Qualifying for the MC with UW Stoneblade
Stoneblade is officially the real deal in modern. Although the lists haven’t solidified, the dust is starting to settle after the unbanning of Stoneforge Mystic. In my opinion the deck best suited to exploiting this strong 2-drop is UW Stoneblade. I covered the archetype right after the unbanning but we have learned a lot in the last month.
Thanks to the Arena Decklists podcast and Gerry Thompson, I finally found a list I like. I’ll share the list here, but if you’d like to access to the full sideboard guide (which helped me secure my wins throughout the MCQ) I’d recommend contributing to their patreon, even just to access this article.
No Cryptics? No Narset? No Teferi, Hero of Dominaria!? That’s right! As much as I am loathe to say it…we’re moving more towards tempo than control. This deck plan and mindset shift makes all the difference in how well UW can perform in the current meta. I hesitate to say we have a “proactive” gameplan, but we do when compared to most of the UW hard control lists. So let’s dive in.
Why no Cryptic Command? Easy: triple blue. I cannot fully express how bad it feels to fetch for a Snow-Covered Plains turn 1 or 2 of a game in UW control. Knowing that you run Field of Ruin and 3ish cryptic commands is always on my mind. By cutting the Cryptics, we can more aggressively fetch for the basic to play Stoneforge while still preserving our life total. On Thin Ice is NOT just a cute snow card. Being able to fetch for a Snow-Covered Plains turn 1 for a Path or On Thin Ice against aggressive decks like burn without having to worry about ruining your mana later is extremely important. Playing in to this, we run 4 Seachrome coasts, because the first three turns of the game are much more important for us than traditional UW control.
4 Spell Queller are a slam dunk; the card is a house. It allows you to keep up multiple forms of interaction while also providing you a flash creature that can clock a planeswalker or block for your own. Not to mention the strong synergy it creates with Teferi, Time Raveler (if Spell Queller leaves play while you control Teferi, no matter when it is the opponent may not cast the exiled spell). Bouncing your own Spell Queller with Teferi is probably one of the best value plays in this deck and in the whole format, and most cards in Modern cost 4 or less.
3 Spell Snares is a lot of Snare, but it is so good right now. It shines in the Stoneblade mirror and hits so many current popular cards: Tarmogoyf, Snapcaster Mage, Stoneforge Mystic, Devoted Druid, Vizier of Remedies, Dark Confidant, Thopter Foundry, Goblin Engineer and the list goes on.
Teferi, Time Raveler is a menace. This card might have been a mistake. It creates non-interactive gameplay, and the mirror is even more of a nightmare. This is the single most important card in the mirror, and gives us a good reason to run all 4 in the 75.
Most of the sideboard for the list is fairly stock. But it is worth taking the time to point out a few things I’ve noticed over the last month or so.
Ashiok, Dream Render is the current sideboard go-to for graveyard hate. It isn’t glamorous, or fast, but it can do the job and can help you against some difficult match-ups like Titanshift or Amulet Titan, so the splash damage makes it fairly versatile.
I’ve been wanting to find a list where Leyline of Sanctity made sense for awhile. As a UW player I’ve always been scared of Burn running me over. This card puts in obvious work against Burn, as well as disabling most of the discard in Jund and Death’s Shadow decks. I like committing to the full playset, especially when casting this card turn 4 against Jund and Scapeshift isn’t awful.
That wraps up my review of the changes to UW Stoneblade. Throne of Eldraine is here, and I’m excited, but I don’t see the set having a massive impact on modern outside of Emry and Once Upon a Time, and I think UW Stoneblade is still a solid choice for IQs, MCQs, fnm or whatever else you’re playing. Thanks for your time, and as always feel free to reach out to me with any questions!
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