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Standard Jeskai Control Deck Guide: The Light in the Darkest Metagame

Looking for something to punish all the midrange decks? Eliott_Dragon has the exact list for you! Learn about his updated list, the full sideboard guide, and why Jeskai Control is the answer to the midrange metagame!

There is always light during darkest time.

Good morning to everyone and welcome. I’m going to tell you about my first Standard tournament in Dominaria United hosted by Crokeyz for which I finished in the semi-finals out of 195 players. Three days after the expansion release on MTG Arena, while the cards were still to be discovered, a choice had to be made. A choice had to be made and I made that one of safety…

The start of a format is always the most exciting time for deckbuilders like me. It’s impossible to be 100% accurate on card strength in a constantly moving metagame, so let’s explore!

My Expectations for the Standard Metagame

Given the hype about the reprint of Liliana of the Veil, the strength of cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, and The Meathook Massacre, I expected to encounter them a lot. On top of this, aggro decks got substantially weaker with the loss of the creature lands such as Den of the Bugbear. Some tier one decks of the old format were going to lose power.

Deck Tech

Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset Art by Heonhwa Choe
Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset Art by Heonhwa Choe

My strategy for this event was therefore to choose a control deck that had no creatures in order to circumvent the opponent’s removal.

The strategy of this deck is simple and we could even call it “Old School”. We manage all the threats, we generate a lot of mana, we draw a lot, and in the end, we find a way to end the game, eventually. 🙂

Jeskai Control by Elliot_Dragon
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $400.98
Standard
Control
best of 3
10 mythic
39 rare
3 uncommon
8 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (8)
Instants (7)
3
Impulse
$0.75
1
Negate
$0.25
1
Ertai’s Scorn
$0.25
1
Memory Deluge
$1.49
Sorceries (12)
3
Silver Scrutiny
$0.75
2
Farewell
$23.98
Artifacts (4)
2
The Celestus
$4.98
2
Timeless Lotus
$45.98
Enchantments (3)
Lands (26)
1
Island
$0.25
1
Mountain
$0.25
2
Plains
$0.50
4
Adarkar Wastes
$9.96
4
Shivan Reef
$7.16
4
Deserted Beach
$39.96
4
Sundown Pass
$35.96
60 Cards
$490.54
Sideboard
3
Negate
$0.75
1
Fateful Absence
$2.49
1
Farewell
$11.99
15 Cards
$57.19

Planeswalkers

The two planeswalkers in the deck aim to gain as much time as possible, but above all, to put yourself out of danger against aggressive strategies. Both of them gain life, and you can use Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset to generate a lot of mana with The Celestus and Timeless Lotus, and at the same time, tap creatures in order to exile them with The Wandering Emperor. At the end of the game, Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset‘s ultimate ability ensures that you always have resources to counter the opponent’s last options.

Mana Rocks

Mana rocks are important for the deck. The Celestus allows you to go from three to five mana to cast a Timeless Lotus or a Temporal Firestorm early. Additionally, it has the ability to filter the draws and gain some life points. The Timeless Lotus will really unlock the power of your deck by giving you an abundance of mana allowing you to kick spells or draw dozens of cards with Silver Scrutiny.

Sweepers

Among my selection of sweepers, Temporal Firestorm is the one that performed the best because its ability to get rid of opposing planeswalkers is essential as it can stop the ultimate of planeswalkers like Liliana of the Veil or gets rid of multiple Ob Nixilis, the Adversary.

In other more grindy matchups, Farewell can clear Wedding Announcement and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, but it has the drawback of hitting your artifacts in certain matchups like against Rakdos Anvil. I expected to come across more aggressive Rakdos Sacrifice decks, so I chose to put 3 Temporary Lockdown. The card heavily underperformed as many midrange decks were only playing between four and seven cards that cost 2 mana.

Card Draw

Between Silver Scrutiny and Memory Deluge, you will always have ways to draw cards in the late game if you are given the time to develop. Dominaria United’s new draw spell is especially powerful when X=3 at the end of the turn opponent to find the sixth land and more action. Impulse is there to be able to find your cards in the right timing and ensure your land drops properly.

The Win Condition

The deck doesn’t really need more than a Light Up the Night for the win, but the added utility of being able to kill a creature or planeswalker in the curve. We can therefore consider playing the card in several copies in future versions.

Matchups and Sideboard Guide

Timeless Lotus Art by Lindsey Look

Sidedeboard games are often slower and more difficult because your opponents boards in anti-control cards in the form of Duress, Anointed Peacekeeper, or even vehicles that resist your sweepers such as Reckoner Bankbuster. To combat this, you often have to consider going ‘over the top’ with cards like Hullbreaker Horror as a finisher.

The vehicle package and Anointed Peacekeeper have proven to be more effective than counters in the tournament as they are more proactive at dealing with planeswalkers, especially Liliana of the Veil.

The metagame is still evolving, but I’ll cover the most popular deck that you can encounter on the ladder and on your tournaments.

Jund Midrange

InOut
+1 Farewell-2 Timeless Lotus
+2 Hullbreaker Horror-3 temporary Lockdown
+2 Negate-1 Impulse if Reanimator
+1 Unlicensed Hearse if Reanimator

This matchup is certainly the most tricky. Jund can’t really kill you fast, but they have a lot of resources to work with and the ability to remove your artifacts with cards like Tear Asunder and Unleash the Inferno to prevent you from getting an excess of mana.

The gameplan is to hit every land drop in order to clear the board and the graveyard with Farewell. Once you do that, refill your hand and try to find Hullbreaker Horror to close the game.

Mono White

InOut
+1 Farewell-2 Timeless Lotus
+1 Temporary Lockdown-2 Witness the Future
+1 Fateful Absence-1 Negate
+1 Anointed Peacekeeper
+1 Hullbreaker Horror

This matchup is a typical aggro versus control game. You want as much interaction as you can and clear the board when it start to be overwhelming. You don’t need an amazing amount of mana if they don’t have any pressure so focus on answering threats.

Mono Black

InOut
+1 Farewell-3 Temporary Lockdown
+4 Reckoner Bankbuster-2 Witness the Future
+1 Anointed Peacekeeper-2 Impulse
+1 Unlicensed Hearse

This matchup is closer than the Mono White, and a lot of lists don’t play many one or two drops making Temporary Lockdown less effective. If they play more than six, you can still keep two in, but you will prefer to have Reckoner Bankbuster as it survives Invoke Despair and Liliana of the Veil‘s -2 ability. They don’t have any way to interact with your artifacts, so you can keep them in.

Their creatures have the ability to come back from the graveyard, so your one of Unlicensed Hearse will often do the job to counter that plan and can also be used to avoid damage from Graveyard Trespasser.

Gruul Aggro

InOut
+1 Farewell-2 Timeless Lotus
+1 Temporary Lockdown-2 Witness the Future
+1 Fateful Absence-1 Negate
+1 Anointed Peacekeeper-1 Impulse
+2 Hullbreaker Horror

Like in the Mono White matchup, you just need to survive and you’ll win the game. It could be tricky since Green has a way to protect creatures with Tamiyo's Safekeeping, but this doesn’t counter all the sweepers.

You want as much interaction as you can play to clear the board when it start to be overwhelming, and you need to be aware of the haste creature and often play during your opponent’s turn rather than slamming your planeswalker to early without way to protect them.

Grixis Midrange

InOut
+1 Anointed Peacekeeper-2 Timeless Lotus
+2 Hullbreaker Horror-3 temporary Lockdown
+1 Negate-2 Witness the Future
+4 Reckoner Bankbuster-3 Impulse
+1 Disdainful Stroke-1 Temporal Firestorm
+1 Unlicensed Hearse
+1 Fateful Absence

This matchup is not easy, but it’s definitely winnable. It also really depends of the amount of counterspells and value spells your opponent is playing as the more they have, the harder it will be. The goal is to make the opponent run out of spells and resolve a Hullbreaker Horror to close the game. Your planeswalkers will be difficult to protect so the vehicles are very important to defend them and to provide card draw.

Tips and Tricks

Silver Scrutiny Art by Donato Giancola
  • Don’t hesitate to sacrifice your planewalkers to survive, your life total is more important than theirs.
  • Keep in mind that Silver Scrutiny gets better the more the game goes on, so not casting it in early turn might be better for the late game.
  • Sometimes, it’s better to try and use your draw spells to find Light Up the Night rather than controlling everything that you opponent is doing. and prolonging the game. You don’t always need to go full control.
  • If your opponent doesn’t have much pressure, always try to use that opportunity to use your draw spells.

I hope these insights give you a better understanding of this deck! I believe this deck has the potential to keep midrange decks in check through the power of planeswalkers and card advantage. While this was the tournament list I used, here’s an updated version that I will try going forward.

JESKAI CONTROL update
by Eliott_Dragon
Buy on TCGplayer $403.51
Standard
Control
best of 3
11 mythic
41 rare
0 uncommon
8 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (8)
Creatures (2)
Instants (6)
3
Impulse
$0.75
1
Negate
$0.25
1
Memory Deluge
$1.49
Sorceries (11)
3
Silver Scrutiny
$0.75
1
Farewell
$11.99
Artifacts (6)
3
The Celestus
$7.47
3
Timeless Lotus
$68.97
Enchantments (1)
Lands (26)
1
Island
$0.25
1
Mountain
$0.25
2
Plains
$0.50
4
Adarkar Wastes
$9.96
4
Shivan Reef
$7.16
4
Deserted Beach
$39.96
4
Sundown Pass
$35.96
60 Cards
$507.78
Sideboard
2
Negate
$0.50
1
Fateful Absence
$2.49
1
Farewell
$11.99
15 Cards
$35.07

Do not hesitate to join me live to ask your questions and discover all the new decks that Dominaria United offers on my Twitch channel, if you want to look at the results of the tournament and to watch some of the matches of the top 16 of the event.

See you soon!

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Eliott_Dragon
Eliott_Dragon

I'm a MTG competitor since i 1998 and i have 6 GP top8 with a win at Prague in 2014. I love brewing new deck and I started streaming on twitch Eliott_Dragon 2,5 years ago and i really enjoy helping others getting better at MTG while having fun developing crazy deck ideas.

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