Deck Tech: Mono-Blue Standstill with Josh Cho
Josh Cho has a Mono-Blue Standstill deck he's excited to be running in the Legacy Open.
Many players turned to U/R Delver over the last few weeks, dissatisfied with the green cards in RUG—after all, Nimble Mongoose isn’t racing a Show and Tell. On the flip side, some players hated the red cards, wanting access to Scavenging Ooze and a more stable manabase. Josh Cho has an answer these players might both enjoy!
Jumping on the recent Gilded Drake bandwagon—a vehicle I myself am quite acquainted with—Josh built his mono-blue Standstill deck to actively abuse Gilded Drake. He’s got Spellstutter Sprite and Vendilion Clique too, giving him some unique control elements that can also create a clock, and all of these creatures are quite strong alongside Snap! Snap lets Gilded Drake thieve a big creature and threaten to do it again later, in addition to being a reasonable card against a few different big monsters in its own right.
The core of the deck is the same blue engine that powers most Legacy decks, with Spell Pierce, Daze, Brainstorm, and Force of Will flanking the cards you actually have to think about. One of the latter is Standstill, which lets Josh turn his disruptive creatures into a soft lock. Spellstutter their only action and resolve Standstill, and they’ll often have to break it due to 1/1 beatdown. Gilded Drake can also leverage a good trade this way.
And, of course, there’s Aether Vial. I won’t go into too much depth, but suffice to say the Vial enables a lot of tricky plays and makes Snap an even more complete creature-recycling engine. It also makes running equipment like Umezawa’s Jitte more efficient to get going, since you don’t have to dedicate time to landing creatures!
Blue has some of the format’s best sideboard cards right now, but Josh has also branched into a few Standard stars. Phantasmal Image and Gut Shot are both pretty good in Legacy right now, with the Image an efficient clone against legends and also not a bad way to take advantage of opposing Nimble Mongooses.
The main appeal of this strategy for me is its excellent manabase and the unique use of Faeries alongside Gilded Drake to tie the opponent up fast before using Standstill to lock them away. This deck certainly misses Mental Misstep, but hey—can’t have everything.