The Mirrodin Block Limited Review – Fifth Dawn White and Blue

Today means we finally get into Fifth Dawn. When the set first came out, I was tasked with writing about the two colors I am writing about today. You will no doubt notice some difference in my card valuations as I have many more draft matches under my belt. I will say one thing. I am still not sure it is the best deck, but Blue/White is again one of the best decks in the format with all three sets released.

The time has come. Finally we get to part 7 of 9. It is always nice to see Jeri Ryan*. It also means we finally get into Fifth Dawn. When the set first came out, I was tasked with writing about the two colors I am writing about today. You will no doubt notice some difference in my card valuations as I have many more draft matches under my belt. I will say one thing. I am still not sure it is the best deck, but Blue/White is again one of the best decks in the format with all three sets released.


White, while deep, doesn’t improve all that much with the introduction of Fifth Dawn. It isn’t that the cards aren’t good, it is just that the most powerful cards in the set are in other colors.

Group 1:

Auriok Salvagers

More often than not, this card will be an absolute bomb. There are so many cards to use it with (both early and late picks) that odds are you will want to first-pick this card. To top it all off, a 2/4 for four is nothing to sneeze at in this format.

Loxodon Anchorite

The game goes downhill fast the turn after this card is cast. It is really hard for any deck to deal with this card. Black is the best at it, and it is still no easy task. For a little while I thought this card wasn’t quite as good, but after a few more games with him in play on both sides, I learned my lesson.

Skyhunter Skirmisher

It strikes me as ironic that the best creatures to attach equipment to often aren’t the ones that get bonuses from equipment. This card is strictly better than a 2/1 flier and gets pretty insane with Equipment like Mask of Memory or Specter’s Shroud.

Healer’s Headdress

Could this be the new Leonin Bola or Viridian Longbow? I thought it was initially, but the last several instances in which I saw this card played it didn’t impress me. I think it is one of those cards that is tough to deal with until you get used to it. This is a great card, but not nearly as game-breaking as I once thought.

Auriok Windwalker

A 2/3 flier for four would be fine on its own in this format, but the ability on this card is very powerful as well. Not only does it get you around equipping costs, but it also does it at instant speed.

Skyhunter Prowler

This card didn’t look like much on paper. Consider how bad Yotian Soldier is. This card, however, does the double duty of the Soldier, at essentially the same cost, and does it more effectively.


This card looks great, but it is only good. There are times when you will be able to decimate your opponent, but at other times this card won’t get the job done. It is still worthy of being picked early, but don’t take it over the cards I listed above.

Group 2:

Leonin Squire

I got 99 problems but a bear ain’t one. The White deck usually has plenty of two-drops by this point. This guy is fine, but not nearly as necessary as he looks. Normally he will be cast before he can do anything too broken. He is first in group 2, but he is definitely in group 2.

Auriok Champion

If you are one of those that can remember to gain the life every time, this is a fine card. No need to pick it too early, but if you see it later on go ahead and snag it.

Stand Firm

If you aren’t Green, you will often want at least one copy of this card in your deck. Scry is a powerful mechanic, and the combat trick is definitely useful.

Stasis Cocoon

I am not as impressed with this card as some. It is a fine card, but keep in mind it is only slightly better than Inertia Bubble. Maybe slightly is an understatement, but the cards do remind me of each other. The added benefit of removing a blocker or stopping the first attack of an artifact creature is certainly relevant.

Loxodon Stalwart

Here we have something this block does not lack, a 3/3 for five. That being said this is one of the, if not the best 3/3 for five available in White. The White decks want to be very aggressive, so you can’t have too many of these guys. I am not sure which is better, this or the Loxodon Mystic. My gut tells me Mystic, but I am really unsure.

Steelshaper’s Gift

I put this card in group 2 only because when it is good, it is great. Actually group 2 may have been the worst place for this card as it is actually either a Group 1 card or a Group 4 card.

Group 3:

Circle of Protection: Artifacts

This card can be summed up in the exact word I expected it to be summed up in when I first saw the spoiler:”meh.” The best place for this card is in your sideboard. Only bring it is when you think it will add some real value. Keeping the kind of mana up required to really fuel this thing can be rough.

Raksha Golden Cub

Yet another in a long line of overcosted seven-drops. This seven-drop needs to have an equipment on the board and available to even warrant its cost. And even if all that is true, your standard White deck is doing its thing in the early game. Some people praise this; I pass it like a Tangleroot.

Beacon of Immortality

You need to cast this for the first time on turn 5 and hope you aren’t so far behind that it doesn’t help. I’d leave this card in my sideboard most of the time.


Only conventional wisdom has me putting this card here. My gut tells me that this card is better than it would have been in past sets. I have noticed a lot more blocking in this block. I want to try this card more, but until I do, here it sits.

Bringer of the White Dawn

On the Green list, this would be in Group 1. White is the worst at being 5-color. This card also has the least powerful ability of all the Bringers, plus nine mana for this guy just won’t fly, particularly in a White deck.

Group 4:

Abunas’ Chant

This card costs one mana too much. It doesn’t have a four-mana effect on the game, and as such should not be costed at four.

Armed Response

I am not going to dignify this card with a write up.

Roar of Reclamation

This is an overcosted constructed card. It requires a lot of set-up and support to be useful and you won’t find that in a draft deck. Oh yeah, it costs seven.


I was very wrong about Blue in my previous article. This color is awesome. There are a great many number of stinkers here, but the top cards are great.

Group 1:

Vedalken Shackles

This card will have a greater effect on the game than any other Artifact in the block (even though it is Blue). Blue decks often find themselves as the 5-color deck, but you will always have enough Islands to make this powerful, just ask Brian Kibler.


This guy looked good on paper, but let me tell you, when you get him in play, he is way better than that. This card is better than Broodstar was except in the most extreme of cases. What more could you want from a flier than 5/4? At his worst he usually costs six to cast, which is still a bargain.

Trinket Mage

This guy is awesome with almost any targets, but there are certain targets that make him broken. If you have Leonin Bola, Viridian Longbow, or necessary artifact lands, this card is a house…

Thought Courier

If you don’t have those cards mentioned above, you can pick this card. This card makes mana flood tolerable, and in a format where mana flood hurts you much more than mana screw, this is a blessing.

Vedalken Mastermind

I obviously did back flips when I saw this card. I thought this card was better than Crystal Shard. This fact is this card is pretty fragile, and can be locked down with a Leonin Bola. It is still awesome, but not the amazing bomb I once thought it was.

Serum Visions

This card is innocuous, but very good. Not much to say about this card, as there isn’t anything tricky about it, but try and remember that it is a Sorcery.

Advanced Hoverguard

Glimmering Angel was one of my favorite creatures in Invasion Block. It is good to have it back. This card is a lot better than it looks. In matchups that are won in the air, this is a tough guy to deal with.

Group 2:


This is the first card in this tiniest of groups. I know most of my fellow magicians rate this card much higher, but I am just not a fan. Rare is the time that I am not using each and every mana available to me on my turn. If I am that mana flooded it is going to take more than a Condescend to help me. I like this card in 5-color Green as I often have a lot of leftover mana, but in other decks I often leave this in the sideboard. Charlie Gindy tried to compare this card to Syncopate, but that format, particularly in Blue decks, lent itself to having mana up on your opponents’ turns.


I knew people who were slamming this card as a first pick. Well I have a news flash for you, Walter Cronkite – it is not that good. What it is, is a fantastic sideboard card. Bring it in against any bomb artifacts, but as I have said before, most of the bombs are colored.

Group 3:

Fold into Aether

Not your best answer to a bomb, but sometimes you gotta take counterspells where you can get them. Generally the stuff you want to counter comes out so late that the drawback on this card isn’t too punishing.

Hoverguard Sweepers

I like this card best in the 5-color deck. Those are the decks where you have the kind of mana required to cast this card. Don’t forget two key elements of this one though: You don’t have to bounce a creature, and one of the creatures can be itself.

Bringer of the Blue Dawn

Yet another card that would be in group 1 of a 5-color listing, but falls short on the Blue listing.

Disruption Aura

This card is another good sideboard card. It is very powerful against Affinity cards, and you can also bring it in against the higher end artifact cards.

Into Thin Air

If you have no other bounce, you can play this card, but it is nothing great. You do generally need bounce though, so take it where you can get it.

Plasma Elemental

While this card is often necessary in a 5-color deck as a way to punch through, I’d generally avoid it in most Blue decks.

Group 4:

Eyes of the Watcher

I can’t imagine a deck that would benefit enough from this lost of card advantage and tempo.

Spectral Shift

This is the wrong block for this card. It is sort of interesting. I have this feeling that it will be a good sideboard card in Type Two when Champions of Kamigawa becomes legal.

Artificer’s Intuition

The problem with the Blue cards at this end of the spectrum is they are all geared towards Constructed. You can’t realistically draft a deck where this card will be worth picking.

Beacon of Tomorrows

Maybe if the extra turn guaranteed you the win, or if you could somehow get it so there are no cards in your library. Oh wait, another Constructed card. [Or if you have Panoptic Mirror… – Knut, still smarting from Turian beatings in Seattle]

Neurok Stealthsuit

Well, at least it isn’t a Constructed card…

Early Frost

Is this even a Constructed card?

Blinkmoth Infusion

I’ll quote Jordan Berkowitz.”I just opened a card that costs fourteen!”

The twilight of this series is drawing near. I’ll tell you this is as valuable an exercise for me as it is for all of you. I am not only learning a lot about the format, but a lot about writing articles like this. I hope you are all getting as much out of this as I am.


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*If you got this joke, there are people that can help.