Return to Ravnica: Play to your Weaknesses – Blue

Ahh blue . . . so refreshing, so cold, so . . . wet. With cards like Cavern of Souls and all of the uncounterable spells being released in Return to Ravnica, blue is searching for a new identity. It’s no longer a color with the best control (even though it’s the only color with counterspells). It seems to me that there have been a lot more mill cards and cards that stall games lately, but nothing has really stood out at me.

With that being said lets take a look at today’s color, Blue, and see if there are any strategies we can come up with.

Faerie Impostor

Nice. A 2/1 flyer for one mana. It stinks that you can’t cast it on the first turn, but on a later turn it would be a good way to switch out a creature that’s been taken out of combo due to an enchantment, or as a way to reset an X/X creature that was cast smaller on an earlier turn. It works really well with Azorius, letting you use that Detain ability one more time, so that should be your first choice when playing this.

Inaction Injunction

It’s not as good as an unsummon, but then again unsummon doesn’t draw you any cards. The sad thing is that even if you do detain a creature on the 2nd turn, you probably don’t have much to do that turn. I’d save this card for later on in the game when you have a beater ready to do some damage and have to clear a path for it. It’s not a top pick, but in an Azorius deck chock full of detain, it could be useful in ensuring that you detain their biggest threat. I just don’t see Azorius being able to deal with the sheer numbers of tokens and cheap creatures with unleash in RtR.

Blustersquall

Yay! Let’s give everybody evasion until next turn! This could be deadly for players facing an army of creatures. By the 4th turn you probably won’t be ending the game, but a few turns later you might be within striking distance. I could see this being a great card in an Izzet/Rakdos mix. Unleash a few creatures early in the game, take a big chunk out of their life, then end it with a Blustersquall. Being an instant, this could also save your life in a pinch when your opponent is about to end the game.

Hover Barrier

*whistles* Phew, ain’t she a beaut? 0/6 flyer for 3 mana. It’s no Wall of Denial, but this will take care of most of your creature worries for the rest of the game. Fog Bank in M13 was great, but there was still that problem with trample. Most blue decks won’t have to worry about a shortage of flyers, but not having to worry about blockers and being able to relentlessly attack with your other creatures. Izzet/Rakdos comes to mind, or an Azorius/Selesnya deck would get a lot of use out of it since blue and white tend to hold a monopoly on most fliers.

Syncopate

Syncopate is back, but how will it do in limited formats? Would you be willing to play one in your deck, or will you focus more on other forms of control? It’s no Mana Leak, but it will have the same type of effect if your opponent can’t pay X. It is better than Mana Leak later in the game where most opponents can pay the 3 mana needed, but it’s also worse than Dissipate (ISD) that can do the same thing for 3 mana. I think this card will see some play, but I don’t think it will be drafted as high as other colors. Expect it to go as a 14th-15th cards. If you’re gonna use it in limited, stick it in Azorius or Izzet. This card would also be good against Golgari decks that would just scavenge the countered card. If you want to straight out counter something, go with Cancel, but I think it’s going to be better to focus on removal effects instead of counterspells. I tried a mill/control deck at M13’s pre-release on my 2nd day and it did NOT do well. Creatures are more important than a counterspell.

Downsize

I like this card solely for it’s low Overload cost. There was a similar card in M13 (Downburst I believe) that cost the same amount, but it only targeted one creature. This can target all of them! This would be great if you were blocking and your opponent went all in with his attackers. You’d probably take 0 damage if you wanted to, but it would better to let all your small creatures team up and take out the big creatures. In Azorious this would stall for another turn, but in an Azorius/Selesnya deck this could have a great affect. You could potentially take out their army then swing back on the following turn in full force.

Dispel

This would probably be a sideboard card at first, but if you need a card to fill that #23 or #24 spot, I don’t think it would be a total waste. I think that the charms will be played heavily in the pre-release, and those abilities are nothing to scoff at. There are plenty of other instant speed effects you’d want to counter as well, so I think this card could be useful. Just keep it in the sideboard at first.

Chris’ Picks

  • Doorkeeper
  • Inaction Injunction
  • Inspiration
  • Runewing
  • Tower Drake
  • Stealer of Secrets
  • Voidwielder

Doorkeeper was one of those cards I wasn’t sure about. It’s a 0/4 for 2 mana that provides a big body to absorb some early hits, and if you bring out a Hover Barrier on the 3rd turn, you could have yourself a decent miller/blocker. However, there are a limited number of decks he could fit into. Azorius or Azorius/Selesnya would be your only choices. If you get your hands on an Axebane Guardian, a Gatecreeper Vine, and those other cards I mentioned, you’d have a pretty awesome group of defenders going. You could just sit back, mill your opponent, and populate to your heart’s content.

Inspiration is well . . . let me put it to you this way, did you use a lot of Divination in previous drafts? I didn’t, and it cost one less mana for the same effect. I might have had it on one deck or two, but it went largely unused. However, in this limited format card drawing could be a lot more important than it was before. Not sure if i’ll use this effect in my deck, because there are lot better cards in Izzet I think.

Runewing is a flying Oculus. Its power is higher, but I think the effect you want the most out of this creature is the card draw. I’d want faster card draw, which is why I liked Oculus and Alchemist’s Apprentice as well. They could block and then let you get a card. For 4 mana, I’d rather put an Inspiration in I think.

Tower Drake belongs in Azorius, but could also be a decent card in Selesnya/Azorius. He isn’t bad for a 3 mana creature. There are a few X/1 and X/2 fliers out there and if you have the white mana he could be a much needed blocker. Not a horrible card, but not a first pick either. He’s probably be one of the last 5 I’d pick.

Stealer of Secrets gives you a lot of value and I probably should have included her in my list. It’s a 2/2 for 3 mana that gives you a card whenever she deals damage. Pretty straightforward. With Azorius detaining people left and right, she should have no problem just walking in, punching your opponent, and getting you a card. Finding the right time to attack outside of an Azorius deck might prove to be a little tricky though.

The last card Chris chose was Voidwielder. Hmmm, a 1/4 creature for 5 that has built in Unsummon. Hmm . . . You can’t really use him as a beater, he’s an okay blocker, he doesn’t have any other special abilities though . . . I guess if you’re building a detain/defender mill deck with the Doorkeeper above he’d be a nice fit, but I couldn’t see playing him in any of my decks. He’s a little too expensive for my tastes and doesn’t have enough OOMPH. Cool picture though.

Wrap Up

We went over a lot of cards that would be great in Azorius decks today. Blue seems to have a lot of cards that stall well, though like I stated earlier, counterspells won’t be too useful in constructed so be careful building control. Mill decks might be an idea, but it’s gonna be a tight race. There are some powerful creatures in this limited format, so you might run out of time before you can mill your opponent to death.

I don’t think you should run blue as your main color, but use them as a support color instead. Izzet/Azorius could give you some much needed power, but be sure to balance out your burn and stall techniques. If you don’t have enough finishers, you’ll just be postponing the inevitable.

Thanks again for reading today, I might be able to get another color out tomorrow (or later today), but I can’t make any promises yet. I still have to cover Red, White, and Multicolor, and Multicolor is going to be a massive post. There are so many good cards in there I think. I’ll do my best to get out another color tonight, but I might not be able to do my last color until the day of the pre-release. Check back for updates!

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