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Planeshift: Analysis of Blue
By Alex Makhovykh
Hello everyone, Iím here today with my take on blue cards in Planeshift. Unfortunately, I couldnít go to the prerelease, so these are just my ideas and opinions, and you can feel free to disregard them if youíd like. If you want to comment on anything that I said here, you can e-mail me. Iíll go straight to the topic:

Allied Strategies
4U
Sorcery
Target player draws a card for each basic land type among lands he or she controls.
Rarity: Uncommon

I actually donít think that this is all too bad. Especially in limited where you can throw this in a 4 or 5-color green deck. It can get you some serious card advantage, even if it is priced at 5 mana. The only problem I see with it, is that it says "target player", because Misdirection is becoming quite popular in type 2 these days, so you probably (or definitely) want to play Fact or Fiction instead.

Arctic Merfolk
1U
Creature - Merfolk
1/1
Kicker-Return a creature you control to its owner's hand. (You may return a creature you control to its owner's hand in addition to any other costs as you play this spell.) If you paid the kicker cost, Arctic Merfolk comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it.
Rarity: Common

Why does everyone despise this so much? So what if its a crappy 1/1 for 1U? Did you even look at the kicker? You did? Then what do you find wrong with returning a Battlemage to be kickered and getting a 2/2 for 1U? Obviously, this creature is not for the standard environment, but I canít imagine it being as bad as people think in limited. Thatís not to say that I believe that this is a truly amazing card. It has some potential, thatís all.

Confound
Blue
1U
Instant
Counter target spell that targets one or more creatures. Draw card.
Rarity: Common

This has some potential in the new Type 2, especially against decks with a lot of removal, such as the new Black/Red decks that are bound to appear. In limited it is just awesome. I believe the Sideboard described it the best: Counter opponentís _. Your _ is still alive. Then draw a card. Insert "creature" and "removal" where appropriate. Confound gets even better with direct damage that your opponent wants to sneak through during combat. Overall, Confound is a great card in limited, as it is easily splashable and rarely useless.

Dralnu's Pet
1UU
Creature - Shapeshifter
2/2
Kicker-2B, Discard a creature card from your hand. (You may pay 2B and discard a creature card from your hand in addition to any other costs as you play this spell.) If you paid the kicker cost, Dralnu's Pet has flying and comes into play with X +1/+1 counters on it, where X is the discarded card's converted mana cost.
Rarity: Rare

This is some good. A 2/2 for three mana may not be too good, but look at its ability! In standard you can discard a Nether Spirit if you didnít so far, and get a 5/5 flyer. Or discard Draco, and get an 18/18 flyer. Yes, Parallax Wave is still a concern, as is the darn Lin-Sivvi-every-turn-recruited-Defiant-Falcon-or-Glider, but I think this is still playable. I mean youíre playing blue for crying out loud. Counter them. Or throw in a Wumpus or a Plague Spitter in the mix, and watch them suffer. In limited, this guy becomes just mean. Evasion is damn good in this format, and how long will it take for you to kill your opponent with your big flyer? Not too long. Terminate is a major concern for this, but other than that, thereís nothing much that can stop it. Except for a flyer and that damn Acolyte. Or a Wash Out. Oh well, nothingís perfect.

Ertai's Trickery
U
Instant
Counter target spell if a kicker cost was paid for it.
U

Yep, this card sure does suck in constructed. The only thing I can imagine it countering is a kickered Kavu Titan, Dismantling Blow, Phyrexian Scuta, and sometimes Probe. In limited, however, it is not as bad as people seem to think. Sure, its pretty situational, but it can counter Faeire Squadrons, Duskwalkers, the mentioned Probes, Agonizing Demise, Benalish Lancers, Breath of Darigaaz, Dismantling Blow, Hypnotic Cloud, Shivan Emissary, Vodalian Serpent, Battlemages and a lot more. It wonít always counter these cards, but most of the time it will. And I like that. Ertaiís Trickery will still be one of last picks, so you can usually get a few. I wouldnít play with more than one main deck, but its nice to have some sitting in the sideboard, ready to come out if needed.

Escape Routes
2U
Enchantment
2U: Return target white or black creature you control to its owner's hand.
Rarity: Common

For a while I assumed this was uncommon. Oh well. This will never see any standard use, but lets you play some nice tricks in limited. Escape Routes is very good with black and white battlemages respectively, but also allows you to play some rather neat combat tricks. Put damage on the stack, then return your critter to safety, to be played again next turn. Also helps you to minimize damage from bombs like Breath of Darigaaz and Rout.

Gainsay
1U
Instant
Counter target blue spell.
Rarity: Uncommon

Well, in contradictory to most of the other cards, this is sort of good in type 2, but really blows in limited. In limited, I donít think that this even deserves a sideboard spot, unless you know that your opponent is playing with something huge and blue, like Dromar or Crosis. In type 2 however, it allows you to board 4 extra counterspells against control decks. Gainsay is cheap, easy to use, and can go in the sideboard of both Blue/White and Blue/Black decks.

Hunting Drake
4U
Creature - Drake
2/2
Flying. When Hunting Drake comes into play, put target red or green creature on top of its owner's library.
Rarity: Common

This is not to bad either in type 2 or limited formats. While it may be too slow for type 2, it sends a red or green creature, assuming its targetable, to the top of its ownerís library. This should be a good sideboard card for some decks against Fires. For example, if you let that Shivan Wurm through, youíre given a second chance to counter him, and you stall your opponent at the same time, since he has to cast the Wurm and return another creature to his hand at the same time. Hunting Drake can also play some neat tricks in limited, whether it's stalling your opponent or letting you reuse your Battlemage. And, as always, a 2/2 with evasion is welcome.

Planar Overlay
2U
Sorcery
Each player chooses a land he or she controls of each basic land type. Return those lands to their owners' hands.
Rarity: Rare

For some reason, I just donít like this. It can buy you some time, but its a rare, and it affects you as well as your opponent. In limited this could be used in sideboard, but itís a rare and you wonít see it very often. Planar Overlay can be of some use in type 2 if domain or Draco decks start to get out of hand, but I just donít see that happening.

Planeswalker's Mischief
2U
Enchantment
3U: Target opponent reveals a card at random from his or her hand. If it's an instant or sorcery card, remove it from the game. As long as it remains removed from the game, you may play it as though it were in your hand without paying its mana cost. If it has X in its mana cost, X is 0. At end of turn, if you haven't played it, return it to owner's hand. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
Rarity: Rare

Awww, geez, whatís with the crap rares again? This "monstrosity" costs 3 mana to cast and 4 to use. As a sorcery. If that wasnít bad enough, the card you reveal from opponentís hand has to be random, and if you donít get a sorcery or instant it does nothing. The only positive thing that I see about it, and itís not a big one, is that at least you donít have to pay for the card you steal. Still, this is already bad enough. Too slow for constructed, too narrow for limited.

Rushing River
2U
Instant
Kicker-Sacrifice a land. (You may sacrifice a land in addition to any other costs as you play this spell.) Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. If you paid the kicker cost, return another target nonland permanent to its owner's hand.
Rarity: Common

This is very nice. Undo from Visions, I hear, was pretty good. This is very much the same thing but as an Instant. It is easier to cast and it can target and non-land permanents, not just creatures. Sacrificing a land is usually not such a big deal, and Rushing River can definitely help you tip the game balance in your favor. It has so many uses: protect your creature from direct damage spell and bounce opponentís fatty, bounce your critters back to protect them from a mass removal spell, bounce opponents critters and rush through for the win, bounce two critters back when opponent tries to cloak one of them, save your own creatures in combatÖ Rushing River will almost always get you an even trade, and often it will gain you card advantage. All in all very solid card in limited. And its a common!

Sea Snidd
4U
Creature - Beast
3/3
T: Target land's type becomes the basic land type of your choice until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

A moderately priced fatty is always welcomes in this draft environment. It may not do much for type 2, but it certainly will have some effect on limited, being a common and all. A 3/3 for 4U is a decent deal, but it also gets a net ability to help you with mana problems or to partially screw over opponentís. Sea Snidd helps when you have something like a Global Ruin in your deck, and makes it easier for you to splash spells of other colors.

Shifting Sky
2U
Enchantment
As Shifting Sky comes into play, choose a color. All nonland permanents are the chosen color.
Rarity: U
In limited, unless you have a lot of black removal, donít bother very much with this card. While it can also be good with Teferiís Moat, but since it's rare, the chance of you getting this combo going is very small. In type 2 though, I see some nice combos with the said Moat, Story Circle, Wash Out, Light of Day, Perish, and other color hosing stuff.

Sisay's Ingenuity
U
Enchant Creature
When Sisay's Ingenuity comes into play, draw a card. Enchanted creature has "2U: Target creature becomes the color of your choice until end of turn."
Rarity: Common

Well, a type 2 card its not, but Sisayís Ingenuity has some real potential in limited formats. First of all itís a cantrip, for U, which is always nice. Second, the ability it grants your creature is not too shabby either. It goes great with Djinns, Weavers, and other stuff from Invasion, and it makes your creatures far less vulnerable to black removal. Beware of Recoil and Repulse when casting this though.

Sleeping Potion
1U
Enchant Creature
When Sleeping Potion comes into play, tap enchanted creature. Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step. When enchanted creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice Sleeping Potion.
Rarity: Common

I wouldnít say that this is such a bad card in limited, but I canít call it good either. I mean come on, an Explosive Growth would kill it, and allow that creature to attack on the same turn, pumped up. That means that you lose card advantage and life. While it can be good against some deck, it does little to nothing against other. In type 2, I donít think that thereís a deck that would use it.

Stormscape Battlemage
2U
Creature - Wizard
2/2
Kicker W and/or 2B. When Stormscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the W kicker cost, you gain 3 life. When Stormscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the 2B kicker cost, destroy target non-black creature. That creature can't be regenerated.
Rarity: Uncommon

Now thatís good draft card. Still not good enough for constructed, but real good in limited. Almost always creates a 2-for-1 advantage and sometime gives you a life boost so you can survive your opponentís assault. Yet another combo with Nightscape Apprentice, but this time you donít need to commit to 3 colors like you did with Shivan Emissary. Makes White/Blue/Black a viable deck type in Invasion limited.

Stormscape Familiar
1U
Creature - Bird
1/1
Flying. White spells and black spells you play cost 1 less to play.
Rarity: Common

This is a nice card that certainly speeds up your development. May even see some play in type 2 if people find a good deck to build from these 3 colors. In limited its a cheap flyer that speeds you up, which is always a good thing. The Familiar makes it easier for you to cast expensive spells and can give you the edge in your mana curve that you need to run over opponent.

Sunken Hope
3UU
Enchantment
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player returns a creature he or she controls to its owner's hand.
Rarity: Rare

I think that this is too slow for type 2, and since itís a rare wonít see much limited play either. It can be a good card against the new gating creatures and to be used with stuff like Nightscape or Stormscape Battlemages. It can battle some creature based strategies, but generally, by the turn 5, Fires will either kill you, or bounce a bird each turn, so it will hurt you more.

Waterspout Elemental
3UU
Creature - Elemental
3/4
Kicker U (You may pay an additional U as you play this spell.) Flying. When Waterspout Elemental comes into play, if you paid the kicker cost, return all other creatures to their owners' hands and you skip your next turn.
Rarity: R

This is a pretty cool creature. In limited itís a flying fatty, and even though it requires a large commitment to blue, it can reset game. Usually, in limited youíd be better of to cast it without kicker, but sometimes it can devastating. In type 2 it's not far from Air Elemental, and you darn well better have some Dazes, Foils and Thwarts when you cast this, so that you can counter the threats that your opponent will throw at you again. It also it invulnerable to Urzaís Rage and most of other burn.

Well, thatís it for today. I hope that youíve learned something from this article, and you can e-mail any comments or input here. Iíll be back in a couple of days with my take on black cards in Planeshift. Until then, good luck, and have fun playing!

Alex Makhovykh
superguy98@hotmail.com

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