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Zendikar Set Review – Blue

The reviewing continues, and this time I get to tackle Blue. With the rotation of Lorwyn, I had hoped for something to replace [card]Cryptic Command[/card] and its cohorts, but that didn’t happen. I’m certainly not sad about Faeries leaving, but I would have liked just a little more action for control decks. Creature combat is all well and good, but it feels like Control is getting slowly phased out, which does make me a little sad. On the other hand, Blue looks pretty insane for Limited, so I might have to settle for that!

As before, here are the point scales I am using:

Constructed

5.0: Multi-format All-Star. Bitterblossom. Tarmogoyf.

4.0: Format staple. Mutavault. Baneslayer Angel.

3.0: Archetype staple. Mulldrifter. Scion of Oona.

2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Fracturing Gust. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this “maybe” category, although explanation of why is obviously important)

1.0 It has seen play once. One with Nothing. (I believe it was “tech” vs Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Limited

5.0: I will always play this card. Period.

4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.

4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.

3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card’s color.

3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I’m playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)

2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I’m playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)

2.0: If I’m playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)

1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)

1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)

0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I’ll never start it. (10%)

0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%)

 

Aether Figment 

Constructed: 1

So, for five mana I can have a 3/3 unblockable or a Baneslayer Angel? I wanted to fit something with “figment of your imagination” in here, but I just couldn’t find a way.

Limited: 3.0

Reminiscent of Faerie Squadron, Figment trades Flying for unblockability, which is a little worse. Still, Squadron was insane, and that leaves Figment as quite solid. Even though you never want to run him out as a two-drop, if you have a ton of 5+ mana plays in hand, a 1/1 unblockable is certainly better than Faerie Squadron’s vanilla mode.

 

Archive Trap 

Constructed: 2

I know milling is terrible, and I know people try and fail to make it work at every turn, but Archive Trap is undeniably a powerful card. I do doubt that it will actually be good enough, but it can certainly threaten a fair amount of damage for very little mana. Perhaps Twincast, Trapmaker’s Snare, and Hedron Crab might end up providing a critical mass of milling effects at long last.

Limited: 0.0

Here is where the rating system is a bit misleading. I may rate this at 0, and for those just skimming the numbers (which makes no sense to me), that could give the wrong impression. However, there might be times where Archive Trap does exactly what you want, since if you are able to collect enough Hedron Crabs plus maybe a Snare, milling them out could actually work. Otherwise, this should never touch your deck.

 

Archmage Ascension 

Constructed: 1

If you are somehow able to draw multiple cards a turn for SIX turns, the game should be long over. The Ascension doesn’t even win you the game on the spot, as it requires you to spend more time drawing cards in order to benefit you! If there was an easy way to cheat counters on to this thing, it could be interesting, but any combination that does that is way too unwieldy to work in the real world. If you really want to be an Archmage that badly, I suggest hiring the services of a certain persistent fellow.

Limited: 0.0

The “draw 12 cards” problem is even more pronounced in Limited, since after all that business what more could you possibly need?

Caller of Gales

Constructed: 1

We are running out of time, so let’s move on to the next caller…

Limited: 1.0

I saw this guy quite a few times at the Prerelease, and I can’t say I was impressed. Blue decks don’t usually lack for fliers, and spending two mana and a card (since the 1/1 doesn’t do all that much) is a bit much for the privilege of jumping your random creatures. There are times when you might want to call some gales, but they will be few and far between, most likely in UR (Ruinous Minotaur aggro!) or in UG (any Green creature ever).

Cancel

Constructed: 2

Hasn’t happened yet, but it might at some point, especially since Cancel is apparently going to be in every set from now on. Maybe Wizards is taking the old strategy of “ban everything until Necro is good again, then ban Necropotence” and updating it to “print worse and worse Blue cards until Cancel is good, then stop reprinting Cancel“. In any case, I would like Cancel my subscription to this card, since seeing it in every pack I open is getting kind of old.

Limited: 2.5

2.5 may be a bit optimistic, considering how mediocre Cancel was in Shards, but there are some important differences between Shards and Zendikar. The mana in most decks should be much better, particularly when it comes to supporting double colored cards. In Shards, you almost never wanted to play cards that cost XX, since your mana was set up to play cards that cost XYZ. In Zendikar, double colored cards are fine, and I expect to run Cancel just about every time.

Cosi’s Trickster

Constructed: 3

The Trickster looks like it will actually make a splash in Eternal formats, since Merfolk is good, fetchlands and shuffling effects are prevalent, and Cursecatcher sucks. Mono-U Folk in Legacy should welcome a good one-drop, and BUG Fish in Vintage might be interested as well, even if the tribal synergies aren’t there. Lategame the Trickster isn’t a great draw, but played in the first few turns will net you a 3/3 without any work at all, which is more than acceptable.

Limited: 0.0

I can’t really think of a situation where I would be tricked into playing this in Limited.

Gomazoa

Constructed: 1

If you could use Gomazoa the turn you cast it, it would be at least marginally interesting, since it gets untargetable guys and all that. As is, this doesn’t really have a shot.

Limited: 3.0

Even the one turn delay doesn’t stop Gomazoa from being a good defensive card, and only the most absurdly aggressive Blue deck would even think about cutting it. Three toughness even means you can continually block a small guy if you don’t want to shuffle the ‘Zoa back in quite yet.

Hedron Crab

Constructed: 3

If Dredge is a good deck in Extended, I would be surprised if it doesn’t play with the Crab. Playing Crab then a fetchland is like dredging a Grave-Troll without really much hassle at all, and it works quite well with Life from the Loam. I doubt if anyone will get actually milled out by the Crab, but it seems like one of the better Dredge enablers available.

Limited: 0.0

Much like Archive Trap, Crab will be flat unplayable or an integral part of your deck. Luckily, it is absurdly easy to tell the two scenarios apart.

 

Into the Roil 

Constructed: 2

I know Cryptic Command, and you, sir, are no Cryptic Command. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Into the Roil found its way in to some Standard decks as a Repeal-type card. It being both cheap unkicked and not a loss of a card when kicked might provide enough utility for it to make the grade.

Limited: 3.0

If a utility card is possibly good enough for Constructed, it is almost always awesome in Limited. Into the Roil is no exception, and is sure to be a high pick for any Blue deck. It will be effective both offensively and defensively, and bouncing Equipment is sure to cause some nice blowouts.

Ior Ruin Expedition

Constructed: 2

It saddens me that I can’t just give this a “1”, but card draw has really hit rock bottom. If Courier’s Capsule is a consideration, this surely must be as well. The Expedition is a great two drop, but it gets worse and worse as the game drags on, and most decks that would be interested in this are sure to be long-game decks. Drawing Mulldrifter off the top when you were empty-handed with a ton of mana was awesome; this, not so much. It is like a much worse Ancestral Visions, since the payoff is significantly lower. The Quests actually remind me of Suspend in some unpleasant ways; I don’t like cards that are pretty awesome if you draw them at the right time and miserable later, since that just increases variance.

Limited: 3.0

Not really exciting, but card advantage is card advantage. I don’t foresee myself cutting this in a Blue deck, although I suppose that is true of just about anything with the text “draw 2 cards”. I may have ranted about variance and Suspend in the Constructed section, but it is much more applicable to Limited games, since that is where the majority of the Questing will occur (much like with Suspend).

Kraken Hatchling

Constructed: 2

Wait, a “2”?. You may be asking if I actually read the card, and am not possibly confusing it with a card that actually does something. I actually really hope to block some Wild Nacatls with my Kraken, even though I fully admit that it probably won’t happen. Look, if Steel Wall can win an Extended PTQ (Jonathan Pearlman’s list for PT Yokohama for those inclined to look for it), I don’t see why lil’ Kraken can’t maybe make an appearance.

Limited: 1.5

Again, I may be too generous, but I just love blocking. At four toughness, blocking their four drop is pretty realistic, almost guaranteeing that the Kraken will trade for a card that cost more than it. That really isn’t that bad, and being an 0/4 instead of the 0/3 we are used to on our unplayables is actually a huge difference.

 

Lethargy Trap 

Constructed: 1

I would explain, but I just can’t find the energy.

Limited: 0.5

I have yet to desire to add this to any of my decks, and I have had the option every time. It is just a little too expensive and situational, making it very difficult to get good value. If it was cheaper or just hit target player it might be doable, but cards that are dead most of the time and not that efficient even when they do work are generally bad news. Some matchups might make this worthwhile, but I would recommend against starting it.

 

Living Tsunami 

Constructed: 2

The mana cost is almost right on this, since it does a good job of topping out a tempo deck’s curve, and the disadvantage will either be negligible or advantageous, depending on the particulars of the deck. Waterspout Djinn was pretty good in its day (granted, that day was like 30 years ago), and the Tsunami can pick up any land while enabling additional Landfall triggers.

Limited: 3.5

One of the best Blue cards in the set, the Tsunami is both fast and enormous. The drawback can be pretty severe if your curve is high or you have alot of Equipment, but unless you drop it on turn four it will most likely be more of an advantage than a drawback.

Lorthos, the Tidemaker

Constructed: 1

I can think of eight reasons not to play Lorthos, and they all can be found in the upper right corner of the card.

Limited: 2.5

Much like Iona, Lorthos is a potent finisher that not every deck will want. Granted, eight mana is a lot less than nine, so he is much more applicable, but there are many cards I would take over him. It seems pretty impossible to lose once you bash though, which is certainly not true of many 8+ casting cost finishers.

Lullmage Mentor

Constructed: 1

Too much work is needed to make this guy worth it. If you can resolve him then counter like three spells, he is decent, but resolving a three drop and countering three spells and getting out two other Merfolk is just not realistic.

Limited: 0.5

I suppose a three mana 2/2 isn’t the worst, but he really is not much more than that. Even in a deck with like three counters, which is alot for Limited, he won’t really be spectacular.

 

Merfolk Seastalkers 

Constructed: 1

It’s like Opposition…that doesn’t tap lands…and costs infinite mana.

Limited: 3.0

A bit mana intensive, the Seastalkers shine in Sealed and are serviceable in draft. A 2/3 evasion for 4 is decent in its own right, so adding a powerful ability makes for a very solid card.

 

Merfolk Wayfinder 

Constructed: 1

A few lessons on civics and maybe you would play a wayfinder, but being a 1/2 and not guaranteeing a hit makes this too sketchy to work.

Limited: 2.0

As long as you have nine or more Islands, I like the Wayfinder a fair amount, and would probably run him with eight. Lands are useful to pitch to Looter or for Landfall, so even late he has some utility. Additionally, even small evasion dudes are good in decks with multiple pieces of Equipment.

 

Mindbreak Trap 

Constructed: 3

Mindbreak Trap has a lot to offer, making it sure to show up in many different capacities in Constructed. Even paying full retail is fine in Standard, and possibly Extended, since it can stop difficult to stop chains of spells (ie, Cascade or Storm). Once you factor in the chances of it being free, you have a very attractive card. It probably won’t show up all that much in decks unable to cast it, since that just makes it into a wierd Stifle, but decks that are able to cast it will enjoy its benefits in many formats.

Limited: 1.5

Basically a bad Cancel in Limited, I have a hard time coming up with situations where its Trap cost would really occur. Even exiling spells just doesn’t matter, so it is strictly worse than Cancel (well, unless you are keeping the cards you draft!).

 

Paralyzing Grasp 

Constructed: 1

I would put a clever pun here, but everything I came up with was really grasping at straws.

Limited: 2.5

Oh, how much difference a mana or two makes. Unplayable as Stasis Cell, unexciting as Entangling Vines, and finally solid as the Grasp here. Strictly defensive, the Grasp is still cheap enough to be serviceable in just about every Blue deck.

 

Quest for Ancient Secrets 

Constructed: 1

See, the mill deck is real! If it wasn’t, why would they have printed a hoser for it!

Limited: 0.0

I suppose you can pick one up in an empty pack on the off-chance that someone actually drafted the Archive Trap/Crab deck, but I wouldn’t really list that as a high priority.

 

Reckless Scholar 

Constructed: 1

Looters really have to cost 2 to have a shot at the big time, and even then it’s a stretch.

Limited: 3.0

Looter just isn’t what it used to be, surprising as it may be. The Scholar is still a premium common, but I was actually a little surprised at how unimpressed I was when playing with or against him. I guess Landfall makes those excess lands decent, so throwing them away isn’t as painless as it used to be, and fast games make Looter a little less good to begin with.

 

Rite of Replication 

Constructed: 2

I want to just “1” this, but it might actually serve some sort of purpose. [card]Clone[/card] was played as a psuedo answer to Stag, but Rite can’t even do that. If this is the rite card for any deck, it will be to dump five copies of some hapless beast onto the board for nine mana.

Limited: 4.0

Rite is an excellent card at most stages of the game. It can be cast at four for a decent effect, although I would be loathe to waste it like so. The option is nice, but at nine mana you should just crush them. Making five of pretty much anything is insane, and the fact that this nine-mana spell is still perfectly acceptable at 4 mana means it is a bomb. Might even be a 4.5.

 

Roil Elemental 

Constructed: 1

It probably would have been way too sick in Limited, and possibly even Constructed, but making Roil Elemental’s control effect permanent instead of based on him surviving might have been what this card needed. As is, there is no chance of him seeing the light of play.

Limited: 4.0

This guy dies pretty easily, but the games where he doesn’t are probably just about unloseable. This is the type of Landfall effect that makes me want to play extra lands, since unlike most of the other triggers in the set, it actually is worth a card on its own.

 

Sea Gate Loremaster 

Constructed: 1

I just can’t sea this guy working in Constructed.

Limited: 4.0

Another solid Blue card, the Loremaster is great by himself and insane if you can draw multiple cards a turn. Another Ally that is awesome in a vacuum, the Loremaster only suffers from being a little on the slow side. Definitely a card I would splash for.

 

Seascape Aerialist 

Constructed: 1

You can tell a card is pretty far from Constructed if you could cut three mana off its casting cost and it still wouldn’t be close to playable.

Limited: 1.0

You would have to have a pretty heavy Ally deck before this guy becomes playable. He doesn’t do much but provide other Ally triggers, but in some decks that might be what you need.

 

Shoal Serpent 

Constructed: 1

Sea Serpents have a long way to go before they grace 60 card decks, which is a shame since Blue could use a good blocker.

Limited: 2.5

Six mana is a fair amount, and tacking Landfall onto such an expensive spell makes it hard to slowroll lands, but the Shoal Serpent provides a satisfactory body. Think of it as a wall that occasionally attacks, and you have succeeded in reading the card.

 

Sky Ruin Drake 

Constructed: 1

I’m not going to ruin any of my decks by adding this thing in.

Limited: 3.0

He might not be Belltower Sphinx, but Sky Ruin Drake does a pretty admirable job of keeping the heathens at bay. Once you have the board well and locked up, he even can start to apply some nice slow beats.

 

Spell Pierce 

Constructed: 3

This fills a very different role than Force Spike, but is still quite effective. I expect to see aggro-control decks wrecking Wraths and other slow cards in every format from Vintage forward with this thing, and it might even show up in some control decks looking for an edge in the mirror.

Limited: 1.5

Most certainly not an auto-include, Spell Pierce gets rapidly worse as the game progresses. It can mess up a crucial turn, so I could definitely see it being a blowout much of the time, but if they play around it things could get pretty awkward.

 

Sphinx of Jwar Isle 

Constructed: 1

I might catch a little flak for this, but again I think Baneslayer has reared its ugly head. Why pay another mana for Shroud if it costs you Lifelink, First Strike, and another ability that never comes up? I do like the “look any time” part, since that is kind of funny, but I would be surprised if this guy really does anything in Constructed.

Limited: 4.0

You can’t really ask for much more of a card, since it is enormous and shroudy and flying and all that. I know if I ever have one in play, I will respond to everything my opponent does by looking at my top card, just because I can.

 

Sphinx of Lost Truths 

Constructed: 2

Unlike most “2”s, this Sphinx will definitely see play, although I wouldn’t call it a staple. Besides the minor upgrade for Dredge, I actually want to see the Sphinx used as a value card. Sadly, adding two mana to each half of Mulldrifter makes it unable to fill the same role, so I don’t really like those comparisons. I do like looking at it as a solid flier that filters on turn five and Ancestrals on turn 7, both of which might be good enough.

Limited: 4.0

Probably worse than the 5/5 Sphinx, his nerdy bookworm cousin is still a force to be reckoned with. Knowing myself, I would probably rather die than cast this for less than seven mana, but that is likely the most common play. Again, creature type Sphinx is a good thing to have in your pile.

 

Spreading Seas 

Constructed: 1

An upgraded Phantasmal Terrain is still a Phantasmal Terrain, so I doubt this will be spreading to Constructed.

Limited: 1.5

I wouldn’t be that sad to have this in my deck, although it is basically just a blank cycler. Once in a while you will manascrew them, and it is an auto-include if they have any sort of cool land.

Summoner’s Bane

Constructed: 1

Half a Mystic Snake’s colors and half of its utility does not a Constructed card make. Leaving four mana up and having them cast a Planeswalker or some other non-creature spell is just too backbreaking for this to be worth it, since the payoff isn’t really that exciting.

Limited: 3.0

Not insane, but a good addition to any Blue deck. It clearly gets much worse if they know about it, but later in the game that doesn’t really matter.

 

Tempest Owl 

Constructed: 1

This little tempest in a teapot just doesn’t cut it.

Limited: 1.0

I would really only want this in a deck with multiple Machetes, since seven mana is just too much for a Falter effect. By the time you have seven mana, sometimes tapping three dudes isn’t even enough anyways.

 

Trapfinder’s Trick 

Constructed: 1

It’s a trick!

Limited: 0.5

Not maindeckable by any stretch, this could be a decent sideboard card. Reading them for Traps is going to be a very valuable skill in this set, and this is one of the cards that gets way better if you can spot the Trap.

 

Trapmaker’s Snare 

Constructed: 2

Archive Trap is the trap with the most potential, since it is free if the condition is met and multiples are insane. Other than that, Summoning Trap is pretty much all I can really think of, and a UG deck that wants more than 4 Summoning Traps seems like a stretch.

Limited: 1.5

Very deck dependent, the Snare probably only gets good once you have somewhere in the vicinity of three Traps, at least one of which is pretty exciting.

 

Umara Raptor 

Constructed: 1

The Ally deck isn’t even close to being Constructed-worthy, although if it was the Raptor would probably play a part.

Limited: 3.0

Mostly just a Wind Drake, but a Wind Drake is never bad. Umara Raptor is one of the best Allies in the set, and is good on its own etc etc. Turn 3 Raptor turn 4 any Ally is a pretty sick start, and if you add a turn 2 Survivalist into the mix you are just the greediest. How good of a draw do you want, anyway?

 

Welkin Tern 

Constructed: 1

I don’t think its this guys tern yet, since there are plenty of two mana fliers that are much better. Now if he had Shroud or something…then he would still not be playable.

Limited: 3.0

One of the better beaters in the set, the Tern is still not splashable or anything. Being able to start the pressure from turn 2 is pretty valuable, so pick ’em early and often.

 

Whiplash Trap 

Constructed: 1

What were they thinking, printing a card that is so obviously meant to hose Tooth and Nail?

Limited: 3.0

Undo has always been awesome, and adding two mana is somewhat balanced by the fact that it is an instant. I don’t foresee the Trap part happening often, but when it does it should just be a blowout.

 

Windrider Eel 

Constructed: 1

Any shot this guy had (he didn’t, really) was squelched by Living Tsunami, or at least that’s what we tell the Eel so he doesn’t blame us.

Limited: 3.5

I really like four-mana Air Elementals, and I would splash for the Eel most of the time. He might not block all that well, but what can you really ask for from a common?

Top Five Constructed Cards for Blue

5. Into the Roil
4. Sphinx of Lost Truths
3. Ior Ruin Expedition
2. Spell Pierce
1. Mindbreak Trap

I have to say I am sorely disappointed when it comes for Blue offerings for Constructed. None of these cards is really that awesome, and only the top 2 are even great. Oh well, I guess White is the go-to color for Control decks nowadays.

Join me tomorrow as I tackle Black!

43 thoughts on “Zendikar Set Review – Blue”

  1. I like the new pic of you, but for some reason my eyes are drawn to Randy Buehler in the background. He looks like he has a sad look on his face…

  2. So we can assume that Blue got shafted in this set.. well, not completely.

    I agree with the Spell Pierce arguement. Sure it isn’t Negate, Cancel or even Force Spike, but it could prove to be highly significant; well, at least on the back burner when it comes to keeping game ending Ultimatums in check.

    Also, I’ve been saying this before to others, Mindbreak Trap is an excellent tool to have when playing againt Affinity in Extended. At least I think that’s the way it works, but in case it does – You get my drift!

    Thanks for another insightful article!

  3. So true. Blue constructed cards are the sadness. I’m not enough of a constructed player to know what’s up, but the dearth of playable blue cards just screams to me that combo should be able to take over.

  4. Welkin Tern was an all-star for me. There were very few times when I wanted to block with it, and a lot of times where swinging in the sky mattered. He’s the new Pegasus.

  5. Disagree about spreading seas and ior ruin expedition

    Expedition is blank when you’re short lands (losing) and that’s no good, especially when it’s just a draw-2 when you aren’t short lands, and is a terrible topdeck.

    Spreading seas, on the other hand, is so-so at worst, insane at its best (wins the game by itself!), and OK when it has other uses (getting their valakut, bouncing with skyfisher/narrow escape)

  6. Blue is getting hosed badly here, but I think it will get better with Worldwake/Rise of the Eldrazi (if that’s what they end up naming ‘Prosper’).

    I think I’m pretty excited to draft blue-based control decks in limited though. It’s got a lot of good stuff for limited play.

  7. I milled a guy at the prerelase with a single Hedron Crab, so it’s very possible.
    Living Tsunami ensured that I could mill for 3 every turn.

    Btw, Living Tsunami is at least a Limited 4.5: it’s a huge flying beater, that ensures you trigger landfall every single turn. I had 2 in my deck, and it felt like I was playing constructed.

    Roil Elemental is only good when you can activate its ability the turn you play him to steal a blocker, because he’s sooo fragile.

  8. Cosi´s Trickster is the best onedrop in Zendikar!
    He´s def. a 4 (maybe not if you look at standard only) but in extended if you drop him early, he´ll beat up on every creature a Zoo-deck can play includeing Goyf. He´s also an All-Star in Legacy merfolk so I guess you could call him a multi-format All-Star even though I wouldn´t give him a 5.

    Maybe it´s just the scale that confuses me but this guy is a real beating, top 3 on the list of best constructed cards for blue if you take every format into consideration which I asume you does lookign at your top 2.

    Roil elemental is I think the best creature in the set for limited, (if only he had 3 thoughness)
    Still this is the kind of guy that screams, kill me or loose and there aren´t exactly lots of good removal in the format.

  9. spreading sea is pretty mediocre… BUT i could see happily running 5 or 6 : ) it’s like magus of the moon.

    also, doesn’t living tsunami kill them before you can even mill them out?

  10. @DepecheMode:

    While I certainly agree with you that Cosi’s trickster is a great 1-drop, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the best 1-drop in Zendikar (calling something ‘the best’ is often quite dangerous :P).

    I, for one, like Goblin Guide (R) and Scute Mob (G) more. While Goblin Guide will generate some heavy debate (because of its risky drawback), I was strongly overwhelmed by the greatness of Scute Mob. I lost my first game at the pre-release to a player who had two Scute Mob in play. I immediately asked him if he wanted to trade one of them, and his answer was: “Yeah, for that Lotus Cobra you have there!” I wasn’t happy.

    Or actually, I was happy, because of the Lotus Cobra I drew out of my sixth pack x-P.

  11. Come to think of it, Scute Mob is great when paired with Lotus Cobra. Forcing your opponent to choose between these two nasties for removal is sure to be a pain in his ass. I think many players would still choose to destroy the Cobra asap, which gives the Scute Mob the necessary time to grow BIG.

    A turn 5 Overrun with two Mobs in play? Hell yes! 😛

  12. Lethargy Trap looks a lot better than a 0,5 because it can be a potential 3:1 for a single U mana.
    @ mill:I have seen a Hedron Crab going all the way, without any other mill card involved at the prerelease, but sealed is always a bit slower than draft.

  13. Disagree about Lethargy Trap. I used it for more than one blowout on a big swing from my opponent, since my blockers were unaffected by the energy sap. 🙂

  14. @ Grungedimi

    WEll, I guess you have a point there.
    But to me Trickster have much more potential then Goblin Guide. Yes I probably disslike the Goblin more then most people but potentially giveing your opponent free carddraw, and a 2/2 will just be outclassed by to many creatures too soon.

    Trickster vs Scutemob is abit tricky, they are both onedrops but one is awsome on turn one and terrible on turn 8, the other one is just the opposite. I tend to favour being good in the early game though simply because when Scute Mob is good you should be able to do better stuff with your mana then dropping a vanilla creature even if he cost 1 mana and can potentially get huge + that turn 8 might never come ;D.

    I guess Scute Mob will see play, atleast until Antoine Ruel rotate from standard and he might potentially be better then Trickster in Standard but I don´t see Scute Mob have an impact in Extended or Legacy, two places where Trickster will really shine.

  15. In the end, one thing is quite clear, blue is being shafted, also for limited.

    It has some good, even great, commons, but percentage wise it’s just low, making blue very shallow. If someone else is also picking the Raptors (which are really really good), Welkin Terns or Windridders there just isn't that much left for you 🙁

    Ior Ruin Expedition, while drawing is always nice, I tend to find it very disappointing. If you do not draw it early on it will take quite some time (4-6 turns) to activate, for only one card advantage, hardly worth the risk. Having a good card 4-6 turns earlier is preferable in most circumstances.

    Overall I’d list blue as weakest colour with red. With Black and green on top.

  16. I thought Randy Buelher looks like a shambling zombie ready to eat your flesh. Everytime i look closely I laugh. Maybe a more flattering picture is in order.

  17. @DepecheMode

    Yeah, I agree they both have their own (different) place in the mana curve where they really shine out. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Trickster, me wants 4 of them :P.

    I just thought of a cheap and powerful way to boost the Trickster early on: Path to Exile. For even more flavor, add Archive Trap to the mix, for free!

    By the way, I’d like to point out something about using Path to Exile in the landfall-environment. I’ve heard many people at the pre-release telling me: “Hey man, Path to Exile just became worse now with the whole landfall thing going on.” But I wouldn’t entirely agree with that. It definitely IS worse when you play Path to Exile later in the game, when your opponent possibly has more landfall-cards in play. But very early in the game, it’s even better now imo!

    Imagine playing it very early, say turn 2 or 3, after you already played a Trickster. It kills a creature, boosts your Trickster who can now probably attack without being blocked, allows you to cast Archive Trap for free AND your opponent had a land filtered out of his deck which he can’t use for landfall anymore (even more when you count the cards milled by Arhive Trap). This is quite a realistic scenario too. If you’re lucky, you might even get to play a free Ravenous Trap after the Archive Trap. You laugh, opponent cries.

  18. The Storm Crow with kicker is actually fine; blocks aggro dudes, carries sticks, and is way more exciting late game than a wind drake. More like a 2.0.

  19. “I know if I ever have one in play, I will respond to everything my opponent does by looking at my top card, just because I can.”

    I lol’ed.

  20. Does anyone else find it sad that blue’s only constructed playable cards are best AGAINST control and combo?

    Just another way to push creatures down our throats.

  21. Lethargy Trap has been pretty good to me so far. It’s like a conditional Safe Passage. The condition makes it so it only works on defense, but it can still be an absolute blow out. Definitely runnable.

  22. @Grungedimi

    Really? What about that line of play you just described should excite me? The part where my Ravenous trap goes off or the part where my opponent offers his condolences at the end of the match and tells me that he had a fun time beating me?

  23. On a more constructive note, blue is always at its greatest power when people underestimate it. Something will come along to fill the void just like it always has in the past.

  24. Just comparing to White:
    Welkin Tern v Stormfront Pegasus
    Tempest Owl v Kor Skyfisher
    Seascape Aerialist v Shepherd of the Lost
    Anything v Baneslayer Angel

    Is it just me or did Blue get massively shafted in the fliers department?

  25. I think Archive Trap is underrated. What does every player do in the first 2-3 turns in Extended/Legacy/Vintage & now Type 2? Use a Fetch land. What does Archive Trap do in that case? Maybe in in Type 2/Extended Archive Trap won’t be as devistating. But in a format like Vintage where half of your deck (or more) is restricted cards, I can’t believe that it won’t affect your game if you lose 13+ (maybe 2 traps at the same time?) cards off the top. You vampiric/mystical/personal tutor? Woops there goes that card. There’s so many cases where this card will see play. I think it will become a staple in vintage until people start having to play around it. Any spell that costs 0 mana has proven to be efficient. Especially one which takes 1/5 your deck away.

  26. “I know if I ever have one in play, I will respond to everything my opponent does by looking at my top card, just because I can.”

    Did it, not sorry about it. Loved it.

  27. I (sadly) am that bad player that always tries to “make mill work” whenever a new set comes out. Not that I’m claiming this is tier 1 or even high tier 2, but I know I’ll catch many players unaware at FNM by playing U/B mill in standard. Replace Sanity Grinding with Mind Funeral (awesome interaction with opponents thinning their decks via fetches), add in the Archive Traps and Hedron Crabs, and you’ve got something that can mill out in 6-8 turns no problem. Jaces, Howlers, Tome Scours, Twincasts, Wall of Frosts, Sadistic Sacrament rounds it out. Catch anything but Mono-Red or Aggro a bit slow and it’s over.

  28. “Is it just me or did Blue get massively shafted in the fliers department?”

    White has always had better fliers than blue, because white is the better creature color. Blue always has more fliers, though, that’s how they justify it as “the color of flying.”

    As far as limited goes, at least, blue has better fliers in Zendikar than in a long time. Welkin Tern, Umara Raptor, Windrider Eel, and Living Tsunami are all awesome.

  29. LSV

    As I have already asked/stated in J. Loucks article; is there any plan to have a sealed primer any time soon for the Zendikar as it will be dominating 80+ % of the play time at PTQs and not to mention what most Release tourneys will be providing this weekend.

    Other than that I just wanted to put my two cents in on the Serpent. I watched a guy drop it on turn 7 with an empty board other than lands and no cards in hand, I had the 2/2 landfall gain 2 life, a “draw 2” expedition and the 2/5 flyer on the board (sealed) and not that this should/will be the norm but I drew 5 lands and…..so did he!!!! after my block on the third activation of his 5/5 comming at my dome, he just kept hitting lands. Sad as it bumped me out of contention in the third game, but funny nontheless as it was just rediculous how one solid landfall made mana flood about the best thing ever for him yet still a horrible time for me. Yes I am well aware that was like the longest run on ever.

  30. BraveFencerMusashi

    @The E

    Thats only good if your actual win condition is milling them, not likely in Vintage/Legacy/Extended. Decks are built with redudancy for a reason. Saying “You lose 15 cards of the top” in this situation is functionally the same as if they just hadn’t drawn those cards. No deck is going to roll over and die because they didnt draw 1 of their tutors/mana producers/counterspells.

    In some situations with Tarmogoyf or Yawgmoths Will it can actually be worse.

    Now if you do it to mill whatever card they tutored for I could see some use. They tutor for Ancestral Recall and you putting it in their graveyard for free seems interesting.

  31. like the article, however- the hedron crab is nuts- I played one and milled three different people in my prerelease tourney- only so many bombs in a sealed pol- if you can mill them away- kudos

  32. So i think mindbreak trap will have less of an impact than spell pierce. I’m not sure how mindbreak trap is in standard/extended/legacy, but in vintage its simply a storm hoser. Who plays storm anymore?? no one does. Spell pierce will see tons of play in most U based decks.
    IMO
    so i’d say you should switch those two ;P
    good job liked the article, good rating system.

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  34. You’re really underestimating Sphinx of Jwar Isle for constructed. Having a nice shrouded flier that you can feel comfortable tapping out for will be awesome. You still can’t feel that tapping out for a baneslayer if they got removal mana up. Sure vamps will be running maindeck Gatekeeper, but beyond that, it’ll stick. Lifelink is amazing I know, but Baneslayer ain’t Jesus.

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  36. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on Sphinx of Jwar Isle. If I’m playing control with minimal threats, I don’t really want something that is completely vulnerable to a single Terminate or Path. 5CC used Broodmate Dragon, U/W Baneslayer at the end of the season used Elendra to protect your Angel… just running Angel and expecting her to stick doesn’t seem reasonable. SoJI is just a lot harder to deal with. I’m certainly not claming it’s invincible, as it dies to Cruel Ultimatum, a kicked Gatekeeper, etc, but I think it’s more efficient overall in the role of a control deck’s finisher. Then again, as you duly noted, control overall has taken a hit so maybe this is all sadly irrelevant. 🙁

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