Boros MoonWalkers. WR Prison. Sun and Moon. Whatever you call it, it’s goal is the same: Do what you have to do to make sure only one player gets to play Magic. It’s a prison-style control deck that aims to prevent your opponent from doing anything while you win through Planeswalker value. Let’s see how it works.
Lock Pieces and Other Control Elements
What we want to do is shut down specific aspects of our opponent’s deck. So we are looking to play a few strategic cards that should get maximum effect.
The deck is called MoonWalkers for a reason. We’re running the full four Blood Moon as one of our major lock pieces. There are a lot of decks out there right now that have fairly greedy mana bases, and we want to shut those down as much as possible. Death’s Shadow, for instance, is probably only running one to two basic lands. If we can catch them at an opportune moment, we can not only cripple their mana but also keep them from losing life from their Fetch and Shock Lands. That’s the kind of matchup we want our Blood Moons for.
What about matchups that don’t have greedy mana bases, though? Like Elves or Merfolk? That’s where our four Chalice of the Void comes into play. Chalice enters the battlefield with X (equal to half the mana you paid for it) charge counters on it. Any spell cast, ours or our opponent’s, that has converted mana cost X gets countered. If we can stick a Chalice for X=1 then we can turn off many decks. Elves plays around fifteen one-mana spells. That’s a full quarter of their deck that they can’t cast. Merfolk would survive Chalice on one fairly well, but did you know that more than a third of the cards in the average Merfolk deck cost two mana to cast? Chalice on two keeps them from casting any of those cards normally. Both of these decks have ways around that, but it is much slower and we’ve got ways of dealing with those creatures.
I want to take a moment to talk about the importance of getting these cards on the field as quickly as possible. The earlier we get these cards on the field, the harder it can be for our opponent to overcome them. To that end, we are playing four Simian Spirit Guide in the deck. We can exile it from our hand to get an extra Red mana. This extra mana can mean a turn one Chalice X=1. It can mean a turn one Blood Moon, if you get really lucky. And if you really need to, you can cast it as a 2/2 for three.
But what about something like Burn? Most of their cards are mono-red, so they don’t care about Blood Moon. They also have a slightly better spread of mana costs in their deck, so you would really need two Chalices to shut them down. So what are you supposed to do? The answer is simple. Three main deck Leyline of Sanctity. Nearly half of a Burn deck targets a player, which means that nearly half their deck is useless and their Prowess creatures just got worse.
A quick note about main deck Leylines before we move on: Your opponent will likely call a judge on you when you drop a game one Leyline, because they will rightly assume that there is a chance you forgot to de-sideboard. When they call a judge on turn zero, they are absolutely right to do it. You would do the same in this situation. Be polite to the judge and your opponent, so you can get back to playing your match as quickly as possible.
Beyond our lock pieces, we need to have ways of dealing with creatures that our opponents might find a way to play. To that end, we’re playing some sweepers. Starting off, we’ve got three copies of Anger of the Gods. This is an important card because it comes down as early as turn three, which can stop an early push from an aggro opponent. The three damage is also enough to handle most early creatures.
For those creatures that three damage can’t handle, we are running three Wrath of God. It doesn’t get any simpler than this, destroy all creatures and they can’t be regenerated. The only things escaping this are indestructible, and there aren’t a huge number of those running around.
Now we’ve got the field locked down, how do we win from here?
Planeswalkers and Other finishers
One of the easiest ways that this deck wins is through four copies of Nahiri, the Harbinger. Nahiri can help to filter through our deck while climbing toward her ultimate. When her ultimate goes off, we can search up our single copy of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Since her ultimate gives Emrakul Haste, we can attack right away and hopefully destroy any chance of our opponent getting back into the game.
Another option for winning the game is to play out one of our three Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Chandra either gives you an extra card each turn, or two damage to your opponent’s face. Getting to her ultimate ability gives you an Emblem that causes every spell you cast to come with an additional five damage straight to your opponent (or a creature, if you really need to), whether the spell resolves or not. That will wrap up a game in short order.
Gideon Jura has a couple of things to bring to the party, as well. The default mode is just to turn him into a 6/6 creature and crack in turn after turn. However, he can also keep you and your other Planeswalkers safe by forcing all of your opponent’s creatures to attack him. We’re running two copies of Gideon Jura in the deck.
We’ve got two copies of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion in the deck, as well. She drops three 1/1 tokens each turn, which are great for attack or defense. Eventually, we can bury our opponent beneath a mountain of tokens. Elspeth also comes with a sweeper which only hits all creatures with power 4 or greater, which conveniently doesn’t hit most of the creatures we might have on the field.
Last of our main deck Planeswalkers is Ajani Vengeant, at two copies. He helps keep our opponent locked down with his +1 ability tapping their stuff down. If we need to do some damage, his second ability is Lightning Helix. If he survives long enough, his ultimate ability destroys all of our opponent’s lands, which is always a good way to ensure a win.
Our last win condition is a single copy of Stormbreath Dragon. As a 4/4 with Flying, Haste, and Protection From White this guy hits pretty hard. We can definitely cast this, and it also acts as a backup if our opponent finds a way to exile our Emrakul. If you have enough mana, you can even search Stormbreath up with Nahiri’s ultimate, pay to make him Monstrous (dealing damage equal to the number of cards your opponent is holding), hit for seven damage, return it to your hand at end of turn, and recast it next turn to do it again.
We’re running lands that respect the fact that we have a lot of double White casting costs while also playing Blood Moon. Playsets of Arid Mesa, Sacred Foundry, and Inspiring Vantage give us the colors we need early, but they’ll become Mountains when Blood Moon hits the field. Because of that, we’re running eleven Plains to ensure the White mana that we need late in the game.
Rounding out our twenty-four lands is a single copy of Gemstone Caverns. This land serves the same function as Simian Spirit Guide. If you have this in your opening hand, you can put it on the field on turn zero. All you have to do is exile another card from your hand. Doing this can lead to locking down your opponent earlier than they can deal with. It is Legendary, though, so we’re only playing the one.
Not all of our prison pieces are going to be good in all matchups. What we want to do while sideboarding is to tailor the prison to better contain the prisoner. Against Abzan Company, for instance, our Leylines are not great, so we can remove those to bring in some of our sideboard cards that hit that deck where it hurts.
Two copies each of Rest in Peace and Stony Silence come in against graveyard decks and Artifact decks, respectively. They’re extra prison pieces against specific strategies and we’d be foolish not to play them.
Two Pithing Needle can be brought in against opposing Planeswalkers, as well as functioning as backup Stony Silences, if we need that.
Grafdigger’s Cage is not just good against graveyard decks, but also against any deck playing Collected Company. It also keeps creatures with Persist and Undying from coming back when they die. A very versatile sideboard option, which is why we’re running two copies.
Gideon of the Trials makes an appearance with two copies. He’s good to have against alternate win conditions and combo decks. Our opponent can mill us out, or try for a Helix Pinnacle win if they want, but Gideon says that unless they can deal with him then we can’t lose. Also works fairly well against Ad Nauseum, since they can only Lightning Storm one target. We’re playing Modern, you never know what might be lurking out there. Best to be prepared.
We’ve also got two copies of Wear//Tear to help clean up if our opponent is running some Artifacts or Enchantments what might come down early and be a problem in the long run.
A single copy of Blessed Alliance can come in against burn decks to gain a little life, or against any deck that plans on attacking with a single creature.
One copy of Oblivion Ring is a good way to deal with many kinds of threats, from Planeswalkers and Creatures to Artifacts and Enchantments. It’s a pretty good catch-all for anything we might have trouble dealing with otherwise.
Lastly, we’ve got a single copy of Ensnaring Bridge to help against other Nahiri combo decks as well as Titan Shift decks. Just remember to remove your Gideons and your own Emrakul if you bring this in, since it’s just as effective against you.
- Simian Spirit Guide x4
- Stormbreath Dragon x1
- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn x1
- Nahiri, the Harbinger x4
- Chandra, Torch of Defiance x3
- Ajani, Vengeant x2
- Gideon Jura x2
- Elspeth, Sun’s Champion x2
- Anger of the Gods x3
- Wrath of God x3
- Chalice of the Void x4
- Blood Moon x4
- Leyline of Sanctity x3
- Plains x11
- Arid Mesa x4
- Sacred Foundry x4
- Inspiring Vantage x4
- Gemstone Caverns x1
- Rest in Peace x2
- Stony Silence x2
- Pithing Needle x2
- Grafdigger’s Cage x2
- Gideon of the Trials x2
- Wear//Tear x2
- Ensnaring Bridge x1
- Blessed Alliance x1
- Oblivion Ring x1
The great thing about this deck is that it can be good against anything as long as you, the pilot, know what to expect from your opponent’s deck. So do you research, know your meta, and Moonwalk your way to victory.
As fun as this deck is, I can’t help but ask the question: Why White? What would happen if we switched out White for Black, Green, or Blue? Well, we’re going to find out next time when we bring you three decks for the price of one!
If you have any thoughts on that question or any comments you want to make, feel free to leave them in a comment or over on the Contact Page.