Amonkhet Review – Blue

Hi everyone.  Welcome to the second in my series of reviews of the cards in the upcoming Amonkhet expansion.  Today we’ll be taking a look at all of the Blue cards.  In this article, I will discuss these cards as they relate to Standard play.  My system uses number ratings ranging from 0 – 5 to gauge how well I think the cards will perform Standard play.  I will offer some pros and cons for these cards and give my thoughts and rating on the card for Standard play.  Please keep in mind that these ratings are based on my opinion only and may differ from your opinion.  (If you have a different opinion, please sound off in the Comments section below and let me know your thoughts.)

How My Rating System Works

5.0:  Format All-Star.  This card is a total Bomb card.  For those that aren’t familiar with this term, it basically means this card will win you the game if left unchecked for a turn or two.  These cards tend to be hard to defend against and can turn a game around in a hurry.  Some cards that are bombs in limited may only be a mediocre card in constructed play.

4.0:  Above Average Card.  This card is great.  It can be played in multiple decks and will have an impact on the game every time.  These cards can change a game quickly, get you back in the game, or shift the tempo of the game.  These cards are usually vulnerable to some type of removal (or are a removal spell themselves), but they make up the majority of cards found in major tournament decks.

3.0:  Average Card.  These are generally good cards, and many of them will be the majority of cards found in a tribal deck.  Cards in this category are usually similar to other (higher-ranked) cards but cost 1 mana more or have a drawback in some manner.  In Limited play, these are the majority of your deck.

2.0:  Niche Card.  These cards serve are very narrow function and are usually meant for your sideboard.  They could be removal spells that only remove 1 type of card, or cards with mediocre stats that have an ability that helps against opponents playing a certain color or strategy.  In Limited play, these cards are put in your deck if you have no other options and need the card to reach your 40-card minimum deck size.  For Constructed play, you will rarely play this card unless it’s from your sideboard or you want to be “cute”.

1.0:  Will Rarely See Play.  The worst of the worst.  These cards are rarely played (if they’re played at all).  These cards generally have bad stats, cost too much mana, or have basically no impact on the game when they’re played.  Overall stay away from this card if possible.

And now, on to the cards…

 

Ancient Crab

Ancient Crab

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card works well in a control deck, but that’s about all the use I can see for this card.  This won’t be a big player in any other type of deck.

 

Angler Drake

Angler Drake

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While a 4/4 flyer for 6 mana leaves a little to be desired, the ability to return a creature with a helpful enter the battlefield ability makes this worthwhile.  Or you could cast this to remove an important blocker from your opponent in order to push through those last points of damage.

 

As Foretold

As Foretold

Rating:  4.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Getting something for free is a great feeling, and a terrific ability.  And the fact that you’re able to cast a card on both your turn and your opponent’s turn is also great.  Also, since you can cast any kind of spell on your turn, it’s useful to help get out a force of creatures more numerous than your opponent has.

 

Aven Initiate

Aven Initiate  

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is an okay card for it’s cost, but the embalm cost is pretty prohibitive.  I don’t see this being widely played.

 

Cancel

Cancel

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The old standard for countering any spell.  It’s very serviceable, but nothing to write home about.  The art for this new version of Cancel is pretty amazing, and I’ll bet it looks great in foil.

 

Cartouche of Knowledge

Cartouche of Knowledge

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  2 mana to draw a card isn’t bad.  Getting +1/+1 and flying for 2 mana is also pretty good.  Getting both things for the same 2 mana is very worthwhile.  I would expect to see this in a number of decks.

 

Censor

Censor

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A 2 mana Force Spike will probably see play in a heavy counter deck, but even cycling doesn’t make this see widespread play.

 

Compelling Argument

Compelling Argument

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Currently Standard doesn’t have enough cards to enable a dedicated mill deck, so this card will only see play in decks that want to achieve delirium.  And with cycling in Standard again, there’s lots of other ways to ensure you get certain card types into your graveyard.

 

Cryptic Serpent

Cryptic Serpent

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s a good finisher far a control deck.  There might be other options, but I think some people will be trying this card out for a spin.

 

Curator of Mysteries

Curator of Mysteries

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Speaking of finishers for control decks, here’s a better option.  And this works great in control decks that use cycling cards to their fullest.  This will see some play.

 

Decision Paralysis

Decision Paralysis

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card has a good home in limited play, but it doesn’t work as well in constructed play.  I do not see this being played in Standard.

 

Drake Haven

Drake Haven

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I look forward to seeing all of the sweet red/blue madness/cycling decks built around this card.  That’s like getting value on top of value.

 

Essence Scatter

Essence Scatter

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Blue has gotten a lot of counter cards, and here’s another.  This is a good card, even though it has it’s limitations.  It happens that Standard is filled with creatures, so this will likely see some play in a control deck.

 

Floodwaters

Floodwaters

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s another card that’s better suited for limited than for Standard.  The fact that this costs 6 mana means it won’t see any play (even with having cycling).

 

Galestrike

Galestrike

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card works nicely to get rid of a creature that is tapped due to an exert ability or any creature your opponent has that you can’t block (or don’t want to).  Plus it draws you a card.  This should see play in plenty of decks.

 

Glyph Keeper

Glyph Keeper  

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A large flyer that has an ability to help it remain in play is great.  The fact that you can play it again once it does die (thanks to embalm) makes this amazing.

 

Hekma Sentinels

Hekma Sentinels

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A mediocre ability on a creature with mediocre makes this a mediocre card.  Nothing to see here.  Move on.

 

Hieroglyphic Illumination

Hieroglyphic Illumination

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A slightly more expensive Divination with cycling isn’t great, but I could see it being played in lots of decks (’cause who doesn’t like to draw cards, right?).

 

Illusory Wrappings

Illusory Wrappings

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  If this had flash, this card might see some play.  As it is, this is a good sideboard card to board in if your opponent has a creature that is too large for you to handle easily.

 

Kefnet the Mindful

Kefnet the Mindful

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Now this is a finisher for a control deck, as long as you have a way to draw extra cards.  The activated ability on this card helps towards that goal, but you’ll likely need something else to assist.  However, if you do ever manage to get 7 or more cards in your hand, winning the game with this card should be relatively easy.

 

Labyrinth Guardian

Labyrinth Guardian  

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I hold no hope for this card to see play in Standard.  Any spell, whether it’s helpful or hindering, that targets it will send this to the graveyard.  That’s not something that most people will want to play with.

 

Lay Claim

Lay Claim

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Yes, this card is expensive to cast, but if you manage to control of take your opponent’s best creature, you can turn the tide of a game.  And, it doesn’t just hit creatures, it works on all permanents.  It’s a great card, but the casting cost will limit the amount of play it sees.

 

Naga Oracle

Naga Oracle

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a good card in a Sultai delirium deck, but there aren’t many other decks that will want this.

 

New Perspectives

New Perspectives

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  People will try to play this card in the hopes of breaking it, but once that fails, this card will not see play after that.  I think it will prove to be too difficult to keep 7 cards in your hand in order to utilize the reduced cost for cycling.

 

Open into Wonder

Open into Wonder

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I like this card a lot as a finisher for blue decks.  But it’s also good to play earlier as well, due to the fact that it draws you cards in addition to helping damage go through.  Nice card.

 

Pull from Tomorrow

Pull from Tomorrow

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While this card is okay when less mana is used to cast it, I think the sweet spot for this is at 7 mana.  I know a lot of people are comparing this to Sphinx’s Revalation, but it’s not nearly as good in my opinion.  It’s still really good, but it’s not even in the same ballpark.

 

River Serpent

River Serpent

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  At 6 mana, by the time you can cast this, you’re likely to have the necessary 5 cards in your graveyard to allow this to attack.  If you don’t, you’re probably fairly close, so casting this to be a blocker only isn’t bad.  And having cycling means that any copies cycled earlier in the game help later copies be able to attack.

 

Sacred Excavation

Sacred Excavation

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Cycling a card away to get a more useful card at the time will happen often.  Being able to get back a card you didn’t need earlier but do now is a very nice ability.  Or for those decks that are built around cycling cards, being able to cycle the same cards multiple cards would be very helpful.  This card should see some amount of play.

 

Scribe of the Mindful

Scribe of the Mindful

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I think this card has a nice home in control decks or red/blue decks.  This card can then either be sacrificed on your turn in order to gain an advantage, or after blocking in order to prevent damage while getting a card back.

 

Seeker of Insight

Seeker of Insight

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I don’t see this seeing much play, but if it does it will be in a red/blue deck that plays few creatures and lots of noncreature spells.  It’s very limiting.

 

Shimmerscale Drake

Shimmerscale Drake

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is pretty pricey for the stats you get, but since it does have flying and cycling, this card might see a little play.

 

Slither Blade

Slither Blade

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Unblockable isn’t nearly as good as hexproof, but I’m sure people will try this card out.  If you manage to pile on a few auras or equipment onto this card, you could end the game quickly if your opponent doesn’t have a way to destroy it.

 

Tah-Crop Skirmisher

Tah-Crop Skirmisher  

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This creature suffers from low stats compared to its mana cost.  The only saving grace is the embalm ability to provide you with another chump blocker later in the game once you’ve used all of the options from your hand.

 

Trial of Knowledge

Trial of Knowledge

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Drawing cards is always good, and the rate of return for this card is on par with most other Standard legal cards.  The fact that this can be played repeatedly (with the help of cartouches) makes this card just a little more playable than it otherwise would be.

 

Vizier of Many Faces

Vizier of Many Faces  

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The clone ability this card has is good and can be an equalizer when your opponent has a big nasty beast you can’t deal with.  The best part is that this has embalm, so it can be used an additional time.

 

Vizier of Tumbling Sands

Vizier of Tumbling Sands

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I see this card being played alongside other cards with exert as a way to gain an un

 

Winds of Rebuke

Winds of Rebuke

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Being able to return a card that has an important enter the battlefield effect to your hand to be played again can be very powerful.  More rarely, you’ll cast this on something of your opponent’s in order to get it off the battlefield for at least a turn.  I can see this getting some play.

 

Zenith Seeker

Zenith Seeker

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card fits well in a deck built around cycling or madness.  But that’s about the only place this card fits.  It’s a very niche card.

 

Commit /// Memory

Commit /// Memory

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The Commit side of this card isn’t very good, in my opinion.  All you’re doing is delaying the inevitable.  I’m also not a fan of the Memory side, as I hate giving my opponent a full hand of cards to use against me.  However I am happy to see some graveyard ‘hate’ from this set.

 

And that’s my thoughts on the Blue cards in Amonkhet.  Let me know how well I evaluated these cards by letting me know your opinion in the comments section below.  Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing the Black cards.  I hope you come back to see my thoughts and to let me know yours.  See you then!

Mike Likes

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Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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