[draft]Armored Skaab[/draft]

Armored Skaab

Constructed: 2.0

Making horrible jokes is like picking at a skaab; I know I shouldn’t do it, but it just feels so good. Jokes aside, if I’m considering something like Dream Twist, it seems unfair to leave Armored Skaab off the list; it’s a creature for [card]Skaab Ruinator[/card], it blocks, and it mills all the good stuff you’ve crammed into your graveyard deck.

Limited: 3.0

Not only is he a [card]Horned Turtle[/card], he’s got a pretty sweet bonus tacked on. In a good blue deck, Armored Skaab is real nice; he fills your graveyard for the rest of the Skaab clan maulers, he dumps in Flashback cards, and he even provides targets for [card]Unburial Rites[/card]. Some decks won’t have much for him, but milling for four randomly still isn’t a huge drawback, so you might end up running him anyway.

[draft]Back from the Brink[/draft]

Back from the Brink

Constructed: 2.0

I was on the brink of giving this a 1, but then I realized that could be a disaster. After all, it gives you a pretty insane lategame, and could definitely be a solid 1-2 in some matchups. Getting double value out of your creatures is pretty sweet, even if I think Unburial Rites is going to be the go-to card for reanimator-type strategies.

Limited: 4.0

This card doesn’t seem very beatable in any sort of long game, and gets even more sick when combined with milling effects. If you are getting beaten down, it doesn’t help a whole lot, but if you have the time, you get a near-infinite supply of gas. Granted, it doesn’t combine well with Skaabs, but I think you will be able to manage if you draft enough enablers (and if you have this, you should).

[draft]Battleground Geist[/draft]

Battleground Geist

Constructed: 1.0

Ah, commons, the endless battleground where Limited-only cards mercilessly hunt down the rare Constructed gem. You have probably geist which side this is on by now.

Limited: 3.5

Much like [card]Gallows Warden[/card] (weird), this is a decent flier with an unspectacular but relevant ability. I wouldn’t be excited to pick it, but I’ll always play it.

[draft]Cackling Counterpart[/draft]

Cackling Counterpart

Constructed: 2.0

I’m a little wary of any card that requires you have a good guy in play to be useful, but the possibility of flashing this back definitely has merit. It feels like it is worse than [card]Phantasmal Image[/card] or [card]Phyrexian Metamorph[/card], especially in a Birthing Pod deck, so I’m going to need convincing before I choose this over its better counterparts.

Limited: 3.0

Despite picking this second, I’ve yet to actually play with it (I got cut on blue in that draft). It seems awesome, if a little win-more at times. Here, needing a good creature is less of a drawback, since there isn’t so much removal that all your guys are going to die, and many of the common removal spells are secretly enchantments that don’t actually kill the creature. Plus, it’s an instant, which I didn’t even notice at first. Combat blowouts are definitely possible, though I’d hope not on the flashback, for your opponent’s sake.

[draft]Civilized Scholar
Homicidal Brute[/draft]

Civilized Scholar/Homicidal Brute

Constructed: 1.0

Tacking on a 5/1 to Merfolk Looter is cute, but certainly not worth an extra mana in Constructed. I’d recommend hydeing these in your junk box, just in case they try and sneak into a deck.

Limited: 3.5

A Looter is a Looter, and having the option to go on the warpath is pretty awesome. Plus, you even get to send a signal when taking this, which is actually an advantage. I don’t think the flip cards have all the big an impact on draft, since most aren’t first picks, but this one definitely is, and being able to signal properly is nice. It also works very well with flashback, Skaab dudes, and the like, so it might even be better than normal here.

[draft]Claustrophobia[/draft]

Claustrophobia

Constructed: 1.0

The two-mana versions of this threatened to see a little play ([card]Narcolepsy[/card], [card]Curse of Chains[/card]), but still never really got there. Adding a mana pretty much leaves this stuck in the closet, but at least it’s good in Limited.

Limited: 3.0

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with this, due to the trigger it has. You do get blown out by Village Bell-Ringer, but that isn’t a huge concern. Blue doesn’t often get actual removal, and it’s a nice to see some for a change (since blue usually sucks in Limited, or so I’d like you to believe).

[draft]Curiosity[/draft]

Curiosity

Constructed: 2.0

The last Curiosity I saw in Constructed was when David Ochoa put one on a [card]Manta Riders[/card] in a Vintage tournament (yes, this was about 8 years ago, back when Web played mono-fish). I’m not sure if the world has passed Curiosity by since then, and there’s just one way to find out: [card]Invisible Stalker[/card], go!

Limited: 2.0

If you have good evasion this is pretty sweet, even if still somewhat risky. If you don’t, well, you are going to find out why curiosity killed the cat. It’s obviously insane with Invisible Stalker, and even on something like [card]Chapel Geist[/card], you should be able to get a solid hit in, at which point you at the very least break even on cards.

[draft]Curse of the Bloody Tome[/draft]

Curse of the Bloody Tome

Constructed: 1.0

There are tome many bloody curses to review in this set, and most of them are horrible. Milling them has never worked, and milling yourself needs to be way faster (see [card]Hedron Crab[/card] for an example of an actual card that did the job).

Limited: 1.0

So far I haven’t seen any indication that an actual mill deck exists, but if it does, this is certainly a part of it. I would like mill to be good, since I like sweet archetypes, and hopefully this makes it happen (though I’m not holding my breath). Milling yourself is also viable, just not with this card, since you can’t turn it off when you want to.

[draft]Delver of Secrets
Insectile Aberration[/draft]

Delver of Secrets/Insectile Aberration

Constructed: 2.0

This might actually work, which is pretty sweet, since this is one of the many cards in the set with awesome flavor. Dropping one of these guys and Pondering should just about do it, and random flipping in a deck full of spells doesn’t seem out of the question. If there is an all-spell sort of deck, he could be a legitimate threat.

Limited: 1.5

Hoping to mise is one thing, and actually working for it is another. Playing him in a deck with 9+ spells seems ok; any less than that and you are just trying to mise. He also combines well with Deranged Assistant, since you can mill unwanted cards after taking a peek. In fact, you might not even flip the Fly here, if you want a pseudo-Divining Top more than a 3/2 flier.

[draft]Deranged Assistant[/draft]

Deranged Assistant

Constructed: 2.5

If you can build a deck so full of graveyard synergies that milling one is even half of a card, you are well on your way to making the Assistant look less deranged and more genius. Between [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card], [card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card], [card]Think Twice[/card], and [card]Unburial Rites[/card], you might actually get there (and I sure hope you do).

Limited: 3.5

The rating on this card will vary heavily, depending on (drumroll please) how well you utilize the graveyard. If you have a bunch of Zombie Frankensteins you need to feed and cards to flash back, Deranged Assistant is about as good as it gets; if you don’t, it’s still a solid mana accelerator. Rare will be the blue deck with absolutely no use for self-milling, though not every deck really needs it. I suspect that this is one of those really important enablers, and is a higher pick than the cards it fuels (for the most part). I would much rather end up heavy on enablers than cards the require them, since at least then you get to play Magic.

[draft]Dissipate[/draft]

Dissipate

Constructed: 2.5

It’s funny how narrow the margins are on Constructed cards. [card]Cancel[/card] was always a marginal playable (even though it got near the same rating as Dissipate, Dissipate is definitely better), and [card]Dissipate[/card] seems like it will be an important part of upcoming Standard. Nuking flashback cards is just that important, now that the graveyard is a big resource. I almost gave this a 3, but I have to give people a reason to tell me I’m wrong, otherwise it would be no fun. I’d look for Dissipate to show up (and be effective) in many blue control decks.

Limited: 3.0

Here’s an easy way to judge if I’ll like a Limited format: is Cancel good? If so, I’ll be happy. As it turns out, I think Dissipate is good, and that’s even without the nifty RFG clause, which this thankfully has. Werewolves do make draw-go a little worse, but that isn’t a reason to throw this out, and I think I’m always starting it in decks that can get UU reliably.

[draft]Dream Twist[/draft]

Dream Twist

Constructed: 2.0

In a shocking twist, this mill card might live the dream and see Constructed play! Granted, it’s to mill the caster, not the opponent, but still. There are enough mill/flashback/reanimate spells running around that it feels like a critical mass has been reached, making some sort of awesome deck possible. I can’t say I know what it will look like, but it isn’t unreasonable to think that this might be involved.

Limited: 1.0

[card]Deranged Assistant[/card] and [card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card] are awesome because they give you a card and mill you; remove the card, and the dream turns into a nightmare. If your deck is either very horrible, and has 6 Skaabs and no good enablers, run this. Likewise, if your deck is the nuts and has 7 Flashback cards and a ton of good synergies, also run this. Anything in between and you should steer clear.

[draft]Forbidden Alchemy[/draft]

Forbidden Alchemy

Constructed: 3.5

Mmm…Forbidden Alchemy…*drools*.

I’m very excited to get to play with this card. It does a bunch of awesome things, and actually takes some work to be awesome, all of which I like. It smoothes out your draws, like any good blue spell, provides card advantage, enables sweet combos, and both finds and works well with cards like [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] and [card]Unburial Rites[/card]. It even fills your graveyard with additional copies of itself and its smaller, less dangerous cousin, Think Twice. All that’s left is for this very durdly deck to figure out a way not to die, and that’s another thing I like. I might be overrating this, but I really think it’s going to be one of the defining cards in Standard, and hopefully I’m not proven wrong.

I’m not sure what approach I would use first, though it likely will involve Snapcaster, [card]Think Twice[/card], and [card]Mana Leak[/card]. The rest I’ll figure out later, up to and including cards like [card]Unburial Rites[/card], [card]Skaab Ruinator[/card], and an appropriate removal suite. I really hope this is Teachings 2.0, since Mystical Teachings was just about perfect; it was awesome if you knew what you were doing, but actually very mediocre if you didn’t, which led to a legitimately interesting format.

Limited: 3.5

Much like [card]Deranged Assistant[/card], [card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card] is a powerful enabler and great even in the non-comboish decks. It is a multicolor card, but the flashback is quite splashable, and I’ve seen it fit quite nicely into a number of 3-color decks so far. Due to its natural card advantage and excellent synergy, I would be surprised if this wasn’t one of the higher picks.

[draft]Fortress Crab[/draft]

Fortress Crab

Constructed: 1.0

I don’t mean to get crabby, but there just isn’t anything to say here.

Limited: 2.5

Armor up! As passive as this card is, it buys you time, and most blue decks are well set up to take advantage of that. Returns are definitely diminishing here, so as long as you have one or two you should be set. Also, if you don’t have a good lategame or a bunch of fliers, this actually doesn’t do much, so make sure you have one or the other.

[draft]Frightful Delusion[/draft]

Frightful Delusion

Constructed: 1.0

Playing this over Dissipate is both frightful and delusional. It’s like a two for one!

Limited: 1.5

[card]Runeboggle[/card] this isn’t, and Runeboggle was no all-star. Not being able to cycle this is pretty bad, getting their worst card instead doesn’t make up for it. It’s an ok sideboard card against decks full of expensive nonsense, but a very mediocre maindeck one.

[draft]Grasp of Phantoms[/draft]

Grasp of Phantoms

Constructed: 1.0

It would take a poor grasp of Constructed to think this is good; for four mana, you need more than the promise of an extra card once you hit 8-mana.

Limited: 3.5

[card]Time Stretch[/card] is a nice card, and this isn’t much different. The prerelease was just a few days ago, and I’ve still seen this card be the full blown like three times. Grasp your guy, bash, do it again, is just filthy, and even if you have other stuff to do, it’s still a two for one. This is definitely a case of adding flashback taking a card from playable (since it would be, straight up) to insane.

[draft]Hysterical Blindness[/draft]

Hysterical Blindness

Constructed: 1.0

Since I can’t think of anything…funny, I’ll pass on this one.

Limited: 1.0

While this is certainly no prize pig, it does have some uses. Thanks to the oft-mentioned Skaab, opponents will actually be double-blocking blue’s creatures more often than normal, at which point you strike! Blindness wrecks double blocks very handily, which still doesn’t make it great. If you need filler, I’m sure these will be readily available.

[draft]Invisible Stalker[/draft]

Invisible Stalker

Constructed: 3.0

I’ve ever seen an archetype staple, this is it. I’m not saying the archetype will be good, but it will be tried. All sorts of equipment and Auras will be slapped onto hexproof guys like this and the [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card], with varying degrees of success. It is a little awkward that Swords no longer are as safe as they used to be, since artifact removal is becoming more and more legitimate. [card]Ancient Grudge[/card] in particular is brutal, which might make such options as [card]Angelic Destiny[/card] and [card]Curiosity[/card] worth looking into (that’s what Kibler gets for posting his tech on Twitter…booya).

Limited: 2.5

If you have absolutely no way to pump or otherwise utilize the Stalker (if you are curious about what I mean, I’m sure you can figure it out), it really isn’t great. A 1/1 for one just isn’t a fast clock. On the other hand, if you do have something like [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card], game on! Even the less good equipment is sweet, since Cleaver is the best possible, and something as pedestrian as putting [card]Elder Cathar[/card] counters on the Stalker (Humans4Life) does the trick.

[draft]Laboratory Maniac[/draft]

Laboratory Maniac

Constructed: 2.0

Any potential game-winner for three mana bears a second look, especially one that uses a very possible win condition. This is more likely to be good in older formats, since a number of cards will very helpfully remove your library from the game all by themselves. Leveler seems less good than something like [card]Divining Witch[/card], and even [card]Thought Lash[/card] might be sweet, since it protects you en route to setting up the win. I wouldn’t bet the farm on a 2/2 that has to live for you to win, but I wouldn’t call you a maniac for trying it.

Limited: 2.0

Hey, it’s still a 2/2 for three. If you have enough self-milling nonsense, this isn’t a bad backup win condition, especially if you can slowroll it. Playing this with a Think Twice in your bin and no cards in deck is awesome, since you can just pass and use Think Twice only if they have removal, seeing as they are forced to kill it before your turn.

[draft]Lantern Spirit[/draft]

Lantern Spirit

Constructed: 1.0

I’m still in high spirits about blue, despite most of the cards looking like this.

Limited: 3.0

A two-power flier for three mana that protects itself efficiently isn’t something you are going to tern down, even if it dies to most other creatures. One-toughness fliers are worse in this set than most, thanks to the abundance of spirit tokens in white, yet this still is a solid pick.

[draft]Lost in the Mist[/draft]

Lost in the Mist

Constructed: 1.0

In the midst of all these other awesome cards, I feel compelled to point out that while this is similar to [card]Cryptic Command[/card], it has lost a few key abilities (and gained a mana).

Limited: 2.5

This is the perfect card to top off your curve; if you untap with this in hand and a board advantage, it’s pretty tough to lose. That being said, five-mana counters aren’t the best when behind, especially if the opponent has the temerity to play around them. Many games will be won or lost based on whether people play around or into this card, and I hopefully I’m on the right side of them.

[draft]Ludevic’s Test Subject
Ludevic’s Abomination[/draft]

Ludevic’s Test Subject/Ludevic’s Abomination

Constructed: 1.0

This card is an abomination, all right. The thing I find most objectionable about this card is that it is actually just a leveler. Sure, you can level it as an instant, but past that, how does this differ from [card]Halimar Wavewatch[/card]? For such a sweet and flavorful set, as well as concept (a monster that is grown in a lab; awesome!), this seems like a disappointing result. Oh well, at least the flavor text is insanely good.

Limited: 3.0

After watching the Ocho win every single game with this in his sealed on Saturday, I may be a bit biased, but it seems pretty sweet. It’s clearly better in sealed, but it looks pretty reasonable in draft. 13/13 is just so monstrous, and it isn’t like you are forced to use it at all times. Plus, it even blocks well enough untransformed, making it a good egg indeed.

[draft]Makeshift Mauler[/draft]

Makeshift Mauler

Constructed: 1.0

The creatures are always the easiest to eliminate; when you look at the stats and the casting cost, you realize you need a significant advantage to make this playable, and instead it has a drawback.

Limited: 3.0

He truly is the Mauler of the Skaab clan, since he is large, common, and relatively easy to enable. The best blue decks are going to have as many of these as they can support, along with a healthy helping of Drakes, and possibly a Goliath if they are lucky. Blue has some bruisers this time around, a trend I’m a fan of. I like powerful cards that take some work, and that’s exactly what this is.

[draft]Memory’s Journey[/draft]

Memory’s Journey

Constructed: 2.0

[card]Krosan Reclamation[/card] has been a card at various points in its existence, and this is 25% cheaper and 50% more effective, as well as actually being blue. Those all add up to a solid “maybe” (hey, I didn’t say that Krosan Rec was good right now for a reason). If this effect is needed, it’s certainly nice to have it, even if the use isn’t obvious at the moment.

Limited: 0.5

Sideboard, sideboard sideboard. I can’t think of a set in recent memory that would warrant maindecking such a card, up to and including Innistrad. If they have an actual metric ton of graveyard business, this could be good, but I suspect cases like that will be few and far between.

[draft]Mindshrieker[/draft]

Mindshrieker

Constructed: 1.0

If this had hexproof, I wouldn’t mind trying it, but dumping a bunch of mana into a 1-toughness guy and hoping to hit isn’t what I like to do in Constructed. Obviously, I’d rather dump a bunch of [card wild nacatl]1-mana guys[/card], and then hope to hit…

Limited: 4.0

And you thought [card]Drifting Shade[/card] was sweet! Ok, maybe just I thought Drifting Shade was sweet, what with my affinity for [card]Consume Spirit[/card] and all, but still. Mindshrieker is a very fast clock, hard to beat in combat, and worst comes to worst, can just mill them out. You can’t even really attack into it, since you never know how big it’ll be, and if they play conservatively, it dodges most removal.

[draft]Mirror-Mad Phantasm[/draft]

Mirror-Mad Phantasm

Constructed: 1.0

It really feels like this card is supposed to be very good. It’s mythic, it’s designed by Richard Garfield, and it has a strange and powerful ability. That all being said, I just don’t see it. It costs five mana, has 1 toughness, and needs an additional two mana to protect itself, all for the advantage of being hard to kill (again, assuming untapped mana) and milling you fairly rapidly. I wouldn’t be mad if I were proven wrong about this, but I would be surprised.

Limited: 3.0

The Phantasm doesn’t brawl very well, but neither does it die to removal very often. Milling yourself by some amount isn’t bad either, though it obviously can be a bit risky, seeing as how it can just be in the bottom five or something. The stats alone make this worth the spot if you can remove their blockers or pump its toughness, and the ability is a nice little addition.

[draft]Moon Heron[/draft]

Moon Heron

Constructed: 1.0

What you refer the classic 3/2 flier as really dates your draft experience. For me, it’ll always be [card]Snapping Drake[/card], for some it’s [card]Assault Griffin[/card], and for a smaller group, [card]Wayward Soul[/card]. Either way, it isn’t exactly a Constructed card.

Limited: 3.0

But it sure is a Limited one! In this set, it even gets a slight boost, seeing as how it’s a Spirit, and a few cards boost them.

[draft]Murder of Crows[/draft]

Murder of Crows

Constructed: 1.0

This has a couple things in common with one of my favorite computer games, Myth II: they are both called a Murder of Crows, and I don’t want to see either while I’m playing Constructed.

Limited: 3.5

Awesome name, good stats, and a very relevant ability. Rarely does the [card]Air Elemental[/card] slot contain so much awesome.

[draft]Rooftop Storm[/draft]

Rooftop Storm

Constructed: 1.0

Zombies unite, and pay heed to your new master! I realllly wish I could say that, and have it be true, but wishes don’t make reality, and I don’t see there being a surplus of Zombies that I want to dump onto the board with this.

Limited: 0.0

At six mana, you are just paying too much for this, even if you want to go infinite with two [card]Ghoulraiser[/card]s and a sac outlet. Infinite Storm count, anyone?

[draft]Runic Repetition[/draft]

Runic Repetition

Constructed: 1.0

I hope all this repetition isn’t runing things for people, but I really can’t call unplayables good. [card]Cunning Wish[/card] this isn’t.

Limited: 1.0

Don’t let the low rating fool you; you want to play this in your deck. It won’t happen very often, but when it does, it should be awesome. Bringing back [card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card] may be excessive, so why not bring back something like [card]Unburial Rites[/card], or even [card]Devil’s Play[/card] if you are a giant sack.

[draft]Selhoff Occultist[/draft]

Selhoff Occultist

Constructed: 1.0

The ‘Hoff seems very unplayable to me, but I hear the Germans are fans; maybe they will figure out how to make him good.

Limited: 2.5

On stats alone, he isn’t the worst, and the ability is minorly useful. Be warned, though: the ability isn’t optional, so even if your deck can’t take advantage of it, it is likely that your opponent’s can, and you have to mill someone. Usually it’ll still be you, unless you anticipate the game going long enough, in which case you might as well try to deck them.

[draft]Sensory Deprivation[/draft]

Sensory Deprivation

Constructed: 1.0

Playing this makes no sense, now that [card]Dismember[/card] exists. This is just another card deprived of its rightful day in the sun by the cruel overlord that is colorless removal.

Limited: 3.0

I’ve been impressed with this thus far, since it basically does what you want it to do. It does leave them with a chump blocker and all, and doesn’t kill huge things, but for one mana (and that mana being blue), it’s still a good deal. I could do without the picture though, for whatever that’s worth.

[draft]Silent Departure[/draft]

Silent Departure

Constructed: 1.0

In a departure from my usual style, here is a moment of silence.

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Limited: 3.0

Being able to undo multiple turns of effort is pretty sweet, especially considering the prevalence of Werewolves in the set. If they skip their fourth or fifth turn to flip a Wolf, and you run this, not only are they set way far back, you have another bite at the apple later. Between that and the ability to just double bounce and smash, blue gets yet another winner.

[draft]Skaab Goliath[/draft]

Skaab Goliath

Constructed: 1.0

Getting warmer…soon we will have a real Skaab to pick at.

Limited: 4.0

This is the finisher of choice for blue, and is even very splashable. By the time this is ready to come out, it isn’t hard for there to be two guys in the bin, and 6/9 trample is a monstrous set of stats. I’ve seen this end a ton of games, and have concluded that you should rarely be passing it. I also anticipate saying “Goliath online” every time I cast it in draft, so be warned.

[draft]Skaab Ruinator[/draft]

[draft]Snapcaster Mage[/draft]

Enough has been written about these, so I’m just going to move on to more interesting cards.

[draft]Spectral Flight[/draft]

Spectral Flight

Constructed: 1.0

As sick as it is to suit up a [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] (if it was only St. Traft, I’d save myself countless characters of typing), there are better ways to make him take flight.

Limited: 2.0

Look, it’s another card that gives flying in the color with many fliers. What sweet irony! This actually isn’t the worst, since you can throw it on a Makeshift Mauler and go to town, though I wouldn’t really be interested in playing multiples if I could avoid it.

[draft]Stitched Drake[/draft]

Stitched Drake

Constructed: 1.0

It’ll drake more than this to make me willing to play a French vanilla ¾.

Limited: 3.5

Having this guy be a common is nuts, since along with [card]Makeshift Mauler[/card], it really powers up blue. Not only does blue have a bunch of ways to fill up the bin, it has two commons that hugely incentivize you to do so. Stitched Drake is one of blue’s most important cards, and utilizing it correctly is going to be the key to drafting a sick blue deck.

[draft]Stitcher’s Apprentice[/draft]

Stitcher’s Apprentice

Constructed: 1.0

As soon as Master Stitcher or the like comes out, I’ll make fun of why it’s terrible, but for now I’ll settle for mocking the apprentice.

Limited: 3.0

Even straight up, Stitcher’s Apprentice is good protection for your squad, and once you start comboing [card]Ghoulraiser[/card]s or [card]Unruly Mob[/card]s, things get filthy. I’m really a fan of all the tricky stuff going on in this set, and as usual, blue is at the forefront. I do legitimately think it was the worst color in M12, so turnabout is fair play, right? Oh also, don’t be afraid to just upgrade the Apprentice into a bear if need be.

[draft]Sturmgeist[/draft]

Sturmgeist

Constructed: 1.0

Anyone who thinks this will be a good card in Constructed needs a sturm talking to.

Limited: 4.0

It grows! If this can’t get through immediately, just wait a turn or two, and smash. One hit and it will never stop attacking, and it usually gets to get in there right away. It might not be the best topdeck, and it certainly is annoying to have a reason to hold excess lands in hand, but those are minor complaints compared to how good the card is.

[draft]Think Twice[/draft]

Think Twice

Constructed: 3.0

I didn’t have to Think Twice about giving this a 3; it was good last time, and it’ll be good this time. It gives your durdle control deck something to do when they don’t play into Mana Leak, which is needed greatly, and it combines well with Forbidden Alchemy. What else can you ask for?

Limited: 3.0

This is a deceptive 3; you always play Think Twice, and it is never bad, exactly, but some decks shouldn’t take it over actual cards. Card draw is only as good as the rest of your deck in Limited, so you will often find yourself filling out whatever is missing rather than picking this up. Still, it does make every milling effect that much better, so take it if you can afford it (and figuring that out is going to be the fun part).

[draft]Undead Alchemist[/draft]

Undead Alchemist

Constructed: 1.0

I’d say that if you are hitting them with a Zombie horde and your four-drop has survived, you are in good enough shape; shenanigans like this are just unnecessary.

Limited: 3.5

In a non-Zombie deck, this is just a four-drop that gives you great value when it hits. In a half-Zombie deck, it’s a very threatening four-drop that makes a few of your random creatures much more dangerous, and might force them into some bad blocks. In a full on George Romero’s Dawn of the Resident Evil Dead 28 Days and Weeks Later sort of situation, they better hunker down, kill it on sight, and hope you don’t have a Ghoulraiser. Only the difficulty of assembling the third option makes this anything less than a windmill slam first pick, since it really is just insane when it gets going.

Ok, I’m done with the slowrolls; let’s finish this review on a high note:

[draft]Skaab Ruinator[/draft]

Skaab Ruinator

Constructed: 3.5

This thing is gonna ruin some hopes and dreams. Coming out early and often doesn’t seem unrealistic at all, and there are even multiple ways to achieve this goal. The first is [card]Birthing Pod[/card], since he even only costs three, and once sacrificed, can be easily brought back. Multiple 5/6’s on turn four and five is tough to beat, and that’s without the backup plan of recasting them if the opponent manages to kill both all your guys and the Pod itself.

The second way to maul them involves milling yourself, probably with Forbidden Alchemy and Dream Twist, and likely alongside Unburial Rites and other sweet Flashback cards. This deck seems a bit more creature-light than the ‘Pod deck, but between [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card], [card]Skaab Ruinator[/card], and possibly even [card]Armored Skaab[/card], you have a good start.

Either way, I expect there to be much ruinating over the next year, and it should be pretty sweet.

Limited: 4.0

While very powerful, this is definitely a card you have to build around, since it can very easily be stuck dead in your hand if you aren’t careful. Most decks will still gladly play it, but it won’t truly be insane unless you are able to aggressively mill yourself. Just playing it out of your graveyard once seems so absurd, and the more ways you have to make that happen, the better.

[draft]Snapcaster Mage[/draft]

Snapcaster Mage

Constructed: 5.0

Well, they finally did it. This is an Invitational card that might even be able to rival [card]Dark Confidant[/card], at least for its time in Standard. Don’t worry, Bob still reigns supreme in all other formats, but he wasn’t as absurd in Standard. I’m not saying Tiago is quite at that level, but the fact that he’s in the discussion is awesome.

The first place I want to go with Snapcaster is a deck with [card]Mana Leak[/card] and [card]Ponder[/card], since right away that’s some nice value. After that, I’m looking to spice it up with Forbidden Alchemy, and possibly some more mill action. Even [card]Unburial Rites[/card] looks pretty sweet, though mana intensive.

Sadly, [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] is no longer among us (RIP Beta Bolts, at least until I play Modern again), but Snapping off some other cheap removal and/or burn isn’t unrealistic either. There are just so many things you can do with this, and all of them sound pretty good. If I was Tiago I’d be pretty pleased with myself; not everyone gets immortalized on an incredibly awesome card (or at all), and I’m sure that getting a horrible Invitational card is beyond tilting.

Moving on to Modern, we have more of the same; value all over. There is nothing in particular that I want to Snap back, but there has to be a place for this somewhere. Without really knowing what Modern is going to look like, it’s tough, though I am working on figuring it out.

In Legacy, I know exactly what I want to Tiago: [card]Brainstorm[/card] and [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card]! Sadly, [card]Force of Will[/card] doesn’t get pitchcast, but every other spell in blue decks is a fair game. Even if it was just Brainstorm and Swords, a [card]Nekretaal[/card]/[card]Sea Gate Oracle[/card] split card would be sweet, and he’s much more than that.

I really can’t complain about blue in this set, can I?

Now that we are on a high note, let’s get to the top 5’s:

Top 5 Commons

5. [card]Makeshift Mauler[/card]
4. [card]Claustrophobia[/card]
3. [card]Deranged Assistant[/card]
2. [card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card]
1. [card]Stitched Drake[/card]

These commons are all very close together, and all of them are awesome. Not only does blue have a deep roster, all the players are insane. As with all pick orders, and probably more than most, this will change drastically based on what you are short on, so don’t take it as gospel. I’m not even sure this is the exact order I’ll be picking in, since all these cards seem excellent, an embarrassment of riches if you will.

Top 5 Blue Cards for Constructed

5. [card]Invisible Stalker[/card]
4. [card]Think Twice[/card]
3. [card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card]
2. [card]Skaab Ruinator[/card]
1. [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]

Yeah, blue made out like a bandit this time around. Not only did it get the best card in the set (and possibly the block), but it got multiple good engine cards and highly synergistic cards. It even has Think Twice, which is just a good card to have around, for all sorts of decks.

Tomorrow I look at black, which got a couple pretty reasonable cards of its own!

LSV