Battle for Zendikar Limited Set Redo – Blue

See also: Battle for Zendikar Limited Set Redo – White

And the original set reviews!

Ratings Scale

5.0: The best of the best. (Citadel Siege. Wingmate Roc. Dragonlord Atarka.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Tragic Arrogance. Whirler Rogue. Icefall Regent. Hangarback Walker.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Abbot of Keral Keep. Jhessian Thief. Ultimate Price.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Separatist Voidmage. Fiery Impulse. Epic Confrontation.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Deadbridge Shaman. Skyraker Giant. Watercourser.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Read the Bones. Silumgar Butcher. Dragon-Scarred Bear.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Throwing Knife. Chandra’s Fury. Artful Maneuver.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Vastwood Gorger. Aeronaut Tinkerer. Cobblebrute.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Thornbow Archer. Deep-Sea Terror. Akroan Jailer.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Vandalize. Vine Snare. Congregate.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Fascination. Infinite Obliteration.)

Benthic Infiltrator

Original Rating: 3.0

In the case of Benthic Infiltrator , you are getting a great deal even if you don’t care at all about devoid or ingest. 3 mana for a 1/4 isn’t embarrassing, and this being unblockable makes it a fine card by itself. It blocks well, sets up Processors nicely, and is the exact way I want to enable these other cards. I like not paying for the privilege of having my process/devoid combos active, and Benthic Infiltrator is one way to accomplish that. Once we get to Mist Intruder we are putting these synergies to the test, but with Benthic Infiltrator it’s a pretty safe bet that you will want to play it even if you don’t have any additional incentives.


Updated Rating: 3.5

The original assessment stands, with the update mostly being that this is the real deal, and worth picking very highly.

Coastal Discovery

Original Rating: 2.5

I’ve discovered my new favorite card. Even I can’t argue that 4-mana Divination is good, but 4-mana Divination that also can be cast as a 6-mana 3/3 Mulldrifter is a different story altogether. Granted, the 3/3 (Edit: 4/4, though it doesn’t change the rating – LSV) isn’t purely free, as you give up a land for it, but the value proposition here is real. I don’t think you are going to want a ton of these, but having one in your deck does smooth out bad draws and give you some good late-game punch. I also like the idea of playing 18 lands and a decent amount of good awaken spells, as you can cut down on both mana screw and mana flood alike.


Updated Rating: 3.0

I’m not sure how this slipped by, except that I may have been worried about my natural affinity for this type of card leading to bias. Either way, this card is good, though not insane.

Coralhelm Guide

Original Rating: 2.5

This is the kind of 2-drop I like. On turn 2, it does what you want a 2-drop to do, which is get a couple points in or trade for their early drop. Later, it’s a real threat, and added together you get a card that isn’t bad at any point in the game. Granted, it’s rarely going to be absurd, but in some games this will be the deciding factor, and it could even be the card you most want to draw. 


Updated Rating: 1.5

Blue decks don’t want Allies or random non-devoid non-flying cards, and Coralhelm Guide just doesn’t fit in many decks. It’s a fine card, but the format isn’t kind to it.

Dampening Pulse

Original Rating: 3.5

No Rating Change

Nothing to note here except that I still think this card is a little underrated.

Halimar Tidecaller

Original Rating: 2.5

When you miss with this card, you really miss, and in some decks it’s just a vanilla 2/3 for 3. However, there are enough good awaken cards that most decks will end up with a couple targets, at which point this generates a lot of value. The textbox may be strange (imagine seeing this outside of the context of this set), but if you can bring back a spell even half the time this card is great. It also gives your awakened lands flying, which is an extra bit of value on an already-appealing card. The later in the draft, the more information you will have about cards like this, and I’m looking to have at least 2 and ideally 4 or more awaken cards before I include this.


Updated Rating: 3.5

This card is amazing, and I basically never pass it. It gets back a powerful spell, gives multiple creatures flying, and is a reasonably-costed option all by itself. Halimar Tidecaller is much, much better than I gave it credit for originally.

Mist Intruder

Original Rating: 1.5

This is one of the hardest cards in the set to evaluate, and how good this ends up being will really speak to how well-supported one of the major themes of the set is. It’s also a case where the rating doesn’t tell the whole story, though I of course would always recommend reading what I write rather than look at just the rating. The people who are going to do that aren’t reading this, of course, so I guess I have free reign to say whatever I want about them, with no penalty. I won’t squander that power just yet, but I’ll keep it in mind.

As for Mist Intruder: My best guess is that you play this around half the time, which is why I gave it a 1.5. When you do play it, it will likely be an important piece of your deck, and when you don’t, it’s because you don’t have any processors or cards that care about colorless creatures. That makes the rating a little deceptive, like I said, because the value is highly variable. I’d love if this card was awesome, and I hope the processor/ingest deck is a real thing. I’m not going to start by first-picking Mist Intruders, though I will take strong processors early and try and pick these up later. 


Updated Rating: 2.5

This is going to get lost on those who just look at ratings and move on, but my original rating of 1.5 isn’t that far from where Mist Intruder landed, given what I said about it. You don’t always play Mist Intruder, and it is good when you want it. I mostly want to upgrade the rating to reflect that it’s a crucial part of the best deck (devoid/ingest), making it a higher priority than I thought it’d be.

Murk Strider

Original Rating: 2.5

Speaking of strong processors, Murk Strider is a decent payoff for exiling some of your opponent’s cards. A 3/2 Man-o’-War is a big game, so I’ll happily play this even if it only triggers some of the time. Unlike Mind Raker, for example, this is a processor that has enough of an upside when you get there that I’m willing to risk it not being on when I draw it.

If it’s near the end of the draft and you don’t have any ways to enable it, this is quite mediocre, but early in the draft it looks like a card you can take and end up playing more often than not. 


Updated Rating: 1.5

If you swap this and Mist Intruder, you end up in about the right place. Murk Strider is a fine card in the right deck, but it’s way more common that you need more ingesters than it is that you need more Processors, and your pick order should reflect that.

Tide Drifter

Original Rating: 2.0

Giving a point of toughness to your team isn’t bad, though a 2-mana 0/5 isn’t quite a full card by itself. You should end up with enough affected creatures that you usually run it, but it’s not nearly as exciting as Ruination Guide


Updated Rating: 3.0

Turns out this is as exciting as Ruination Guide. Blocking early is a big part of that, and Tide Drifter does a lot of work for very little mana.

Top 5 Blue Commons

5. Tightening Coils
4. Mist Intruder
3. Clutch of Currents
2. Benthic Infiltrator
1. Eldrazi Skyspawner

Skyspawner surprises nobody by remaining on top, but Infiltrator and Mist Intruder have moved up in the rankings. Tightening Coils is a card I’ve liked in every blue deck, so even though I don’t think the overall rating changed much, I find myself taking it earlier than before.

Black and red are next, with devoid/ingest certainly leading to some ratings changes, as that deck really did end up being worth going for.

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