Pauper: Mono Blue Terror Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

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Pauper: Mono Blue Terror Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

10/14/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

Blending classic elements with recent additions, Mono Blue Terror is one of the most Tempo-oriented strategies in Pauper today and establishes itself as a potential competitor in the Metagame.

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By Romeu

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translated by Romeu

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revised by Tabata Marques

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In the previous article, we discussed the Dimir Terrorlink outside website, an archetype that has been gaining fame in the competitive scene since the release of Dominaria Unitedlink outside website on account of Tolarian Terror, a cheap and effective threat for Tempo strategies able to fill their graveyard quickly. However, it is not just in the Dimir variants that the new creature has been gaining relevance, and another archetype has been gaining notoriety in recent weeks by adopting a new approach to Tempo Decks - Mono Blue Terror*.

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The Decklist

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Although many see it as a variant of the most successful version, Mono Blue Terror basically carries the core of the blue archetypes to create its own strategy aimed at card selection, counterspells and cheap threats.

Maindeck

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Ironically, this is one of the few strategies where Delver of Secrets is still a viable option, even if it got outdated by power creep. Here, the past decade's most famous one-drop is not only well complemented by the amount of spells and cantrips, it can also exercise the plan to carry the game on its own without being too inconsistent and/or overly necessary. Many archetypes today are going for the race or trying to be too greedy with their mana, and Delver alongside cheap interactions can win games if properly sequenced against these strategies. Spire Golem has lost space on Mono Blue Faeries over time, and this list will likely play it for three mana unless the game stretches too far. However, a 2/4 body blocks a variety of threats, including flying creatures like Squadron Hawk and Spellstutter Sprite. This threat also offers some resilience against Lightning Bolt and other removals that deals 3 damage, and a recurring flying clock can be a headache if the player protects it well. There ain't much to say about Tolarian Terror. It's basically the Murktide Regent we have at home, managing to stabilize boards merely by getting into play while guaranteeing a four-turn clock. In addition, it also protects itself and extends the scope of conditional counterspells such as Spell Pierce and Lose Focus.
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Like the Dimir version, the Mono Blue variant dives deep into the Turbo Xerox concept, with a total of 16 cantrips and four draw spells. The cantrips package, by the way, is quite robust and synergistic even in a list without Ash Barrens and Evolving Wilds since Thought Scour, Consider and Augur of Bolas complements Brainstorm to remove useless pieces from your hand to get more action during turns. Frantic Inventory is the means to obtain card advantage on this list, interacting with Thought Scour and Consider so that a copy in your hand offers you more than just one card at a time.
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Our counterspell package is relatively small, but useful enough to protect your threats and deal with your opponent's most important spells. Counterspell is basically a must as a universal answer for any situation, while Spell Pierce and Lose Focus — a spell that is normally found on the Sideboard of some decks against Cascade — are conditional effects that gain more value as we are in a Metagame where players are being greedy with low-cost spells.
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The board interaction package is also relatively small, and none of them permanently deal with most creatures. However, the bounces guarantee a significant delay in the opponent's turns, keeping us ahead throughout the game until we reach the inevitability.

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Snap is excellent to protect your creatures when necessary, or to bounce a problematic creature to then respond to it with Counterspell, while Echoing Truth is a comprehensive answer for dealing with tokens created by Battle Screech, which usually are the best chump blocks against our strategy.
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The main motivator for playing Mono Blue Terror, in addition to the possibility of still running Delver of Secrets, is its speed: with 17 lands that enter untapped and without needing to correct the mana curve, the archetype maintains a consistent speed throughout the game allowing you to play the cantrips more aggressively than the two-color variants.

Sideboard

The Sideboard is always open to changes as your Metagame demands. Here, the focus is on having a consistent number of answers for different situations, with greater focus on the most present decks on the format today.
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Thinking about specific decks, we have Hydroblast as a must answer against Burn and Mono Red Blitz which also doubles in function against a wide array of strategies, like Affinity, Boros Bully, Boros Synthesizer, in addition to Gruul Cascade. While the game isn't bad, Curfew is there to deal with a large creature already resolved in Bogles. It's not mandatory today, but its inclusion seems like a safe choice not to suffer against this archetype in Leagues, where they are more present. Annul is another useful answer against Bogles, but the main target to use it is on creatures like Myr Enforcer and/or troublesome artifacts and enchantments like Blood Fountain and Makeshift Munitions.
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We also have some cards that complement the maindeck copies, such as Spell Pierce for games where the opponent uses their mana greedily, Lose Focus against Cascade and Midranges, as well as Echoing Truth to deal with tokens and/or delay certain artifacts and enchantments.
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The last card on the Sideboard is Piracy Charm, a powerful tech against other Blue-Based ones for providing Islandwalk for our bigger threats, while also functioning as a combat trick, or even removal against Faeries or other lists with numerous X/1 creatures.

Mulligan and Postures

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While the mulligan's primary focus with Tempo Decks largely depends on how you need to behave in that particular game, Mono Blue Terror doesn't have the ease of switching between Aggro and Control like the Dimir version due to the lack of efficient removals. Therefore, your posture should be more aggressive, especially at the beginning of the game. Use your cantrips to seek out threats, mill cards quickly to feed Tolarian Terror and remember to keep yourself ahead of your opponent in the means to set the clock. Once your creatures are in play, you must direct your focus to finding the best openings to advance your plan and/or delay the opponent. Don't spend counterspells for nothing just because you have two mana untapped, and avoid using cantrips to find things you don't need at the moment. If the game is stabilized, prioritize finding more creatures, as you'll usually need to beat quality across the board with quantity.

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A broad knowledge of the Metagame helps in making decisions with this list, so study the format and try to practice whenever possible, as there are many challenging ins and outs when we lack interactions against resolved permanents, and getting to know the most efficient ways to use its resources is the main key to having a good match against most Pauper archetypes these days.

Sideboard Guide

Mono Red Burn

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OUT:
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Interestingly, Burn is one of the few games where you need to play defensively, unless your starting hand has a Delver of Secrets, and it doesn't take removal too soon. Your best cards in Game 1 are Augur of Bolas and Spire Golem, which efficiently block most creatures or offer a clock in the air to ensure you win the match before you run out of gas. This is not an easy matchup in Game 1, but it improves exceptionally in Game 2 because of Hydroblast, which works as a removal. Echoing Truth is important for recent versions that run Kuldotha Rebirth, but if you face the more traditional version, you can swap it for Counterspell on the play, or for Consider on the draw. The post-Sideboard plan remains the same, but know when to use Hydroblast as it is the only permanent interaction you have. The preferred target is Kessig Flamebreather or Burn spells that would deal lethal damage.

Dimir Terror

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There are many different methods of sideboarding in this matchup: you can consider the game wwill extend and remove Spell Pierce instead of the cantrips, or try to win going for the race and put more copies of Spell Pierce in to protect your creatures. In the case above, I considered that the game's natural progression requires trades where the one mana counter will also be efficient in the medium term, especially if the opponent starts slow, with tapped lands. Playing against Dimir Terror is all about keeping your main threats — Delver of Secrets and Spire Golem — on the board while using bounces and chump blocks to slow down Tolarian Terror and Gurmag Angler. Don't be afraid to swap trade your serpent with theirs if it ends up delaying them.

Caw-Gate

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Caw-Gate is such a bad game that adding Spreading Seas to the Sideboard is considerable, but I'm against the idea of ​​putting bad cards just to try to improve the winrate of a bad matchup. This archetype has everything we don't like to face: flying threats, Lifelink, excessive card advantage, and a difficult to interact with wincondition. Your best route is to try to play fast in both games, attempting to aim your interactions at the pieces that can really slow your clock. Post-Sideboard, Piracy Charm will be used as a removal against Sacred Cat and Squadron Hawk, but they add Pyroblast and don't have enough targets to warrant including Hydroblast, while stretching the game too long for Spell Pierce to remain important.

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Bogles

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OUT:
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Bogles is a very favorable matchup if we manage to prevent them from enchanting a creature with too many auras, especially Rancor and Armadillo Cloak. Our clock will usually be faster at that point, so aim to have Spell Pierce in your starting hand.

Affinity

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Due to its nature of generating card advantage with any play, Affinity is a tricky game. In it, you need to preserve Spire Golem and Delver of Secrets, as they are the ones who will set the beatdown while Tolarian Terror will help to hold their attacks. The primary target of your counterspells in the early game should be spells that generate a 2-for-1 effect for them, such as Deadly Dispute, Thoughtcast and Blood Fountain. As the game progresses, aim to focus your interactions on threats, especially those that will cause problems for our 'attack from the air' plan, such as Kenku Artificer and Makeshift Munitions. Post-Sideboard, we still need to focus on Tempo, so we've increased the number of low-cost interactions while removing cards that does too little, like Snap, but in case the opponent has too many copies of Kenku Artificer, it's worth keeping them and investing less on Spell Pierce to interact with the Bridges via bounce.

Conclusion

That's all for today. Mono Blue Terror is a variant of an archetype that has been successful since the last bans, and offers a solid game plan that doesn't rely solely on the graveyard to work. Many games are won based on the classic mix of flying creatures and cheap disruption, so if you're looking for a list that fits into Tempo and values Delver of Secrets, it's a strategy you'll probably like. Thanks for reading!
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Romeu

Journalism student, writer and translator for Cards Realm. Plays virtually every Magic: The Gathering competitive format and is a lifetime Final Fantasy fan.

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