Goal: heavy emphasis on purity/protection/"holiness" with a very white color theme.
-White sleeves (Dragonshields of course!)
-Every card in the deck will be white & white-bordered (no artifacts)
-Cards will likely only be from 8th & 9th Edition- their white-bordered versions of white cards look much more... white
While it would be awesome to have Zhang Fei as the general functionality-wise, I don't much like him flavor-wise as his name seems to offset the theme of the deck a bit, while Reya Dawnbringer's name is very fitting.
Nonland cards to consider for the deck (white-bordered versions of each of course)
(to be moved to the Legacy/1.5 Proven Competitive forum upon completion)
Welcome, wise mage, to the Mono Blue Control (MUC) Primer! If you have an affinity for controlling the flow of a game while maintaining card advantage and patiently developing your resources, then you have found a new home in which to nurture your playstyle preference. Here we will discuss all competitive aspects of the MUC archetype, of which I hope to efficiently outline to you in this primer.
First, to ease your navigation of this primer, I have included a Table of Contents: ______________________________________
Table of Contents
I.What is MUC?
-Forms of Card Negation
II. MUC Card Pool
-Other Forms of Removal
-Threats and Win Conditions
I. What is MUC?
MUC, or Mono Blue Control, can include a variety of different cards and specific strategies, but generally follows several key focuses. In your given MUC deck:
-Every card is either blue and/or artifact, or colorless.
-The deck includes cards that either negate, remove, or preemptively prohibit your opponents' cards.
-The deck includes cards that generate you Card Advantage, and sometimes Card Quality.
-A win condition of some sort.
There is much to be said about each of these points, and I will begin with the basic concept of:
Card Advantage is a term that has become staple in the competitive Magic: The Gathering realm for some time. It essentially describes an effect that generates more cards for you than it costs. A very simple example would be Divination, which costs you one card (itself) to gain you two. Note that there is an obvious additional cost of :2mana::symu: associated with this example of Card Advantage, and minimizing that cost would of course be beneficial to yourself.
However, sometimes Card Advantage is not that simple, and becomes more abstract in fashion. Its definition can be lengthened to include the removal of one or more of an opponent's cards (usually from the battlefield or their hand) as the generating of cards for yourself, and in the end we typically associate the rule of card advantage with however many cards it generates for you and/or negates for your opponents. An example of a card that does both is Repulse. It removes an opponent's card and draws you a card at the cost of itself as a card. Inevitably we conclude that it is a potential "two-for-one" clause, and thus a form of Card Advantage. If it simply returned two of your opponent's creatures to their hand, or simply drew you two cards (much like Divination), we would still consider it a form of Card Advantage.
However, there are several cards available to the Legacy pool that may at first appear as Card Advantage but are in fact not- they are what bring me to my next point:
Card Quality is most often less present than Card Advantage (and sometimes not present at all) in MUC builds. Card Quality is an effect generated by a card that replaces itself (and sometimes more cards) with other cards in a manner that allows you to beneficially choose these other cards. A simple example is Opt, which costs itself (one card) and will draw you one card, but allows you the choice of that one card among two. A more complex, and certainly more staple, example would be the esteemed Brainstorm, which can mislead one into categorizing it as Card Advantage. It says "Draw three cards", afterall. But do not let that fool you- Brainstorm still requires you to put two back, and only gives you a bonus of one total card, thus replacing itself, and generating Card Quality by allowing you the choice of what cards you put back on top of your library, and their order.
There are some misleading cards that may also appear as Card Quality but are in fact less effective. An example of this is Index. This card can certainly improve the quality of your next 5 draws, but does not replace itself with another card in any way, and thus would fall under neither of these categories (and as such is in most cases a worse choice).
Forms of Card Negation:
Your typical card that negates an opponent's card before it has a chance to resolve will fall under a form of counterspell, from the original Counterspell (which remains quite effective) to the countless variants since that include the phrase "counter target spell" somewhere in their rules text. The arguably most useful is Force of Will.
There are of course other options, such as bounce, which would be any form of removal that removes one or more of your opponent's permanents by returning them to their hand (or in some cases, putting them on top of their opponent's library). Examples include the Repulse mentioned earlier, and more popular choices such as Echoing Truth, Repeal, and Boomerang. Bounce is often used in conjunction with counterspell effects by giving you the option to bounce their threat and then counterspell it when your opponent attempts to cast it again.
Finally, there are several forms of more passive negation to your opponent's strategies in cards you can cast that are typically permanents of some sort. One prime example of this is Propaganda, which will hamper your opponent's ability to attack you with multiple threats. Another example is Back to Basics, which, by hampering your opponent's mana sources (ideally) will limit their ability to present their threats in the first place.
As you can see, there are many ways to go about each of these strategies within the MUC archetype, and as such a given MUC deck can be extensively modified to fit your preference and/or deal with your metagame.
II. MUC Card Pool
The goal of this section is to provide a complete as possible card pool of cards that can be used in MUC decks. It is grouped into multiple lists for different types of cards and then ordered by casting cost, with descriptions for each card provided.
-Counterspell: Your obvious candidate. Which artwork is your favorite? Mine is the original.
-Force of Will: Free counterspell at the expense of another card and a life point. More effective with the more card advantage you run, though quite often a staple in most MUC variants if they run at least 16 blue cards.
-Daze: Semi-free counterspell that you can play while tapped out, but often not as effective in MUC because it hampers your mana development and your typical threats at least somewhat mana-intensive.
-Mana Leak: Often as effective as Counterspell but can be cast easier in builds that run lands which tap for colorless, such as Mishra's Factory.
-Rune Snag: See above.
-Foil: Another potentially free counterspell but provides greater card disadvantage. More useful in decks that utilize Crucible of Worlds and Accumulated Knowledge.
-Force Spike: Particularly effective if your opponent runs few lands or if you have a strategy to hamper your opponent's available mana.
-Spell Snare: Useful against decks that run a lot of spells with converted mana costs of two, of course. Sometimes a sideboard option.
-Disrupt: Similar to Force Spike though more conditional, but offers card advantage. It is never really a dead card because you can at worst cast it targeting your own spell, pay the additional :1mana:, and simply use it to draw a card. Sometimes used in sideboards.
-Annul: Sometimes used in sideboards.
-Blue Elemental Blast and Hydroblast: Sometimes used in sideboards.
-Condescend: A counterspell that offers card quality as well.
-Cryptic Command: While rather mana-intensive, offers you several options.
-Spell Burst: Having one online with buyback late game can generate card advantage through repeated use. Sometimes ran as a single copy in a deck with Mystical Tutor.
-Spell Pierce: Sometimes used in sideboards.
-Muddle the Mixture: A conditional counterspell that can be alternatively used to tutor you a different card you need, such as Powder Keg.
-Remand: More of a bounce than a counterspell in some ways, while also drawing you a card and possibly delaying your opponent.
-Teferi's Response: Sometimes used in sideboards.
-Cancel: Just kidding
-Boomerang: A common removal spell of yore, not used as much anymore but sometimes still has its uses.
-Repeal: A possibly more mana-heavy bounce but can be especially useful against permanents with casting cost, such as Engineered Explosives and token creatures.
-Echoing Truth: Particularly useful against tokens.
-Capsize: More effective the better a build develops its mana.
-Turbulent Dreams: Bounce that is only effective in builds that run Crucible of Worlds, Accumulated Knowledge, spells with flashback, and/or lots of card advantage.
-Chain of Vapor: Particularly effective if you offer no targetable option for your opponent to bounce as well.
-Wipe Away: One of the most powerful bounce spells but a bit mana-intensive. Particularly useful against opposing Counterbalances.
-Distorting Wake: Sometimes ran as a tutorable single copy.
-Reality Strobe: More effective the longer a game lasts, though difficult to resolve early.