At first glance, Amonkhet may not have shaken up Standard to exactly the degree that players might have wanted. After all, Mardu Vehicles and Green-Black Devotion are still the top players in the metagame and Aetherworks Marvel is making a comeback, while Amonkhet-powered archetypes like Zombies are still on the fringes of the format. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t new strategies that are waiting to break out. Take for instance this build from Luis Scott-Vargas, which utilizes the powerful Blue spells in Amonkhet to dominate the late game and put opponents in uncomfortable situations.
Mono-Blue Engulf ? Amonkhet Standard | Luis Scott-Vargas
- Instants (27)
- 3 Pull from Tomorrow
- 4 Censor
- 4 Commit // Memory
- 4 Disallow
- 4 Engulf the Shore
- 4 Essence Scatter
- 4 Glimmer of Genius
- Sorceries (2)
- 2 Confiscation Coup
This deck isn’t really viable without the suite of two-mana counterspells provided by Amonkhet. Essence Scatter and Censor give you early interaction that’s not entirely dead late in the game. They also give you efficient interaction for later turns where you want to spend some of your mana to cast card drawing spells like Glimmer of Genius and still be able to prevent your opponent from doing anything too crazy.
The core of this deck is the interaction between Torrential Gearhulk and Engulf the Shores. The first Engulf will buy you a ton of time against aggro decks to continue hitting your land drops, counter the biggest threats on their way back down, and find openings to cast Glimmer of Genius. The trick is that Torrential Gearhulk can rebuy Engulf the Shores and bounce itself, giving you a crazy value engine that will let you re-bounce the board, rebuy counterspells, or just start cashing in Gearhulks for card draw spells to bury your opponent in value.
One of the most exciting cards to come out of the first few weeks of Amonkhet Standard is Pull from Tomorrow. This is a card that’s particularly reminiscent of Sphinx's Revelation in Return to Ravnica Standard. Given that there are decks that care about the Graveyard, or that you might want to set up Torrential Gearhulks, the discard isn’t even that large of a cost. Certainly the loss of lifegain off of Revelation is a big deal, but for that you gain the ability to dig a little deeper into your deck.
If the format is all aggressive decks, this may not be exactly what you want to be doing, since this deck does an awful lot of nothing in the first few turns of the game, and you have limited ways to really swing the tempo of a game when you’re on the draw and your opponent has a fast start. However, this deck has the tools to beat aggro and control alike. Given that your mana is also much more consistent than other decks and that you have a high density of cycling cards, and you’ve got a deck that can certainly sculpt a gameplan against just about anything in the format.