M15: 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.)
I’d like to apologize to everybody for not posting sooner. I had to attend to family matters on Tuesday and was out of town all day. I’ll be working the rest of the week, but should have just enough time to post everything before the pre-release on Saturday and Sunday. Let’s not waste any time and get right into blue.
I’m just really . . . REALLY disappointed in this card. The idea is cool, being able to recast it and copy a card you have in play, but take one look at blue. Are there any creature cards you really want to copy? Not really. If you’re playing green/blue, maybe this guy is salvageable because you can copy a big creature, but otherwise I think he’s absolute junk. Everybody else gets a bad ass flyer or undying creature, but blue gets . . . Cackling Counterpart (ISD). I would steer clear of choosing blue for the pre-release, just because the other promos are so much better in limited.
While the Clone promo card is pretty much garbage in most situations, the Paragon of Gathering Mists is not. He gives all blue creatures you have a boost, and can also give them flying. That ability is probably the BEST out of all of the Paragons, but blue is so bad in M15 limited that I think he won’t see much play. Giving a Stormtide Leviathan or Soul of Ravnica flying is pretty cool, but that is pretty much never going to happen. The rest of blue’s creatures are underpowered or hampered by drawbacks so much that they aren’t worth playing. I wouldn’t take him high in draft unless you are getting passed a lot of low casting cost blue spells such as Welkin Tern or Quickling. He can be pretty good when teamed up with the right cards, but most of the time he’ll barely be helpful. The only thing that makes him worth playing in your deck is that flying ability. There aren’t a lot of flyers, so if you can get your hands on a blue bomb creature, pick him up. In draft, I think he’s a 8th+ pick.
Well, it’s no Air Elemental (4/4 flying for 5), but he’ll have to do. 3 power and 3 toughness in the air is pretty good in this limited format, at least until you go up against a dragon. Otherwise, this flyer will be a very solid card in your limited and sealed deck. Not a high pick in draft, but I would feel comfortable getting him as a 6th+ pick if I was going to play blue.
The only thing blue has going for it this time around in limited are its spells. Turn to Frog is the closest thing you’ll get to a removal spell in blue, turning ANY creature they have into a 1/1 so you can block it and kill it. Very high pick in draft IF you’re playing blue, and a must have in your sealed deck too. I definitely wouldn’t start off a draft picking this, but if you see yourself getting stuck with blue grab it as soon as possible. You’ll probably know by your 7th-8th pick.
Pretty sweet card except that you have to return a creature to your hand when you play it. Do you know how many 1 mana creature cards in blue in this format though? One. White, Green, Red, and Black all have a few 1 mana creature cards in M15, but there is only one in blue and it’s a vanilla one at that. It’s like Wizards is purposely hampering this creature by making it unplayable. It’s better to play a creature like this fast, so if you have some one drops he’s pretty good (Typhoid Rats and Cruel Sadist in a UB black deck would be nice). Otherwise, you might want to play something with a little more power that costs more. Depending on your first few picks he might be worth picking up, but otherwise I think you should wait and see what you get in those first 8 packs of draft. He’s probably going to be a solid 9th+ pick.
Although the Kitefins casting cost could be somewhat daunting to play, its ability is worth it. Sure a 3/3 flyer is pretty good in and by itself, but being able tap down your opponent’s creatures is amazing. If you’re playing UW and have tons of token makers like Raise the Alarm or First Response, you can tap down multiple enemies a turn and go over them in the air. I think this “Creature-fall” ability is really strong, so I’d take this guy high in draft. Top 5 choice definitely if you can get your hands on him. He’d be good in just about every Blue/x combination. Limited decks are creature heavy as it is (13+), so you’ll get quite a few activations out of him I think.
Just like the River Marshal in white, the Murk Lurker can be pretty good if you’re playing its partner’s colors. Playing a UB deck makes him a 2/4 for three mana that gives life link to anything. This isn’t as strong as the Dauntless River Marshall, but if you’re playing his colors he’s worth a spot in your 23. His effectiveness improves if you open up cards like Evolving Wilds and can get that swamp early. I wouldn’t draft him at all if you’re not playing black. You can probably let him pass you by once in each pack of booster draft and he’ll still be there.
Jace’s Ingenuity is in the sweet spot of card draw. It’s 2 more than Divination, but it’s ability is pretty strong in limited. Being able to draw three cards can give you the gas you need to take control of a game, so I’d value a card like this above Divination in limited. Most of the time you’ll see a Divination come around the table once in draft, but a card like this might be taken before then. I see it as a 6th-7th pick in booster drafts, especially if you have some decent blue cards already. It’s not crucial to have in your deck, but you probably wouldn’t be hurt by having it as one the cards in your final 3 slots. Whenever you play with a card like this that draws you cards, remember that the big reason you want them is to dig to your finishers quickly. You don’t want this in a fast aggro deck where every turn counts, but in a deck where you can stall you opponent then hit them with a big finisher, this is a good card. A Blue/x wall deck with big finishers would be a good match for it.
Finally a good blue card! I like Frost Lynx for it’s ability. Blue seems to have a lot of “can’t block me” effects this time around, which is good in limited. The Lynx would be great in a UG deck with big creatures to help you finish an opponent after you’ve tapped their creatures. This Frost Breath ability is very useful and can really punish the other player if you have a good way to finish it up. Tapping down their only flyer, or forcing them to block with their best creature or die will help you to win a few games. If you get your hands on him and a Kapsho Kitefins you’ll have yourself a pretty sweet tempo deck. I could see it being played in UR decks too. In draft, I would probably take it as a top 5 pick if I was in blue. Again, you probably don’t want blue as your main color, but this is a very good support card if blue is your second color.
As I said above, blue has a lot of those “can’t block me” creatures. They have no strings attached evasion which is great if you can afford it. The Amphin Pathmage was really well designed. For 4 mana you get a 3 power creature that can make things unblockable. I don’t feel that he’s too cheap or expensive at all. He’s a very well balanced creature in my opinion. Alone and in a vacuum his 3 power is nothing to scoff at, but when teamed up with creatures in other colors, such as red and green, his usefulness increases exponentially. Not a first pick, but also not a card you’ll see passed to you a second time around. If you’re playing blue as your support color, pick him up quickly. I’d take him as my 6th-7th pick, even if I had to splash for him.
Last but not least we have Illusory Angel. The only draw back is that you have to play her on turn 5 or later. Why’s that you say? Well, there are no 1 blue drops that I see in my spoiler list, so unless you cast a Void Snare on turn 4 to play it, you’ll probably be waiting until you can play those more plentiful 2 drops. Most of the other colors have 2-3 one drops however, so if you can get a few of them and build an aggressive Blue/x deck you could be in good shape. It’s a good card, just not as easy to get out as you think. I’d still take it high though. Top 5 card in draft for sure.
Other Cards That Might See Play
- Divination – like I said, card draw is good but depends on if you need it to dig to your bombs. For slow, defensive decks it’s a good card, but for others it might not be as useful.
- Coral Barrier – It’s a card that puts 2 creatures into play, what’s not to like about that? Oh yeah, one of them is a 1/3 wall. Still not bad though! I wouldn’t mind having it as my 22nd-23rd card in my deck.
- Aeronaut Tinker – 2/3 for 3 mana, but if you opened a few artifacts he gets much better.
- Invisibility – Good if you have decent creatures to put it on. Also, there are more walls in this set than the last one I think.
- Mind Sculpt – Draft 4+ of these, put in some walls and card draw, and watch your opponent empty their cards into their graveyard. Damage isn’t the only way to win a game!
Coming Up Next
Maybe you’ll disagree with me, but I truly believe that blue got the shaft with this set. There are some decent cards and good tempo spells, but nothing really stands out for me except for Kapsho Kitefins and Amphin Pathmage. Use blue as a support color and nothing more. Green blue is probably decent, and I’m going to go out on a limb and recommend Red/Blue as well. Next time I’ll be looking at black, so be sure to check back soon. I hope you found this helpful and if you have any comments about blue, I’d like to hear them down below. Thanks for reading!