When Wizards set its cost at 1UUU, a cost that
must've seemed prohibitive during Lorwyn block,
they knew very well that Alara would bring
fixing tools that would make its triple-color
cost a non-issue. Did they know that it would
end up becoming one of control decks' ultimate
tools? The ability to counter a spell and tap
down an army in one card effectively robs aggro
of an entire turn, and a Boomerang/Counterspell
hybrid sets opponents back leagues. It's
entirely possible that this card is more
responsible for Faerie control than any actual
Faerie. The only thing cryptic about it is why
Vexing Shusher and Guttural Response haven't
found their way into sideboards, givent he
prevalence of this juicy target.
The next time someone claims they don't make
good blue spells any more, take a copy of
Cryptic Command and tape it to their face. Well,
unless you need it for your deck. It's at the
very top of the power curve and above the top of
the versatility curve, yet it never would have
been so ubiquitous this season if not for
Reflecting Pool (after mono-blue control was
pushed out of Standard by Elves and out of
Extended by Domain Zoo). So why is this higher
on the list than its enabler? A chicken and egg
thing, I guess. P.S. Play four.
Limited: 3/5 (Shimmering Grotto is a common!)
I play blue, but not for the counter, but mainly
for the draw and bounce. I love bouncing there
big fat fatty during combat. This is the best
card for blue in a long time. Again the only
copy I own is the special foil from the Player's
Reward. I have to look it up to see what it
does. Great card all around.
4: Cryptic Command
One of the best counterspells in awhile. The
reason this is so good and so widely used, even
being used in 5cc with its UUU cost. One of the
main problems that always plagues blue mages is
having to deal with threats on the board while
also dealing with new threats being played.
Cryptic deals with both OR, and this is
important for a blue mage, it replaces itself.
Not so usable in limited with so a strict cost
and your friends won't be thanking you in multi
but definatly worthy in competitive play.
The only command made into an instant, this one
packs a punch. It's also probably the one that's
used mostly in tournament decks like Faeries.
Basically every mode is good. Counter+draw is
always good. Counter and bounce is huge tempo
and the tapout lets your guys get in for lethal.
Thought this was going to be higher in the list
for sure. As more of a spike kind of card it
could be looked down on in casual settings.
Limited it's quite color heavy.
Tuesday - Cryptic Command
This is one of the most powerful blue control
cards printed in a while. The UUU in the casting
cost is hardly a drawback with all of the great
color fixing we have available nowadays. For
your four mana, this essentially boils down into
a counterspell + pick from any of the other
three effects. There are times where you'll want
to use this to do something other than counter,
but usually you should use this to counter
something. What you'll end up getting is a
stupid good tempo swing in your favor. Most
decks using blue should be packing at least 3 of
In limited, if you can support the UUU, play it,
because all of the abilities are good to have.
Constructed - 4.5
Casual - 2.5
Limited - 3
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