Rise Of Aintrazi – A Duet

This deck can’t cast Elesh Norn, but it certainly can make an impression on the aggressive decks in the format. Ali’s U/B Control is specifically designed to deal with a metagame full of creatures.

1. Getting a hotel and metagaming for tournament with Esper Control at 5 in the morning because someone in your room
snores like a bear. $140

2. Getting to the site early and deciding to cut the white since it’s just for Day of Judgment and Oblivion Ring. Buying Black Sun’s Zenith
and another Curse of Death’s Hold. $9

3. Remembering Elesh Norn is insane in this format and getting a foil one. $30

4. Sitting down to play first match in middle of game, drawing said Elesh Norn, and realizing you have zero ways to get it into play.

So that is how an Elesh Norn ended up in my deck at the SCG Open in Atlanta. I drew the card one too many times and just decided to drop from the
tournament. I really enjoyed the deck though, and I think it’s very good in this format. I didn’t want to durdle around with Think Twice
and Alchemy as my opponent beat my face in. Here is the corrected list.

Let’s break down some of the not so obvious card choices.

Curse of Death’s Hold

It’s funny how Shaheen Soorani and I have the same ideas for decks. I guess that’s why we are brothers. Anyway I got tired of all these
little creature decks running around, and I wanted a deck that had a favorable matchup against them. This was what I came up with. Four Curses might
seem a bit excessive, but I always wanted one. If you manage to get two Curses, it’s all but over. Also the more Curse of Death’s Hold you
have, the stronger Wring Flesh will be. This card is really good right now; it can win so many games on its own!

Pristine Talisman

The perfect ramp spell against any aggressive deck. This card also enables you to cast a turn-four Curse of Death’s Hold. It just buys you so
much time when you have a Curse out or when a stalemate occurs. I love this little talisman; don’t leave home without it. You’ll regret you

Wring Flesh

All right so Soorani doesn’t like this little card, and I don’t particularly like it either. While this card is no Disfigure, it just kills
so many creatures right now. Champion of the Parish, Phantasmal Bear, Delver of Secrets (not flipped), Grim Lavamancer, Spikeshot Elder, Memnite,
Signal Pest, Inkmoth Nexus, Birds of Paradise, Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Snapcaster Mage, Merfolk Looter, Gideon’s Lawkeeper, Phantasmal Image,
Plague Stinger, Vault Skirge, and others. This card has something to target against almost every deck. I like this card over Virulent Wound because of
how well it teams up with Snapcaster Mage to kill a bigger creature. I started out with 2 Wring Flesh, and the count just kept going up from there.
Sorry, Brother, but I think this card is just too good in the format right now.

Liliana of the Veil

Sometimes you end up with cards that don’t do much of anything in your hand, or you need to kill an annoying hexproof creature. If that’s
the case, Liliana fills the role you need. Be careful with her plus ability; it can cost you the game. I know I’ve used her plus ability and
realized that I probably could’ve won if I hadn’t discarded a certain card. Alongside Nephalia Drownyard, Batterskull, and one Mimic Vat,
she’s pretty much the only game you have against a control deck game one. Control decks right now though are far and few between.

Mimic Vat

This card was originally Blue Sun’s Zenith, but it got the axe for Mimic Vat. Justin Parnell has been all over this card for a while now, and I
think it fits well in this type of deck. Getting a Snapcaster Mage under this baby is sooo backbreaking. This doesn’t come up often, but if both
players have Mimic Vat, you’ll want to kill that Sphinx or Titan on their turn, since the inactive player will get the creature that dies.
It’s too bad nobody is running Snapcaster Mage because he’s pretty broken with a Vat … oh wait.

Tribute to Hunger

I honestly just wanted another edict effect and didn’t want to run a fourth Lily. I chose this card over Geth’s Verdict since the life gain
is relevant in this format. It can also be easier to cast if you don’t have the right color of mana.


This is your main win condition in this deck and a good one to boot. Batterskull dodges Doom Blade and Phantasmal Image, but it can get Vapor Snagged.
A thing to note if you are at low life and already have two Curse of Death’s Hold out: don’t cast this card without mana to return it to
your hand. If they haven’t scooped, it probably means they think they can kill you with Gut Shots and/or Vapor Snags. You could just mill them at
that point.

Snapcaster Mage

I know, I know, why only two copies? It’s because I don’t want to see him too early or get stuck with multiple in my hand early on in the
game. The correct number in this deck is two or three. The card I would probably cut for the third one is Mimic Vat or Forbidden Alchemy, but I like
Vat for now.

That’s it for the maindeck. Before I move to the sideboard, you may see a lack of Think Twice. I hate that card right now. When my opponents are
playing one-drops and two-drops, I don’t want to be casting Think Twice. I want to be killing what they play. Your card draw against aggressive
decks is Curse of Death’s Hold, since that card will shut down half of the cards in their deck. Moving on…

Sideboard time! The sideboard is mostly geared to beat other control decks, since you shouldn’t need much help against aggressive decks.

Witchbane Orb

When I bring this card in, I want to see it. It’s very good against Mono Red, shutting off burn spells, Chandra’s Phoenix, Koth Emblems,
and Shrine of Burning Rage. It’s also good against control decks with Nephalia Drownyard. The Drownyard decks usually have other cards that
target you like Liliana, Sorin’s Vengeance, and possibly Despise or Distress, and Orb stops those cards as well.

Nephalia Drownyard

Bring this in against other slow control decks. I wouldn’t cut a land for it, but I’d cut a removal spell or a Pristine Talisman.

Sorin’s Thirst

A little more help against aggressive decks, most notably Red Deck Wins. A little life can go a long way.

Praetor’s Grasp

Against control decks, I just want to steal the threats they have. Instead of running one Karn, a couple of Sphinxes, or a Jace, Memory Adept,
I’ll just take the best answers they have against me and hopefully use them against the opponent. You can even grab a Ghost Quarter if they have
an annoying land in play. The card you take will also have protection from Despise and Distress, which is pretty nice.


Pretty obvious.


This is another card for the control matchup. This card in my opinion is much better then Despise against control, since you can just pick anything.
Distress is slowly starting to grow on me as time goes on. Make sure to hold Distress for when they have five lands in play before you fire it. You
want to grab that six-plus-drop. You may want to do it turn two though if you have no Mana Leaks and they are playing Lily.

Volition Reins

Yet another card for the control mirror. You have more lands against the control decks, since you run Talismans and 28 lands maindeck. You should be
able to Distress them, then steal whatever they have.

I really like this deck, and I’ll be testing it for a while. I probably like U/B Control a bit too much though!

I want to talk about a Modern deck I’ve been testing and having success with. Many people right now are playing some form of U/R combo, so I
wanted a deck that beat that deck and did well against other decks. This is what I ended up with.

This deck has been performing very well for me. One of the harder parts about this deck is fetching. Don’t crack a fetchland if you don’t
need to; save it for when you need a certain color. The fetchlands will grab any color you need to cast something. I’ve been toying with the idea
of adding in four Aether Vials, but I have not gotten around to testing that just yet. If I did add Aether Vial, I would most likely cut Reflecting
Pool, Snapcaster Mage, Spell Pierce, and a Thoughtseize. I’ve also wanted to toy around with Geist of Saint Traft, but again I haven’t
gotten around to it just yet.

All the creature cards are very good in this deck, especially Dark Confidant and Delver of Secrets. Delver is good for obvious reasons, and Bob never
hurts you for more than two damage. The hardest matchup I’ve had to play against is Jund, but most of everything else is fair game. You have a
distinct advantage against control and combo decks, since you can easily control the tempo of the game with your spells. A resolved Goyf can be
annoying if you don’t have a Delver already in play; hopefully that doesn’t happen too often with all the discard and the Spell Snares.

The sideboard I’m not sold on at all. It’s been decent for me but not amazing. Vendilion Clique keeps bouncing in and out of the sideboard,
taking the spot of Vedalken Shackles, but Shackles can win games on its own. The Path to Exiles are for Knight of the Reliquary, Tarmogoyfs, and Fish
decks. The cards I would want for sure in the board are the three Ancient Grudges, some form of Dispel / Spell Pierce, and two Path to Exile.
Everything else can go as far as I’m concerned.

This deck could use a little tweaking but has been solid thus far.

By the time you read this, I will not be in the United States. I’ll be in Lebanon, Beirut visiting my family. I won’t have an article up
for you guys next week, but I’ll do one when I get back. I’d like to do a video article, so what would you guys like to see? The Standard
deck or the Modern deck? Maybe just something else entirely?

Let me know in the comments. I’ll try to respond if you have any questions. Internet access isn’t as good in the Middle East as it is here,
but I’ll see what I can do. :]

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali, Grand Cenobite

P.S. A huge thanks to James Francis for taking the NC out to Fogo; that was awesome. Also I’d like to thank Jeremiah for driving to Atlanta; it
was nice not having to drive for once. Also thank you again Gregory Respet for letting me try these crazy decks.

P.P.S. Don’t play Adam Prosak’s Pyromancer Ascension deck. <3

P.P.P.S. Pat Cox.