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  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Usually you should be able to outrace green based decks. They can hardly block our team at all so you can dictate the pace of play. Tempest Djinn is super important in the matchup. The important thing for you in terms of play skill is to do the math and deploy Trickster and chump blocking so as to tilt the race in your favor.

    The green based matchup that is toughest in my opinion is actually the old school stompy decks that are stuffed full of Steel-Leaf Champion. We have a hard time out racing that guy. Otherwise, green really shouldn't be that bad. Even a turn five or six Carnage Tyrant can be raced, and the degenerate turn three or four Carnage Tyrant starts don't happen that often.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Quote from Potdindt »
    I play on Arena and lately I've been running into a lot of Dimir controls, and this seems to have a tough game vs dimir. Has anyone thought about making this a two color deck? Perhaps go Dimir for Pirates and better removal? Any other creatures that play the tempo role well, but in other colors?

    There is a Dimir Pirates list floating around that is all right. It's very all in on the little guy tempo beatdown, though, so if you miss a beat you just lose. The basic issue is that there's no replacement for the Tempest Djinn. Nothing else at that casting cost is such a solid blocker or hits nearly as hard.

    Also, the upgrade from Merfolk Trickster to actual removal spells isn't as dramatic as you would expect it to be.

    The Dimir Control matchup is weird. In my experience if they get their 90th percentile hands (cheap removal into hand disruption into sweepers into disinformation campaign) then they just win. If they flood out then we win. If they have a decent to good but not great hand then we're a little favored. It's scary because they always could have just the right cards to blow us out over the course of the next couple of turns, but they often don't have exactly the right cards to do it.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Today's list from LoveP has the spiciest sideboard tech I've seen yet: Transmogrifying Wand. Crazy as it looks, I can really see the appeal against Drakes.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    I think you really want the first Sleep. After that I'm not sure. You start to see diminishing returns.

    Definitely a second Selective Snare in the sideboard seems good. You may want to go on the Nassif plan of four Exclusion Mage in the side.

    Against the Heroic Reinforcements build the main deck Spell Pierce has been good for me. Sniping Legion's Landing early or hitting History or Heroic Reinforcements on the cheap is pretty clutch. Pierce is a lot sketchier against the CFB build.

    I might just take a week off of mono blue to let the 20-land decks go through the meta and burn out. I expect people to adapt and for the counter-adaptation to be to get a little bigger. If Wr aggro settles in at the 23 land MOCS list then I like our chances. The twenty or fewer lands decks are just bad matchups for us.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Is the point with Jace to use the loot and try to duplicate him? Adding a 2/2 to the board every three turns doesn't seem like enough pressure.

    The Karn inclusion makes sense. Even if you never make a Karstruct you can still get a lot of value out of Karn. I don't think you want him game one, since the games usually aren't about value, but post sideboard he could be great.

    It gives me warm fuzzy feelings to see Surge Mares at the pro tour.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Took down the local PPTQ today (~40 people) with mono blue. Same list as usual, although 3 Exclusion Mage in the sideboard instead of 2 and a Selective Snare, based solely on card availability. Super fun tournament, I didn't play against the same list twice.

    Round one: Selesnya go-wide (2-0)

    Game one he was racing with Adanto Vanguard, Benalish Marshal, and Ajani. I had Warkite Marauder into the rare turn three Tempest Djinn. I drew enough chump blockers to stymie his attack while the flyers took him down.

    Game two he had two plains and only ever cast Legion's Landing.

    Round two: Abzan tokens (1-2)

    This opponent had some spice, including Chromatic Lantern to fix his mana. Game one I get an obsession going and win fairly easily. Game two he gets off a big March of the Multitudes that I don't have the counterspell for and is able to buffer his life total. I have a Tempest Djinn that could swing for near lethal as well as a Sleep, but I feared the Settle. I finally drew a Retort and went for it, only to find the opponent had Assassin's Trophy and Seal Away. He also made the Sleep plan moot by casting Lyra the next turn.

    Game three I was stuck trying to get home by attacking with the little crew. He stuck a Lyra. Warkite Marauder meant I could still attack, but the life gain on the backswing canceled most of it out. I had one trickster but needed a second in order to tempo him out. I didn't get it.

    Round three: Golgari midrange (2-1)

    Game one we punted back and forth. I'm doing my thing, hitting for five a turn and drawing an extra card. Opponent had Arguel's blood fast and eventually played Carny T. I carefully read Blood Fast and instead of attacking my opponent down to 3 I put him to exactly five. Opponent looked at me funny and then flipped his blood fast. Oopsie. Could have sworn it said less than five. Opponent casts a Golgari Findbroker and returns the favor by failing to pick up a card from the graveyard. His attack with Carnage Tyrant puts me to exactly one. I knock him down to four after he sacs the Findbroker (only creature in play now Carny T). I play Tempest Djinn. Opponent plays Vivien Reid and goes after the Djinn. I dive it down, locking him out of the game. If he trades Djinn for Tyrant my other guys will kill him, while if he sacs the Tyrant the Djinn will take care of the 6 additional life.

    Game two opponent goes elf into elf. We had bonded over our mutual mistakes in the first game, so he was cheerfully exhorting his deck to spit out Carnage Tyrant. Instead he draws and resolves Doom Whisperer, which surveils once and finds Carnage Tyrant for turn 4. Welp.

    Game three he has no elves and is on the draw. I do mono blue things and the turn five Doom Whisperer is countered en route to an easy win.

    Round four: Grixis control (2-1)

    He's basically on Dimir splashing for Nicol Bolas. Game one I mull to six, play Herald, and his Thought Erasure reveals island, island, pierce, pierce, opt. Not great. I fight it out but eventually he gets Nicky B and Dream Eater down for the win. Game two I get out ahead and do mono blue things to him. Game three was interesting. I led with Herald, which he snap Cast Down on his turn. This turned out to be his only instant speed removal. I flashed in Trickster on his EOT, suited it up with Obsession, and protected it the rest of the game.

    Round five: Mirror match (2-0)

    I had talked with and had been pulling for my opponent between rounds as a fellow member of Team Blue, so we both knew what was up. He was on the Sprite/Exclusion Mage main deck plan. Game one was weird. I just kept drawing one drops. Opponent got down a trickster and an exclusion mage both with Curious Obsession. I had no obsession and was just attacking with more and more evasive 1/1s every turn. I had just enough disruption to keep my opponent from sticking a blocker. At the end of the game he had two attackers against one blocker with me at 5 life and him at 4. He had seven cards in hand. My last card was Dive Down, but I turned out not to need it as he conceded.

    Game two was a race between his one drop and trickster and my Warkite and Trickster. No djinns resolved in either game. I eventually manage to trade off tricksters and tilt the race in my favor.

    Round six: intentional draw into top 8

    Top 8: I'm on the draw in every round as the lower seed.

    Quarterfinals: Izzet Phoenix (2-1)

    Game one opponent leads with Warlord's Fury and I realize I got paired with my single worst matchup of the top 8 decks. Fortunately I get herald down and obsession into another obsession and keep it protected. Everybody else is able to do just enough to keep his drakes from killing me as the Herald takes it home.

    Game two opponent gets a phoenix going. Also a lot of Drakes. I essence scatter one, Deep Freeze into a Dive Down, trade with a Djinn, Deep Freeze Niv Mizzet, and still get killed by drakes.

    Game three opponent keeps a speculative two lander with removal but no cantrips. He kills my first guy. I flash in a trickster EOT and suit it up. I keep it protected and also counter his attempts to resolve drakes. The "maybe he stumbles" plan pays off.

    Semi-finals: Selesnya go-big (2-0)

    I get an obsession going early. I then spell pierce his turn 3 Karn and turn 5 Vivien Reid. It's pretty brutal. Opponent does resolve a Carnage Tyrant. I was out of counters for the Serra's Wings spell, but I was able to cast a Djinn (at 6 power) and Stormtamer. Opponent spends a while doing math before conceding--the On Serra's Wings probably wouldn't have been enough (an attack would trade with Stormtamer and Djinn to allow the obsession beatdown to continue, while staying back would have let me play an island and force the trade with the djinn), so he wanted to keep me in the dark. Game two I again get a quick Obsession going and counter everything relevant.

    Finals: Jeskai control (2-1)

    Opponent offers me all the prizes in exchange for a concession before I can make the same offer to him. I decline, so we play for the championship of each other (and a PTQ invite).

    Game one I drop early creatures into a drumbeat of removal, holding my two obsessions in hand. The big swing happens when opponent cats Teferi into four open mana. I resolve trickster and retort. I untap and draw another obsession, making my whole hand trips obsession. I go ahead and YOLO all three of them onto an attacker and go to town. I get to connect twice before he sweeps the board. I have plenty of cards in hand to rebuild with Djinn + counter backup and that's that.

    Game two I wind up with a marauder in play and a bunch of counters. I keep him off his bombs but can't apply enough pressure before he resolved a Niv Mizzet that took over the game.

    Game three he mulliganed to five. I kept a very reactive hand of obsession, disdainful stroke, disdainful stroke, retort, and three islands. Fortunately I draw into a trickter on time, flash it in, and start going to work. I counter a lot of stuff and he's eventually forced to scoop it up. In the last two turns I actually countered both halves of a Chemister's Insight. Even after that I ended the game with two unused counterspells and a Deep Freeze in hand. When you get out ahead of people with this deck it just feels unfair.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Quote from koreandog »
    Been tweaking this mono blue deck for a friend for quite some time. I haven't played this deck very often (so I don't know what the best builds are), but it's built for a friend who doesn't have time to build a deck. The current meta that we've been encountering is GB Midrange, Izzet Drakes, UB/Grixis Control, and GW/Naya Tokens. I notice that there are a few variations of the deck and I guess I have a few important questions that I wanted advice on please:

    The evolution of the deck has more less settled on these cards:

    As long as you fill the rest of the deck with cheap blue cards it will at least be ok. I've seen nonsense like Naban get played in winning games. That said, the successful lists fill out the remaining 12 slots as follows:

    2-6 Card draw effects: 0-2 Chart a Course and 0-4 Opt.
    2-4 Extra countermagic: 0-2 Essence Scatter and 0-4 Spell Pierce.
    2-4 Flying two drops: 0-4 Nightveil Sprite and 0-4 Warkite Marauder.
    0-3 Tempo plays: 0-1 Sleep and 0-2 Exclusion Mage
    0-1 Island (typically the extra island accompanies the exclusion mages and sleep)

    As to the specific card choices:

    I like the full four Opt. When we are looking for something specific out of our top two cards (a land, a creature, a protection spell), Opt will find that thing as well as Chart a Course does. Opt can be cast off the leftover mana from leaving up counterspells you don't need to cast, and of course is half the mana cost. In other words, Opt is better when you need something specific early and Chart a Course is better when you want to refuel late. I prioritize the early game with this deck, so I like Opt better. Some people play both, which I think is fine in a low-aggro meta.

    I like playing Spell Pierce because it gives me the best chance of the one drop -> obsession -> protection start that this deck loves. Hitting a planeswalker or Deafening Clarion with pierce is a huge tempo swing. It also is almost never actually dead. On the other hand, there are matchups where Spell Pierce is a poor card. If you are siding in Essence Scatter all the time then you might as well have some in the main.

    I was a big fan of Nightveil Sprite in the flying two drop spot. The surveil is great. You get virtual card advantage without even suiting it up. Unfortunately, it's no good against flying blockers. Half the meta seems to run flying blockers these days. Warkite Marauder letting your team attack through a single blocker is pretty huge. If you're expecting to play against Izzet Phoenix at all I think you really want to max out the marauder before you play other flying two drops.

    The tempo cards are good if you're seeing a lot of aggro. I don't like them in the main deck myself, but enough people succeed with them that they can't be all bad. Just comes down to what you expect to play against. In the meta you describe they're only really great against Izzet Phoenix. Sleep is ok against Golgari and Selesnya but you'd really just rather be countering their bombs.

    Whisper Agent seems great if the opponent will struggle to block it. Against most decks I think it's just going to be a blocker.

    Out of the sideboard, I think you want at least one two drop that buys you time. I'm partial to Surge Mare, but the most common card to fill that role is Diamond Mare. You can probably trim a couple counters--think about the maximum amount of counters you will ever want to bring in and only keep enough counters in the sideboard to support the max counter build that you want (I don't usually go above 10 total). I've never had Metamorphic Alteration really work out for me. It's a little conditional for a sideboard card. Deep Freeze is reliable if unexciting for Niv-Mizzet, and you can usually race Carnage Tyrant.

    Most of the time you will see about 13 focused sideboard cards and then one or two cards that present random blowout potential. I'd put Amulet of Safekeeping squarely in that tradition. Other cards to consider for that kind of thing are Selective Snare and Entrancing Melody.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Quote from magic geek »
    Hey jacobk, Since, as you claim "This deck, as constituted, has put up a 5-0 competitive list in every WotC metagame release."
    Whats the decklist?
    Does it play Opt?

    Since it has been 'constituted' it must have a really regular 15 sideboard cards.
    What's the sideboard?

    Does it play sleep?
    or Entrancing Melody?
    or Surge Mare?

    I have been unable to find the last 2 Obsessions to buy, 2 is not my preferred number.
    Making stuff up, and claiming I wrote it seems a tad rude.
    This deck uses small Blue wizards.
    I have played one called Mystic Archaeologist, and You have not.
    Yet, You know it is 'Just Bad'. Smile
    You claim 'double digits' of turns are required to play 5 Islands.
    Pretty Regularly I can do that on the 5th turn. Why can't you?
    Have you played Curious Obsession? It lets you draw loads of card, some of which are Islands.
    Since Curious obsession draws cards, and 1/3rd are islands, why does it take you 'double digits' of turns?

    Hey wow, Mystic Archaeologist combo's with Curious obsession. . . .must be 'Just Bad' Smile

    Gee, let's check out the most recent 5-0 list:


    Why, look at that. Does it play Surge Mare? Does it play main deck Sleep? Weird.

    It's almost as if I play with the deck a lot in a competitive environment so I know what I'm talking about when I evaluate the cards in it.

    Meanwhile, Mystic Archaeologist has put up results, where, exactly?

    In general, I'm a big advocate for playtesting. For example, playing a deck with the full playset of Curious Obsession is important if you want to understand how the cards in the deck work together. If you are only drawing Curious Obsession half as often as everybody else you will get a skewed idea of how often the deck runs out of gas.

    However, when a card is underpowered on its face the burden of proof shifts the other way: somebody needs to do well with it before anybody will believe that they are good. I understand this, which is why I don't get all pissy when people don't buy into my advice on Surge Mare.

    My point, which I apparently have not explained clearly enough, is that Mystic Archaeologist is an underpowered vanilla two drop until you have five extra mana available. Furthermore, you will never have five unoccupied islands sitting around doing nothing until extremely late in the game. Even after investing seven mana into it, Mystic Archaeologist has given you the same card draw power as Chart a Course stapled to a 2/1 body. At a whopping 12 mana investment you have reached the digging power of a jump-started Chemister's Insight--a card that costs 8 mana in two 4 mana chunks and that itself is too clunky for our deck. You need to sink 17 mana into the creature before you reach a level of card draw that exceeds what you get from the commonly played card draw spells. This doesn't include any effort you have to put into keeping a one toughness creature alive. At that point, why not just run Overflowing Insight?

    The question is not when you will hit five islands. The question is when will you have five mana to spare. If you are actually taking turn five off in order to activate Mystic Archaeologist, well, no wonder you think the deck is bad and needs fixing if that's how you're playing it.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Standard goblin deck
    We have an old school mono red 10 ticket special goblins deck with a 5-0 competitive finish: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1448988#online

    It kind of looks like there should be a combo here with the Skirk Prospector/Goblin Instigator/Dark-Dweller Oracle/Goblin Warchief action, but I think the deck is just looking to swarm people with goblins. Maybe I'm just missing something.

    I'm a little skeptical of 4 warchief and 2 warboss instead of the other way around. Is warchief secretly good?

    Tocatli Honor Guard is also brutal against this deck. Still, goblins!
    Posted in: Deck Creation
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    In other news, Lookout's Dispersal looked quite good in its first outing. The league itself was a little frustrating (3-2 off a tough Phoenix match and getting mised out game 3 by 4-color Niv Mizzet (!)), but I was always happy to see the Pirate Leak.

    It does make keeping track of your creature types a little tricky. It helps that your only two mana sorcery speed creature is a pirate. Having another counterspell that hits Deafening Clarion and Nicol Bolas and Lyra and Teferi is very nice.

    I'm not quite to the point that I'd say to drop the 6 two mana counters from the side in favor of two more dispersals, but part of that is that I don't have anything else I really want to bring in. If you're running eight pirates I'd try fitting one or two dispersals into your 75.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Quote from magic geek »
    I realise this is outside of you ken, but, this is a completely reasonable suggestion, and I have played it, and it has worked for me.

    This deck, as constituted, has put up a 5-0 competitive list in every WotC metagame release. It has a top 2 appearance at a GP. It has top 8s at multiple large tournaments. It has won many PPTQs. If you want to make this personal, I have ridden it to a share of the competitive league trophy lead.

    On the other hand, your preferred list, removing 2 Curious Obsession and adding Mystic Archaeologist, has been successful for you at your LGS. Which is great. But maybe keep some perspective and shelve the condescension until you go win a recognizable tournament with your version.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Quote from magic geek »
    Two tournaments ago, in 3 of the 4 rounds, Mystic A activated his ability.
    Mystic A's ability has won me games, admittedly when playing 3 more land, but even so, if you think he is 'Just Bad' you obviously have never played him.
    If you are solely focussed on the 'Rush', then sure. Hope it always works for you.

    Mystic A is not about just the charge approach.
    All the other 2 drops are better in most other match ups on turn 2. Obviously.
    Mystic A is the last card you play, Like Sleep, or it can be a pinch hitter at 2 cost.
    In Mono-U Tempo, he is obviously not a 4 of in base deck, but, a singleton could be a good call.

    A one toughness creature that lets you pay five mana to draw two is not a long game. In the rare matchups that drag on for double digit numbers of turns it is going to die immediately. In most matchups it will be a vanilla 2/1. The basic Curious Obsession/Dive Down shell is strong enough to win some matches almost no matter what you put around it, but that doesn't mean we should actively pile on the jank.

    Five mana is great. I actively want to hit four mana in every game so I can play a Djinn and protect it. Against control I want to get to five so I can play a Djinn and hold up a retort. I have won plenty of games where I had four, five, and six lands. Things start to get sketchy when you get to 7+ in your top 15, but even then we deal better with flood than, say, a white weenie deck.

    The solution to having problems with Golgari in the late game is to win before it gets to that point. Trying to keep up with their 6 mana bombs with a Mystic Archaeologist is a joke. A seven mana Chart a Course is not where I want to be with this deck.

    Quote from zenbitz »
    Are people really bringing in all 6-7 counterspells? Say vs. control. Or just trying to keep a wide range of useful counters.

    I don't usually go above 10 total. The split in the sideboard is to let you pick the best counters for each matchup.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Sleep is terrific in the right matchup. A race where you're one turn behind, especially against flying creautres. You just maneuver until you need two attacks to win the game and that's that. The problem is that it's not much use in matchups where, for exmaple, their bombs don't care about taking a turn off from attacking or where the main issue is keeping your creatures alive long enough to win. Classic sideboard material.

    Mystic Archaeologist is just bad.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    Quote from kysg »
    [quote from="jacobk »" url="/forums/the-game/standard-type-2/deck-creation-standard/799704-mono-blue-tempo?comment=148"]Might take a few rounds to get used to main deck sleep.

    I don't want to be too results oriented but it was exactly the problem I was afraid of (reduced consistency) popping up exactly the way I feared. At least with the Dispersal you have overlapping effects and can work around the differences in casting cost.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Mono-blue Tempo
    First run with the maindeck Sleep was unbelievably awful. Lost two matches I would have won if it was a Spell Pierce and never cast it for value (except to stem the bleeding after my opponent resolved a March of the Multitudes through my one open island in a game I lost anyways). I don't think we can go below a certain threshold of countermagic.

    Next experiment will be a couple of Lookout's Dispersal for Spell Pierce. With the Marauders I now have an even Wizard and Pirate count and I've been feeling the need to counter creatures more often recently.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
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