Recently, I played in a Modern GPT. I was able to take my deck to 4th place. After playing Storm the last 5 months, to no avail, I decided it was high time to try running Gifts Ungiven in Modern once more. I’m still not sold on Junk as the color shell of choice for this card after the loss of Deathrite Shaman. So here’s my UWR Gifts again.

UWR Gifts Control

Lands (26)
Sacred Foundry
Desolate Lighthouse
Tectonic Edge
Arid Mesa
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Scalding Tarn
Celestial Colonnade
Steam Vents
Blood Crypt
Ghost Quarter

Creatures (7)
Snapcaster Mage
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Godo, Bandit Warlord
Keranos, God of Storms

Spells (27)
Shadow of Doubt
Mana Leak
Gifts Ungiven
Izzet Charm
Ajani Vengeant
Path to Exile
Lightning Bolt
Anger of the Gods
Unburial Rites
Lightning Helix
Supreme Verdict
Sideboard (15)
Wear // Tear
Leyline of Sanctity
Wrath of God
Stony Silence
Crucible of Worlds
 Porphury Nodes
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Anger of the Gods
Sowing Salt

Some changes I’ve made since my last experiment with this deck are that I’m decided to polarize my Unburial Rites target for the Main Deck. Iona, Shield of Emeria seems like a great choice right now. She’s naturally resistant to removal, a total beat stick and the way this deck is set up she’s even castable in the late game. Other discoveries I’ve made are about the mana. We are essentially playing a UWR control shell with Gifts Ungiven instead of Cryptic Commands. That takes a lot of pressure off our manabase. We can run a good amount of utility lands. Desolate Lighhtouse is a total allstar in this deck. We can also play Tectonic Edge and Ghost Quarter for land disruption of our own. Keranos, God of Storms is also a pretty sick dude. If we can stick him very little can remove him and having an extra card or a Bolt every turn proves to be quite useful. He’s easily castable AND in a pinch we can rites him.

One of the great things about Gifts is that you get to play so many cool one ofs in both your Main and Sideboard. Crucible of Worlds, Sowing Salt, and Counterflux come in for Control matches. Wrath of God and Anger of the Gods for midrange and aggro decks. Wear//Tear, Stony Silence have their homes and Porphury Nodes and Bribery (YES IT’S LEGAL) are great for other matches.

What the deck does need is 2 white and 2 red mana to get it’s wraths online. We should play a couple black sources for our Unburial Rites if we need to cast it, but they should be in red and white as far as Shocklands go. The only time we’ll need 2 Blue mana is to Snapcaster Mage something.

As I said at it’s heart this deck is the same shell as UWR Control. That alone is going to throw a few players off at larger events. If you can sneak in a Gifts when they think you are a slower deck then you can likely win with the right combo of cards.

Here are some really great piles.

Unburial and Iona: Duh this one is super easy everyone knows it

Snapcaster Mage, Lightning Helix, Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile: All the Removal

Snapcaster Mage, Gifts Ungiven, Sphinx’s Revelation, and Ajani Vengeant: Control Player’s Nightmare

Snapcaster Mage, Anger of the Gods, Supreme Verdict, BatterSkull: Stop the Hordes

Unburial Rites, Godo, Bandit Warlord: Another way to close a game out.

There are other combos as well, really what Gifts does for this deck is set up monster value with Snapcaster Mage. Between Remand, Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix and Mana Leak you should be able to survive the first few turns. Assuming you didn’t miss any land drops you can cast Gifts at the end of you opponents turn and be ready to untap and take over the game on your turn.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s a grindy deck. There will be some free wins with Iona against mono colored decks and you’ll sneak a few Gifts in against some player that didn’t know that’s what you were doing, but for the most part you’ll have to work on timing spells inbetween countermagic and choosing the right packages for you opponent. The one thing this deck has over playing a typical UWR Control deck is that you can close out games much faster once you are ahead. Godo + Batterskull + Celestial Colonnade is 22 Damage. That’s nothing to laugh at, Especially as early as turn 6.



+1 Wrath of God, +1 Anger of the Gods +2 Porphury Nodes +1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite,-1 Iona, Shield of Emeria, -1 Godo, Bandit Warlord -2 Batterskull, -1 Mana Leak

The Plan here is to just Wrath, then Snapcaster Wrath then Lightning Bolt what ever is left. Shadow of Doubt can often be back breaking. Remand buys you time and these games can often be ended with a bit of direct damage and a Celestial Colonnade hit after you’ve disrupted them.

Why not Stony Silence? I dislike drawing them late and it’s often a dead draw. I think it’s more important on focusing of removal and tempo here. Gifts for a few wraths and a Snapcaster Mage can put the game away pretty qiuckly. With most decks siding out their Melira Combo and Pods after board you can save Paths for Archangel of Thune and using bolts on their mana dorks to slow them down. You can take over the late game and Elesh Norn pretty much ends the game unless they can remove it. Most Melira decks don’t have the means aside from Shriekmaw.

UWR  Control

+2 Counterflux, +1 Sowing Salt, +1 Crucible of Worlds, -2 Lightning Bolt, -2 Path to Exile

If you really are playing UWR Control and not Kiki Control it’s safe to take out Path and Bolt. The first game is gonna come down to fooling them you’re on UWR Control too, it’s harder with Kiki Control trying this “Wolf in Control’s Clothing” plan as well. If you resolve a Gifts you should get a value pile like Ajani, Gifts, Keranos, and Sphinx’s Revelation. This is a guaranteed headache for a control player. as the game goes on you can Snapcaster Mage back Gifts and Sphinx’s Rev to put away the game. If you get out Iona always name White because Path puts her out of the game and Cryptic only bounces her. You’ll likely be able to hard cast her later in the game. Sowing Salt for Colonnades and Crucible of Worlds help you get ahead with land. This match is all about timing and card economy. PLAY AROUND SPELL SNARE. It’s only good if you let it be.


+2 Wear//Tear, -1 Shadow of Doubt, -1 Supreme Verdict

Path to Exile is For Deceiver Exarch/ Restoration Angel and Tarmogoyf. The rest of your removal deals with what ever is pestering you. If you are playing a creature heavy Twin Deck like RUG or UWR then I’d remove the Izzet Charm and play the Supreme Verdict as well. You have game vs these decks naturally so don’t over do it on the board. Just try to not tap out… that generally ends the game for you, otherwise they generally respect your removal enough to wait til they have counter back up to go combo.


+2 Stony Silence +2 Wear//Tear, +1 Anger of the Gods, +1 Wrath of God, +1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, -1 Shadow of Doubt, -1 Godo, Bandit Warlord, -2 Batterskull, -1 Iona, Shield of Emeria, -1 Gifts Ungiven

This is likely your best match after board. Elesh Norn is next to impossible for them to remove and your removal hits everything minus Etched Champion. Counter the Cranial Plating or at least remove it’s body at all cost. You should be able to just last until they run out of cards to your 5 wrath effects.


The same plan for affinity but leave in Iona and don’t play Shatterstorm. Elesh Norn or Iona can lock them out of the game. Merfolk deck aren’t really running countermagic these days so just be aware on top of killing their dudes and you shouldn’t have to worry about much.


+1 Leyline of Sanctity, +2 Counterflux +2 Wear//Tear -1 Godo Bandit Warlord, -2 Batterskull -1 Gifts Ungiven, -1 Lightning Helix

You have to keep a couple of wrath effects in as Empty the Warrens is a thing, but really your plan is disruption then Iona on Blue. Echoing Truth is worthless and they really can’t win without blue draw spells to keep going. Kill their Goblin Electromancers and Pyromancer’s Ascension and there’s really very little this deck can do to get you if you can put a clock on them.


+2 Counterflux, +1 Sowing Salt, +2 Stony Silence, +1 Bribery, +1 Crucible of Worlds, -1 Godo, Bandit Warlord, -1 Batterskull, -3 Lightning Bolt, -2 Lightning Helix

This all about denial in the form of countermagic and land destruction until you can either get out Iona or cast Bribery and take their Fatty. Bribery catches so many player of guard it’s a crime. This is gonna be a long match so play briskly if you lose the first game.


+1 Leyline of Sanctity, +1 Wrath of God, +1 Crucible of Worlds, +1 Sowing Salt, -1 Shadow of Doubt, -1 Snapcaster Mage, -1 Remand, -1 Lightning Bolt

Jund is gonna be a tight one. If you get Bolts out early and can stop their Dark Confidants from gaining them cards, then pull a couple 2 for 1s with wraths you should be just fine. Iona on Black stops their removal, and Godo, while easily Bolted, does get you a free Batterskull in this match. There’s not a ton for them to Abrupt Decay. Try to make sure you kill their Scavenging Oozes before they rip up your Graveyard. Ooze is the reason I’m removing one Snapcaster Mage from the main and Tarmogoyf is the reason for the Bolt. You have plenty of removal just kill their manlands and you should be doing fine. Fulminator Mages will come in so try to make that Crucible do work.

In Conclusion

UWR Gifts is a faster, less mana hungry deck than it’s Control based cousin. You’ll find faster wins and a lot of card advantage in this build. It’s got game versus a lot of the most powerful decks in the field. AND you get to play the “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” game in this meta by looking like a different deck. Surprise is a big leg up in Modern if you can catch a few free wins with a rogue deck then I say you’re on your way to the top 8. See you in Philly!

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

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