Perception is reality. This is an age-old statement that remains as true now as the day it was coined. The vast majority of us have a tendency to merely take what’s around us and extrapolate an immediate conclusion. From politics to harassment to basic scientific concepts, many people have a stubborn tendency to believe that just because they don’t see something affecting someone else that said thing must not exist. Yet just because you’re surrounded by sheep doesn’t immediately mean you’re on a farm.
The same thing happens repeatedly in Magic discussions, particularly when discussing the powers of the various colors. Many like to gripe how White seemingly has the ability to do anything, for instance, or we’ll lament that color X is being unfairly pushed too hard in the current set. As players we each have our opinions on the state and stability of each slice of the game, but we also come in with our own gameplay biases and preferences. Opinions can be shaped in myriad ways, yes, but that doesn’t mean that those opinions are reflected by the facts. Your play group may continually be railroaded by aggressive Green decks or suffer at the hands of repeated Black lifeloss decks, that doesn’t mean it’s a systemic problem for all of Magic. Perception. Reality.
Case in point: Blue.
Blue players repeatedly and routinely contend with the assertion from others that just because Blue is the best at card draw and has access to 90% of counter magic that this somehow means it possesses a distinctly unfair advantage over the remaining colors.
Except, it’s not true.
For one, control style decks are very tricky in one vs one games, and even less reliable in multiplayer. For another, Blue has comparatively poor creatures at smaller sizes to all of the other colors. It’s also quite poor at restriction-free mana generation.
And then there’s the issue of removing permanents once they’re on the battlefield.
While Blue is certainly adept at bouncing permanents back to their owner’s hands, it’s often only a temporary measure. As powerful as some defensive bounce spells can be, unless it turns into an opening for winning the game, at best such tactics will only delay your opponents, not stop them.
Contrary to popular belief, although certain cards give the color a reputation for being unparalleled in its board mastery, bouncing cards is more a reactive response in the moment than a long-term solution. Outside of some conditional creature exile via Polymorph effects in recent years, getting rid of cards in play for Blue is quite challenging. As such, no matter how useful bounce spells may be in its arsenal, they simply aren’t the same as standard spot removals or board wipes. It’s simply not the color’s strength.
That said, there are certainly times when you’ll take one of those temporary mass bounce spells all the same. Which brings us to this week’s pick.
Today we have: Rebuild
Edition: Urza’s Legacy
Focus: Artifact Removal
Highlights: Both Red and Blue have a recurring affinity for artifacts. Both colors work with artifacts to create mutually beneficial situations; they see artifacts as a means of enhancing their own attributes. From simple synergies to entire gameplay archetypes, Red and Blue are easily the most willing to work with artifacts to further their own ends.
When it comes to working against artifacts, however, Red also has the ability to Shatter with ease. Just as easy as it loves artifacts, Red is excellent at smashing them too. Blue does not have that same luxury.
Finding something in the middle, though, is a tad more challenging.
Of course, there are plenty of times when you may want to perform a more targeted wipe – especially in Commander games. Rebuild provides one such option, and a rare one at that – one of the only Blue bounce spells that goes after artifacts specifically. This can be particularly handy facing decks in EDH that rely heavily on artifacts for mana acceleration, combo potential, utility abilities, or Equipment-based combat. For just three simple mana Rebuild temporarily sweeps all of that away. It’s effectively a Wash Out for artifacts, albeit at instant speed.
Rebuild also has two distinct multiplayer improvements over the only other heavy artifact sweeper in Blue, being Hurkyl’s Recall. For one, Rebuild affects all players equally. While that can be seemingly problematic, this broad strokes approach is far less antagonistic than a targeted Recall. And since most EDH decks run at least a few artifacts, it’s guaranteed to be much more effective.
Secondly, in the cases where the card isn’t all that applicable, it can be easily Cycled away for a new option, ensuring that it never sits as a dead card option.
Rebuild isn’t a complex card, and far from the most egregious mass bounce card out there (looking at you Cyclonic Rift), but in Blue decks that desire keeping other permanents on the board while still wanting an answer to artifact heavy metas, it’s an easy choice to make. Mostly because it’s a very short list to choose from.
Which, when you really get down to it, only further illustrates that Blue indeed has limits.
Keep an eye out for us to be regularly featuring other more accessible-but-worth-it Commander cards going forward. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.
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Do you have a particular Commander card to suggest for us to shine a future Spotlight on? You can send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org