Modern Azorius Narset Undoing Guide by Skura
29/01/2024 · 13 min read
Classic control is an archetype that refuses to fall off the map. While not a top tier strategy in Modern, it has a faithful following that continuously improves and innovates on the deck.
The era of draw-go seems to be over but it does not mean that good honest counterspell control cannot exist! The key is to other elements that complement the deck. Pure draw-go might not be viable but if you add a couple of planeswalkers and sweepers you may be good to go.
In today’s piece, I want to delve into Modern Azorius Day’s Undoing- its composition, sideboarding, and key tips and tricks. Crucially, I will also break down the combo finish in the deck and why it’s there in the first place. I also included a section outlining a lock that the opponent cannot break out of so make sure to read in!
|4 The One Ring
|4 Prismatic Ending
|2 Supreme Verdict
|2 Lórien Revealed
|2 Day's Undoing
|4 Leyline Binding
|3 Teferi, Time Raveler
|3 Narset, Parter of Veils
|1 Breeding Pool
|1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
|4 Flooded Strand
|1 Raugrin Triome
|1 Zagoth Triome
|1 Geier Reach Sanitarium
|2 Windswept Heath
|2 Hallowed Fountain
|3 Misty Rainforest
|1 Otawara, Soaring City
|3 Stern Scolding
|1 Kaheera, the Orphanguard
|3 Dovin's Veto
|2 Supreme Verdict
|2 Dress Down
|1 Day's Undoing
Why Day’s Undoing?
Day’s Undoing is a so-called wheel effect that allows players to redraw into a fresh seven. The trick is that you can deny the opponent the draw if you do it with Narset, Parter of Veils in play. When you do so on your turn, you get a new seven, the opponent draws one, and you end the turn due to the Day’s text.
While it does not end the game immediately, it means that you’re up 3-5 cards and you’ve probably got rid of multiple cards from the opponent’s hand. It puts you in a highly advantageous position.
On top of that, you shuffle the graveyards back in so it might act as incidental graveyard hate against decks like Murktide, Living End, or Dredge.
If you have Teferi, Time Raveler on top of that, you can do it…in the opponent’s draw step! You allow them to draw for the turn, then cast Day’s. It leaves you with 7 cards and them…with nothing! This is a truly devastating sequence that this shell can pull off.
While it does not immediately end the game, it comes in super handy against all the unfair decks where you want to have an additional angle of attack like Tron, Titan, or Living End. Instead of having to grind through all their threats, you can assemble a key combination that solidifies your position.
Furthermore, the cost of playing the combo is pretty low. Narset is a decent card on its own stopping multi-cantripping, Fable second chapter, and many more. Day’s Will be lacklustre on its own but can always be pitched to Subtlety if need be.
Last but not least, you will sometimes side it out but the opponent won’t know it. It gives you a psychological edge and it’ll make the opponent over-react to Narset.
All in all, Narset Day’s is a valuable tool in your control arsenal that can turn some matchups around.
The deck’s overall composition is pretty predictable, as it includes planeswalkers, interaction, and card advantage. However, let’s get to the nitty gritty of what’s going on.
There are two key planeswalkers and to the surprise of returning blue mages it is not Teferi, Hero of Dominaria who has long retired.
Narset, Parter of Veils
Narset, Parter of Veils’s utility has partially been covered in the Day’s section. To expand on the topic, she provides a double Impulse effect that’s both card advantage and card selection. She lets you curve out very nicely into The One Ring, as even if you don’t have it yet you’re pretty likely to find it. Narset is also a great foil to opposing Rings that is a bit less relevant now but still comes up. She also usually soaks up a bunch of damage as well, since players don’t want to leave it there. While not a primary use, you can *catch* some unsuspecting players who forget when the passive is relevant such as Sunbaked Canyon draw effect in Burn.
There is also an actual lock in the deck with Narset. If the opponent is empty-handed, you stop them on their upkeep, activate Geier Reach Sanitarium, resulting in both of you draw discarding - since they were empty handed they just bin the card they drew. Now, at this point they’ve technically drawn a card for the turn so thanks to Narset they have to skip the draw step altogether. We can keep doing this every upkeep and the opponent will never have access to a single card in hand. The only way to break out of this loop somehow is if there are cards with escape or flashback in their deck.
Teferi, Time Raveler
Teferi, Time Raveler is an infamous card whose power and utility is widely known and (un)appreciated. In this deck, all the modes are relevant. The passive stops cascade from working and gives you much more breathing room, knowing when the opponent can(not) cast a lethal burn spell. The plus turns Prismatic Ending and Supreme Verdict into instants which makes them borderline broken. The minus is just overall a pretty universal effect that gets rid of opposing Leyline Binding, Oblivion Stone, or Murktide Regent. Commonly, it allows you to recast your own permanents to get their enter-the-battlefield trigger again such as The One Ring or Solitude.
You don’t get any simpler and cleaner than Counterspell. It usually trades equal or up on mana and the mana requirement is relatively trivial in this deck. A great way to make sure that a threat is taken care of. Removing it on the stack rather than the battlefield has the added bonus of not allowing them to trigger enter-the-battlefield effects.
Prismatic Ending is mostly ‘Exile target 1 or 2 mana permanent’. Sometimes though, it’ll exile a 0 such as a token or a 3 mana permanent like an opposing Teferi. Be mindful of how you tap since it’s all about the colous - not the amount of mana per se.
Leyline Binding is the sole reason you see cards like Breeding Pool or Zagoth Triome in an otherwise UW deck. However, its strength cannot be overstated. Tagging any permanent we want instant speed is literally the perfect control tool. It’s not without flaws though as it can be interacted with - mainly by Boseiju, Who Endures or an opposing Binding. Always have those cards in mind!
Supreme Verdict is just an uncounterable Wrath of God. The additional line of text comes up against Murktide or Zoo, but it will frequently just be a mass removal spell. If we don’t find any good uses for it, we can always pitch it to our elementals.
Speaking of elementals, Solitude and Subtlety are here for the rescue.
Solitude is the backbone of 2023-2024 blue white control decks. The fact that you can either exile any creature instant speed regardless of its size or hardcast it with a 3/2 lifelink body is insane. I cannot imagine not playing this card. If you ever doubt it, play it more and you’ll see the truth. It also turns the corner and closes games pretty fast. If the opponent is doing nothing, you can flash it in and start pressuring them. You don’t even need to commit meaningfully since it’s an end-step play anyways.
Subtlety is a Grief/Primeval Titan hate card. Having Aether Gust stampled onto a flying body is huge for similar reasons listed to Solitude. It’s also a very reasonable hardcast early as a blocker in combat - much to the opponent’s surprise.
Let’s now talk about the reason this deck does not have to run Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.
The One Ring is just a better version of these cards. You can finally tap out for a card advantage engine and not have to worry about dying 90% of the time. It also scales very well if it stays on the battlefield - which is more likely the case than with walkers that can be attacked down.
The life loss isn’t a huge deal since you gain life back with Solitude and you can easily shuffle new Rings around with Teferi bounce or just subsequent copies, limiting the number of counters and hence the amount of damage you take.
The One Ring is here to stay as the premiere card draw spell. You can safely unsleeve your Jaces and Memory Deluges.
Tips & Tricks
1. Pitch Fodder
You can take Kaheera, the Orphanguard to hand purely as Solitude pitch fodder.
2. Recurring Solitude
If your opponent counters your Solitude that you value highly, you can put it back on top from the stack with your own Subtlety.
3. Ring Care
If you play against a Leyline Binding deck, be mindful of when you activate The One Ring, as the opponent can respond to the activation and exile it, yielding you fewer (or zero) cards.
4. Teferi’s Trick
Always remember how useful Teferi, Time Raveler plus ability is in this deck. You can play Supreme Verdict in opposing combat or Preordain in response to their spell.
You can overpay for Prismatic Ending if the mana value matters, for example against Chalice of the Void or Eidolon of the Great Revel.
6. Dangerous Moon
If Blood Moon is on the stack, you cannot float mana to then cast Leyline Binding exiling the Moon. That’s because the moment Moon hits, you lose the basic types and Binding immediately costs way more mana. An example of a case where it would work is if you have 6 nonbasic lands, float white, Moon resolves, and you play Binding for full six including the white.
7. Dress Down First
If you play against creatures that do something when they die like Young Wolf or Blood Artist, you can set up a situation when you play Dress Down first and then Supreme Verdict.
8. Getting Discounts
Sequence your land drops correctly. If you lead on Raugrin Triome, on the second turn you can deploy Zagoth Triome and already have access to one-mana Leyline Binding.
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge is here to untap The One Ring but it can untap any legendary permanent. For instance, you can untap your own Geier Reach Sanitarium to double-use it.
10. Pull the Trigger
Sometimes you’ll have to pull the trigger on Day’s Undoing cast normally. Be on the lookout for those spots and go for it!
This is going to be a grind fest, pretty similar in nature to its Pioneer counterpart. They can play a longer game but ultimately they will want to play an aggro-esque game. Prioritising your life total is important - not only the resources in cards. It’s going to be a dance between not losing on cards when/if they resolve multiple Fables and not dying to Ragavan, Bowmasters, and Dauthi beatdown.
One of the better matchups for the deck, as so many of our cards are very relevant - Supreme Verdict, Countermagic, Teferi. Postboard we also have a banger in the form of Dovin’s Veto.
In corner cases, you can also try to play through resolved rhinos by trading for each of them separately with cards like Prismatic Ending, Leyline Binding, and gassing back up with The One Ring.
Very tricky matchup to play, as they have a combo finish, they can play instant speed, *and* go wide on top of that. While Supreme Verdict is really good, a good Yawgmoth player will pace their threats in a manner such that you don’t get much value out of it.
Be on the lookout for a super cool sequence of end step Dress Down into Supreme Verdict on your turn to make sure that no shenanigans can be had.
One of the most crucial things is that when they pass back to you, you have to expect Orcish Bowmasters, Endurance, Chord of Calling, or a mix of those.
Yet another Stern Scolding matchup. While it does not counter Titan itself, it does counter Dryad and Arboreal Grazer.
I also cut Leyline Binding, as they are very vulnerable to Boseiju, Who Endures. You never want a situation where they destroy Binding, in an uncounterable manner nonetheless, and Primeval Titan enters play on your end stpe.
Your best card is Subtlety since it deals with any creature, albeit for one turn, and puts an evasive threat onto the board. You want to eventually finish the game and Subtlety does exactly that.
Living End is a pretty straightforward matchup where you need to do everything in your power to stop the namesake card. They can do it instant speed as well with Violent Outburst which is particularly scary if you factor in Force of Negation. They can also Grief you to make sure the coast is clear.
Thankfully, we’ve got numerous tools to combat it. In addition to all the maindeck countermagic, we add Dovin’s Veto that is a super hard ‘no’, invulnerable to Force of Negation.
Stern Scolding is here to answer Grief which is also a back-breaking exchange.
We cut almost all the removal, as our assumption coming in is that no creatures will enter play.
If they opt for a hard-cast plan with god honest four mana Curator of Mysteries and Endurances, we still have ways to get rid of them such as Teferi, Time Raveler bounce.
As we’ve seen, traditional control can be successful in Modern and especially so with a combo-esque finish.
I hope all the blue mages’ hearts have grown and have gained enough confidence to slam Narset, Parter of Veils on the third turn of the game.
And remember to hold my hand and pass the turn together, and I’ll see you next time. Cheers!