I typically try to jump between a variety of decks and formats when I play Magic. I always play some Limited, some Historic, and some Standard, and usually even other formats like Brawl, Commander, and special Arena events. However, the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt has changed all of this with just one card. It has been a few weeks now since Delver of Secrets was added to Arena but I have been playing just one deck this entire time: Mono-Blue Tempo in Historic. Mono-Blue was my favourite deck in Standard back in the days of Dominaria and Ixalan, and when Autumn Burchett won the very first Mythic Championship with their take on the deck I was thrilled. I played it in the Arena ladder for months, and I believe it was the first deck that took me to Mythic rank. Below is Autumn’s perfectly tuned version of Mono Blue from Standard.

2019 Mono-Blue Tempo

by Autumn Burchett


Today I’ll be sharing the deck that I have built and tuned over the last few weeks. Historic has been a pretty fun format recently, with a wide variety of decks and lots of players bringing their own brews in the ranked ladder. My tempo deck and I have faced off against decks such as Dinosaurs, Affinity, Triumphant Reckoning Combo, and Mardu Pyromancer. Although the metagame is currently very wide, it hasn’t been too hard to brew something that can answer the field. Most of the interactive cards in blue are counterspells which are good in any matchup, and even the bounce spells like Fading Hope can be applied creatively in control matchups to avoid Lightning Helixes and other removal. 

Mono-Blue Tempo

by Dawson Reynolds

MTG Arena decklist

3 Tempest Djinn
3 Brineborn Cutthroat
3 Brazen Borrower
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Consider
2 Quench
4 Jwari Disruption
4 Fading Hope
4 Memory Lapse
4 Archmage’s Charm
2 Sea Gate Restoration
15 Island
4 Curious Obsession
2 Siren Stormtamer
2 Spell Pierce

3 Merfolk Trickster
1 Pact of Negation
1 Curiosity
2 Dive Down
2 Spell Pierce
2 Essence Capture
1 Search for Azcanta
1 Test of Talents
2 Grafdigger’s Cage


This deck contains four playsets of cards that are new to Historic, and each one is quite exciting. Delver of Secrets has been very impressive for me, and I have been surprised with how consistently it has been able to flip. Archmage’s Charm is the most versatile card in the deck and often packs a punch in the midgame. The mode that is often most impactful is when it is able to steal a relevant one-drop (or zero-drop, like when I stole an opponent’s Ornithopter which was loaded up with an All That Glitters). Fading Hope is a card I didn’t even know I was missing. I have always enjoyed playing Unsummon in my tempo decks, although it was usually pretty bad due to the loss of card advantage. The upgrade that Fading Hope provides makes me feel great about including it and also really helps with flipping Delver of Secrets. Lastly, Consider is just a slight upgrade over Opt, and a great way to improve the consistency of the deck while adding to the spell count for Delver.

Another key piece of this deck is Curious Obsession. The blue enchantment is still one of the most scary one-drops in Historic, and it works wonders for this deck. The best opener for tempo today is the same as it was years ago, one-drop into Obsession plus Spell Pierce on turn two. Delver of Secrets not always being a flyer can be a problem occasionally but the fact that it is a 4/3 once it has flipped is well worth it. Nothing feels better than ending games in just a handful of turns while being able to hold up counterspells the entire time. Curious Obsession also works well with the other creatures in this deck. Siren Stormtamer is played largely to support Obsession, while Tempest Djinn is an absolute beast when enchanted. Even Brineborn Cutthroat is good with Curious Obsession because it is often large enough it can disregard blockers. As long as you are careful and are able to protect it, Curious Obsession will win games. 

In my eyes, the biggest draw to playing Delver of Secrets in a mono-blue shell instead of Dimir, Izzet, or another option is the mana base. By playing mono-blue we can easily include Jwari Disruption and Sea Gate Restoration and take the number of actual Islands down to just 15. This is a huge part of why Delver of Secrets can flip consistently, which is very important to closing games and gaining an advantage. I have looked at builds of the deck using black for Thoughtseize and removal but while that does add some power, it doesn’t seem to be worth it when the mono-blue version is so streamlined. 

The best part of playing this deck is how much control you have over how games play out. The deck combines the instant-speed play and permission spells of control decks with the ability to go on the offense and dictate the tempo that aggressive decks have. This is also why tempo decks are often considered to be the most skill-testing decks to play. If you don’t have a lot of experience with tempo decks I would recommend playing some low-stakes games with the deck before taking it into ranked or competitive play. Games will often be won or lost based on one of your decisions. There is no other deck where I so often win by hitting an opponent for exactly lethal damage, a lot of the time on the turn before they would have defeated me. The trickery and evasion of blue lends itself to stealing games and leaving opponents frustrated, feeling like there was nothing they could have done even when they were so close.



I don’t have a perfect picture of the current metagame in Historic, as it has been a little while since I have participated in a tournament, but there are a number of decks I run into much more often in the ranked ladder. I have built the sideboard mainly to target this handful of decks, and provide options when facing off against either control or aggro. Arclight Phoenix, Elves, Jeskai Control, and Auras seem to be some of the most popular archetypes right now so below I’ll provide a quick sideboard guide for each one.


Vs Arclight Phoenix

This matchup can be tricky as Phoenix decks are very powerful now and they can win through a few counterspells. Our bounce spells match up decently against Sprite Dragons and Arclight Phoenixes but in general their flying creatures can be a problem for Mono-Blue’s flying-based offence. Sideboarding is important, and Grafdigger’s Cages, Merfolk Tricksters, and Dive Down go a long way in making the matchup close. 

+2 Grafdigger’s Cage

+2 Dive Down

+1 Test of Talents

+1 Essence Capture

+2 Merfolk Trickster

-2 Archmage’s Charm

-2 Memory Lapse

-2 Siren Stormtamer

-2 Quench


Vs. Elves

Games against Elves will often feel decided by turn three or four. The matchup is all about keeping them from exploding onto the board and trying to make a reasonable offensive with fliers. The games will usually end in a race between a full board of elves and a few blue fliers. Merfolk Tricksters can do a great job of buying an extra turn and trading with one of their creatures, which is sometimes all that will be needed.

+3 Merfolk Trickster

+2 Essence Capture

-2 Spell Pierce

-2 Memory Lapse

-1 Consider


Vs. Jeskai Control

Control is usually a pretty good matchup for tempo decks and this is no exception. Curious Obsession backed up by counterspells is the usual path to victory, but just playing creatures will work too. The key is to not be too aggressive and trying to always have the counterspell for their planeswalkers, board wipes, and possible Magma Opuses. Sideboarding improves the matchup even more, with a number of focused counterspells replacing Fading Hope and a copy of Curiosity providing a little extra power. 

+2 Spell Pierce

+1 Test of Talents

+1 Pact of Negation

+1 Curiosity

+2 Dive Down

+1 Search for Azcanta

-4 Fading Hope

-1 Quench

-2 Memory Lapse

-1 Tempest Djinn


Vs. Auras

This might be Mono-Blue’s best matchup. Fading Hope and Brazen Borrower are both just as good as removal against Kor Spiritdancer and friends, and chaining together bounce spells while getting any sort of offence going will usually win the game. After sideboarding we gain access to Merfolk Trickster and Essence Capture which also both help shut down their gameplan.

+3 Merfolk Trickster

+2 Essence Capture

-1 Archmage’s Charm

-2 Quench

-2 Memory Lapse


Find me on twitter: @dreynolds2727

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