The Armory #2: Mono Blue Tempo

Hello Gladiators! Welcome to my second article in The Armory ! Today’s article will be about Mono-Blue Tempo, an idea submitted by FreeCats#52240. This deck aims to deploy early evasive threats and protect them with counterspells. It also has many ways to gain card advantage while maintaining pressure on the opponent’s life total. How many flying creatures does it take to be lethal? Let’s find out!

The Deck

View this deck on Moxfield

About The List

Mono-Blue Tempo has some key differences with other aggressive decks. While it has the disadvantages of having a slower kill and smaller threats, it has the advantages of better protection using stack based interaction along with more evasive threats.

These and other counterspells are the main form of removal for the deck. If your opponent can’t resolve their threats or removal spells, your pressure will never subside. Learning what spells to counter is the most difficult part of learning to pilot this deck. You have to consider what threats you are able to race and which of your threats are critical to protect. 

Other than the first few turns, this deck tries to hold up counterspells to protect its threats. However, one does not always need to use a counterspell, and if that mana goes unspent it can be a devastating loss of tempo. Therefore, the deck tries to maximize the number of spells that can be cast on the opponent’s turn. One way this is accomplished is by playing as many threats with flash as possible so that mana never goes unspent. 

Your opponent will eventually resolve a creature that is problematic. While blue struggles with creature removal, it excels at returning creatures to their owners hand (nicknamed bouncing). While this isn’t a permanent solution to the problem, the goal is to either counter the creature next time it is cast or kill the opponent before it is relevant. However, one should not run too many bounce spells, because they are dead cards against decks not based on creatures. Therefore, as many bounce spells as possible are able to target nonland permanents or have another effect that is also useful, such as a body. Cards like Barrin, Tolarian Archmage, Brazen Borrower, Unsubstantiate are great ways to accomplish this.

These cards are the most iconic in the deck. By enchanting or mutating onto your creature with flying or one that can’t be blocked, you can draw extra cards each turn and keep your hand full of counterspells. Protecting a threat with one of these cards attached is usually enough to win you the game outright. While in Gladiator you can’t mulligan aggressively until you draw one, they are still an essential part of the strategy of the deck.

The Match-Ups

The deck went 2-3 in matches, 6-7 in games. I lost the match against Jeskai Midrange because they had bigger flyers like Galazeth Prismari and efficient removal like Lightning Helix. The Temur Ramp match went as I described earlier; while they ramped I developed a board, and I countered all their big mana spells. Jeskai Control defeated me with Electrolyze and Shatterskull Smashing two-for-ones. I defeated Four-Color Control on the back of Curious Obsession backed up by Spell Pierce on turn two. And the last match against Orzhov Midrange came down to the wire each game with both players below five life, but due to last minute removal they claimed the match. The highlight of my matches came when I had a Thieving Skydiver steal my opponent’s Maul of the Skyclaves. Thanks to first strike it was able to attack undeterred despite my opponent’s Angels.  

Suggested Changes

This deck was created before the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. From the new set I would suggest considering the above cards. Grazilaxx can be your fourth curiosity effect, something the deck desperately needs more of. Ray of Frost is a better removal spell than bounce effects in most cases. Scion of Stygia does a good impression of Frost Trickster, but having flash lets you hold it up alongside counterspells. Not having flying is a large downside though as the 2/1 body without keywords is rather weak. Silver Raven is a new flying man with the upside of scrying one. It’s no Faerie Seer but it’s the closest we’ve got.

Until Next Time

Thanks for reading about my brew! If you have any questions about the article or any suggestions for a future one, let me know by messaging me on Discord at WreckDeck#4901. Also, if you have a card for me to build around or an exciting deck idea to brew, mention me in the #brewers-corner channel and I’ll get to work!