I have been out of the game too long to address most of the other stuff very well, but I agree with this. Ophidian has the advantage of only needing one colored mana AND the advantage of being blue. I remember it being so good because I could counter my opponent's first spell or two with cheap counters, drop this and protect myself with Force of Will, then use the card advantage to maintain control over the game. Forbid was especially nice with this (and Thawing Glaciers helped too). It was also cool in blue/black decks, but Thieving Magpie's evasion would have been more than worth the extra mana if that extra mana hadn't been colored. This new Viper will likely have the same problem the Magpie had in this respect.