Friday, 3 April 2015

Mono U Tempo

“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s.. a reasonably costed blue flier!” I’ve decided to call this deck Mono U Tempo, but it didn’t start out that way. Originally, I had been researching Faerie Stompy as an old archetype that I wanted to bring back. Upon further study however, I discovered that there was no version of the deck that didn’t use equipment. As I was searching through old lists of cards for another deck, I also stumbled upon Blue Skies - something very similar to Faerie Stompy, which I believe to be a re-named variant. I took cards that were used in both, and developed a strategy that I found via their sideboards. Allow me to explain..

Modern day tempo strategies are pretty straightforward: deploy a big enough threat early on - then protect it/control your opponent as you beat them down for the win. Pretty simple, right? So how do you do this in Mono U, when the creatures were actually pretty fair? There’s actually a few ways. The first is the use of Mox Diamond and Sol lands (Ancient Tomb/City of Traitors). These allow you access to 3 mana on turn 1. Blue didn’t have high power 1-drop creatures, but 3-cost’s a different story. Diamonds and Sol lands are also valuable in another way: their synergy with Winter Orb. If the other player can only untap a land that produces 1-mana, as you can untap both artifact mana and a sol land, you’re creating a pretty big advantage. Winter Orb is one of those cards where, if a deck has been built around it is facing a deck that hasn’t, the former can have a serious advantage over the latter.

Ok, now on to the creatures. Your ideal turn 1 is to land a Sea Drake or a Serendib Efreet. Drake hits for 1 more, but Efreet can survive a bolt so I’m not going to say one is always better than the other. Rishadan Airship doesn’t have the toughness of either, but it can hit for 3 and so it can draw a surprising amount of removal. Cloud of Faeries can also be pretty amazing, as it can allow 2 creatures to be played on 2 lands, or even just dropping it for some damage and then having mana open for your opponent’s turn. Lastly, the 2 Man-o-War are awesome ways to create tempo, especially when combined with Winter Orb.

So what did I change from the original two decks? Quite a bit actually. First, I raised the land count because the deck uses Mox Diamond instead of Chrome Mox. I also decided to go the Winter Orb route because of the various ways to untap and/or return land to my hand. I also want to point out that the original versions both played equipment and Chalice - Winter Orb and Psionic Blast are meant to give the deck some reach and control over the spells they can and can’t (or rather should or shouldn’t) play.

The deck has a bit more of a tempo-control feel than I had originally planned. You want to land a threat fast, then ride out the free spells/land trickery as you beat them down for the win. Winter Orb was always an awesome card when there were ways around the drawback – Mono U Tempo tries to do the same thing here. I encourage everyone to tinker with the deck, and see what works for them. As always – Happy Brewing!

Mono U Tempo


4 Ancient Tomb
4 City of Traitors
9 Island
5 Fetch lands

Total: 23


4 Cloud of Faeries
4 Serendib Efreet
4 Sea Drake
3 Rishadan Airship
2 Man-o-War

Total: 17


4 Mox Diamond
4 Force of Will
4 Daze
4 Brainstorm
1 Psionic Blast
3 Winter Orb

Total: 20


3 Misdirection
4 Tormod's Crypt
1 Old Man of the Sea
2 Powder Keg
2 Snap
1 Psionic Blast
2 Submerge

Total: 15

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