Plainswalkin’ #4: Realm of Illusion Review (Part 1 of 3)
Welcome – to a new deck, a new expansion pack, and a new GP (where fellow writers Luis Acosta and Amanda Stevens battling it out, which as of this writing Luis is 4-1 and has triple Aether Adepts).
Before I start this article, I would like to touch on two important points. First off, sorry for being a bit late. The new Expansion Pack kinda sucked me in there for a while. The second point is a comment @AuranAlchemist left. Lets see if I can do the twitter impression of a comment…
Naturally, I would do that. Here is a more in-depth version of the rating system..
*****: The best. If you don’t include this in your deck, you’re shooting yourself like how Jim Jones committed suicide. Not cool.
****: This is a pretty good card to include in your deck. This card usually dominates the board or provides some crucial card advantage for the deck. I would be happy if I drew this card.
***: This is an average card to include in your deck. My face expression probably would not change when drawing this card.This card usually fills up your curve or included when there are no 5-4 cards yet.
**: This is a not-so-good card to include in the deck. I would sigh if I drew this card. This card can sometimes be useful in certain builds.
*: The worst. You’re only hurting yourself when you put this in. You’ve been warned.
With that, lets see the decklist.
..And the expansion 1 unlocks,
1 Cultural Exchange
I’ll go over the card choices now.
Island (*****): You can’t remove these – why bother?
Aether Figment (**/ two and a half): I don’t like this card. He’s not efficient and downright weak. There are better Illusions than this.
Air Elemental (***): This is a pretty good air finisher, but it’s not an Illusion and gets outclassed by Mahamoti Djinn.
Blind Phantasm (***) This card has two things going for it. One, it’s an Illusion, which helps, and doesn’t vanish when targeted. Second, this guy does a nice job of taking care of all the bears in other decks.
Krovikan Mist (*****): Epic. This guy is undercosted and finishes games quickly. It usually comes out at a 3/3 flying for two mana, which I like. You would be insane to remove this card.
Phantasmal Bear (*****): Yet another 5-star. This guy is always undercosted and has no drawback, because this guy is so little that wasting a card on it is bogus.
Phantom Beast (***/ three and a half): A personal favorite. This guy is a huge wall and attacks for huge damage. It’s a shame that he dies so easily. Against decks that don’t have that many spells that target, this guy is a beast (pun intended).
Phantom Warrior (****): This guy breaks up board stalls. Very solid card.
Wall of Air (**): This deck is not Mono Blue Control, where you draw cards, counter spells, and hide behind walls. This wall is in the wrong deck.
Lord of the Unreal (*****): Unreal, brah. This guy is the (un)real deal. He buffs your illusions and gives them hexproof. Include this in the deck.
Sower of Temptation (****): Very strong card. It’s vulnerable to removal, but at that time you’ve removed a threat, gained a threat, and gained a 2/2 body. All for 4 mana – that’s huge.
Aether Adept (***): This is an acceptable body and acceptable ETB – ability. However, it’s not an Illusion.
Cancel (***): Outclassed by Counterspell. If you need more counters, this is acceptable, however.
Disorient (**): Too expensive for what it does. You have better removal.
Divination (***/ three and a half): It’s sorcery speed, but it’s pretty cheap and still solid.
Fleeting Distraction (**/ two and a half): People say this card sucks. I disagree. This is a cantrip for 1 blue, with a irrelevant effect. However, there are better cards out there. Still. It’s instant speed.
Jace’s Ingenuity (***/ three and a half): A bit expensive, but instant speed. To be honest, I haven’t really had good times with this card, so I’m knocking off half point.
Mind Control (****/ four and a half): The classic control effect, updated with better art. Everyone loves this card.
Mind Spring (***): I don’t like this card at all. Realm has better draw spells out there, like Jace’s Ingenuity. This card is… Eww.
Repulse (****): Though expensive, it replaces itself and is very tempo-based. It helps you win the race.
Summoner’s Bane (***/ three and a half): A solid counterspell that gives you a Illusion. However, it hurts that it can only counter creature spells.
Time Warp (*****): One of my most favorite blue cards, Time Warp is something I am always happy to draw. It gives you a huge advantage over the other player.
Kraken’s Eye (*): h8
Counterspell (****/ four and a half): Better than Cancel, with the epic Jace vs. Chandra art. Highly recommended – it saved my butt a few times.
Concentrate (***/ three and a half): Epic new art. Why not go with the Stone art? This is a capable draw spell, but like Divination and Mind Spring, it has the unfortunate drawback of being a sorcery.
Quicksilver Geyser (***): I’ll take a moment to lament how this card is awesome in Limited.
But this. The Quicksilver Geyser provided the finisher for my blue decks. So many things were swept away by this card as I alpha striked for the win. But in Constructed, this card was a no-go.
I have an emotional attachment to this card, so I’ll be brief. Bouncing two nonland permanents is strong in this deck – you can take out two guys while your Illusions attack. However, it’s cost hurts. You might want to leave this on the sidelines, since there are lots of bounce in this deck already.
Drake Umbra (**): Not cool. Your Illusions die when you attach this to them, so why bother? This is also quite expensive, and auras are not good.
Prosperity (**): Only good in Team Archenemy, where this card goes up by 2 stars. But since I gave Mind Spring 3 stars, Prosperity for 1 blue mana less and each player is worse.
Curfew: (***): Note that your Illusions don’t die when you cast this card. Otherwise, I’m not a huge fan. I would rather Repulse. This is a bit better in Archenemy, where you are the archenemy.
Cultural Exchange (***): I haven’t had a chance to play with this card yet, but it’s really bizarre.
Bribery (*****): Grab something huge! Seriously, this card is really good. Better than Mind Control for the same amount of mana.
So that’s it! See me next week (hopefully nothing comes up and I see you on Thursday) when I playtest some matches with the deck. Good luck!