My last article focused on the Modern Control deck Blue Moon found here. This article is going over the same deck, but with some updates I have been testing. As we now know Blue Moon has been anywhere from a fringe deck representing less than one percent of the metagame to as high as four percent of the metagame. I want to take this time and focus on some questions you need to consider before piloting a Blue Moon deck or decks like it.
1. Are you a competent Control player?
The Standard metagame averages around seven or more turns this includes aggro, and control decks time it takes for a game to end. Compare that same timeline to Moderns five turns for a game to end. The disadvantage of being a Control player in such a aggro heavy field, is you have to line your cards up perfectly or it means you lose. You have to choose your battles. Bradley Reeves article found here does an amazing job explaining and giving examples. I am not saying if you aren’t good at Control don’t play it, I am saying take the steps if you are a competitive player and become better.
2. Can you not panic?
The reason this is a valid question is simple.
A. As a player when your life drops down to a certain point you can start over thinking each move each strategy you become careless. Several people crumble under pressure and when you are staring down a full field at two life it can become nerve racking. My advice think things through, but do not allow delays.
B. Due to the greater need to think these moves through you as a player tend to eat up more time in the field. Best advice that was ever given to me, you have all the time in the world all a Control player needs to do is win one game and prevent them from winning the other. This isn’t the best way for a victory but a 1-0 is a win all the same. Do not intentionally go to time, but do not let the timer work you up and have you make mistakes. When I quit rushing games as a Control player I started winning more.
3. Can you concentrate?
This may sound like a funny question, but take your normal FNM games. Most players can last 3-4 rounds without having any issues. Past that you can start struggling with the mental capacity of your deck. I took Jeskai Nahiri to Charlotte I did amazingly well in the beginning. What drained me from that tournament was the three hour delay that pushed us back. By the end of the tournament I had sat there in the building for over sixteen hours. I loved my time there and feel I had unfortunate luck to not make day two.
As a player I would consider these questions before ever stepping foot into a Grand Prix with a Control deck. I encourage using online programs to get an idea on the metagame of any major event you are going to. Another great piece of advice that was given to me early on is if you want to be a good competitive player don’t take your local events lightly. I rarely go to any local event without testing my deck multiple times, and I don’t just randomly throw a deck together I play to win. Local events are a lot different than your kitchen table games so keep that in mind for when you most want to have fun.
Without further delay I will go ahead and bring out my updated deck list of Blue Moon.
3x Ancestral Vision
3x Blood Moon
1x Burst Lightning
2x Cryptic Command
4x Lightning Bolt
2x Mana Leak
4x Serum Visions
1x Spell Snare
1x Vedalken Shackles
Last time I discussed the changes it had seen with a time span of two years. This is the difference in a time span of two months. A new threat has been printed in Oath of the Gatewatch that aligns amazingly well for Pia and Kiran Nalaar and adds a devastating synergy to the deck.
This card was one I actually despised in the pre-release. I felt this card was trash and probably shouldn’t see play. I admittedly was a tad wrong with that assumption. This card can and will be the occasional answer to all your issues. For five mana you can drop this card that is a 4/4 already it survives the most popular spell in the format Lightning Bolt. This also allows us to cast any card from our graveyard without paying its mana cost. Of the decks thirty spells this card has sixteen viable and useful targets main board. Anger of the Gods becomes an amazing tool in the sideboard if you sided it in against aggro, also this card survives an emergency anger. Not only does this become a great Batterskull target since it requires two or more creatures to block it due to menace, but it can also target Ancestral Vision to allow us three more cards. In the end this card holds more value than a Vendilion Clique which is one of the two cards I dropped for it.
The next card we will be looking has already been mentioned above and can easily be understood as a staple in any Modern Control deck. All blue mages were rejoicing and singing for the miracle that occurred when this card received its unbanning.
Three cards for one blue mana? I think I can be ok with that, even if I have to wait four turns for it. Blue Moon is a deck that targets and preys upon specific decks, and requires answers immediately when situations start to get out of hand, I know like every deck out there. The difference is the fact this deck has a bit of an answer for everything, it just needs it in hand. I guess that explains fourteen spells that draws extra cards not including this card that gets you three cards, or the Snapcaster Mage and Goblin Dark-Dwellers that can use these spells additionally. Even the original list I had placed thirteen spells and the four Snapcasters.
The final major change of this deck actually became a comical argument between a friend and I. This card was a powerhouse several years ago, but it’s value in Modern and decks like this have waned enough my interest for this card has become zilch-nada. Just to appease my friend I added one copy of it in the deck and was surprised by the power level it has been given in this meta.
This card was once a destructive force and was simply stupid to play against. Abrupt Decay and other artifact destruction cards ended the reign and success of this card. Affinity has become no less a nuisance, but I have noticed a slight cut back in the artifact hate you find in Modern. Either way when I play tested the deck with this card when it hit the field it was ridiculous at how well it performed. I don’t feel more than two copies belong in the deck, but my friend has convinced me at least one deserves a home.
In conclusion what is the difference between this deck list and the other I previewed. What can a couple cards do to make this version so different. The answer is everything, The first list had a firm lock on controlling my opponent and waiting to finish the game when my opponent exhausted their resources. This version gives more of a midrange feel to me and allows me to become a lot more aggressive than I ever expected of being considering I am playing Blue Moon. Like always enjoy the content feel free to message and give suggestions.
The videos below feature the very deck in the above article and faces against one deck known in Modern and one that is a interesting brew.