Morningtide standouts: Blue – of Springs and Negation

Six cards really caught my eye as I went through Morningtide blue, but I’m still up in the air on the value of most of them. A couple may be constructible, and one is certainly a limited bomb, but none of them really hammer you with a tide of “play me” waves (not like, say, Cryptic Command…). More in the extended.

There are no shockingly good standouts in the blue cards, not like Guile and Cryptic Command. Instead, we have some interesting cards that may or may not be worth it (and one card that does seem like a limited bomb). Check it:
Look, it’s a disenchantable Meddling Mage with an activation cost. Hmm. In Extended, there are matchups where it is always good to be able to lock out a spell. Enduring Ideal comes to mind. In Standard, where I normally live, this card may not make the cut, perhaps not even as a sideboard card. That said, the ability to just cut off access to a certain spell is pretty good, and once you get the Declaration into play, it’s cheap and easy to use.
On the story side, the image and flavor text on this card suggest some awfully grim things about the fate of Lorwyn. I don’t really know the backstory here, but this one garnered a bit old “Hmmmm” from me. Maybe I should check out the novels this time around. Perhaps they’re better than the Time Spiral ones seemed to be from the preview chapters.
My twitch-response says “It’s a new Braingeyser!” If I were from a different Magic era, that same twitch response might pipe up with “It’s a new Stroke of Genius!”
That would be wrong. Sadly, you can’t Mind Spring someone right out of the game. I say “sadly” here, but really, it’s a good thing, since both Braingeyser and Stroke power really obvious combo wins — and combo wins shouldn’t be so obvious.
So, we won’t win with Mind Spring. Is it a good card draw spell? Well, maybe as a two-of for the late game? The big problem here is that a counter-based blue control build isn’t going to want to tap out for a big X spell, even one that draws you a bunch of cards. That leaves tapout-based control, which isn’t really living in blue these days. The double blue also cuts down on the ability to splash this into other builds (like Martyr, say, which could happily use a big X draw).
In isolation, two blue and X for X cards starts becoming good when X can be three or more. Once again, this suggests maybe running two Mind Springs in a given deck.
Overall, Mind Spring seems “okay,” but without the ability to use it offensively, I’m nonplussed.
Ah, the generic name, harbinger of inclusion in the core set. Especially when the generic name is something like “Negate.”
In the past year, I’ve considered using Delay as a sideboard card against counterspell-heavy decks, as it can effectively permanently counterspell a counterspell. Negate more cleanly and clearly does this, as well as knocking off a host of other non-creature spells permanently (rather than, say, pushing a game-ending Profane Command back by a couple turns and forcing you to burn a second counterspell on it). In exchange for its inability to stop creatures, Negate gets to live in the one-and-a-blue sweet spot also occupied by Delay and past tempo master Remand.
Will Negate be good? That depends entirely on what’s out there to stop. Regardless, it’s exciting to see that the mirror image of Remove Soul is slated for induction into the core set at some point, and that’s good enough to catch my eye.
This is the one I consider a limited bomb. If you can draft your way into a Faerie-Rogue deck, this is probably a game winning card (caveat – I rarely play limited, and may be utterly wrong). Swing with a Rogue and the rest of your team, cough up a bunch of faeries, swing again for the win. Whack.
Did Merfolk need even more of a boost in limited? Probably not, but they received even more with the Sage here. Merfolk probably still don’t fit in constructed, but getting card draw off of all those Wizards you’re making with other Merfolk cards isn’t bad at all.
No deck ideas on the blue set of cards. They’re more “functional component” cards than “build a deck around me” cards. Overall, the blue offerings in Morningtide didn’t really stoke my gamer fires (whatever that means) very much.