I’m Daniel Goetschel, perhaps better known in the Magic community as Gul_Dukat, my Magic Online username. I’ve been playing and tuning bad blue decks in Modern (and good ones in Legacy) for several years now, and over the past couple started drifting towards the top of the Magic Online trophy leaderboards.
I’ve tried almost everything in an attempt to force Blue in almost all of Modern’s metagames, but now with the printings of Opt and Search for Azcanta, Blue has climbed to the forefront, and with the Jace unbanning, all eyes are on it.Stepping back in time to early last December. I was unsure where I wanted to be in Modern and wanted to land on a deck quickly to start preparing for the upcoming GP Toronto. I loved Jeskai but didn’t enjoy playing the Jeskai mirrors, I tried Lantern but didn’t want to dedicate the time to practice it. But then when upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary over many a quaint and curious volume of decklists online, I came across Matthew Dilks’ R/U/G Moon list. I was intrigued, I did not think the deck would be very good, but he won with it and it looked like a blast to play, I owned all the cards so figured why not. After playing it I fell in love and even began to experiment with fun cards like (Surrak Dragonclaw).
Flashforward to a few weeks later, I had moved on to a U/R Madcap Experiment deck which I liked a lot. Madcap made your toughest matchups like dredge, burn and hollow one into your best, but made beating fair decks slightly more difficult. Still I felt I was locked into playing it at GP Toronto, when I saw Dilks again with a U/R Pyromancer list. I decided to give it a spin and I liked it a lot. Playing with four Cryptic Commands is awesome, and you can’t really do that with Madcap. Then at the Pro Tour, Thing in the Ice was added to the list, I adapted my own U/R deck and felt like Thing in the Ice solved almost all my problems (a sort of two-mana Platinum Emperion in the sense that it made match-ups like Burn, Dredge and Hollow One a lot more manageable without sacrificing any power in the fair match-ups). I brought it to the GP and finished a very cozy 21st.
The Monday after the Pro Tour I saw the updates to the banlist. I closed my eyes and when I re-open them to triple confirm what it says on my monitor: Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf are unbanned in Modern. It felt unreal, I thought to myself this is insane, and my brain went wild thinking of all the different possibilities. I considered and arranged so many different shells for Jace but settled on U/R Moon. I felt like it would come out king of the grindy mirrors, have reasonable tools to beat big mana decks and with Thing in the Ice and Disrupting Shoal I would be able to overcome the hyper-aggressive, sometimes swarm-style decks a fair amount of the time.
I put together this list and headed to the Magic Online practice lobby right away (There was still one day before the unban took effect on Magic Online)
Daniel Goetschel- U/R Moon
I won a bunch of games in the practice lobby versus interesting JTMS brews and when the unban took effect I hopped into a league feeling pretty confident. I 3-2’d my first league but it felt more like a 5-0 to me, that may sound a bit cocky or arrogant but I felt like my losses were anomalies. I was surprised by how many G/B/x decks there were, and with the logic that Disrupting Shoal will help versus graveyard-based decks I cut two of my Relic of Progenitus’ for two Entrancing Melodies.I kept grinding on Magic Online to practice for the first Modern Challenge with the new unbannings. I did extremely well in leagues, only dropping a game to 5C Humans in fifteen matches. Feeling extremely confident I entered the challenge with a large count of 133 players.I started 5-0, and finished a solid but unexciting 6-2, for an 11th place finish in what I believe was the first large-ish tournament with the new unbannings. I took my losses in two tight matches to R/B Hollow One and Living End with Kolaghan’s Command.
After getting some feedback from people playing my list, and thinking about it myself I felt like it was time to rip off the bandage and cut the Disrupting Shoals. At first I just trimmed one, but after that league I cut them all, replacing them and the Desolate Lighthouse with two Sleight of Hands, two Spell Snares and one Entrancing Melody (I felt like I did not respect Tarmogoyf decks enough coming into this new meta, but seeing how well-represented they were I decided to add an answer to the maindeck to buffer the match-up).
The Showdown Report
This past weekend I made the finals of the Face to Face Games Toronto Sunday Showdown with the deck.
I played versus five fair decks in the swiss : Jund, two Jeskai, R/U/G Scapeshift and BUG Midrange. The deck performed very well 2-0ing each round and reaffirmed my ideas about Blue Moon being an excellent deck for grindy mirrors. Blood Moon really shined versus these opponents, making me really wonder if the ideal number of them is 3. Entrancing Melody was also very impressive versus the Tarmogoyf decks, though it is a bit tricky when they have Jace, The Mind Sculptor in their Tarmogoyf deck as they can bounce the Tarmogoyf returning it back to their hand and negating my Melody. Still I was pleased with the effect.
In the Top 8 the deck kept performing, a quick 2-0 against B/U/G Midrange and a U/R Control mirror made me feel even more confident in the deck. I was very excited for the Finals as I had 2-0’d all my opponents up to that point and was going for a coveted perfect run, however when I realized I would be playing Dredge in the finals I knew I was in for a tough set of games. I can beat Dredge, but it requires either a Thing in the Ice to flip, an Anger of the Gods that is amazing or to somehow go Cryptic Command tap + draw once or twice and burn, none of those things happened and I died horribly. Still I was very pleased with the run and the deck. Coming out of the event the main change I would consider is trimming the fourth Jace for a third Blood Moon just because of how many manabases seem to be susceptible to it in the first few weeks of this new meta.
The questions you’re probably asking
Why Thing in The Ice?
This card is nuts, balls to the wall insane, I feel like it has fixed almost every problem I have ever had with Blue Moon decks. Play this card. I could use many, many words to explain why this card is so good, but I feel like it is enough to simply say if you are playing Blue Moon you have to at least try this.
Why Sleight of Hand?
When I cut four Disrupting Shoal I wanted to make sure I was adding cards just as powerful in, since the format was so wide open I didn’t want to add in random interaction. I also liked that Sleight of Hand would let me trim a land and turbo-out Thing in the Ice more quickly, not only is it just more spells to flip Thing, it also lets me chain cantrips.
Why 2 Spirebluff 1 Sulfur Falls?
With ten one-mana cantrips, the Spirebluff makes the one-landers so much better, but past turn-four Sulfur Falls is miles better. It may seem like a very minor thing but it really does come up a lot. I feel extremely comfortable with this split.
Why not splash a colour for higher power level?
Traditionally, I feel people would splash a third colour in modern control decks for more powerful, yet also more narrow cards. This is the case with Jeskai, for Path to Exile, Lightning Helix, Supreme Verdict, while extremely powerful are also quite narrow. I feel like in such a wide open meta I just want to be able to interact with everything and not die to opposing Blood Moons.
Why do you sideboard logic knot?
In Modern counterspells go from literally unplayable (5C Humans) to win the game. (R/G Titanshift). Some people sideboard Ceremonious Rejections, Disdainful Strokes or Negates, but I prefer Knot because I can bring it in against everything.
Why Entrancing Melody?
This card may seem weird but it is the great, play it if you want to beat Tarmogoyf decks more. Stealing a creature is like three times as good as killing it. (A lot of advanced mathematics went into this statement) Killing a Goyf is treading water if you aren’t ahead, but stealing a Goyf wins the game.
Why two Abrade?
While Abrade might seem like just a reasonably powerful spell for any creature based deck, I actually added it for the Tron decks, if you land a Moon and can’t kill an Oblivion Stone or kill them very quickly the Moon does basically nothing. However if you kill the stone you get a bunch more time.
Why Pia and Kiran Nalaar?
Except for the Thing in the Ice, there is no actual way to deal with a resolved Etched Champion, adding two makes the Affinity match-up so much easier, I also personally really like mom and pops.