Examining Rise of the Eldrazi for Cube – Blue

Blue is such a strong color, especially in a cube that contains powerful cards that get played in the eternal formats. Rise of the Eldrazi contains some really interesting and strong blue cards, but they have rough competition if they want a slot in a lot of cubes.

Cast Through Time

I want to like this card. Cast Through Time feels like it should be broken somehow. At seven mana you want it to win you the game, or at least enable you to. So far I haven’t found the thing that pushes Cast Through Time over the edge.

Verdict: No

Deprive

I think this is a really nice counterspell. Probably one of the more competitive counterspells. Cancel is alright, but if you’re running any of the new Zendikar block lands with enter the battlefield triggers such as Sejiri Steppe, Halimar Depths, or Khalni Garden it just makes Deprive that much better. That being said, it isn’t close to Counterspell in sheer power, and I have plenty of counters in my cube that don’t have the harsh tempo drawback. I don’t run Sejiri Steppe or Halimar Depths in my cube yet (though I am considering it), so Deprive just doesn’t have any upside to offset the tempo loss.

Verdict: No

Distortion Strike

I’ve always loved unblockability. It’s usually hard to come by. Blue comes out with a decent creature with unblockability once in a while, but the ones that make unblockability shine usually cost too much to see much play. Distortion Strike excites me. I think it’s a great combat trick for blue to push using blue in aggro or even fatty decks. Having rebound just makes it that much better. I’m definitely finding room for this.

Verdict: Add

Domestication

I thought about adding Domestication for all of maybe ten seconds. I’ve already got Control Magic in my cube, and this is a neutered version of that card.

Verdict: No

Drake Umbra

In a limited environment, I really like Drake Umbra. It feels a lot like Elephant Guide or Griffin Guide to me. I like that totem armor enchantments save your creatures from destruction. It negates some of the downside of enchantments. I’m interested in seeing whether this card would really be good in the cube.

Verdict: Maybe

Echo Mage

Echo Mage looks like a fun card. I’m sure that there could be some great interactions, especially in a multiplayer game. If you’re looking for some inexpensive ways to fill your cube with copy effects, this card would fit that bill. I actually don’t run a lot of ┬ácopy effects in my cube, so this card presents a new avenue to explore.

Verdict: Maybe

Enclave Cryptologist

I don’t run Merfolk Looter in my cube. I used to, but I removed it as there were other more power cards I wanted to put in its place. Enclave Cryptologist in general will be a slightly overcosted Merfolk Looter. I think it’s an awesome card in Rise of the Eldrazi limited, but I’m not sure that it’d always cut it in a cube draft.

Verdict: Maybe

Hada Spy Patrol

If your cube is short on good aggro creatures in blue, I would highly consider this guy. At level one and two, it’s an overcosted Phantom Warrior and at level three, your opponent will be looking for their mass removal as they won’t be able to target his pesky hide. Hada Spy Patrol, combined with any equipment, is good times and like creatures with shadow can be a real pain for your opponent. I’m going to try him out, as the blue in my cube is full of tricky creatures, but very few aggressive creatures that can come out early.

Verdict: Add

Lighthouse Chronologist

This would be insane in any multiplayer game, if they are crazy enough to let you hit max level with it. In power level for the cube, it seems a bit lackluster. You have to sink nine mana into it before you see any payout, and the only thing going for him is his toughness until level seven. If you can cash in on his max level, he’s going to give you time to win, but again, your opponent would be a fool to let him hit max level and until then he’s not much of a threat. I’ll be trying him out in EDH, but not cube.

Verdict: No

Mnemonic Wall

I’m a huge fan of re-usability. I run Scrivener, Anarchist, and Nucklavee already in my cube. Mnemonic Wall is the same cost as Scrivener, yet it can also return Sorcery cards. It also has a much better toughness. This will easily replace Scrivener in my cube, hands down.

Verdict: Add

Reality Spasm

I feel that my cube is lacking the kind of trick that Reality Spasm brings to the table. Use during an opponent’s upkeep to keep their armies at bay. Use at the end of their turn to pave the yellow brick road for your own. Being able to tap permanents is great. You can even tap out your opponents land during their upkeep, forcing them to either use what mana they can during that step or lose it for the turn. Combine this with Mnemonic Wall, Surreal Memoir or Nucklavee for fun and profit. I’m pretty sure I’ll find a place for this card. I’ll keep my eyes open for whether it sees much play, but it seems like it is such a nice utility card for limited formats.

Verdict: Add

Recurring Insight

Up front, six mana may seem a lot. But, add in rebound and you’re looking at one mana per card drawn, or perhaps less. In a multiplayer game this can net you an insane number of cards and even in a duel it can rectify any card disadvantage you may have had. I’m going to give it a chance, as it can be a great draw spell for the late game.

Verdict: Add

Sea Gate Oracle

Not a bad card. Sea Gate Oracle provides a cantrip with a choice, moving you further into your deck. He’s a decent body though he isn’t quite as good a wall as, well, walls. Blue has quite a few solid guys, so I’m not sure this is one I’d put in my cube. However, if you were running a cube made of commons (commonly called a Peasant or Pauper cube) I think this would be an auto-include.

Verdict: Maybe

See Beyond

I only run a few good draw spells in my cube. See Beyond feels like a slightly powered down Brainstorm. Even with the downsizing in power, I really like this card. It’s not the second coming of Brainstorm (I’d say Jace, the Mind Sculptor fills that role and then some), but it lets you do a couple of things; it can protect a card in your hand from discard or it can simply siphon away chaff while you draw into better cards. Polymorph decks in Standard love this card as it gives you a way to get the fatties out of your hand, where they are completely dead, and back into your deck. Any deck that would like Brainstorm would probably like this, except decks that are trying to stack their library for something. For instance something like the Draco and Erratic Explosion combo. I’m currently testing out Treasure Hunt, so I’ll likely give See Beyond a shot as well.

Verdict: Add

Sphinx of Magosi

Sphinx of Magosi is a great card in limited environments. A very strong flier that lets you draw cards and permanently pump him up as well. I just may have to try him out.

Verdict: Maybe

Final Conclusion

Blue in Rise of the Eldrazi contains a lot of new twists on old cards as well as some exciting new card designs. I think it offered the most cards in a color worthy of consideration for a cube. Depending on what goal you have in mind for your cube, you may find more or fewer cards that will excite you, but I’m pleased with the power level of the blue cards in the new set.

Add

Maybe

No

Father, husband, programmer, gamer. Magic: The Gathering enthusiast who enjoys playing and discussing the game with anyone who is willing.

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