Rivals of Ixalan Review – Blue Cards

raise-your-standards

Hi everyone. Welcome to the second article in my series of reviews of the cards in the upcoming Rivals of Ixalan 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…

 

Admiral’s Order

Admiral’s Order

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Oh, look.  A Cancel with an extremely limited way to get a break on its mana cost.  This is really only useful if you plan on countering a combat trick your opponent plays after you declare attackers, or for countering their card drawing or filtering spell they play at the end of your turn.  I don’t expect this to be played in Standard.

 

Aquatic Incursion

Aquatic Incursion

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts: I like this card a lot.  Not only does it come with two difficult to deal with Merfolk tokens, but it also provides you with a way to make any of your Merfolk unblockable.  I think that’s one key way that the Merfolk tribe gains an advantage, so I expect this will be in many Merfolk tribal decks.

 

Crafty Cutpurse

Crafty Cutpurse

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While I see the benefits of playing this card, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where you’re able to capitalize on this ability.  Best case scenario is that you’ll be able to steal 3 Vampire tokens away from your opponent.  But it’s just so situational that this card is best as a sideboard card for when you know your opponent is playing a dedicated tokens deck.

 

Crashing Tide

Crashing Tide

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  For a Merfolk tribal deck, this card could grant you the tempo advantage needed to lock up the game.  But it is very situational and the 3 mana cost is not trivial, so I’m doubtful this will see much play.

 

Curious Obsession

Curious Obsession

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  In conjunction with Aquatic Incursion, this is a veritable card-draw engine.  In fact, it works well on any creature that you can make unblockable.  Auras are sometimes a risky proposition, but with this only costing 1 mana, I think this one is a risk that’s worth taking.

 

Deadeye Rig-Hauler

Deadeye Rig-Hauler

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Maybe there’s some kind of scenario where you cast this, triggering raid, and return one of your own creatures to your hand so you can recast it and benefit from it’s enter-the-battlefield effect?  But even if there is, I’m not convinced it’s worth the mana investment you need to make with that hypothetical card and this one.

 

Expel from Orazca

Expel from Orazca

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While this card is better if you have the City’s Blessing, it’s still good without it.  Being able to get rid of a pesky enchantment or abnormally large creature (thanks to +1/+1 counters on it), even if only temporarily, could be all you need to gain control of the game.

 

Flood of Recollection

Flood of Recollection

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While I think this might be better in other formats (like Modern), I still think this is quite good in Standard.  While the cost is a bit prohibitive, the effect of being able to play a much needed spell for a second time is worth it.  I think this card will see quite a bit of play in Standard.

 

Hornswoggle

Hornswoggle

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The only reason to play this instead of Essence Scatter is for the Treasure token it produces.  That could be useful in a ramp strategy or if you’re trying to get the City’s Blessing.  If you’re not looking for either of those things, stick with Essence Scatter.

 

Induced Amnesia

Induced Amnesia

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While I feel that this card will target the player playing it more often than not, I could see it played alongside Expel from Orazca as a way to permanently exile some troublesome cards that you know are in your opponent’s hand.

 

Kitesail Corsair

Kitesail Corsair

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  My initial thought was that this might see play in a Favorable Winds deck.  But then I realized that the +1/+1 bonus that card grants is entirely lost if you’re not attacking, so I think that a creature that always has flying would be preferred over this one.  This will probably only see play in Limited.

 

Kumena’s Awakening

Kumena’s Awakening

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Assuming that the City’s Blessing is fairly easy to obtain, this card becomes a one-person Howling Mine.  But even without that benefit, allowing your opponent to draw a card isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Especially since you’re in blue and have access to counter spells.

 

Mist-Cloaked Herald

Mist-Cloaked Herald

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The Merfolk tribe was a fairly aggressive deck in Standard with just Ixalan cards.  This gives the tribe a 1-drop that needs to be answered quickly, otherwise other Merfolk will add +1/+1 counters to it and the game could be over quickly.  I’d expect to see this card in the more aggressive of the Merfolk tribal decks.

 

Negate

Negate

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  As it has proven time and time again, this is a great card from the sideboard to use against decks that play a lot of non-creature spells.  I don’t see that changing any time soon.

 

Nezahal, Primal Tide

Nezahal, Primal Tide

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  So, it looks like the Blue control decks just got a great finisher.  The fact that this card is just so hard to get rid of reminds me a lot of Pearl Lake Ancient.  Just beware that if control decks become the best choice to play and each player is using this card as their finisher, stalemates could happen since this creatures’ power is equal to it’s toughness.

 

Release to the Wind

Release to the Wind

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I’m gonna admit this is a weird card and I find it hard to evaluate.  The way I see it, you’ll want to use this card to exile a non-land permanent of your own in the event that your opponent plays some sort of removal spell.  Or I suppose you could always use this to clear out the best blocker your opponent has in order to deliver an alpha strike (that way they won’t have a chance to play it for free, since they won’t have a next turn).  It’s definitely an interesting design, and I think I like it.

 

River Darter

River Darter

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The only way I would consider playing this is if I know my opponent is playing a Dinosaur tribal deck.  But there’s no way to know that prior to game one and I wouldn’t want to waste a sideboard slot for this either.  That means I don’t see this being played in Standard.

 

Riverwise Augur

Riverwise Augur

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I see this as a deck filtering card, allowing you to get the best 1 card (at minimum) from the top 3 of your deck, with a chump blocker to boot.  And while I don’t see this creature winning any games on his own, I do see it setting up a win 1-2 turns in the future.

 

Sailor of Means

Sailor of Means

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  It’s another reprinted card from Ixalan.  Since there hasn’t been a blue-based Treasure token deck yet, I’m skeptical that one will pop up.  That means I don’t think this sailor will see much play in Standard.

 

Sea Legs

Sea Legs

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I love the fact that this card has multiple uses depending on the type of creature it enchants.  But just because it has multiple uses doesn’t mean it will see much play.  It is a nice way to slow down some damage on unblockable Merfolk though.

 

Seafloor Oracle

Seafloor Oracle

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s a great payoff for those cards that make your Merfolk unblockable.  Keep in mind that the card drawing is not a ‘may’ ability, so if your library is small you might want to attack unfavorably with this just to get it off the battlefield in order to not deck yourself.  I’d expect to see this Merfolk swimming on lots of battlefields.

 

Secrets of the Golden City

Secrets of the Golden City

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  For some reason, blue decks like to draw cards.  This card is good if you don’t have the City’s Blessing, and great if you do, so I expect this to find a home in Standard.

 

Silvergill Adept

Silvergill Adept

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card will be a solid player in your tribal Merfolk deck  (I’d rank it a 3.0 there).  In other decks, paying 5 mana for a 2/1 and drawing a card is going to be too much to pay.

 

Siren Reaver

Siren Reaver

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  My rating for this card is definately influenced by assuming that Raid has been triggered (which usually isn’t that hard to do).  Getting a 3/2 flyer for 3 mana is pretty good, but currently in Standard the only 3/2 flyer seeing play is Bone Picker.  I’m doubtful that will change.

 

Slippery Scoundrel

Slippery Scoundrel

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This guy is pretty good if you have the City’s Blessing.  Without it though, he’s pretty lackluster.  This is a creature you want to see on turn 10, not turn 3, but even on turn 10 he’s still just a 2/2.

 

Soul of the Rapids

Soul of the Rapids

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  For 5 mana, I’m hoping for more than just a 3/2.  And while the flying and hexproof are great, this card has no tribal synergies with any of the supported tribes in Standard, so the only place this might see play is alongside Favorable Winds.  It’s pretty unlikely that will happen, but there’s a small chance.

 

Spire Winder

Spire Winder

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Spire Winder suffers the same curse that Soul of the Rapids does.  However, it doesn’t have hexproof, which negatively affects it’s chances of being played in Standard.

 

Sworn Guardian

Sworn Guardian

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  2 mana for a 1/3 isn’t the best rate of return, but it’s okay.  Combine this with cards that pump up your Merfolk’s stats and you have a creature that could see a little play, but probably not much.

 

Timestream Navigator

Timestream Navigator

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I’m certain that people will try to brew around this card, but I think it will prove too difficult to succeed with.  Not only do you need to have the City’s Blessing, but you need to survive for a turn so you can use it’s tap ability.  And having a 1 toughness makes this pretty easy to pick off.  This looks better suited for other formats (like Modern).

 

Warkite Marauder

Warkite Marauder

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I’m not sure I understand the flavor of this card, but I like the ability it has.  Imagine if your opponent only has a flyer in play and you have this creature.  When you attack, you make yourself unblockable (since your opponent’s creature loses flying).  Now imagine how much worse it is for them if you have any additional non-flying creature.  this seems like a really strong card to me and I think it’ll be played quite a bit in Standard.

 

Waterknot

Waterknot

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Hey everyone, Claustrophobia is back!  This is a good way to remove one of your opponent’s creatures from the battlefield without making it a reanimation target.  I think this could make it’s way into a decent amount of Standard decks.

 

Wrapping Up

Thank you for joining me today for my thoughts on the Blue cards in Rivals of Ixalan.  I’d love to know your thoughts.  Let me know by leaving a comment below, or contact me on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  And be sure to join me tomorrow when I’ll take a look at the Black cards.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes

Comments

Mike Likes

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

Comments are closed.