Magic: the Gathering
This article belongs to the series Pauper's Christmas reprint wishlist:
Counterspelland efficient creatures has led blue-based decks to the top of the format for more than a decade and the recent addition of
Fall from Favorcaused other decks that use color to go up in the format and even some decks chose to make a splash to blue just to use the new Monarch card. For thar reason, it would be possible to simply end the article here by saying
"Blue is good enough and doesn't need anything". However, there are cards that could still be added to the format in the future to meet of the needs or flaws the color has or promote possible new archetypes, it is up to me to point out that perhaps, compared to other colors, the blue wish list is relatively inferor compared to too many colors because, again, we are talking about the best color of the format and I had to be careful not to add things that could be significantly broken to the best decks of the format. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean the cards I have chose aren't controversial in some manner.
Threads of Disloyalty, which at some point used to be an Legacy all-star. In Pauper,
Control Magiccould be used to take control of a permanent that generates a lot of value like
Ninja of the Deep Hoursand
Seeker of the Wayor a big threat at the table like
Myr Enforceror even dealing with problematic permanents like [card] Kor Skyfisher) or
River Boawhile also serving as a disruptive element when taking control a key creature from a combo such as a
Quirion Ranger. However, four mana is a steep cost for blue-based decks to use this kind of effect, which means it wouldn't be an auto-include neither a staple to every blue deck since with four mana you can make more meaningful plays such as playing a Monarch card or having the mana up for both removal and counterspells.
Delver of Secrets, where Blue-Based decks today count on establishing a clock using 1/1 creatures like Faeries and Ninjas, or having a splashable threat like
Gurmag Angler. However, to include such a creature for Blue, it is necessary to consider how the card would behave on most occasions and follow some prerequisites so that it does not just make a deck that is already very strong a busted deck. For example,
Pteramanderis not a viable creature as it can be used at any point in the game as an evasive threat to reach a
Ninja of the Deep Hours, thus giving Faeries a creature that fits the deck's game plan while also featuring an evasive and pretty fast late-game clock.
Cryptic Serpentbecause it is a punitive card of having multiples in hand during the early game, potentially being a dead card depending on your deck configuration, promoting a gameplay more based around spells and disruptions rather than a deck filled with 2-for-1 small threats. Furthermore,
Cryptic Serpentinteracts negatively with
Gurmag Angler, making it almost impossible for both to be played synergistically on the same list, but possibly enabling a Mono Blue or UR versions without so much focus on Faeries.
Fact or Fictionto Pauper today is that Tron is the deck that would best benefit from the card, allowing it to dig even deeper to find some lands or the answer the deck needs for that specific moment and being able to resort to what goes to the grave with
Pulse of Murasa. On the other hand, were it not for this archetype, which has been declining in the last Challanges due to the rise of blue Tempo decks,
Fact or Fictionwould be a fascinating card to have in a format like Pauper. Not only does the card offer a significant amount of card advantage, it also brings a sub-game of decisions for players that makes the game more interesting to play or watch, as the stacks of
Fact or Fictionare always a good puzzle for both players.
Seeker of the Wayand
Jhessian Thief, Pauper's Prowess creatures lack good reasons to be played, and
Jeskai Elderlooks like a good mix of both creatures that could impact the format in a positive way. Pauper's most important turn is often turn 2 as this is the turn in which players start presenting their engines that will dictate the pace of the game, making
Jeskai Eldera possibly easier to play threat than
Jhessian Thief, while the card is by no means a better option than
Seeker of the Way.
Laboratory Maniacseems the most viable to become a common card since, in the most of the time, the card is a 2/2 for 3 mana that does absolutely nothing. In Pauper,
Laboratory Maniacwould have a 4-card combo with
Nomads en-Koralong with any effect to draw a card to have an instawin, which seems a weak combo as the three cards are pretty bad on their own and unreasonable in terms of mana cost, or it would be possible to consider a new version of No-Land Spy using
Laboratory Maniac+ any draw effect , perhaps. Today, the format lacks good means to use or abuse Self-mill effects or even reasons to do so, it would be up to future sets to bring some card or cards that make
Laboratory Maniaca viable strategy for Pauper, if one day the card was reprinted as a common.
Marit Lage's Slumberis a strange card. The enchantment is a powerful payoff for Snow strategies in Magic in the form of the legendary indestructible 20/20 token, Marit Lage. However, the card never had its opportunity to shine in any format even when
Arcum's Astrolabewas still legal in Modern, leading me to consider how impactful this kind of payoff would be for Pauper. On the one hand, this card could be the "ultimate threat" kind of card and the inevitability necessary for a deck like Snow-Go, whose is the only deck I can imagine using the card efficiently since it is an archetype that naturally prolongs the game and would be able to set a difficult to answer clock after controlling the game.
Ghostly Flickerengines, using the enchantment only as the largest threat that the format could have. Removing a Marit Lage could be problematic for some decks, but the format seems to have a good answer for the enchantment or the token in almost all colors: White has effects like
Journey to Nowhere, blue has
Echoing Truthand the like, black has
Chainer's Edictamong many other edict effects, red could use effects like
Act of Treasonfor a huge blowout while green has better options for dealing with enchantments. However, the card, if one day became a common card, would be used on heavy Control decks and, most likely, if the Control player already has ten snow permanents, he has already stabilized and controlled the game for a while.
Narcoamebaalso does not have a home with the cards we have today as there is no efficient version of Dredge or All Spells viable in the format to compensate for the use of this card , in addition to lacking other effects like
Prized Amalgamto abuse it.
Jace's Erasureis a very slow wincondition.
Psychic Corrosionfixes this problem by doubling the Turbo Fog clock, helping it significantly to end the game and creating yet another constant mill effect that the opponent needs to respond to or win the game before it is possible abuse interactions with
Accumulated Knowledgeor even
Arcane Denial. I have my doubts whether giving access to this type of card to the format would indeed be beneficial because one of the things that keeps Turbo Fog in check is precisely the absence of an efficient clock, which allows the opponent to have a lot of time to recover and try to win the game. Doubling that clock or even more with multiple copies could mean removing the greatest weakness from the deck and creating an archetype that is just as strong and just as boring to play against as Fog Tron.
Reality Shiftmeets this need for a reasonable way to exile a problematic creature (therefore, not allowing loops from
Omen of the Deador
Pulse of Murasa.) while still leaving a body on the table that allows it to serve both as a blocker or an extra clock. I don't know to what extent there is a need for a blue removal on Pauper, since one of the color's weaknesses is precisely having inefficient ways to deal with threats already solved at the table and that is one of the primary reasons for a splash. And although
Reality Shiftoffers a card or creature in exchange for removing a threat, dealing with a 2/2 is much easier than dealing with several other creatures of the format.
Skilled Animatorfor its ability to make
Darksteel Citadelan indestructible 5/5 creature on the deck known as Ensoul. Since
Ensoul Artifactis much more difficult to interact with and the
Animating Faerie's ability makes the artifact permanently a creature,
Skilled Animatorseems the fairest and most feasible for Pauper since removals exist in abundance in the metagame, allowing larger windows of interaction. In Pauper,
Skilled Animatorhas many targets to transform into creatures, like the other artifact lands,
Flayer Huskor even make a
Frogmitea better threat. It would be a very interesting addition to the format, being a significant threat since it could catch opponents off guard with a 5/5 on the other side of the table, but which is also easier to answer on Pauper than on Pioneer, since our main removals affect it unconditionally.
Prophetic Prism, it is in this turn where Stompy tends to start his explosive games with
Burning-Tree Emissary, and it's on CMC 2 that cards like
Seeker of the Way,
Kor Skyfisher, among others are found .
Journey to Nowhere,
Agony Warpand even
Spell Snarewould be a card that could have a great impact on the format and give the Blue-Based decks another low cost interaction for a large number of cards of the format, thus becoming a possible problematic card because it would only make these decks better than they already are. On the other hand, the relevance of the card could also be questionable as there is a wide range of cards in the format that are not found at cmc 2, and there would be occasions where
Spell Snarecould be worse than a
Force Spikein your hand.
Thirst for Knowledge, since we have had for some years even more efficient forms of card advantage like Monarch cards or interactions like
Ephemerate. Aside from these engines, cards like
Compulsive Researchand even
Thirst for Meaningalready exist in the format, and
Thirst for Knowledgebasically works as a mix between them, so it seems a more than fair inclusion for the format.
Syncopateas a way to respond to threatening cards, whether a sweeper like [card (Fiery Cannonade) or a removal on some core creature like
Unified Willworks as a flexible and with a more reasonable cosr than
Syncopate, as it does not oblige you to hold absurd amounts mana, and serves as a universal response to several other problematic cards against this archetype Outside of Elves, there are a few other archetypes, like Jeskai Affinity, that could make use of the card, whether in maindeck or sideboard, to deal with some threats from decks that run fewer creatures.
Unsubstantiateis a flexible card, as it offers a temporary response to either a problematic spell or a permanent in play, but without doing either with excellence since it is just a bounce effect. This means being able to temporarily deal with effects that would end up disrupting a deck's game plan, allowing you, in the early game, to put yourself ahead for another turn or, at least, delay your opponent's game plan. Despite being a card that would probably benefit Mono Blue more than the other decks, theaddition of a flexible response seems a healthy addition to the format and we have seen flexible cards being reprinted as common recently in the form of
Waker of Wavesseems like a good addition to be another threat to Reanimator after using its effect, just as you do with
Striped Riverwinder. Its ability to discard itself is the highlight here, as it allows the deck to "dig" deeper in search of
Exhumeor another reanimation spell to bring the giant whale into play. The card would not replace
Striped Riverwinder, but would become another addition to the archetype, allowing it to have more targets for its main strategy. At the same time, the absence of hexproof or shroudcould make
Waker of Wavesa significantly worse option, but the trade from built-in protection to a higher clock and an effect that potentially weakens some of the main decks of the format seems like a fair trade.
Foilcame out, or to not break other decks that also use blue, as was the case with Izzet Drake. Next week, we will dive into the Bojuka bogs to see the black cards wishlist !