UW Control and Dimir Bowmaster

A guide to reactive blue-based control in MTG Arena Timeless

Posted by on December 27, 2023 UW Control and Dimir Bowmaster

Magic is a game of information and anticipation. This is especially true of Control decks. A Control player must understand the meta, the decks to beat, and how to sequence resources, interactions, and card advantage. This guide covers classic UW Control a new take on Dimir Bowmaster with Lurrus, of the Dream Den and Orcish Bowmasters. Both decks are reactive by nature, trying to control the opponent’s turns until a Win Condition is brought to the board to quickly end the game. That win condition could be a creature, a combo, or something similar.

I'll be posting an updated MTG Arena Timeless meta report in the next few days. Follow me on Twitter and stay tuned!

Key cards

Following cards present the most important bule-based spells in almost every Ux-Control deck.


Brainstorm can be played both as a card advantage engine with Fetchlands and as a protection against hand disruption. Knowing whether a card in your hand really adds value in the current matchup and stage of the game is the key to good Brainstorm play.

When playing Brainstorm for card advantage, you always need a shuffling effect. Otherwise, you can be slowed down for the next two turns, especially early in the game. Almost all of the top decks in Timeless will punish you if you play Brainstorm at the wrong time.

Playing Brainstorm as a hand disruption protection prevents you from losing necessary quality cards at the current stage of the game.

Counterspell and other counter magic

Hard counters like Counterspell are the cleanest reactive way to control your opponent’s turns starting in turn two. In addition to Counterspell, Change the Equation, Spell Pierce, and Memory Lapse do a very good job of controlling your opponent’s plays. Memory Lapse could replace Counterspell in a list that plays three plus colors.

The amount of Change the Equation on the board depends on the Timeless metagame. Right now, it counters a lot of staples like Orcish Bowmaster, Oko, Thief of Crowns, Sneak Attack, Natural Order.

Spell Pierce is useful in a meta with fast non-creature spells, like combo decks, like turn 1 Necropotence with opponents on the draw, etc.

Snapcaster Mage and Mystic Snactuary

Snapcaster Mage has been a staple in control decks for a long time because of the body it provides as a blocker, the help it provides with spell replay, and the value it adds with instant speed.

Mystic Snactuary, on the other hand, increases deck consistency by returning an instant or sorcery to the top of the library, can be found with a Fetchland since it also counts as an island, and provides blue mana.

Fetchlands and Landcycling

Fetchlands and landcycling cards like Lorien Revealed are key for consistent land drops and shuffling effects together with Brainstorm or Mishra’s Bauble.

UW Control

Also known as Azorius Control, it combines instant speed spot removal like Swords to Plowshares or Leyline Binding, sweepers like Supreme Verdict, and versatile planeswalkers that add value to different aspects of a control game. Search for Azcanta, Dig Through Time, and The One Ring add card advantage, while The One Ring also provides one-turn protection.

The manabase is optimized to provide the necessary mana resources with Fetchlands and Lorien Revealed.

The following list aims to win with The Wandering Emperor, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, or Restless Anchorage.

UW Control at Moxfield

Dimir Bowmaster

In addition to UW control, Dimir Bowmaster aka UB control uses Lurrus of the Dream Den to generate value and insane consistency with replayed Orcish Bowmaster, Snapcaster Mage, or Mishra’s Bauble. The deck focuses on a reactive game plan with Permission and Spot Removal and establishing a strong board position as early as turn two with Orcish Bowmasters. The manabase is optimized to provide the necessary mana resources with Fetchlands and Lorien Revealed.

Dimir Bowmaster at Moxfield


The MTG Arena Timeless meta is starting to settle, and now is the time for control decks. I expect to see fine-tuned, meta-adapting control decks in the next two weeks. In my opinion, Dimir Bowmaster seems to be the best control deck right now due to it’s consistent reactive control plan.