Hey everybody! I hope you all had a ton of success at your pre-release, and had a chance to get a good first impression of the new set: Born of the Gods. I’ll be going over the blue cards and giving my first thoughts on how each card will work in a limited environment.
Aerie Worshippers – This is probably my favorite of the cycle of inspired token-makers. A 2/4 body is fine for 4 mana, and the toughness means you’re more likely to be able to swing and trigger inspiration. Not only that, a 2/2 flier is great — you’re basically playing a Wind Drake every time you untap.
Arbiter of the Ideal – Though it’s probably not the best pre-release promo, it’s still a solid card in a limited environment. A 4/5 flier for 6 is legitimate bomb territory, and the inspired effect shouldn’t be overlooked either. While it won’t do much a lot of the time, it can be the difference if you’re racing by providing extra creatures to flood the board.
Archetype of Imagination – This card is a trap. On paper, it looks like the best archetype because it gives your creatures pseudo-unblockable (barring any reach shenanigans), but I can almost guarantee that it won’t turn out that way. First of all, you’re paying 6 mana for a 3/2 creature. This is normally fine if the ability is great, but in this case, the body is much too fragile to actually realize the its full potential. Once you declare attackers with your now-flying army, your opponent can simply use any number of removal spells — from Bile Blight and Pharika’s Cure to Lightning Strike or Lash of the Whip, heck even Voyage’s End or Griptide do the job, not to mention all the instant speed enchantment removal out there — then make favorable blocks across the board.
That’s not to say this card completely worthless. I think most of the value here actually comes on the defensive end. Being able to ground their fliers so that they can’t go over your board is very useful, and as long as you make your attacks carefully, you should be able to avoid being blown out in combat from one removal spell.
Chorus of the Tides – Even if we ignore the Heroic trigger, I think this card is more than fine in any limited pool. Three power in the air is always relevant, even if the Heroic isn’t exactly game-changing. The 2 toughness means it can only trade with Vaporkin, but at least it doesn’t die automatically to Shipwreck Singer.
Crypsis – This is an interesting card. The “untap” part makes it seem more suited for defense to provide a surprise blocker, it does that job fairly well. Even if your opponent has a combat trick up his sleeve, your creature will be safe. On the other hand, you can use this offensively as well, perhaps as a finisher to get that final bit of damage in. All in all, this isn’t quite Gods Willing, but is still useful, partially because it can trigger either heroic or inspired.
Deepwater Hypnotist – The inspired ability is quite lackluster, but that’s alright because a 2/1 for 2 is perfectly playable.
Divination – This card is playable in both limited and constructed. Source: It is currently played in constructed decks.
Eternity Snare – The cantrip is nice, but 6 mana is a lot to pay, especially when it doesn’t tap the creature. Still, removal is removal, though Born of the Gods is much better than Theros at providing cheaper alternatives to get rid of creatures.
Evanescent Intellect – Three cards per turn is actually a decent clock with 40 card limited decks, but the problem is, it comes in the form of an aura. It is a cheap heroic trigger and inspired trigger, so you can use it that way as well, but I’d need to be going for that strategy with few other options to pick up this card.
Fated Infatuation – Triple blue can be hard to pull off in limited, but the effect is fairly strong if you can manage to swing it. I wouldn’t try to force it though. This card really shines in constructed, where mono blue devotion decks can use it to copy Master of Waves.
Flitterstep Eidolon – A 1/1 unblockable isn’t amazing unless you can manage to/with voltron it. With all the bestow creatures in the format, voltron-ing isn’t unfeasible, and this one actually is a useful creature on its own. You really want to have a lot of bestow creatures to make it work well (can anyone say Eidolon of Countless Battles?).
Floodtide Serpent – I’m still not sure if the effect is more of a downside or an upside. It does wonders with cantripping enchantments, and you can get more value out of bestow creatures, but it could also just be a 4/4 defender. Five mana for a 4/4 isn’t amazing, so I’d try not to go too deep on this guy unless you’re swimming in cantrips or might want the extra heroic triggers.
Kraken of the Straits – A 6/6 is nice, and the effect will likely stop your opponent from trading with double or triple blocks. If you’re heavy in blue, this is a nice card, but 7 mana is a hefty cost to pay.
Meletis Astronomer – Augur of Bolas this is not, but in this limited environment, the effect is still amazing. You can get some pretty nice value off of cantrip enchantments (imagine this guy, Floodtide Serpent and any cantrip enchantment), but any enchantment will do fine. A 1/3 body is also more than serviceable.
Mindreaver – It’s a 2/2 body. It might be somewhat restrictive in its casting cost. The effect is largely irrelevant.
Nullify – Double blue makes this a bit hard to cast, but countering a creature or Aura is very relevant. In this format, there are plenty of targets to make it a good card. Notably, it hits bestow creatures no matter how they’re cast.
Oracle’s Insight – As long as you’re careful about casting this spell, you should be able to generate some serious card advantage. This helps with heroic and inspired too, but that’s secondary to drawing an extra card every turn. As per usual, though, exercise caution when using Auras.
Perplexing Chimera – At first glance, I wasn’t a huge fan of this card. I’ve warmed up to it a little with time, but I think the effect might be too situational. You need to be protecting your own board state, then still have enough of a board presence to not need to cast any big spells afterwards. Not only that, your opponent is going to play around the chimera, so you’ll probably have some tough choices on what to take.
Retraction Helix – A Heroic trigger or Inspired trigger on Disperse sounds pretty good. Of course, this is much more situational — without a creature on the board, it doesn’t do anything to help you. That said, you’ll probably have targets for it, and there are some pretty sweet untappers (like Kiora’s Follower and Breaching Hippocamp) that could get some extra value out of this card.
Siren of the Fanged Coast – The worst part about this card is that it’s never going to be the best card on the board. Well, ok, if it’s the only creature on the board, it might be. Or if you only have a vanilla 1/1. But besides that, you’re only getting a 4/4 flier if your opponent wants to keep his or her creature — which is usually bad news for you. This is another one of the Tribute cards that just isn’t consistent enough for me want to use regularly.
Sphinx’s Disciple – At 5 mana, it’s a bit expensive, but drawing a card every turn is nice. That said, you’re going to have to wait a while before you draw your first extra card, and the 2/2 body isn’t an amazing clock either. In slower decks, this can be absolutely amazing.
Stratus Walk – I like most cantrip enchantments, and this one comes with a great effect. This could quite possibly be the best cantrip enchantment out of them all and is definitely in the top 5 blue cards of this set.
Sudden Storm – Frost Breath with scry 1 seems useful, though four mana is a bit expensive for the effect. Depending on the type of deck you’re playing against, it can be either a minor roadblock or an amazing tempo swing.
Thassa’s Rebuff – It can be hard to build up enough devotion to make this card worth it. The problem with this type of counter is that you want to play it early when people don’t have as much mana at their disposal, but you can only really use this one later, when you have the devotion. Some people have speculated on its utility in standard Mono Blue decks, but I don’t think this really fits there either.
Tromokratis – This is a serious bomb in limited. Many times, he’s going to be unblockable, and he dodges plenty of removal, like Sip of Hemlock and Vanquish the Foul, as well as Excoriate and Asphyxiate the new black and white sorcery removal for tapped/untapped creatures.
Vortex Elemental – I like this card. Early game, it acts as a pseudo-deathtouch creature, and late game, it can remove creatures by itself. If it gets late enough (read: get to 11 mana), you might even be able to 2-for-1 with it!
Whelming Wave – I think people overlooking the fact that it isn’t a complete board wipe. There are actually plenty of krakens, serpents, and such in Theros, so you could quite possible use it almost like a four mana sorcery speed Cyclonic Rift. Of course, this strategy isn’t too reliable, but I’d be fine with casting it as a four mana board wipe as well.