5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Siege Rhino. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Seeker of the Way. Hordeling Outburst.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Deathmist Raptor. Dromoka’s Command.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Tragic Arrogance. Dragon Fodder.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living Guildpact. Naturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)
Anticipate continues to fill a few important role, as it helps delve cards and gives control decks something to do early with their excess mana. The card is never amazing and rarely bad, which is about expected.
4 mana to draw four and discard two is still not quite Constructed-level for pure card advantage, but may get there if there’s graveyard-filling to be done. This is closer to the combo side of the spectrum than the raw card draw side, but it does enough on both ends that it could make an impact.
Mulldrifter this is not, but it’s close enough that I have to give it a nod. I did discover that it makes a 4/4, not a 3/3, so I at least won’t make that mistake again.
Orbs of Warding may have this particular market segment cornered, what with the protection from burn spells, but Dampening Pulse can keep hordes of Goblins off your back for only 4 mana. That’s worth noting, even if it isn’t a power that will end up being needed.
Drowner of Hope
While I hope this gets there, I’m pretty sure it’s slightly too expensive. At 4 or 5 mana, this would be an interesting combination of effects (big creature plus mana ramp plus multiple tap effects), but 6 mana buys you some ridiculous things in Standard these days. Still, there is power here, and it’s not unreasonable to think that this could make some waves.
Nobody took Sandsteppe Outcast seriously last time, but this comes with a bigger flier and the ability to ramp mana. That’s not bad, and Skyspawner could provide a deck that cares about colorless creatures enough value to make the cut.
Mind Control really wants to take giant creatures, so limiting this to 5 power or less (with difficult mana requirements) is unfortunate. I do appreciate that this isn’t an enchantment, so barring bounce spells, the creature you take is yours for good. Cards that cost this much mana and this many colors have to clear the “I could be casting Siege Rhino” bar, and I don’t think this quite does.
Guardian of Tazeem
It kind of sphinx that blue gets all these speculative cards, but not every set can get Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise. Guardian is another “almost there” card, with decent stats and a pretty solid ability. If this were a 4/4 for 4, I think it would be amazing, and that prompts me to keep it in mind even at 5 mana.
There are enough awaken cards around to make this a semi-reliable source of card advantage, and it’s cheap enough to be worth calling out. Scatter to the Winds is a very powerful card, so between that and Planar Outburst there could be enough awaken cards to start to justify Halimar Tidecaller. Throw in Clutch of Currents and you’ve got a stew going.
The clash between 2-drop blue counterspells is an interesting one, as both this and Clash of Wills have legitimate points when it comes to the showdown. Horribly Awry exiling Deathmist Raptors and messing up Den Protector is the biggest reason to run it, though it’s possible there are a few processors worth going for as well. In the right metagame, this is the 2-drop blue control wants, though the punishment for getting things wrong is severe. I can imagine having this in hand against a red deck that’s curving Dragon Fodder into Hordeling Outburst, and it sounds horrible.
If you are going full processor, Mist Intruder is the card you want. It enables all sorts of shenanigans, and does so at a solid rate. Of course, if that deck isn’t a thing, neither is this, as this only ever plays one way.
Part the Waterveil
The alluring part of this card is the ability to kill the opponent out of nowhere. If you can pay the awaken cost, attack, and then cast another Part the next turn, that’s 18 damage with no other cards. That’s impressive, even if quite expensive. You can also cast this on 6 mana, and given planeswalkers or other repeatable effects (maybe hitting with Ojutai?), there is some power here.
This card is too strange to leave off the list. It can gain you a lot of life by stopping five attacks, and scry 3 is a powerful ability, so I figure it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to mentioning it.
Retreat to Coralhelm
I wrote an article about the interaction between this and Knight of the Reliquary (the article also happens to mention my current favorite Constructed card from BFZ, which I’ll be talking about in a few days). That combo is the biggest reason to put Retreat from Coralhelm into a Constructed deck, and may in fact enable it to see a decent amount of play.
There may not be enough utility to save this card from the scrapyard, but a 1/1 with multiple abilities for 1 mana is often good enough. In particular, this exiles cards and gives you an early looting outlet, which could add up in a deck that cares about both.
Scatter to the Winds
I like the trend of the 1UU counterspell with a solid upside. Dissolve was awesome, and Scatter to the Winds is no joke either. You won’t get the upside as often as Dissolve, but turning a land into a 3/3 makes Scatter a very powerful card in the late game. I expect a couple of these to be standard in blue control decks, and ones that don’t play Silumgar’s Scorn could run the full playset of Scatters. Learning to avoid walking into the 6-mana Scatter is a useful skill in this upcoming format, though that fear also helps Scatter decks win when they don’t draw it.
Blue is flooded with powerful card draw spells these days, and Ugin’s Insight is an example of such. Adding scry to draw 3 is very strong, as the two effects combine quite well. When you are in a position to know exactly what you are looking for, which you usually do by the time you hit 5 mana, scry is comparable to draw, and this could give you scry 4+ without much trouble. That this is a sorcery is a huge drawback for traditional blue control, but in tap-out control it’s incredible. The trick is finding a blue deck that wants card draw spells and doesn’t mind playing at sorcery speed—which has the bonus of likely being a deck that will have expensive permanents in play when you cast this.
Top 3 Blue Cards
This list shows that blue didn’t get quite as generous a bounty as white, though Scatter to the Winds is going to be a staple. Horribly Awry fills the slot it’s meant to fill well, and Ugin’s Insight is another good card draw engine if blue needs it. One good thing for blue mages is that many of the powerful white cards are secretly blue as well, because they go perfectly in the blue decks. Blue didn’t need much help to be a good control color, so I think it’s going to survive the upcoming Standard just fine.