Magic Origins Limited Review: Blue

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Posted July 10, 2015 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Nerdy Bits

Before this review begins, I thought I would break down my scoring system:

10: An absolute bomb, you will always pick this card, even if it’s pack three and you aren’t in its colors. In Sealed, you will splash this card no matter what.

9.0-9.9: While still a bomb, you may not necessarily splash this card if you can’t support it.

8.0-8.9: While maybe not a bomb, these cards are still first pickable, either for being an exceptional creature or for being prime removal.

7.0-7.9: Early pick creatures and playable removal, as well as other highly playable non creature spells.

6.0-6.9: Playable cards that you won’t be excited about playing.

5.0-5.9: These are the cards that you’ll be forced to play, but may be actively unhappy about playing them.

4.0-4.9: Generally cards designed specifically for Constructed that simply don’t gel in Limited, ie specific hate cards. Good only in the sideboard.

3.0-3.9: If you’re playing this, something went wrong along the way.

2.0-2.9: These are the dregs of the pack, that go as late at as the basic lands – sometimes later.

1.0-1.9: Set these cards on fire. They’re worthless to you, and yes, this is true even in EDH.

Mythic Rares

Day’s Undoing

Day’s Undoing is a Constructed card, and mostly an EDH card. Occasionally it will be useful out of the sideboard as graveyard hate or to refill your hand, but most of the time this is just a do nothing sorcery that will take up your entire turn.

Score: 3.0

Disciple of the Ring

Disciple of the Ring is a bomb in every sense of the word. A 3/4 offers a decent clock, and is pretty good on the defense as well, especially considering that she can buff and protect herself. Tapping and Untapping creatures also allows for some sweet combat interactions, and can be used defensively or offensively. Her four abilities are, in many ways, like repeatable loyalty abilities, and the cost of using them is fairly low. She does nonbo with Spell Mastery, and Limited doesn’t allow for as many Instants and Sorceries in the graveyard, but this thing is still pretty much a windmill slam.

Score: 8.0

Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy//Jace, Telepath Unbound

Creature Jace is pretty decent. A 0/2 looter for two is pretty good. It’s not exactly card advantage, but it is card selection, which is fairly important in Limited, as the average card quality is not that high. As for Planeswalker Jace, well, he’s alright in Limited. His +1 ability can stem opponents’ offenses, and his -3 functionally grants flashback to a spell. It’s unlikely that you’ll hit his -9 all the often, but if you do, milling your opponent becomes a viable option. All in all, this new Jace is a card worth having in your deck, and you’ll probably first pick him, but he’s not exactly a windmill slam.

Score: 7.5

Rares

Alhammaret, High Arbiter

A 5/5 flier for seven is pretty good on its own. It’s definitely a solid way to close out a game, especially if your opponents can’t scrounge up fliers or removal to keep it at bay. Alhammaret’s ETB ability is purely icing. Occasionally, you’ll hit an opponent’s bomb, and that, of course, will feel great. Even though that will not be the case in most scenarios, but it’s still a pretty nice upside.

Score: 7.8

Displacement Wave

Displacement Wave is an AWESOME card. It’s definitely geared more towards Constructed play, but a mono-blue “board-wipe” is great in Limited as well. If you can get this to be a 2-.3-, or even 4-for-one then you’re probably pretty happy. The largest downside is that it’s mana intensive, and will generally take up your entire turn. Still, if you’re able to have a follow up play before your opponent can begin to rebuild, the tempo hit could be devastating.

Score: 8.0

Harbinger of the Tides

It may just be me, but Harbinger of the Tides doesn’t seem amazing. It definitely can be used to bounce an attacking creature, but the extra 2 mana to Flash it in won’t be worth it all the time. Still, the versatility is nice. Unfortunately, the 2/2 body isn’t, especially since hitting it on turn two simply isn’t a realistic expectation if you’re in a 2-colored deck. A 2/2 is simply going to get outclassed by the time you’ll finally be able to get offensive with it around turn four. It’s probably more playable than most other cards in the set, but it’s far from being a premiere card.

Score: 7.5

Jace’s Sanctum

As cool as this card is, it’s 100% not for Limited play. Reducing the costs of instants and sorceries is generally not going to be all that relevant, and you probably won’t have too many opportunities to Scry. This card is still playable, as it will generate some value for you if you can’t find anything better to play. This is not a card you’ll want to prioritize highly, unless you’re drafting the Prowess deck and going for more non creatures than a normal Limited deck.

Score: 4.0

Mizzium Meddler

A 1/4 with Flash at three mana is not a very good card in Limited, and needs to make up for its terrible stats with an awesome ability. Unfortunately, Mizzium Meddler’s ability is not all that awesome in Limited. Occasionally, it will save you or a creature from a burn spell, and it can “counter” a removal spell on your bomb. All of this requires you to leave up mana as soon as it enters your hand, and it’s not great in Limited for the same reasons counterspells generally aren’t.

Score: 6.5

Soulblade Djinn

Soulblade Djinn’s team Prowess is pretty great. He’s kind of invaluable piece in any blue based Limited deck. Of course, as with most Limited decks, you won’t be playing that many non-creature spells, but if you build around Soulblade Djinn, or even pick up a couple valuable spells over the course of the draft, this card can become devastating. Even on it’s own, it isn’t terrible as a 4/3 flier that will occasionally get a pump. I feel like this is definitely the type of card that could draw you into a splash, though the double blue in its mana cost may be slightly discouraging.

Score: 8.6

Talent of the Telepath

Four mana to mill seven and cast an Instant or Sorcery seems like a lot of value, which is made even better by the possibility of getting to cast two Instants and/or Sorceries. Ultimately, however, Talent of the Telepath is not necessarily the best card for Limited. The general quality and frequency of Instants and Sorceries is just too low in Limited to generate maximum value from this card. Also, it’s a Sorcery, which means that you’ll need to sink four mana into it on your main phase.

Score: 5.5

Thopter Spy Network

Thopter Spy Network is a card that will push you into this set’s Artifact subtheme. There are quite a few other ways to generate 1/1 Thopters, and the evasion that comes with them will allow you to draw tons of cards. Plus, it generates more Artifacts for some of the Artifact based synergies in this set, which actually seem fairly powerful.

Score: 7.8

Willbreaker

This is not a creature designed for Limited. When you’re targeting your opponent’s creatures, it’s usually to remove them. Sure, you can target your opponent’s creatures with Auras or combat tricks, but this could lead to a massive blowout if Willbreaker goes down.

Score: 4.5

Uncommon

Anchor to the Aether

This is a pretty good tempo card. Unfortunately, it’s a Sorcery, meaning that you’ll be bouncing opponent’s’ creatures on your own turn. Even with that drawback, the Scry makes up for it. If you’re playing a tempo/control deck, then you’ll probably want this card. If you’re looking to Trigger Prowess, you’ll DEFINITELY want this card.

Score: 6.9

Clash of Wills

As with most sets, counterspells simply don’t seem all that powerful in this Limited environment. While I am excited for this card in Constructed, it’s a late pick in Limited that you’re likely to keep in your sideboard as a catch all against cards you can’t deal with. Still, having to leave mana up can be a pain, especially since building true control decks in Limited is nearly impossible to do effectively.

Score: 5.8

Hydrolash

The fact that Hydrolash cantrips is what makes it worth a card. The effect on its own isn’t stellar but it’s pretty decent. It will successfully stem an attack and allow your creatures to eat your opponent’s creatures. The upside on Hydrolash is actually really, really high, and even in the absolute worst case scenario, it still retains some utility on the grounds of it being a cantrip.

Score: 6.5

Jhessian Thief

Jhessian Thief is pretty much just a strictly better Scroll Thief, and Scroll Thief was a pretty good card. Jhessian Thief demands to be blocked, making combat more difficult for opponents. What makes it it even more difficult is the fact that this thief has Prowess. They can block Jhessian Thief, but it’s much more likely to survive combat, trade, or even eat a blocker when necessary. There’s a lot of flexibility to Jhessian Thief, and that makes it a card to look out for if you’re in blue.

Score: 7.8

Psychic Rebuttal

This card is absolute trash in Limited. It’s rare that you’ll actually be targeted by a spell, and even when you are, it’s generally low impact. Of course, you may want to side it in against a deck with lots of burn, but other than that, there’s little to no application for this card.

Score: 3.0

Sigiled Starfish

In certain decks, the Starfish is not a bad pick up. It allows you to filter your draws very effectively, most likely increasing the overall quality of your draws. It’s also pretty good on the defense, if you need an effective blocker.

Score: 6.0

Skaab Goliath

The problem with Skaab Goliath is that you have to exile two creatures from your graveyard. When this was printed back in Innistrad, there were tons of ways to load your graveyard. Here, there are some, that’s for sure, but most of the creatures you’ll exile to this guy will come from trades or chump blocks. Once you meet the drawback, you’ve got a 6/9 with Trample on your hands, so in the end it’s probably worth it.

Score: 7.5

Sphinx’s Tutelage

In the right type of grindy deck, Sphinx’s Tutelage could provide a powerful win condition, especially with support from a few other mill cards. Plus, the looting ability on this card is really nice. Still, it’s not exactly something that you should be prioritizing, since it can take a whole turn to cast, and the mana intensive looting forces you to either leave up mana or compromise your main phase and ability to bluff. All in all, this is the kind of card that will have really high upside, but the downside to it will generally outweigh that upside.

Score: 5.9

Tower Geist

When Tower Geist was printed back in the Innistrad block, its upside was much higher. Milling a card out of your own library, in many cases, was almost like drawing a card. Here, without any massive graveyard synergies or the Flashback mechanic, putting a card into your graveyard has become more of a drawback than an upside. Still, it’s a 2/2 flier that basically cantrips when it enters the battlefield, which is by no means a bad deal for four mana. It’s not an early or exciting pick, but it’s good for rounding out a deck.

Score: 7.0

Turn to Frog

Turn to Frog is a stellar combat trick. It allows you to eat your opponent’s biggest threat, or save you from taking lethal damage. It’s not removal, but it can be when you leverage it correctly.

Score: 7.0

Whirler Rogue

Whirler Rogue is pretty much exactly on curve, though its power and toughness are spread amongst three creatures. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s actually more upside to this than downside, especially since those creatures can be used to force through damage. Plus, the Thopters gel well with the Artifact subtheme that actually seems to be fairly strong.

Score: 7.6

Commons

Artificer’s Epiphany

Artificer’s Epiphany is kind of like Thirst for Knowledge, except it may almost be better. If you have it in the Artifact deck, this is basically going to be Instant speed Divination, which is sweet. Even when it’s not, draw two discard one is cycling, which isn’t terrible. I wouldn’t call it good, but it’s probably playable.

Score: 6.5

Aspiring Aeronaut

More Thopters! This is a card that the Artifact deck probably wants, even in spite of its steep mana cost. Four mana for two power and three toughness in the air isn’t great, but being an Artifact is actually fairly relevant, so there’s definitely that.

Score: 5.0

Bone to Ash

Counters aren’t great in Limited, but you’ll probably find yourself wanting 1-2 of them, and Bone to Ash is one of the better ones to have. It will unconditionally stop your opponent’s biggest threat, and then replace itself. You won’t want to pick it highly, but you will probably want to have it in your arsenal.

Score: 6.8

Calculated Dismissal

Three mana for Mana Leak isn’t great, and the Spell Mastery doesn’t make it much better. You probably want this card early game, and in Limited you won’t have many great targets early game, and you won’t be able to reach Spell Mastery by turn two.

Score: 2.0

Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia, as with all sets it shows up in, is Origins’ premiere blue removal spell. It’s hard to call it exciting, but it definitely signals that blue is going to be pretty powerful. Now, Claustrophobia doesn’t destroy a creature, but it does keep it on lockdown as soon as it hits the board. There’s no waiting for your opponent to tap the creature you’ve enchanted, Claustrophobia does that itself. Depending on your rare, this card is definitely first pickable.

Score: 8.5

Deep-Sea Terror

By the time you can cast Deep-Sea Terror on turn six, you may have seven cards in your graveyard, though it’s unlikely. However, by turn eight or nine, that is definitely attainable, and 6/6’s generally won’t stop being good, making this one of the better blue commons. And if you need a blocker, this guy can do that well no matter what.

Score: 7.5

Disperse

Disperse is an interesting card, with a lot of utility. It can be used offensively (clearing the way for an alpha strike) or defensively (bouncing a threatening attacking creature). It will straight up deal with a token, and can provide some serious tempo advantage. Prowess or Control decks in this format will largely rely on getting ahead in tempo, and Disperse does that exceptionally well. It’s a card that most blue decks will want to play, even if they aren’t super excited about doing so.

Score: 7.0

Dreadwaters

It pains me to say this, but mill isn’t viable here unless you get all the exact cards you need. Dreadwaters isn’t great on its own, and even if you draft a dedicated mill deck, it’s not one of the cards you’ll really want.

Score: 3.5

Faerie Miscreant

Faerie Miscreant is probably not the type of card you’ll want to play. At the end of the day, it’s just going to be a 1/1 for flier for a single blue mana most of the time. It’s hard to say how often you’ll get the extra value, and I’m, not saying that it will never happen. Regardless, it will probably happen rarely, and there’s not much about this card that makes it good. That said, it will see some play, if only because this is Limited and, at some point, all cards in a given set will get played.

Score: 1.0

Maritime Guard

If you want to play defense on the ground, it doesn’t get much better than a 1/3 for two mana. This isn’t a card you’ll want to prioritize, as it’s likely to be one of the last 3-4 picks out of a pack, and most decks shouldn’t be picking it at all. Still, it has its uses, and most people will likely end up playing it by the end of the format.

Score: 5.0

Negate

Negate isn’t unplayable, but it’s probably more of a sideboard card. You’ll probably bring this card in when you see a noncreature spell that really scares you. This could be fairly often, depending on which decks you’re hitting.

Score: 6.5

Nivix Barrier

Nivix Barrier is exclusively a defensive card. It’s a Defender, and it’s ETB ability isn’t really applicable on the offense. You may want to have this card in specific decks, but most probably won’t be happy to have to run this guy.

Score: 5.0

Ringwarden Owl

3/3 fliers for five are always going to be a little bit below the curve. The fact that this particular 3/3 flier for five has Prowess seems to put it right on curve. It’s fairly costed, plain and simple. The fact it’s fairly costed is what makes playable. Lots of blue decks will be thankful to have this guy around, especially if they’re built around the Prowess mechanic. Even in a “normal” Limited deck, with a low number of noncreature spells, this card is still good and is likely to generate incidental value.

Score: 8.0

Scrapskin Drake

Despite what it looks like, Scrapskin Drake doesn’t really have a downside. Generally, you’d be happy with a 2/2 for flier for three, so one that can more effectively block other fliers and survive combat better is definitely improvement. The only scenario in which this card isn’t good is if you’re way behind on the board, and losing to ground creatures.Still, Scrapskin drake is right at home in the skies deck that this format will inevitably have.

Score: 6.5

Screeching Skaab

Milling yourself is not a huge theme in blue here. The cards that want you to do so are pretty powerful, but they don’t come up too often, making this Skaab much worse than it was back in Innistrad. A 2/1 for two is fine, so you may end up picking this, depending on previous picks, especially if you’re secondary color is black.

Score: 6.3

Send to Sleep

The second you get the Spell Mastery trigger off of Send to Sleep, you’re probably going to feel really good about playing the card. Now, you won’t always get the Spell Mastery trigger, and in those cases, you’re probably just going to feel pretty good. Tapping two creatures for two mana at Instant speed is a pretty mana efficient card on its own.

Score: 7.9

Separatist Voidmage

The Voidmage is a pretty good tempo card. It allows you to bounce a creature, while leaving behind a 2/2. If this card had Flash, it would give it the push over the top that it would need to be stellar. Even though it can only be cast as Sorcery speed, it’s still a decent card in most blue cards, though its 2/2 body may come too late after having to wait for a worthy target to bounce.

Score: 7.5

Stratus Walk

Stratus Walk isn’t too exciting, but it’s surprisingly good. It cantrips and can boost your biggest threat into the air permanently. There’s not too much downside to playing this card, outside of the typical aura stuff of opening yourself up to a brutal 2-for-1.

Score: 7.1

Watercourser


Watercourser has the capacity to be super offensive. A 2/3’s not terrible on its own, but this could be a 4/1 which is much more aggressive. That does require a significant mana sink, unfortunately, so it’s still not the greatest card.

Score: 6.2


About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.