Within the last couple weeks, Mardu Control has popped up all over Modern, putting up big results. The deck is centered around protecting its Planeswalkers: Liliana, of the Veil and Nahiri, the Harbinger. This deck is a mix between Jeskai Control and Jund. The deck's primary form of disruption is removal, but it can also attack the opponent's hand fairly easily.


There aren't a ton of threats here, which means the deck is committed to playing a long game. Modern is so fast that trying to play a long game is a little risky. What allows the deck to go long is all of the removal. The Planeswalkers can act as removal on top of a bunch of typical spot removal options like Lightning Bolt and Terminate. There is also some mass removal in the maindeck. With all of the small tribal creature decks running around, Anger of the Gods is a natural fit here.

There are only four creatures in the deck but three of them are Wall of Omens, which is purely so the deck has a turn-two play and a way to protect itself against early creatures. The other creature is Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, to be fetched with Nahiri, the Harbinger's ultimate. Nahiri, the Harbinger has performed well in Jeskai Control so the transition to this deck is pretty straightforward. Nahiri, the Harbinger's ability to deal with artifacts and enchantments also can come up on occasion.

Control decks have been fading into obscurity in Modern, so it is nice to see this one do well. With so many Cavern of Souls running around, a control deck that doesn't rely on countermagic has its perks.

Most creature-based decks are good matchups, so I was surprised to lose to Affinity. However, our draws were quite bad and our opponent had the nuts on the play in game two. Affinity can beat any deck no matter how much removal gets thrown at it. The black/green attrition-based decks come down to Planeswalkers a lot of the time, but we have more Planeswalkers in our deck, and all their creatures die fairly easily. Early discard spells can also be important in shaping how the game plays out. I wasn't surprised to beat Abzan in a tough three game set.

This deck has a lot of game against Death's Shadow, one of the most popular decks in the format. Mardu Control can realistically kill every creature the Death's Shadow player draws, and timely discard spells can disrupt a flurry of pump spells.

I expect the Mardu Control deck to continue to put up results. It's definitely a strategy to keep an eye on.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield