Undersmerling in a Lester Crash: Champions of Kamigawa Blue for Limited

Fifty miserable, lousy Blue cards. This probably goes without saying by now, but this is an approximate pick order. More than anything, it’s meant to give you a jumping-off point on power levels and/or usefulness of the Blue cards in the set. Nonetheless, I’d appreciate seeing any disputes, minor or major, in the forums. It’s nice to have one of these lists out there for each color for posterity, and in a few months we can look back and see how foolish we were.

(Author’s note: If you have any respect for me as a writer, please don’t read this. This is the most banal piece of garbage I’ve ever handed in).

I had a lot of trouble starting this article. At first, I was going to do a “mailbag” column as a masterful ploy to take up space and basically apologize for the lack of expediency* of my response to some emails I’ve received. Then I attended a PTQ in Madison, WI and figured that writing about that took precedent over the email thing since it has a shorter period of relevance than already-old emails, if that makes any sense. I had this whole little section lined up called “A Few Things I Learned in Madison,” but then I got bored and had writer’s block and couldn’t really finish it.

What made me redouble my efforts to start (and finish) this article was a particularly juicy email I received this morning. Before I get into more detail about that, however, there are a few brief notes I would like to make regarding some people at the Madison PTQ.

Duchow, Lucas: I would like to state for the record that I wasn’t really going to kiss Duchow at the PTQ. That’s more than a little disgusting.**

Hahn, Kurtis: Mr. Hahn was my most gracious host for the weekend’s festivities. He was friendly, polite almost to a fault, and generous, and he didn’t seem too upset by the fact that I didn’t feel like doing anything exciting. (I do wish we had gone to the Oconomowoc Putt-Putt, though). It’s hard to believe that this is the same person who, not two years ago, assaulted someone with a plastic bottle and got banned from the DCI. I know I’m misquoting since I didn’t have a writing utensil handy when it was said, but here is Kurt’s most recent introspection on the bottle incident: “That was rather inappropriate, I guess, in retrospect.”

Hron, Mike: Hron made the top 8 of the PTQ, and in between raredrafting, he managed to amass a most impressive deck. Paul Ziegler, who was watching him build, asked me how many Zuberas one would have to play before the quantity was comical. The answer I gave was the same number that Hron had in his deck: seven. He had three Blue and four Red Zuberas, as well as Devouring Rage and Shimatsu the Bloodcloaked. As with the last few Limited blocks, ostensibly mediocre cards can become excellent with enough synergistic redundancy.

Opalk, Ryan: Opalk made me a kickass mix CD for our trip from Chicago to Kurt Hahn’s apartment in Hartland, Wisconsin, the happiest little place on earth. Here are some Pac Dizzle-approved selections from that CD:

Scissor Sisters “Lovers in the Backseat”

HORSE, the Band “Cutsman”

Muse “Stockholm Syndrome”

Pretty Girls Make Graves “Sad Girls”

Mars Volta “Concertina”

And since I’m mentioning music now anyway, here are a few gems at the top of my playlist. Please note that these are not my top five songs of the week, per se, as though a single one of you cares about the distinction. Heck, I, shouldn’t care about the distinction. I should really get a therapist.

Blink 182 “Easy Target”

Hole “20 Years in the Dakota”

Instruction “Breakdown”

Tracy Bonham “Mother Mother”

Korn “Word Up”

Smerling, Lester: I’m a huge fan of Lester Smerling, which is why I hate having to do this to him. If you have left any of the following items at Lester Smerling’s house, he is planning on keeping them unless you come to claim them:

-a Playstation 2

-a Playstation 1

-assorted CDs

-assorted DVDs

-assorted Magic cards


-Valedictorian medal

Other than the last one (which was my quarter-assed attempt at making a half-funny) and the money figure (which is hard to quantify, impossible to confirm ownership of, and probably considerably higher), none of those are made up. Lester Smerling is a menace to society, and he will steal your s%$&.

Ziegler, Brian: Congratulations to BZ for winning the PTQ. There was no split or anything; he got $500 and the slot, although it’s unclear whether or not he will be going. Hopefully his brother PZ will qualify somehow, and then the twins, Pelcak, and I can all fly to Japan in a spaceship made of gumdrops and sunshine.

To everyone who has sent me an email in the past few months, I apologize for the delayed response. It’s not that I’m too busy or think I’m too good to talk to you, it’s that, much like with some of my college papers or articles, I start writing, end up saying nothing relevant or meaningful, give up, and scrap the whole project (or, in the case of the college papers, turn them in and get A’s).


I’ve just been informed that Ted will not be publishing the e-mail and my witty, sarcastic response to it. Instead, I will simply paste the last paragraph from it to show you how much my wonderful longtime readers adore me. I will protect the sender’s anonymity in hopes that Ted will acquiesce to its publication.

“Basically this comes down to you being an obsessed psycho. It’s [stuff] like this that caused…MattR to hate you. You should really get a therapist.

In conclusion,

Drive off a cliff.”

Isn’t that sweet? I love each and every one of my fans so much. This person seems to agree with me that I could use some therapy, which means that he’s perceptive. Also, he encouraged me to drive off a cliff, which means he wants me to die too. Very caring and thoughtful. Thanks for the e-mail, Anonymous!

I would positively love to receive more hate mail, so if I’ve ever done anything to piss you off, let me know about it. If you want to write something nice, I’d appreciate that too. My actual e-mail address, as usual, is at the end of the article after the fake AIM name and fake Magic Online nicks.

Before I get to show you why the Blue dragon is condemned to the same second-fiddle status as its Aryan brother, I would like to write a tournament report for Grand Prix: Austin.

Tournament Report

I lost to mana screw and dragons and lost around 75 ratings points. Fortunately, I tricked Pelcak into an 85% split, so I walked away from the tournament with a cool $425. Additionally, I got to see Doug Conway again, which is priceless. I am actually in awe of him as a human being. He’s on a very exclusive list of celebrities I admire:

Courtney Love

Bert McCracken

Doug Conway

His hair looks really cool when it’s slicked back with sunglasses perched atop it; he refuses to pay a $300 pittance despite being worth six figures; and in the event that I wanted to make fun of him, I’d be allowed to since he doesn’t have twenty pro points. Mitchell Tamblyn claims he got to see Dougy run, and I couldn’t be more envious.

And now a brief list of GM*** from the GP:

Chris Prochak: Congratulations on your top 4 finish. It’s nice to see people who aren’t fetid piles of human sludge succeed at Magic.

Paul Russell: Paul was still nice to me even after I made fun of how he announced untap, upkeep, and draw steps each turn in a previous article. Truly a class act. Why is it that all Canadians are either really awesome (Josh Rider, Avril Lavigne) or complete worthless, smug, snobby, arrogant bastards with warped senses of humor (Kyle Smith, virtually everyone else).

Dave Williams: Thank you for posing for that picture with me with the pile of money. I plan on making a caption for it that says “A-ten Suited,” keeping the original, and selling photocopies on ebay for five bucks apiece.

Fifty Miserable, Lousy Blue Cards

This probably goes without saying by now, but this is an approximate pick order. More than anything, it’s meant to give you a jumping-off point on power levels and/or usefulness of the blue cards in the set. Nonetheless, I’d appreciate seeing any disputes, minor or major, in the forums. It’s nice to have one of these lists out there for each color for posterity, and in a few months we can look back and see how foolish we were. I could go into more cogent arguments about why I don’t think pick order articles are a complete waste of time, but I only have 4.5 hours to finish this up, so I’d better get started.

Meloku, the Clouded Mirror

Compared to Pentavus by many, there’s a good chance that this is the fabled Best Card In the Set for Limited. He can make an endless stream of flying attackers and chump blockers while either holding down the fort or swinging for two himself. If you untap with Meloku in play, few things short of Hideous Laughter or Yamabushi’s Storm can stop you from winning the game. If you miss a land drop, unless you’re TheReanimator of Magic Online’s Dragonquest, you can simply make a token during your main phase and replay the land you returned. Also, if you need an additional mana of a given color, Meloku (and the other Soratami) can act as a mana fixer – tap Island and Swamp for mana, use the Blue mana and return the Swamp to make a 1/1 flier, replay the Swamp and tap it for mana to play Wicked Akuba. Since he only has a single Blue mana in his casting cost, Meloku is easily splashed and should almost never be passed, even if you’re not Blue.

Keiga, the Tide Star

For this week’s dragon entry, I would like to quote Kenny Hsiung.

“Is Keiga the Tide Star good?”

(pause for response)



Note that Keiga is also easily splashed and should likely be taken and played regardless of when you see him or what colors you are. It’s considerably harder to splash effectively now that almost all of your cards have colored mana symbols in the top right, but Keiga, Meloku, and Ryusei are worth the effort.

Uyo, Silent Prophet

Quite frankly, this would be at the top of the list if it were just an Air Elemental that cost one more. Three toughness puts creatures out of Glacial Ray and Hideous Laughter range, while four toughness puts them out of Yamabushi’s Flame or (2 damage card) + (1 damage card) range. I have yet to see Uyo’s ability used, but I imagine that it’s pretty degenerate. For instance, if your opponent is foolish enough to cast the aforementioned Flame on something when you have Uyo out and four lands untapped, he will probably either lose two creatures or take six to the nug’.

Sire of the Storm

It took me awhile to decide whether the Sire’s ability justified the one extra mana to cast it (when compared with Teller of Tales). The format can yield some pretty brutal tempo draws, but all told, you should have enough time to play Sire and untap; it doesn’t seem to be significantly slower than the Teller. Obviously, this gets better the more your deck leans toward Spirits and Arcane. It seems that it’s most at home in blue/red and blue/green Spirit decks. In the Madison PTQ, Tim Bulger apparently had two of these and an Azusa, Lost But Seeking in play, allowing him to draw and play his entire deck in the span of just a few turns.

Teller of Tales

Five cards, five fliers whose power and toughness add up to six or more. Big fat fliers are still great in Limited. The Teller may be the best 3UU 3/3 flier to date. With a simple Spirit, you can either tap a key blocker or untap the Teller after combat. Any instant Arcane spell will allow you to nullify part of your opponent’s attack in addition to its normal effect.

Honden of Seeing Winds

Mike Krumb has suggested that Petals of Insight is actually better than this, because if you have the choice of topdecking one or the other in the late game, the Petals is more attractive. I don’t think this disparity is great enough to push Petals ahead. Petals is a lot lower on the list, but all the cards in between these two are of similar quality. As long as you have a few plays during the first several turns, dropping the shrine on turn 5 or 6 should facilitate a win for you via overwhelming card advantage. After the initial investment, it doesn’t cost anything, thus allowing you to play the extra spells you’ve been drawing. This is probably the Honden that stands best on its own, with the Red one following closely behind.

Soratami Savant

This card is every bit as ridiculous as Eisel gave it credit for. As I said in the forums, and as Ken Krouner corroborates, if you untap with this in play when you have an advantage or the board is at parity, it’s nearly impossible for your opponent to win. Even if you don’t have a superior board position, it’s still a respectable 2/2 flier for four mana. In the late game of a PTQ match, KK had one of these out. His opponent tried to play a Nezumi Graverobber with six mana up. KK returned a land to Mana Leak; his opponent paid. KK returned another land, and his opponent opted not to pay. Then, the opponent attempted an Eight-and-a-half-Tails, which KK also countered, much to his opponent’s dismay. Granted, he shouldn’t have really expected those to resolve, but the Soratami Savant nullifies potential threats whether the opponent actually tries to cast them or not.

Mystic Restraints

This seems like it’s a little high, but there really isn’t anything left in Blue that’s particularly exciting. I had three of these in my last drafting endeavor, and lemme tellya-that’s too many. Every Blue deck wants one of these, and you can appreciate having a second, but anything beyond that can get kind of clunky. A lot of the time, you’ll find yourself spending four mana to neutralize your opponent’s three-mana bushido guy or two-mana Wicked Akuba. That said, this can hold off anything from a lowly Deceiver to a noble Dragon, making it a high-quality card. It’s probably at its best in Blue/White decks with a good amount of early drops and fliers. In several decks, Consuming Vortex can actually be better than this.

Soratami Mirror-Guard

To state the obvious, the Mirror-Guard is a three-power flier for four mana that can help your smaller guys get through in the late game. (It can be particularly brutal with Wicked Akuba). Its major drawback, obviously, is its single point of toughness. This isn’t as problematic as it would have been in Mirrodin block, but there are still Yamabushi’s Storm and Frostwielder to worry about. Additionally, any blocker your opponent can muster will halt this in its tracks, including Lantern Kami and Kami of the Waning Moon.

Azami, Lady of Scrolls

Azami is quite similar to Honden of Seeing Winds, but it’s somewhat more fragile and considerably more difficult to cast. While the Honden is complimented by other Shrines, the Lady of Scrolls is complimented by many of the Soratami. Reusable card drawing engines that don’t cost any mana to activate are awesome. Bling bling. Only 3.5 hours to go now. I don’t work well under pressure.

Time Stop

Like with Masako the Humorless, I’m probably overrating this because its effect is so unique and potentially devastating. Masako may be more pertinent than the third Blademaster in sealed deck, but in draft, in retrospect, you should probably just go ahead and take the Blademaster every time. There’s no need to get bogged down in cutesy stuff like blocking when you’re playing an aggressive White draft deck. At its worst, Time Stop is a six-mana Time Walk. In other situations, you can nullify several of an opponent’s combat tricks, counter a key spell while preventing your opponent from playing any more, or just thwart an alpha strike. Six mana can be a lot, and Time Stop can be situational, but I’m probably going to personally have a hard time passing it when I’m Blue.

Petals of Insight

Eisel is probably overrating this a little since he got to go into Glacial Ray recursion mode with it. That said, it is nothing short of spectacular in a Green-based deck with multiple mana fixers, mana accelerators, and splice spells. In other decks, it’s a solid card drawing spell, allowing you to put some chaff on the bottom and peel three spicy little dishes, assuming you have the time and mana to do so. Sometimes you’ll have a window to tap five lands without committing another threat to the board for a turn or two, and sometimes you won’t. I can think of worse things than drawing three in the late game when you and your opponent are both in topdeck mode.

Consuming Vortex

Echoing Truth was a nice little tempo play last block, and this card is even better, since it enhances your “Spiritcraft” cards and can potentially be used multiple times. Cheap, instant-speed bounce spells, as I’m about to reiterate for hopefully the last time, can function as a number of cards, if only in a transitory manner. It can be a temporary Terminate for a blocker, it can save a creature from a removal spell or combat damage, it can counter a pump spell or destroy a creature enchantment while forcing the caster to spend mana on putting the creature itself back into play; the list goes on and on. Wizards did an excellent job with the Splice cost on this card. Anything lower would probably have been a little too good.

Soratami Rainshaper

Another efficient flier, the Rainshaper will keep your opponent from f%$^ing with your s*$% as long as you have three mana open. This isn’t to say you should refrain from playing out your hand just to keep the mana open in most cases, but if you have the suspicion that your opponent has removal, or if you control a creature you can’t afford to lose, perhaps you should keep three lands untapped. The most relevant statistics on the Rainshaper are flying, its casting cost, and its power. In a Blue deck that isn’t too focused on spirits, the ideal opening is turn 2 two-drop (preferably in your other color, for obvious reasons), turn 3 Rainshaper, turn 4 Mirror-Guard.

Soratami Mirror-Mage

Well dump nuggets on my head and call me Tbulge, it’s…another flier. What a crazy color Blue is! Blue’s fliers are all slow or fragile, and this one is both, so it’s not very good without an adept support crew. If you do have other creatures to prevent your untimely demise in the early game, the Mirror-Mage is an invaluable addition to your deck. You know, like, since it flies. You can’t use its ability haphazardly, but at the right moment in the game, going all-in to bounce two of your opponent’s threats can give you just enough time to finish him off.

Soratami Seer

Another flier. This is getting pretty exciting and interesting. Its Moonfolk ability isn’t that great unless it’s very late in the game. Using it midgame is horrible tempo, and plucking a new grip as a desperation tactic at the expense of four mana and two of your lands in play may cause as many problems as it solves. Basically, it’s a 2/3 flier for five (how brilliant and insightful) that doesn’t soulshift and can’t block Mothrider Samurai effectively. I’m not impressed.

Jushi Apprentice

Unlike the Shrine and the Lady of Scrolls, Jushi Apprentice forces you to spend a sizable fraction of your available mana if you want to draw a card each turn. Over time, the card advantage can carry you to victory, but this is far too mana intensive if your opponent’s draw is aggressive. Apprentice is good in the midgame, when you can draw a card with enough mana left over to play a three-mana creature. What keeps this from being lower on the list, aside from the fact that your opponent won’t always have Super Happy Fun Crazy Tempo Explosion Fire Draw, is the possibility of flipping it and reversing it. Once the apprentice has morphed into Tomoya, it won’t take too much time to deck your opponent. Basically, in some situations this will be great, and in others it will be shoes, so I tried to put it in the middle of its range of potential.

River Kaijin

This unassuming gentlemen is quietly one of the most important cards to have in a U/x deck, particularly if “x” isn’t “Green.” This is the most prolific member of your ideal “adept support crew” that I mentioned a few entries back. This man’s job is to hold the ground while you set up some sort of degenerate combo or while your fliers go to town. Most of blue’s guys are fragile, so Mr. Kaijin fills an important niche. It can safely block bushido bears, and it prevents sundry one-toughness creatures from even considering gettin’ in there. To be honest, you’d probably rather have River Kaijin than the three cards above it in many situations.

Soratami Cloudskater

A decent two-drop in a color with a dearth thereof, the Cloudskater fills out your curve in the early game and replaces dead draws (namely LANDS) with better cards (namely SPELLS) in the late game. Plus it flies, oooooooooooooooooh. Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh. One-power evasion creatures take awhile to GitRDone, so don’t be too disappointed if you have to pass one of these. I’ll rarely be unhappy with one in the maindeck, but I certainly wouldn’t want to play more than two.

Reach Through Mists

The most pertinent characteristic of this card is that it’s arcane. It’s perfect for splicing and Spiritcraft (God, I hate that term), so if you have enough Sires of the Storm, Kami of the Hunt, Kodama’s Mights, or Thieves of Hope, you should certainly take these early and often. Reach Through Mists can act like a Spellbomb, allowing you to tighten your land ratio a bit if you’re torn between 17 vs 18 or 16 vs. 17. This is a perfectly acceptable cut if your deck doesn’t have any interactions with it, as it doesn’t really do anything on its own.


Cheap hard counters are just dandy in Limited, as they have the potential to throw off an opponent’s math or trade for far superior cards. As long as you have three mana up, Hinder can answer any card in the format. That’s a comforting feeling. Hinder is particularly good since it can force an opponent who is behind in board position to draw a crappy spell a second time. The inherent failing of counters, though, is that they can’t affect board position; once something has hit play, it’s out of Hinder’s jurisdiction.

Hisoka’s Defiance

Despite its relatively limited scope, Hisoka’s Defiance will rarely be a dead card. Like Hinder, it efficiently trades with key spells and/or earlier, more expensive picks. Nonetheless, since it can’t counter everything, you need to take special consideration when casting it. If your opponent doesn’t seem to have too many Spirits or Arcane spells, you may just want to toss this at the first spell it can target. Another drawback of Defiance (and Hinder, for that matter), is that sometimes countering a spell just isn’t enough; Teller of Tales, Thief of Hope, Soilshaper, and the like will all still trigger.

Floating-Dream Zubera

The Zubera may be a lowly 1/2 for two mana, stats which exemplify Limited mediocrity at its finest, but it’s a Spirit, it holds off x/1s rather well (unless they have Fear or Bushido), and at its worst, it basically reads “Prevent all damage target creature without flying would deal this turn. Draw a card.” As Mike Hron realized, it can get degenerate in multiples, particularly with cards like Devouring Rage or Kiki-Jiki. For the love of God, please don’t call these Zebras. If you do, I will be forced to bludgeon you with my Flip-Flops of Justice, and then I’ll get banned from the DCI and forced to quit going to Magic events. Hm. On second thought, please call them Zebras in my presence.

Callous Deceiver

I hate Deceivers. I hate spending mana to look at my top card, and I hate spending even more mana to reveal that it’s a land for some meager effect. Nevertheless, a 1/3 Spirit that’s potentially a 2/3 flier is passable. We can’t all have seven Kitsune Blademasters. In short, say hello to the Cobalt Golem of this set.

Kami of Twisted Reflection

The double Blue in this Kami’s casting cost is hurtin’. It’s still a 2/2 spirit for three mana, and it can save far superior creatures from destruction. If your opponent has a pair of 2/2s and you have this and another 2/2, he can’t attack into you. All in all, it’s a decent creature, particularly if your deck has sppiiiirriitcraaft. It would be a lot better if it had soulshift. And flying. And a hot sixteen-year-old sister who washed the family car in a bikini.

Counsel of the Soratami

A decent card-drawing sorcery at a reasonable cost, the Counsel would be better if it was Arcane. It provides card advantage, but it doesn’t affect the board, so it’s nothing to write home about. Play it, leave it in the sideboard, it’s all the same. Its stock rises if you have a good deal of one-for-one removal spells in your deck. All things considered, I guess it’s probably around a 7th pick, and you’d probably be willing to play one or two most of the time.

Gifts Ungiven

And as we pass the “two hours left” mark, we arrive at a card that warrants a convoluted explanation. Essentially, this is another “draw 2 cards” spell, but you can be sure of the quality of spell you’ll be drawing. Casting this removes four key spells from your deck, thus increasing the chances you will draw land in the future. If you choose your best two cards with this, they will be gone forever; you won’t be able to topdeck them later on. The best strategy for this card is to pick four cards of approximately equal quality. It’s not even great to try to get four different lands, since any opponent smarter than The Mauler will send the lands of your splash color right to the bin. It’s not appreciably different than Counsel, but it costs one more mana and it’s not arcane. This is still a first pick, at least for the time being. I’ll leave it to you junior detectives to attempt to discern why.

Eerie Procession

This is worth playing (and, in fact, ridiculous) if you have a Glacial Ray and five other arcane spells. For Limited purposes, it may as well have simply said “search for a card named Glacial Ray.” Of course, if the Ray is already in your hand, you can splice it onto the Procession, then splice it onto the random card you fetched with Procession. Without Glacial Ray silliness or some other unforeseen manner of Splicing tomfoolery (i.e. if your deck has four Reach Through Mists and a Kodama’s Might), this is too slow and weak to play. Even the most powerful Arcane spell (Blind With Anger) doesn’t really warrant playing this card unless you have Ray too.

Eye of Nowhere

Eye is this low because it’s a sorcery, hence limiting its potential uses. It’s fine if you need another Arcane spell of course, but you’d really prefer not to play this.

Guardian of Solitude

I feel like Shrek’s best buddy for referencing Eisel so much, but I’m gonna do it again anyway. Read what he said about this. That’s right, I’m encouraging you to read a Nick Eisel article. His work has improved a bit now that he actually plays Magic and not just poker, and I’m running out of time, so I need to cut corners. Or, if you’re as lazy as I am, I can summarize: This can be good in Green/Blue. Awesome.


This is even more expensive than and roughly as situational as Hisoka’s Defiance. Granted, you can counter almost any turn 4 play your opponent can muster even if you’re on the draw, but you usually won’t be able to find room for this in your deck. I could see sideboarding this in against multiple Rends and Flames or against Nagao. This is the very definition of a begrudging 23rd card.

Sift Through Sands

Sift has two colored mana in its casting cost and provides card selection, but not card advantage. It’s pretty clunky and doesn’t do a whole lot, but…brace yourselves…it’s Arcane, so you may end up playing it anyway. It gets better if you have Splice cards (like Glacial Ray), powerful spells to search for (like Glacial Ray), or cards with pictures of frost-breathing birds on them (like Black Lotus) in your deck.

Peer Through Depths

I loathe this card. Chances are, you’re going to miss. Most of the cards in your deck are going to be lands and creatures, and some of your spells will even be enchantments. Even if you hit, you probably don’t get more than one to choose from; you probably get an arbitrary spell from your deck. Bloo bloo blee Glacial Ray bla bla suited itchiekawas durp durr reasonable doubt what motherf$%&er hurf dee durf yeah uh uh, uh uh yeah.

The Unspeakable

That got sort of fun toward the end there. I hope to someday write an entire paragraph, or if I’m feeling especially ambitious/bulletproof, an entire article like that last sentence in. I thought it would be cute to put The Unspeakable right below the lowest entry of the combo that summons him for free. It’s rather unlikely, unless you have something like two of each in your deck, that you’ll get to combo-cast The Unspeakable in draft. He’s very slow, but he is a gigantic flier. I personally rate him a little higher than this, but since he will normally just sit impotently in your hand doing absolutely nothing like…um. Hm. Y…eah. I’m just going to move on to the next card now.

Cut the Tethers

There are a lot of spirits in this format, so you’re bound to have a few in your deck. If your opponent has appreciably more than you, you should board this in. The quintessential Sideboard Card.


This is another sideboard card, but it’s more situational and less effective than Cut the Tethers. There aren’t that many activated abilities, and most of those can just be activated again after the Squelch. Sometimes you can catch your opponent with his pants down, like if he’s really counting on a Kiku activation, or if you’re targeting an ability of something that gets sacrificed (like Pain Kami), but these situations will be few and far between.

Graceful Adept

That’s right, folks. There are thirteen Blue cards in this set inferior to a vanilla 1/3 for three mana.


Some people swear by this card, but it looks far too expensive to me. Likewise, Nick Eisel swears by Through the Breach because it arbitrarily won him some random game. Virtually any card in Magic can win you the game under the right circumstances. You could topdeck the Feedback Bolt (the only card in your deck that could do the last five damage to your opponent) for the victory, or you could rip Helm of Kaldra to make a Kaldra token and swing for the fences. As Limited Magic players, it is our job to determine how realistic these scenarios truly are. Reweave’s function is quite similar to that of a bounce spell, but it has the drawback of randomness thrown in. You could Reweave into your dragon, or you could Reweave into your Pious Kitsune. Its ideal use requires you to have six mana up with damage on the stack. It’s like Proteus Staff, but without the reusability. Ooh, wait, wait…it has Splicezies. I stand corrected. Anyway, bring this in if your opponent has two or more non-dragon bombs you can’t deal with.

Hisoka’s Guard

Since I have just over an hour left, I will be making a quasi-relevant comparison to a card from the last block for this card as well. It’s a 1/1 creature for two mana, meaning that its body is more or less negligible. That said, the comparison card is: Neurok Stealthsuit. How often did you run that l’il gem? This is the perfect chump-blocker for all you kids out there who don’t want to dip to the precarious life total of 17.

Hisoka, Minamo Sensei

You have to have three mana up, plus you have to have a spell in hand that matches the casting cost of whatever your opponent is playing. That’s probably not going to happen. If you and your opponent both seem to have a plethora of three-drops, for example, I could see siding this in. For maindeck purposes, though, this is virtually strictly inferior to Graceful Adept. Ouch.

Dampen Thought

I want to make this work, and it’s possible that it could. All that has to happen is: you have to be the only Blue drafter at your table; there have to be at least eight _____ Through _____ in the draft; and you have to resolve this six times before your opponent kills you with his creatures. That’s a shame. In fact, the only way you could realistically deck your opponent with this card is if you had two and were able to splice them both onto the same Arcane once or twice.

Psychic Puppetry

Only if I had three Kodama’s Might and three Glacial Ray and was somehow also playing Blue for some reason.

Wandering Ones

This isn’t completely worthless since it’s a spirit, but it is pretty pathetic. Phil Lapointe, one of the awesomest people I’ve ever met, a man so incredibly Skilled at Life that he actually called his attractive girlfriend from the hotel room as he was going to sleep so that she could turn on a Harry Potter book-on-tape and play it over the phone to help him relax into slumber…he played this in his sealed at GP: Austin. And he went 7-1 with it. He’s not bad at Magic, and he’s certainly on the upswing, but he should have known better.

Field of Reality

Even if this made the creature unblockable by non-spirits, it wouldn’t be playable. As it’s printed, I can’t even fathom a narrower, more pointless sideboard card. It might be worth considering if it gave the creature Protection from Spirits (and possibly Arcane).

Student of Elements

If you have the capability to give this flying, you’ve probably done something terribly wrong. The only reasonable way I can see flipping this is if you have a solid u/g spirit deck with two Guardian of Solitude. Barring that unlikely situation, you have a 1/1 for two mana with absolutely no abilities! Actually, there is one good way to give this flying and possibly flip it: Throw it at Mitchell Tamblyn. Or Phil Lapointe. Or Ken Krouner. That’s right, “Good evening,” you miscreants. We don’t need your kind in our convention halls, messying up the floors and setting a bad example for the young’uns.

Lifted by Clouds

I actually do like the picture on this card. That beast is pretty cool-looking.

Part the Veil

This is a mediocre sideboard card if your opponent has three Wrath-like effects.

Aura of Dominion

Vigilance is worthless with no creatures and marginal with one. Aura is worthless with 0-1 creatures and marginal with two. Not only do you need two creatures in play, but one needs to be significantly better than the other one. The only deck I could see considering this in is a creature-heavy blue/red deck with a number of Frostwielders.

Myojin of Seeing Winds

By the time you can cast this, using its ability will probably deck you. Fortunately, your opponent will likely save you from that ignominy by killing you before you can muster even 3/4 of the necessary mana to cast this.

Swirl the Mists

Remember several cards ago when I said that any card could win you the game under the right circumstances? Let’s look at the bottom five. Lifted by Clouds can give a key creature flying to sneak the final few points of damage past your opponent. Part the Veil at end of turn can allow you to recast Thief of Hope and other spirits and drain your opponent out. Aura of Dominion can let you go off with Frostwielder, and on some dark day, on some distant planet, a ten-mana 3/3 might swing in for the win. I defy you to come up with a single way Swirl the Mists can win you the game.****

And to recap, the approximate common pick order:

Teller of Tales

Mystic Restraints

Soratami Mirror-Guard

Consuming Vortex

Soratami Rainshaper

River Kaijin

Soratami Cloudskater

Reach Though Mists

Hisoka’s Defiance

Floating-Dream Zubera

Callous Deceiver

Kami of Twisted Reflection

Counsel of the Soratami

Eye of Nowhere


Sift Through Sands

Peer Through Depths

Hisoka’s Guard

Psychic Puppetry

Wandering Ones

Field of Reality

Lifted by Clouds

Join me next week when I chip in my seven cents on CoK Black for Limited, I may have coverage of the First Annual Barn Triathlon (not kidding), there may be a RyanG’s corner, and Southern California breeds Mommy’s little monster.

In closing, I hate you all unless your name starts with a “J.” Probably still even then.

Tim Aten

a.k.a. H.O.V.A.


The Most Diabolical Hater This Side of the Mississippi

HideYourDaughtrs on AIM

Xeracy and miserd00d on MODO

[email protected]

No, I don’t know a goddamned thing about States. Please e-mail me with questions about Limited advice, praise, or criticism though. I have really low self-esteem.

“And they say, in the end, you’ll get bitter, just like them.”

–Hole, “Reasons to be Beautiful”

*I checked this on m-w.com, and it said this usage of it was “obsolete.”

**P.S. If you’re reading this, duke12, I would like to say na-GOW.

***Good Men. Don’t you know anything?

****I’m sure some of my more clever readers will note that this can hamper Befoul’s effectiveness or do something else silly and pointless, but I don’t actually want to hear about it.