Wheeling and Dealing 1: Cool, Calculating, Overtaking, Mad
Blue. It always was, and will likely always be known as the color where wizards said 'screw the rules, we need a broken color!'. Blue has its issues, to be sure; its lack of efficient creatures is disturbing. Its acquirement of Bounce, Cantrips, straight-up card draw, counterspells, flyers, fatties, burn, draw-sevens, discard, tap/untap effects, flash, library manipulation, tutors, Thievery, etc. is even more disturbing. Blue can deal with anything. Literally anything. What it doesn't counter, it bounces and then counters. Add to that the draw-sevens like Timetwister and the most broken non-ante card draw spell ever, Ancestral recall, not to mention Force of Will, AKA the glue that holds eternal formats together (seriously, sans FOW, there would not be vintage), and you have the 'must have' color.
It is blue's power, I believe, that has led to the neutering of blue lately. Ironically, it hasn't worked. What am I talking about? Well, first off, there were a buttload of complaints when Counterspell didn't return in 8th edition. That was the point where, in my opinion, WotC decided that it was sick of that stuck-up little punk blue prancing around beating everyone with its lousy 3/3s on turn 8, so it decided, why not, let's kill blue. Also, blue happened to be the color that most newer players will avoid, because it is very, very difficult to pilot a good permission deck and very, very annoying to play against a good one. I mean, let's face it, who hasn't cursed the name of counterspell in the time of scrubhood (like squirehood, just far, far lamer)? I certainly did. And due to the acquisition rush, WotC doesn't want new players to get frusturated, so they gave blue a good kick in the nads and decided that it would be better off playing aggro like all the other colors. Mistake, as anyone who rues the day Mistbind Clique was printed can agree. Fae is the big deck to beat in standard, and it could almost be just as good without blue, just cutting the removal. Also, another one of the top decks is the underdog U/W merfolk aggro. Powerful stuff.
So, what else is there to say about blue? Well, as you go back, you see that blue has a place in every format. In standard, blue is in Merfolk, Millfolk, Fae, and Lark Blink decks. In extended, we have Countertop and Chase Rares control. In legacy, we have Threshold, Solidarity, and a massive list of other decks who splash or run blue, mostly because if you don't run Force, you die. In vintage, there is virtually no large competitive deck (barring perhaps ichorid) that doesn't run its 4x Force of Will.
Also, on that note, I don't think it would be fair to bring up blue without mentioning the Keeper. That's right, THE deck. It has a blue, counterspell-fueled base, and its finishers? Also blue.
So... what about something classically blue? Here's a decklist from the Deckapedia-keeper, AjaxUD of Gleemax...
Legacy (1.5) BBS (Blue Bull****)
4 Flooded Strand
4 Fact or Fiction
4 Mana Leak
4 Force of Will
3 Powder Keg
3 Back to Basics
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Blue Elemental Blast
4 Vedalken Shackles
And that's that. Blue, the color that will make you eat your words. Backwards.
Check in next week for episode two of our weekly adventure into the color wheel!
The author of Wheeling and Dealing is Jonah Swersey, AKA Budget Player Cadet. Jonah is a writer for MTGDarkness, RealMTG, and MTGUniverse, and the owner of MTGDarkness.