I began this series last month with an article on green penny picks. Today, we'll continue the series with blue, everyone's favorite color to hate!
While most believe that green is the most powerful color in Commander, blue is arguably the best color in Magic. The options of card draw, counter magic, and extra turns makes any counter arguments quite difficult. I bring these specific characteristics up because they also happen to be the ones that make for good speculation targets.
As I mentioned in the last article, to qualify as a penny pick, the card must be available to buy in somewhat large quantities for under $1. So without further ado, let's take a look at the ones I'm most interested in picking up right now.
Mill strategies are a casual favorite. Consider a card that is very similar to Cut Your Losses in Traumatize, which despite six printings is a $3 card. While Cut Your Losses does cost an additional mana, the ability to hit 75% of an opponent's library is very powerful.
It's interesting to me that despite the fact that the mill strategy is rarely viable in a competitive environment, it retains a strong enough following that any cards that either mill a lot of cards or can repeatedly mill opponents automatically make it into my "not bulk" box.
UR Spells is a powerful Commander archetype, and this card seems like a must-include there. I honestly hadn't given this card much thought until researching for this article. As I mentioned, one of blue's most powerful abilities is card draw, and while this card doesn't let you draw all the cards you hit off of it, you do get all the relevant ones. Getting to cast an additional spell for free makes it even better.
This card has been a very popular Commander card with occasional Modern play. It's ability can act like a pseudo-Time Walk similar to Remand, except it leaves behind a 2/2 body. Venser was a good $15+ card until its reprint in Modern Masters 2017, which wrecked its price for about a year. It began to creep back up again and hit almost $10 prior to the Double Masters reprinting. Now, copies sit under $1, and I imagine this could easily return to the $3-$4 range barring more reprints.
At first glance, I didn't think a whole lot about this rare, as we have plenty of cards that reduce instant and sorcery costs by one generic mana. The myriad ability has been one that Wizards of the Coast has seemed to be hesitant to really break, as there are only 14 creatures with the ability and one equipment, and none of the creatures sees significant play in Commander.
That being said, Thay does provide the possibility of making instants and sorceries cheaper by one for each opponent if you can make sure the copies live, and thanks to the last ability, you can actually cast any instants or sorceries at the reduced cost prior to combat damage, thus allowing one to cast some big spells a lot earlier than normal.
While I, like most players, tend to shy away from auras given casting them tends to be dangerous, this one does provide a lot of value. It does cost three mana, which means it can be recurred via cards like Sun Titan and Serra Paragon, and thus could be very abusable in a UWx shell. The biggest issue that I see is that you get no benefit until your next upkeep, which in Commander games can take an eternity.
I have a soft spot for equipment since it sticks around when the equipped creature dies. Still, the equip cost on this one is pretty high unless your creatures are Shamans, Warlocks, or Wizards. The fact remains that there are a lot of creatures in blue that have at least one of those creature types, and it doesn't take much imagination to see equipping this to a creature people don't want to block and getting to draw 3+ extra cards every turn.
Another Pick in the Ocean
Thus concludes our list of blue penny picks. I have not personally invested in all of these, but have picked up most of them myself.
It is important to keep in mind that again, all of these are recent printings. With larger print runs, the price ceiling tends to be lower, especially for rares. Still, many of these have extended art variants which are still quite cheap, and of those options, many of the foil extended arts are under $1. A surge in popularity for any of these cards can drive scarcity, which could skyrocket the price of these special versions especially.
Are there any cards you think deserve to be on the list? If so, please comment below.