Ixalan Standard Set Review: Blue

Welcome back to my Ixalan Standard set review. Today we will be going over the blue cards in Ixalan and the impact they’ll have. We have some pretty good ones in blue and I’m ready to get started.

Before we begin reviewing the cards let’s go over some things. I will not be reviewing cards that I believe will not see play in Standard. For example, cards like Encampment Keeper and Paladin of the Bloodstained will be omitted since they are just Limited cards and me saying, “This is just a Limited card” repeatedly is redundant and not necessary. However, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the set. Let’s go over my grading scale for Standard.

RATINGExplanationStandard Examples

0 — Will never see play in Standard. (0 ratings are not listed).
1 — Unlikely to see play. (Dubious Challenge)
2 — Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card.(Authority of the Consuls, Deadlock Trap)
3 — Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Attune with Aether, Abrade)
4 — Format staple, sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Torrential Gearhulk, Glimmer of Genius, Glorybringer, The Scarab God)
5 — Standard all-star. When building a deck, you keep this card in mind. If you’re playing this color you have this card in your main deck or at the very least, in your sideboard. (Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Hero’s Downfall, Snapcaster Mage)

Check out the previous entries!

1.5 — Neat card that you can do some silly stuff with, but it's not good enough. If you build a deck around it you need to have it and after you play the first one, the rest are dead draws. Maybe if it replaced itself but as is I don't have much hope for this card in Standard.
Chart a Course
3 — The go to replacement for Oath of Jace in {U}{B} Reanimator. You can put creatures in the graveyard from your hand or attack with Champion of Wits and draw two cards. All for 2 mana. I really like this card in graveyard strategies. It’s also great in Blue based tempo strategies.
Daring Saboteur
1Wharf Infiltrator saw no play and that card was better than this one, this one is for the bulk bin.
Dreamcaller Siren
1.5 — 4 mana is a lot, but having Flash also helps. I really want to play this alongside Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign but you really want to play pirates with this Siren for the ability. We don't have enough good pirates just yet for this to be a consideration.
Entrancing Melody
2 — I initially thought this card was an instant, which would've been insane. At sorcery speed, you might as well just be playing Confiscation Coup. On the off chance, you aren't playing energy then this card is okay. The best thing to steal would be The Scarab God but that's 7 mana. At seven you start competing with Lay Claim. Interesting card for sure but it falls into a weird spot because of Confiscation Coup, Kefnet’s Last Word, and Lay Claim. This card is much better in Modern.
Favorable Winds
2 — A two-mana anthem is powerful and this card has seen play in the past when we've had enough good fliers. We lose a lot of good fliers come rotation and most dinosaurs don't fly. This card isn't playable just yet but could be depending on what future creatures we get with flying.
Fleet Swallower
1.5 — C-C-C-C-COMBO with Fraying Sanity. Would be playable if it was just Traumatize. As is, it's too much. Are you trying to kill them by milling them out or with a giant 6/6 fish? I like this card but that doesn't do anything for its competitive scale for Standard.
Herald of Secret Streams
1.5 — 3 toughness is not where you want to be, especially for a 4-drop. Dies to Abrade and Lightning Strike which will be premium two casting cost removal spells alongside Harnessed Lightning. Hope you like fried fish because that's what will happen to this card if you play it.
Jace, Cunning Castaway
3 — Three casting cost Planeswalkers are always underrated. You're really going to want to try and tick Jace up so that you can ultimate him and start doing some real damage. He passes the biggest test which is being able to protect himself. However, it's at a hefty cost of minus two. Still it's a Blue Planeswalker and I think he will see play.
Kopala, Warden of Waves
1.5 — A merfolk lord that doesn't pump your merfolk? On top of not having nearly enough good merfolk to play, I don't expect this card to see much play if any with Ixalan's release.
Lookout's Dispersal
2 — Might see some fringe play if Pirates are a playable tribe. Even then we have Revolutionary Rebuff and that's not even seeing any play and they are similar. I'd rather play Spell Pierce or Negate in my Pirate deck.
3.5 — The best cantrip we've had since Thought Scour? This one is overall better in Standard and will see play in Modern control decks over Serum Visions. Opt will allow control decks to hit land drops and dig a little for threats late game. A solid card that control decks desperately needed in Standard to keep up with all these insane creatures running around.
Overflowing Insight
1 — You shouldn't be playing this while Glimmer of Genius and Pull from Tomorrow are legal. With Pull from Tomorrow you draw two less cards but you have the versatility of casting it earlier or even later without tapping out.
Perilous Voyage
2Disperse has seen play and this card is just a strictly better Disperse. While not as good as Into the Roil it's not too far off. Solid in a deck that can replace the card disadvantage with Bounty of the Luxa or something like Memory from Commit // Memory.
River's Rebuke
2.5 — The new Crush of Tentacles. It's better in a lot of situations because it's one sided which means you can play Planeswalkers, Gift of Paradise, and things like Bounty of the Luxa without having to worry about returning your stuff to your hand.
Search for Azcanta
3.5Search for Azcanta is one I think people are sleeping on. It’s great in Blue based reanimator strategies, control strategies, and even midrange combo decks like Approach of the Second Sun. While not on the same power level as Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, it’s also not that far behind for Standard, just because it’s so much harder to kill than the Blue flip walker and it ramps your deck while also letting you dig through your deck. I card I’m super pumped to play with.
Siren Stormtamer
2 — 1-drops with flying that have other abilities tend to see play while they are in Standard. This isn't too far off from Mausoleum Wanderer.
Siren's Ruse
2 — A two-mana blink that can also cantrip? That's powerful! The pirate drawback is a hefty one, but if we have enough pirates with solid enter the battlefield abilities then I expect this to see play as a value card or a counter to removal spells.
Spell Pierce
4Spell Pierce, I did not miss you. Spell Pierce while decent in a control deck is an absolute house in tempo decks. Spell Pierce will see play in main decks and sideboards throughout its legality in Standard. Now you got to play around Censor and Spell Pierce? Yesh!
Spell Swindle
2 — A fixed Mana Drain. It appears all those broken cards should've cost 5 mana. Time Walk became Time Warp, Timetwister became Time Reversal, and now Mana Drain is Spell Swindle. Card is sweet, especially with Torrential Gearhulk. It could see play as a singleton in some control decks, but if Confirm Suspicions barely saw play, this one has got a lot of work to do.

Top 5 best Blue cards for Standard

  1. Spell Pierce
  2. Opt
  3. Search for Azcanta
  4. Chart a Course
  5. Jace, Cunning Castaway

Blue is looking to make an impact. Spell Pierce and Opt are two cards that will see play in a many a Blue deck for as long as they are legal in Standard. They will be cards you always consider if not just play, especially Opt. Jace and Chart a Course are two other cards that look great to me. Search for Azcanta is another terrific addition for midrange/control Blue decks. Ixalan looks to be a solid set for Blue mages, so go ahead and rejoice if you are one.

We’ve come to another end but when one door closes, another opens! Make sure to join me tomorrow as we go into the Black cards of Ixalan!

Thanks for reading,
Ali Aintrazi
@AliEldrazi on Twitter

Ixalan is now available for Preorder! Pick up sealed product and singles as they're posted!