Mono Blue Tempo 2020 – Core Set 2020 Upgrades
12 Jul 2019

I’ve been running different variations of this deck on Arena and ran 10 games each. This time, I think I found the most consistent decklist for Mono Blue Tempo as of the moment.

Mono Blue Is Coming For You!

MTG Arena and MTGO players have been fortunate enough to get firsthand experience with deckbuilding with M20 cards, and as expected, a lot of decks paved their way into the meta and are currently dominating. One of which is Temur Elementals, which I recently wrote about earlier this week.

Prior to M20, Mono Blue wasn’t exactly in a good spot mostly because it had a hard time against certain decks – Sultai Midrange, Gruul Midrange, and Bant Ramp.

The deck relied too much on catching certain cards that it forgets to set up its own offense, falling out later on in the game.

But now, M20 gave this deck a new lease on life and has proven to be quite competitive.

This is the decklist that I’m currently running on MTG Arena.   

4 Brineborn Cutthroat

4 Curious Obsession

4 Dive Down

2 Essence Capture

19 Island

4 Lookout's Dispersal

4 Opt

1 Pteramander

4 Siren Stormtamer

4 Spectral Sailor

4 Spell Pierce

4 Tempest Djinn

2 Unsummon

Sideboard

4 Aether Gust

4 Cerulean Drake

3 Entrancing Melody

1 Transmogrifying Wand

1 Narset, Parter of Veils

2 Negate

The decklist feels and runs completely new, and I’ll discuss what went in and out, and why.

What’s In and Out?

Out: Merfolk Trickster
In: Brineborn Cutthroat

Merfolk Trickster and Brineborn Cutthroat are both 2-drops with Flash. However, Trickster just falls flat in the late game when it’s now going against different creatures.

It was too vulnerable to Shock and a Skarrgan Hellkite’s ability.

The deck no longer runs 4 copies of this creature and got replaced by Brineborn Cutthroat.

Cutthroat gets a +1/+1 counter every time you play a spell on the opponent’s turn, and casting spells to protect it or using your bounce and counterspells can give it the power it needs late game.

This is what a Cutthroat looks like when it gets enough spells.

Out: Pteramander
In: Spectral Sailor

The deck only runs 1 copy of Pteramander, which got replaced by Spectral Sailor.

Pteramander needs enough spells to get it to adapt, and you still need to use up your mana to adapt it when push comes to shove.

Spectral Sailor is a 1-drop creature with Flash that also generates value for you and Brineborn Cutthroat. It keeps you drawing when you have unused mana, making it useful for certain plays or when you want to filter through your library.

Out: Wizard’s Retort
In: Lookout’s Dispersal

The pre-2020 decklist ran 4 copies of Wizard’s Retort, but you only had 8 Wizard creature types, so you’re always playing it for 3-mana instead of 2.

But the new decklist has you running 12 Pirate creatures and costs about the same with Wizard’s Retort.

The downside here is that it falls off when it’s the late game and the opponent has more than 5 mana.

But in my playthrough, I survived around tighter plays with Lookout’s Dispersal more than Wizard’s Retort.

The Playstyle

The deck certainly feels different now with 8 creatures with Flash, and provides you with the speed that Mono Blue lacked before.

Starting Hand

This has always been a struggle for me, but in the 20 games that I played with the 2 iterations, I found that my chances of winning are higher when I have Spectral Sailor or Brineborn Cutthroat, Opt, and Dive Down or Spell Pierce, and at least 2 lands.

You want to drop Brineborn Cutthroat first before dropping Spectral Sailor. If you’re on the play, play Spectral Sailor after your opponent’s first turn ends. This gives you wiggle room to deal some damage and if you draw a Curious Obsession on your second turn, you’re guaranteed a draw.

This opening hand is good enough that I have guaranteed interaction for the next 2 turns.

Out-Tempo The Opponent

The deck really shines at preventing the opponent from achieving their goals in the game, or at the very least, stalls them long enough to give you an edge.

Reserve your Unsummon for tough creatures that you don’t want to mess with, and then when you’re lucky, catch that creature with Essence Capture or Lookout’s Dispersal when they cast it again.

Against Esper Control and Grixis Control, you want to prevent Thought Erasure from resolving, so counter them when you can. I’ve had several games where countering Thought Erasure was actually to my advantage.

Sure, I waste it on a 2-mana spell but trust me, every card you have on your first 4 turns are valuable.

Late Game Management

Mono Blue Tempo right now is able to handle decks that shine in the late game. The key here is to protect your creatures and yourself from certain spells, and knowing when to catch them.

For example, if an opponent casts Teferi, Time Raveler and I have a few creatures that are worth returning to my hand, I make sure to cast Dive Down on a potential target before it resolves.

You also want to know when to catch certain spells and when to take damage, so sometimes, some games will feel really close and get you down to less than 10 life.

Results: Won 7 games out of 10

These were my match-ups for today using this deck

Game 1 - Temur Elementals: 2-1

Game 2 - UG Flash 0-2

Game 3 - UW Control 2-1

Game 4 - Grixis Control 0-2

Game 5 - Sultai Midrange 1-2

Game 6 - WB Aggro 2-0

Game 7 - Gruul Dinosaurs 2-0

Game 8 - Mono Red Goblins 2-1

Game 9 - Sultai Elementals 2-1

Game 10 - Orzhov Vampires 2-0

I lost to UG Flash, Grixis Control, and Sultai Midrange. UG Flash was the only deck that really beat me out of both rounds. In my Grixis and Sultai match-ups, I mulled to 5 and had bad misplays that cost me severely.

One of which was not using Dive Down or catching their Teferi, Time Raveler when it was cast as it slowed me down even more.

For the rest of the games, I was just able to swing wide and fast and got my card advantage when needed, and mostly because I knew what spells needed to be caught and when.

Right now, I’m sitting at Gold 1 and working my way towards Mythic using this deck.

Catch my stream soon!

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