Welcome back everyone, and Happy Fourth America! Today we are going to look at the blue strategies in M19, as they relate to sealed play. I won’t be looking at cards like Tezzeret or Djinn of Wishes, because if you are playing blue you are playing these cards. Instead, I’ll be looking at the Removal, the Questionable cards, and the Traps; as well as the strategy of the Archetype.
Exclusion Mage: Blue rarely has “hard removal” so this effectively qualifies. Play this every time, as many times as you can.
Sleep: I’ve seen quite a few games stolen by this card. It isn’t really great unless you have a lot of creatures, but it can do some work. I wouldn’t play more than 1 of these.
Switcheroo: Switcheroo is mediocre as well. Usually, you want to give your opponent a bad creature, and take their good creature. Unfortunately, you usually want to be playing all good creatures in your deck. If your opponent plays several Luminous Bond effects, this seems fantastic to me, since it effectively 2-for-1’s your opponent, otherwise I am hesitant to play this over another good creature.
Cancel/Bone to Ash/Essence Scatter: I’ve lumped these together since they usually do similar things. They are clunky, but their effect is great when it works. I am more open to Cancel and Essence Scatter, because they are cheap enough to let you do something else to impact the board while leaving them up, but one Bone to Ash can be great, since Sealed is usually about resolving bombs.
Disperse: Much like Exclusion Mage, this is a tempo card. It is significantly more all in, since it comes without a body, but if you have enough small creatures this can prolong your opponent to clinch victory.
Dwindle: This seems like the clearest removal blue has to offer. If you have a lot of fliers, it seems quite good, since you can just ignore their creature, and it is effectively invalidated. The fact that it can block may cause you to lose a race or two.
Totally Lost: Totally Lost is probably the best removal spell blue decks can have access to…which says a lot, since this is clunky and not particularly good. It is flexible though, and sometimes it can be Time Walk-esque.
One with the Machine: This card seems pretty good if you have a few high quality artifacts, but it seems terrible if it gets stranded in your hand. It really needs to draw 3+ cards to be good.
Patient Rebuilding: This card does nothing. OR. It wins the game and keeps a steady flow of cards in your hand while doing it. I assume that this is too slow, but the fact that it will win the game, and is difficult to interact with, is pretty high upside. With enough removal, it may be worth it.
Psychic Corrosion: Much like Patient Rebuilding, this card can win a game. It’s a cheaper investment, and easier to enable, but really doesn’t do anything unless you can stabilize the board for a long time.
Gearsmith Prodigy: This card is on the border. A 1 mana 2/2 is high quality for standard. That said, there aren’t many artifacts in this set that really stand out as worth main decking, aside from a couple rares. 1/2s aren’t really acceptable though, and I think that unless you have several ways to enable this, it seems worthless.
Ghostform: Unlike the previous 3, Ghostform is very clearly good or bad. If your deck can attack early, but needs to be able to push through damage, this can be good. Otherwise, it doesn’t do anything.
Uncomfortable Chill: Ah, The mediocre cards. If this gains 4+ life, it is probably acceptable. The fact that it hits all opposing creatures can lead to major blow outs, and it does cycle if nothing else. However, I often would rather just have another card that can impact the board, since a 2/2 trading effectively gains as much life over a turn or two, and can kill your opponent if needed.
Omniscience: This is ten mana, and you are unlikely to get ten mana worth of value out of it, even if you get to cast it. DO NOT play this.
Mistcaller: Constructed playability aside, this card effectively is just a 1/1 for one. Don’t waste your time.
Metamorphic Alteration: This card is always only ok. Unfortunately, “ok” opens you up to a 2-for-1 here, and that’s effectively terrible. If your opponent has a “win the game when this attacks” card, it seems good, since you can effectively get the first swing, but the risk is very high.
Aether Tunnel: Seem previous comment, except it sucks more. You might be able to justify this if you are playing against green and have no fliers, just to push through damage, but I’d rather try something else.
Wall of Mist: 0/5’s are pretty bad. They can’t kill your opponent, and this doesn’t even have flying to really make it a solid defensive card. Not worth the two mana investment in the main deck.
As in many Core Sets, blue seems like a supporting color without a strong individual color identity. The lack of depth to the rares further influences my feelings on this, but the big cards are things like Sift and Salvager of Secrets, which do more to find and recur good cards, rather than being good in and of themselves. The mill subtheme contests with the artifact subtheme as well, since one is aggressive (with cards like Skilled Animator) and the other is defensive (with cards like Patient Rebuilding). If you are looking to play blue, be ready to play a second color that goes well with the strategy you choose.
See you tomorrow for black! In the meantime, you can preregister for the prerelease at Gameology either in store or online!