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Shoring Up Standard


It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good, old-fashioned, Mono-Blue Control deck in Standard. Now that cards like Counterspell don’t get printed anymore, particularly in high enough densities to reliably counter all of your opponent’s spells for the duration of a game, you just can’t afford not to splash a color. Similarly, now that Blue doesn’t get cheap, powerful card advantage spells like Thirst for Knowledge and Fact or Fiction, you can’t really pull ahead without touching on Black for something like Painful Truths or Red for Pyromancer's Goggles. That said, recently we’ve seen a wacky Blue deck largely ignoring whatever the opposition wants to do, and I couldn’t be more excited:

This deck is all kinds of wacky. The core of the deck is the combination of Prism Ring and Blue cantrips like Anticipate and Nagging Thoughts. This allows you to gain enough life to keep your head above water against the aggressive and midrange decks in the format, particularly in conjunction with Engulf the Shore, which can buy infinite time in a deck with twenty-four islands. When you have Day's Undoing to recycle your Engulf the Shores and help dig toward Prism Rings, it can quickly become very difficult for decks trying to win through damage to keep up.

So what does the deck do? At some point, you want to resolve Jace's Sanctum. This card allows you to begin netting mana, utilizing multiple card draw spells per turn, especially Pore over the Pages, to dig for cards which buy you more time, like Hydrolash and Engulf the Shore. Cards like Day's Undoing become much more appealing when they cost as little as one mana and come with Scry 1 attached.

And the end game? Resolve a Rise from the Tide or Part the Waterveil with Awaken, and then cast enough Part the Waterveils to attack for lethal. This plan was a little more reasonable when the deck wasn’t a known quantity. Previously, you could use Day's Undoing to recycle Rise from the Tides as long as your opponent didn’t use something like Virulent Plague or Seasons Past to trump your win condition. With that taken care of, it’s difficult to win the game with just four Part the Waterveils, especially when they exile themselves.

Despite that, the deck seems like it’s reasonably well-positioned for now. The format is very much creature-centric, which accentuates the power of Engulf the Shore and Hydrolash, and the low density of countermagic and discard spells mean your Jace's Sanctums are safe from everything but Dromoka's Command. As long as that continues to be the case, this seems like a great way to approach the format.

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