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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Oct 11 2022 9:59am
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Many years ago, Blue Spire Control (named after the main win condition of Spire Golem) was the go to control deck for quite some time. However, all these years later and after many sets being printed we now see a very wide variety of control decks. Today I want to discuss if Tolarian Terror is enough to bring Mono Blue Control back to its former glory.

The list we will be looking at today got 1st place in the Pauper Challenge that was posted on 9/25/2022 and was piloted by the player AllEyezOnMe (PCT misses you bud). Alright, lets go back in time and see if the Mono Blue Terror can rise again! Let’s rock.


Delver of Secrets – We didn’t have Delver back in the day, but we do now and might as well take advantage of it since it can just win games all by itself. I am not a big fan of Delver these days, but I can’t argue that much since we all know how powerful it can be in the early game.

Augur of Bolas – Since you lack removal, this creature is actually important and I can’t believe I am saying that. Augur is here more for its early ability to hold down the defenses than for anything else. However, if it gets you a card, more power to it.

Spire Golem – I love this card so much. It blocks well, hits fairly well and will only cost a minimum of 3 mana to cast. Later in the game it will be free to cast and it becomes even better.

Tolarian Terror – One of my favorite win conditions for the format. This creature hits hard and can cost almost nothing to cast making it a great win condition to rely on as you can cast it for 1 or 2 mana and then leave up all the counter magic you can.

Counterspell – If you could play 5 of these you would.

Force Spike and Spell Pierce – I suppose both of these cards are good in different situations and can just catch your opponent off guard. I am not a fan personally of either, but in my opinion I think Force Spike is a better card since it can counter anything. Moving forward it might not be good to run these at the numbers they are in this list as people will know about them now. Keep that in mind moving forward.

Arcane Denial – I kind of like this one because it draws you a card but it also lets your opponent draw 2 cards. This is basically the 5th copy of Counterspell. You could turn it into whatever type of counter magic you want. I personally like Exclude or Prohibit but Arcane Denial can be really good at helping you against Affinity.

Lose Focus – This is a great counter spell that is good in the early game and can become a bit better as the game goes on. Depends on the matchup and situation.

Shore Up – I hope this card becomes a bit of a staple. For 1 mana you get to counter removal and give your creature a tiny boost in power. That 1 extra point could make a big difference.

Brainstorm– I am not a fan of this card here. However, it does help flip Delver and you do play 4 copies of Thought Scour along side 4 copies of Augur of Bolas. With all that, I don’t think its that unreasonable and could be very good.

Thought Scour – This helps turbo out Terror and helps make Brainstorm better. I like it personally. Just don’t be like me and blind mill your best cards constantly.

Frantic Inventory – This has great synergy with what your deck is doing and can draw you a lot of cards. I like it a lot in this version of Mono Blue.

Snap and Echoing Truth – Here is some interaction with the battlefield. While Snap can save one of your creatures and let you do other things in the same turn, Truth can be a board wipe against some decks such as Token strategies.

The mana is straightforward and to the point. An old school count of 18 basic Island. Nothing more is needed in my opinion as you want to be fast. No messing around with gimmick lands unnecessarily.

The Sideboard

Annul – In this deck where it is just Mono Blue, Annul is a good answer for Bogles and Affinity as you want to be very proactive.

Artful Dodge – This deck doesn’t really clear the board all that all. Against archetypes where the battlefield will be bogged down and you are unable to get in for damage, this little spell can help you win the game with a Terror on board.

Blue Elemental Blast – Do not worry red decks, you don’t need spells to resolve to win the game.

Curfew – Not the best, but you will need answers to something like Bogles.

Piracy Charm – This can do a lot of work in multiple matchups but the deck it really shrines against is Faeries. It can be a kill spell as it gives -1 for toughness, it can make your Terror unable to be blocked thanks to Islandwalk or the discard a card portion can also come in handy.

Spell Pierce – If you are up against spell heavy decks where they tap out a lot, a second copy of Spell Pierce can be extremely helpful.

Verdict and Final Thoughts

I miss the old days of when Spire Control was the go to control deck. Sadly we are far past that point in Pauper history, but this deck definitely comes close.

I love what this deck is doing. I love how resilient it is while also being extremely fast to end games. Tolarian Terror has shown that it is a force to be reckoned with and it (along with the initiative ban) may just be the savior Pauper players needed to bring blue control decks back to the top.

I have a few changes I would make moving forward for personal reasons. I am not a fan of spell pierce and I personally feel that creatures resolving is what you want to prevent most. I would turn it into a second copy of Force Spike. In the sideboard I would also remove Spell Pierce for another copy of Annul to help better fight Affinity or Bogles. Other than that, I think this is great place to start with this archetype.

Do I think you should play this deck? I think this deck is great, but you have to ask yourself, what are the advantages of playing Mono Blue over Dimir? You have an easier manabase to work with when playing Mono Blue and this version also has Delver of Secrets to end games a bit quicker as well, however I do not think Delver ends games all that much quicker than a Gurmag Angler coming down quickly. Dimir however, you get to play removal, Edict effects and board wipes. This gives you breathing room by being able to let problematic creatures resolve.

Both archetypes have pros and cons. I think Dimir has a better Affinity matchup and is better against aggro in general. I also think Dimir is slightly better against the cascade decks, but I think Mono Blue is slightly better against Burn while also having a decent Affinity matchup and it should be able to handle aggro as well. At the end of the day, it all comes down to 2 things. Play style and the meta you expect to play against. Both Dimir Terror and Mono Blue Terror are great options for both leagues and the challenges. It is up to the player to decide which one they feel better with going into said league or challenge.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!