Current Mono-Blue Configuration:
The sideboard I had been playing with as a mix of cards that I just threw in because I wanted to cover broad areas of functionality.
This is what I had been working with…
This deck differs from the version I published on TCGPlayer.com a bit back in that I moved Ratchet Bomb to the main deck; it is my deck’s “Pyroclasm” … But I mostly just moved stuff around. With Ratchet Bomb in the main deck I need some other stuff differently / less.
I wanted All Is Dust for stupid Eldrazi Monument decks and tokens / Planeswalkers various. Between the Ratchet Bombs and Into the Roils main, I didn’t have a lot of anti-beatdown. The only match I can remember losing, you know, memorably lately was to the stupid Argentum Armor deck. Why can’t I play 8 Ratchet Bombs and 8 Into the Roils? I would gladly do that 🙂
Anyway, I just got finished with my first run of testing the new TurboLand deck (coming to TCGPlayer tomorrow!) and wanted to go back to Mono-Blue Control. If you asked me pre-TurboLand I would have for sure told you to play Mono-Blue Control as my main Standard recommendation (though, to be fair, it might not be dramatically stronger than Nick’s proven B/U deck)… I remembered not being hugely satisfied with my sideboard.
How do we fix this?
What can I sideboard out against…
Pyromancer Ascension (aka my baby) is a combo deck. At present it is actually more counter-heavy than my deck and has a faster threat (you can play turn two Pyromancer Ascension… especially on the play). So far Mono-Blue has had dominating percentage v. Pyromancer Ascension largely on having actual outs (Into the Roil especially before I moved Ratchet Bomb to the main… But having all eight main deck along with Counterspells and potentially Elixir of Immortality has made life relatively easy).
I wouldn’t want to side out all my Frost Titans, but I would be fine siding out two. Volition Reins is actually fine (Ascension answer)… I named the sixes in general because of cost; you don’t necessarily want to be messing with sixes when the opponent can kill you on the spot.
- Potentially 5-6
Mono-Blue is a bit weaker than B/U because I don’t have Memoricide main (or at all). Counterspells can be dicey against them because of Summoning Trap. I usually try to either Counterspell their mana acceleration and / or to lock down their awesome guys with Frost Titans or Jace after the worst has already happened. Tectonic Edge is actually really important for Eye of Ugin and / or Valakut suppression.
Ratchet Bomb is not the worst. Sometimes you need it against cards like Avenger of Zendikar; it is also serviceable against certain draws (say they have a bunch of one or two drop mana accelerators). It’s never horrendous… Just not great or consistently great. I can see siding two-ish.
Into the Roil has a lot of play; but it isn’t consistent. Like you don’t necessarily want to be pointing it at Primeval Titan a bunch of times. I would side out all four without looking back, especially with Jace in the lineup.
- Potentially 6
Red Decks are gaining in popularity. Their existence is the kind of thing that makes U/W arguably stronger than Mono-Blue (I don’t have Kor Firewalker and / or Wall of Omens). Ratchet Bomb actually makes up a lot in that department, but you need it in a hurry. I think it is about not dying, trading Mana Leak with whatever you can, and then stabilizing with Trinket Mage. You can cut most of the Frost Titans because they are expensive and therefore inconsistent early… But you still need a way to win.
There is a lot of potential inefficiency here.
Brittle Effigy might save you, but it is a lot of mana to compete with some probably bad creatures that cost ~1 mana.
Treasure Hunt is not great, but it’s not terrible. You might need the re-load.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor is pretty bad, actually. You can feel free to cut most of them, or replace with smaller Jaces. The problem is that they cost a lot of mana but are basically dead. Boomerangs are kind of terrible because their cards are cheap and largely terrible.
- Potentially ~8 or even more
Other Blue Decks:
There are lots of other Blue decks, meaning U/W Control, B/U Elixir, U/R Destructive Force, etc. However I think you sideboard basically the same against most of them. The goal here should be to either force down a threat and protect it more quickly than the bad people or to set up a position of inevitability (or both).
- Potentially 5
White Weenie / Argentum Armor
This deck can only win games where you are furious and want to tear your hair — or his hair — out. If you draw an Into the Roil or a Ratchet Bomb [early enough] you will win by huge margin. I wish I could just play eight of each 🙂
Treasure Hunt just isn’t fast; you don’t want to be playing it blind when you are about to be under massive pressure. Brittle Effigy and Volition Reins both actually have a lot of play, but it’s a question of how much time / mana you have versus how good the opponent’s cards are. Yes, sometimes Brittle Effigy is going to destroy them; but other times you won’t have the time for it.
- Potentially 4
Black Decks / Vampires
Vampires differs from other little beaters decks with its heavy disruptive elements and creature removal. It is also a highly synergistic linear. The way I like Vampires is loaded with Sorin Markov, but I don’t know if everyone rolls that way.
All your cards are pretty good, actually. I actually think the main thing will be about managing their board versus your cards in hand. I can see moving around Treasure Hunt for Jace, but I think Treasure Hunt is actually pretty good here because they are not lightning quick beatdown and they have Vampire Hexmage and sufficient attackers to hassle your Planeswalkers. This is a matchup where I think it might not be just about mediocre / bad cards and you just want to bring in All Is Dust because it’s awesome if you can play it.
Elves / other little beaters
Elves is just some deck with Overrun and Eldrazi Monument. I don’t know if the deck can even win games against a real deck without Eldrazi Monument in play. So focus on answering or trumping that card (while not accidentally dying along the way, of course).
I can see cutting most or all of the Mana Leaks if there is sufficient creature removal to be had. Their cards are mostly worse than Mana Leak and they have lots of Arbor Elf action mid-game to pay for your Mana Leak anyway.
Jace is fine; just not necessarily the best; I love Jace Beleren against these quick decks.
Frost Titan is a curve Liability. You of course need about ~2 in your deck to close out (especially with Elixir of Immortality working), but you don’t want a ton of them in your opener. Like against U/W it is fine to have a bunch and plan around them or set up to win an Attrition fight or whatever… Against decks that are much less powerful than you, you just need to make sure you can live and crush them with card advantage.
- Potentially 9-13
Let’s Simplify rodeo these numbers back up…
- Pyromancer Ascension: 5-6 cards
- Ramp decks: 6 cards
- Red decks: 8 cards
- Other Blue decks: 5 cards
- White Weenie Argentum Armor: 4 cards
- Black decks / Vampires: whatever All Is Dust cards
- Elves / other little beaters: 9 cards
Here is a maybe sideboard based on these numbers:
Pyromancer Ascension options:
Ramp Deck options:
Red Deck options:
Other Blue decks options:
White Weenie Argentum Armor options:
Black decks / Vampires options:
Elves / other little beaters options:
- 4 All Is Dust
- 2 Aether Adept
- 2 Flashfreeze
- 1 or more Jace Beleren, Unsummon… You can go up to 13, per the earlier discussion.
As you can see I chose to jot down two different relatively unusual cards: Aether Adept and Unsummon. Aether Adept is the better card as it can not only slow down a Goblin Guide but block one later. Unsummon is weaker but is highly effective against Argentum Armor the card. I didn’t want to play all Unsummons because as good as they are against White Weenie about to go off with Iron Man Vindicates or whatever, I didn’t want to give away all the card advantage; hence splitting some 187 action. I think there will probably be at present unanticipated matchups where one is better than the other.
I hope you enjoyed walking through this thinking with me. No idea if this sideboard is optimal, yet; but it seems like an improvement over my experience so far, with too many Counterspells and somewhat wanting in terms of battlefield control.
Enjoy battling Mono-Blue!