Welcome back to our next chapter of the Zendikar Rising Limited Set Review! In today's article I will be making my predictions for how strong each of the set's Blue cards will be in Limited. As always, my 5-point scale is as follows:
1.0 = Unplayable
2.0 = Not often desired
3.0 = Decent filler to round out most decks
4.0 = High priority, finishers
5.0 = Top Pick, must have
And as always, all opinions and card ratings in this article are my own. Let's jump in!
A creature/planeswalker tax in the early game, but a hard counter late game or in a Mill deck. I think this card will most often be a late pick since it doesn't contribute to Mill's game plan, but I still expect to see a creature get countered every now and then.
Like similar cards before it, I expect this card to be a great inexpensive and effective removal spell for blue. Adding this card in decks that care about Kicker will make it that much better.
A 3/3 and minimum scry 1 for 4 mana is fine. I expect this card to be filler and not much more common than a one-of when it is played.
Charix, the Raging Isle
Better pack a lot of Islands for this Leviathan. Sure to be a great candidate to pick up Equipment or other buff, but the more lands in play means fewer ability activations to make this monster a heavy hitter. Pair with protection spells to really tax your opponent's mana.
Rating: 3.5, crab butts are the new crab legs
I've never been a fan of similar blue cards, but the card draw workaround seems great. I won't prioritize this card, but I could definitely see playing a copy or two in decks where the card draw is almost guaranteed.
Cleric of Chill Depths
A decent effect, but it probably only buys one turn when it matters. Not a finisher or finisher-enabler, so I am not going out of my way to play it.
Being that creatures are what usually win games in draft, this is not the type of counter I want to focus on in blue. Probably a great sideboard card if the opponent has a flashy game winning sorcery, but otherwise disappointing.
The bad hits keep coming. While it draws a card on entering the battlefield, the main attraction effect on the card is irrelevant when playing against anything other than green decks that ramp.
Rating: 1.0, bad can trip
Blue has a vague Kicker theme, although Kicker is present across the board, and this is a great bonus for playing those cards. I think this card would be worth playing with as few as 2-3 kicker cards in the deck.
3 mana for a 2/2 that bounces a creature to hand on entering the battlefield is a thing of the past. Decent stats for an early game attacker with late game versatility is fine, and I don't think this is a card worth holding in hand to capitalize on kicker unless there are better spells to play sooner.
Helps find the cards you want and that's it. Filler or enabler for spells matter decks.
A 3/2 flyer for 4 mana is pretty good, and replacing itself when it dies if you have another wizard is great. I wouldn't stack a deck with these, but I might play 2 or 3 copies in a deck with enough wizards.
Drawing two cards for 3 mana is pretty normal for recent standard sets, and the optional Kicker is nice but probably not likely for just one extra card. I expect to rarely see the kicker paid without some additional bonus.
Now this is a lot of value for 3 mana. It does a lot for just one card that also replaces itself and I expect this to be a popular common in draft.
Inscription of Insight
I don't feel like this card does enough as a 4 mana rare. Whether it is cast with Kicker or not it seems overpriced for what it does.
Into the Roil
Bounce a creature and draw was good the first time this card was printed, and I imagine it is still good now.
Jace, Mirror Mage
Seems very similar to the last 3 mana Jace we had in a Standard set, only this one does not have a built-in game winning feature. Casting with Kicker to have two Jaces alternating scry and draw abilities each turn seems like the best use of this card.
3/3's with Flash and Flying for 5 put in work. If I get forced into drafting blue without a decent win-con, I will be looking for these.
If milling away the opponent's best threat doesn't work out, why not just take it for yourself? It may be blue heavy, but the effect is well worth it.
Removing eight cards for 2 mana is gross, and I see this as the closer for Mill decks. In a 40 card deck format, by the time Kicker is achievable it likely won't Mill many more cards than if the spell was cast for its base cost.
Master of Winds
This card focuses on a "spells matter" strategy and relies on other cards to be deadly. It aims to draw into the cards that help achieve that goal and if successful, could end the game in a few turns.
Offering an extra upside for Kicked spells, this creature already has good stats for its mana cost.
Likely to kill the opponent's life total before it Mills them out, but still a card the opponent has to answer either way. A great early enabler for Mill decks.
Never gone from Standard for long, and still not enticing in Limited. Sideboard card against noncreature spell heavy decks at best.
Not too impressive without a full Party to help draw cards, but still a great start to a Party in the early draft.
A blocker with a Kicker bonus, but unplayable without enabling Kicker spells.
Rating: 1.5, big water, not always big bite
Roost of Drakes
One of the best bonuses for playing kicker spells. Great early pick to set up a Kicker deck, or great payoff for drafting Kicker spells throughout the draft
For those who didn't know already, crabs rule the Mill world, and they cannot be stopped. This card will always be a great addition to any blue deck, and a must-have for Mill decks.
Sea Gate Stormcaller
There are enough cheap removal spells and combat tricks to make this card interesting in Limited. Flash would have been a nice addition, and lacking the ability requires advanced planning to maximize the value of the copied spell.
With a full Party in play the activated ability can probably be used several times in the same turn, making this 2/3 into a much more serious threat. Undoubtedly strong in locked board states. Don't forget when playing in paper that this creature is a Rogue and therefore counts itself towards the discount.
I'm sure the Hexproof portion will be more relevant than the minor toughness boost. As if staring down 2 open mana in a blue deck wasn't worrisome enough, now there's one more reason to be cautious when targeting your opponent's creatures. I expect this to be the most common way to protect game-ending creatures.
Draw three cards for 5 mana at its worst, look at the top seven cards of your library and add three of your choice to your hand at its best, and everywhere in between. Even the minimum is decent, but I'd expect to have at least one Party member in play by turn 5 to get more value out of this card.
A Squid that won't attack without newly acquired land isn't ideal. I don't expect to get much traction out of this creature.
Rogues seem to be plentiful and skilled in evasion in this set, and this rogue in play likely guarantees an additional card draw each turn. Even if there's nothing better in the deck to draw, unblockable damage each turn can still win.
An expensive Kicker, but a great way to get back powerful spells in the late game. Inexpensive party members can't hurt.
A great way to turn one of the opponent's fancy equipment spells or artifact creatures against them. With fewer than 20 artifacts in the set, I'm not sure how often that will happen, but a 2 power flier is still nice. Being a Rogue with Flying will surely be relevant.
Evasion and added card draw bonus to playing spells sounds great. I expect this to be a popular card for blue decks.
Another stacked common. Flash, Mill, combat trick, and creature all in one? Sign me up! At common I won't be surprised to find decks playing multiples.
Modal Double-Faced Cards (MDFC's)
Beyeen Veil / Beyeen Coast
Both sides of the card seem to cater to the player who is behind, providing reduced damage for a turn or a land when needed. Probably better than an Island in draft, but not by much.
Glasspool Mimic / Glasspool Shore
To my knowledge, a creature cannot count as more than one member of the Party at any given time, and I don't believe this card is an exception. Party tricks may not be an option, but doubling up on the best creature you have in play seems great.
Jwari Disruption / Jwari Ruins
Enough to slow a deck that is trying to curve out, but otherwise not very exciting. Again, probably only slightly better than a regular Island.
Sea Gate Restoration / Sea Gate, Reborn
An expensive spell that doesn't win the game when it resolves, and may not even draw many cards. Not only does casting this spell leave the player wide open if they don't already have a board presence, but by not already having a hand full of cards when this spell resolves, the spell effectively does nothing. As far as Limited formats are concerned, I think this is a contender for Worst Mythic in the Set.
Silundi Vision / Silundi Isle
A great way to dig for a key Instant or Sorcery, but I think the land side will typically be more useful in Limited.
Umara Wizard / Umara Skyfalls
There has to be a price to keep versatile cards balanced, and giving unconditional Flying to the creature side of a card like this was probably too good. Regardless, in a deck with enough Instants and Sorceries this could still be a strong finisher, and the optional land mode is nice too.
That concludes my review of all the mono blue colored card in Zendikar Rising! I'm rarely drawn to blue in limited, and as such I feel like I may be more critical of those cards' playability, which makes me interested to see how accurate my predictions are. Be sure to check back in for my follow-up articles! Thank you for reading, and please check back for the next installment: Zendikar Rising - Limited Set Review - Black! Thank you to The Lotus Council for the opportunity to create MTG content! Stay tuned for more Deck Techs and be sure to follow The Lotus Council as well as my Twitter and Twitch accounts for future content!