Latest Update
10 December, 2006

Timespiral: “I have a Girlfriend and She is so Blue”


By Dr. Chunk

TSBlue1From what started as a discussion, turned into an article and has now become a series I am back to further discuss the commons in Timespiral draft. The reason: “Common things are common” (see previous article title), which is a medical phrase for “You will always see common things, so don’t get worried about the rare stuff.”

So today we talk about blue as we meander our way in a predetermined route around the colour pie. Said colour pie is feeling slightly worse for wear given the seeing to it has received from Wizards recently.

Poor pie…

Bewilder – Dizzy spell fetches Mark of Eviction. The only reason it was ever played in Ravnica block. Bewilder costs three times as much but you get to draw a card for the privilege. I know some of you (Kiriyuu and some guys I play on MTGO) play this card but let me spell it out:

This is not a combat trick
This is not a card drawing spell
This is never something you should have in your deck

Why play an awful card that draws you a good card when you could just have had the good card in the first place?

Cancel – I generally do not like playing counterspells in limited. You play creatures, removal and maybe a trick or two and that is it. Counterspell on a creature (eg. Mystic Snake or Draining Whelk) – good. Counterspell on its own – Bad! All the time you are holding this card in your hand and leaving mana open you are not progressing the game. Please do feel free to disagree with me.

Clockspinning – Combotastic with any suspend guy, your opponents suspend guys, and pretty much anything with counters on it. Still not any good though is it?

TSBlue2Coral Trickster – In blue a 2/1 for two is a good deal. Blue also got the lions share of the morphs and they add the bonus of (potentially) being any number of different creatures. This morph has many a use – from tapping attackers to stopping blocking to untapping your guy as a surprise (remember he untaps too). Solid, playable but not a high pick card.

Crookclaw Transmuter – I love this guy. A 3/1 flyer for four is great. A 3/1 flyer for four that appears in your opponents end step to upset their math is good. A 3/1 flyer for four that appears in your opponents combat step and forces an unfavourable trade is fantastic. A 3/1 flyer for……

…not sure where I am going with this.

Dream Stalker – Something makes me want to play this River Kaijin replacement. Something inside me gets kind of excited about bouncing a Firemaw Kavu or even just a Fathom Seer. Then something else inside me reminds me we try not to play walls and then we move along.

Drifter il-Dal – He looks like he should be good but he is often found hanging around at the end of packs looking for a good home. If you have an aggressive blue deck then maybe this guy fits, but the mana restriction makes him a bit of a bugbear.

Errant Ephemeron – Now we have the heavy hitters. Suspending this man on the second turn puts your opponent on a clock – a clock that says you have five turns to figure out how you are going to deal with this beast. Once he is in the Ephemeron is difficult to deal with and can easily ride his way through to victory. First pick quality.

TSBlue3Eternity Snare – At five mana I would have contemplated this card but six seems like such a difficult number to actually reach. Dehydration is a bit “Yawn” and this does little more for me.

Fathom Seer – A morph that trades, out of the blue, with other morphs. Sure you set yourself back two turns of mana development but by the mid-late game the cards drawn are far more important. There is little not to like about this guy other than the fact that you need a good bit of blue in your deck to make him work. Then again no matter how the screw goes you can still drop him as a 2/2.

Looter il-Kor – There is very little new to say about the looting shadow man. We all know he is awesome and his card drawing abilities catapulted me through my pre-release. You will not see this man late often so if you do take it as a signal. Otherwise if you want him pick him high.

Mystical Teachings – If you a) have something worth fetching and b) can flash this back and find something else worth fetching then this is a very good card. A tutor is only as good as what you can fetch with it.

Ophidian Eye – I have had this played against me many a time. More amusingly someone played it on one of my creatures to try and draw cards (ps. Read the card!). I have little love for this card as I can always think of something better to play but that is more due to the overall quality of Timespiral as a whole.

Sage of Epityr – If you have read my comments on one drops before you know how I feel. The index ability on this guy is actually almost enough to make him playable – if only the creature were a bit more interesting.

Screeching Sliver – Yes, I have been milled out by this guy and yes it sucks. I thought we had gotten rid of mill when we stopped drafting RRR. I really don’t feel that this sort of alternate win condition is something I want in my deck given the choice. If you are a really slow, defensive sliver deck than maybe this guy is worth it.

Shadow Sliver – Some say this is a Sliver “I win” card and I can see why. I personally dislike the fact he is a 1/1 for three mana that is potentially going to stop me from blocking.

Slipstream Serpent – Another morph and as a rule all morphs are playable as Grey Ogres alone. The morph cost and “Island home” on this guy make life a little more complicated but he can always un-morph en-route through the red zone to smack for six. I feel the restrictions outweigh the benefits and would not pick this highly at all.

TSBlue4Snapback – I really like this card even if it is an over costed unsummon. But is it over costed? I don’t believe it is when you pay it for free – and it is the pitch that really sells it. This card comes as a great surprise out of an untapped board and can be a great shift in tempo. Bounce is even better in a format where suspend exists – They wait five turns for their Ephemeron and you pay two mana to send it right back. Even better on a Gargadon and a definite high, if not first pick.

Spiketail Drakeling – As with Cloudchaser Kestrel 2/2 fliers for three mana are above the standard for limited. The secondary ability takes some working around on your opponents behalf also (if you can remember to use the Drakeling correctly!). The double blue is prohibitive but should not put you off drafting this man high.

Temporal Eddy – Although bounce is great in a time orientated block the Eddy suffers from being a sorcery. It can be rather annoying for your opponent but you had better be doing something good with the time this pseudo-walk gives you.

Think Twice – This card is a bit like Marmite – some people love it and some people hate it. Personally I hate marmite yet I find it difficult not to eat Twiglets when presented with them.

Think Twice – Twiglets aside this card is one I have yet to put to good use. It seems like it should be good – either discarded to a Spellshaper and flashed back or just used to draw two cards it seems solid. Time (spiral) will tell on this one.

Tolarian Sentinel – Another card I have yet to show any love for and the worst of the Spellshapers in my mind. A defensive body and a defensive ability that will set you back cards and tempo for the sake of avoiding removal. I can see he has a role and could be useful in blue black with madness but I still don’t rate him highly.

Viscerid Deepwalker – Another bone of contention is the playability of the Deepwalker. He has the fire breathing ability (but blue?) but he lacks any form of evasion and despite having the suspend he is still only a 2/3. All of these things make me think that, maybe, he could be useful if you can get him past blockers, but otherwise he is a 20th to 23rd card in any deck.

So overall blues game plan is not as clear as the white draft strategies. There are some bomb commons and a decent amount of evasion but they just don’t seem to have the depth of their white counterparts. This is fine as no-one is suggesting you draft mono-blue and therefore you can plug your holes with a second colour.

Top five draft picks:

TSBlue51) Ephemenernemeneron!
2) Looter il-kor
3) Snapback
4) Fathom Seer
5) Crookclaw Transmuter

The obligatory quick note on the best uncommons:

Fledgling Mawcor – “Tim-ing” has always been good and this morph Tim is also a 2/2 flying beater. First pick.
Wipe Away – Great trick, split second makes it awesome.
Riftwing Cloudskate – Bounce on a flying stick with suspend to boot.

Ding Ding!

Round 3 coming soon,

Dr. Chunk





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