Avacyn Restored Casual & Commander Review: Blue

With white behind us in the Avacyn Restored Casual and Commander review, it is on to possibly my least favorite color in Magic – blue! Nothing stalls a game like a blue mage ruining everything (but I shouldn’t talk, I’m pretty sure half my decks run blue). But if you’re looking for some unique spells to change up the dynamic at your table, Avacyn Restored will definitely get your gears moving.

Casual and Commander Review: Avacyn Restored
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts & Lands

Alchemist’s Apprentice

At first glance, this card isn’t that exciting. My initial gut reaction is to compare it to Hapless Researcher, but they fulfill completely different roles. Alchemist’s Apprentice essentially cycles for 1U, and if you can get creative with a recursion combo, he can fill a similar role as Elvish Visionary.

Amass the Components

A new take on Sift, this sorcery speed card draw is just a bigger See Beyond and a must consider in any kind of combo deck that wants certain spells out of your hand. I really like that it just puts the card on the bottom of your library, which generally keeps it safe from milling. Not a ground breaking spell, but some decks will make great use of this.

Arcane Melee

I want to love this card since all it does is make the game move faster. Giving everyone 2 mana off non-permanent spells can drastically change how the game plays, but my biggest concern is that your opponents get to play with it first. That said I find the possibility of casting Concentrate for UU a tempting one. In a big game, this can be played politically but it can also put a target on your head from the aggro players.

Captain of the Mists

For combo players, I could see this getting used in some weird tapping-untapping deck (maybe making use of the untap symbol), but the ability to untap him makes me very interested. With 11 different humans having Flash, I could see some wonky control deck using this guy.

Crippling Chill

Tapping down a single creature might win you the game every now and then, but this spell just doesn’t do enough against more than one opponent.

Deadeye Navigator

A 5/5 body is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it can flicker in and out of existence on a whim. As long as you control one other creature, this guy is near impossible to kill with two mana open. What I really like is how well his ability pairs with other soulbond creatures, allowing them all to flicker in and out and constantly changing pairs.

Devastation Tide

This is one hell of a failsafe card! I loved Upheaval, but in multiplayer games the bouncing of all lands would make you an automatic target. Just bouncing all nonland permanents makes it hurt a tiny bit less. With it being a sorcery, it can’t be used at any time but for Blue Commanders, this is a fine reset button for when things get out of control.

The miracle is just icing on the cake though, since the ability to cast this as soon as turn 3 means you can use it if someone gets an explosive start to bring them back down to speed.

Dreadwaters

I dislike milling in multiplayer for the same reason I dislike poison, it means no one else can every help you. That said, late game this can be devastating. But be honest, wouldn’t you rather play Glimpse the Unthinkable?

Elgaud Shieldmate

I am very afraid of this seeing play in Commander. The ability to give your general hexproof means you’re going to have a much harder time killing it. This is not a card to be underestimated and should probably be destroyed as soon as possible.

Favorable Winds

Any kind of blue lord is dangerous, and I really like this new Sunken City. Pumping all your fliers permanently for only two mana is terrifying and makes me want to assemble a simple deck of cheap fliers like Zephyr Sprite and Welkin Tern to see what I can do.

Fettergeist

A little bit of leaking the loner mechanic, I don’t like this card a whole lot. A 3/ 4 flier for 3 is a good deal, but the growing mana cost can quickly become problematic. I’m sure someone will try to make it work, but for me, I would prefer a card I didn’t have to babysit.

Fleeting Distraction

Maybe in a Kiln Fiend deck. But it’s a reprint, so you already know that.

Galvanic Alchemist

A combo-enabling Horned Turtle shouldn’t be this good. The ability to untap a creature for 3 mana should not be under estimated, especially when this can easily pair up with someone like Arcanis the Omnipotent or Ertai, Wizard Adept. Mono-blue decks will want to think about this card if they’re playing any kind of tapper.

Geist Snatch

Basically a slightly different Summoner’s Bane, this card still doesn’t do enough for me. I dislike situational counters in multiplayer and I better get a lot more than a 1/1 for a Removal Soul that costs 4.

Ghostform

If you’re being sneaky with paired creatures, this can work but otherwise, this spell doesn’t do enough.

Ghostly Flicker

This card hates enchantments and planeswalkers! The tricks this card provides though are amazing. It stops removal, it resets counters, it removes pesky auras and it does all the same nefarious stuff as Cloudshift. Combine this with Ray of Command or Overtaker to permanently steal things.

Ghostly Touch

Playing this aura will usually be like playing with a handicap. I don’t see it doing enough other than essentially reading “1U: Enchanted creature will get destroyed next.”

Gryff Vanguard

I want to love this card (and I do for limited), but at the kitchen table a 3/2 won’t be ruling the skies past turn 4.

Havengul Skaab

This card costs two mana too much for me to love it. The bounce trigger might be awesome, but paying six mana for a 4/5 that will bounce one of your creatures and then get Doom Bladed just doesn’t cut it.

Infinite Reflection

The Essence of the Wild aura, Infinite Reflection scares me the most in Commander where it completely ruins the idea of singleton. Sadly, it’s non-token so you can’t go nuts by throwing it on a Verdant Force. What I really like is you don’t even have to build around this too much, just make sure you don’t accidentally put it on a legendary creature.

Into the Void

I love Undo and getting a slightly more splashable version is more than okay. The sorcery speed makes a bit harder to work with, but the ability to two-for-one makes it a solid spell in the blue bounce arsenal.

Latchseeker

A long, long time ago I absolutely adored Phantom Warrior and this one just makes so much more sense. The one toughness barely matters when you’re dealing with permanent unblockablility. While Invisible Stalker is still better, I do like the idea of a single card being a 7 turn clock.

Lone Revenant

Hexproof and the ability to an Impulse Ophidian? Holy crap, that’s kind of awesome. The loner requirement makes me slightly wary, though with enough Propagandas out, you can probably play it safe. Repeated Impulses though is amazing, really amazing.

Lunar Mystic

Thank god this is only for your instants; otherwise this would turn into some additional version of Mind’s Eye that would make me want to light Harry’s deck on fire and stomp on the ashes. In the right deck, this card is more than fine. The ability to draw an extra card off a Brainstorm or Unsummon is very powerful.

Mass Appeal

It really bothers me that Humans get a better version of Distant Melody. In the right deck, this will easily draw you a half dozen cards. In the wrong deck, it’s useless.

Mist Raven

I would gladly pay an extra U to make my Man-O’-War a flier! This card isn’t flashy but it is good. The ability to bounce another creature and then provide you with a 2 /2 flier is amazing – especially when flicker effects abound in this format. A great utility card that deserves your consideration.

Misthollow Griffin

I honestly don’t know if this card is stupid or awesome. Yes, it makes infinite mana with Food Chain but I’m sure it can do so much more. It does terrifying things with Back from the Brink and Force of Will. It lessens the cost of Commandeer and allows you to play Misdirection and Snapback for free! This card will break something, I just don’t know what.

Nephalia Smuggler

Continuing the trend of flickering spells for nefarious purposes, Nephalia Smuggler is a card begging to be broken. He’s cheap, which allows him to sneak out in the first few turns to give you an extra layer of defense. His ability though is just begging to be broken in the same ways as Cloudshift and Ghostly Flicker. He’s more of the same, but I like that touch of consistency.

Outwit

I want to love this card, just like I want to love Turn Aside. If targeted effects are a big part of your table, this can work (and it’s great for protecting your Planeswalkers) but I worry it will be a dead card in your hand way too often to really be worthwhile.

Peel from Reality

A Ravnica reprint, Peel from Reality always can have its place. Provided you’re playing with any enter the battlefield triggers, it’s a great use of two mana. But what I really love is how political this card can be. In response to a Wrath of God, you can save your best creature – and your temporary ally’s best creature!

Rotcrown Ghoul

I’m interested in the potential of this card because it might be one of the final pieces needed to bridge the gap for multiplayer “Mill.” The ability to get a 3/3, which can lock the ground down fairly well, and loom the threat of milling over someone makes me very interested. I don’t see it working out in Commander, but in casual 60 it could be an interesting concept.

Scrapskin Drake

Essential a reprint of Cloud Elemental, this card belongs in a draft.

Second Guess

I have no idea what to really make of this counter. The limitation is so odd that I can’t think it would actually work out. Being able to only counter the second spell played just feels off, like walking down stairs that are slightly too far apart.

Spectral Prison

A new Ice Cage variant, there are a lot of differences between the two. Spectral Prison still allows for activated abilities to be used, but it requires a spell to break the hold. An interesting piece of quasi-removal, but I don’t think it does enough.

Spirit Away

Yep, I love this card. Stealing creatures is always fun, especially when it is permanent. Stealing your opponents’ creature and making it better? Oh that isn’t even fair! Spirit Away is a fantastic late game play that can really change the table’s dynamic. I wouldn’t ever underestimate the +2/+2 and flying it grants either. I fully expect this to become a classic in Commander.

Stern Mentor

Soulbond to mill only for two just feels weak. Milling needs to be a lot more powerful than this to make the cut in multiplayer.

Stolen Goods

Kind of Bribery, kind of Telemin Performance, I love the way this can play out. I think randomness in multiplayer is a good thing and anything that mixes it up is bound to be fun. In Commander though, this can really shine as you can get excellent deals on huge creatures and epic spells. Even better, it’s a may ability so you don’t have to worry about accidentally shooting yourself in the foot. Plus it exiles the cards from the top of the deck!

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

Planeswalkers are always tricky business in multiplayer because everyone knows to kill them immediately (unless you’re playing Chandra Ablaze, then they just pity you). Tamiyo though is a great ‘walker because she can pretty much go into any blue deck! Her +1 allows her to protect herself, and Ajani Vengeant has shown how powerful locking down a target can be.

Her -2 for a Theft of Dreams will keep your hand full – or convince everyone not to attack. I would call that a win-win. Then her ultimate is just absurd. I fully expect anyone who pulls off her ultimate to be able to infinite combo immediately and end the game with something like a Lotus Petal. If you are playing blue, you should play her too.

Tandem Lookout

I really like this soulbond. Card drawing is always appreciated and being able to turn two of your creatures into Thieving Magpies is amazing. But why I really like this card is because it doesn’t specify combat damage, so pair him up with a pinger and keep your hand filled to the brim!

Temporal Mastery

The miracle that might break Vintage or Legacy, Temporal Mastery isn’t that great for multiplayer. Taking additional turns is a quick way to put a target on your head and Temporal Mastery will do just that. If you cast it too early, it’s just an Explore that makes people notice you. If you cast it late (or pay full price), you’ve turned yourself into the bad guy.

Vanishment

Another miracle, Vanishment is a fine spell. But I don’t see anyone writing home about it because it’s just another Temporal Spring effect. It isn’t a bad card and will probably often make the cut in my blue Commander decks for getting rid of other Commanders, but it’s just pure utility and nothing more.

Wingcrafter

This is better than Flight, but that isn’t saying a whole lot.

At the end, I feel like Avacyn Restored only has a handful of blue cards that I’m really excited about. The blue spells are fun but so many of them just feel like rehashes from the past – except for Misthollow Griffin. If you’re looking for consistency in your Commander deck, you can find it here. But if you’re looking for new innovations, look elsewhere.

Top 5 Blue Avacyn Restored Cards for Commander & Casual

5. Spirit Away
4.Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
3. Stolen Goods
2. Misthollow Griffin
1. Devastation Tide

Casual and Commander Review: Avacyn Restored
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts & Lands