One of the first things you must ask yourself before constructing a deck is what color(s) to play. With many color combinations available, it’s hard to know where to start. This article is one of a five part series that will take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of each color. Today we will be focusing on blue. If you are looking for more about the philosophy and lore of each color you can look here, but this article will cover the mechanics.
Without further ado, let’s get into what blue brings to the table:
Counterspells: One of the biggest strengths to playing blue is the ability to counter your opponent’s spells, effectively rendering them completely useless. This allows you to sometimes negate your opponent’s entire turn and even stop them from performing game winning combos. It also adds a hint of apprehension to playing against blue. Where your opponent may constantly wonder if you have counter magic up or not. Notable counterspells are: Counterspell,Daze, Force of Will, Pact of Negation, and Force Spike.
Card Advantage: Blue is possibly the best color in this aspect. It has access to great card drawing tools such as: Accumulated Knowledge, Stroke of Genius, Windfall, Deep Analysis, and the strongest card draw spell of them all Ancestral Recall. Blue also has many cards that allow you to sift through parts of your library and choose the best card for the job. Brainstorm, Impulse, Ponder, and Preordain are some of these cards. Finally, while not as strong as black, blue does have some very good tutor spells in the form of Sorcery and Instant spell tutors such as: Mystical Tutor, Long-Term Plans, Gifts Ungiven, and Cunning Wish.
Creatures: The best blue creatures usually fall into one of two categories – they either are very small creatures with some form of evasion like: Delver of Secrets or True-Name Nemesis (which put pressure on your opponent) – or they are utility creatures that make up for their size with powerful abilities such as: Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, Cursecatcher, and Hedron Crab.
Tribal: While blue does have a few tribes that show some promise like spirits and faeries, the most prominent tribe is merfolk. Typically a merfolk deck is tempo based and focused on out valuing your opponent with strong tribal synergies like: Lord of Atlantis or Merrow Reejery and cards that hinder your opponent like Harbinger of the Tides or Cursecatcher.
Taking Extra Turns: A powerful but usually costly effect that blue has access to is the ability to take extra turns. Though they can put quite a tax on your lands, cards like these are able to create a lot of advantage for the player that casts them. Some cards that let you take extra turns are Temporal Manipulation, Capture the Jingzhou, and if usable in your format Time Walk.
Bounce: Blue also gives you cards that can return a permanent from play to its owner’s hand (which is commonly known as bouncing a permanent). This can be used to either remove one of your opponent’s threats, forcing them to cast it again, or on your own cards to save them from harm or cast them again for additional value. Some good bounce cards are Unsummon, Boomerang, Snap, and Upheaval.
Artifact Synergy: There are many blue cards that interact with artifacts. Fabricateand Trinket Mage allow you to search your library for just the right artifact you might need. While cards like Tinker, Reshape, and Transmute Artifact let you place artifacts from you library directly into play. There are many other cards that help with an artifact strategy as well such as: Master Transmuter, Etherium Sculptor, and Ensoul Artifact.
However there are also some disadvantages to playing blue:
Generally Weaker Creatures: Although they have powerful effects and usually some kind of evasion, blue creatures tend to be small. A well-placed block or burn spell is usually enough to deal with them.
Huge Mana Requirements: Many powerful effects like taking an extra turn need huge investment, and keeping mana open for counterspells gives you less to work with during your own turn. While this isn’t always an issue for the color, as it’s control cards are generally fairly powerful, it is something important to note.
Passive Gameplay: Blue decks tend to react to their opponents plays rather than making ones of their own. This can lead to being overwhelmed by hyper aggressive decks that just can’t be kept up with.
But what do you think? Are the downsides of player blue worth the benefits? Do you think another color could fit well with it to strengthen its weaknesses? If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to say something in the comments section below.