Without MagicFests to prepare for, I haven't been playing a ton of Modern this year—mostly because it's so popular on Magic Online. Its events are by far the largest and most daunting of all the constructed formats, and because I can't play every tournament, I'd rather pick off smaller and quicker ones in other formats like Vintage, Pauper, and Pioneer. But it also provides the most opportunities for high-level events like Players Tour Qualifiers, so I recently jumped back into Modern feet first in an attempt to take advantage of one.

While I hadn't been playing Modern, I had been following it closely, and the deck to play was clear. The format's most popular deck, Four-Color Control with Omnath, Locus of Creation, looked far ahead of the field, constantly appearing in the winning decklists of just about every Challenge and Preliminary. Before Zendikar Rising, Bant Control had been on top since July's Arcum's Astrolabe ban, and prior to that since the printing of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, the new card of the year and the driving force behind the archetype.

There was also a general consensus on the decklist, which had obviously been highly refined. I especially liked that a few players seemed to do well very consistently with it, like Top 8ing both Challenges in one weekend. This was a deck that rewarded skill and mastery.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Four-Color Control by Adam Yurchick

'Four-Color Control' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Adam Yurchick

Event: MTGO Modern Challenge

Rank: 5th-8th

Modern

Market Price: $1186.33

Cards

Snow-Covered Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230146_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Scalding Tarn

Market Price: $29.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/238610_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Scalding Tarn: Search your library for an Island or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $10.94

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206836_200w.jpg

When Uro enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped.
Whenever Uro enters the battlefield or attacks, you gain 3 life and draw a card, then you may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
Escape—{G}{G}{U}{U}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Ketria Triome

Color Identity:G,R,U

Market Price: $11.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212697_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}, {U}, or {R}.)
Ketria Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Celestial Purge

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98738_200w.jpg

Exile target black or red permanent.

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Flooded Strand

Market Price: $32.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92828_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Flooded Strand: Search your library for a Plains or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Temple Garden

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $9.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175203_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {W}.)
As Temple Garden enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Wrenn and Six

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $105.73

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190994_200w.jpg

+1: Return up to one target land card from your graveyard to your hand.
−1: Wrenn and Six deals 1 damage to any target.
−7: You get an emblem with "Instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard have retrace." (You may cast instant and sorcery cards from your graveyard by discarding a land card in addition to paying their other costs.)

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Stomping Ground

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $9.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182841_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R} or {G}.)
As Stomping Ground enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Mana Leak

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145421_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Mystic Sanctuary

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199417_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)
Mystic Sanctuary enters the battlefield tapped unless you control three or more other Islands.
When Mystic Sanctuary enters the battlefield untapped, you may put target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard on top of your library.

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Force of Negation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $66.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190647_200w.jpg

If it's not your turn, you may exile a blue card from your hand rather than pay this spell's mana cost.
Counter target noncreature spell. If that spell is countered this way, exile it instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.

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Raugrin Triome

Color Identity:R,U,W

Market Price: $11.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212695_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}, {R}, or {W}.)
Raugrin Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235549_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Steam Vents

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $14.65

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175202_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
As Steam Vents enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Veil of Summer

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $7.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192543_200w.jpg

Draw a card if an opponent has cast a blue or black spell this turn. Spells you control can't be countered this turn. You and permanents you control gain hexproof from blue and from black until end of turn. (You and they can't be the targets of blue or black spells or abilities your opponents control.)

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Field of the Dead

Market Price: $17.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192562_200w.jpg

Field of the Dead enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {C}.
Whenever Field of the Dead or another land enters the battlefield under your control, if you control seven or more lands with different names, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.

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Ashiok, Dream Render

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188627_200w.jpg

Spells and abilities your opponents control can't cause their controller to search their library.
−1: Target player mills four cards. Then exile each opponent's graveyard.

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Omnath, Locus of Creation

Color Identity:G,R,U,W

Market Price: $11.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221779_200w.jpg

When Omnath, Locus of Creation enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 4 life if this is the first time this ability has resolved this turn. If it's the second time, add {R}{G}{W}{U}. If it's the third time, Omnath deals 4 damage to each opponent and each planeswalker you don't control.

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Misty Rainforest

Market Price: $26.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/238609_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Misty Rainforest: Search your library for a Forest or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Field of Ruin

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248181_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Field of Ruin: Destroy target nonbasic land an opponent controls. Each player searches their library for a basic land card, puts it onto the battlefield, then shuffles.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215718_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Soul-Guide Lantern

Market Price: $2.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206867_200w.jpg

When Soul-Guide Lantern enters the battlefield, exile target card from a graveyard.
{T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Exile each opponent's graveyard.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Draw a card.

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Snow-Covered Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230147_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Path to Exile

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $4.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218377_200w.jpg

Exile target creature. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

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Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $25.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162150_200w.jpg

+1: Draw a card. At the beginning of the next end step, untap up to two lands.
−3: Put target nonland permanent into its owner's library third from the top.
−8: You get an emblem with "Whenever you draw a card, exile target permanent an opponent controls."

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Aether Gust

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192535_200w.jpg

Choose target spell or permanent that's red or green. Its owner puts it on the top or bottom of their library.

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Growth Spiral

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227368_200w.jpg

Draw a card. You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.

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Lightning Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216484_200w.jpg

Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to any target.

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Hallowed Fountain

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $8.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182831_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W} or {U}.)
As Hallowed Fountain enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Cryptic Command

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $18.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145338_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Counter target spell.
• Return target permanent to its owner's hand.
• Tap all creatures your opponents control.
• Draw a card.

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Breeding Pool

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $20.87

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182842_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {U}.)
As Breeding Pool enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Teferi, Time Raveler

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $18.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187194_200w.jpg

Each opponent can cast spells only any time they could cast a sorcery.
+1: Until your next turn, you may cast sorcery spells as though they had flash.
−3: Return up to one target artifact, creature, or enchantment to its owner's hand. Draw a card.

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Hour of Promise

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135087_200w.jpg

Search your library for up to two land cards, put them onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control three or more Deserts, create two 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens.

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Snow-Covered Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230148_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Cleansing Wildfire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221913_200w.jpg

Destroy target land. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.
Draw a card.

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Supreme Verdict

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $7.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145308_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Destroy all creatures.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/145308/magic-iconic-masters-supreme-verdict

Best of all (the real reason behind its success), Four-Color Control plays all the best cards.

It puts many of the most broken cards of the past two years into one home, where their incredible power level bullies lesser cards. Mystic Sanctuary, Force of Negation, Wrenn and Six, Teferi, Time Raveler, Veil of Summer, and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath combine to create a deck that feels like playing Legacy in the Modern format, like bringing a gun to a knife fight. And while it's a harsh reality, this is also reflected in its price. With so many hot rares and mythics, it costs over $1200 and dwarves the price of other top decks, which typically run from $350-$700.

Despite my inexperience with the deck (my practice was a failed 2-3 run in a Preliminary the night before), I went on an 8-1 tear into the Top 8 of the Super Qualifier. My one loss was due in part to a game I threw away to a silly mistake while being distracted taking an important phone call. I wasn't doing anything special, just trying to play tight Magic, and I just kept on winning. A quarterfinals loss to Tron was heartbreaking, especially since I had just beat the deck the round before, but the deck has continued to perform great for me since.

Last weekend I lost playing for Top 8 of a massive eight-round Challenge to the mirror, despite being in good position both games. I wound up throwing it because I was exhausted and playing poorly, so I finished 10th. I was able to redeem myself the next day with a Top 8 run in another Challenge. Like the week prior I again fell to the deck I beat to cinch the Top 8, this time Modern's number #2 deck Rakdos Death's Shadow, my most frequent matchup and one I'm consistently winning.

Honestly, every matchup has felt strong for the deck, with nothing I really don't want to face. I can't wait to play it again. In the short time I've been wielding it, I've learned a lot about how it operates in different matchups and effective ways to sideboard.

Controlling the Game

The deck itself is quite straightforward.

Develop your four-color mana, which isn't particularly difficult because Ketria Triome and Raugrin Triome are fetchable with Scalding Tarn, Misty Rainforest, and Flooded Strand. Just keep in mind you want three Islands for Cryptic Command and Mystic Sanctuary. With two copies of Sanctuary and so many fetch lands you'll find it often, and using it well is a fundamental part of playing the deck. Just don't find it with Hour of Promise because I found out the hard way it won't do anything.

Hour of Promise enables the deck's Field of the Dead endgame. Field creates an enormous amount of tokens and inevitably overwhelms any opponent, stabilizing the board defensively before turning the tide and killing them. It has been rare to lose a game where Hour of Promise resolves unless they have Blood Moon or their own Field of the Dead.

In between early development and the endgame, the control elements fill in the gaps by interacting with the opponent, halting their pressure and disrupting their synergies. It has been delightful to play with Mana Leak again, it's just so versatile, efficient, and effective. Combined with card advantage, all of the attrition eventually wears the opponent into dust. If it's not interaction, literally every nonland card in the deck besides Growth Spiral generates true card advantage (with some doing both), so it's impossible for opponents to keep up.

The sideboard of the deck continues the game one plan by adding efficient and high-impact disruption against the field, which makes it that much harder for them to ever get anything going. There's conventional wisdom that midrange and control decks tend to improve during sideboarding compared to aggro and combo decks, which are more one-dimensional and vulnerable to hosers. That's definitely the case with this deck. It's further amplified by the presence of Mystic Sanctuary to reuse these hosers and stretch their impact.

Matchup and Sideboard Guide

I was a bit concerned about figuring out the correct sideboard plans for the deck on the fly with no experience, but this is also a fun learning experience, and one I savor in Magic. I've been able to rise to the occasion with some effective plans, and at this point I have experience in a wide range of matchups and all of the most popular decks in the field. I can't claim I'm doing it perfectly, but it's definitely working.

Vs. Four-Color Control (The Mirror)

The early game in the mirror revolves around the planeswalkers, and resolving them early will provide a massive advantage. Wrenn and Six provides a stream of lands to enable Field of the Dead, which defines the late game. For that reason Hour of Promise is a key card, and resolving one before the opponent is likely to translate into a win.

+2 Mystical Dispute
+2 Veil of Summer
+2 Soul-Guide Lantern
+1 Ashiok, Dream Render

-4 Path to Exile
-2 Cryptic Command
-1 Lightning Bolt

Cryptic Command is vulnerable to Mystical Dispute and Veil of Summer, but it can steal games by tapping the opponent's board when Field of the Dead tokens are facing off. Like Aether Gust, it's also worth having as an out to Wrenn and Six hitting its ultimate.

Vs. Rakdos Death's Shadow

At first I was worried about the Rakdos Death's Shadow deck, which impressed me with its blistering speed and high disruptive ability, including sideboard Blood Moon. But I just keep beating them, multiple times in every event, because my cards were so powerful. While their threats are efficient, so is your removal. They can hit you with discard, but they can't stop you topdecking some of the best cards ever printed, which can put you right back into a game. Blood Moon can steal games, but you have multiple ways to counter or remove it, and the potential to just fetch around it proactively.

If they don't have early pressure, try not to fetch until you need to so they can't play Scourge of the Skyclaves.

+2 Veil of Summer
+2 Celestial Purge
+2 Aether Gust
+2 Supreme Verdict

-3 Cryptic Command
-2 Force of Negation
-2 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Field of Ruin

Vs. Heliod Company Combo

Any creature deck with X/1 creatures is vulnerable to Wrenn and Six, and feels like an especially good matchup. I've had no problem tearing the Heliod Company deck apart with removal when I play against it.

+2 Supreme Verdict
+2 Aether Gust

-2 Force of Negation
-1 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Field of Ruin

Vs. Mono-Red Obosh Aggro

One of the most popular decks in Modern on MTGO is now Mono-Red Aggro with Obosh, the Preypiercer. It plays a set of Blood Moon, in large part directly to hose this four-color deck, but I've still found success against it multiple times.

Keep your life total as high as possible while trying to fetch around Blood Moon, and the late game of Omnath, Locus of Creation life gain and Field of the Dead tokens will take over. It's not a cakewalk, and this is one of the few decks that has handed me a loss, but it's just not as fast and scary as a typical Burn deck with cards like Goblin Guide and Eidolon of the Great Revel.

+2 Celestial Purge
+2 Aether Gust
+2 Supreme Verdict

-3 Cryptic Command
-1 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Force of Negation
-1 Field of Ruin

Vs. Selesnya Titan

Selesnya Titan has the advantage of being a better Field of the Dead deck than Four-Color Control, but its cards are vulnerable to disruption like any other deck, so the control deck can just slow them down and take over with card advantage.

+2 Aether Gust
+2 Cleansing Wildfire
+2 Supreme Verdict
+1 Ashiok, Dream Render

-3 Path to Exile
-2 Force of Negation
-2 Teferi, Time Raveler

Vs. Amulet Titan

Amulet Titan is much like Selesnya, but without the early threat of Elvish Reclaimer. Instead they are faster and more explosive, but even more vulnerable to disruption.

+2 Aether Gust
+2 Cleansing Wildfire
+1 Ashiok, Dream Render

-4 Path to Exile
-1 Lightning Bolt

Vs. Hammer Time

Mono-White Colossus Hammer has become popular in Modern as a sort of hybrid Puresteel Paladin Combo deck and something like Infect. Naturally a deck full of countermagic and creature removal should fare pretty well in the matchup, which was my experience when I played against it.

+2 Supreme Verdict

-1 Aether Gust
-1 Field of Ruin

Vs. Death and Taxes

It's the same plan as against Hammer Time.

+2 Supreme Verdict

-1 Aether Gust
-1 Field of Ruin

Vs. Tron

Tron has historically been pretty strong against control decks. The cast trigger on Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger gets around countermagic, and now they have Veil of Summer. But countermagic is still effective, and both Cleansing Wildfire and Field of Ruin help disrupt their mana.

+2 Cleansing Wildfire
+2 Mystical Dispute
+2 Aether Gust
+1 Ashiok, Dream Render

-4 Path to Exile
-2 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Lightning Bolt

This would be my pick for the worst matchup, and if it was very popular I'd want more hosers. I'd start with the second Field of Ruin that I recently cut for a fourth Scalding Tarn, because it can lock out Tron with the help of Wrenn and Six, and then sideboard cards like another Cleansing Wildfire, which is great with Mystic Sanctuary.

Vs. Dimir Mill

Mill decks have been on the rise since the printing of Ruin Crab. The matchup is actually quite annoying, and it's the only deck to have beaten me so far beyond the few I have already mentioned. Visions of Beyond gives them serious card advantage, and Surgical Extraction can deal with the threat of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. If this deck becomes very popular, then adding one Gaea's Blessing to the sideboard will go a long way toward winning the matchup for minimal space.

+2 Veil of Summer
+2 Mystical Dispute

-2 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Aether Gust
-1 Field of Ruin

Vs. Oops All Spells

+2 Cleansing Wildfire
+2 Aether Gust
+2 Celestial Purge
+1 Ashiok, Dream Render

-4 Path to Exile
-2 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Lightning Bolt

Vs. Izzet Blitz

+2 Aether Gust
+2 Celestial Purge
+2 Supreme Verdict

-2 Teferi, Time Raveler
-2 Force of Negation
-1 Mana Leak
-1 Field of Ruin

The Future of Four-Color

In its basic form, this archetype has been at the top of Modern for over a year—even before Uro, with the 2019 Arcum's Astrolabe Snow control decks with Oko, Thief of Crowns. Banning Astrolabe clearly did not stop the real problem of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, and this deck uses the titan better than any other.

At this point I really can't imagine playing anything else in Modern, and I recommend it to anyone looking to get a big edge on the field. It might not be flashy like the deck built around Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis that dominated the format last year, but it's broken in its own more subtle ways. It's clear to me this is the best control deck in the history of Modern, a format where the strategy languished for years, and it has been delightful to play a classic blue control strategy with such new supercharged cards alongside some old favorites.