I play affinity and seriously struggle with control players and can't seem to find a way to win.

Blue Moon has become popular recently, and while Blood Moon does not cripple my deck the constant counters to anything I do just stagnate the game.

Kolaghan's Command kills 2 artifacts at once, normally a Mox Opal and creature.

My damage cards (Arcbound Ravager, Etched Champion, Cranial Plating) are countered with spells like Mana Leak.

My creatures are constantly hit with Lightning Bolt, and Jace, Telepath Unbound and Snapcaster Mage lets them replay them. My land are also destroyed this way if I try to use them as creatures.

What strategy's can be used against a deck that mainboards more removal than I have playable cards and after the first round can add in specific artifact hate ?


2x master of etherium
3x signal pest
3x etched champion
4x arcbound ravager
4x ornithopter
4x memnite
4x vault skirge

4x galvanic blast
4x thoughtcast
4x mox opal
4x spring-leaf drum
4x cranial plating

4x darksteel citadel
4x inkmoth nexus
4x blinkmoth nexus
3x glimmervoid
1x island


4x spellskite
1x steel overseer
1x torpor orb
1x tormod's crypt
2x gitaxian probe
4x shrapnel blast
1x blood moon
1x glimmervoid

  • Electrolyze ("~ deals 2 damage divided as you choose among one or two target creatures and/or players. Draw a card.") can't kill a Mox Opal, fyi. So maybe in that particular context your opponent misplayed or cheated.
    – Alex P
    Mar 22, 2016 at 15:23
  • It destroys an artifact and deal 2 damage to creature, thought that was electrolyse but must be a diffent card.
    – Skeith
    Mar 22, 2016 at 16:11
  • 1
    You must be thinking of Kolaghan's Command, but that can't be run in U/R. Are you having trouble with Jund as well? They too run a lot of removal.
    – Rainbolt
    Mar 22, 2016 at 16:29
  • Skeith can you post a link to your decklist? Some of the things you're saying make it seem like you're running a very nonstandard Affinity list, and the feedback you'll get will be based on standard Affinity, so it may not be that useful to you.
    – David Z
    Mar 22, 2016 at 17:52
  • Can you post a link to an example UR control decklist? U/R cannot usually cast Kolaghan's Command, so it feels like something's off.
    – Allure
    Mar 16, 2023 at 3:40

2 Answers 2


The answer really is to go fast. I say this as a long time UR player in Modern. By go fast, I mean you want to pressure your opponent's life total and build big creatures.

It looks like you have Master of Etherium in the main. That's a great card for you because it can often push your creatures out of Pyroclasm or Anger of the Gods range. UR decks are typically Snap/Bolt decks. They rely heavily on damage based removal, so if you can bump your creatures out of that range (~ 3-4 toughness), you'll be doing the most good. Etched Champion has protection from just about any removal UR has, aside from countering it. If you can land an Etched Champion you are in very good position.

Holding double black up to re-equip Cranial Plating at instead speed may be difficult, but it's a great way to get around targeted removal during the combat phase. They shoot your equipped Vault Skirge? Re-equip it onto your Ornithopter.

If you want to play around counterspells, be aware of what the opponent has already played that game (and round) and take note of their open mana. They have one blue open and haven't played Spell Snare all game? Don't play your 2-drop. You can also try waiting to play multiple spells per turn. Counterspells will typically cost more mana to play than your creatures will, so even if a creature or two of yours gets countered save your best for last to get it on the board.

Lastly, most blue decks (and UR especially) tend to board out counterspells against fast decks like affinity. They often bring things in like Shatterstorm, so don't over-commit to the board. Be weary of sweepers as well.

You are always the beatdown in this matchup, UR doesn't have Splinter Twin anymore, so as long as you can keep dropping threats you will likely come out on top.


The card you're probably having problems with is Kolaghan's Command. But, that spell is 3 cmc, so the earliest they can do it is turn 3. If you're ramping up properly, by turn 3 you should be able to handle it.

Affinity is supposed to be fast, so if you don't have the possibility of turn 1: Land, mox opal, springleaf drum, 0-drop creature, Cranial Plating, you're probably too slow.

Barring that, fight fire with fire: run a couple Dispel or other counters. If you don't want to go that route, a card like Cavern of Souls can make some of your creatures uncounterable. Aether Vial can help you flash in creatures and dodge most counters

  • cavern of souls affects only 1 creture type chosen as played, no 2 creatures share a type in my deck. not very good
    – Skeith
    Mar 22, 2016 at 16:24
  • 1
    @Skeith That might not matter that much. Bloom Titan decks used to run Cavern of Souls and it only had one creature in the entire deck. If it's that important to your win strategy that a certain creature be in play, having one or two in the deck might not be a terrible idea. Having said that, I haven't played Modern since before Splinter Twin was banned, so the meta is probably very different.
    – SocioMatt
    Mar 22, 2016 at 16:27
  • a play set of caverns of souls is £100+, i know modern costs money but if im spending that kind of money i want better than "it might help".
    – Skeith
    Mar 22, 2016 at 16:32
  • Affinity decks seem not to run Cavern of Souls. But the reason is more that it can't cast Galvanic Blast or sideboard cards like Blood Moon (whereas Glimmervoid can), not so much a lack of creatures that share a type. @SocioMatt makes a great point that including Cavern to make one critical creature uncounterable, when counterspells are a major threat to the deck, is a totally valid strategy.
    – David Z
    Mar 22, 2016 at 17:50
  • @Skeith You can always playtest with proxies before making the investement for tournament play. This is even encouraged by Wizards, believe it or not...
    – corsiKa
    Mar 22, 2016 at 18:36

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