Hour of Devastation Review – Blue Cards

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Hi everyone.  Today is the second in my series of reviews of the cards in the upcoming Hour of Devastation 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.  This card will see a lot of play in top tier tournament decks or will be the lynchpin of a top tier deck.

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.  This card will be a good support card in a top tier tournament deck.

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.  This card will likely be in a fair number of top tier tournament decks and will generally be interchangeable with other similarly-rated cards.

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”.  This card will only be seen in select decks that are usually trying to play around with a specific ability or in tribal decks.

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.  This card will likely not see any tournament play.

And now, on to the cards…

 

Aerial Guide

Aerial Guide

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card will be quite helpful in Limited, but will see limited play in Standard.

 

Aven Reedstalker

Aven Reedstalker

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I’m happy to see that WotC is back to giving creatures with flash a higher toughness than power, and the flying is nice too.  That all being said, I don’t expect this to see much play.

 

Champion of Wits

Champion of Wits

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Getting 2 cards and a 2/1 creature for 3 mana is nice, but I think the eternalize cost is too high to see much play.  I could see this getting played in a blue control deck as a chump blocker.

 

Countervailing Winds

Countervailing Winds

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a nice counterspell that scales as the game goes on.  The fact that it can be cycled early on (which makes later ones better) means that this should see a decent amount of play in control decks.

 

Cunning Survivor

Cunning Survivor

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  It’s nice that this can’t be blocked when you cycle a card, but the bonus it gets just isn’t impressive.

 

Eternal of Harsh Truths

Eternal of Harsh Truths

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Cards with Afflict are very hard to evaluate.  It feels like this card has a great ability, but costs one mana more than it should in order for it to be usable.  By turn 4, I would expect my opponent to have a creature in play that has a 3 power that will be able to block and kill this card.

 

Fraying Sanity

Fraying Sanity

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  As much as I want this card to see a lot of play, I have a feeling that most people will try to win by dealing damage to instead of milling their opponent.  I know there are some busted combos with this card, but they really rely on the optimal opening hand.

 

Hour of Eternity

Hour of Eternity

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  When you think about this card, it’s hard not to imagine the best case scenario.  However, it’s more likely that you’ll only be able to get 1 or 2 zombies with this which is still good, but not amazing.  I do expect this will get played, but will likely only be a 1-of or 2-of in any deck.

 

Imaginary Threats

Imaginary Threats

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While I like the thought that all of my opponent’s creatures wouldn’t untap on their next turn, I don’t like the thought of them all attacking me.  Maybe someone will use this in a turbo-fog deck, but I doubt it.

 

Jace’s Defeat

Jace’s Defeat

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s another sideboard card that will see some play against blue counter decks.  The limited usefulness of it is what will hold it back from seeing much play.

 

Kefnet’s Last Word

Kefnet’s Last Word

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Even with the drawback of not being able to untap your lands in the next turn, this card can definitely help you stabilize by taking an important card your opponent has played.

 

Nimble Obstructionist

Nimble Obstructionist

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While I expect this card to see a fair amount of play, I would expect to see it cycled more often than played as a creature.

 

Ominous Sphinx

Ominous Sphinx

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A 4/4/ flyer for 5 mana is pretty good, but there’s better options available.  This does have some nice synergy with Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign though for you brewers out there.

 

Proven Combatant

Proven Combatant

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  For me, the draw of a creature with eternalize is getting a chance to play another copy of a card with a nice ability that triggers when it enters the battlefield.  So, for me, there’s nothing appealing with this card.

 

Riddleform

Riddleform

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Getting a 3/3 flying creature every turn by casting noncreature spells is pretty good.  Especially when those spells are removal or burn spells.  Also, the ability to scry each turn is nice to have, so I would expect this to see a good amount of play.

 

Seer of the Last Tomorrow

Seer of the Last Tomorrow

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s another card for a brewer to make a mill deck with.  That’s about the only chance this has of seeing play.

 

Sinuous Striker

Sinuous Striker

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The possibility of having a 7/1 creature means that there’s a chance this could see a little play.  But to get that takes a lot of effort (and mana), so someone might try it but it’s not likely.

 

Spellweaver Eternal

Spellweaver Eternal

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Having prowess on this creature means it’s harder for your opponent to know whether to block or not.  That could be the only reason this card sees any play.

 

Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  As long as Anticipate is in Standard, this card will only see play in decks utilizing delirium.

 

Striped Riverwinder

Striped Riverwinder

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  For 7 mana I could have a Torrential Gearhulk with mana to spare.  This is a great card for Limited play, but won’t be played in Standard.

 

Supreme Will

Supreme Will

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a terrific modal spell card.  I expect to see this played often in Standard.

 

Swarm Intelligence

Swarm Intelligence

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  As cool as it is to copy your spells, costing 7 mana to do it isn’t cool. This card is probably best suited for Commander play where you can ramp to 7 mana in a matter of just a few turns pretty easily.

 

Tragic Lesson

Tragic Lesson

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I think this will see a good amount of play even though it does essentially slow down your mana production for future turns.

 

Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign

Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A 6 mana 4/4/ flyer simply isn’t good enough for Standard.  This card was made for Commander though, which is where it’ll shine.

 

Unquenchable Thirst

Unquenchable Thirst

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While keeping an opponent’s creature tapped is a good ability, cards like this typically don’t see any Standard play.  This should see quite a bit of play in Limited play though..

 

Unsummon

Unsummon

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a good, low-mana costing answer to annoying creatures your opponent plays.  If used most efficiently, it can set your opponent back a turn or two, while they play the same high-cost creature that you just Unsummoned.  Plus, it gets rid of any beneficial counters your opponent may have accumulated on a creature.

 

Vizier of the Anointed

Vizier of the Anointed

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Creatures with embalm haven’t seen much Standard play, and I expect the same to be true for creatures with eternalize.  Therefore, this card won’t see much play either.

 

And that wraps up my review of the Blue cards in Hour of Devastation.  Blue doesn’t look like it’s much better than Whits was.  Tomorrow I’ll go over the Black cards, and we’ll see how they compare.  Let me know your thoughts on my review and whether you agree or disagree with anything by either leaving a comment below or by emailing me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  And be sure to come back tomorrow for my next installment of the Hour of Devastation review.  I’ll 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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