War of the Spark: A New Era for Azorius Control
UW Control has evolved significantly since 2018, but the most successful lists have retained proactive elements and turn the corner more efficiently, which is a reflection of the format’s nature and the types of approach it rewards. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and the unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic didn’t push Azorius forward much until War of the Spark, which made the biggest impact on the archetype (and Modern, in general). The game-changers were 3 mana Planeswalkers, most notably Teferi, Time Raveler and Narset, Parter of Veils, as well as Ashiok, Dream Render, which has held a valuable role in the sideboard against Primeval decks.
On the spell side, Azorius continues to receive powerful tools such as Counterspell, Prismatic Ending, Solitude, Memory Deluge, Shark Typhoon, and Archmage’s Charm, in addition to Force of Negation, Dovin’s Veto, Mystical Dispute, and Aether Gust. The archetype has a large arsenal of options to adapt against pretty much anything in the format.
While not necessary, but certainly recommended, the proactive approach can also be delegated to the sideboard where players have adopted a transformative Plan B with creatures (taking a note from UW Stoneblade/Midrange) such as Monastery Mentor, Spell Queller, Brazen Borrower, Geist of Saint Traft, and Restoration Angel to attack from a different axis against various archetypes where pressure and pivoting with creatures is a better plan. This angle involves more combat math, which may take some traditional old school Control players out of their comfort zone, but challenges present the opportunity to grow and improve.
The following list by Austin Bursavich was the first for UW Control to win a Modern GP on 6/29/19 since War of the Spark (and first time ever in Modern), which was based on Do0mSwitch’s (Joao Moriera) 1st Place MOCS Qualifier and 2nd Place MCQ list. This is also the list that cemented Do0mSwitch as Modern’s Azorius Control master and one of the best players in the game.