Avacyn Restored Set Review Blue
Yes! It’s that time and the full set spoiler is up online. That can mean only one thing, it’s pre-release weekend and next weekend is the release. Translation, all the local shops are gearing up for two weekends filled with events, and it’s time for me to share my advice on the new cards with all my readers. After all we’re going to be playing with these new toys for the next twenty-two months. Also at the end I’ll be giving advice on key cards to look for if you are playing in the sealed box tournament at the local shop, Mages and Sages, next weekend.
As always I’ll be breaking the cards down into six different articles and focusing on the formats that these cards will be seeing play. Let’s face it, not every card is good in all formats and I don’t have the time to keep saying that. I’ll be calling each card as I see them, and if I don’t talk about a format then the card is trash in it. If you think I’m not giving do respect to a card please use the comments below to share your opinions. Only by sharing our ideas can we reach understanding and improvement.
That all said it is now time to get on with the reviews.
Alchemist’s Apprentice – 1U – Creature – Human Wizard – C – Sacrifice Alchemist’s Apprentice: Draw a card. 1/1. If only this could have been a normal draft format so I could draft UG self-mill. I mean two mana to chump block, draw, and put a dude in my graveyard. Still this is going to get played in Standard UG self-mill as well as the the Block version of the deck. I totally love this card and it’s the kind of hit I’m happy to start this review with.
Amass the Components – 3U – Sorcery – C – Draw three cards, then put a card from you hand on the bottom of your library. And R&D lets me down just as fast. Okay so this might see some play in Commander and Limited as a dig spell. I mean if you do plan to have the game go really long you can ship back those useless Miracle cards to the bottom of your deck. This means some kind of control or mill deck in Limited will look to use this.
Arcane Melee – 4U – Enchantment – R – Instant and sorcery spells cost 2 less to cast. Another good Commander card. Okay, this might have some play in storm decks able to get this into play using rituals in Modern using Past into Flames.
Captain of the Mists – 2U – Creature – Human Wizard – R – Whenever another Human enters the battlefield under your control, untap Captain of the Mists. 1U, tap: You may tap or untap target permanents. 2/3. I like this in Limited for a control deck. Sure, Cap here is mana hungry but he does allow you to play some lock down effects outside of white decks. The fact that he gets better in the late game as you can use him to tap down two or three blockers before you send in the troops for the kill.
Crippling Chill – 2U – Instant – C -Tap target creature. It doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step. Draw a card. I love these Limited combat tricks for locking down creatures in control decks. The fact that this allows you to dig as well is very nice.
Deadeye Navigator – 4UU – Creature – Spirit – R – Soulbond (you may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.) As long as Deadeye Navigator is paired with another creature, each of those creatures has “1U: Exile this creature, then return it to the battlefield under your control.” 5/5. Calling jank on this unless soulbond ends up being good. All this does is allow you to repair creatures you cast after this is in play. It just seems like a card that is never going to be useful unless you are really on the ropes or very heavy with soulbond creatures in you deck. What am I saying, pair it with a good enters the battlefield creature in Limited and blink away.
Devastation Tide – 3UU – Sorcery – R – Return all non-land permanents to their owners’ hands. Miracle 1U (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it’s the first card you drew this turn.) That’s a card that is going to see play in any format. Let’s face it tokens are taking over Standard by force and this is a blue wrath effect for those decks. With the ability to put cards back on top of your deck in Legacy with Brainstorm this is going to remove the ability to cheat casting cost with reanimation, rituals, and Show and Tell decks.
Dreadwaters – 3U – Sorcery – C – target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard, where X is the number of lands you control. Milling to win always seems to stick around in every set for limited. In Block this will give mill-win decks a late game punch, but in any kind of self-mill deck there are better and cheaper ways to fill up a graveyard. All of this together means this is just another piece of junk.
Elgaud Shieldmate – 3U – Creature – Human Soldier – C – Soulbond. As long as Elgaud Shieldmate is paired with another creature, both creatures have hexproof. (They can’t be the targets of spells of abilities your opponents control. 2/3. Solid Limited card is solid. For the constructed formats we have better four drops, but that will change in October which could lead to this finding a home in a Standard deck. The reason is that hexproof has shown itself to be a very powerful ability because of how much it bricks removal spells. Trust me this card is going to make some waves.
Favorable Winds – 1U – Enchantment – U – Creatures you control with flying get +1/+1. Now I get why Intangible Virtue was banned in Block. Still this is going to be a force in those decks as it replaces the lose of an anthem effect in spirit decks. This is just going to keep Esper spirit decks in power in Standard as well. This also has an impact on Limited as flying creatures are always the best ones to have.
Fettergeist – 2U – Creature – Spirit – U – Flying. At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Fettergeist unless you pay 1 for each other creature you control. ¾. Limited flying beater that can take a beating.
Fleeting Distraction – U – Instant – C – Target creature gets -1/-0 until end of turn. Draw a card. And the Limited hits keep on coming. The fact that this allows you to replace it when you use it makes it even better in Limited.
Galvanic Alchemist – 2U – Creature – Human Wizard – C – Soulbond. As long as Galvanic Alchemist is paired with another creature, each of those creatures has “2U: Untap this creature.” ¼. This is an example of a card that you can’t really judge without knowing what cards you are going to be using with it in the future. In Limited you just be using it to get a surprise blocker or reuse another creatures tap ability. In the future we might have some awesome creature that we will want to break with untapping over and over with a use of Training Grounds in Modern.
Gesit Snatch – 2UU – Instant – C – Counter target creature spell. Put a 1/1 blue Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield. Looks like Limited and Commander just got another counter. The reason why this isn’t going to see play in any of the other formats is that for counters to work you need them to be cheap so you can deal with problem cards well still advancing your own game plan. True, this does give you another dude, but that is just the reason why this is going to see more play in Limited that most other four drop counters have in the past.
Ghostform – 1U- Sorcery – C – Up to two target creature are unblockable this turn. This should see some waves in Limited as a finisher to get the last two dorks in for the kill. With infect still a part of Standard this might end up also seeing some play in blue/X infect decks.
Ghostly Flicker – 2U – Instant – C – Exile two target artifacts, creatures, and/or lands you control, then return those cards to the battlefield under your control. Yup this is going to find some home out side of Limited. Even in the forty card formats this is powerful because it blanks removal and reuses enters the battlefield triggers. When you use that kind of power in a constructed deck it gets even more powerful.
Ghostly Touch – 1U – Enchantment – Aura – U – Enchant creature. Enchanted creature has “Whenever this creature attacks, you may tap or untap target permanent.” Awesome card in Limited. Either you get to tap down their best blocker or you get to untap a blocker for next turn, untap a land to cast another spell, or reuse another creatures tap ability. If it wasn’t for the fact that auras suck because they can be answered by any removal spell this would have been a player in other formats.
Gryff Vanguard – 4U – Creature – Human Knight – C – Flying. When Gryff Vanguard enters the battlefield, draw a card. 3/2. Limited beater is nice because of that draw a card ability. This is also the card you are going to want if you have been taking all those exile and return cards.
Havengul Skaab – 5U – Creature – Zombie Horror – C – Whenever Havengul Skaab attacks, return another creature you control to its owner’s hand. 4/5. JANK! A 4/5 for six that makes you bounce your blockers and puts you behind on tempo is never good in any format.
Infinite Reflection – 5U – Enchantment – Aura – R – Enchant creature. When Infinite Reflection enters the battlefield attached to a creature, each other non-token creature you control becomes a copy of that creature. Non-token creature you control enter the battlefield as a copy of enchanted creature. Part of me has a twisted dream of putting this into my UG self-mill deck as sideboard tech verses Sun Titans. Put this on the titan then attack and watch an army of 6/6 beaters rise from my graveyard. Too bad the casting cost is so high that once I am facing down a Titan I might just be dead on board. Still the ability to copy an opponents best dude with every creature you have is awesome in Limited. Hmm, I’m going to see if I can get this to work in a Standard deck just for fun.
Into the Void – 3U – Sorcery – U – Return up to two target creatures to their owners’ hands. Why couldn’t this be an instant so it could be more than a Limited combat trick.
Latch Seeker – 1UU – Creature – Spirit – U – Latch Seeker is unblockable. 3/1. That’s a Limited beater if I have ever seen one. Add some pump spells and you have a very fast clock that is going to make you opponent wish you hadn’t been able to get this in you card pool.
Lone Revenant – 3UU – Creature – Spirit – R – Hexproof. Whenever Lone Revenant deals combat damage to a player, it you control no other creatures, look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order. 4/4. I’m not a fan of this lone wolf mechanic that WotC has created. I mean when is it ever good to only have one creature in play? As I see it this is a cool card to have in Limited as it helps you to bounce back from getting blown out with removal spells.
Lunar Mystic – 2UU – Creature – Human Wizard – R – Whenever your cast an instant spell, you many pay 1. If you do, draw a card. 2/2. I love this is a Limited control deck. Drawing cards is awesome in that format and being able to use your extra mana to do so is going to be very rewarding. Out side of that it is too slow and gets to be a very large removal target.
Mass Appeal – 2U – Sorcery – U – Draw a card for each Human you control. In Limited, yes; in Constructed, hells yes! In a die-hard human deck this is going to be either a draw two or draw much more that two spell.
Mist Raven – 2UU – Creature – Bird – Flying. When Mist Raven enters the battlefield, return target creature to its owner’s hand. 2/2. Limited awesome sauce! It’s a 2/2 that flies and bounces an opponents blocker or best attack. If the U/W Delver decks have taught us anything it is that tempo wins games. Still this might also see play in Commander.
Misthollow Griffen – 2UU – Creature – Griffen – M – Flying. You may cast Misthollow Griffen from exile. 3/3. I’m looking for a play-set of these both in paper and for online. If you are looking to trade contact me. Yeah, I want this card. As my readers know I’m a big fan of the U/G self-mill deck and Nihil Spellbomb ruins my day. I want these for the sideboard so I can at least do something after my graveyard gets removed for a few turns.
Nephalia Smuggler – U – Creature – Human Rouge – U – 3U, tap: Exile another target creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under your control. 1/1. Another blinker that is just as good as the rest.
Outwit – U – Instant – C – Counter target spell that targets a player. As the number of hexproof creatures rise so is the number of Geth’s Verdicts being played in Standard. That means that this is going to see a rise of being playing in Standard sideboards.
Peel from Reality – 1U Instant – C – Return target creature you control and target creature you don’t control to their owner’s hands. This is a little hard to lock down because it might just be good enough to see play all over the place. Against a token deck in standard it’s a blue removal spell that you allows you to just recast you cheap dudes. In other matches it allows you to save a dude from removal and also play the tempo game with your opponents best dude. I like this card a lot.
Rotcrown Ghoul – 4U – Creature – Zombie – C – When Rotcrown Ghoul dies, target player puts the top five cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. 3/3. Seeing as this is a stand alone draft set, and constructed formats have better tools, this is a pure mill-to-win card in Limited. Still love that it’s a 3/3 body and that it takes out an 8th of their forty card deck in one shot.
Scrapskin Drake – 2U – Creature – Zombie Drake – Flying. Scrapskin Drake can only block creatures with flying. 2/3. Limited combat fodder. Yes, it will eat spirits all day but it’s going to leave you wide open to ground forces.
Second Guess – 1U – Instant – U – Counter target spell that’s the second spell cast this turn. Hmm, yeah really thinking this will only find a home in the sideboard of Standard decks to fight Snapcaster Mage. Other than that it sucks.
Spectral Prison – 1U – Enchantment -Aura – C – Enchant creature. Enchanted creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s untap step. When enchanted creature becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice Spectral Prison. Nice tap down effect for Limited and that’s about it.
Spirit Away – 5UU – Enchantment – Aura – R – Enchant creature. You control enchanted creature. Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has flying. Nice Limited bomb as it gives you the opponents best creature and makes it even better. Also going to put this in my mind control Commander deck.
Stern Mentor – 3U – Creature – Human Wizard – U – Soulbond. As long as Stern Mentor is paired with another creature, each of those creatures has “Tap, target player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.” 2/2. Another mill-to-win card for limited. Up side is that you can pair this with the creature you played on turn three to start the milling off the bat.
Stolen Goods – 3U – Sorcery – R – Target opponent exiles cards from the top of his or her library until he or she exiles a non-land card. Until end of turn, you may cast that card without paying its mana cost. I almost wish that their was a way to play against the thirty-nine land Lost in the Woods deck with this in limited. Still the power to break this is more in Commander where you can use the counter spells to put powerful creatures and spells back on top of your opponents deck and then get them for 3U with this card. In other formats its just some kind of mill-to-win with a random spell that may or may not help you.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage – 3UU – Planeswalker – Tamiyo – M – +1: Tap target permanent. It doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step. -2: Draw a card for each tapped creature target player controls. -8: You get an emblem with “You have no maximum hand size” and “Whenever a card is put into your graveyard from anywhere, you may return it to your hand.” Starting loyalty 4. It should go without saying that this is great in Commander and Limited to look down dudes or Draw a ton of cards. It’s the last ability that I want to see work in a self-mill deck. In a Dredge deck this turns all dredge and mill cards into being totally broken as you get to cherry-pick the ones you don’t want to mill.
Tandem Lookout – 2U – Creature – Human Scout – U – Soulbond. As long as Tandem Lookout is paired with another creature, each of those creatures has “Whenever this creature deals damage to an opponent, draw a card. 2/1. I love Ninja of the Deep Hours and any other creature that supports that kind of plan. This will make some waves in Limited and might end up making more in Standard.
Temporal Mastery – 5UU – Sorcery – M – Take an extra turn after this one. Exile Temporal Mastery. Miracle 1U. This card is going to ship itself right to Legacy and skip any other format but Commander. Turn seven is just too late for an extra turn to matter, but in the older formats where you can break the Miracle trigger this is just a straight up Time Walk .
Vanishment -4U – Instant – U – Put target non-land permanent on top of its owner’s library. Miracle U. Nice in Commander and Limited but it doens’t work too well in other formats. Granted if you can pull this off well holding a Stolen Goods in hand it’s a bomb of a play.
Wingcrafter – U – Creature – Human Wizard – C – Soulbond. As long as Wingcrafter is paired with another creature, both creatures have flying. 1/1. In limited this is a bomb because it lets you give later large dudes flying to get over for damage. In fact this could be great to soulbond with Tandem Lookout so that you can get in over ground troops to be able to draw more cards. Totally happy that blue ends on a flavorful and cool note.
Alright time to give some grades to the blue cards. Flavor B+, Commander Boon B, Drafting C+, Competitive Impact C-. Over all the cards are cool and the ones that are nasty are really nasty in very narrow ways. Well blue didn’t get a complete shafting in this set it is more of a solid color that doesn’t do anything new or format breaking. Every card does what a blue card should do. This means that instead of having to turn to the blue cards for power you are turning to them for support . Outside of the Miracles I don’t see blue making a ton of waves to brew new competitive decks.
As for the sealed box tournament at Mages and Sages next weekend, if you are playing blue you are going to be looking for Tandem Lookouts along with Wingcrafter, Latch Seeker, and Ghostly Touch for the aggro beats and card drawing machines.
Well, that’s all for the blue cards and it is now time for me to start working on the black ones. This has been…
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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