With the recent success of Boros Aggro at the recent Pro Tour, it is safe to say that linear, aggressive strategies are extremely well positioned for success in the current Standard format. But while most players had their attentions drawn to powerful Red-White cards like Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice and Heroic Reinforcements, the decks with the highest win rate were, in fact, Pascal Vieren’s Izzet Drakes and Guillaume Gauthier’s Mono Blue Tempo. Although a Pro Tour Championship is extremely prestigious, and is justifiably commendable, a 10-0 Constructed Pro Tour record is nothing to scoff at.
Andrew Elenbogen’s winning decklist opted to pass up the option of playing any red – colored cards in the mainboard, and instead focus on reinforcing his sideboard plan with the extra color. It is important to note, however, that Heroic Reinforcements was well – known tech throughout the event, and Andrew may have had opponents playing around it even though he did not choose to play the card himself.
Magnus Lantto, however, vied to play a full playset of the archetype – defining card, surely to break the mirror. He also decided to fill his sideboard with the powerful Midrange threat, Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice. There were many matches where Aurelia would change the advantage of the game, putting the caster into the aggressor’s position, and thoroughly shifting the whole dynamic of the board.
Pascal Vieren’s take on Izzet Drakes is probably the most interesting variant we’ve seen so far. His utilization of cards like The Mirari Conjecture to generate mid – game card advantage gives him the ability to assume the role of a control player against aggressive decks, while also being able to out – grind decks like Golgari Midrange. When discussing the deck in a post – event tournament report, he mentions the importance of being able to assume the control role in a lot of matchups, and his sideboard plan definitely compliments that strategy. With cards like Entrancing Melody, Shivan Fire, and Star of Extinction, he ensures his ability to control a board, and chip in for damage with Arclight Phoenix and tokens generated by Murmuring Mystic. Definitely keep an eye out for future success from this deck.
Guillaume Gauthier’s Mono – Blue Tempo deck might seem extremely underpowered on paper, but don’t let its cheap price tag fool you – this deck is LEGIT. With 8 1 – converted mana cost threats, and cheap interaction like Spell Pierce, Dive Down, and Wizard’s Retort, this deck is here to take your lunch money, and leave you wondering exactly “How did that just happen!?”. For those of you who do not play Standard, or have never seen this deck before, I would compare it most to a Delver-esque style of play. An early 1-Drop, evasive, threat, complimented by Curious Obsession and cheap countermagic, can be a lethal combination for decks poorly equipped to deal with efficient creature protection.
My experience with Mono Blue
Last night, I decided to take Guillaume Gauthier’s Mono Blue Tempo list for a spin in some MTG Arena Competitive Constructed events. Throughout the 2 events I played in, I saw a wide variety of decks, ranging from Mono Red Aggro, to Golgari Midrange, all the way up to Jeskai Control. Although in my first league, I dropped a tight match against Mono Red due to a loose 1-land keep in a crucial game 3, I was able to successfully navigate my second league through a field of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria’s, Goblin Chainwhirler’s, and Doom Whisperer’s, and achieve a perfect 5-0, bringing my record for the night to a strong 9-1.
All in all, I believe that this fast, linear, archetype is a great choice to crush events, from your local FNM, all the way to the Pro Tour level. Stay tuned until next week, where I will discuss the archetype more in-depth, as well as provide strategies to combat popular matchups. Until then, good luck, have fun, and God bless, friends.