Modern season is approaching and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve finally got a life situation that allows me to play Magic on the weekends. This means I’m going to spend that well earned time trying to Q a PT. One thing I learned at Richmond was that UWR Control is out there. I played it three times. And so is Twin. If that’s the case, then I need a deck that beats both of those decks. I can say for a fact, that deck is not Storm. With UWR’s plethora of sideboard options and Twins ability to disrupt the combo then win out right, Storm is a meta call and it’s not one I’m down for in the near future.

That said, I think its time to start casting Gifts again. I was highly involved with the Junk Gifts deck or 4 Color Value Gifts before Deathrite Shaman was banned. I was high on life (and a few energy drinks) when I played it at GPT. And I realized that Deathrite Shaman helps the deck more than hurts it. Having it there as a threat, disruption for Snapcaster and mana accelerant was one of the things the deck really had going for it. The life gain didn’t hurt either. A lot of folks said, just play Birds or Heirach, or Sylvan Caryatid. Not the same. So I went back to my deck building binder.

I love Gifts Ungiven, it’s my favorite value card. Watching my opponent tank when I give him/her an impossible 4 card to split up is one of the simple joys of playing Magic. My current gift deck doesn’t do that as much. UWR Value Gifts is a lot different that it’s 4 color counterpart. Godo, Iona, Elesh all have something in common (Aside from ridiculous nicknames after their given ones): They end the game for different decks very fast. Here’s a list.

UWR Gifts

Lands (25)
Hallowed Fountain
Celestial Colonnade
Steam Vents
Watery Grave
Scalding Tarn
Sacred Foundry
Tectonic Edge
Cavern of Souls
Arid Mesa
Ghost Quarter
Blood Crypt

Creatures (8)
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Godo, Bandit Warlord
Snapcaster Mage
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Vendilion Clique

Spells (27)
Mana Leak
Lightning Bolt
Ajani Vengeant
Path to Exile
Anger of the Gods
Unburial Rites
Supreme Verdict
Gifts Ungiven
Lightning Helix
Wrath of God
Izzet Charm
Sideboard (15)
 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
 Celestial Purge
 Damping Matrix
 Detention Sphere
 Leyline of Sanctity
 Sowing Salt
Stony Silence
 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

The shell is basically a mutilated UWR Control Deck. We’ve replaced Cryptic Command with Gifts and added 3 game breaking Unburial Rites targets.

The plan with this deck is simple. Control the first part of the game. Keep your opponent off your game plan and then crash the party with Godo or Iona. Godo plays a really awesome role in this deck because he’s not only great with Batterskull but also Celestial Colonnade. One well timed swing could mean 22 Damage. That’s nothing to laugh at. Godo is Bolt bait though, remember to treat him gently. The deck runs a one of Cavern of Souls that generally likes to name Human for Godo (your most castable threat) and Snapcaster Mage. Wizard, Praetor and Angel are fine creature types as well.

One of the real joys of playing this deck is the pure value of Gifts Ungiven. Snapcaster Mage, Gifts Ungiven and 2 cards you want now are quite a challenge for you opponent. Have a creature problem… Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix and Snapcaster Mage. Have a big creature Problem? Snapcaster Mage, Wrath of God, Anger of the Gods, Supreme Verdict. It’s a deck full of answers. Your opponent supplies the questions you deal with them.

This deck has the most problems against combo decks like Scapeshift and Storm, both of which aren’t being played as much in Modern thanks to the giant amount of hate UWR control brings. Tron can be tough but they won’t be killing you with Wurmcoil Engine. If you can deal with Karn and Keep Emrakul off the board you should be about to take them out.

That’s Gifts now that Deathrite is gone. Without the giant amount of graveyard hate the format opens up a bit. I’ll be rocking this on Tuesday night for a bit. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to top 8 with it. Casting Gifts is one of my favorite things to do in Modern, second only to casting Unburial Rites.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

Developments in Durdling is a Hipsters of the Coast column about the playing control in a midrange world. Focused on Constructed with occasional asides to Limited and Cube, it is a commentary of the current trends in Magic and a place that Zac Clark vents about weekly defeats.

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