Spire of Insanity: The Second Sun Coming
BY COREY FARNAM
Hello and welcome to the Spire of Insanity. This week we will be operating at the top of the spire and taking a look at Approach of the Second Sun in modern UW Control. Before we get into the deck list let’s take a look at what Approach does.
The effect that gains life and puts the spell back into the library is not a good card by any stretch of the imagination. Approach only gets interesting when you look at the remaining text on the card.
“If Approach of the Second Sun was cast from your hand and you’ve cast another spell named Approach of the Second Sun this game, you win the game.”
Whew, that is a lot of words on a Magic card, but they are well worth reading. If you are looking to win with Approach’s second clause, you can go one of two ways: ramp into it and drawing a large amount of cards, or, the plan we will be looking at here, playing a long, drawn-out control game that inevitably ends when you cast Approach of the Second Sun twice. With that being said, let’s take a look at what we will be working with.
The first thing that you will notice is that the landbase for the deck does not run any fetches. The main reason for this decision was to reduce the amount of damage that we will have to deal ourselves with the top 20% of the current meta being quick linear decks. This also allows us to run a total of 20 sources that will enter play untapped on turn 1. This is a large benefit if you are on the draw so you will be able to leave up Spell Snare, or cast a Serum Visions on the play, or in the case of your opponent being Burn being able to Path to Exile a Goblin Guide or Monastery Swiftspear. With burn being one of our worst matchups minimizing the amount of damage we take changes their math, and possibly changes the game in our favor.
This list is aiming to stop your opponent from resolving as many spells as possible. Spreading Seas is a major mana denial spell. In some matches it is just as good, if not better, than Ghost Quartering a land. Seas also has the upside of drawing you a card to get deeper into your deck to find more gas or Approach. Snapcaster Mage allows us to rebuy any spell that we have cast throughout the game, and it applies a little bit of pressure to your opponent.
This brings us to the countermagic suite. We start off with some new tech from Amonkhet in Censor. While it’s not quite Miscalculation or Force Spike, it is a decent early game counterspell that will get your opponent in most Game 1s, as they won’t be expecting it. When they do play around it in games two and three, it can cycle to dig you one card deeper. The next few spells at two mana are ones that have been perennial Modern control staples in Remand and Mana Leak. Remand is a good tempo play especially if your opponent is able to play around Censor and Mana Leak, but does not leave enough mana up to recast their spell. Mana Leak is good to use when your opponent plays around Censor and doesn’t leave enough mana up to pay for Leak.. A good counter for your opponents two drops is Spell Snare. Snare allows you to play an untapped land on the draw and leave mana up to counter their two drop or cycle a Censor if you have nothing else to do. Disallow is next, as your only three mana counter, fits a certain niche that many control decks have been looking for in Modern for a long time. Disallow having the versatility to counter a spell, activated ability, or triggered ability can significantly change the course of a game for you or your opponent. The last and most potent piece of countermagic in the list is Cryptic Command. Cryptic is a four mana spell capable of doing everything a control deck wants and then some. In most cases you will be casting Cryptic Command with the modes of counter target spell and draw a card, there are two other options that can be used, from bouncing a problem permanent your opponent has, or even protecting one of your own if the need arises, to tapping your opponent’s team down so they can’t attack you for a turn. Your priority is to keep your opponents cards from resolving, and with the suite of counters that you are packing, it shouldn’t be that difficult to do.
Any good control deck is going to need removal and other utility spells in the case there is something that is able to slip through the counter magic. Our utility and removal suite consists of Path to Exile, the premier removal spell in modern, while it does give your opponent a basic land, the fact that this spell trades for creatures at mana parity in the worst case scenario is huge; because you need to spend your mana efficiently and wisely on every turn otherwise you will fall behind and that is never a place you want to be for an extended period of time. Other utility spells are Supreme Verdict, Serum Visions, Jace, Architect of Thought, and Sphinx’s Revelation. These other utility spells are fairly self explanatory. Supreme Verdict allows you to sweep your opponent’s creatures from the field and buy time to get to casting Approaches. Serum Visions allows you to fix your upcoming draw steps. Early game it allows you to make sure you will be hitting your land drops, and late game it allows you to bypass unnecessary lands so that you are refilling your hand with impactful spells. Jace, Architect of Thought is extremely versatile in this list, from reducing the power of your opponent’s creatures to digging through your library for more gas. Jace does what you need him to do, and if you are able to protect him well enough you can ultimate him and find your Approach of the Second Sun and cast it for free, as well as your opponent’s best spell in the situation.. Finally, Sphinx’s Revelation is the mass draw spell of choice. Being able to gain life in addition to drawing a handful of cards at instant speed is extremely powerful. You can also use Sphinx’s Revelation to draw you into your already cast Approach of the Second Sun so you will be able to win during your next turn.
While this list is slower on the front, it does allow you to interact with your opponent’s cards primarily on the stack, and once you are able to get into the mid-game you will be able to control the pace and transition into your endgame, so you can cast Approach of the Second Sun and win the game.
Have fun and may you draw well. From the top of the Tower watching the Second Sun approach, I bid thee farewell
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Corey is an avid Magic player. He has been playing since Darksteel but got thoroughly involved in the MtG community during Theros. Corey is a premier control player in the modern format, and also dabbles with various combo decks in Modern and Legacy. Welcome to the MainPhaseMTG Family!