Modern Mono Blue Prism Ring
In all of Standard’s history, there have been some odd control decks to say the least. Some of which you wouldn’t even always call control decks. One of these was Mono-U Prism, which gained in popularity (if memory serves) some time after Eldritch Moon was printed.
The deck used Prism Ring to gain life and quickly get out of reach of the format’s faster decks, using cards like Engulf the Shore and Jace’s Sanctum to help establish their advantage. Unfortunately, the deck has only seen a few Modern ports, and for good reason: Modern is a much faster and all-around different format than EMN standard. The deck doesn’t stand quite as well as its Standard counterpart, but can still put up a fight a surprising amount of the time.
The deck, like I said, is pretty odd. Admittedly, some of these choices are probably sub-optimal, but I’ve never really seen an attempt at this deck in modern that I liked, and so I didn’t have much to build off of. There are some out there, but not much of anything up-to-date or that I wanted to pilot. To fit in with Modern’s blazing-fast metagame, I’ve opted (pun absolutely intended) for a faster list, hoping to win with Thing in the Ice rather than Part the Waterveil, while still keeping a shell that’s controlling at heart. Snapcaster Mage helps us reuse spells, triggers our Prisms, and of course can attack and block. Vendilion Clique gives us some hand disruption, a flash blocker, and a flying attacker. Thing in the Ice is our main win condition, wiping the board clean for us to swing in with a 7/8 unblocked and also giving us back our Snapcasters and Cliques for reuse.
Our spells are here to maximize value from Prisms while also helping to flip Thing. Opt and Serum Visions are two of the best cantrips in Modern, both digging us through our deck to find our answers. Engulf the Shore is a fantastic instant-speed board wipe in mono-blue, costing just four mana but clearing away just about anything on the other side of the table. Boomerang can slow the opponent down, forcing them to recast their important creatures, or even just setting them back a land. This is more of a tempo card, and while I’m not completely sold on it yet, I do like it more than something like Mana Leak. Day’s Undoing allows us to draw a brand new hand for just three mana, getting us back any spells we’ve already used this game. Prism Ring and Tablet of the Guilds are the two cheapest ways to gain life for all of our blue spells, allowing us to gain more life than a mono-blue deck has any right to. The main reason for not using Diamond Mare over Tablet of the Guilds is that even though Tablet has the weird choose two colors bit, Diamond Mare is much easier for many decks to remove since it’s both an artifact and a creature. Mark of Eviction is probably one of the weirdest cards here, but it’s included for a good reason. Mark keeps creatures off the board enough that they can’t cause too much of a headache, and it gives us a blue spell to cast every single turn, triggering our Prism effects. At one mana, the card plays a lot better than it should. Search for Azcanta is an obvious include for the sake of early-game card quality, and late-game card advantage, and Time of Ice gives us and extra mini-wipe that take creatures out slowly. Our mana base consists mostly of Islands for Engulf the Shore, and a single Field of Ruin for greedy decks.
The sideboard has a lot of fun, unique cards that you really only get by constraining yourself to being mono-blue. Merfolk Trickster is very good against many creatures in the format, either by shutting down their static abilities (like Goblin Electromancer) or safely eating attacking creatures that would otherwise be unprofitable to block (like Tarmogoyf). Pongify can help deal with problematic creatures that bouncing can’t deal with, and Vapor Snag acts as something of a tempo play to accelerate our clock while clearing out blockers. An extra copy of Boomerang helps if we want to lean even heavier on the tempo plan, Echoing Truth can clear away a variety of problematic permanents, and Hurkyl’s Recall can fight off artifact decks. Mana Leak and Cryptic Command can help the deck transition into a slightly more controlling deck, and Evacuation is there for when the creatures are just too big for Engulf to deal with.
- You often want to play Vendilion Clique during the opponent’s draw step after they draw. This allows you more information about what your opponent has to work with during their turn.
- Boomerang, Mark of Eviction, and Vapor Snag can be used on your own creatures to trigger Prism effects and gain more life in a pinch.
- Day’s Undoing is a great card draw spell in this deck, but don’t be afraid to just not cast it. Sometimes your opponent will have their only answer already gone, in which case giving them the opportunity to draw it again is definitely not a good idea.
Extra Spice/Potential Includes:
Some cards could still definitely fit in this list, but for one reason or another I didn’t quite like them. These are a handful of cards to consider if you want to put your own spin on the deck, some of which might make the deck better, and some of which might just make it more fun.
- Spreading Seas cantrips, triggers Prism effects, and can help slow down Tron, Valakut, and other decks with greedy manabases.
- Jace’s Sanctum is a pretty good card, but for four mana isn’t quite what we want to be doing. It makes our spells cheaper, helps us dig, but overall leaves me feeling underwhelmed.
- Vedalken Shackles is great if you just need to grab a single big creature from the opponent to win. Sometimes though you just won’t have any valid targets, and not getting any enters-the-battlefield effects makes this not worth trying to squeeze in in my opinion.
- Part the Waterveil is good if you want to stay true to the deck’s roots, but is a lot harder to pull off in Modern than it was in Standard. At nine mana, it would take almost half of our lands just to cast this for its Awaken cost.
- Dissipation Field has the potential to be okay, but at four mana just doesn’t quite make the cut in my eyes. It can definitely be a nuisance for decks that rely on delve creatures or tokens though.
While the deck definitely has room for improvement, it feels really good considering what it is: A callback to one of my favorite standard decks in recent years. There’s a lot of wiggle room in this list, and maybe there are some cool blue cards that fit well in here that I never even considered! Try the deck out, tweak it as you see fit, and hopefully you’ll fall in love with this list like I did.
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