blue tagged posts

Magic 2014 M14 Casual and Commander Review: Black

Black is always a fun color at the kitchen table when it comes to making enemies and the short-term-allies. The color of death, destruction and selfishness often provides lovely card advantage and iadds some new toys to the necromancer’s toybox! As with the other M14 reviews, this will only cover new cards in the set, not reprints. Spoiler alert: Doom Blade is still really good.

Magic 2014 (M14) Casual & Commander Review
White Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Accursed Spirit

Mathmatically, this card is fine. It is basically a buff Dross Prowler, which is great in limited but at the kitchen table, it has to compete against every other four drop in the history of Magic… which makes it less impressive.

Artificer’s Hex

It has been ages since the notion of a “Cursed Artifact” has been in Magic and Artificer’s Hex brings back the ability with a bang. Historically, black is very weak at artifact removal but giving them this new skill is appreciated. While Artificer’s Hex doesn’t outright destroy the equipment, it does make wielding it much more dangerous.  It’s a neat little card and makes living weapon weird, but I see it being fringe play at best. In Commander, it could be more valuable depending on your playgroup. Oh, and it allows black to get around protection from black!

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Magic 2014 M14 Casual and Commander Review: Blue

Core sets in Magic have been interesting for a few years now, thanks to the fact that Wizards is printing new cards in them. But at the end of the day, core sets are about introducing people to Magic to the sheer insanity level of cards like in Return to Ravnica block, but that doesn’t mean every card in Magic 2014 isn’t worth looking at.

As a reminder, this review only covers cards that are new in M14, so all reprints are ignored.

Magic 2014 (M14) Casual & Commander Review
White Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Colossal Whale

What a beautiful way to start! My initial annoyance is that this is a whale, so it doesn’t work in my Quest for Ula’s Temple deck! I want to love this card, the flavor is perfect with it being a giant whale that can devour ships (and it has the wonderful new exiling language like Banisher Priest to make it very interesting in multiplayer), but how is this creature only a 5/5?

Dismiss into Dream

I wish this worked with Overload, but sadly it doesn’t. Dismiss into Dream is a clunky, almost unbearable enchantment that is probably perfect for a Nin, the Pain Artist deck. In multiplayer, it can get really fun when all of your opponents’ spells become removal against everyone who isn’t you.

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Magic: the Gathering Dragon’s Maze Casual & Commander Review: Blue, Simic & Azorius

The second part of our Dragon’s Maze review looks at the color Blue and two guilds: Simic and Azorious! These blue aligned guilds show off just how versatile the color of manipulation can get when paired up. But even mono-color players will want to take a look at some of the offerings.

Dragon’s Maze Casual & Commander Reviews
White, Orzhov & Selesnya | Blue, Simic & Azorius

Gatecrash Casual & Commander Review
Orzhov Syndicate | House of Dimir | Simic Combine | Gruul Clans | Boros Legion
White | Black | Blue | Green | Red | Other

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Ætherling

The new Morphling feels a touch out of place to me for one reason:  where are my white and black lings? We’ve gotten Torching and Thornling! But Ætherling is an interesting take on the Morphling design. The bigger body is nice, and the self-flickering is very powerful. While not a ground breaking card, it certainly is worth considering if you run the original depending on the speed of your playgroup. The only real concern about him is the casting cost. While he costs 6 on paper, he really costs 7 or more since you’ll want to protect him too.

Hidden Strings

Dimir’s new Cipher spell is close to what people wanted. While I had been hoping the Dragon’s Maze would combine abilities across guilds – like Cipher Detain, this is still close. A different take on Hands of Binding, the ability to untap another permanent makes it so the attacking creature has vigilance or can be used to barter deals with unlikely allies at the table in times of need. A solid little cipher spell, it’s what I had been hoping the ability would do.

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Gatecrash Casual & Commander Review: Blue

Blue is a weird color. In constructed Magic, Blue is easily the most powerful color. In duels, it makes sense. The color is about control but here’s the catch: the best blue mage can’t control a whole table. So when looking at Blue, it’s about looking at it as a support color often for multiplayer and not as a core color. Or maybe it is just because all these cards look terrible in comparison to the rest of this set’s offerings.

Gatecrash Casual & Commander Review
Orzhov Syndicate | House of Dimir | Simic Combine | Gruul Clans | Boros Legion
White | Black | Blue | Green | Red | Other

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Ætherize

Mass bouncing is fun and ripe for abusing, and as a political card I love the options this presents. But at the end of the day, this will just result in a single player turning against you and maybe one player will be in your debt. But it does a lot more than a simple Fog

Agoraphobia

This feels like a blue Cage of Hands and I like that. The combination with evolve is neat. I wouldn’t call this a must-use, but the multiple use applications make this a very interesting cog.

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Gatecrash Casual & Commander Review: Simic Combine

At the end of Dissension, the Simic Combine was all but destroyed. Since then though, a new leader has risen and reevaluated the guild’s focus into something… more. Or maybe they are just trying to combine the weirdest assortment of creature types possible. It’s hard to tell when the guild is almost as crazy as Izzet. Almost.

In multiplayer formats, blue and green is one of those color combinations that sounds like it can do anything. Green gives access to big creatures and fast mana, while blue adds in control, card advantage and evasion. And when you combine the two colors, weird things happen – like Crab Fish, Lizard Drakes and something called a Krasis. Anyone know what a Krasis is? Because I don’t think a mutated fish is a muddling of water a wine.

Gatecrash Casual & Commander Review
Orzhov Syndicate | House of Dimir | Simic Combine | Gruul Clans | Boros Legion
White | Black | Blue | Green | Red | Other

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Clinging Anemones

I’m a sucker for awful creature types, and find jellyfish to be hilarious. I don’t find 4 mana walls to be that hilarious. The big difference between power and toughness means he’ll evolve easily, but that doesn’t stop the fact that this is a 1/4 defender for 4.

Cloudfin Raptor

I have no idea if this card is good. The aggro-player in me says no, but the combo player loves the idea of having a card that makes so many tokens. This is a perfect little engine piece in kitchen table 60, but in Commander, it doesn’t do enough. But bird mutants are kind of awesome.

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Gatecrash Casual & Commander Review: House of Dimir

Dimir isn’t real, right? Or is it? Either way, it introduces something new.

The House of Dimir in Gatecrash introduces two main concepts to Magic: Grinding and Cipher. Grinding is the new milling X lands ability that seems to be specially made for casual mill decks and gives multiplayer millers some impressive spells.

But more exciting is the ability Cipher. Turning sorceries into Auras in a way, Cipher allows you to cast the same spell again and again off combat triggers. And yes, it casts the spell which allows for some great abuse.

Gatecrash Casual & Commander Review
Orzhov Syndicate | House of Dimir | Simic Combine | Gruul Clans | Boros Legion
White | Black | Blue | Green | Red | Other

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Hands of Binding

Cipher Detain? Oh I hope that becomes a thing when Dragon’s Maze happens! Hands of Binding is a neat little trick, but the value really comes from Cipher. Encouraging attacking is nice, but getting essentially auras that can’t be two-for-one’d is much better. As far as an ability, this isn’t great but could be awesome for limited.

Last Thoughts

How much would you pay to turn a creature into an Ophidian? For older players, I see the allure of this card being much greater. But the casting cost is just painful. 3U for a Curiosity that can’t be Disenchanted? That feels expensive.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Blue

The second stop on this tour of the Return to Ravnica color wheel reminds me a lot of some older sets. Mainly that it opens with an amazing whimper. For blue mages who want excellent control spells, you’re going to be disappointed. For Johnnies looking for weird cards, you’re in luck!

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Aquus Steed

Here is how I envision this card working:

Mage 1: “Look at my horse!”
Mage 2: “What in the nine hell is that?”
Mage 1: “Ha! Now you are confused and get -2/-0!”

End scene.

Cancel

The art of Mr. Explodey Hand is wasted on this reprint. Also if you like counterspells, I don’t like you as a person.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Izzet League

The Izzet League is the guild everyone seems to love. The band of mad scientists working for an insane dragon certainly has some appeal, but the lack of focus makes me think Izzet has no idea what they are doing. Every now and then, they’ll do something awesome though. Probably accidentally.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Epic Experiment

This card is hilariously stupid and equally awesome. Generate enough mana and this can end games in a mess of spells waiting to resolve. In Commander, I see this being the destroyer of worlds like Genesis Wave. I can’t wait to see one go off.

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius

Curse you Wizards, you had to make a second Niv-Mizzet that doesn’t automatically cause infinite damage when combined with the first. An inverse of his old-self, Niv-Mizzet is still a good card and a great legendary but he’s so much harder to abuse now. That said, turning UR into a card whenever you want is amazing. For combo commander players, he will easily find a home but his original version is better.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Azorius Senate

I don’t know why I’m listening to people on Twitter, but the readers spoke and said I should review Return to Ravnica by guild, not color. That’s a great idea except a good chunk of the monocolored cards in this set aren’t tied to a guild. But that won’t stop me from trying. Like always, I review every. Single. Card. in this set – including the awful limited pieces of fodder.

Return to Ravnica is a great set. I barely played Magic when the original Ravnica block came out (but returned with a violent vengeance thanks to Time Spiral), so this is giving me a chance to experience Magic with a unique twist because Ravnica is essentially Magic with 10 colors, not 5. To start off these reviews is Azorius! Also, I’m not going alphabetically this time because that often results in me slamming my head into my desk repeatedly thanks to most sets starting off horribly.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Isperia, Supreme Judge

Legendaries are always fun in Commander because each one is a new chance to make a deck! Maybe it’s because I’ve been on a Craw Wurm kick, but I love that he’s a 6/4 for 6! But what I love even more is him being a twisted reverse Edric. Drawing cards whenever you or one of your planeswalkers gets attack is amazing. It deters a lot of attacks, but thanks to new cards like Courtly Provocateur, Azorius has plenty of ways to force unfavorable attacks.

The big downsides though to Isperia are the cost and the fact that this card doesn’t do anything when it resolves. The double-blue, double-white makes this a hard cast (though great reanimating bait). Just make sure you have a pair of boots waiting upon resolution.

Sphinx’s Revelation

As a mythic, this doesn’t completely wow me. The fact that it is instant though makes me excited since so much card draw lately has been sorcery speed. I love that this card just combined Alabaster Potion and Stroke of Genius into one delicious package. This card is good, especially late game, but it doesn’t do anything mythical.

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Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review: Blue

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.

Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Other

Archaeomancer

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.

Arctic Aven

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.

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