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CardShark Content - Brian Baker (2/10/2004)

Everybody’s making a lot of noise about Darksteel’s recent release. It makes sense- I’ve watched the set evolve through the card previews and spoilers, and I’ve seen its cards in action since the prerelease. It’s impressive, and one of my all-time favorites. There are several cards that will impact the game on every front- tournament, casual, and collector.

So, having said that, today’s topic might seem a little strange. You see, I’m going to completely ignore Darksteel today.

For some time, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for viable Type-2 decks that aren’t really seeing much play right now. I tried to look forward to Darksteel, but it seemed that everyone else already saw and brought to light all of the cool combos and potential bombs that I wanted to feature (well, not all of them, but I’m still getting a few worked out.) So, instead, I looked back. What’s back there, waiting to be used? Tribal.

Specifically, Blue Tribal – Wizards.

Blue will always be “the tournament color”, for good reason. The permission spells and game-changing instants and sorceries that blue features have the potential to shut down any opposing deck, no matter what the opponent has in store. Even a Bidding deck that doesn’t mind seeing its creatures countered doesn’t want to see its title card fizzle.

The deck I’ve constructed leans heavily on restricting what the opponent can and can’t do. You can’t rush with this deck- build up slowly, preventing the opponent from getting set up, then smash face with a really big Nameless One
Nameless One
Nameless OneSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard Avatar
Rarity:
U
Number:
100
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Nameless One's power and toughness are each equal to the number of Wizards in play.. Morph 2U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
. Even affinity can’t stand seeing its key cards countered, and the fact that a great deal of the permission is coming from creatures makes it much harder to deal with.

Here it is:

Wizard Permission:
Blue Creatures (24)
4:Disruptive Pitmage
Disruptive Pitmage
Disruptive PitmageSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
81
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1.. Morph U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

2:Voidmage Prodigy
Voidmage Prodigy
Voidmage ProdigySet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
120
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
UU, Sacrifice a Wizard: Counter target spell.. Morph U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

4:Echo Tracer
Echo Tracer
Echo TracerSet: Legions
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
37
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Morph 2U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face
up any time for its morph cost.) When Echo Tracer is turned face up, return target creature to its owner’s hand.

3:Master of the Veil
Master of the Veil
Master of the VeilSet: Legions
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
Morph 2U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face
up any time for its morph cost.) When Master of the Veil is turned face up, you may turn target creature with morph face down.

4:Nameless One
Nameless One
Nameless OneSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard Avatar
Rarity:
U
Number:
100
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Nameless One's power and toughness are each equal to the number of Wizards in play.. Morph 2U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

3:Information Dealer
Information Dealer
Information DealerSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
88
Artist:
Jerry Tiritilli
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Look at the top X cards of your library, where X is the number of Wizards in play, then put them back in any order.

4:Aphetto Grifter
Aphetto Grifter
Aphetto GrifterSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
65
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Tap two untapped Wizards you control: Tap target permanent.. Aphetto con artists started working in pairs to make it less likely they'd be the victims of con artists.

Blue Instants (14)
4:Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Mana LeakSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 3.

3:Ixidor’s Will
3:Rewind
Rewind
RewindSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
93
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Counter target spell. Untap up to four lands.

4:Boomerang
Boomerang
BoomerangSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Alan Rabinowitz
Text:
Return target permanent to owner's hand.

Artifacts (4)
2:Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of DominanceSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
253
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
T: Add 1 to your mana pool. T: Add U or B to your mana pool. Talisman of Dominance deals 1 damage to you.

2:Aether Spellbomb
Aether Spellbomb
Aether SpellbombSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
C
Number:
141
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
U, Sacrifice Aether Spellbomb: Return target creature to its owner's hand. 1, Sacrifice Aether Spellbomb: Draw a card.

Lands (20)
20:Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.

Sideboard (15)
4:Stifle
Stifle
StifleSet: Scourge
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
52
Artist:
Dany Orizio
Text:
Counter target activated or triggered ability.

4:Mind Bend
Mind Bend
Mind BendSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Change the text of target permanent by replacing all instances of one color word or basic land type with another. (For example, you may change nonred creature to nongreen creature or plainswalk to swampwalk.)

3:Evacuation
Evacuation
EvacuationSet: Stronghold
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
30
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Return all creatures to owners' hands.

2:Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of DominanceSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
253
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
T: Add 1 to your mana pool. T: Add U or B to your mana pool. Talisman of Dominance deals 1 damage to you.

2:Supreme Inquisitor
Supreme Inquisitor
Supreme InquisitorSet: Onslaught
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard Lord
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
rk Post
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Tap five untapped Wizards you control: Search target player's library for up to five cards and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.


As you can tell, nearly all the cards come from Onslaught
Onslaught
OnslaughtSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
92
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
or Legions. Looking through the card lists for the more recent sets just didn’t bring any obvious answers to mind, although the mana acceleration of the Talismans and the Seal of Removal
Seal of Removal
Seal of RemovalSet: Nemesis
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
42
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Sacrifice Seal of Removal: Return target creature to its owner's hand.
-like Spellbomb are a huge help.

The basic idea is to counter anything and everything they play that you consider to be a threat. If you can’t counter it, bounce it and counter it later. If played correctly, this deck will shut the opponent down until your threats are too big (or numerous) to deal with.

The deck’s all-stars:

Disruptive Pitmage
Disruptive Pitmage
Disruptive PitmageSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
81
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1.. Morph U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
– Don’t, under any circumstance , underestimate the power of a living Force Spike
Force Spike
Force SpikeSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
John Matson
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.
. At its worst, it’s a Sphere of Resistance
Sphere of Resistance
Sphere of ResistanceSet: Exodus
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
139
Artist:
Doug Chaffee
Text:
All spells cost an additional 1 to play.
for your opponent. At best, it’s a powerful counter-slinger, especially in multiples.

Aphetto Grifter
Aphetto Grifter
Aphetto GrifterSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
65
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Tap two untapped Wizards you control: Tap target permanent.. Aphetto con artists started working in pairs to make it less likely they'd be the victims of con artists.
– Play one of these guys ASAP. The near-Opposition
Opposition
OppositionSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Todd Lockwood
Text:
Tap an untapped creature you control: Tap target artifact, creature, or land.
ability to icily manipulate your opponent’s resources will usually spell game over if applied soon enough.

Echo Tracer
Echo Tracer
Echo TracerSet: Legions
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
37
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Morph 2U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face
up any time for its morph cost.) When Echo Tracer is turned face up, return target creature to its owner’s hand.
Boomerang
Boomerang
BoomerangSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Alan Rabinowitz
Text:
Return target permanent to owner's hand.
on legs. Need I say more?

Remember, when playing this deck, the cautious blue mage is the victorious blue mage. Don’t let those other players take advantage of you, just because you’re a little slower! Just be patient, and eventually, you’ll have them begging to let a spell resolve. Until next time, enjoy playing something a little different than the expected Affinity-Star deck- and winning with it.


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