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Conflux Review: Blue March 23, 2009

Posted by Norm in Casual, Conflux.
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My selected review of Conflux Blue as found in the full Visual Spoiler.

Cumber Stone
Not an amazing card. I did have someone play this against me in a draft and it really threw me off. I don’t see a huge advantage in constructed although in casual constructed this could be one of those cards that really slows down your opponents threats. Could be a lot of fun to build with.

This would be pretty amazing if it had flash. A combat trick that throws off your opponents math, allows you to kill some of his guys, or survive for another turn. In big table games this is defiantly a card worth considering.

Grixis Illusionist
So I just realized that this card targets your land. I originally thought this would target any land. So never mind. I think this card sucks, ya it is mana fixing and might get you through one or two sticky situations – I’m just annoyed at myself because I was imagining a deck where you disrupted your opponents mana base and manually mana screw them in the early game.

Here is where I would pick this card. If I was running  a deck with Fugitive Wizard. Same cost and p/t with the extra ability. Might be good late game when you have a bunch of islands in play and need that random green or red to sweep the board.

Parasitic Strix
A wise man once told me that a 2/2 flyer for 3 mana is a good deal. With Parasitic Strix you get that plus a potential for a 4 point life swing. Seems good to me. That is almost as good as Kitchen Finks, ok on as good as half of a finks but the flying is cool because it gets in there. The reason this card won’t see much serious action is because there are a million better plays on turn three. This card is one of those cards I would consider to be not bad but that is about as far as it goes.

If you were limited to a pauper format, however. This guy needs some attention.

I’m glad they reprinted this card, because so many people underestimate it. It isn’t a Path to Exile but it will cover your ass. In limited formats make sure you snag an unsummon.

I’m not that wild about the new artwork, but it works.

Shards of Alara Blue October 22, 2008

Posted by Norm in Casual, Shards of Alara.
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Part of my Shards of Alara exploration, here is my review of selected blue cards, found on the full visual spoiler.

Call to Heel
There are a number of Boomerang like spells in Shards of Alara but I’ve got to say that I like Call to Heel the best. I also think Resounding Wave is interesting but for one more mana and an insane cycling cost I just don’t think it is worth it. I do find Excommunicate’s ability more effective but as a sorcery and again for three mana, not so much.

What makes me warm up to Call to Heel is the card drawing advantage. I see this card used best as a combat trick. Where you block with a smaller creature seeming as a chump block but with damage on the stack you play Call to Heel on your guy and get an extra card to boot. OK that play isn’t rocket science, but I think Call to Heel gives you advantages and ways to play defense that your opponent might not expect. Saving your creature from certain death (burn spell, nameless inversion, etc) and drawing a card out of it is card advantage if your opponent is spending a card and tapping mana. 

Courier’s Capsule
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this card other than I feel it is a solid card to give you some drawing outlets and with some of the return to hand abilities of other creatures in shards it has good synergies. I’ve seen this card used well in limited formats so that is where I’m thinking. 

I also love the artwork really looks mystical and rewarding.  

Gather Specimens
I’m sure you are all wondering why I choose to write about Gather Specimens, simply put this ability is awesome. The problem is that the casting cost is way to high to be applicable. I mean for 6 mana you better be grabbing all 5 of Sharkan Vol’s 4/4 dragons and swinging in for the win next turn. Honestly I’m really suprised the cost is this high. I mean if you look at other take control of creature cars, Sower of Temptation, you get a creature with flying and you steal a guy for 4 mana. Not the same relative cost for an ability here. Even unwilling recruit is pretty well balanced. On the flip side you could take control of a whole bunch of guys coming into play but when does that ever really happen. You are going to want to use Gather Specimens on a Chameleon Colossus or Sower of Temptation, ahem. So perhaps there is a trick out there with a card like Memory Plunder that pulls spells out of your graveyard for less… 

Kathari Screecher
This 2/2 flyer for 3 is pretty cool. First of all he’s a bad ass culture with arms like grandpa and beard that would make a lumber jack proud. Seriously a 2/2 flyer for 3 any day is a solid card but unearth is a great ability especially on and evasion creature that can be brought back unexpectedly. I’ve had this guy get unearthed and deal me lethal damage and it sucks because you should have thought of that. Anyway solid card in my book.  

Tezzeret the Seeker
What a general, what hard core controller. Give two of your big guys vigilance, or even bring artifacts right into play, Ornithopter anyone? There is no doubt that this Planeswalker is awesome. (Side question, are artifact lands still banned?) 

Obviously playing with Tezzeret is going to be similar to be playing with Garruk but with a slightly different focus. While his ultimatum ability is by far the strongest. I think that bringing artifacts from the Library to play is going to be the most challenging to work around. This could mean anything from creatures to equipment something deadly. 

I’m glad however that he isn’t as overpowered as Sharkan Vol. I think Wizards did us players a disservice by making all the Planeswalkers mythic rares. We want to play with these cool guys and you suck for making them so hard to come by. I also call bull shit on the fact that all the mythic rares weren’t supposed to be strategy cards. I think all the new Planeswalkers can easily be seriously strategy enhancing. 

Blue Poll
What Shards of Alara Blue card are you most looking forward to using (currently using)? 

Eventide Green/Blue August 13, 2008

Posted by Norm in Eventide.
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Part of my Eventide exploration, here is my review of selected green/blue hybrid cards, found on the full visual spoiler.

Cold-Eyed Selkie
This art was one of the first spoiled during the Eventide build up. Personally I thought it would be a Kithkin/ Merfolk water baby. Oh wait what is a Selkie? Who cares, it draws cards and Islandwalks. Great creature that can give card advantage over blue control decks (assuming you can get it on the board).

Invert the Skies
One of the more interesting combat tricks in Eventide. I do like the idea of giving a huge green treefolk flying. Funny artwork especially the Kithkin hanging on for dear life.  

Overbeing of Myth
Great throwback to Kami of the Crescent Moon. and other card in hand power toughness creatures from Kamigawa. I’ve had this in hand and there aren’t enough card drawing engines right now to really make this guy go nuts. However a build around Mulldrifter, Revellarch and Mistmeadow Witch could be interesting. 

Sturdy Hatchling
This maybe the best guy in this cycle because it can protect itself while it is weak. I’m going to run this guy in some casual decks I have going on so he and Vexing Susher can rub elbows.  

Wistful Selkie
Again if this had persist it would be a much better card. Especially for an uncomon. Still played in a deck with the other green/blue hybrid cards I give it props. Not as scary as Cold-Eyed Selkie but when you can see the monster it is never as scary.

Shadowmoor Blue Black Hybrid May 8, 2008

Posted by Norm in Casual.
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Part of my Shadowmoor exploration, here is my review of selected blue/black cards. Found on the full visual spoiler

Ghastlord of Fugue
Ghastlord of Fugue is unblockable! So forget about it unless you can deal 4 damage, just know that you have a max of 5 turns before you are dead. Oh and while I’m smacking you upside the head for 4 I get to look at your hand and remove a card from the game. This guys is awesome. I don’t know how I didn’t rave about him before. Dare I say this guy is better than Demigod of Revenge. Not only do I dare but I would draft this first round over the demigod each time. 







Glen Elendra Liege
I really like blue black in this set and it is one of those things I can’t really explain. Do you choose whom you fall in love with? Well I also love guys who give +1/+1  to other creatures so this is a nice double dip. This also pumps above ghost face killer and Oona.  









Inkfathom Infiltrator
I really like the unblockables. I opened this guy at the release party and he was always a strong guy for me. In limited I think this is always going to be a strong card especially with the lower number of removal cards in the block. I think he also slips by because he isn’t that big of a threat and easy enough to deal with – the little annoying merfolk that could. 








Memory Plunder
While I don’t see this as being a bomb I do see this as extremely flexible. Especially in the right matchup. Maybe you need that right burn spell or an Extirpate. I think for blue this is a really solid card that can ride in a sideboard and turn the tables. I know I don’t need to say how cool that art work is but how could you not love that face. 









Wasp Lancer
One of the guys who taught me how to play good limited and draft magic always said, “A 2/2 flyer for 3 is a really strong pick.” Those words have stayed with me and helped me in many a draft choice. A 3/2 flyer for 3 is an even better pick.   


Shadowmoor Blue May 2, 2008

Posted by Norm in Casual.
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Part of my Shadowmoor exploration, here is my review of selected blue cards. Found on the full visual spoiler

The blue Extirpate, except for the mana cost. I do think this card will be very strong because you don’t need the target spell to be in the graveyard to remove it from the game. Also this is an instant and can be played on your opponents turn. I hope to net a play set of these soon. 









Knacksaw Clique
I like this Faerie for two reasons. Naturally the Faerie has flying so the evasion is awesome for attacking, which will tap Knacksaw Clique. Second is the defense. Untap to mill and block an attacking creature is really a lot of bonus for one creature. The kicker is you can do it every turn. 









Leach Bonder
The Leach Bonder isn’t as strong as Knacksaw Clique but it does provide for potential creature kill while making your guy bigger. I just really like this guy for 3 mana.  










Puca’s Mischief
Again more really strong blue control. My first thought was that this is too complicated, but you can really build a great deck around this especially if one of your creatures has a pacifism effect. 










River Kelpie
I don’t think that River Kelpie is going to be a big card in constructed but I do like this guy. Will probably be a great guy in multiplayer. I just like these abilities and wish he didn’t cost so much.










Savor the Moment
This card is going to be awesome. Especially for tempo. Three mana on a second main phase. Especially combined with Puca’s Mischief could be an game turning play.  










Spell Syphon
I think blue is really strong in Shadowmoor and this card will be a must in any blue standard constructed deck from now on.  I like the artwork but I don’t think it represents a counter spell very well. 


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