The mono-blue Jace's Sanctum deck emerged toward the end of last season. It fought the battle on a different axis, relying on seemingly junk cards like the Sanctum, Prism Ring, and Hydrolash to stay alive long enough to win the game.
Jace's Sanctum is a sweet card in a deck full of instants, but it’s also a 4-mana enchantment that can be removed or countered, and it does nothing when it enters the battlefield. That means there’s a great chance that we can do better with a little help from the tools available in Frontier!
Engulf the Shores is the premier answer within these nearly mono-blue control decks. This isn’t a sweeper in the true sense, as the creatures aren’t actually being destroyed, but it’s close. It’s an instant, which is huge, and returning them to hand will buy you time to find more answers. It also only costs 4 mana, and while casting it for 4 might not bounce everything, it’s a nice option to have at a reasonable cost.
Aetherspouts and Displacement Wave are more expensive and less versatile because of that, but they’ll still get the job done. Hydrolash will cantrip and effectively gain you a ton of life against a horde of creatures to help prolong the game.
Torrential Gearhulk is the big payoff we didn’t have when the deck was in Standard. This is a huge threat that can turn the corner quickly or eat a creature, but it also allows you to flash back your powerful instants. This could mean more card draw, or just bouncing the entire board, potentially including Gearhulk for more value next turn.
Anticipate is the best early play for a deck trying to find specific tools. Pieces of the Puzzle is a great way to take advantage of a deck full of spells and to get maximum value out of Torrential Gearhulk.
Dig Through Time is banned in Modern and restricted in Vintage. You get to play 4 in this deck, and they’re as incredible as ever. Dig Through Time for max value into Gearhulk flashing back Dig is just too good to be true.
The end game revolves around Part the Waterveil. With an end-step Engulf to bounce the board, chaining together Parts to win the game is rather academic. This can also be accomplished with Torrential Gearhulk to turn the tides. The awaken and the Gearhulk both represent so much power that they can end the game in a hurry.
This particular version also features Authority of the Consuls as the only splash card. While splashing white in a blue deck is fairly easy in a format with Flooded Strand, Polluted Delta, and Prairie Stream, it speaks volumes that this card is the one choice. What Authority will do is similar to Prism Ring but for your opponent’s spells. Gaining a life whenever they play a creature is nice and will keep your life total stable, especially as you bounce their entire board turn after turn. When the time comes to turn the corner, you can bounce their team at sorcery speed or during their combat step thanks to Authority. Even if they deploy all of their creatures again, they’ll enter the battlefield tapped. This means there will be no blocking and you’re free to punch through during your extra turns.
I love seeing all of these fun favorites that recently rotated out be revived in Frontier to become better than they ever were before. This format invites so many different approaches, and is sure to take a long time to figure out!