View Full Version : Let's talk strategy: BLUE

Unhinged Manchild
May 5th, 2023, 09:11 PM
I've very much looked forward to finishing this video; here is my in-depth discussion on AotP's blue! Unlike the previously discussed red, blue is often a color that runs their games at a much slower pace, looking to deny their opponents the ability to benefit from their own spells and then lock opposing figures up in engagements with high bulk creatures. Playing blue optimally feels like a gargantuan task at times, due to the sheer number of options you have on any given turn while working with blue figure abilities and spell cards.

As always, an epic YouTube video reviewing everything blue. Watch the first 7 minutes to see what I think of blue's primary playstyle:


Tier list for blue's spell cards:

Best spell

Selective Memory (5, AoP) – The ability to grab any one of your sorceries (any color! Although officially it can only ever be blue or green [Kiora]) on demand seems VERY good for 5 points. I think this makes any blue deck more consistent, and the ability to grab something like Titanic Growth or Overrun makes Kiora terrifying. It would be the same for a red/blue Planeswalker with Seize the Day and Twinflame.

High (6 spells)

Welcome to the Fold (40, SOI) – Why is this so high? Flexibility and the additional actions granted. This card is almost like “Mind Control x2” or “Seize the Day x2,” whichever you fancy in the moment. This is flexible because you can target two creatures from one of your own squads or even two from an ally squad, which makes this card great even in those cases where your opponent brings heroes-only builds. Getting to move + attack with 2 squaddies and your own Planeswalker all in one turn, and in two separate time frames, is quite powerful. And, there's nothing funnier than walking two opposing melee figures out of engagement from your own figures a bunch of times and then have them bash each other in the face as the closing act. Two reasons why this isn’t blue’s top card: high cost, and the requirement to have 2 creatures from the same squad within 4 spaces of your PW in order to successfully make full use WttF (“up to two” means you can just use one creature, but for 40 points that’s VERY expensive to just settle for moving one squaddie.) Luckily, you have tons of control if you want to use WttF on your own squad – just summon your squad within 4 spaces of your PW during action 2, play WttF, and charge forth to slay thine enemies and their lower IQs!

Project Self (5, AoP) - For 5 points, teleport your Planeswalker. This card is super useful and dirt cheap. You can teleport your PW and then summon (this is a rare thing to be able to do,) move and attack, or you can move and attack and then PS to teleport to safety. Heck, you could choose to take a turn with your squad, and then play PS after the squad moves and attacks just so you carry your PW across the battlefield with them, although I’d argue that all of the blue PWs don’t particularly want to be knee-deep in engagement.

Jace’s Erasure (5, AoP) - Another 5-point beast card from blue. Killing 2 cards from an opponent’s deck for only 5 points seems like it should almost never be anything short of a win. If this destroys even 1 remotely critical card, it has more than done its job. The downside is that this card might actually speed up your opponent’s progress to drawing their good cards if you destroy 2 cards that they don’t particularly care about. Use JE in conjunction with those “look at top card of opponent’s deck” effects to be sure you are destroying at least 1 threatening spell! Even better if you can make a game last long enough to pile two great cards on the bottom of the opponent's deck and murder those cards in cold blood with this card! Pro tip: counter this spell by identifying as non-binary!

Essence Flux (25, SOI) – Wow, this is such an offensively and defensively fantastic card, and it can target any friendly creature! Primarily, this seems to be best used when you take a turn with the Eldrazi Ruiner or the Necro-Alchemist, it will likely allow you hot drop your monster near your opponent’s key figures (read: Planeswalker.) Teleporting, moving, and then attacking with that creature all in the same turn will allow you to easily drill into your intended target. Basically, EF enables a single one of your creatures to have a massive threat range. EF + Roilmage’s trick is a very threatening combo.

Aetherspouts (15, AoP) - I know, I know, I railed so hard on black’s anti-squad shenanigans while they are weak to heroes. Similar logic applies here, this is a dead card against heroes only. However, at 15 points this directly helps to defend your important Planeswalker figure when squads are around, and can cause a massive opening in your opponent’s army if they don’t consider the possibility that your PW is enchanted with Aetherspouts and they heedlessly attack with a squad. Especially useful at slowing/stalling green’s Kessig murder machine combo (Kessig double attack + Titanic Growth.) If you have the trio of blue Planeswalker hidden enchants in your deck (Aetherspouts, Psychic Rebuttal, Scatter Arc,) any opponent that understands AotP/blue will likely hesitate and attempt to scout for which of these cards are on your PW as they attempt to take the game to curtains. If it slows them down even one turn, you may have bought yourself valuable time to win the game. Note that Aetherspouts is slightly less good against red’s Firecats, because those are summoned in action 2 and launch a haste attack upon summoning. If they are summoned to take their haste attack and they are returned to reserve via Aetherspouts, red can just immediately resummon them (this assumes that the cats were their first summon and that the resummoning will count as red’s 2nd summon for the turn) and haste attack your Planeswalker again without skipping a beat.

Unsummon (10, AoP) - This would probably fall in mid-tier if it were only capable of unsummoning enemy squads. Naturally, Unsummon is super powerful when you can use it on enemy squads, but don’t stop there; it has potential beyond that. I have legitimately used this card to unsummon my own Leyline Phantoms to heal them, and to unsummon my own Illusionary Projections to resummon/reposition them and then draw another card via their Collective Knowledge. For 10 points, don’t you agree that this card offers quite a bit of flexibility?

Mid (16 spells)

Psychic Rebuttal (20, AoP) - Although this can be forcefully baited by a simple 5-point sorcery play by your opponent, sometimes your opponent won’t have a throwaway sorcery to use in scouting your PWs hidden enchantments for Psychic Rebuttal. If you can counter a powerful sorcery with Psychic Rebuttal or at the very least slow your opponent down in their fear of your blue trio PW hidden enchantments ruining their plans, this card has probably earned its value.

Misdirection (25, AoP) - I originally thought this card was way too expensive, but after a few games with it, I think I’ve come to terms with its price. It’s quite good – I've done anything from moving black’s Despise off of my PW back onto the originating black PW, to moving Power of Fire from my opponent’s Kessig Rangers over to my Illusionary Projections and putting in some hurt with the Projections afterward. The twist of fate offered via Misdirection seems pretty good, and I see potential for it to move higher in this list.

Ghostly Wings (10, SOI) - I personally view this as a poor man’s Essence Flux. It’s definitely not a bad card! +2 move and flying for a single creature you control is very good, and it is nearly as enabling as EF is. If you would like to use EF but you don’t have the deck points available, try GW instead, it might get the job done. A flying Eldrazi Ruiner or Necro-Alchemist with +2 move is a helluva thing.

Scatter Arc (20, AoP) – Of the trio blue PW hidden enchants, this one scores the lowest because I believe that countering an enchantment has a lower impact than countering a sorcery or stopping a squad attack and unsummoning them. Still, countering something such as Firebreathing, Blessing, or even Paths Revealed might be devastating to your opponent, and also your opponent may want to scout this card while it is face down on your PW if they don’t want to risk their wincon being countered by any one of the trio.

Roilmage’s Trick (35, BfZ) – This card is blue’s metaphorical BFG. While quite expensive, this is a very good card if your opponent has 4 or more cards in hand. It feels to me that this card probably should have been costed around 20-25 points (especially looking at green’s Titanic Growth,) and it’s current cost is why it ranks here instead of higher. If there is not an opponent with at least 3 cards, it’s probably not worth playing RT. Blue doesn’t have much power buffing, so I often find this card pretty crucial. Use it to buff a hero or a squad creature.

Twisted Image (25, AoP) - I haven’t found much use for this card other than “give the Leyline Phantoms +2 power for one turn.” It’s a good card at that, but I see no really strong or logical use for TI outside of Leyline Phantoms.

Ghostform (20, SOI) - A reasonable card when you need to deal with heroes or some really tough & annoying squaddie; especially helpful to accelerate the killing of the Eldrazi Ruiner with your Illusionary Projections. The more power that you can stack for your Ghostform-enabled squaddie, the better. Keep in mind that you still need to save some firepower to kill the opposing PW, though!

Pore Over the Pages (5, SOI) - The only way that blue can intrinsically increase their own PW’s toughness. It’s not too bad for 5 points, but being forced to consistently hold 3 cards in your hand to get this benefit sounds slightly hassling, and I think I’d rather be spending cards to take the advantage and win the game. As a plus for this card, you can enchant an ally PW with it in a 2v2 game, and it benefits their PW based on how many cards are in their hand.

Mind Control (10, AoP) - Another victim of the uncivilized hero-only armies. For 10 points, this card is very good, but you need an opponent squad creature available in order to fire it off. For that reason, it is mid-tier instead of upper to upper-mid. Honestly, blue probably does well enough in general that it doesn’t mind having this card dead-in-deck against hero armies, since it’s only 10 points anyway and it is quite useful against an enemy squad.

Call to Heel (15, AoP) - Effective only in squad-on-squad combat; this scores low just like many of black’s squad cards because of its utter uselessness against heroes armies, and because it does nothing to protect your PW, unlike Aetherspouts which actually can, in the cases where your opponent actually does have squads. This is a pretty good card when it does successfully trigger, though.

Gone Missing (40, SOI) - Expensive, but if you can squeeze another use out of a powerful card like Welcome to the Fold, Aetherspouts, or Roilmage’s Trick, GM might well be worth it. But, fitting multiple 30–40 point cards into your deck is very tough, and you will have to pass on a bunch of blue’s 15-25 point cards and take more 5-10 point cards instead. Plus, you still need to re-draw the card once it is taken out of the graveyard and placed back into your deck. I’ve not made much use of GM for these reasons.

Mind Tricks (5, SOI) - This card seems wildly unpredictable, and IMO leaves us mostly incapable of planning for its execution. However, for 5 points and the potential to snag a ranged PW (remember, it says “single-space figure”) with it, it might pan out and be useful once in a while, especially if your opponent does not remember it nor expect it.

Talent of the Telepath (45, AoP) - Way too expensive for the rare opportunity that you may get to steal an actually worthwhile sorcery from your opponent’s graveyard. It is somewhat useful to get access to something like red’s Twinflame or white’s Near-Death Experience, but that generally requires the opponent to play those cards and they get to reap the benefits first. Ideally, we would nullify and destroy those more powerful cards with blue’s counter-happy trio of hidden enchants or we would send great cards to the graveyard via Jace’s Erasure, but both of these processes can be tricky. Not only that, but consider sorceries which mention either the color of a targeted figure OR the color of your own Planeswalker: red’s Seize the Day and Malevolent Whispers, black’s Altar’s Reap and Corrupt, green’s Titanic Growth and Bountiful harvest, white’s Inspired Charge and Fell the Mighty; that’s just a small sampling of some of the more powerful cards which are completely off the table for Talent of the Telepath, especially for the mono blue Jaces. My gut says that in most 1v1 games, this card isn’t getting value anywhere near the 45 point cost.

Scatter to the Winds (20, BfZ) - I’m personally not impressed with this card... it makes an opponent re-draw and play their card again, so you basically get a 1-turn break from whatever enchantment may have been causing you lots of problems? Even at that, decking an opponent's enchantment that grants power will do very little for you on your turn, and your opponent will draw back into it and play it without skipping a beat. Instead of this card, I’d just pay 5 more points and put Misdirection in my deck. As far as I can tell, SttW is only particularly brutal against black when they use Dark Harvest, because it forces them to sacrifice a creature again if they want to bring DH back onto the battlefield after SttW tossed it out of play. In general, this card might be best used against another blue player when you don’t have the resources otherwise to scout one of the trio blue hidden enchants on their PW... but you would likely need to make a winning/critical move on the same turn that you play SttW, otherwise that hidden enchant comes back on their next turn anyway.

Trail of Evidence (20, SOI) - Wow, for 20 points, we only get +1/+1 if we are adjacent to a glyph or the cryptoliths... this card feels too situational and expensive for what it offers. Spell Flicker seems nearly worthless. However, it is one of the few ways that blue can actually enchant and buff its squads, and there is probably some legit use for this card if you know what map(s) you will be playing on ahead of time, so you can plan for ToE’s use. Projections feel like the most likely enchant target for this card, but maybe that’s just me.

Pieces of the Puzzle (5, SOI) - Meh, feels like a 5-point throwaway/filler card. The only reason I would ever slot this card in my deck is if I had already used all of the other 5-point blue spells and I desperately needed another 5-pointer to complete my deck of 12 while staying at or under 200.

Low (3 spells)

Infinite Reflection (15, SOI) - I’ve never used this card, so this is all theoretical; it seems like a very underwhelming card unless your opponent has the 6-power heroes such as Eldrazi Ruiner (who does seem reasonably common/liked) or Kor Aeronaut Captain. Buffing one of your Leyline Phantoms to 6 base power sounds like a good deal, but outside of those two enemy creatures existing on the board, this card likely doesn’t quite pull its weight. One hilarious potential use for this card is ranged trample: Imagine we are Kiora with Pummelroots, and our enemy has a ranged figure (best case scenario is Merfolk Roilmage IMO,) so we use IR on a Pummelroot to make him mirror the Roilmage. Boom we have a 6 range, 4 power Pummelroot that can trample any figure up to 6 spaces away, provided we get the damage rolls necessary!

Curiosity (10, SOI) – This enchantment does not enhance the squad’s combat potential in any way. It only allows you to draw a card when the enchanted squad deals damage to an opposing Planeswalker. IMO this card has the burden of getting you to draw 2 cards in order to be worth it, because you spend one turn drawing this card when it could have been any other card. So you want this card to pay you dividends; two triggered draws feel necessary for actual positive benefits. It is above Anticipate and Jace’s Scrutiny because you can enchant any squad with it, including friendlies, and when they damage an opposing Planeswalker, you get to draw. For 10 points, it’s barely usable, but I wish it would’ve given +1 power like black’s Duress, even if it would've driven Curiosity's point cost up to 20 or 25.

Anticipate (10, BfZ) – Honestly, this card has reasonable synergy with things such as Roilmage’s Trick, Pore Over the Pages, and Jace’s Scrutiny, but allowing all players to draw 2 cards is quite dangerous IMO, unless you are planning to win the game on the turn you play Anticipate. You don’t want to cause your opponents to draw into their wincons on your own dime… and the more cards your opponent has in hand, the more you have to attempt to account for those cards as blue, who wants to know everything and control it.

Worst spell

Jace’s Scrutiny (30, SOI) – Even blue is not immune to having ****ty sorceries. A 30-point fail machine, this card only works during a turn where you chose your blue Planeswalker AND where your opponent (or one of them, at least) has more cards than you. How often does this card actually get you more than 1-2 cards? Look at my literal top choice of card in blue, Selective Memory, which lets you dive into your deck and pick your favored sorcery for the excellent value of 5 points. It seems magnitudes better than Jace’s Scrutiny; blue’s best cards are sorceries. This spell is probably a hair better than some of the other colors’ spells that land in this prestigious category because this card has reasonable synergy with Anticipate and Pore Over the Pages, but it still feels shaky at best.

Tier list for blue's army cards:

Jace Beleren (340, AoP) – Rank 5 – Activation Frequency: Medium-high. Jace is a Planeswalker that can be defined in a single word - asufutimaehuhfutehfut. In case you live under a rock, I have a video that explains how to pronounce this word, watch the first 10 seconds:

Translated from Biden-speak into the human language, this means “perfecto.” 7 life, 7 range, and 5 power gives him as much range as the green viet cong sniper Nissa, but with as much base power as the strongest melee Planeswalkers (Sorin, Ob Nixilis,) and he scores second in total life only to Ob Nixilis. His 3 toughness is perhaps the only remotely glaring flaw. His abilities are very useful, although Mind Stealer is definitely a gamble and requires 4 spaces of social distancing – I don’t typically go out of my way to try and use it, but it is often proper devastation when I nail the roll. Combining his great stats with the sly shenanigans of blue spells and figures, OG Jace armies seem very consistent, if a bit light on brute force. I think Jace + Lantern Geists are the epitome of control in AotP.

Kiora (345, BfZ) - Rank 5 – Activation Frequency: Medium-low, ascending. I would likely score Kiora a 3 if she was mono-blue, because her stats and abilities don’t seem to be anything special. Her access to powerful green spells and the Kessig Rangers definitely put her up a notch. Yeah, I’m that biased toward the Kessig Rangers and green’s power stims. Kiora is certainly going to rely on her creatures for damage output compared to OG Jace due to her weaker base stats and more support-oriented abilities. I’m not a massive fan of any of her three abilities (Sea Born, Bident of Thassa, Carry by Waves,) but Carry should easily get value each game – the ability to move any one of your creatures (including heroes!) up to 4 spaces at the start of Kiora’s turn is a great way to coordinate army movement and remain flexible in positioning. However, it is at odds with Kiora’s seemingly more passive leaning – why do I want to take a turn with Kiora after I have summoned squads, when I could just take a turn with those squads to move and slay things with them? It might be a better mid-late game power when squad numbers have been dwindled. Notably, Carry occurs at the same time as the Illusionary Projections’ Illusionary Deception (start of blue Planeswalker’s turn,) so when activating Kiora, use Carry by Waves to move a Projection, and then immediately teleport swap Kiora with that Projection via Deception for an... interesting maneuver. You haven’t seen all of the wonders of the world until you’ve endowed Titanic Growth + Roilmage’s Trick buffs unto your Hunt at Dawn/Dusk Kessig figure at least once in your Planeswalking adventures. Your ego will be enormous while you stroll around the map with the ability to make two attacks with ten dice each. Oh, and one more suggestion, try using the Eldrazi Ruiner with Essence Flux, Titanic Growth, and Roilmage’s trick for some surprise Planeswalker one hit KOs via 13 attack dice, as well. MAKE YOUR OPPONENTS GROVEL! I have to quit gushing at some point, so suffice it to say that the beastly burst offense of green loves to use the insane mobility and spell trickery that is provided by blue. There are so many wonderful creature and spell combinations to be found in this color duo. Due to this, Kiora is a top tier Planeswalker IMO.

Jace, Investigator (345, SoI) - Rank 3 – Activation Frequency: Medium-low, ascending. Knockoff Jace. This guy is carried by the rest of blue, IMO. Compared to OG Jace, Investigator costs 5 points more and trades down 1 life, 1 range, 1 power, and 1 move all in exchange for just +1 toughness. Oof. Seems like a relatively poor tradeoff to me, and Investigator's abilities seem less powerful/useful than OG Jace. Knockoff Jace is by no means terrible, he’s just average and totally eclipsed by the other blue Planeswalkers; IMO he was dead on arrival. The choice is as simple as one between pink slime and prime tenderloin.

Lantern Geists (30, SoI) - Rank 5 – Activation Frequency: Almost never. I bet these go into 90% of competitive blue armies. Similar to black’s Restless Zombies, the Geists also tend to encourage the number of times that you take a turn with your blue Planeswalker, as most of the Geists’ value comes from flicker/resummon for basically free heals, free repositioning, and peeking at that forbidden item called your opponent's library. I’m not sure if/how the devs playtested these guys... because these feel as if they should cost 50-60 points. Having 4 life and 4 toughness makes them UTTERLY ANNOYING to destroy, especially because they can be unsummoned by choice, which fully heals the Geists. Eerie Observation could completely disappear off of their card and they would still be more than worth it, but it is so perfectly packed together with Flicker to give blue a good amount of knowledge and/or manipulation of the opponent’s deck. It goes well with the MTG theme of blue, too! It should be an EXTREMELY RARE occasion that you choose to actually take a turn with these guys – their attack is so low and blue does not bring many power buffs to make Geists consistently efficient at being the active army card for your turn, but let’s also take into account that there are only 2 figures here instead of 3 like most other squads. IMO Geists are primarily used as self-healing, teleporting guards that tie opposing figures up in engagement and/or block those figures’ approach to your blue Planeswalker. A perfect complement to OG Jace in that you can continuously look at both your own deck (Focused Thoughts) and your opponent’s deck (Eerie Observation) for maximum nerd control, planning, and spiking your anxiety when you repeatedly see the powerful cards in your opponent's library.

Illusionary Projections (65, AoP) - Rank 4 – Activation Frequency: Medium-high, descending. When I play blue, I typically use these guys and my Planeswalker as my primary offensive forces. These guys are nearly Rank 5 material. 3 attack and 6 range is quite reliable at getting shots at a target, although the Projections themselves aren’t eager to defend at 2 life and 2 toughness. The Projections’ two abilities are wonderful and useful; Illusionary Deception can make it damn near impossible for your blue Planeswalker to feel particularly threatened by a horde of melee figures, and it can be hard to apply a great deal of pressure even with ranged figures on a blue Planeswalker while even one Projection remains a distance across the battlefield as an escape option. Illusionary Deception is one of the few ways that a Planeswalker can reposition AND THEN summon on the same turn; powerful when we still have creatures in reserve, and it has some synergy with the flickering geists. IMO as an opponent to the Projections, you need to consider killing them before you attempt to geek the Planeswalker.

Leyline Phantoms (95, AoP) - Rank 4 – Activation Frequency: Medium-low, descending. Bulky frontliners with the ability to walk toward whatever target/hex they want. If for some reason you aren’t using Lantern Geists, you’d better bring these guys. I mean, for 95 points you get 12 hands, and the enemy Planeswalker don’t want these hands. Twisted Image was specifically crafted by some legend at Hasbro/WotC just to give these guys 5 power for one turn – I do not use Twisted Image in my blue decks unless I bring the Phantoms. I fail to see how the Rhox Veterans should be 90 points when the Phantoms literally have a higher defense than the Rhox could ever hope to achieve with their Battle Formation, and the Phantoms have 1 greater move as well as Phantom Walk to boot! For 5 points more and trading Trample away, Leyline Phantoms are a solid buy.

Necro-Alchemist (125, SoI) - Rank 3 – Activation Frequency: Medium. NA and the Roilmage seem to be so similar, I feel as if they may substitute for one another in general. For the most part, I treat NA as a 5 power, 5 range, 7 life figure with no abilities - like a gimped copy of OG Jace. Alchemist is perhaps a hair better than average. I do think he is worth the extra 25 points every time instead of taking the Roilmage, but I often don’t find the Alchemist to be a particularly massive part of my offense or defense plan; he’s mostly there as a backup if I need a meat shield or if the Illusions aren’t up to the task for some reason. In my mind, NA and the Roilmage are playing second fiddle to the Eldrazi Ruiner anyway.

Merfolk Roilmage (100, BfZ) - Rank 3 – Activation Frequency: Medium-low. If you don’t have the extra 25 points for Necro-Alchemist, the Roilmage is a fine choice for a ranged hero. Even though MR is cheaper than the Alchemist, MR brings 1 more base power and 1 more base range, although it’s a shame he doesn’t have range 7 so he could be outside of the range of single-spaced summon engagements, that might’ve legitimately made him much better. I don’t find either of his abilities very useful. All in all, my opinion is that he is mediocre.

I can't decide whether I think blue or black is the most unique color to use in AotP; I really enjoy black's creature sacrifice and debuff shenanigans which doesn't really exist in other colors, but blue has some really nasty tricks with extreme figure mobility, annoying mind games/denial, as well as the ability to toy with spells in player graveyards. Blue has a wide variety of ways to launch their offensive, but generally lacks the oomph to end the game quickly without some really lucky attack dice. What do you think of blue?