This week I return to Standard with an eye on Mono-Blue Aggro. This archetype has a robust set of tools to work with: aggressive and evasive creatures at various costs, build-around combos, and a variety of tricks to choose from.
While I have a list that I recommend as fun, competitive, and semi-budget, our options are deep enough that you can adjust heavily for preference and playstyle. Hopefully this article expands our thinking of what may be possible with this archetype.
First, let’s look at new tools from Fate Reforged:
Frost Walker gives you a heavy hitter for 2 mana. 4 power is a lot, and that can turn on powerful ferocious keyword spells. The downside is that it is extremely fragile, trading with any creature or any spell. It’s also hard to give it evasion.
Cloudform as a 3-drop is like the opposite of Frost Walker. It’s a small 2/2 for 3 mana, but it is evasive, and hexproof means it is unlikely to trade. This creature can sit in play for UU devotion and breathe life into Thassa and Master of Waves.
The new cards are exciting, but Military Intelligence is still my inspiration in this archetype. This card makes me want to build a deck, shuffle up and play.
Drawing 2 cards every single turn is amazing fun, and a stream of cards can bolster your devotion count at any stage of the game.
As an uncommon this card is very powerful and fun, and gives the Mono-Blue Aggro a unique playstyle that feels very blue.
To turn on Military Intelligence you have as many starting creatures as possible to start drawing on turn 2.
Hypnotic Siren is particularly attractive because of the bestow ability. A 1-drop that doubles as an amazing finishing effect is very rare on a Magic card, and while neither side is 10/10, the this card gives you great flexibility and power.
Omenspeaker is still great and better than Frost Walker in many ways. The scry 2 is always nice and the ⅓ body is more sturdy for defending from 1- and 2-power creatures.
While in the past I’ve tried 3-drops like Chasm Skulker, I’m excited to declare Thassa great once again.
Cloudform is very important in that it gives you hard-to-remove devotion to turn on Thassa. Powered-up Thassa as a 5/5 with unblockability is crazy powerful, and worth working toward.
The scry effect is also great in any game that lasts multiple turns.
Like Thassa, Master of Waves has gotten better from Cloudform. That extra devotion in play makes a big difference to the power level of devotion cards.
Take a look at the cost sort of this deck. It’s built on a descending curve, where the curve starts from turn 1 and each subsequent cost has fewer cards. You can see how this deck prioritizes turn 1 heavily with each following turn less important.
This descending curve also gives you an ascending number of options turn by turn. For instance, on turn 1 you can play any 1-mana card. On turn 2 you could play a 2 CMC or any two 1 CMCs. On turn 3 you could play a 3 CMC, a 2 CMC + a 1 CMC, or three 1 CMCs. And so on up the curve until your 7-mana bestow effects.
A descending curve is a great option for any deck to start getting ahead on the second turn, and flexible mana sinks like Hypnotic Siren can give the same deck late-game punch, aggro or control.
This is one way to build a deck that leans toward aggression and consistency. Descending curves aren’t the only way to build but they can help make a lot of decks more competitive.
For a deck like this I chose to play all of my tricks in the board. In game 1 I’m hellbent on turning on Military Intelligence and going from there.
This isn’t to say you lack interaction—creatures are often the most interactive thing. A Hypnotic Siren can attack a player, attack a planeswalker, or block almost a creature. Incidentally, we have that bestow effect.
So while I like to keep the specific tricks in the board that doesn’t mean you are lacking for interaction in the main, rather your interaction is more general. We can sideboard into more specific cards after sideboarding.
Mono Blue Aggro is a great archetype for fun, budget, and competition, and Cloudform has given this deck a real shot in the arm. The 3-drop might not look like much but it enables some heavy hitters.
Stay tuned later this week as I pilot this 75 through combats and draw steps. In the meantime I’d like to hear about variations on this deck or what cards you think are underrated for this type of archetype.
Mono-Blue Aggro players unite in the comments!