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Both Control and Prison are timeless strategies that bring out the best in the Magic community. Acting as an outlet for overcoming stress, while fighting through the immediate trauma of staring at a hand of uncastable spells, Blue Moon is the perfect mix of Prison and Control. In this article, we’ll be evaluating card choices in the current iteration of Blue Moon, before discussing sideboard options and recommendations.

Interaction

Lightning Bolt | The go to red removal spell, Lightning Bolt acts as both a win condition and an efficient removal spell. Four copies is the perfect starting point, as combining it with Snapcaster Mage ends the game quickly and can scale up to remove large threats.

Remand | While not a hard counter like Logic Knot or Archmage’s Charm, Remand serves as a tempo spell for the numerous Turn 3 plays set to capitalize on an empty board. Remand curves into Blood Moon or Archmage’s Charm to permanently remove threats, and smooths out early draw steps.

Archmage’s Charm | Hard counters are important for any control deck, but Archmage’s Charm is the perfect one for Blue Moon. Giving the deck a main deck answer to permanents like Hardened Scales or Death’s Shadow is potent, but the ability to draw two cards makes Archmage’s Charm a card that is never dead. This consistency gives Blue Moon the edge it needs to stay viable in a world with Teferi, Time Raveler.

Spell Snare | Most powerful plays start at two mana, and Spell Snare is a way to answer these cards going first or second. Ordinarily this would be the best card against Jund, but with the movement towards Bloodbraid Elf and Hexdrinker only Goyf and Wrenn remain as decent targets.

Spell Pierce | Slowing down Urza and Dredge decks is important for keeping tempo, and Spell Pierce gives Blue Moon access to a mana efficient answer to a variety of problems. While it does not scale well, the primary weakness of Blue Moon is in early game plays, warranting inclusion.

Cryptic Command | With Archmage’s Charm handling the bulk of counterspell requirements, Cryptic is less necessary than before, but it gets you out of situations that you would have no outs to otherwise. Two copies is sufficient, but I would play a third or fourth if the metagame was sufficiently slow.

Magmatic Sinkhole | Perhaps the greatest removal spell ever printed for Red decks, Magmatic Sinkhole does an excellent Dreadbore interpretation, removing traditionally difficult to interact with permanents like Gurmag Angler or Liliana of the Veil. I would recommend two copies.

Support Spells

Blood Moon | Acting as both a prison piece and a midrange trump spell, Blood Moon shores up a variety of matchups and gives this Snapcaster Mage deck a reasonable game plan in most matchups.

Serum Visions | Blue decks are often defined by their early card selection, and Serum Visions earns the top spot in most decks. The ability to set up future draws has yet to be surpassed, and the sorcery speed restriction is well worth the upside. It’s also a cheap spell for Thing in the Ice.

Opt | Appearing alongside Serum Visions as a complementary cantrip, Opt works well with Thing in the Ice and Snapcaster Mage, but trades this flexibility for less digging potential. Still, a critical mass of cantrips is necessary in Thing in the Ice decks.

Wincons

Thing in the Ice | Dominating the Modern format since the printing of Arclight Phoenix, Blue Moon variants use Thing in the Ice primarily as an early game roadblock, while doubling as a haymaker against creature decks. It is much less explosive when compared to Izzet Phoenix, and often cannot be flipped until Turn 4/5. Still, a board impacting wincon is necessary.

Snapcaster Mage | A defining feature of Control decks for years, Snapcaster Mage gives Blue Moon access to an endless supply of countermagic to complement its package of burn spells. Snapcaster Mage can also get the beatdowns early, as flashing it in on Turn 2 lets you transition into a tempo deck or sorts.

Vendilion Clique | Hand disruption is a unique effect, and putting it onto a high power creature with flash is always going to be powerful. Many games are ended by this iconic 3/1 flyer, and the ability to ambush opponents is unrivaled in Modern. One copy is sufficient, though a second is welcome in grindy metagames.


Sideboard

Engineered Explosives | The Izzet colors are not known for their access to hard removal, instead relying on bounce spells and burn. Engineered Explosives breaks this paradigm, giving the color combination access to a versatile answer for nearly any permanent, up to a mana cost of two. Playing an off color shockland can enable the removal of permanents that cost three mana, but most players are happy using EE as a blowout against Humans.

Tormod’s Crypt | Mostly a consideration due to the Hogaak decks, in the post-ban era Tormod’s Crypt should likely be trimmed for grindier sideboard cards like Entrancing Melody for Jund, a second EE, or Magma Spray for Arclight Phoenix.

Flame Slash | Cheap removal is rarely better than Bolt, but Flame Slash answers Hexdrinker and Thing in the Ice — two growing portions of the metagame — while ensuring a diversity of answers for Meddling Mage.

Rending Volley | A sideboard card almost exclusively for Humans and Arclight, Rending Volley removes difficult to answer permanents, but is quite narrow in scope. Consider transitioning towards other one mana answers in more open Modern formats.

Relic of Progenitus | Like Tormod’s Crypt, Relic shores up a weakness to graveyards, but is a far more reasonable inclusion in most metagames. I myself have 5-0’d leagues on MTGO with a couple of Relics in my Blue Moon sideboards, and I would highly recommend them going forward.

Surgical Extraction | The go to piece of graveyard interaction for Snapcaster Mage decks, Surgical Extraction will always be a solid choice in Modern. With a variety of counterspells and a reliance on Snapcaster Mage, it is not uncommon to completely run an opponent out of resources with a couple of Surgicals.

Abrade | A catch all answer against Humans, Abrade likewise serves as an answer to Chalice of the Void or Ensnaring Bridge, though it is quite ineffective against Welding Jar and Thopter Sword combo. Still, Blue Moon just wants enough varied answers to slow down opponents, and Abrade fills this role exceptionally well.

Anger of the Gods | Sweepers are ever more important in Modern, and having a clean answer to Arclight Phoenix or Bloodghast is a recipe for success at the highest levels. Anger does this without sacrificing percentage points against Humans and Prowess decks, and I would recommend two copies in the post-M20 metagame.

Pillage | A wholly unorthodox addition, Pillage gives additional outs to Welding Jar while slowing down decks like Tron or Amulet — both decks set to reenter the metagame with Bridge from Below’s exit.


Thanks for checking out our Blue Moon Deck Tech, and you can check out our Modern Tier list here for more decks.