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Brian’s Old School Custom Set – Blue

Brian BlueWay back in in the fall of 2004, which would be roughly between the end of the first Mirrodin block and the beginning of Kamigawa block and WELL before the formation of The Mana Pool (that was 2007), Brian decided he wanted to try his hand at set design.  So that’s just what he did, creating a set of 150 cards.  Other than a bit of templating work and updating to include new terminology and keywords, these cards exist exactly as Brian originally created them.  It’s an interesting look back at the way sets were designed back then, as well as the way Brian took the old design philosophies in his own direction. Be sure to go check out the White cards too.  We hope you enjoy this trip back as much as we do!

Today we’ve got blue.  Whereas white had a very strong central theme in high toughness and defense, the cards in blue are not nearly as in sync.  There’s a few bounce spells, some card draw, some flying creatures, and some counterspells.  The Aether cycle of cards are based around bounce.  Otherwise, you’ve got to look to individual cards to get a sense of what was going on.  Stubborn Voidmage is pretty silly, but gets worse if combined with things like white’s Armor Rack.  Logical Persuasion can be sacrificed at instant speed, which can create some interesting interactions.  Baby Whale became a card (Grayscaled Gharial) in Ravnica, but Forced Denial had to wait another year before becoming Cancel in Time Spiral!  As always, please leave your thoughts and comments below.  Enjoy!


Aether Bubble
Creature – Spirit
When Aether Bubble dies, return target creature to its owner’s hand.


Baby Whale
Creature – Beast

Mike – Awww…

Chewie – What Mike said.


Existence Ripple
Return target permanent to its owner’s hand.

Chewie – Wow, this card still hasn’t been printed.  The closest is Eye of Nowhere, which costs UU and is Arcane.  Interestingly and subtly overpowered, apparently.


Limited Access
Counter target noncreature spell.

Mike – I guess Negate was bound to be designed by someone eventually.

Chewie – Brian does seem to be a little ahead of the curve on some of these, doesn’t he?


Overgrown Gull
Creature – Bird

Chewie – Oddly enough, this one is underpowered.  A quick search of Gatherer shows lots of different variations.  However, all of them have some ability in addition to flying.


Time Flux
Choose one – Tap two target creatures, or tap target creature and scry 2.

Chewie – I really like both of these options.


Timestream Acrobat
Creature – Human Wizard
At the beginning of your end step, return Timestream Acrobat to your hand unless you discard a card.


Unsuccessful Clone
Creature – Shapeshifter
As Unsuccessful Clone enters the battlefield, choose a creature on the battlefield.  Unsuccessful Clone is that creature’s color and creature types.

Mike – In a set with tribal or color matters themes, this would make more sense.  This is an interesting example of a card being weaker more for what all the other cards say than for what its own text does.


Use of Intellect
Draw a card.
At the beginning of your end step, if Use of Intellect is in your graveyard, you may return it to your hand.

Mike – Why design Think Twice when you can skip straight to Think Twelve Times?  Brian doesn’t mess around.



Return all creatures you control to their owners’ hands.


Aether Visionary
Creature – Wizard
T, Return Aether Visionary to its owner’s hand:  Target opponent choose a creature he or she controls.  Return that creature to its owner’s hand.


Carrier Gull
Creature – Bird
Whenever you draw a card, you may sacrifice Carrier Gull.  If you do, draw a card.

Chewie – I really like this too.  Do you keep the two power flyer, or do you draw the extra card?  I’m glad it’s not mandatory, so you can swing at your opponent as long as it’s a good idea.


Forced Denial
Counter target spell.

Mike – Why would anyone play this over Counterspell?


Fountain of Knowledge
Creature – Wall
At the beginning of each player’s draw step, that player draws a card.

Mike – There are a fair number of draw effects in this Blue, but the thing is they’re all good without being overpowered (well, except for Think Twelve Times).

Chewie – Kami of the Crescent Moon was printed at UU and Walking Archive at 3, but this is an uncommon.  I think it’s pretty awesome.


Logical Persuasion
X, Sacrifice Logical Persuasion:  Gain control of target creature with power less than X.


Unrecognized Scholar
Creature – Human Wizard
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may draw a card.  If you do, return Unrecognized Scholar to its owner’s hand.


Upward Gust
Creatures you control gain flying until end of turn.



Aether Wave
Creature – Elemental
When Aether Wave enters the battlefield, return all other creatures to their owners’ hands.

Mike – Nowadays,  I think this would have at least 5 power.  Even with the definitive tribal block printed just a couple years earlier, creatures still weren’t all that great at the time.


Frozen in Time
Choose either creatures or lands.  Until your next turn, permanents of the chosen type do not untap.


Lapse in Time
Target player takes an extra turn after this one.
Scry 2

Mike – Now you can make sure your extra turn will be a big one.  This is a very powerful card.


Monstrous Gull
Creature – Bird
UU:  Tap target creature without flying.

Chewie – Interesting that this ability is on a big-ass flyer.  At the time this was designed, only Flood could tap non-flyers, and since then only two 2/3 ground pounders have been able to do so.


Stolen Information
If target creature you control attacks and is not blocked, it deals no damage this turn and you draw cards equal to that creature’s power.

Mike – The primary reason Brian uses the “it deals no combat damage and [do stuff]” is because that was the precedent for “saboteur” creatures up to this point.  I’m so glad the design philosophy for these cards moved to “you get both”.

Chewie – Yeah really. As Ophidian gave way to Thieving Magpie and the like, so this would have given way to Hunter’s Insight.  And that was JUST printed in Magic 2012!  Looks like Brian was way ahead of the curve here.  And I think this would have been in my Unblockable deck back in the day.


Stubborn Voidmage
Creature – Human Wizard
Whenever a player casts a spell, counter it and put a -1/-1 counter on  Stubborn Voidmage.

Mike – Dies to Doom Bl– oh wait…  A lead in to the most swear-inducing Raise Dead you’ll ever play.

Chewie – Banned in Commander?  Nope!  But definitely annoying as all hell in Commander!


Swept Away
Tap all creatures without flying.


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  1. Myke Okuhara
    December 14, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Time Flux is soooooooo broken. Wait, it costs zero, right?

    I woud much prefer Stubborn Voidmage to my expensive as hell Decree of Silence. Or I could put them in the same deck… with Standstill… and War Tax… and Flood… and Stasis… and fun was had by all.

  2. Matt
    December 14, 2011 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Is it bad that I want to combine Stubborn Voidmage and Melira?

    Lapse in Time seems wickedly awesome.

    • Mike
      December 14, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      We should probably boo this man, as well.

  3. Jolo Vergara de Jesus
    December 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    HI! this is more of a question than a comment. so how did brian divide the number of cards to the number of card types? for example, how many card slots should be dedicated to enchantments, enchantment auras, lands, creatures, sorceries, instants, artifacts…etc?

  4. Dylan
    December 16, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Logical Persuasion seems pretty awesome, too. I mean, I’d sure as hell think more than twice about playing any creature if I looked across the board and found an effect like that staring back at me.
    In fact I’d think twelve times 0_o. or until I found some enchantment removal, whichever comes first.

  5. Elliott
    December 19, 2011 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Oh my God Unrecognized Scholar. Talk about card advantage engines.

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