[Flashback to a previous time…]
“You’re kind of a blue mage, right?”
Definitely, I think that’s fair to say.
“What would you say are your favorite things to do in Magic?”
Well, first and foremost, Brainstorming. The only thing I enjoy more than drawing cards is Brainstorming.
[Jots notes frantically] “Interesting. Interesting. Go on.”
And options. I love options.
“Sure. That makes sense.”
And bouncing things. I love bouncing things.
“What about countering spells?”
Yeah, but it’s more than just that. I love just being able to say no to my opponent.
“Thanks. One last question. How do you like closing out games? What would be the most pure form of victory?”
I guess it would be if I didn’t have to play any dedicated win conditions, and just establish complete control over the game and then ran my opponent out of cards.
“Awesome. This has been very helpful.”
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that my preview card today is the best planeswalker of all time. Long before he was Vryn’s Prodigy (in a sort of non-linear-time kind of way), Jace was the first planeswalker with four abilities and was engineered to be the perfect blue card.
If the only thing Jace could do is Brainstorm, he would be too good. Brainstorming is worth quite a bit more than drawing a card. Hell, it’s almost worth two cards.
On top of this ability, he’s got the ability to gain loyalty quickly while locking opponents out or digging for answers, not to mention a bounce ability that is tactically amazing (since sometimes just coming down and bouncing their biggest threat is pretty close to a Time Walk).
Finally, as if all of this wasn’t enough, Jace has one of the most unbeatable ultimates in the game.
My love affair with Jace, the Mind Sculptor began at the first Pro Tour he was legal at, Pro Tour San Diego. I had the true pleasure of playing one of my favorite decks of all time. After a long drought, Jace, the Mind Sculptor sparked the return of control as a viable strategy:
By the following Pro Tour, Jace was finally getting some of the props he deserved (as in “was widely considered the best card,” but he deserves more than that). Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa conquered Block (the most skill-testing of all formats, with Block Pro Tour champions generally being widely considered to be the best and most handsome of all Pro Tour champions).
Of course, it wasn’t just low-powered formats that Jace dominated. Tom Martell won Grand Prix Indianapolis 2012 with the following Jace-fueled Esper Stoneblade list:
Of course, this isn’t to say that Jace didn’t dominate Standard. Because he did.
Josh Utter-Leyton won the US National Championship, back before he had five Pro Tour Top 8s (and back when there was a US National Championship), with Jace, the Mind Sculptor in his Bant-Conscription deck:
Of course, my favorite Jace weekend was Pro Tour Paris, where I finished in the top 8 with Grixis Tezzeret.
That deck was an absolute blast, but was overshadowed by the eventual title-winning deck that would go on to be one of the most dominant decks in Magic history: Caw-Blade.
This is the deck that eventually led to Jace, the Mind Sculptor (and Stoneforge Mystic) being banned in Standard, which is the only time since the Affinity days of Magic, 13 years ago, that anything has ever been banned from Standard.
While Jace, the Mind Sculptor has never won a Modern tournament, that’s only because he has never been legal. He’s just too strong.