With the popularity of Humans seemingly growing ever more, there is one deck that I like going to that can knock it down a notch: Jeskai Control. This deck preys on creatures because of how much removal it packs, and there is late-game card advantage to seal the deal. Many times the games do go long, but the Jeskai Control deck usually comes out on top.
This is a deck that testing teammates Brad Nelson and Paul Dean both played in a recent Magic Online Championship event, and both made the Top 16 of the tournament. The deck is similar to the Jeskai lists we have seen be dominant on the SCG circuit. When I picked the deck up I wanted to argue that not having Jace, the Mind Sculptor was a major error, but it soon became clear that Teferi, Hero of Dominaria should be the planeswalker of choice in the deck – this new addition from Dominaria is making an impact that goes far beyond Standard.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria can draw cards and allow you to untap lands to have countermagic or removal at the ready, which gives it the nod over Jace. Sometimes there is a card you care about getting rid of on the opponent's side of the board, but most of the time you are ticking up. This generally leads to the opponent conceding, as the card advantage becomes too much for them to handle. The other engine is Search for Azcanta. Playing three copies of this card is certainly a lot, but you really do always want one.
This is a deck that fills up its graveyard pretty reliably. This makes Logic Knot and Search for Azcanta much better. With Search for Azcanta in play you pretty much never have a bad draw, and it is easy to see the game change in a huge way once it transforms. It forces the opponent to leave in enchantment removal or whatever they have that can potentially answer it. The cheap removal spells are needed to buy time until you get to the late game.
Sometimes your opponent will have a nutty aggressive start, like our Elves opponent had in the first game of the match. Stuff like that happens. Jeskai Control isn't a deck that has a nut draw, but it is very consistent. By the time the later stages of the game come around, you can look through a lot of your deck to find what is needed in a given situation. We saw how the deck can overload creature-based decks with removal.
Both the Jund and Death's Shadow matches showed how decks that are trying to attack you with creatures can collapse if you are able to deal with their first few threats. It feels great to be on the side of Snapcaster Mage plus Path to Exile. There are certainly decks out there like Lantern Control that can be an issue for Jeskai Control, but that's what the sideboard is for – there are plenty of times where you will want to board out a lot of the removal for more countermagic.
Overall, I think Jeskai Control is one of the best decks in Modern right now. There aren't that many interactive decks that get to make lots of little decisions, but this is one of them. I wish I had gotten a chance to play vs Humans in this set of matches, but that is another creature deck Jeskai Control preys on. There are matchups like Bogles and Hollow One that pose more of an issue, but even those are winnable.
Thanks for reading,