Magic 2012 Commander & Multiplayer Review: Blue

Just like White, there are some diamonds in the rough when it comes to great gems hidden in Magic 2012. While a majority of the cards are limited fodder, a few of them really get me excited for deck building. Except Amphin Cutthroat.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Amphin Cutthroat

This guy is a salamander and that’s kind of awesome. Are Amphin the new merfolk? Almost definitely not and this is a terrible way to kick off this review.

Aven Fleetwing

For the bird-centric player, the Aven Fleetwing can definitely be a pain for their opponents. Hexproof is a dangerous ability and a card that reads “find a solution to this in 10 turns or you’re dead” concerns me. While not groundbreaking, this is definitely the kind of common I like seeing.

Wall of Denial is annoying as can be on the defense; I imagine this will be just as annoying on offense in early games.

Azure Mage

Now this is an exceptional creature! I have no idea how her top is staying on, but I also don’t expect anyone keeping her in their hand for long to contemplate the physics of that. Alabaster Mage was interesting but Azure Mage means you’ll never have a dead or boring turn. Don’t have any spell to cast on turn four? Draw a card. Opponent tossed out Awakening? Draw a bunch of cards!

She’s just begging to be teamed up with Heartstone for some broken card advantage.

Chasm Drake

A great common in limited, Chasm Drake isn’t terribly exciting in multiplayer or Commander because it doesn’t do enough. A 3/3 for 5 means you’re just a turn or two away from being crushed by a dragon. I like the card and the concept of a drake carrying people across chasms, but I don’t expect this guy to do much.

Frost Breath

As a combat trick, this could be exactly what is needed to keep someone out of your hair for a turn or two. Whether it’s shutting someone down for two combat phases or buying everyone else at the table some time to neutralize two different threats, Frost Breath is simple and does what it’s supposed to do.

Again, it’s nothing groundbreaking but as a common, you don’t really expect that.

Jace, Memory Adept

Now that Jace is off Zendikar, he’s been powered down a lot but I still love the absurdity of this card. Worst case, Jace is a Howling Mine just for you that slowly chips away at morale – and that’s just his +1 ability! The zero ability  is fascinating and scares me, but that might just be because I got milled out of a game last week. The final ultimate is hilariously janky. Whether it’s to finish off a lot of people by decking them or if you just want to draw 20 cards because you’ve got Venser’s Journal out, it’s all good.

But like most ‘walkers in casual, they quickly get targeted and Jace is no different. You’re going to need some defense to protect him, but the ability to keep drawing cards is one worth keeping around.

Jace’s Archivist

Windfall on legs – this could be a dangerous combination given how Windfall is banned or restricted in almost every format possible. It’s a great way to punish that player who keeps all his cards in his hand, but given the double blue casting cost – that player is probably going to be you.

I could see this being a lot of fun in a modern UG-Madness or just a great way to make sure your hand is full of steam. I still wonder how the vedalken got such fancy technology.

Lord of the Unreal

There are a lot of illusions in Magic: 71 of them currently and that’s not counting changelings! Not all of them suffer from being super fragile, but giving them hexproof makes them absolutely terrifying. As a card, this reminds me a lot of Lord of Atlantis and if you can pull it off, turning him into an illusion gives him all the benefits as well!

I definitely see illusions becoming an annoying tribe around the kitchen table and I like the idea of that. Now I just need to get one custom painted to look like GOB.

Master Thief

Steal Artifact on legs? I’m starting to see a pattern here. The ability to swipe something, even temporarily, is tempting. With tables often covered in swords and warhammers, swiping something could quickly change the tide of the battle. Or get really mean and pair him up with Liquimetal Coating to swipe anything.

Merfolk Mesmerist

They’re really pushing milling! In Commander, milling (unless you’re Oona going infinite) usually isn’t the best idea given how long it can take. In regular multiplayer, it’s not much better. The ability to continually do it is okay, but there are better ways to do it than a Millstone on legs. Seriously, it seems like everything is on legs now!

Mind Unbound

Wow, this could get messy. On your second turn with this out, it’s Heightened Awareness only without any drawback. On your third turn, it just keeps getting better. Toss in some Proliferate effects or maybe Power Conduit to take counters off when you want to slow down, and you’ve got a card drawing machine.

My biggest concern with this card is that neither ability is a may – you put on a counter and you draw that many cards: no ifs, ands or buts! It’s going to be hilarious to see this backfire (just like Bruce’s Soul ConduitForm of DragonPhyrexian Unlife combo deck).

Phantasmal Bear

When did blue start getting efficient creatures? I love the concept of Blue Beatdown (almost as much as blue burn). When paired up with Lord of the Unreal, this monster because a real monster. Yes, it’s fragile as can be but starting the game with an Isamaru, Hound of Konda isn’t too shabby.

Phantasmal Dragon

Oh come on! A 5/5 for 4 is absurd! Again, it’s fragile but tossing in some Hexproof or shroud can keep your guys safe. This is like a really good Air Elemental and I except to see this dragon on the battlefield.

Phantasmal Image

This is getting ridiculous. In commander, this card is AMAZING since it basically says “2 mana: destroy target legend.” But the ability to clone for half the price and turn it into an illusion makes me think you can make a killer deck just by having four of the following: this, Lord of the Unreal, Phantasmal Dragon and Phantasmal Bear. Plus, if you copy a Lord of the Unreal then that copy is an illusion and gets his own bonus!

This card is awesome.

Skywinder Drake

I remember when this card was just called Cloud Spirit and he needed to cut his fingernails.

Sphinx of Uthuun

Fact or Fiction with wings (on legs) – holy crap this is awesome. A 5/6 flier is nothing to scoff at but when combined with the ability to Fact or Fiction, you’ve got a serious threat – especially with flickering effects! I worry about the math because combining Fact or Fiction and Mahamoti Djinn shouldn’t be this cheap.

The real appeal of this kind of card, for me at least, is seeing how different people choose. I love watching everyone else at the table argue over how to split the stack. It’s like Browbeat but with less getting Lava Axed.

Turn to Frog

Between this, Diminish and Humble, the blue-white mage can be safe forever and make me want to hate them more and more. I love the flavor of this card since it’s such a perfect fantasy flavor. Probably the closet to targeted removal blue is going to get.

Visions of Beyond

This is weird. Any card that says “U – Draw 3 cards” is bound to get attention but having 20 cards in a graveyard is a lot. I’m sure someone will be able to break it, but I don’t know how just yet. Keep an eye out on this because card advantage like this is bound to get some people interested.

Notable reprints include Belltower Sphinx who rules the skies and eats libraries in large bites, Frost Titan who may be one of the best blue six-drops and for some unknown reason, Time Reversal is back. Good lord, why?

Much like White, Blue offers a handful of cards that really interest me in multiplayer. The Illusions as a tribe are exciting but so many of these creatures just take existing spells and slap legs on them. For Commander, that’s a a great way to allow for more consistency but from a design standpoint, not much in blue really feels new to me.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands