I don’t like Blightning

In the pleasingly named Nationals Q and Effin’ A series of podcasts, Mike Flores does a cute run-through of the best cards at each converted mana cost in Standard. I think it comes out as something like –
1 – Lightning Bolt
2 – Spreading Seas
3 – Blightning
4 – Bloodbraid Elf
…and so forth.
His point was that the Grixis deck he ran for National Quals runs almost all of the best cards at each mana cost, per his recent principle of “just play all the best cards, regardless of synergy.”
In the past week, I’ve been trying out a more traditional (for me) Jund build featuring this Jund stalwart:
I’ve realized I don’t like Blightning all that much. As a consequence, I don’t use it all that effectively.
I’m not doing the autopilot move of just running a Blightning out and then kicking myself when my opponent plays a planeswalker that I could have killed with said Blightning one turn later. That said, I’m finding it super-disappointing in a lot of my match ups.
Against U/W, it can put a dent in their planeswalkers, but kills none of them outright, if the opponent plays correctly. It similarly doesn’t do much to knock two cards out of their hand if they can just tap out into a gigantic Mind Spring the following turn. If it’s bad at killing their planeswalkers and doesn’t legitimately disrupt their hand, then the sole remaining impact would be on the board…which is utterly absent.
I’m aware that a two-for-one that does damage is theoretically good. In practice, I really don’t like it. It doesn’t impact the game that I believe I’m playing when I run a Jund deck. There’s the occasional “bee sting” ability to kill an opponent that you’ve taken down to 3 life…but then I’d rather just run Lightning Bolt, which can at least act as removal.
Over the past week, I kept finding myself wanting to side the suckers out, yet being convinced that I’m not “supposed” to. I think it made me actively worse at playing and at deck design and development. Blightning just doesn’t do enough proactively for me, nor have I been so pained by it on defense that I’m convinced it’s an awesome card.
So what is the best three-mana card in contemporary Standard?
Here are some cards I like more than Blightning:
Ruinblaster is sort of an honorary mention, as I really want to be casting it kicked. When I build decks, I prefer to treat Ruinblaster as a four-mana card.
Yup, I’d rather have a 2/2 that searches up a land. See, it makes me resilient against opposing Blightnings, it helps me fight my way around Spreading Seas, and it gives me a guy to trade with opposing Bloodbraids. Aragorn is just so much better than a Blightning.
A versatile and often giant creature for a mere three mana. Sure, she draws a lot of fire, but at the three-mana position, I’d rather have a card that has the potential for solitary game wins over a card that can’t even touch the board.
Ending my list is one of my favorite cards since it came out, Maelstrom Pulse. Both better and worse than its progenitor, Vindicate, the universal nature of Pulse’s ability to impact the board makes it the ultimate super-Swiss Army knife – a Jack of almost all trades and master of many.
I’d basically rather play any of these cards than try to cast more Blightnings. It’s no surprise, then, that I’ve had such a rough time of it trying to get Blightning to work for me in Standard.
What do you think? Is Blightning just that good, or has its power waned?

6 thoughts on “I don’t like Blightning

  1. I didn’t run it at the GP anywhere in my 75. Made D2. Card’s fine, but not a staple anymore.

  2. I think people are hanging onto it because T2 used to be 40% Jund, and Blightning was one of the key cards in the mirror. It still is.
    Against UW, Naya, and Mythic, the card is not as effective. But I don’t actually side it out against UW/x.
    It might be better to play it out early against them if there’s nothing else to do. No point waiting for a better opportunity, since as you said it doesnt auto kill planeswalkers.

  3. The only times I’ve found Blightning useful/anoying is when it’s cast off of a Bloodbraid elf. At our last local tournament I watched a B/W Control player get DESTROYED by Bloodbraid into Blightning two turns in a row.
    Outside crazy plays like that, I do think there are better cards to play that will have a more consistant effect on the board. Bloodbraid into Borderland Ranger isn’t as sexy, but it’s sure better when you’ve had your mana choked off by Spreading Sea’s.

  4. Its power waned temporarily when U/W decks were running 4 Chalice + 4 Mind Spring, but I think it’s strong again now. I don’t think it’s necessarily strong in a vacuum, more that Bloodbraid into Blightning has been the source of many free wins.
    I did run R/b aggro in DC with 0 Blightnings in my 75.

  5. I’ve pushed the Blightnings over to the sideboard, and I’m now quite happy with them there. The entire deck is actually significantly different from (and better than) the one I had at the end of this week’s article. I’ve shed a lot of the cuteness in favor of awesomeness. 🙂

  6. Even though I have played in FNM tourny.I wouldn’t know much about the big league tourns and how cards workout in them. But on the subject of blightings. They do seem to leave me pretty upset when I play on an opp and he just circles around and gut checks with a quest for anchient secrets just to shuffle the discarded cards back into his library. But in more cases then not they have saved my life when the opp has a drawing frenzy with something like font or howling mine. Allowing me to draw and sling 3 blightings and a runeflare for the win. So all in all I think they are pretty sweet.
    Again. I’m no big leaguer so I don’t know too much on how the run in grands and qualifiers.

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