This week we’re happy to share a new article by Sean Mogelgaard about his big weekend at SCG Indy. Read on below. And thanks Sean!

First and foremost I want to give proper credit where it is due, and thank my good friend John Farrow for supplying me with the decklist I used and the sideboard guide. He is an exceptional player and helped me grow and progress as a UWx player across all formats, check out his twitter for decklists and updates @MTR483. Not only did he supply me with the decklist and sideboard guide, but he also helped me grow immensely as a player so I wanted to express my immeasurable thanks!

This article will first discuss decklist choices, unique cards, reasons for sideboard configuration, what card is for what matchup. Following this will be a breakdown of all my matchups. Finally it will end with future changes I would make moving forward. Now to start off here is the 75 I played

UW Control - Pioneer

Maindeck (60)
Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis
Gideon of the Trials
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Teferi, Time Raveler
Cast out
Omen of the sea
Seal Away
Azorius Charm
Censor
Dig Through Time
Dovin's Veto
Sinister Sabotage
Supreme Verdict
Island
Plains
Castle Ardenvale
Castle Vantress
Fabled Passage
Field of Ruin
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain
Irrigated Farmland
Sideboard (15)
Dream Trawler
Monastary Mentor
Baffling End
Rest in Peace
Aether Gust
Mystical Dispute
Settle The Wreckage
Gideon, Ally Of Zendikar
Narset, Parter of Veils

So this list has a few things that were not commonplace in most stock UW lists in Pioneer. Most notably the omission of Opt for Omen of the Sea. First and foremost looking at more cards is important in control decks when you are hunting for an answer or digging for lands, but specifically in this format a conclusion was made to value looking at more cards over the efficiency that Opt provides. Drawbacks of this choice are not entirely negligible, it is harder to fuel Dig Through Times, it is more mana intensive, and is far less efficient than Opt.

This in mind the appeal, as stated previously, is the ability to see more cards, on top of that the late game appeal of sacrificing Omen to scry two, or even picking up Omen with Teferi, Time Raveler for some solid value, pushed Omen ahead of Opt.

Omen is also good in matchups like Sultai Delirium and Inverter because you have time to cast Omen, and you know what you are looking for. Versus Sultai I prioritized answers and planeswalkers, especially big Teferi, and Inverter I prioritized interaction.

Moving on to matchups, across the event I played one Jeskai Auras, one RW Knights, one Feather, one Spirits, one GB big men, five Sultai Delirium, six Inverter.

Round One: Jeskai Auras 2-0

Game one my opponent mulled to five and had double hoplite that got verdicted away and proceeded to die to young Gideon. Nothing too eventful game one, was kind of a nongame since he mulled so low.

Board out:
2 Censor
4 Sinister Sabotage
Board in:
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Dream Trawler
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Baffling End
1 Monastery Mentor

Game two my opponent committed heavily to a Lagonna-Band Trailblazer, I Settled him on four, he reextends with two more heroic dudes that swiftly get verdicted away. I land a big Teferi which finds me a Trawler that i jam the following turn and my opponent dies to the unbeatable sphinx.

Round Two: RW Knights 2-1

Game one I am on the play and Azorius Charm his one drop dude when he attacks and he taps out on three for threats that get swiftly verdicted away. I follow up with a big Teferi to tuck his followup threat and proceed to win from there with a young Gideon and 1/1s.

Board out:
1 Dovin’s Veto
1 Censor
4 Sinister’s Sabotage

Board in:
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Dream Trawler
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Baffling End
1 Monastery Mentor

Game two i get trounced by Dauntless bodyguard protecting his threats from my first verdict to get me within boros charm range by the following turn. I played a young Gideon to fog his threat and he hit me with another man he protected and I proceeded to die to the Charm.

Game three I Charm his Bodyguard and untap and verdict on curve, he replays some threats and I Elspeth to make blockers. I follow up elspeth with a Dream Trawler and the game ends when I hit him with it the following turn and gain an absurd amount of life to stabilize.

Round Three: Sultai Delirium 2-1

Game one I land an early Gideon and pressure my opponent and answer his blockers and threats with small Teferi and Verdicts. They proceed to get hit to death by young Gideon.

Board out:
2 Gideon of the Trials
4 Censor
1 Dovin’s Veto
2 Seal Away
2 Azorius Charm
1 Dig Through Time

Board in:
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Dream Trawler
1 Monastery Mentor
2 Mystical Dispute
3 Aether Gust
1 Narser, Parter of Veils
2 Rest in Peace

Game two my opponent thoughtseize out my early interaction and lands a tracker. They proceed to make approximately a million clues and I get killed by the card advantage and concede a bit early to save time.

Game three I do not remember the beginning too well, however I did end up winning by jamming a Dream Trawler on six and then untapping and Aether Gusting his threats.

Round Four: Bant Spirits 2-0

Game one I get lucky and my opponent floods and I draw mono countermagic so I counter his Collected Company and and other threats, stabilize with Seal Aways and Supreme Verdicts from the men he cast early on. From there my planeswalker package wins me the game.

Board out:
4 Sinister Sabotage
1 Dovin’s Veto
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis
1 Cast Out

Board in:
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Settle Wreckage
2 Dream Trawler
1 Baffling End

Game Two my opponent finds every spirit but the selfless one and hits a bad Company to put me one point from dead, I proceed to untap and verdict his board. He deploys some threats and I cast a Dream Trawler to gum up the board, he does not find an answer and dies to the second Dream Trawler I find of the attack trigger of the first.

Round Five: Inverter 2-1

I promptly get smooshed game one. Turns out efficient interaction and a strong combo are good together, who knew?

Board out:
2 Seal Away
2 Azorius Charm
2 Supreme Verdict

Board in:
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Monastery Mentor
1 Narset, Parter of Veils

Game two he jams a Pack Rat on two and I jam young Gideon and emblem to buy time. He spends his following turn growing the rat and hitting my Gideon. I use my turn to uptick on his Rat and pass back, he discards to get another rat to kill my Gideon and I flash in omen to bottom two irrelevant cards digging for verdict. I draw small Teferi and bounce a rat to buy time and draw an irrelevant card. Teferi is smited by the growing rat horde and I topdeck and promptly windmill slam a verdict. He spends his following turn cantripping and passes back. I play everyone’s favorite five mana planeswalker and proceed to take the game over from there.

Game three I jam a Gideon on three and he has no answer and I follow up with Elspeth on four and I just attack him to death with my Elspeth making the tokens grow each turn.

Round Six: Sultai Delirium 0-2

Game one was a massive grind fest, and I never found a supreme verdict or an answer to his early tracker. He proceeded to gain immense advantage, and by the time I could wrath he was able to redeploy with Emrakul and additional threats and I could not come back from it.

Board plan is the same as round three

Post board i kept a land heavy hand and got punished by a strong flood. The flood accompanied with minimal interaction and threat deployment by my opponent spelled disaster for myself.

Round Seven: Sultai Delirium 2-0

Game one was a huge grindfest, full of interaction and fun decision trees. The match was kind of a blur, I remember that he cast Emrakul twice and I set up my hand to be mostly blank. The first Emrakul turn he saw a Supreme Verdict in my hand with lands, the second one saw a Cast Out and lands. I ended up getting there by milling him out.

Board plan is the same as round three

Game two ended much quicker, I landed an early Gideon Ally and rode that 5/5 to victory. Turns out when you can Supreme verdict away the blockers and get in for five it is pretty easy to apply a lot of pressure.

Round Eight: Sultai Delirium 2-1

Game one was a swift loss, my opponent had favorable interaction and landed an early unanswered Tireless Tracker and rode it to victory. I believe that an early Tracker in the matchup spells death so moving forward priority on removing the tracker should be noted.

Board plan is the same as round three

Game two I mulled to Teferi, Time Raveler, RIP, Island, Plains, and Farmland. I expect to die in this game. My opponent thoughtseizes my RIP, and I jam Teferi and tick up. I proceed to bounce his Courser and draw Dream Trawler. From here my game plan shifts to finding lands to jam the unbeatable threat. That is exactly what happened and I ended up jamming Trawler to slam the door closed.

Game three started with a little under ten minutes left on the clock. We have some early exchanges, I keep time walking him by Aethergusting his tracker on top. We end up getting to a point where I am making tokens to block said tracker with Castle Ardenvale and the game is in a not ideal lull, when i top deck a big Teferi to tuck the Tracker and he Swift Ends my Teferi. I proceed to have another insanely hot drawstep and draw a Dream Trawler. After a few turns of back and forth, I end up closing the door with a second Dream Trawler.

Round Nine: Sultai Delirium 2-0

Game one my opponent did not do much, he cast a turn three Uro and then jammed a Nissa on four, which I Censor. His next turn he plays an overgrown tomb tapped and cast an Ishknah into another censor of mine. The game proceeds to go astoundingly in my favor and my opponent ends up scooping to my big Teferi.

Board plan is the same as round three

Game two was kind of a blur, all I really remember is that the game ended with Dream Trawler.

DAY TWO

Round Ten: Feather 2-1

Game one I won the die roll so I killed his board with verdict on curve and then tucked his followup feather the next turn. I then proceed to ride Big Teferi and Castle Ardenvale to Victory.

Board out:
4 Sinister Sabotage
1 Dovin’s Veto
3 Censor

Board in:
2 Dream Trawler
1 Settle the Wreckage
1 Baffling End
1 Monastery Mentor
3 Aether Gust

Game two he went super wide and after I cleaned up his board with verdict he redeployed with a Swiftspear and Favored Hoplite. He proceeds to attack me to four and finish me off with a Boros Charm.

Game three was a different story. My opener had two Seal Aways and an Azorius Charm so naturally I interacted with his dude heavy start pretty well, and I ended up cleaning his board up with a Settle the Wreckage. From here my opponent proceeds to flood heavily and I deploy a Gideon and a Dream Trawler to end the game.

Round Eleven: Inverter 2-1

Game one was a grind session, but due to my opponents second Hero’s Downfall, he killed all my Gideons and I could not defend myself from the Inverter horde.

Same boarding as round four

Post board I cast turn three Gideon game two and then jammed Elspeth on four and proceeded to kill my opponent with pumped up tokens and an angry Gideon.

Game three I landed an early Narset that kept my opponent from gaining much card advantage and proceeded to gain incremental advantage until slamming big Teferi.

Round Twelve: Inverter 2-1

This was my match versus Collins Mullen, game one was a hard wash and I couldn’t find a Gideon or an interactive spell to save my life.

Same boarding as round four

Game Two I drew and played almost every planeswalker in my deck, and as it turns out that is very strong when your opponent stumbles, who knew?

Game three I performed the skill intensive line of assemble Gideon tribal and attack my opponent for bunches.

Round Thirteen: Inverter 2-0

Game one was very close, and I thought I was dead across several turns, however my opponent did not have it. The turn he cast Inverter and passed, I drew baby Gideon and made an emblem to keep from dying and my opponent had no answers and died to decking in a few turns.

Same boarding as round four

Game two my opponent jammed Pack Rat turn two. I had the Verdict in hand but i feigned frustration and sacrificed a Gideon to act as a speed bump to make my opponent continue to discard and commit more to play. Then I jammed Verdict on four and my opponent was super behind and I easily won with a Gideon Ally from there.

Round Fourteen: Inverter 0-2

Game one my opponent interacted with me and took all my countermagic and then I proceeded to draw many Supreme Verdicts and Seal Aways and proceeded to die.

Same boarding as round four

Game two I got thoughtseized to death and my opponent was able to cast spells freely with perfect information and I proceeded to swiftly die to Jace + Inverter.

Round Fifteen: Intentional Draw

Top 8

BG Dinos 2-0

Game one was a breeze, I countered his early threats and landed an early Elspeth to protect myself and kept making tokens to make my opponent to commit more creatures into play, and then I Verdicted his life away and ended the Game with Teferi emblem and me attacking him for lethal with elspeth tokens.

Board out:
1 Dovin’s Veto
4 Sinister Sabotage
1 Censor

Board in:
3 Aether Gust
1 Baffling End
1 Settle the Wreckage
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Game Two played out similarly, I used a Settle the Wreckage to clean his board up and promptly won with many walking men. This matchup feels very favored for sure.

Watch the match here.

Inverter 0-2

Game one was rough, I was digging for Gideon and did not find it. I was left with the line of Cast Out my opponents Inverter and then on my turn tuck my Cast Out with big Teferi. This line was invalid because my opponent had a Fabled Passage in play, but I just had to hope he did not see it since my hand was verdict, verdict, plains with no other outs.

Same boarding as other inverter matchups

Game two I lost due to my own poor choices, I kept a horrible seven of Elspeth, Teferi, and Lands. I promptly got punished for my dumb decisions and lost.

Watch the match here.

Overall the deck felt great. Omen of the sea was a great call for the event, it helped dig past my dead spells and was an exceptional late game play. On top of that all the Gideons in my 75 over performed both days, the emblem is nuts good versus inverter and aggressive decks. Dream Trawler was actually insane all of day one, I underestimated this card and I firmly believe it is one of the best sideboard cards.

Changes moving forward I would consider a Gideon ally in the main over Elspeth. Outside of this I doubt I would change much, the deck felt exceptional and should be explored more for sure. I am excited to play this in future Pioneer events to come.