Thursday, June 6, 2013

Revenge of the Smurfs

No, not those ones...

Instead I am talking about the recent success in Standard Pauper of a mono Blue Aggro / Control deck that goes by a variety of different names, including The Blue HordeDiving Mage, or even Blue Flying Army. While a quick glance at these different decklists shows some interesting variations, each of these decks utilize of a powerful force of Blue creatures and back them up with various Control elements to overwhelm an opponent and hold onto the advantage until he or she is defeated.

For the sake of discussion, let's take a quick look at the winning deck from MPDC 21.04.

There are several things worth pointing out here:
  1. With the exception of the excellent Frostburn Weird, all of the creature in the main deck have (or will have) Flying.
  2. The deck has a high number of permission spells, including 10 counters, card draw, bounce, and even singleton copies of Hands of Binding and Mizzium Skin.
  3. Notice too how the deck supports the permission spells, with plenty of options for relevant Instants or creatures with Flash to cast when you hold up mana for a counterspell but don't end up casting it during your opponent's turn.
  4. Finally, the Sideboard allows the deck to slide from Aggro/Control into a build with an even greater emphasis on Control.
Given all the discussion about how broken Ghostly Flicker is right now, this deck seems uniquely suited to give Flicker-based decks a run for their money. While pilot skill (and a little good luck) certainly played their role, it shouldn't surprise anyone that this deck went 7-0 in the last event. And with that kind of success, I imagine this deck archetype will see plenty of play in upcoming events.

So what do you think of the deck? Have you played it or against it yet? Do you agree that it has a strong game against Flicker decks? What are its weaknesses?

Thanks for reading.


  1. When playing my flicker/gnaw to the bone deck, I always was afraid of hitting someone with a good number of counterspells. Looks like good old One-eyed Scarecrow needs to come back and have a few words with this blue deck.

  2. I just got back into Standard Pauper after sitting out a few seasons to let RtR block take shape.

    Monoblue was one of the first decks I built. It plays well against every matchup, Flicker included. What surprised me even more was playing against the Dimir Mill decks that have emerged to defeat Flicker (these are worthy of an article, I think!) and how well Monoblue is prepared to deal with this new boogie man as well.

    The permission suite can be increased as the removal spells are boarded out since UB Mill runs zero creatures. And you need permission to counter that decks ace-in-the-hole blow-out card, Crypt Incursion, because lack of access to black means that cards go-to foiler, Gravepurge, is unavailable in monoblue.

    UB Mill is also very removal-heavy, and Elgaud Shieldmate and Mizzium Skin can help in that regard, too.