It’s just about time for the Modern Pro Tour. Every spike is other there trying to figure out the best Twin/Abzan/Affinity build in the wake of the recent bannings. With so many midrange and combo decks looking to show their faces at Pro Tour Fate Reforged, I wonder if its a good time to play my old friend value Gifts Ungiven?

Four Color Value Gifts is one of those decks that had some serious legs before Deathrite Shaman got banned. Once it got sucker punched it was sort of unwieldy against the aggro meta for a bit. UR delver certainly left no good place for a control deck to flourish. But right now? Right now you need to have a decent match against Midrange, Check! Against creature based combo, check! and against Affinity, Check! It seems like right now a good pilot could do some real damage with Gifts Control.

I’m biased of course. I love the heck out of this card. Just knowing that it’s unrestricted in Vintage makes me want to brew. But thats not the reason why you’re here. You wanna know why Gifts is so good right now. What makes this deck a contender? What is Gifts?

4C Gifts

Lands (25)
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Windswept Heath
Celestial Colonnade
Overgrown Tomb
Watery Grave
Temple Garden
Hallowed Fountain
Breeding Pool
Godless Shrine
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Creeping Tar Pit
Academy Ruins
Ghost Quarter
Tectonic Edge

Spells (30)
Inquisition of Kozilek
Raven's Crime
Life from the Loam
Unburial Rites
Maelstrom Pulse
Lingering Souls
Liliana of the Veil
Abrupt Decay
Murderous Cut
Path to Exile
Sorin, Solemn Vistor
Gifts Ungiven
Engineered Explosives
Supreme Verdict

Creatures (5)
Snapcaster Mage
Eternal Witness
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Grave Titan
Sideboard (15)
Slaughter Pact
Fracturing Gust
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Wrath of God
Golgari Charm
Timely Reinforcements
Nihil Spellbomb
Drown in Sorrow
Surgical Extraction

Gifts is a toolbox style control deck. It punishes midrange and aggressive creature decks. One of the great things about playing Gifts is the ability to deal with pretty much any normal situation. Playing Tron? Get your Landkill package of Loam/Crime/Tect Edge Ghost Quarter. Playing Twin? Between maindeck discard and 7 Removal spells and a repeatable main deck Engineered Explosives you should be good. Affinity? Preboard you have the removal to quash an early onslaught and post board you are an anti artifact powerhouse.

The deck has two real combos Loam/Crime and Unburial Rites/Elesh Norn. Both of those combos outright beat a lot of decks. After board you have other target for your Unburial Rites that are better in certain matches. Iona for those Mono colored decks like Burn. She’s good against storm too (name Blue). Terrasadon is good for those Abzan Decks that run Liliana. It’s a total blow out against Tron as well.

So where does Gifts falter? Gifts has a real problem with Blood Moon decks. Playing 4 Colors has that effect on your Blood Moon match-ups. It’s a line you have to walk and carefully prepare for. Save your Mana and your Abrupt Decays for this card if you expect it. Scapeshift is a tough match up. You have the early discard so try to aim for their scapeshift and then Surgical it. Better Yet, Ghost Quarter their Valukut and hit that. That’s tough because they don’t often play it out. Stain the Mind is a card worth thinking about. Aside from that you have a decent game vs the major archetypes. Watch out for local wiseasses playing hate bears. Thats a real pain in the ass.

Its a deck you really have to learn though. I don’t expect everyone to pick this up and then crush a daily with it on the first try. Gifts takes patience to master and its losses to Blood Moon can seem overwhelming at times. Remember to use your discard wisely and sideboard effectively. You can’t win them all but if you have 4 mana open there’s a good chance you’ll have an answer/win the next turn.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

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