We return with continued coverage of this spooky Midnight Double Feature! Blue is the color of tricksy and haunting spirits and this spook spectacular will make you consider…will the spirits haunt our Gladiator games? Let’s find out!
A new Opt? Possibly even a better one!? This card is effectively Opt, but with Surveil one instead of scry one. It depends on the deck whether Scrying or Surveilling is better, but with the lack of good one mana instant draw spells, this card will absolutely be in nearly every blue deck in Gladiator. The “Surveil” ability works particularly well with Flashback and Disturb, which are featured heavily in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, but also with previous mechanics such as Jump-start, Delirium, and Escape. All of this will make Consider a powerful and popular card in the format and I would expect to see it in every blue deck.
Delver of Secrets // Insectile Abberation
The most famous of blue tempo creatures has finally made its way onto Arena! Delver decks have long been some of the strongest decks in Legacy; how will it stack up in Gladiator? Unfortunately, probably not as strong as in other formats. Due to the nature of 100 card singleton, you are far less likely to have Delver on turn one when it is most effective. Additionally, there are not many options for top deck manipulation to guarantee Delver’s transformation. While we do have Brainstorm, we’re missing other great Delver cards such as Preordain or Ponder. Additionally, we had our data analysts run some numbers for how likely Delver is to flip if played on turn one with a seven card hand, and sadly it doesn’t have very high chances of flipping.
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Despite that, I think Delver is still worth running in blue tempo decks. Having a 3/2 flier on turn two is too good to pass up, even if it won’t be consistent.
While it’s up for debate whether Consider or Opt is better, Fading Hope is a strict upgrade to the classic Unsummon. Fading Hope being able to scry off bouncing creatures with mana value three or less is a nice bonus to the classic tempo spell. Unsummon has always been at its best whenever it’s bouncing a token, which will still trigger the scry one! Unsummon and Fading Hope together will definitely be featured in every blue tempo deck you face!
Lier, Disciple of the Drowned
Lier has a lot of very powerful effects attached to them. They’re not good in control decks since they negate your own counters. However, in Combo or Izzet Spells decks, being able to recur your spells is a great source of repeated card advantage! I can see this in Storm decks since you will get to recur your cantrips and ritual spells while they’re uncounterable! On top of all this, the 3/4 body dodges a lot of red removal, such as Lightning Bolt, and also blocks most aggro threats profitably. Lier will definitely see play in the format and make your control opponents cry when you make the majority of their spells useless!
Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Geist
Unfortunately for this hermit, he won’t be able to get away from joining the ranks of blue creature decks! This is going to be a slam dunk into every blue tempo deck. A two mana 2/1 is a good rate for the body, but then it also has a stronger Spell Pierce attached to it. However, sacrificing it isn’t a big deal (it’s probably preferred honestly), because the backside is where the real action begins. When you pay the Disturb cost, you get an evasive threat that makes your noncreature spells uncounterable! This will allow you to apply pressure to your opponent and increase the effectiveness of your interaction. This is definitely one of the best tempo cards printed since Brazen Borrower and it makes my blue mage heart so happy.
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Memory Deluge joins the ranks of four mana draw two instants, and it’s a very impressive one at that. While it’s up for debate if it’s better than Behold the Multiverse, this card will absolutely see play in blue decks that want the game to go long. When you first cast it, you can look at the top four cards of your deck and choose two of them to put into your hand. This is already a strong spell by itself. However, you can also Flashback it for seven mana where you can look at the top seven cards and then choose two. Sound familiar? It’s Dig Through Time, baby! One of the most powerful card “draw” spells ever printed! Definitely expect to see this in every blue midrange or control deck.
A group of ravens is called a murder of ravens. Your opponents will be murdered by these ravens if we find a way to break this card! The fact that it comes into play with a 1/1 Bird is a nice bonus that we don’t usually see from this kind of effect. At this time, I’m envisioning a way of combining this with Drake Haven to discard spells into your graveyard and then recast them for additional value off of Ominous Roost. Flashback and Escape are the obvious mechanics for this, but there may be other pieces that will let you take full advantage of these powerful enchantments. While I’m not sure if this card will be competitive,Ominous Roost absolutely has some potential as a fun build around.
A new Spirit lord!? Will Spirits come to haunt the Gladiator metagame? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. The first deck I fell in love with was blue white Spirits in Modern and this is an archetype that is close to my heart. It is worth noting that we do have Supreme Phantom and Empyrean Eagle, which give us three spirit lords! There are a lot of powerful Spirit cards in Gladiator, but there isn’t quite the density for the deck to be as powerful as its Modern or Pioneer counterparts. Either way, I’m personally very excited for more Spirit support and I think that this is a tribe worth keeping an eye on.
Poppet Stitcher // Poppet Factory
Poppet Stitcher is possibly the best Young Pyromancer that has been printed in recent years. Being able to create tokens from casting spells is a powerful effect taht can quickly get out of hand. Poppet Stitcher is more unique compared to similar cards since it creates 2/2s with Decayed, which will encourage you to attack. At least, until it flips over into a win condition! Turning all of your tokens into 3/3s that lose all abilities (mainly Decayed in the case of this card) makes the card even stronger and gives you flexibility if you need to attack or defend. Plus the backside with Young Pyromancer’s tokens will be a real beating for a lot of decks. It is worth noting that the backside of Poppet Stitcher is an artifact, which may open it up to more removal. Either way, I expect to see this in all blue-based Spellslinger decks!
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Sludge Monster is a new powerful midrange finisher. Since it removes all abilities and reduces the size of a creature as soon as it enters play it has an immediate impact on the board and can quickly get out of hand for your opponent. Other cards to compare to this are Iymrith, Desert Doom and Mesmerizing Benthid. Iymirth is the strongest of the three, but as we get more powerful blue creatures, it may be worth revisiting the others in a more creature-based blue midrange deck.
Wizards have been giving us tempo players so many new toys! Spectral Adversary is a powerful threat that can be played early, or played late game for additional value! Not only does it protect creatures, but it can also protect enchantments and artifacts, such as a Bonesplitter or Favorable Winds. This card is most easily compared with Guardian of Faith. Guardian of Faith comes in for three mana and immediately phases all of your creatures. Spectral Adversary can only phase one other creature if you pay its ability once for a total of four mana. Because Guardian of Faith’s cost is one mana less and it phases out the whole board, Guardian of Faith has the more powerful protection effect. However, the evasion you gain from Spectral Adversary’s flying is more in line with a tempo deck’s game plan. Spectral Adversary will definitely show up in blue decks and should be a creature to watch out for when you’re trying to remove a threat!
Suspicious Stowaway // Seafaring Werewolf
A powerful blue Werewolf!? This was certainly not something I was expecting! This stowaway will love having a Curiosity type of effect on it as it pokes players for damage. Being able to draw from both their ability and Curiosity will give you more options for your discard. Then, if it flips over, you get to do twice as much damage, and draw a card without discarding! Plus, since tempo decks play at instant speed, it will be easy to trigger the Daybound ability! This will join the several other powerful blue tempo cards that will make their way into Gladiator from this set!
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I’m a passionate Magic player who plays a lot of Gladiator and Limited! I’ve been playing since Kamigawa block and have been a loyal blue mage for the majority of that time. My favorite decks are UW Control or UB Tempo!