Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scars of Mirrodin EDH Set Review, Part 2b: Blue

Okie dokie, folks. We're back with another installment of the Scars EDH Set Review... eh, well, it's all up there in the title, so yeah.

Blue is next:

Argent Sphinx is a pretty cool guy. Eh dodges removal, and doesn’t afraid of anything. Yet another artifact-deck-only rare, and not a particularly exciting one at that. Could be useful with things that trigger on creatures coming into play, but that’s about the only real use I see for him.

A Blue version of No Mercy. Should be called “Some Mercy”. Instead of killing the creature, it bounces it. Which would be okay, except a very high percentage of EDH worthy creatures have ETBF effects and this just helps your opponent abuse them. This will likely not see play in EDH.

“Other blue creatures you control get +1/+1” is a VERY unusual ability to see on a card, and that alone makes it intriguing. The rest of the abilities just make this another broken mana producer for Artifact decks, but isn’t nearly as broken as, say, Metalworker. Still, this has a lot of potential to see play. I’m not a huge fan, but it isn’t a terrible card at all.
Ha ha ha, take that Sharuum! I’m generally against playing countermagic in EDH, but if someone in my playgroup ran Sharuum or Dagsson, I’d have no qualms about running this. It’s not going to shut Sharuum down all by it’s lonesome, but is a fine card to use amongst other anti-artifact answers. The cantrip is nice.

Way too narrow to see play, unless a really clever Johnny builds around it. I like this card, I just don’t see it having much use in EDH. It might be good in a 5-color Planeswalker Control deck with some other Counter-based effects like Clearwater Goblet or something. Like I said, powerful effect if you can abuse it, but way to narrow to be good in a broad sense.

Blue always seems to get one big, expensive Mythic that has a really neat effect combined with a really prohibitive mana cost. This one just might be worth the 7 mana, though. Clone anything you want, while getting a 7/7 for seven… not bad for Blue. Blue isn’t known for it’s efficiently-costed creatures. Have you ever been in a situation where you draw a Clone and look at your opponents board, and see a big, bad threat, and a Wood Elves? And you know the correct play is to copy the threat, but you also REALLY need another mana and haven’t been drawing any? You have to choose between the threat and the utility. Well, now you don’t have to choose. Copy the smallest utility guy on the board, and still wind up with a formidable 7/7 beater or blocker. It’s not going to redefine the format, but I do think this guy is playable. Having a bigger version of your opponents best guy seems cool.

Open The Vaults wants to marry this guy. I personally am not all that interested in this guy, at least not for EDH, but he’ll get some play. He can set up a nice Sharuum smorgasboard, or just make your life hell by fueling a massive Open the Vaults. Beyond that, he doesn’t have much application, but then again, that's all the application he needs to get some love.

It's a Polymorph for Artifacts… and is usually going to be worse than the original Polymorph. Yeah, there’s Enlightened Tutor and other ways to set this up to get what you want, but it’s still just not that great. Polymorph decks run no creatures other than the ones they want to Polymorph into, so they never miss and Polymorph into something lame like Llanowar Elves. They use non-creature sources to make tokens, like Kahlni Garden, so they have cheap, readily available creatures to sac, but no cheap, disappointing creatures to 'morph into. They’ll always hit Iona or Emrakul or whatever. Shape Anew is much harder to set up that way. I don’t know of a non-Artifact card that makes Artifact tokens, so tutoring and deck manipulation are the only ways to make this useful, and that’s fine because Sharuum doesn’t really need anymore goddamn help.

Will nearly always be Counterspell in Sharuum/Dagsson decks. But do those decks need this? I honestly don't know.

Yeah, it’s a reprint, so his worth in EDH is well documented already, but hey, it’s Trinket Mage. He deserves a mention. Particularly since he now has a new BFF to tutor up in Mox Opal. Almost strictly better than Chrome Mox, the Opal might just replace Sol Ring as the most-frequent-target of the Trinket Mage, at least in multi-color builds. The Opal is less exciting in Mono-U but still playable. So yeah, Trinket Mage will get played. Even more.
You would really need a lot of permanents with counters on them to make this playable, but in a deck packed full of Planeswalkers, it might make the cut. Then again, a 1/1 will have a hard time actually dealing combat damage to a player in EDH, even with Flying. There will nearly always be something that can block this and kill it. So probably too narrow to be played.

A bit expensive, but 6 mana is standard for this effect. The triple blue is a bit restrictive for multicolor decks, but if your mana base is resilient enough to support this, it’s a good card. The two primary functions I see it playing in EDH are 1) Stealing Planeswalkers and 2) Stealing Haste-y generals like Thraximundar or Kaarthus. It untaps them so even if they attacked you last turn, you can still swing back. I’d still rather play Treachery over this, but alas Treachery does not steal Planeswalkers (unless you can Instant-speed one into play somehow and take a Gideon Jura who is in creature form at the time).

Blue offers up a few playable cards, nothing too exciting, but nothing too broken either, which is good. The best overall card in Blue is probably Trinket Mage which isn’t even a new card. The 7/7 Clone is really awesome to me, but I’m under no illusions about its relative power level. Volition Reigns will probably see heavy play in Planeswalker-heavy metagames, and will be great against the likes of Thraximundar.

Next post: BLACK

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