Theros: Playing to your Weaknesses – Blue
(NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them. I’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)
Just a reminder to anybody who is playing in Japan (or interested in Japanese Magic words), I have updated my MTG vocabulary list tab at the top of page with Theros words. I’ve also cleared up and organized which set words are from to make it easier to find the word you’re looking for. Please check it out if.
Today I’ll be covering blue. There are a lot of fun rares in blue, lots of card draw, and lots of scry, but I think the power of blue has been dialed back a little bit since M14 limited. It still has a lot of solid cards, and being able to counter those huge monsters and Gods is better dealing with them once they hit the battlefield. In my opinion, it also has one of the best enchantments for limited (you’ll see what I mean later).
This card is a nasty little trick to play on your opponent. Let them pour their mana into a monstrous ability to swing for lethal, or try to put a good enchantment on their creature . . . Voyage’s End will ruin their day. It’s an Unsummon with Scry, and in this format full of enchantments I think it will be pretty useful. I wouldn’t take this if you get better removal, but if you can build a put together a good tempo deck (for example, using this after blockers are declared to let a creature with trample hit your opponent), it might be good to have. Otherwise, I think it’s a good card to help you round out your top 23 picks in limited.
This guy isn’t anything special, but it’s a flyer for 2 mana, and much better than any creature with similar power on the ground. Not a high pick in draft, but a decent card to help fill out your sealed deck. His low casting cost will let you play aggressively against your opponent, and If you can draft a lot of enchantments that pump up your creatures, you can really take advantage of his low casting cost and evasion.
If you throw this on a creature with flying, trample, or some other kind of evasion, you’re going to get a lot of value out of him. A 6 mana enchantment that gives your creature +3/+3 and lets you draw a card is pretty balanced. He’s also great by himself at 4 mana. 3 power is going to be the median power in this format I think. You’ll probably want to stay away from vanilla 1 and 2 power creatures if you can help it, and try to stock up on creatures with 3 power or higher. I’d take this card as one of my first 5 picks in draft I think, and he’d be in my top 15 picks for sealed too.
Opportunity proved to be a great card to have in M14 sealed because the format was so slow, but will Thassa’s Bounty be that useful in this format? I think so. The Theros format will be faster than M14, but slower than the RTR block limited format, which means cards like this will give you a lot of value. Drawing 3 cards, even at sorcery speed, is good in limited. I don’t think people will be taking it first in draft, but I don’t think you’ll get a 4th or 5th look at it. Take it as one of those first picks in a pack, and it definitely should have a spot in your sealed deck too if you can swing it. Oh yeah, it also mill your opponent for 3 which is great if they just use Scry to set up their next two turns.
Blue probably won’t be as popular a color as it was in M14, but if it is this creature will be pretty good. He’s a beefy blocker by himself at 5/5, and if you activate his Monstrous he’ll become an 8/8 and can attack. He’s solid, and a good alternate finisher if your other cards can’t get the job done. I’d take him a few turns into a booster draft if I was going with blue, and I’d especially take him if I saw another player taking blue cards as it would give you an advantage against them. He’d be in my top 20 sealed choices as well.
I really like this common. A 3/4 flyer for 5 mana that lets you scry for one whenever you cast a spell is pretty good. Sure you’ll probably only be playing 3-4 spells (max) that can activate his ability in your deck, but that’s four more chances to help your draws that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Where this card would REALLY shine is in a Heroic deck where you’ll be putting lots of enchantments and spells in. Whether or not that is a viable strategy or not is yet to be seen (and blue probably won’t have the best heroic cards anyways – green and white look like the best), but regardless I think you should take this card high in draft and have it in your sealed deck.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but the Ordeals are all solid cards. Blue usually doesn’t get an enchantment that pumps up a creature’s power, so this is an automatic grab if you’re playing blue. The power boost itself is great, but adding in the cantrip to draw 2 cards gives it even better value. Draft it and play it in sealed.
Our friend Augur of Bolas is gone from standard after next Friday, but Omenspeaker seems like a good candidate to take his place. The Scry ability is going to be a much better ability in the new format, since it will help move that land to the bottom of your library while keeping that Jace, Architect of Thought on top of your deck. In limited I think it will serve a similar purpose. The 3 toughness won’t stop too much in this more powerful format, but the scry will be useful both late game and early game to help you smooth out your draws. I think it’s a top 20 card for sealed, and in draft it’s a decent pick if you’re in blue and there isn’t anything better.
Congrats! Your pokemon just learned Fly! Flying has always been the best ability in limited tournaments, and a creature that can give flying as well as turn into a flyer after the first creature dies is valuable. The bestow cost is also fair, and not too difficult to cast. If you want to be aggressive you can drop the Naiad on turn 3, or otherwise put it on your 4 power+ creature later on. Your choice! I think I’d probably take this as my first pick in draft unless another color gave me a better bomb to play with. Putting flying on a giant Hydra is only fun if you’re the one doing it. Friends don’t let friends get chump blocked. Definite playable card in sealed too.
I think Evan Erwin on SCG says it best on his set reviews “you can put any casting cost you want on a 4 power flyer and we’re going to pay it”. Luckily we don’t have any monstrous flyers out there (sans an enchantment), which means the person with the biggest winged creature will win. The scry 2 is also a nice bonus. Six mana is definitely a fair amount to pay to play it. I’d take him around pick 5 in sealed, and he should definitely be in the top 10 cards of your sealed deck.
I’m not sure how strong counterspells are going to be in limited, but I think there are scary enough cards that you don’t want to NOT play it. Poor little Cancel. With Dissipate rotating out it could have seen some play, but here we have Dissolve which is a much better card for the same cost. Oh well. If you’re weak on removal spells I think you’ll want to put this in your limited deck, but otherwise it’s okay to drop this for some other kind of removal spell.
FLASH! DAH DAH~~~~~ Savior of your universe! This card seems like it would be pretty useful in sealed. Flash it in at the end of their turn after they attack, flash it in and block a creature, flash it in and untap your huge motherfu—– beast and eat their attacker . . . the Hippocamp will play an important role in your blue deck as a battle trick. I think it’s worth having in your sealed deck no matter what, and as a draft card I think it’s also worth picking up.
Now some of you that played standard might have heard, but there is this deck called bant hexproof and it’s pretty good. It puts aggressive enchantments on hexproof creatures and then goes to town on your opponent, especially if they are heavy on removal and light on creatures. Theros is about 30-40% enchantments. You still following me here? No more attacking with puny hexproof creatures, it’s time to go BIG. I think this guy is hands down the best attacker in blue. He has a massive body to block with, hits really hard, and 6 mana isn’t that bad at all. If you start slapping enchantments on him, he’ll become a HUGE problem for your opponent. He’s my go to finisher in this format, especially if you can give him evasion such as flying or trample. I’d take him pretty early in a draft, and he’d be one of my top 7 sealed choices in my deck.
Geezus. Talk about broken. If there is a reason to play enchantment removal in your main deck, THIS IS IT. Want to attack with your 10/10 monster? Go ahead and deal that damage and scry one. Yes that creature can still be killed by spot removal, but remember that creature I just talked about before this one? You know, the one with hexproof? Yeah . . . that combo is going to be insane in this format. I’d first pick this in draft and follow it up with creatures later. This is a game ender if your opponent doesn’t have an answer for it. If possible, save it for the finishing blow so your opponent uses up all of their removal beforehand. Even if you don’t have too many other good enchantments to support it, I still think it’s a must play in both sealed and draft.
Blue can’t really destroy enchantments, but for one mana you can counter it. This is going to be great to get rid of Gods with, so draft it high if you’re going blue. I would take this over Aqueous Form as my first pick if I had to choose, but it would be a tough call if I had great cards to use Form with. I think you should have it in both your sealed and draft deck if possible, so snap them up if you can.
Other Cards that Might See Play
- Crackling Triton – might not be a bad 23rd card if you’re in Izzet colors.
- Fate Foretold – a good way to draw cards, but otherwise it does nothing. It’s not bad, but I’d probably want something that affected the battlefield.
- Sea God’s Revenge – a little hard to cast, but a nice way to clear the battlefield of blockers for an alpha strike to end the game.
- Triton Fortune Hunter – If you have ways to activate his heroic a few times the card advantage could work out in your favor. The way I look at him is a 2/2 for 3 that will probably draw you 2 cards, which is borderline playable for me.
- Triton Tactics – a good card for Heroic strategies.
From what I’ve seen, blue is good on flying creatures, good on card draw, but kind of weak on creatures overall and their enchantments aren’t really that overwhelming either. I think blue will be a good support color in limited, but not that good as the main color. Take the cards you need to supplement your strategy and put in some card draw, but otherwise try to use other colors for your finishers (unless you get some awesome bombs as your rares). Well, that does it for blue, Wednesday looks like it’s going to be very busy for me, so check back sometime in the afternoon on Thursday for the next color, black. Thanks for reading and leave any suggestions or comments below.