A week or so back, when M15 was first legal, Tomoharu Saito did what he does best: brewed up a bunch of preliminary decklists with the newest core set cards, then Tweeted them to the world. There were about 13 or so in total, give or take, and they were all fairly unique. They did a great job of showcasing the new cards from M15 and what kind of shells they might fit into.
This one in particular caught my eye…
【Standard】Deck14 "The Sky Team" #SaitoWayfinder #mtg #mtgjp #M15 pic.twitter.com/EONHPzTyhZ— TomoharuSaito/トモハル (@TomoharuSaito) July 19, 2014
While I had no idea how competitive this deck would be, it did seem kind of sweet. It reminded me of Monoblue Devotion, but without the actual devotion mechanic. The one problem with the decklists that Saito posts is that they don't include sideboards, so I knew if I wanted to try this deck out, I would have to try and imagine what its shortcomings would be and then build a sideboard for it.
This is what I came up with for this week's videos.
I knew that the decks with removal would pose a problem, because we're basically just an aggressive creature deck. I also assumed we would have a hard time against Sphinx's Revelation decks (which we definitely do). This is where Dispel and Mizzium Skin came in. I figured Burn might also give us trouble, so just like the monoblack decks I added four Staff of the Mind Magus to combat that. Finally, to ensure we have some answers to other problematic creatures, we have Retraction Helix and Domestication.
It's hard to build an efficient sideboard for an aggro deck when you're only working with blue cards. To be honest, my biggest concern was a Supreme Verdict, and we don't have access to a card like Golgari Charm or a Rootborn Defenses. We also don't have the reach of a red deck to close out games once they wipe the board, so basically we have to take what we can get and see if that's enough.
Let's see if it's enough.
Monoblue Aggro vs. Boros Aggro
Monoblue Aggro vs. Azorius Control
Monoblue Aggro vs. Monowhite Aggro
Monoblue Aggro vs. Monoblue Draft Special
As sometimes happens, that last round we kind of ran into what seemed to be a new player's attempt at Standard. There's nothing really wrong with that, but it's not really what we're looking for when testing out a new deck. Nevertheless, as I mention in the video, what we're mostly trying to do, as these are largely unknown brews I'm playing, is test out card interactions and possible lines of play, which we were still able to do.
The initial problem I'm seeing is that I'm not sure this deck is better than the other Monoblue aggro deck in the format, Monoblue Devotion, or better than the other aggressive decks in the format, such as the Monowhite Aggro list we played against. This is the main issue really, as both decks are competing for the same share of the metagame pie. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised with how the deck fared against the red deck, and I actually think Staff of the Mind Magus was an integral part of that win. Gaining around two life per turn is huge and basically equates to them discarding a card every turn (…basically) in the sense that I'm blanking a two damage spell or attack.
Just as we thought, the UW Control matchup was pretty miserable. Our creatures aren't very large, so committing a couple at a time is a necessity, but that leaves us terribly exposed to Supreme Verdict unfortunately and there isn't really much we can do about this. While I don't think the white matchup was actually terrible for us, the Obelisk of Urd definitely did us in. Being an exclusively blue deck, we don't have access to things like Detention Sphere or Banishing Light to deal with such things, so we kind of just lose on the spot.
One thing I was fairly impressed with however was Military Intelligence. Being able to attack with a zero power creature and still draw a card, or play a Cloudfin Raptor and an Ornithopter on turn one to be able to draw a card off of a turn two Military Intelligence is pretty sweet.
In that regard the deck has an infinite amount is built in synergy. Ornithopter works well with Cloudfin Raptor, Military Intelligence, Illusory Angel, Faerie Impostor and Ensoul Artifact. Springleaf Drum works well with Illusory Angel and Ensoul Artifact. Galerider Sliver works great with Mutavault. I really loved all of the subtle (and not-so-subtle) interactions that the deck had. In fact there were times I was getting less value out of my cards, simply because I didn't fully understand how deep the interactions went. Specifically, I returned a Galerider Sliver to my hand (when I had another in hand) to play a Faerie Impostor and replay the Galerider Sliver. What I should have done was play the unassuming Ornithopter in my hand for free to return with the Faerie Impostor, then have both Galerider Slivers and the Faerie Impostor in play.
This deck was definitely a situation of me liking it a lot, but not being sure it's ready for the big leagues. And that's mostly fine. After all, when Saito posts lists like this, they are extremely preliminary and I would assume intended to get the brewing juices flowing, which I believe this deck did. I think with a little tweaking this could definitely be a thing. Perhaps with the addition of red, for something like Shrapnel Blast? Or white for the addition of Banishing Light / Detention Sphere? I'm not sure, but cards like Illusory Angel and Ensoul Artifact seem too powerful not to find a home, even in Standard.
Thanks for reading, and I'll catch ya next week!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV