Nexus of Fate is the latest addition in a long line of effects that have existed in Magic since it’s origin. Over the years these effects have become less broken compared the original, Time Walk. Since Pro Tour 25, Bant Turbo Fog has exploded onto the scene becoming a tiered deck. Using cards such as Root Snare and Haze of Pollen to negate any combat damage, whilst ramping into Nexus of Fates, chaining off a multitude of turns and using Teferi, Hero of Dominaria as a win condition.

Nexus of Fate is a strong card and could potentially find a home in other formats besides Standard, which Zach Allen is proposing with his first Modern brew, Blue-White Turns. Zach has achieved success in recent years by Top 8ing SCG Louisville last year, and a recent Top 8 finish at GP Pittsburgh rewarded Zach with an invite to Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica next month. I caught up with Zach to find out the origins of UW Turns, and his aspirations for the deck going forward.

“It began with a friend wanting to borrow a deck for Modern FNM, and suggested Standard Bant Turbo Fog as a joke,” Zach recalls. “We joked some more about Bant Turbo Fog in Modern—as a result, we looked on Gatherer to see what was available. We noticed that white had some great fog cards in Angel Song and Dawn Charm, which could easily replace the green in the Standard version. We also wanted to keep it to a two-color deck, respecting Blood Moon, of course.”

Zach is a noted blue mage within the SCG scene and traditionally plays a U/X control deck in most cases, so it’s no surprise that this started out as UW from the get-go. “I built the U/W Turns deck with the Taking Turns shell in mind, adding Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Hero of Dominara. Cutting out Dictate of Kruphix and Howling Mine as they are terrible and can backfire on you. Especially if you’re drawing the wrong half of your deck but allowing your opponent to find the tools they need to beat you. So, converting these into Planeswalkers is the first thing I did when building the deck.” By choosing this option, it allows an excellent win-condition as Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria compliment each other really well and are staples in UW Control decks at present.

In testing, Zach learned very quickly that changes needed to happen with the deck. “The first version of the deck went 1-4 in a league, but the match we won felt very powerful,” Zach comments with optimism. “We quickly went back to the drawing board and tried different cards, our list of potential includes came to a hundred or so cards. Right away we acknowledged that Mind Stone is really good in the deck, but we couldn’t figure the best way to build a Mind Stone version early on. I think if you want to pick up the deck, Mind Stone is essential as it’s an instant way to draw cards which compliments Temporal Mastery really well.” Although it may seem unusual to see colourless ramp in a U/W spells deck, there is a sound logic behind the idea. “Mind Stone is great to ramp out Jace or and Teferi early. The deck ideally wants to operate around five to ten mana, which allows you to crack Mind Stone to draw later on. Being able to ramp early into Time Warps and giving you ways to cycle is so powerful, with that, I feel Mind Stone is a very underplayed card in Modern right now.”

After the changes, I asked, if the build evolving into a UW Miracles-style deck at its core with the Taking Turns package included. Zach explains, “Interestingly enough, I compare this (U/W Turns) to Splinter Twin as at the time you could play Jeskai Control which had the Splinter Twin package. Although this depends on the metagame, but does inherit a lot of the same ideas—so currently, I am running U/W Miracles shell with the Taking Turns package included.”  With the choice in mind, you have to respect the current Modern metagame and what is at the top.

Zach acknowledged this and had encountered some troublesome matchups, which has altered some of his card suggestions. “Biggest problem I found with the deck is there are some really powerful creatures in Modern that fogs are just bad against, like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Gaddock Teeg, and Kitesail Freebooter as examples. Two-mana creatures that can hose you down are so good against fog strategies and contributed to my losses at SCG Baltimore. With these in mind, I had to play Path to Exile in my sideboard which is unfortunate as it takes up room, resulting in switching to the mainboard after the event.” Path to Exile is still relevant and remains the premier removal of the format, so coming to this conclusion is astute, not to mention the strong sideboard options that white currently offers. A few weeks ago, I went into great detail into why white is the best colour for sideboards in Modern.

Bant Turbo Fog is well known for requiring a high level of sequencing and a wealth of practice. I asked if UW Turns inherits the same skill-level as Bant Turbo Fog demands. “Yeah, it’s very sequenced orientated where if you mess up you will lose most of the time. Especially if you are flooded with extra turn effects, you can be taking ten or so turns and have nothing to show for it.” However, there is advice going forward if you choose to pick up the deck with some careful considerations in mind. “A common mistake that people make is being greedy with the number of turns they take and doesn’t get them anywhere. Especially with the card Temporal Mastery, there is always the temptation to cast it given the Miracle value, but sometimes this isn’t correct. On occasions, it’s worth holding onto the Temporal Mastery until you have a Jace to brainstorm Temporal Mastery on top of your library again.”

As in UW Control, you are more likely to be rewarded being patient although it’s not always that simple. Zach reveals, “Another thought is how to use Nexus of Fate, the card isn’t always ideal but allows you to keep combo-ing as it shuffles back into your deck. It’s important to use it the right way as a shuffle effect, especially if you have a Jace on the field. It’s a hard decision at times, you have to weigh on how likely you are to draw another turn effect, and how important is it to see new cards on my next turn. This is one of the bigger sticking points to the deck.” Using Nexus of Fate as an expensive Ponder may not always be ideal but can be a tool to see a fresh draw or scry, with the boon of giving you an extra turn too.

The list below is the final iteration Zach has created and will pilot from now on unless the metagame changes substantially. As you can see, there’s a shift in Miracle cards with Opt complimenting the build nicely.

UW Turns by Zach Allen

Creatures (1)
Snapcaster Mage

Spells (35)
Path to Exile
Mind Stone
Search for Azcanta
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Supreme Verdict
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Time Warp
Nexus of Fate
Temporal Mastery
Lands (24)
Calciform Pools
Celestial Colonnade
Field of Ruin
Flooded Strand
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain
Scalding Tarn

Sideboard (15)
Vendilion Clique
Baneslayer Angel
Lyra Dawnbringer
Damping Sphere
Detention Sphere
Timely Reinforcements
Wrath of God

In disclosing the list, Zach mentions a peculiar card which we don’t often see: “The original list ran an Azorious Chancery to allow some ramp into Nexus of Fate and works well with Teferi. However, if Karn Liberated were to exile the Azorious Chancery, for example, it would put you back two turns.” Losing two lands in one is no good. “So our solution was Calciform Pools. If you have six lands out and you play a Teferi, you usually have one mana left over and can’t do much else, so being unable to untap two lands with Teferi allows you to add counters to Calciform Pools.” This is a neat addition, by storing mana allows you to cast multiple spells in a turn, casting a turn effect into a Planeswalker is a powerful play, especially late on in the game. “Another important card in the deck is Damping Sphere. In most cases with the deck, you’re typically casting one spell a turn, and spreading your spells over multiple turns so Damping Sphere has little to no effect on your gameplan.” Damping Sphere is a key card in slowing down Storm and Tron strategies and feels like a free win if you choose to play U/W given the upside outweighs the drawbacks.

As a final thought on UW Turns going forward, Zach believes the deck will have some presence in Modern in the future. “I honestly think U/W Control is Tier 1 right now, well at least the Terminus version is. I can see the U/W Turns version being a Tier 2.5 deck in the future, given we have a hard time with 5-colour Humans which is a problem right now. It feels like we can make every other matchup favoured but you are just better playing U/W Control currently. However, if 5-colour Humans ever goes on the downswing, U/W Turns could be a lot better and the matchup against R/B Vengevine is insane already.”

With that, there is no harm picking up Nexus of Fates and Mind Stones if you want to switch up your UW Control deck and play something a little different at FNM. Who knows what is in store for future Modern, and there is a chance the UW Turns deck could be more popular over time. Nevertheless, deck building is one of the best features of playing Magic, especially if it’s a spicy or rogue brew—a deck you’ve crafted yourself and determined to see it succeed. If you have any spicy brews of your own, don’t hesitate to battle, tweak and enjoy them as you might find a new experience and above all, have fun! If you have any brews of your own, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on Twitter and share your lists.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Zach’s thoughts in Modern or about U/W Turns, check out Turn One Thoughtseize, with podcasts released every other week with a focus on the Modern and competitive play. You can find them on Twitter @turn1thoughtseize.

Emma resides in Suffolk, England and started playing Magic back in 2014 when Khans of Tarkir first hit the shelves. She dabbled in Standard for a while then shifted into Modern, in particular playing Eldrazi Tron and Commander where she has found her home. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.