Deck Tech: Mono-Blue Control with Caleb Durward
Caleb has played a variety of archetypes in our Legacy Opens over the years, and this week adds another to the list: Mono-Blue Control. Against a small field, Caleb's relying on the power of Islands in a big way.
Caleb fans a few of his all-stars.
In fact, Islands are a primary incentive to playing the archetype. â€œI think Back to Basics is really good against Maverick and RUG Delverâ€”I feel really strongly advantaged when I resolve it,â€ he explained. â€œRunning a ton of basic Islands makes me really resilient to Blood Moon and Wasteland as well.â€
Another advantage is that counterspells are a good defense against, well, pretty much anything. â€œThe deck is really resilient with a lot of countermagic, meaning you don't just lose to the unfair decks.â€ Picking up the slack where the counterspells left off, Caleb's creature control options are also very strong, including Vedalken Shacklesâ€”but Caleb has additional spice. â€œThe deck got a lot better when I added Solemn and Wurmcoil,â€ he said. â€œSolemn is just a value card that makes Jace and Shackles a lot better.â€
A few other tricks are Caleb's singleton mana boosters, Chrome Mox and City of Traitors.Â â€œThey've been excellent,â€ he said. â€œI keep thinking about whether the miser's City or the miser's Chrome Mox or another card is better, but then I'll play a game where I draw one and no other card wins the game.â€ It happened enough that he couldn't bring himself to make the cut.
Caleb's sideboard features the newest graveyard hate in the format: Grafdigger's Cage. Caleb has liked the card in this archetype a great deal. â€œIt has more uses. For example, if my opponent was playing Nic-Fit, Grafdigger's Cage shuts off most of the deck,â€ Caleb said. It's also excellent against Dredge when you're a blue deck! â€œThey eventually have to deal with Grafdigger's Cage, which you can protect with countermagic.â€ Caleb has already used the Cage in a unique spot against a tough matchup. â€œRound 1, I was playing against High Tide and he had to stop mid-combo on one turnâ€”he was relying on Snapcaster Mage on High Tide!â€
Caleb's also got a Hydroblast for red, although he's not sure if it's necessary to play such a narrow spell. â€œDavid McDarby gave me the fear of the Mono Red deck,â€ he admitted. Caleb's already lost one match to an unexpected foe, but he's optimistic. â€œI lost to High Tide; I'm assuming he'll Top 8, as it's a small tournament with a ton of competent players and a lot of Belcher. If I make Top 8, I'm hoping he's on the other side of the bracket.â€