The rumors are true. I am actually writing strategy again. It took an e-mail from my intrepid editor saying”We need you to write again, we are sinking without you. Please help us!” I am paraphrasing, but you get the idea. My reward for coming to the rescue was to do an early review White and Blue for Limited in Fifth Dawn.
There are some inalienable truths in our world. You have to do laundry. Some day, you will die. White/Blue is the best color combination when an entire block is released. No, it’s true. In every block since Mirage Block, the best deck after all three sets are released is W/U. The only possible argument to be made is in IPA when the best deck was W/U/r.
I wish I were as verbose as Geordie or Tim, but frankly, I am not nearly as entertaining as they are. So my intro to the review will be brief. In set after set, I complain that set reviews come out too early to be accurate. People get a hold of the spoiler and think they are going to tell the world what’s what. Well, for the first time, I want to take a stab at it. I am not going to do it in such an arrogant way as to propose a pick order this soon. But I would like to go down in history as the man who solved Blue and White the day after the Prerelease.
Before I get started, I wanted to Our community looks to take a big hit in the near future. One of the game’s legends is moving on to greener pastures. I am not speaking of Mike Turian, though many are. I am speaking of Gary Wise. Gary has been one of the great personalities the game has ever seen, and has become synonymous with the community at large. As an homage to Gary, I will present this review in a similar fashion to his set reviews circa Odyssey Block. Good luck Gary, you will be missed.
Onto the review:
Abunas’ Chant – 3W
Choose one – you gain 5 life; or prevent the next 5 damage to target creature.
The cost of this card is a bit prohibitive. The odds of ever needing to prevent an entire five points of damage seems pretty slim. I wouldn’t spend too much time looking at this card in your pack. A 12th-15th pick.
Armed Response – 2W
Armed Response deals damage to target attacking creature equal to the number of Equipment you control.
As I have often said, Equipment is terrible. Cards that deal an indeterminate amount of damage to attacking creatures are terrible. Put both in one card and I think you know what I think of this card. A 15th pick.
Auriok Champion – WW
Creature – Human Cleric
Protection from Red and from Black.
Whenever another creature comes into play, you may gain 1 life.
“Her will shall banish the shadows. Her might shall punish the lawless. Her beauty shall restore the light.” – Ushanti, leonin seer
Illus. Michael Sutfin
My initial thoughts on this guy were positive. However upon further consideration, I don’t think that a 1/1 for two is really all that special. Her game text is impressive, but she falls short of being very good. 8th-10th pick.
Auriok Salvagers – 3W
Creature – Human Soldier
1W: Return target artifact card with converted mana cost 1 or less from your graveyard to your hand.
“Memnarch or the vedalken salvage most of the large machines, leaving us only scraps. Scraps are enough.”
Illus. Randy Gallegos
Now this guy is impressive. A 2/4 for four with a spectacular ability. There are decks where he is just a 2/4 for four. In these decks, I’d put him around 5th-7th pick. If you have a number of Artifacts that interact well with him he can be picked as high as first. Any spellbomb will do, but particularly Pyrite and Aether make this guy a bomb. Also useful with cards like Welding Jar and recovering a Skullclamp that was destroyed.
Auriok Windwaker – 3W
Creature – Human Wizard
T: Attach target Equipment you control to target creature you control.
Here is another first pick-able card that I would hesitate to call a bomb. I think four mana is about right for a 2/3 flier, and to call his ability useless would be absurd. Not only does it allow you to equip as an instant, it gets you around prohibitive costs. If you don’t have much great Equipment take this guy 3rd-4th. If you do, go ahead and snag him first.
Beacon of Immortality – 5W
Double target player’s life total. Shuffle Beacon of Immortality into its owner’s library.
The cave floods with light. A thousand rays shine forth and meld into one.
Illus. Rob Alexander
I’ll admit it. I hate life gain in Limited. I particularly hate life gain whose casting cost is so conspicuous. This card may be good, but I won’t be the guinea pig. I am going to take a position and say this card is bad. If I am proven wrong, I’ll let you all know. A 12th-15th pick
Bringer of the White Dawn – 7WW
Creature – Bringer
You may pay WUBRG rather than pay Bringer of the White Dawn’s mana cost.
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put target artifact card in your graveyard into play.
Illus. Kev Walker
I include this card here only to clear up some confusion. I know the numbers in the upper right-hand corner indicate this to be a White spell. Make no mistakes about it, this card is Green. This card should only be played in a Green deck capable of producing the alternate casting cost. In such a deck, I’d put this card anywhere from first to seventh depending on just how easily you can come up with the mana. In a typical White deck, I wouldn’t take thing before ninth or tenth.
Circle of Protection: Artifacts – 1W
2: The next time an artifact source of your choice would deal damage to you this turn, prevent that damage.
I think we all saw this coming. This card is quite good, though there will be deck it is near useless against. Cards like this don’t thrill me and I can imagine decks, particularly White ones, which are so smooth that this card will start in the sideboard.
Leonin Squire – 1W
Creature – Cat Soldier
When Leonin Squire comes into play, return an artifact card with converted mana cost 1 or less from your graveyard to your hand.
White is extremely powerful in this set. The fact that this guy is merely the third or fourth best White common speaks volumes to its power. I wouldn’t feel bad about first picking this card, but with the power of White, odds are there will be better ones. A 2nd-4th pick.
Loxodon Anchorite – 2WW
Creature – Elephant Cleric
T: Prevent the next two damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.
Speaking of White being extremely powerful, I bring you the number one White common. I know many of you are too new to the game to remember Sanctum Custodian, but that guy was a first pick. The Anchorite would have eclipsed the Custodian in Urza’s Block, but he is even more powerful here. A clear first pick.
Loxodon Stalwart – 3WW
Creature – Elephant Soldier
Attacking doesn’t cause Loxodon Stalwart to tap.
W: Loxodon Stalwart gets +0/+1 until end of turn.
This card is fine. It doesn’t bowl me over, but at the same time in an anemic pack I could envision first picking it. Razor Golem showed us what the yet-to-be-keyworded doesn’t tap to attack ability can do and often this guy can be better than the Golem. A 1st-4th pick.
Raksha Golden Cub – 5WW
Creature – Cat Soldier Legend
Attacking doesn’t cause Raksha Golden Cub to tap.
As long as Raksha is equipped, Cats you control get +2/+2 and have double strike.
Some believe that Raksha, youngest of the kha, is the reincarnation of Dakan, the first and mightiest of leonin leaders.
Illus. Pete Venters
Boooo. I wanted this guy to be much better. White is nice and fast as it stands now, I can’t imagine drafting this guy over a lot of the White commons. Seven is just a ton of mana in this format. A 7th-10th pick.
Retaliate – 2WW
Destroy all creatures that damaged you this turn.
Wow, I am impressed. This card is the first true bomb we have run across. The first time you cast this card it will likely be a Plague Wind. Your unsuspecting opponent will believe he is getting into a race. Little does he know he is about to lose all his creatures. If your deck is incredibly defensive, this card gets weaker, but no matter what your deck looks like this is a first-pick windmill slam.
Roar of Reclamation – 5WW
Each player returns all artifact cards from his or her graveyard to play.
“Yesterday’s relics will determine the outcome of tomorrow’s war.” – Ushanti, leonin seer
Illus. Justin Sweet
Yotian Soldier gets an upgrade. I actually like this card a lot despite my hatred of Yotian Soldier. It isn’t great and odds are there will be several white cards you want to take over it. A 5th-7th pick.
Skyhunter Skirmisher – 1WW
Creature – Cat Knight
Flying, double strike
“Like Dawn’s first light, blind the unprepared and banish the shadows.” – Skyhunter Creed
Illus. Greg Staples
This guy may not look like much, but I think it is a fine card. I’m not saying do a victory lap when you open it, but the card is solid at the bear minimum. In an Equipment deck he becomes a 2nd-4th pick, otherwise 5th-7th.
Stand Firm – W
Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
Interesting, I wouldn’t expect to see this card in White. Scry is an amazing ability. It may not look like much, but in a format where land counts are low and mana flood means game over, it’s gold. Again, White is pretty amazing in this set, but you will still want one of these in your deck. A 5th to 7th pick.
Stasis Cocoon – 1W
Enchanted artifact’s activated abilities can’t be played.
If enchanted artifact is a creature, it can’t attack or block.
This is my pick for the number two White common in the set. This card will likely never be dead. You can cripple their development by throwing it on a Myr or Artifact Land, or you could use it to stop their Pentavus. A versatile, powerful card. A 1st-3rd pick.
Steelshaper’s Gift – W
Search your library for an Equipment card, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Some blades seek their own wielders.
Illus. Tim Hildebrandt
As you can likely imagine, this card will depend on your deck. If you have a Skullclamp or a Sword in your deck, by all means first pick this card. If you don’t have much Equipment, it is unplayable. A 1st-15th pick. This is also your proof that Skullclamp is indeed getting banned in Type Two.
Vanquish – 2W
Destroy target blocking creature.
If your deck is aggressive enough this card can really do wonders. The fact that it is an uncommon makes it even more powerful, as players will be less likely to play around it. Don’t feel bad about first picking this card, but more likely you want to pick I up between second and fourth.
Healer’s Headdress – 2
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped Creature gets +0/+2
Equipped creature gains”[Tap]: Prevent the next one damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.”
WW: Attach Healer’s Headdress to target creature you control.
Here is my other pick for 3rd/4th best White common. This card will ruin an aggressive deck’s day. I looked at this card and thought it was solid, but when I saw it in action, holy cow, I was amazed. This card can single-handedly shut down your offense. 2nd-6th pick.
Acquire – 3UU
Search target opponent’s library for an artifact card and put that card into play under your control. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
Illus. Daren Bader
Hrm, I’m not sold. This card seems like a spectacular sideboard card, and an iffy card to put in your main deck. The last thing you want is to spend five mana and grab a Pyrite Spellbomb that you are just gonna sac for a card. I’m not saying don’t take this card, but don’t take it early. An 8th-10th pick.
Advanced Hoverguard – 3U
Creature – Drone
U: Advanced Hoverguard can’t be the target of spells or abilities until end of turn.
Since I am using Gary’s format for this article, I will take one of his positions. I am not a big fan of 2/2 Fliers for four. That being said, this guy can be fairly powerful with equipment as there is really no stopping him if you don’t want him stopped. A 4th-7th pick.
Artificer’s Intuition – 1U
U, Discard an artifact card from your hand: Search your library for an artifact card with converted mana cost 1 or less, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Another card that is extremely deck dependent. You may well want one of these if you can get multiple uses out of it, or one use that will get you a card like Skullclamp. Otherwise you are essentially hate drafting. A 2nd-15th pick.
Beacon of Tomorrows – 6UU
Target player takes an extra turn after this one. Shuffle Beacon of Tomorrows into its owner’s library.
To look into its light is to meet the gaze of history.
Illus. Jeremy Jarvis
In Limited, no. In Constructed, I’d be surprised. A 15th pick.
Blinkmoth Infusion – 12UU
Affinity for artifacts
Untap all artifacts.
Power begets power.
Illus. Alan Pollack
This one on the other hand, I could see in Constructed. However, I’ll have to give it the”no sir” for Limited. A 15th pick.
Bringer of the Blue Dawn – 7UU
Creature – Bringer
You may pay WUBRG rather than pay Bringer of the Blue Dawn’s mana cost.
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may draw two cards.
Illus. Greg Staples
Wow, again. This is one of Blue’s best commons. This card doesn’t even need to counter the spell to be good. If it does counter the spell, it is great. A 2nd-4th pick.
Disruption Aura – 2U
Enchanted artifact has”At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice this
artifact unless you pay its mana cost.”
My problem with this card is that on the smaller artifacts it’s no big deal, and on the bigger artifacts it is often not enough. I really wouldn’t play this card and I don’t think I would even side it in. A 12th-15th pick.
Early Frost – 1U
Tap up to three target lands.
This is just not the type of card that sees much play in Limited. If you have board advantage it can possibly steal your opponent’s next turn, but that is highly situational. I wouldn’t bother with this one. A 13th-15th pick.
Eyes of the Watcher – 2U
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, you may pay . If you do, Scry 2.
As much as I like Scry, this card is just too clunky. Add to that the fact that there aren’t many Instants and Sorceries in an average Limited deck, I can’t justify playing this. A 13th-15th pick.
Fold into Aether – 2UU
Counter target spell. If you do, that spell’s controller may put a creature card from his or her hand into play.
So now they are increasing casting costs when they give drawbacks? Yes, I realize that you can counter your own spells and drop some huge monster, but give me a break. Would it be so terrible if this card cost 1UU? Couldn’t you give it Scry? Maybe they tested and broke this at a lower casting cost, but for a Limited review, I must send this card packing. A 13th-15th pick.
Hoverguard Sweepers – 6UU
Creature – Drone
When Hoverguard Sweepers comes into play, you may return up to two target creatures to their owner’s hands.
They only appear in emergencies, and emergencies never last long.
Illus. Mark A. Nelson
Well this one is close. Very close. It just isn’t quite there. Eight Mana is just too much in this format. In a White/Blue deck where you can completely gain control and you need a solid win condition, play this card. Otherwise, it is just too much. 8th-12th pick.
Into Thin Air – 5U
Affinity for artifacts
Return target artifact to its owner’s hand.
I don’t get it. I just don’t get it, and I don’t like it. Hasn’t Blue been crippled enough?! Randy, get in there and defend your baby. It is getting mauled! A 10th-15th pick.
Plasma Elemental – 5U
Creature – Elemental
Plasma Elemental is unblockable.
We are approaching playable folks. I can see it close by. This ain’t it though. Six mana needs to get you a heck of a lot more than this. Don’t cry if this is your 24th card, but don’t cheer either. An 8th-12th pick.
Qumulox – 6UU
Creature – Beast
Affinity for artifacts
Even the clouds bend themselves to Memnarch’s will, eager to swallow those who oppose him.
Illus. Carl Critchlow
Well this card is a bomb by Blue standards! This card actually is quite good, I am just in a lousy mood after all the cards I have seen before this. It isn’t a bomb, but it is a step in the right direction. A 1st-4th pick.
Serum Visions – U
Draw a card.
Scry 2 (Look at the top two cards of your library. Put any number of them on the bottom of your library and the rest on top in any order.)
Illus. Ben Thompson
It’s true, this is one of the best Blue commons. Look at it in all its glory. One mana, draw a card. I’ll assume you will have better cards in your other colors to pick. A 8th-10th pick.
Spectral Shift – 1U
Choose one – Change the text of target spell or permanent by replacing all instances of one basic land type with another; or change the text of target spell or permanent by replacing all instances of one color word with another. (These effects don’t end at end of turn.)
A possible sideboard card in Limited and Constructed. Don’t pick this thing too high. 8th-10th pick.
Thought Courier – 1U
Creature – Human Wizard
T: Draw a card, then discard a card from your hand.
This seems as good a time as any to introduce Blue’s best common. This card is incredible. It is nothing new. A simple reprint of Merfolk Looter, but again the ability to control card quality is very powerful in this format. A first pick.
Trinket Mage – 2U
Creature – Human Wizard
When Trinket Mage comes into play, you may search your library for an artifact card with converted mana cost 1 or less, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
Illus. Mark A. Nelson
This could be Blue’s second best common if your deck has a few of the specified artifacts. Even a few Spellbombs make this guy pretty good. 2nd-5th pick.
Vedalken Mastermind – UU
Creature – Human Wizard
U, T: Return target permanent you control to its owner’s hand.
This guy is hot. One of the shining stars in this color. I don’t want to say whether it is better or worse than Wizard Mentor, but this card is very good mirroring the best effect of Crystal Shard. This is the best card Blue has to offer besides Vedalken Shackles. A first pick.
I give this card a”meh.” It is certainly playable, and could even be considered good in certain Blue/White Equipment decks, but you won’t find me picking this card very often. A 4th-7th pick.
Vedalken Shackles – 3
You may choose not to untap Vedalken Shackles during your untap step.
2, T: Gain control of target creature with power is less than or equal to the number of islands you control as long as Vedalken Shackles stays tapped.
Illus. Mark Zug
Stop the presses. We have a bomb! I am sure the bombs in Blue will come pouring out now. What’s that? This is the last card? Oh. Well, this card is still rather powerful. Stealing creatures is always good and the ability to do it as an instant and trade up is out of control. If you have some sort of card to sacrifice them too it becomes a game ender. A first pick.
So there you have it. The best color and the worst color. Will the Blue White archetype rise to dominance again? Time will tell, but I will be in there trying. I love Blue/White, and the White in this set reminds me of the old days of White. So happy drafting, and brace yourself for the musings of Mr. Tait and Mr. Aten in the coming days.