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Much Abrew: Mono-Blue Tempo (Standard, Magic Online)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, we talked about an ultra-budget Mono-Blue Tempo list that was having success in Standard. People seemed to like the idea of a competitive deck that only costs $50, so we're taking Mono-Blue Tempo through a league this week to see just how competitive it is in practice! The main idea of the deck is to stick an early threat or two, hopefully draw some cards with Curious Obsession, and generally annoy our opponent out of the game with things like Merfolk Trickster and counterspells, with Tempest Djinn being our big finisher. Just how good is ultra-budget Mono-Blue Tempo in Standard? Is there really a $50 deck that could win a Grand Prix in Guilds of Ravnica Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Mono-Blue Tempo (Standard)


  • Welp, looks like Mono-Blue Tempo is actually pretty good. We managed to go 4-1, with our only loss being to an Izzet Drake Control deck that felt like a pretty difficult matchup. More importantly, we beat Golgari Midrange (the best deck in Standard at the moment) twice, along with taking down UW Control and winning in the mirror!
  • On paper, Mono-Blue Tempo looks pretty underpowered, but it makes up for this by having a lot of tricks. While our clock is slower than most aggro decks in Standard, we're also more disruptive, with cards like Merfolk Trickster and Exclusion Mage slowing our opponent down just enough that we can steal the win. 
  • By far the most important card in our deck is Curious Obsession. If we can resolve it and protect the creature enchanted by it, it's really hard to stop, since we're both getting in damage and drawing an extra card each turn, which finds us more protection, counters, and creatures. One of the biggest decision points of the deck is when to play Curious Obsession. It's tempting to just run it out on Turn 2, but if our opponent has removal, we risk losing the game if our creature is killed. As such, it's sometimes better to wait until we can protect the creature we're enchanting with a Dive Down, Siren Stormtamer, or counterspell before playing the enchantment. 
  • Without a Curious Obsession, it's very possible that we run out of gas. We saw this in our loss to Izzet Drake Control, where we were able to answer the first two Drakes that our opponent played but ran out of cards, since we couldn't find a Curious Obsession and Enigma Drake number three snuck through and quickly closed out the game.
  • Another important aspect of playing Mono-Blue Tempo is figuring out when to leave up counters. We don't actually have any hard removal in our deck, with Exclusion Mage being the only way to get a creature off the battlefield, so we need to be extremely careful. It can be very hard to catch back up if our opponent can resolve a big threat, since we don't really have a clean answer, so sometimes it's better to switch into a more controlling role and value leaving up our counters rather than adding a creature to the battlefield.
  • Tempest Djinn is our best way to close out games quickly, but it needs to stick on the battlefield, which can be rough, since some of the best decks in Standard are overloaded with removal. Much like Curious Obsession, it's often better to play Tempest Djinn a turn or two late and leave up protection, rather than just running it out on Turn 3 to have it die immediately to a Ravenous Chupacabra or Vraska's Contempt.
  • Combine all of this together, and you have a deck that's actually pretty difficult to play. There are a ton of decision points, and the deck runs on very, very small margins, where not leaving up a counter one turn or running out a Curious Obsession too early (or too late) can be the difference between winning and losing the game. If you do decide to pick up the deck, make sure to get in a lot of reps because it's a deck that rewards playing well and knowing your build inside and out.
  • So, should you play Mono-Blue Tempo in Standard? I think the answer is pretty clearly yes. It's very likely the best option in Guilds of Ravnica Standard if you're looking for an ultra-budget deck that has a chance to win a Grand Prix or some other big tournament. Just make sure to practice the deck a bunch because it's harder to play well than it looks!


Anyway, that's all for today! Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can email me at

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