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By: Arnnaria, Sean Costales
Jan 21 2008 11:58pm
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Morningtide is out in the paper world and Standard gets 150 new cards to play with.  Of course we have to wait a few more weeks to play with Morningtide on MTGO, but why wait to preview the set when it hits the online store?  Currently you can count the decks that run blue in Standard on one hand: U/W Snow and variants, Sonic Boom and variants, Faeries, Merfolk, and Mannequin/Reanimator.  With the emergence of class-based tribal cards, it’s also possibly we’ll see a wizard deck and rogue deck emerge.  Don’t forget that Voidmage Prodigy is timeshifted!

I’ve also rated every card on a simple five-star system.  A five-star rating means the card is one of the best that every deck should play.  A three-star rating means the card is about average that could be run in a handful of decks.  And finally, a one-star rating means the card is utter jank and really doesn’t need any explanation or discussion.  Any blue cards that are not mentioned explicitly in the article are one or two-star cards.



Declaration of Naught
UU

Enchantment

As Declaration of Naught comes into play, name a card.
U: Counter target spell with the same name as the named card.

Possible Decks: U/W Snow, Sonic Boom

Rating: ****

This card reminds me of another great card: Meddling Mage.  However, the problem with Meddling Mage was that every deck runs some form of creature removal.  So while the Mage could stall the inevitable card, it rarely ever outright forbade it.  The good news is, Declaration of Naught is an enchantment – and enchantment removal in the main board is rarely seen.  Keeping one blue mana open to stop a variety of threats isn’t too hard as you’re already keeping mana open in control matches to counter their spells.  I expect to see Declaration of Naught getting as much play as the Mage did.

Dewdrop Spy 1UU

Creature – Faerie Rogue 2/2

Flash
Flying
When Dewdrop Spy comes into play, look at the top card of target player's library.

Possible Decks: Faeries, Rogues

Rating: *

Dewdrop Spy is no Pestermite.  Pestermite has a semi-useful ability and is an efficient beater.  And while Dewdrop Spy might have a similar casting cost and stats, his ability is ineffective and practically useless.  Maybe someone who really wants to use Lammastide Weave can make use of this.

Disperse 1U

Instant

Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand.

Possible Decks: U/W Snow, Sonic Boom

Rating: ***

U/W Snow has (Teferi’s Moat) and Mouth of Ronom; Sonic Boom has its Deserts.  But if a good aggro player gets an early offense it could spell game over for control.  Disperse gets rid of early threats that snuck past counters – your turn two Tarmogoyfs and (Wren’s Run Vanquisher)s. It also buys you time against that one threat that slipped underneath counter magic.  

Distant Melody 3U

Sorcery

Choose a creature type. Draw a card for each permanent you control of that type.

Possible Decks: Faeries, Merfolk, Wizards, and Rogues

Rating: **

To measure how good Distant Melody is, we have to pair it up against a similarly cost sorcery: Foresee.  For four mana with Foresee you get to dig four cards deeper and set up your hand, drawing two good cards in the process.  With Distant Melody, you could draw anywhere from two to five cards.  Currently, Faeries and Merfolk eschew card drawing for fast aggressive strategies.  However, the sheer swing in game that a Distant Melody could provide might be too much to pass up for some tribal players.

Fencer Clique 2UU

Creature – Faerie Soldier 3/2

Flying
U: Put Fencer Clique on top of its owner's library.

Possible Decks: Faeries

Rating: *

This card is a poor man’s Wydwen.  Do yourself a favor and play the legendary faerie.

Floodchaser 5U

Creature – Elemental 0/0

Floodchaser comes into play with six +1/+1 counters on it.
Floodchaser can't attack unless defending player controls an Island.
U, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Floodchaser: Target land becomes an Island until end of turn.

Possible Decks: N/A

Rating: *

This card combos well with Sage of Fables.  That’s about it…

Grimoire Thief UU

Creature – Merfolk Rogue 2/2

Whenever Grimoire Thief becomes tapped, remove the top three cards of target opponent's library from the game face down.
You may look at cards removed from the game with Grimoire Thief.
U, Sacrifice Grimoire Thief: Turn all cards removed from the game with Grimoire Thief face up. Counter all spells with those names.

Possible Decks: Merfolk, Rogues

Rating: ***

The two-drop spot for Merfolk is pretty crowded: Lord of Atlantis, Silvergill Adept, and Sygg.  Toss in Judge of Currents and (Merfolk Commerce) and there’s barely any room for Grimoire Thief.  However, Grimoire thief reminds me of a better Voidmage Prodigy.  After you’ve attacked two or three times, Grimoire Thief will have removed at least one or two spells worth countering from the game.  Grimoire Thief also helps with the milling strategy that some Merfolk have adopted.  All that aside, Merfolk doesn’t mind an additional 2/2 for UU so I’d expect this card to see some play based solely on his stats alone.

 

Ink Dissolver 1U

Creature – Merfolk Wizard 2/1

Kinship - At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it shares a creature type with Ink Dissolver you may reveal it. If you do, each opponent puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

Possible Decks: Merfolk

Rating: *

Drowner of Secrets gave Merfolk decks an alternate win condition: milling their library.  Unfortunatley, while a creative way to win, milling has never trumped dealing twenty damage to an opponent.  Its simple math really, twenty damage is much easier to deal than erasing sixty cards.  If Ink Dissolver was your only creature, his power alone would kill the opponent in ten turns.  However, his Kinship ability takes over twenty turns to kill the opponent!  Stick with the damage race and don’t be wooed by Ink Dissolver.

Inspired Sprite 3U

Creature – Faerie Wizard 2/2

Flash
Flying
Whenever you play a Wizard spell, you may untap Inspired Sprite.
T: Draw a card, then discard a card.

Possible Decks: Wizards

Rating: **

This is the ability that Information Dealer wanted to be.  Unfortunately, it’s double the price of Information Dealer.  Four mana is pretty steep for a looter effect.  However, we haven’t seen what a Wizards deck is capable of or what it even looks like.  If Wizards become popular, be on the lookout for deck designers to try to exploit this card.

Knowledge Exploitation 5UU

Tribal Sorcery – Rogue

Prowl 3U (You may play this for its prowl cost if you dealt combat damage to a player this turn with a Faerie or Rogue.)

Search target opponent's library for an instant or sorcery card. You may play this card without paying its mana cost. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

Possible Decks: Rogues

Rating: **

Knowledge Exploitation could be a good card in Rogues.  If your opponent is playing high-cost and game-winning instant and sorceries, a single Knowledge Exploitation could possibly win the game.  But currently, there aren’t too many high-cost and game-winning instant and sorceries running around out there.  The best sorcery is probably Profane Command, and with its X in its casting cost you’re going to be getting nothing on the steal.

Latchkey Faerie 3U

Creature – Faerie Rogue 3/1

Flying
Prowl 2U (You may play this for its prowl cost if you dealt combat damage to a player this turn with a Faerie or Rogue.)
When Latchkey Faerie comes into play, if its prowl cost was paid, draw a card.

Possible Decks: Rogues

Rating: ***

A 3/1 flyer for three mana is good enough.  But getting a cantrip out of it is even better.  There are enough rogues out there that you’ll be able to cast this for its prowl cost.  The question of the hour is if there is enough good rogues to make a decent sixty-card deck.

Merrow Witsniper U

Creature – Merfolk Rogue 1/1

When Merrow Witsniper comes into play, target player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

Possible Decks: Merfolk, Rogues

Rating: *

Rogues is hurting for one-drops, but I don’t think Merrow Witsniper is the answer.  If you’re in blue/black rogues, a better solution might be Nightshade Stinger.  Even Prickly Boggart is a better deal for one mana.

Mind Spring XUU

Sorcery

Draw X cards.

Possible Decks: See Below

Rating: **

Any blue deck has the potential to run this card.  The question is, does it want to?  In Standard, for 3UU you get four cards in Tidings – that’s one card more than you get if you’re playing Mind Spring.  I think Mind Spring is a good, solid card.  But I also think that it’s not good enough to make the final sixty.  I would love to be proven wrong, but only time will tell on this one.

Mothdust Changeling U

Creature – Changeling

Changeling
Tap an untapped creature you control: Mothdust Changeling gains flying until end of turn.

Possible Decks: None

Rating: *

Some cards are just bad cards.  Mothdust Changeling is one of those cards.

Negate 1U

Instant

Counter target noncreature spell.

Possible Decks: U/W Snow, Sonic Boom.

Rating: ***

What turn-two noncreature spell is powerful enough to warrant a counterspell?  Right now the only two-drops that you should really be scared of can be easily answered with Rune Snag and Remove Soul.  With the easy name and simple ability, I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that this card will find itself in Eleventh Edition.  However, the question of the hour is will this card find itself into any control decks?  I think the possibility is high once Rune Snag rotates out of Standard, but until then this card will be sitting on the bench.  However, this is still a solid counterspell that could see sideboard play, it does deal with Garruk and the rest of the Planeswalkers.

Nevermaker 3U

Creature – Elemental 2/3

Flying
When Nevermaker leaves play, put target nonland permanent on top of its owner's library
Evoke 3U

Possible Decks: Mannequin

Rating: **

Another card that will probably see the sidelines until Riftwing Cloudskate rotates out of standard.  If Nevermaker triggered on coming into play, this card would be an automatic include into any Mannequin deck.  However, the card triggers on leaving play which presents a problem.  I still like this card, though.  It survives pretty much any faerie assault and you get a free Time Ebb if your opponent uses any removal.

Notorious Throng 3U

Tribal Sorcery – Rogue

Prowl 5U (You may play this for its prowl cost if you dealt combat damage to a player this turn with a Faerie or Rogue.)
Put X 1/1 black Fairy Rogue creature tokens with flying into play, where X is the damage dealt to opponents this turn. If the prowl cost was paid, take an extra turn after this one. 

Possible Decks: Rogues

Rating: ***

An extra turn is nothing to scoff at.  Especially if your opponent only has ground defense and can’t afford to take the damage you can deal with a handful of flying faeries.  The reason I like this card so much is because it’s good even without the Prowl ability.  If you can hit for three or four, you get a faerie for each damage dealt.  Scatter the Seeds required you to pay five for your three critters.  If Rogues becomes a popular deck with the support they get from Morningtide, Notorious Throng will be a card you hate to see.

Research the Deep 1U

Sorcery

Draw a card. Clash with an opponent. If you win, return Research the Deep to its owner's hand.

Possible Decks: U/W Snow, Sonic Boom

Rating: ***

Were this card an instant, I would easily proclaim that this card would replace Think Twice in a variety of decks in Standard.  However, nothing is that easy.  Research the Deep shines in the late game where for two mana you get a free card and a chance to scry for one.  And in Sonic Boom, your Guiles, Teferis, and Cryptic Commands give you a high percentage of getting it back in your hand.  Only testing will tell if Research the Deep can give Think Twice a run for its money.

Sage of Fables 2U

Creature – Merfolk Wizard 2/2

Each other Wizard creature you control comes into play with an additional +1/+1 counter on it.
2, Remove a +1/+1 counter from a creature you control: Draw a card.

Possible Decks: Wizards

Rating: ***

The Sage of Fables is a tricky lord.  Instead of bestowing a straightforward bonus like (Merfolk Reejery), your creatures come into play with a +1/+1 counter.  That extra beef can be traded for an extra card.  If wizards shine, than Sage of Fables will be an interesting lord.  Note, I didn’t list this card for Merfolk decks because there aren’t many Merfolk Wizards out there.  The only ones who would benefit from his bonus are Silvergill Adept, Judge of Currents, and Sygg.  Summon the School would also benefit, but I think most decks are happy with Merfolk Reejery as their three drop.

Sage’s Dousing 2U

Tribal Instant – Wizard

Counter target spell unless its controller pays 3. If you control a Wizard, draw a card.

Possible Decks: Merfolk, Wizards, Faeries

Rating: **

While I think Faerie Trickery is the more powerful counterspell, tribal decks might consider running this over the former due to its potential cantrip effect.  Once again, only time and testing will tell.

Sigil Tracer 1UU

Creature – Merfolk Wizard 2/2

1U, Tap two untapped Wizards you control: Copy target instant or sorcery spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Possible Decks: Wizards

Rating: **

Sigil Tracer leads me to believe that wizards won’t be seeing any competitive play in Standard.  Rogues are fast, aggressive, and cheap.  Wizards are expensive and their abilities are marginal at best.  Leaving two mana open and two creatures untapped means you can’t counter their spells and you can’t attack.  Creature-based strategies should be based upon attacking, not waiting around for something to happen.  I think Sigil Tracer will appeal to the Johnnies out there, but the Spikes will see it for what its worth and pass it up.

Slithermuse 2UU

Creature – Elemental 3/3

When Slithermuse leaves play, choose an opponent. If that player has more cards in hand than you, draw cards equal to the difference.
Evoke 3U

Possible Decks: Elementals

Rating: **

A good blue deck should never have fewer cards in their hand than their opponent.  That and that fact alone makes me wonder if Slithermuse will see any competitive play.  Again, like Nevermaker, if this card triggered upon coming into play maybe it would see some play in Mannequin decks.  However, Slithermuse triggers when it leaves play so I doubt we’ll see it in Standard anytime soon.

Stonybrook Banneret 1U

Creature – Merfolk Wizard 1/1

Islandwalk
Merfolk spells and Wizard spells you play cost 1 less to play.

Possible Decks: Merfolk, Wizards

Rating: ****

And now we have yet another two-drop for the Merfolk decks.  The Banneret will definitely see play in Merfolk decks as it speeds up the deck by a turn.  The real icing on the cake is that the Banneret has islandwalk and can start attacking for some real damage before Lord of Atlantis ever gets out.

Stream of Unconsciousness 1U

Tribal Instant – Wizard

Target creature gets -4/-0 until end of turn. If you control a Wizard, draw a card.

Possible Decks: Wizards

Rating: *

Not all cantrips are created equal.  Stream of Unconsciousness doesn’t really do anything amazing for the cost.  Even if this card were one blue AND cantripped without a wizard it still wouldn’t see any competitive play.

Supreme Exemplar 6U

Creature – Elemental 10/10

Flying
Champion an Elemental (When this comes into play, sacrifice it unless you remove another Elemental you control from the game. When this leaves play, that card returns to play.)

Possible Decks: Elementals

Rating: *

For seven mana, a card better outright win the game for you.  But champion is a tricky ability that hasn’t been seeing much competitive play.  The problem is if your opponent kills your champion target, you’re left paying for the bill but not getting anything in return.  Supreme Exemplar suffers from the same curse.  I doubt this card will see any major play.

Thieves’ Fortune 2U

Tribal Instant – Rogue

Prowl U (You may play this card for its prowl cost if you dealt combat damage to a player this turn with a Rogue.)
Look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.

Possible Decks: Rogues, Faeries

Rating: ****

Impulse is one of my favorite cards of all time and Thieves’ Fortune does the job for half the cost.  If Rogues can put together a decent offense, Thieves’ Fortune will be a perfect digging tool.  Even faeries may be able join in on the fun on the back of Nightshade Stinger, Oona’s Prowler, and Pestermite.  A one-mana Impulse is just too good not to exploit.

Vendilion Clique 1UU

Legendary Creature – Faerie Wizard 3/1

Flash

Flying

When Vendilion Clique comes into play, look at target player's hand. You may choose a nonland card from it. If you do, that player reveals the chosen card, puts it on the bottom of his or her library, then draws a card.

Possible Decks: Faeries

Rating: ***

The Vendilion Clique in the novels is Veesa, Endry, and Iliona.  The Vendilion Clique in Magic is a good, practical card for faeries.  The pseudo-Thoughtseize effect is nothing spectacular but the aggressive body it leaves behind is perfect for faeries.  The only other three-power faerie out there is Oona’s Prowler and Wydwen, the Biting Gale; Mistbind Clique being the only four-power faerie.  Remember, if your opponent doesn’t have any cards in their hand you can use the ability on yourself to cycle a free card.

Waterspout Weavers 3UU

Creature – Merfolk Wizard 3/3

Kinship - At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it shares a creature type with Waterspout Weavers, you may reveal it. If you do, each creature you control gains flying until end of turn.

Possible Decks: Merfolk

Rating: **

Merfolk decks get their evasion with Islandwalk from Lord of Atlantis and Tideshaper Mystic.  They don’t need flying to deliver the beats.  Merfolk decks are also low-cost, aggressive aggro builds.  I doubt a five-mana 3/3 without any solid abilities will see any play.

Conclusion and Top Five Cards

So that wraps up the twenty-eight new blue cards from Morningtide.  All in all, you get some goodies for the control decks, new meat for the tribal decks, and a brand new archetype in Rogues.  I doubt Wizards will get any competitive play, but I’m sure some deckbuilders out there will try to exploit the new goodies.  Merfolk gets two solid cards in Stonybrook Banneret and Grimoire Thief and I wouldn’t be surprised if a Faerie/Rogue hybrid deck emerges to exploit Thieves’ Fortune, Notrious Throng, and other Prowl-goodness.  Finally, Declaration of Naught will find its way into every blue control archetype that can afford two blue on turn two; essentially, your Pickles and Sonic Booms.

Here’s the top five blue cards of Morningtide as I see it:

  1. Declaration of Naught
  2. Stonybrook Banneret
  3. Thieves’ Fortune
  4. Grimoire Thief
  5. Notorious Throng

Thanks for reading and have fun with blue in Morningtide!

 

Sean Costales

andredomino@gmail.com

Arnnaria on Magic Online

0 Comments

by hamtastic at Tue, 01/22/2008 - 18:08
hamtastic's picture

I've done a couple set reviews... and they're HARD.  Not only are they relatively boring as most of the cards aren't going to really see play and don't have a lot to be said for them, and they're very hard to judge based on percieved power since they've yet to be proven in any actual decks...

I'd recommend looking at previous reviewers that you liked and emulate their styles and put a little of a personal twist into the review.

 
Good first work though, your effort is great and it shows!

email by djdark01 at Tue, 01/22/2008 - 21:49
djdark01's picture

nice article!  Much better than mine! lol

btw, i've seen other people spell out their email addy due i think to spam:

danielejay at gmail dot com

Great First Article by Basic Land at Tue, 01/22/2008 - 13:07
Basic Land's picture
Great job on your first time. I love the * stars as utter jank. 
I think  Knowledge exploitation could have used a few more stars, and Vendilion Clique will also be good, let's not forget you can also use it to cycle your poorest card away.
 
I like the series of color previews for the new sets. This site just keeps getting better and better. 
by Tarmotog at Tue, 01/22/2008 - 06:53
Tarmotog's picture

Rating cards in a void doesn't help people understand them. The value of cards shift in different formats. From what I see, you are just rating cards that go into a casual deck.

Vendilion Clique is very underrated in your review. I believe this is the best blue card the set can offer. It's a 3/1 flying flash that cycles away the best card from the hand of ur opponent. I believe you don't find this good because the opponent draws a card. If you could choose to change his card into a possibly less powerful card would you? You get to mess up the plans your opponent has made for the past minute.

I hope the next reviews would look at cards from different angles to really appreciate them for what they are. Some of what you say makes great sense. However, (not trying to be offensive but) some cards are just too shallowly analyzed. I've read quite a few good articles on starcitygames and the magic show brought out some cards really well. I would suggest heading there to see how they do it and then continue with the reviews based on what you've come to understand about the cards. Good effort put into this work thou.