It's Time for il-Advised Looting

Posted in Card Preview on February 26, 2021

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

I won't judge you—too much—for your answer, so let's ask the question: do you like to be the smartest player in a game of Magic?

Of course you do, and that means you probably like to play blue. It's okay—even I play Islands when the draft calls for it.

"Smart" and "clever" in Magic often get conflated with the color blue, but it's no secret that its usual plan is strong in drafts. Magic's earliest sets established what blue does and why you might choose to draft it. It's easy to see why:

  • Drawing cards is always the smartest thing to do.
  • Answering any threat that happens to be in play is just correct.
  • Flying is the second-best form of evasion, topped only by creatures being unblockable.

A quick look at Kaldheim's recent additions to blue at common shows this triumvirate of draft aesthetic is still here today.

Time Spiral Remastered celebrates the power and "look how savvy I am" feel of blue with some iconic cards from Time Spiral block.

TSR Drifter il-DalTSR Infiltrator il-Kor

"Wait—shadow isn't flying or unblockable!" Ok, sure. First of all, Drifter il-Dal and Infiltrator il-Kor are perfectly serviceable ways to round out the creatures in your blue draft deck. (They're good creatures, Brent!) Secondly, shadow is more like a divided battlefield, where it's shadow versus shadow on one side with everyone else doing whatever it is they do on the other.

Finally, the truth—based on my memories of playing blue in Planar Chaos-Time Spiral­­-Time Spiral drafts at least—is that a few unanswered creatures with shadow will end games quickly.

And shadow—like everything else—gets even better when you add drawing cards to it.

TSR Looter il-Kor

Looter il-Kor is a card even I can appreciate. It was a standout in my Pauper Cube for years until I retired it to reduce the number of games that were decided by a creature constantly pressuring the opponent while digging down to the perfect cards needed to win. It's not raw card draw (it's called—wait for it—"looting" as first laid out by its forebearer Merfolk Looter), but in combination with constant damage, you really don't mind casting aside the cards that aren't helpful: you're busy winning.

And this isn't even close to everything blue gets to win with in Time Spiral Remastered.

TSR Wipe Away

It's been a long time since it, too, saw print, but Wipe Away was originally a twist on the iconic blue common Boomerang. Wipe Away staples split second—an echo back to how "interrupts" weren't something you could really react to the way we do with instant tricks today—to the most powerful version of bounce spell that can return even a land to its owner's hand.

There's a reason most of your bounce targets must be "nonland" targets these days.

Yes, if you ever wanted to live the dream of resetting someone to one land in play right after they missed their third land drop, you too can inspire despair in the opponent. It also lets you bounce just about anything else that could possibly stop you, if that sort of answer interests you, too.

A Bonus for Becoming a True Nemesis

Evasion, card draw, and bounce spells are all things we've seen through the years. Truly becoming the nemesis to defeat your opponents means going a step further. One retro frame card lets you do just that.

TSR True-Name Nemesis

As a potential first pick in Time Spiral Remastered drafts, this is absolutely a reason to force being in blue. True-Name Nemesis joined Magic through a Commander release long after the move to the modern frame. Now, Legacy enthusiasts and value khans alike can name their enemy with a stylish and almost unstoppable card to remind everyone blue is the color to fear. (But not of fear—that's black. There's a lot of mechanics in this set!)

Time Spiral Remastered releases March 19. Check out the Card Image Gallery, and the Promo and Bonus Sheet Card Image Gallery, to see even more returning and retro frame cards!

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