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CardShark Content - Mike Lanigan (4/5/2005)

Ok, let’s start off with some real analysis of standard currently before all the changes from the new set take place. There is really no deck to beat right now however there are many playable decks. Here is a small list of playable decks that you may run into at your next Friday Night Magic tournament: tooth and nail, G/B cloud, U/G control, Kiki Control (R/G), White Weenie, Sligh (red), BraidsGroom (black), U/W control (or mono white), Mono Black Control, Green Aggro, and many other decks as well. It is my opinion that no deck in the format is currently the dominant deck. The purpose of this article is to enlighten people as to what decks are shaping up to be good in the new Standard Environment. Hopefully if all goes well, I will be doing a series of articles on most of the previously mentioned decks. This is an effort on my part to help people with deck ideas since the field is wide open right now. The first deck is one that I a have developed myself and is not on that list. If you see the title of the deck “Mono Blue Control” don’t immediately dismiss this deck because it is highly different than any other mono blue deck you have seen. Most Mono Blue decks these days consist of 16 counters, 8 card draw, 4 shackles, 4 bounce of some sort, 4 creatures and 24 land. That to me is boring so I came up with this deck that is pretty much aggro control instead of pure control. So here it is….

Mono Blue Control:
4x Floating-Dream Zubera
4x Spire Golem
Spire Golem
Spire GolemSet: Darksteel
Cost:
6
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Golem
Rarity:
C
Number:
145
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
4
Text:
Affinity for Islands, Flying.

4x Thieving Magpie
Thieving Magpie
Thieving MagpieSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bird
Rarity:
U
Number:
49
Artist:
Una Fricker
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying Whenever Thieving Magpie deals damage to one of your opponents, you draw a card.

3x Spiketail Hatchling
Spiketail Hatchling
Spiketail HatchlingSet: Prophecy
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drake
Rarity:
C
Number:
49
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying Sacrifice Spiketail Hatchling: Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1.

4x Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.

2x Keiga, the Tide Star
Keiga, the Tide Star
Keiga, the Tide StarSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
72
Artist:
Ittoku
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Keiga, the Tide Star is put into a graveyard from play, gain control of target creature.


3x Hinder
Hinder
HinderSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
65
Artist:
Wayne Reynolds
Text:
Counter target spell. If it's countered this way, put that card on the top or bottom of its owner's library instead of that player's graveyard.

3x Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Mana LeakSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 3.

3x Condescend
Condescend
CondescendSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
27
Text:
Counter target spell unless that spell's controller pays. Scry 2

2x Echoing Truth
Echoing Truth
Echoing TruthSet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Return target non-land permanent and all permanents that share a name with it to owner's hands.

4x Vedalken Shackles
Vedalken Shackles
Vedalken ShacklesSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
164
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
You may choose not to untap Vedalken Shackles during your untap step. 2, Tap: Gain control of target creature with power less than or equal to the number of Islands you control as long as Vedalken Shackles remains tapped.

3x Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Fire and IceSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
148
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
Equip 2 Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has protection from red and from blue. Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card and have it deal 2 damage to target creature.


22x Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.


Now that you have seen the deck let me first say that this deck is very serious and not a joke. This has been my pet deck since before states, which I couldn’t go to but did a tremendous deal of testing for. Some of the card choices may seem a bit strange and the numbers very uneven so I will talk about card choices I made for the deck.

Card by Card Analysis:
Zubera – now who in their right mind would play this card in a serious tournament setting? I really am not crazy; this card is actually a decent one. Against any aggro deck or any deck that plays creatures, it blocks and gives you another card or possibly 4 if you have two out.

Spire Golem
Spire Golem
Spire GolemSet: Darksteel
Cost:
6
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Golem
Rarity:
C
Number:
145
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
4
Text:
Affinity for Islands, Flying.
– this guy does a lot of work in the deck. Many times late in the game he is free, free, and free; let’s say it one more time free. This card is a blue decks dream and plays very well.

Thieving Magpie
Thieving Magpie
Thieving MagpieSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bird
Rarity:
U
Number:
49
Artist:
Una Fricker
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying Whenever Thieving Magpie deals damage to one of your opponents, you draw a card.
– this card wrecks control if they cannot deal with her. If this comes down early and your opponent cannot deal with it, you will simply win from out drawing them.

Spiketail Hatchling
Spiketail Hatchling
Spiketail HatchlingSet: Prophecy
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drake
Rarity:
C
Number:
49
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying Sacrifice Spiketail Hatchling: Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1.
– the previous card in this spot drew a lot of criticism (bottle gnomes) but I felt the hatchling it is the correct play. He is a 1/1 flyer for 2 and also another counter.

Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.
– this card is simply amazing in any deck you play him in. The card advantage you gain from him is brilliant. See Zubera for the rest.

Keiga – This guy is your finisher and he simply wins games. There used to be one Keiga and one Meloku however I don’t like Meloku in this deck (personal preference) and I own two foil keigas so my choice was for the shiny, but feel free to play one and one if you like.

Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Mana LeakSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 3.
, Hinder
Hinder
HinderSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
65
Artist:
Wayne Reynolds
Text:
Counter target spell. If it's countered this way, put that card on the top or bottom of its owner's library instead of that player's graveyard.
and Condescend
Condescend
CondescendSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
27
Text:
Counter target spell unless that spell's controller pays. Scry 2
– counters make your opponent always be guessing as to whether to play something or not. You can bluff your way through a lot of matches even if you don’t have the counter in hand as well. Try not to counter everything since you can take creatures over with shackles anyway. Try to counter the important things. This decision making process will come in time. Also if you don’t have a counter don’t hesitate to tap out to play a creature or two.

Echoing Truth
Echoing Truth
Echoing TruthSet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Return target non-land permanent and all permanents that share a name with it to owner's hands.
– to be honest I wanted to include more of this card because it is simply amazing but there just was not room. Two does seem to be the correct number as I typically draw them at the correct time. If you are not a fan of the echoes then you can play boomerang as it will be the same most of the time (except for that stupid green beacon and other random tokens).

Vedalken Shackles
Vedalken Shackles
Vedalken ShacklesSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
164
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
You may choose not to untap Vedalken Shackles during your untap step. 2, Tap: Gain control of target creature with power less than or equal to the number of Islands you control as long as Vedalken Shackles remains tapped.
– this card is one I especially like in the deck as it steals anything your opponent has. It is good against most of the field as well. This is the card that mono blue decks have been waiting for for a long time. If you miss a counter you can simply steal your opponent’s creature.

Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Fire and IceSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
148
Artist:
Mark Zug
Text:
Equip 2 Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has protection from red and from blue. Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card and have it deal 2 damage to target creature.
– this is a card that I love and put in many of my decks. It does wonders and helps in many situations. It gets used to do a ton of damage and also to draw into whatever you need to win. (As a side note I am watching closely the new equipment from betrayers, specifically Umezawa’s Jitte which may replace this card)

The deck overall is very solid against the entire field. It has a good match ups with pretty much everything in the field right now and is very fun to play. So if you are looking for a new standard deck to play this may be the deck for you. Test it and see what you think, you may be surprised at the results. See you later for more Standard decks!!!


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