The Magic: The Gathering Standard rotation is just around the corner and with it will come major changes to the Standard metagame, especially in Blue.
The purpose behind rotation in Standard is to keep the metagame fresh and entertaining. Come fall of 2019, MTG will once again see a major rotation take place. Leaving Standard are Ixlan, Rivals of Ixlan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019, while Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, and M20 remain. Joining the four remaining sets is Throne of Eldraine, releasing on Oct. 4.
The fall rotation in MTG is that of a love/hate relationship. Take for example Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Even the most casual MTG players have at some time been whooped by Teferi five. And yet, it’s one of the most popular cards played on a competitive level.
Most archetypes will survive rotation in some way or form, however, the overall power levels of those decks could vastly change. Take, for example, cards like Spell Pierce, which can easily be replaced by a similar card, such as Crush Decent. The difference, however, is that Crush Decent costs four mana while Spell Pierce only costs one mana.
Rotation is real and it’s coming, affecting jank builds and competitive. There isn’t a way to avoid it, however, players can be prepared for slots that need to be filled.
Control reached new heights of power within the last rotation, containing top competitive decks such as Esper Control, Esper Hero, Dimir Control, and Jeskai Control. Within Blue, there are several cards essential to most Control decks.
Search for Azcanta
What will Blue players do without the legendary enchantment that lets you preview the top of your library while providing blue mana after transformation? For Control players, Search for Azcanta is like having ice cream with every meal.
In Blue, the only card that comes close to achieving what Search for Azcanta does is Narset, Parter of Veils. The M20 artifact Mystic Forge is somewhat close, but it still doesn’t compare.
Top decks that use Search for Azcanta include UW Control, Simic Nexus, Azorious Control, and Esper Control.
Blink of an Eye
Blink of an Eye is a low-cost mana card that returns non-land permanents to an opponent’s hand, and if kicked for an additional two mana, has card draw. For Control decks, Blink slows your opponent’s tempo down while increasing yours (or buys you time).
Callous Dismissal (WotS) also returns a non-land permanent to an opponent’s hand but lacks the card draw. And there’s Flood of Tears from M20 which returns all non-land permanents with a bonus but costs six mana as opposed to the two with Blink of an Eye.
Top decks that utilize Blink of an Eye include Simic Flash, Simic Nexus, and Izzet Phoenix.
Nexus of Fate
Other than big Teferi, Nexus of Fate is a card many in the MTG community are happy to see leaving Standard. The overpowered card had several decks built around it such as Simic Nexus, Simic Ramp, and Simic Mass Manipulation.
Thankfully for non-Blue players, there isn’t another card that can even compare to Nexus of Fate. For those who love Blue, however, many a tear will be shed come fall.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Thanks to the addition of Teferi, Time Raveler, the impact of Terferi five leaving rotation won’t be a complete meltdown. But don’t underestimate the impact it’ll have as Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is one of the most use planeswalkers in Standard at the moment.
You’ll find Teferi, Hero of Dominaria in UW Control, Bant Ramp, Esper Control, Esper Hero, Superfriends, Azorius Control, and Jeskai. For as much hate as big Teferi gets, he also receives equal amounts of love and respect.
Aggro and Midrange
Midrange decks love Blue for the control aspect. Being able to control tempo while having aggro is a wonderful tool against powerful archetypes in Standard.
Aggro, however, is what Mono-Blue needed to be all along. With recent additions to Standard, Mono-Blue has once against risen among top competitive decks. But the ride might be short-lived due to the fall rotation.
Able to take control of an opponent’s creature, Entrancing Melody is a sideboard favorite in Mono-Blue Aggro. In comparison to it is Mass Manipulation, although the cost for Entrancing Melody is cheaper.
One of the most used cards in a variety of Blue decks, Opt will be sorely missed come rotation. Only costing one mana to cast, Opt is a favorite in decks like Izzet Phoenix, Esper Control, Azorious Control, and UW Control.
Opt has appeared in other sets before, so there is a chance players could see a version of it or something similar in Throne of Eldraine.
Flash decks love the Merfolk Trickster, along with Mono-Blue Aggro. Costing only two mana and being able to disrupt your opponent with a creature is what Mono-Blue is all about. Dungeon Geists from M20 is somewhat similar but lacks Flash and a cheap mana cost. It does, however, have flying.
While not as popular in the meta as it was a year ago, Siren Stormtamer will still have an impact when it rotates out. Decks that use Siren Stormtamer include Mono-Blue Aggro and Tempo and WU Aggro.