As long as a cheap blue cantrip has existed in Standard it has been both heavily played and successful. Anticipate is no exception to this rule. Control decks in Standard have suffered from a lack of cheap card filtering for too long, and this is the reason why they were never tier 1. You had to play 28 lands and just hope you didn’t miss one of your early land drops. If you missed even your fourth land drop of the game it could be deadly. Other decks in Standard can function off three or four lands quite well, this is part of the reason I’ve always thought of blue control decks in Standard as bad decks with good matchups.
Mastery is going to be a popular staple card in Standard and problematic for this deck, but I’ve always felt that a slow clock doesn’t beat you by itself, because a couple Dig Through Time will find a way out. You can almost always stitch together some kind of functional game plan with some time.
You want to gain life? You’ll gain some life. Nobody is beating you by pointing a Stoke the Flames at your face any time soon which has been the primary focus of the red aggressive decks in Standard.
Only 26 lands here means we can play a wider variety of cards with the extra slots. 26 lands with four Anticipate is far superior to playing 28 lands and three Jace’s Ingenuity. You now have a better chance of hitting your early land drops and you’re simultaneously less likely to lose a game due to having a bad opening hand. Let’s not even mention the fact that now there’s a cheap blue cantrip in a format with delve. This is unheard of. You know what happened last time people played with Dig Through Time and cheap blue cantrips right? That was in Modern where it was banned. I’m not saying they will ban Dig Through Time or Anticipate in Standard—they won’t—but these two cards go together extremely well, and someone will find the best way to exploit that synergy.
Last Breath is a card that used to be extremely popular in Standard and I expect it to make a come-back. A 2-mana card that kills both Goblin Rabblemaster and Courser of Kruphix is excellent. This deck does lack a good way to kill cards like Siege Rhino and Tasigur, which are great right now, but you still have the stand-by answers like Disdainful Stroke, Dissolve, and End Hostilities. It’s also notable that Nyx-Fleece Ram embarrasses Siege Rhino right now, and if people try to kill your Rams you can slyly return them to play with Ojutai’s Command.
Azorius or Dimir for control deck of the format moving forward? Seems hard to ignore Azorius now.
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