but based on my experience and general knowledge, I think what I am saying here is correct.
Jeskai. Your burn spells double as ways to end the game. I think Jeskai should be playing to that strength and build accordingly. This means more creatures to apply pressure, Geist, Queller, Clique. The damage they deal will make your burn spells more likely to end the game with a bolt snap bolt. You will sacrifice late game staying power, but UW is better at that anyway since they have a less painful mana base, and four field of ruin for mana disruption.
UW vs Jeskai. I think both will be good and that it will come down to three things. Play style/preference, how good Lightning Bolt is in the format, and is that better than Field of Ruin.
Playing Spell Queller in UW. I don’t think I’d do it unless I was playing Jeskai. One Spell Queller is a slow clock, and as the game goes on, if you don’t have a T3feri in play it becomes increasingly likely a removal spell will lead to a cascade of Spell Quellers dying, and your opponent casting all of their stuff. Jeskai somewhat mitigates this by having the bolt snap bolt option of ending the game 2-3 turns faster than UW.
Playing Spell Queller in Jeskai. Amazing, but only with T3feri. There is the obvious reason that with him in play, they cannot re-cast their spells, but the other big reason is the sword/T3feri synergy. With Teferi in play, you can safely equip a Sword of Feast and famine with no danger of getting blown out by removal, and because Queller flies it’s much more likely you will connect with your attack and activate the sword. When you do, all of your lands untap and you can hold up whatever it is you have in hand.
Sword. The above reason is why Sword of Feast and Famine is by far not even close the sword you want to play main deck. As you can see, there is a powerful synergy between SFM, Swords, Queller, and T3feri. If you play a SFM and it doesn’t die. Untap, and hold up a Spell Queller! If they play a thing, you Queller it, untap, activate SFM, put sword into play, drop land #4, equip Queller, attack, untap lands. You can then play a T3feri, or hold something up. It’s good.
T3feri. I’ve already talked quite a bit about him, he’s good. For now I am on 3, but he might be so good in the deck that 4 is the correct number.
Stoneforge. You don’t need to run four Stoneforge Mystic. They are bad when the games go long as you run out of equipment to fetch, and jamming it on two isn’t always the right play. I think three might be the right number.
Jace. You can play 1-2 Jace the Mind Sculptor in the 75. This deck is better at at defending him because Batterskull just so happens to be an amazing blocker for JTMS. Also Jace + Batterskull gives the deck some late game staying power that it lacked in the past. We are UW so don’t go crazy, but he is a nice option to have.
Going long. Also on the subject of going long, if you’re playing 3-4 T3feri and 1-2 JTMS, you can end up in these spots where you have both walkers in play, and you’re actually fine to suicide block with a Spell Queller against a larger creature, even if it has something exiled underneath it because they can’t re-cast their spell, and you’re going to untap and Brainstorm + do something with T3feri, so losing the Queller is worth it. T3feri and Jace work well together, and you end being a sort of poor mans UW, which is usually good enough.
Force of Negation. I am not currently running any main, but that’s likely more of a function of figuring out what cards are correct to surround the SFM/Queller/T3feri core with. That being said, if I was going to run some main and I am still not sure, it’s likely to only be 1, maybe 2. I think multiple Force’s are actually better in a UW Planeswalker control deck where it’s better suited to trade down on cards to counter a key spell, and recover later with card advantage.
Cryptic Command is good in the deck. The meta has slowed some making Cryptic Command better, the deck has a little more late game power than before, and it’s also a good spell to have after exiling a spell with Queller. Also, sometimes it’s correct to tap down their team and draw a card so you can connect with a sword, make them discard and untap your lands.
Geist of Saint Traft. I could see one main, one side, or all side. He doesn’t synergize as well with the equip sword attack and untap lands plan because he doesn’t fly. He doesn’t give you the turn three option of holding up mana to activate SFM, and still be able to deploy a threat if they don’t do anything like Queller does. That being said, he’s been great when I needed him, backed up by Force against decks like Tron he’s even better, and I think it’s a mistake to leave him out of the 75 completely.
Spell Pierce vs Spell Snare. I have been trying both, and I can say for certain that it’s incorrect to run neither. One mana counters are better in this deck than past Jeskai Geist/Queller decks because the SFM activation cost is two. So if you untap with her, it’s nice to have the option to Snare/Pierce your opponents play, while also activating SFM. I think Spell Snare is likely to have targets more reliably but, Jeskai usually doesn’t suffer from having ways to deal with creatures. Snare is probably the better choice, but it’s close.
List. Here is the list, keep in mind I haven’t been so much refining the exact numbers of sideboard cards as I have been just learning what works and what I want to be playing. So use it as a reference, but keep in mind it’s a 75 this is just now entering the refining phase.
16. Comments. Feel free to comment here if you wish, but I recommend you do it on my post over in the MTG Modern: Competitive UWx Midrange/Control Community in order to centralize the discussion, and make it easier for our brother’s and sister’s to find the information.
Ok everyone, that’s all for me. I hope you found this helpful. Good luck out there in magic and in life!