Blue is an interesting color in multiplayer. In Commander, it seems to be the color that can do anything but in casual 60 it often can’t do enough. Traditional methods of control don’t really work and going too far into a permission deck will quickly result in the entire table turning against you. So the other option is to wait until the perfect moment to strike and M13 offers some new tactics.
Like always, I am only reviewing the cards new to M13 and will try my best to say something about each and every one. I can’t promise what I say will actually be insightful.
The blue Anarchist/better Scrivener that can return instants or sorceries, Archaeomancer is a dangerous card in singleton formats. While the 1/2 body for 2UU isn’t terribly exciting, there are now plenty of ways to abuse this card to create a recursion engine that would make Tamiyo blush. For commanders, now you have another Izzet Chronarch.
The blue member of the new allied creatures, Arctic Aven allows you to get a 3/2 flier with lifelink – for only three mana! While not the most exciting card (outside of limited), it really is a solid uncommon. Though when I glance at the art, I think it is a winged turtle.
Augur of Bolas
Sea Gate Oracle is a decent card, but Augur of Bolas gets the benefit of being a merfolk! Being a 1/3 is decent (sorry Straw Soldiers) but the enter the battlefield trigger is really nice. Blue has plenty of ways to tutor up instants or sorceries, and this just makes is even better. But more importantly, this guy has an awesome trident.
I love this card. Alluring Siren wasn’t terribly exciting, but the additional mana in exchange for forced blocking makes me adore it. A purely political card for multiplayer, Courtly Provocateur completely throws a lot of attacking and blocking out the window. She’s alarmingly fragile, but if you can keep her out of combat you’ll be puppet mastering the whole game.
I have a big issue with the name of this card – it doesn’t even look like it’s raining! AND THAT ELK IS DROWNING!
Sadly, this doesn’t disable triggered abilities as well. And it also requires you to find a way to tap the creature. As far as blue removal goes, this is too limited.
Flash, flying and a decent sized body allow these faeries to surprise people but then I remember Vendilion Clique exists.
This card might actually work better in multiplayer since it gives your mill deck a way to kill the other players! Plus, ten cards isn’t that many at all. I don’t see this Phantasm working at all in Commander, but in casual 60, this can quickly be up there with Serra Ascendant.
Master of the Pearl Trident
A better version of Lord of Atlantis? I thought blue wasn’t supposed to get good creatures! Being a merfolk lord makes him amazing, and blue has plenty of ways to change land types. This card is so good.
Tome Scour was a solid card for mill players and Mind Sculpt ups it just enough. Milling for seven will probably piss off some people more than it should, but if you’re going for straight milling for cheap, this works well. Plus, Jace’s Phantasm loves this card.
This card is stupidly absurd and horribly named. It should really be called Omnipotence but that’s beside the point. This is Dream Halls, just for you, without any costs. I see Show and Tell decks loving how easy it will be to drop massive bombs for free again and again. If your play group doesn’t run enchantment removal, now is a good time to start.
This card is weird and so situational. On one hand, this can result in hilarious game breaking plays, on the other, this can just sit in your hand for ages. Multiplayer often results in there being plenty of targets, but I’ve played far too many games where relying on your opponents’ graveyards just isn’t sustainable. As a one-of in Commander, this will be fine but I don’t see it usually working in casual 60.
Legerdemain already exists and allows you to swap artifacts, but if you’re playing Zedruu then you’ll be wanting to drop this. But in multiplayer, Switcheroo turns very weird since you can move creatures between opponents! That’s the type of zany play that I love in multiplayer.
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Merfolk don’t have a lot of commanders to pick from but Talrand is shaping up to be the best. While he’s just a 2/2, the fact that suddenly all your instants and sorceries also say “put a 2/2 blue drake creature token with plying onto the battlefield” too is beyond amazing. Pair him up with some buyback spells and you’ll be riding an army of drakes to victory.
As a sorcery, this is good. The double evasion is useful and the simple fact that blue manages to get 4 power for four mana seems suspiciously awesome. When paired with Talrand though, it goes from good to awesome. This is a solid card that usually won’t disappoint when cast.
Tricks of the Trade
I’m not paying four mana to make a creature unblockable and risk getting two-for-one’d on an aura.
The offensive Gomazoa, Void Stalker is an interesting card. Commanders will hate risking a tuck, but the fact is this guy is near impossible to kill. While I wish it didn’t require the tapping, I do love that it shuffles target creature.
For almost half the price, you get a fifth of a Morphling! Talk about a bargain!
For reprints, Blue drops the biggest bomb by bringing back Battle of Wits! A delightfully dumb card, I’m glad a new generation of Magic players will be exposed to it. Fog Bank is always appreciated (and always annoying) while Jace, Memory Adept makes a return as well. Rewind is another great repeat and I can’t help but be thrilled to see both Sphinx of Uthuun and Stormtide Leviathan return.
Top 5 Blue Magic 2013 Cards for Casual & Commander
5. Courtly Provocateur
4. Jace’s Phantasm
2. Master of Pearl Trident
1. Talrand, Sky Summoner
As a whole, Blue gets some interesting tricks to add to its arsenal for a variety of strategies ranging from merfolk aggro, some weird mill-beatdown hybrid that is perfect for multiplayer and a terrifying combo piece.