This has been an interesting experiment.  Normally when I build a new deck, it gets put into the rotation and gradually refined over the course of several months.  In this case, however, I’ve been “testing” this thing fairly aggressively, and it’s helped me figure out a few things.  (Foreshadowing!)

Let me start at the end and work backwards: here are the changes I’ve made so far.

Gravitational Shift –>EldraziMonument

Miscalculation–>Cryptic Command

Surrakar Spellblade–>Coastal Piracy

Leering Emblem–>Ixidron

Grand Architect–>Trade Routes

Sphinx Bone Wand–>Compulsion

Treasure Mage–>Eyes of the watcher

And here’s why:

Gravitational Shift –>EldraziMonument

In practice, Shift seems awesome.  However, in actually playing the thing there were very few times when I actually wanted to play the thing.  One of the things I’ve realized about this deck is that it is less a deck that just pumps out a huge army of Drakes for the win as it is a deck that gains incremental advantage and eventually pumps out a decent sized army of Drakes for the win.  The typical pattern that happens is Talrand gets played early, generates me some chump blockers and then gets Wrathed; after this, he gets played again after I have set up enough to actually do stuff.  The prospect of pumping everyone else’s flyers while I was waiting to get him back online was enough of a disincentive that I cut Shift for Monument, which seems more likely to draw hate but also seems more relevant.

Miscalculation–>Cryptic Command

Miscalculation is one of my pet cards from my days of playing Legacy (back when Legacy was, ummmmmm, different.) Turns out it’s EDH terrible.  Oh hey, Cryptic Command!

Surrakar Spellblade–>Coastal Piracy

I always knew that Spellblade wasn’t going to last, but I figured this was my best chance to try to wedge him into something.  Turns out he’s as bad as I expected, based on the sheer number of hoops you have to jump through before he does anything.  The most value I got out of this guy before cutting him was that one time when I pitched him to Force of Will.  Coastal Piracy, meanwhile, is the same effect except that it will actually do something.  Awesome!

Leering Emblem–>Ixidron

Leering Emblem was another card that seemed cute, but never did anything in practice.  I never had a situation where I wanted to cast it, and it’s probably just strictly worst than about forty-five other equipments; I intentionally wanted to make this deck less about playing Sword of Value and Card Advantage, so I cut it.  Ixidron was a card that was featured heavily in Mono-Blue Morphs, so it slotted right in here, with the added benefit of annoying the Hell out of people (Foreshadowing!)

Grand Architect–>Trade Routes

Grand Architect was a cute idea I had when I was under the impression that this thing would be pumping out a huge army of dudes.  Turns out Grand Architect is decent, but since the artifact suite is kinda lacking (and – SPOILER! – about to get smaller) this seemed like a reasonable cut.  Slotted in its place was Trade Routes, which is there to address the problem of cantriping into lands (which I did a lot of.)  I suppose another answer to this would be to run less lands, but since I am uncomfortable with running less than 37 lands in anything, this is my currently fix.  Well, this and…

Sphinx Bone Wand–>Compulsion

Let’s do this one backwards, shall we.  Compulsion was the other half of the “discard useless crap” plan.  I wish it cost one blue to activate, although I realize that would be pretty silly if it did.  Sphinx-Bone Wand initially seemed like an awesome card for this deck, until I noticed the same thing about it that everyone else has noticed about it. 
Yes, this thing costs seven.  No, I’m not running some bizarro Mono-Blue ramp thing.  Goodbye.

Treasure Mage–>Eyes of the Watcher

Treasure Mage went out because it was mainly there to find Sphinx-Bone Wand, and since he then required a minimum of nine mana to go active…yeah.  Eyes of the Watcher is one of those cards that I’ve always thought was awesome even while acknowledging that it is probably not very good.  It’s currently slotted in here, gaining me minimal value and peacocking madly.  Further testing necessary!

So what happened?

The first actual game I played with this thing was at EDH night at Mr. P’s against Andrew and Kendra.  Talrand got me some early value in the form of providing chump blockers, and I played a bunch of cantrips to filter my way through my deck.  Talrand got Wrathed eventually, and the game went on for a while before I was able to stick Cast Through Time. 
Good lord.  Here’s how the rest of that game went:

My turn: land, go.

Andrew does whatever.

Kendra does whatever.

Kendra’s EOT: cantrip, drake, draw, cantrip, drake, draw, cantrip, drake, draw, cantrip, drake, draw, cantrip, drake, draw.

My upkeep: cantrip, drake, draw, cantrip, drake, draw, cantrip, drake, draw, cantrip, drake, draw, cantrip, drake, draw.

My turn: land, go.

Won that one.  After that, I retired the deck for the evening and proceeded to enjoy some tasty dranx and switched over to playing three-color Smut. 

Lesson: Cast Through Time is bonkers.

The following Monday, Asa and I played a few heads-up games with his Animar deck.  In the first, I tabled a Stormtide Leviathan which was turning off his huge army of dudes before he ripped a removal spell and killed the shit out of me.

Lesson: I have no mass removal.

In the second, I stuck an early Talrand and made a bunch of dudes while countering a few relevant things.  This game was much more archetypal and effective, which means it wasn’t particularly interesting.

Lesson: Sometimes your Talrand deck is just a Talrand deck.

Then we started our actual games for the night, and I ended up in a four-player with Asa, Shawn, and a new guy playing Mono-Black.  I don’t remember he exact sequence of events, other than I played an early Extraplanar Lens (an EDH first for me, and I’ve been playing this format for like five years!) and at some point I stuck a Leyline of Flash, and then I had twenty cards in my hand, and then I had a bunch of Drakes, and then I overloaded Cyclonic Rift, and then, oh crap, everyone is checking their phones and/or pulling out their trade binders.

Lesson: I’m that guy.  Dammit.

As you may recall, the whole point of this thing was to make a mono-blue deck that doesn’t make everyone hate life.  Shucks.

After winning that one, I put this thing away until Wednesday, when I trotted it back out for our Wednesday night league game.  I don’t recall all the specifics of this one either, other than there was a point when I had Talrand and like four Drakes out and I cast Ixidron.  This was notable for the effect it had on Asa, who is probably the only member of our playgroup who aspires to play more “cutthroat” games of EDH.  (I totally respect his point of view, even though I am constantly trying to talk him out of slotting Palinchron into stuff…)  And you know what?  For some reason, Ixidron made him hate his life.  Yes, you read that correctly; I have managed to build a Mono-Blue deck that everyone (and I mean everyone) finds profoundly annoying.

Curses.

For the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to pretend that didn’t happen, and I’m going to keep working on this thing, as I rather enjoy playing it.  So what happens next?

Well, as was suggested, I probably need to figure out how to slot in Inundate.  This deck currently has no mass removal (other than Cyclonic Rift) and has a distinct lack of any real removal at all.  I’m hesitant to get too much into this territory, as I’m willing to regard this as a deck that is going to rely on other players to get rid of stuff some of the time, and I want to keep this deck focused on its current angle of playing a lot of cantrips.  This also means I’m consciously not slotting in stuff like Knowledge Exploitation (to find Wrath effects).

The other two places I’m trying to diverge from the “normal” mono-blue plan is with steal effects and extra turn effects.  I don’t want to run stuff like Bribery and Blatant Thievery, as I want to stick with my plan of cheap spells instead of simply going mono-blue GoodStuff.  This deck would be about 15 times better if I slotted in Time Warp effects, but I fear that I’m already on the verge of boring people to death, and taking additional turns will not make that better.

So here’s where I turn it back to you.  What do you think so far?  What final changes should I make?  Any hidden gems I’m missing?  Hit me up in the comments.

Thanks again for all your help with this.   Even though right now everyone hates poor old Mr. P, I’m confident that this deck is headed in the right direction.

XO,

->Mr. P

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Mr. P has been playing Magic for a long time.  Mr P’s deck ideas have influenced no-one, ever.  Mr. P is a flaming scumbag, and you should trade him your crap foils right now.