Dragons of Tarkir Set Review – Blue
Holy cow! It’s set review time already? Yup, Dragons is all done spoiler season and this weekend is the set pre-release, next weekend is release, and then in two weeks we have the online release for MTGO. As with the release of Fate Reforged I’m skipping the paper pre-release and release events of the set and saving up for the MTGO releases. If all goes according to plan I’ll be doing a twenty-four hour stream of Swiss drafts live on Twitch.tv. If I get enough in donations between now and then I’ll be upgrading to doing sealed deck instead.
That all said, here’s my thoughts on the set for everyone to think about. As always I’ll be going card by card talking about just the formats of wear I think the cards are going to find homes. Also making comments on the cards I think are the most flavorful. So let’s go see how our game is getting updated and changed all around with the new cards.
Remember this fall when we hit the new rotation this is going to be the only Tarkir set in Standard. Also with the release of this set the draft format is switching to Dragons-Dragons–Fate. So it’s really important for everyone that we take a really good look at this set. If anyone has any cards they disagree with me on, please comment below. Only by having a dialog about the cards will we truly understand them. Okay, now let’s start the review.
Ancient Carp – 4U – Creature – Fish – C – 2/5. Just a big butt dude for Limited.
Anticipate – 1U – Instant – Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order. I like this as a kind of fixed Preordain or Ponder for Limited. Would have been much better if you could pick top or bottom with the cards just to power manifest more, but it’s still a good card in Limited and it turns on all your prowess dudes too.
Belltroll Dragon – 5U – Creature – Dragon – U – Flying, hexproof. Megamorph 5UU. (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up anything for its megamorph cost and put a +1/+1 counter on it.) When Belltoll Dragon is turned face up, put a +1/+1 counter on each other dragon you control. 3/3. So we have a cycle of these sudo-lord dragons with megamorph. Which is good for Limited and a perfect gift for casual dragon fans to play with at the kitchen tables. Moving on.
Blessed Reincarnation – 3U – Instant – R – Exile target creature an opponent controls. That player reveals cards from the top of his or her library until a creature card is revealed. The player puts that card onto the battlefield, then shuffles the rest into his or her library. Rebound. (When you cast this spell from your hand, exile it as it resolves. At the beginning of your next upkeep, you may cast this card from exile without paying its mana cost.) This is nuts in Limited. Chances are you are holding this to polymorph your opponent’s bomb creature into something much worse like a megamorph that get no trigger or counter on it and ends up sucking. Granted if you end up giving them another bomb you just polymorph it away again during your up keep. I’ll first pick this in Draft and look for the control cards after this. Also just good removal in Commander for blue decks. Trust me, play this.
Clone Legion – 7UU – Sorcery – M – For each creature target player controls, put a token onto the battlefield that’s a copy of that creature. Another bomb mythic/rare for Draft. Are you behind on board, make blockers for all there dudes. Are you ahead on the board, copy your dudes and swing for the fences. Did they drop the soap and alpha strike you, show them where the wild goose goes. This card is a finisher.
Contradict – 3UU – Instant – C – Counter target spell. Draw a card. This should have stayed Force of Will. Then Modern would have been fixed and more people could play Legacy, but nope just had to print this crap. That said, enjoy the slow as heck counter spell in Limited.
Dance of the Skywise – 1U – Instant – U – Until end of turn, target creature you control becomes a blue Dragon Illusion with base power and toughness 4/4, loses all abilities, and gains flying. I like this as a combat trick in Limited. Got a dude on the ground with a lot of +1/+1 counter on it, jump it into the art for the win. Need a dude to jump up and kick a dragon in the face, this does that.
Dirgur Nemesis – 5U – Creature – Serpent – C – Defender. Megamorph 6U. 6/5. Just a big fatty for blue to use in Sealed deck on the ground.
Dragonlord’s Prerogative – 4UU – Instant – R – As an additional cost to cast Dragonlord’s Prerogative, you may reveal a Dragon card from your hand. If you revealed a Dragon or controlled a Dragon as you cast Dragonlord’s Prerogative, Dragonlord’s Prerogative cant be countered. Draw four cards. So with the release of the the spring set we settle into a magical time in Standard. This is called control season. A time were dink mages turn to blue decks with either white or black and just hate on all the rest of use. I feel that this card is going to find a home in the Control decks. Draw four, and the control mirror has to allow it. Yup completely replacing Divination in my book. As for Limited it’s another rare to take that will force you into the control deck. Yeah, this is the New Draft World Order, you just take the rare and build around it.
Elusive Spellfist – 1U – Creature – Human Monk – C – Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, Elusive Spellfist gets +1/+0 until end of turn and can’t be blocked. 1/3. I think this is even better than prowess. You just get value on this guy and when you cast him he can safely block face down dudes in the early game before you start swinging with it. Totally loving this in Limited. Might find a home in Standard post rotation when the Heroic deck becomes the Prowess deck.
Encase in Ice – 1U – Flash. Enchant red or green creature. When Encase in Ice enters the battlefield, tap enchanted creature. Enchanted creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s untap step. While Singing Bell Strike was cool and flavorful, this is Standard level sideboard tech. So much green in the top decks with Sulti, Abzan, Gw Devo, Gr Devo, and then we have mono red and Jeskai also giving us targets for this. This is going to see some constructed play. It goes without saying that blue players are going to want a copy or two in their Limited sideboards.
Glint – 1U – Instant – C – Target creature you control gets +0/+3 and gains hexproof until end of turn. Just a good combat trick in Limited. Either you get to survive a block, swing through a heavily colored field of dorks, or counter a removal spell. All good things to do in Limited.
Gudul Lurker – U – Gudul Lurker can’t be blocked. Megamorph U. 1/1. Jsut a good dork for Limited. With Bolster you might just be able to get a 3/3 in the UW Draft deck. Then with the sudo-prowess abilities that other cards grant this gets even better. Totally going to take a few of these in Drafts.
Gurmag Drowner – 3U – Creature – Naga Wizard – C – Exploit (When this creature enters the battlefield, you may sacrifice a creature.) When Gurmag Drowner exploits a creature, look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest into your graveyard. 2/4. Turns on a few of the Delve cards in the Fate Reforged packs but I wouldn’t bank on getting them in Draft. This is much more a Delve enabler for Sealed deck. Outside of that it’s just a 2/4 for 4, so a big butt to block face down creatures in Draft as a 23rd pick.
Icefall Regent – 3UU – Creature – Dragon – R – Flying. When Icefall Regent enters the battlefield, tap target creature an opponent controls. That creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s untap step as long as you control Icefall Regent. Spells your opponent’s cast that target Icefall Regent cost 2 more to cast. 4/3. Just another good Control rare for the blue player in Limited.. I can see a future home for this in Commander and maybe in Standard control decks post rotation.
Illusory Gains – 3UU – Enchantment – Aura – R – Enchant creature. You control enchanted creature. Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under an opponent’s control, attach Illusory Gains to that creature. After all the butt-hurt that came with Mind Control effects being uncommon back in Rise of the Eldrazi Limited these kinds of cards have all shifted up in rarity. I’m one of those guys that loves beating you with your own creatures. This making you have to ask yourself if you really want to give me the dude makes this even better. Also you not being able to play face down dudes without giving me the info also makes this even better in game one.
Learn from the Past – 3U – Instant – U – Target player shuffles his or her graveyard into his or her library. Draw a card. So you get to hate the Delve deck in Limited by making them shuffle cards back in once they spend a turn filling the yard. Mill isn’t really a thing in Limited. Also Control decks get to reshuffle all those counter spells back into the deck so I might see play once Treasure Curse and Dig Through Time are gone from Standard and collect dust in the Banned Vault.
Living Lore – 3U – Creature – Avatar – R – As Living Lore enters the battlefield, exile an instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. Living Lore has power and toughness equal to the exiled card.s converted mana cost. Whenever Living Lore deals combat damage, you may sacrifice it. If you do, you may cast the exiled card without paying its mana cost. */*. So good in Limited, so good. I have dreams of taking this pack one and then someone passing me a copy of Profound Journey. Yes, I’ll make a 7/7 that basically hits you for seven, dies, comes back as a ?/? hits you, draws me some cards, then comes back and another ?/?. Just for the fun. This might even go into my “take all the extra turns” commander deck.
Mirror Mockery – 1U – Enchantment – Aura – R – Enchant creature. Whenever enchanted creature attacks, you may put a token onto the battlefield that’s a copy of that creature. Exile that token at the end of the combat step. So what you are telling me is that if I see a blue rare I’m drafting a control deck? IF you are lucky enough to get this and Icefall Regent in the same pool and in play together it’s just GG. Any creature with a large but and small power is just going to give you a copy to auto block with. I mean you are either abusing your own EtB effects or you are making a blocker to handle a problem attacker. Control loves this card. Might even see play post rotation in sideboard of control decks to break the mirror.
Monastery Loremaster – 3U – Creature – Djinn Wizard – C – Megamorph 5U. When Monastery Loremaster is turned face up, return target noncreature, nonland card from your graveyard to your hand. Just a Mnemonic Wall effect for Limited. This also allows you to get planeswalkers, enchantments, and artifacts back too. So basically gets you back any good card you want to trigger prowess again.
Mystic Meditation – 3U – Sorcery – C – Draw three cards. Then discard two cards unless you discard a creature card. Speaking of triggering prowess in Limited, here’s a very nice dig spell for the deck.
Negate – 1U – Instant – C – Counter target noncreature spell. Okay, this being in the Limited format allows for a stop-gap verses the prowess decks and even powers them up for defense. Also this being in this set tells me that it’s not going to be in Magic Origins because with the smaller standard they are going to be saving space on reprints. Which means there’s a slot for a two-drop counter spell in MO, maybe a Mana Leak reprint? Still Negate is just a staple of all formats in some way, happy I can keep using my full arts in Standard for the next year.
Ojutai Interceptor – 3U – Creature – Bird Soldier – C – Flying. Megamorph 3U. 3/1. Should of had first strike, after all it’s an interceptor. Still just a good mega morph for Limited.
Ojutai’s Breath – 2U – Instant – C – Tap target creature. It doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step. Rebound. Perfect combat trick for Limited. Either you can end of turn tap down a blocker then tap the other as soon as you untap, or you can answer a pair of threats. It’s just a good trick and you get double prowess triggers off it. Just awesome for Limited.
Ojutai’s Summons – 3UU – Sorcery – C – Put a 2/2 Djinn Monk creature token with flying onto the battlefield. Rebound. Another good rebound card for the prowess decks in Limited. Flying on the tokens just makes them better that manifested lands you would get off Ethereal Ambush .
Palace Familiar – 1U – Creature – Bird – C – Flying. When Palace Familiar dies, draw a card. 1/1. A nice flier that gives you value when it dies in Limited to chump block a dragon. Also a good target for Bolster in Sealed.
Profaner of the Dead – 3U – Creature – Naga Wizard – R – Exploit. When Profaner of the Dead exploits a creature, return to their owner’s hands all creatures opponent’s control with toughness less than the exploited creature’s toughness. 3/3. I really thing that manifest, namely Mastery of the Unseen, is going to see much Standard love int eh time to come. This is a perfect answer for that card. In Limited this just answers all the face down dorks. Also if you have a huge fatty then this is almost a one-sided Upheaval.
Qarsi Deceiver – 1U – Creature – Naga Wizard – U – Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast a face-down creature, pay a mana cost to turn a manifested creature face up, or pay a morph cost. (A megamorph cost is a morph cost.) 0/4. Just a bit of mana ramp for the Morph and Manifest deck. I like that blue gets these narrow ramp creatures that are made to be used with the mechanics in a block. I think we are going to see this used more in Sealed than Draft just because you are going to be going after the rares more than the uncommons and you are going to allow this to table as you focus on the more powerful cards int eh pack. Still netting two of these in Draft when you are deep on Megamorphs then getting passed a bunch of manifest cards is going to be nice.
Reduce in Stature – 2U – Enchantment – Aura – C – Enchant creature. Enchanted creature has base power and toughness 0/2. YUP! A perfect sudo-removal for blue decks in Limited. Just turn there awesome bomb into a little chump blocker.
Shorecrasher Elemental – UUU – Creature – Elemental – M – U: Exile Shorecrasher Elemental, then return it to the battlefield face down under its owner’s control. 1: Shorecrasher Elemental gets +1/-1 or -1/+1 until end of turn. Megamorph 4U. 3/3. The reason why it’s time to buy into Mono-Blue Devotion again. I can even see this being the new go to guy for Blue/X Control decks post rotation. Just being able to blank removal in Limited makes this an awesome bomb.
Sidisi’s Faithful – U – Creature – Naga Wizard – C – Exploit. When Sidisi’s Faithful exploits a creature, return target creature to its owner’s hand. 0/4. So this turns on delve and it bounces as dude. Sign me up for this in Sealed were you are going to have more Delve cards to choice from. Still you can take this just as a bouncer and pray that you’ll get some good delve cards in the last pack during draft. Okay, so it’s solid for Limited.
Sight Beyond Sight – 3U – Sorcery – U – Look at the top two cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the other on the bottom of your library. Rebound. Going to alter one of these into Liono using the Sword of Omens and pray that someone wants to trade for it. After all this is oaky in Limited as a dig spell but I don’t see it finding a home outside of budget Commander decks outside of the 40 card formats. Not even Cube wants this.
Silumgar Sorcerer – 1UU- Creature – Human Wizard – U – Flash. Flying. Exploit. When Silumgar Sorcerer exploits a creature, counter target creature spell. 2/1. Nope, just a counter spell that might see play in Limited. Only way I’m going to go nuts over Exploit is if Bridge from Below shows up in Origins. Then this might be good. Hmm, someone do some brewing in Modern and let me know how it works out.
Silumgar Spell-Eater – 2U – Creature – Naga Wizard – U – Megamorph 4U. When Silumgar Spell-Eater is turned face up, counter target spell unless its controller pays 3. 2/3. So mana leak on a dude that is just slow as slow can be? Yeah, Will see playing in Sealed and might be a 23rd card in draft.
Silumgar’s Scorn – UU – Instant – U – As an additional cost to cast Silumgar’s Scorn, you may reveal a Dragon card from your hand. Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1. If you revealed a Dragon as you cast Silumgar’s Scorn, counter that spell instead. I’m very sure this is going to be the snap pick counter spell for control in Limited. I even thing that Blue/Black control will just up the count of Silumgar, The Drifting Death just to make this even better in Standard. And we’ll see this in the Mono-Blue Devotion deck too.
Skywise Teachings – 3U – Enchantment – U – Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, you may pay 1U. If you do, put a 2/2 blue Djinn Monk creature token with flying onto the battlefield. Speaking of control decks; how would you like to get a 2/2 flier off ever counter spell you cast, or getting more out of rebound spells next turn? This will be a draft around me card and I think budget players are going to be brewing so fun decks with this card.
Stratus Dancer – 1U – Creature – Djinn Monk – R – Flying. Megamorph 1U. When Stratus Dancer is turned face up, counter target instant or sorcery spell. 2/1. Yup, more rares you don’t pass in pack one. 2/1 flier for two in the early game or a 3/2 flying Negate in the late game. Yup, I’ll want one for the Cube.
Taigam’s Strike – 3U – Sorcery – C – Target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn and can’t be blocked. Rebound. Oh, yes; oh, Rocky! Drafting this is going to be so much fun. My bomb gets bigger and you can’t block it this turn or next. Yup, going to draft this along with some dragons. In sealed I’m willing to splash for it. In the prowess build this ends up being even better. Just the best combat trick I’ve seen for the UW deck.
Updraft Elemental – 2U – Creature – Elemental – C – Flying. ¼. Here’s a ¼ flier for Limited, enjoy. Blocks little dudes and can ping for a point a turn. Better in Sealed were you are going to slap a Runemark on it.
Void Squall – 4U – Sorcery – U – Return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand. Rebound. Huge tempo card for Limited. I would draft a few for the control deck. You just bounce their problem card then say go. They can’t recast it or another threat without losing it so they just say go, and you just bounce another thing when this rebounds. I love it.
Youthful Scholar – 3U – Creature – Human Wizard – U – When Youthful Scholar dies, draw two cards. 2/2. Exploit loves this in Limited. It’s even good when you are just trading it away in combat. Some opponents wont even block it when you attack so you can’t draw cards with it. A perfect Limited dork.
Zephyr Scribe – 2U – Creature – Human Monk – C – U, tap: Draw a card, then discard a card. Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, untap Zephyr Scribe. 2/1. Every Limited format needs a Looter, and this is the Looter we get in this one. Seeing how he uptaps if you draw a spell it’s nice.
Alright, blue is done! So far I’m seeing this as the color I would enjoy drafting if I’m looking to play control. It’s not the color I want to be in for pre-release Sealed as I feel that White/Green is going to be much better. Still Blue/White isn’t look that bad either. I really think we are going to see a rise of Control after this set is released and maybe a return to a control meta in the fall. Now let’s see what black has to offer.
This has been…
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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