Standard Rotation Watch: Mono Blue Aggro

by Affinity Games

Welcome to another series called Standard Rotation Watch, a series of articles that talks about the existing tiered decks in Standard right now and whether or not they will survive the upcoming rotation this September 2019.

Will Mono Blue Aggro Survive Rotation?

Mono Blue has been around since Ixalan arrived, and has been in and out of the meta. With the arrival of M20, it received enough cards to keep it strong and consistent even against the best decks in the meta right now.

But with rotation right around the corner, it’s going to lose a lot of its core cards that make the deck what it is.

Here’s a decklist that I’ve been using in MTG Arena and on Paper:

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

What Cards Rotate Out?

Siren Stormtamer

Merfolk Trickster

Opt

Curious Obsession

Wizard’s Retort

Tempest Djinn

Dive Down.

Entrancing Melody

What probably hurts Mono Blue Aggro the most here is the fact that they lose Curious Obsession, which is the most important card in their arsenal due to its ability to draw cards. It’s +1/+1 is merely a bonus on top of the draw engine.

It also loses its counter spell, Wizard’s Retort, and doesn’t have any other alternative other than Syncopate and Sinister Sabotage at the moment. This is a big deal because they don’t really have access to any 2-mana cost generic counter spell. Essence Scatter, Negate, and even Essence Capture can only do so much in terms of providing spell interruptions.  

Tempest Djinn also goes out the window, which is the deck’s biggest hitter and becomes a powerhouse when unanswered.

Another defensive card that the deck loses is Dive Down, and provides enough protection for creatures with Curious Obsession attached. It also provides protection against spells such as Deafening Clarion and Cry of the Carnarium thanks to its +0/+3 bonus.  

What Cards Do They Need To Survive Rotation?

In order for Mono Blue Aggro to survive the rotation, it needs a new draw engine (Opt and Curious Obsession are gone), a new 2-mana cost counter spell that replaces Wizard’s Retort, and a new hitter.

Now, it doesn’t really need a new hitter because in its place will be Cavalier of Gales. It’s a 5/5 flyer that gives you three cards when it enters the battlefield albeit letting you put 2 cards from your hand on top of your library in any order. However, it’s a lot more expensive than Tempest Djinn.

Verdict: Will The Deck Survive?

At this time of writing, I think Mono Blue Aggro will be benched, along with a few other decks this coming rotation. It just loses too much of its core cards that it may transform into a completely new deck.

There are still blue cards from M20 that have yet to be seen in Standard, such as Dungeon Geists and Agent of Treachery.

Meanwhile, check out this video from Merchant on the best cards leaving Standard this rotation:

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