The Mirrodin Block Limited Review – Darksteel White and Blue

Now we take our first step into the realm of Darksteel. Let’s delve right into White, shall we?

I am gonna level with you folks, I am pleased as punch that that last article is done. That was the one I was dreading the most when I decided to do this series. Even with the cop out of not discussing the group 4 artifacts, it was still a daunting article to write. So daunting in fact I forgot one of the better group 2 Artifacts, Oblivion Stone. This card, while very powerful, is a heavy investment to become broken. Even as just a reset button, it costs a lot and often won’t do the job in time, or will get destroyed before you can use it. I also had a nasty typo that costs Mind’s Eye at four. My bad.

Now we take our first step into the realm of Darksteel. I am not an avid follower of the storyline, but near as I can figure, Darksteel is the Adamantium of the Mirrodin Plane. That is why indestructible cards first appeared here. Can’t bust ’em. We’ll get to that later though. Let’s delve right into White, shall we?


Group 1:

Pristine Angel

Might as well start with the best card in the set. That’s right, not Skullclamp, not Fireball, not Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]… I think Pristine Angel is the best card there is. You opponent almost can’t afford to try and deal with him. The risk of your having an instant is too great. This card is essentially a 4/4 flier that can’t be killed and stops your opponent from attacking. Great card.

Test of Faith

This card is incredibly powerful. It is a game ending combat trick that costs two mana. It can make your Spikeshot Goblin into a nearly unstoppable force. Defensive reactive cards don’t normally excite me, but this one, after it does its job, turns whatever it was used on into an offensive powerhouse.


Spot removal is always good, even when it is specific, as long as the specific group(s) is/are big enough. In the artifact set the groups are big enough. This card is truly a first pick.

Leonin Battlemage

Quietly an amazing card. He really doesn’t look like all that much, but he can swing a game alone. Initially people didn’t realize how weak the creatures in the format were and hence underestimated them individually. When all the creatures in a format are weak, +1/+1 becomes a lot more powerful.

Razor Golem

The best of his breed. Some would have you believe Tangle Golem is better, but I’m not buyin’ it. People constantly underestimate”Does Not Tap to Attack.” It is one of the most powerful abilities in Limited. It is a form of implied card advantage, since it gives you both an attack and blocker, and when it is on a creature of this size with that low cost, you have a true bomb on your hands. These cards as a whole have gotten worse with the introduction of the five-color strategy. However, with White being the best color in the block, you can still draft a deck that is very heavy on White cards (and thus Plains), making Razor a great man.

Stir the Pride

While not quite as absurd as I initially thought, this card is still very powerful. If you attack with enough creatures it can act a lot like Overrun, not necessarily ending the game immediately, but putting it out of reach for your opponent.

Pulse of the Fields

You know what I really like? Not losing. Not losing is very underrated. People often talk about not losing like it is a bad way to play Magic.”That card doesn’t help you win, it just helps you not lose.” Well guess what you are doing when you’re not losing… It is nearly impossible to lose a game once you get this card going. It is even harder to defend against in Limited, since the decks that play Pulse aren’t strictly defensive. You can’t just start mana burning at the first sign of Pulse and hope to stay in the game.

Group 2:

Emissary of Hope

Not nearly as good as his Black counterpart, this card is still good. He is very helpful in races, but he gives your opponent many more turns to draw an answer. That being said, I don’t know of many bad three-mana, two-power fliers, and this is no exception.

Leonin Shikari

Most of the time this guy is a bear, and bears are quite good in this format. His ability certainly makes Equipment better, there is no doubt about that. Does he make Equipment good enough? Probably, but he is only one man (cat?). He is no longer the best bear in White, but he’s good enough to be picked fairly high.

Loxodon Mystic

I absolutely positively love cards like this. I think they are among the best skill-oriented cards in the game – cards that are good at attacking and blocking, but also have a defensive ability that requires tapping. This is one of the best 3/3 for fives available in this set. Pick this guy pretty high.

Pteron Ghost

I really like 1/1 fliers for two, particularly in White. These cards do a lot in a format with Equipment and they are among the best attackers in the game. I shutter to think what would happen if they reprinted Suntail Hawk in this set!

Group 3:

Auriok Glaivemaster

I also happen to like 1/1’s for one. This one, while not thrilling, is still good. If you’ve drafted yourself into the Equipment debacle, he is even better.


One of the finest sideboard cards in the set. People tend to look out for this card more now than they did in the past, but often it doesn’t matter. This card just turns the game around in an instant.

Steelshaper Apprentice

At first glance, this guy looks unimpressive. On second glance he is still unimpressive, but there is more to him than meets the eye. This card is a formidable blocker with the ability to survive any combat in which he is a defender. At times this even means card advantage. If your opponent misses this trick, it can be a two for none. If you have a really powerful piece of Equipment in your deck, this guy becomes a real powerhouse.

Turn the Tables

I got some pressure from Paul Reitzl and Brian Kibler to put this card in group 4. I was on the fence, but I have to go with my gut and leave it here. While this is far from my style of card, it is the one true Fog in this format. Aaron van der Beek pointed out that it is a White answer to things it often doesn’t have an answer for. Can I explain why I like this card more than Soul Nova? No, but my experience with it lands it low in group 3, but still in group 3.

Group 4:

Echoing Calm

When you are really lucky, this is a marginal sideboard card. There aren’t enough threatening Enchantments out there.

Metal Fatigue

Your largest threats usually come in the form of colored creatures. This card won’t get the job done under normal circumstances.

Ritual of Restoration

I can’t fathom having enough good artifacts or synergistic artifacts to make this card worth playing, particularly in a White deck.


You know my feelings on the number seven. Try to envision my feelings when that number is preceded by three White mana symbols.

Angel’s Feather

I cannot tell a lie, I once played this card. We were playing with Vanguard cards and I had Karn. If you don’t believe this story, you aren’t in touch enough with my group of friends.


Blue is one of the more powerful colors in Darksteel. This makes the cutting off of Blue in the first pack particularly important. My favorite part of Blue in Darksteel is that you get to customize your draft to your deck. Have a lot of large artifacts and looking to get some Sunburst cards? Grab that Engineer. Short on evasion? Take the Spire Golems and Neurok Prodigies. Drafting a dedicated Affinity deck? Go ahead and first pick that Quicksilver Behemoth.

Group 1:


Another seven-mana spell. This guy, however, deserves his place at the top of the list. The fact that he is Blue based makes him even better with the prospect of Engineers in coming packs. This card can dominate games.

Spire Golem

Blue is perhaps the second most likely color to be 5-colors after Green. That being said, most 5-color Blue decks will have enough Islands to run this card. Even at four mana, this guy is incredible.

Vedalken Engineer

This card was tailor made for Sunburst. Before Fifth Dawn, I valued this card third in the Blue commons, now he is right up there potentially at number one.

Chromescale Drake

This card is maligned in my playing circles, but I still love him. This is most likely due to the fact that I am the most loyal Affinity drafter in our little group. This card, besides being a great creature, is one of the better ways in the format to generate card advantage.

Hoverguard Observer

As synergistic as this format is, I really love a card that can stand on its own. This is about the best deal you will come across in this format. Fliers are great and big ones are even better. Big, cheap, flier. I’m in!

Quicksilver Behemoth

The second most underrated card in the set after Leonin Bola. This card is extremely close to Myr Enforcer. In fact, late in the game, he is better. This card consistently goes late due to people underestimating his strength, but it’s is fantastic. In a dedicated Affinity deck, he is the best Blue common.

Psychic Overload

Well Blue gets a removal card. It is so difficult for a player to dig himself out from under this card. It deals with every targetable card in the set that doesn’t have protection from Blue, what more could you ask for?

Group 2:

Neurok Prodigy

Two-power, three-mana fliers haven’t gotten any worse since I reviewed White, and they won’t anytime soon. This card has the added bonus of being tough to kill. Pick this guy pretty early.

Pulse of the Grid

Blue is the best at card advantage, but that isn’t saying much. This is a high quality card that can generate a significant advantage late in the game. That being said, in the early game three mana is a lot to pay. The reason this card is so much better than Serum Tank is that you get a card off the first three mana you spend.

Wand of the Elements

There are two echoing cards that absolutely destroy this card. Aside from that, this can be a powerful weapon. If you are drafting 5-color Blue, it loses a lot of steam.

Neurok Transmuter

This creature is extremely versatile, saving your colored creatures from Terror and your Artifact creatures from Artifact kill. Sometimes you can catch a player with his pants down if he is attacking you with a Spy.

Group 3:


They should have named this card The Bomb Squad. From a flavor standpoint, that is what this card relates to in real world terms. This is the card you call in when you need to deal with a bomb and you have no other way of doing it.

Carry Away

This does much the same, but you bring it in when the bomb in question is an Equipment. There is also the handy feature of giving you card advantage rather than giving it to your opponent. Many say this card is main deck worthy, but I am not convinced.

Echoing Truth

This is a solid card you shouldn’t be embarrassed about playing main deck, but don’t make a habit out of it. This is a decent tempo swing in this format that has the potential to be a huge tempo swing, or even generate card advantage in extremely rare circumstances.

Last Word

Vex’s big brother. I believe this card should make the cut fairly often. Hard counters have always been underrated in Limited, and this card is no exception. The downside is four mana is a lot to keep open on your opponent’s turn.

Group 4:


This card is no Impulse. I can’t fathom playing this card, your mana is far more precious than card selection.

Magnetic Flux

I don’t know about you but when I am Blue, all my guys already fly.


You sooooooooo want to be Tinker, don’t you? Well Fabricate is (at best) barely playable, and this card is worse.


I heard there was some sort of Constructed deck with this. Rare draft it if it pleases you.

Second Sight

I don’t know why but I have always had an urge to try this card. I imagine this set will be long gone before that urge is ever realized.

Synod Artificer

If you have issues with an Icy Manipulator or a Crystal Shard, you can side this card in, but usually it will stay in the board.

Kraken’s Eye

As if the new lucky charms weren’t bad enough, my Blue decks are usually nearly half artifacts.

Just under halfway done with this series. I hope by the end of it you will all be lean, mean MD5 drafting machines!


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