The first major sanctioned tournament with Theros cards legal just ended, and Theros Game Day is quickly approaching, so what better time to review every card in the set in-depth? Continuing on from the end of white cards in Theros, I'll be picking up my color-by-color and card-by-card overview of the set with the first portion of blue. Let's begin:
Annul - This was something that was first printed in Urza's Saga in a block that was nominally about enchantments but instead produced a ton of overpowered artifacts. Then it was reprinted in Mirrodin, explicitly to work against artifacts in a block that... produced a ton of overpowered artifacts. Now, it's finally in an enchantment block (well, sort of) and meant to be used against enchantments. (Thankfully, the gods are just indestructible, not uncounterable.) So it's almost come full circle.
Aqueous Form - Wowee, that's a lot of value for one mana. Just a plain unblockability Aura for U in Limited would be pretty crazy in an environment with heroic, but being able to stack your deck every time the enchanted creature swings? Eesh. Look for this to be the sleeper common of the entire set. It's especially fun with...
Artisan of Forms - It's a pity the legend rule was changed, at least for this card's sake - as a two-mana creature copier it'd have functioned as a sort of anti-legend grenade like Phantasmal Image and Phyrexian Metamorph did under the old "all legends of the same name blow up" rule. Now it's just an immensely abuseable and fun Johnny rare, which, in retrospect, is probably truer to what it's meant to be.
Benthic Giant - Well, this is a fatty with hexproof, which, no matter the cost or the rarity, never fails to set off the "hexproof is inherently unfair!" crowd. Uh, but, if you don't like targeting your own creatures with stuff, this probably isn't the set for you. I dig the flavor text on this, and a hard to remove 4/5 for six is a Limited threat any blue mage could be proud of.
Bident of Thassa - Sure, this maybe isn't the most spectacularly strong of the gods' artifacts, but hey, it provides massive card advantage for getting an unblocked hit in plus a way to make sure all of your opponents' potential blockers (okay, except for defender and vigilance creatures) are tapped down at all times. The fact that this is valued so low means that people don't realize how many cards you can draw off it.
Breaching Hippocamp - It's good to see lesser-known mythological creatures like hippocampuses - hippocampi - hippocampodes? whatever - represented in this block. Especially as nasty surprise-blockers; suddenly readying another of your creatures to block or getting a second tap ability activation out in a turn are both incredibly powerful in the right situation.
Coastline Chimera - Generally, I'm liking the ten-card cycle of off-color activation creatures; this is one of my favorites. A 1/5 flying body for four is solid as both an aerial blocker and a hard-to-deal-with attacker, and the multiblock activated ability sort of implies it can grow an infinite number of heads as long as it has enough mana, which is hilarious.
Crackling Triton - Next comes the blue-plus-enemy-color offering in the cycle; this guy's a 2/3 for three, and Blind Phantasm was totally useable in Future Sight Limited, so we're off to a good start. Shock is a great card, and makes for a good sacrifice ability on this, even if 2R is a bit of a steep activation cost.
Curse of the Swine - Another card that's sort of had its stock go up since the Prerelease and Release, Curse of the Swine is blue mass removal, which should already be enough to turn heads. It blows away indestructible and regenerating creatures as well as turning your own smaller-than-2/2s into more respectable beaters. All in all, this is versatile and strong and you laugh at it at your peril.
Dissolve - As far as straight upgrades of Cancel go, you can't really go wrong with one that allows you to scry. Fact of the matter is this is probably a good enough counter for Constructed.
Fate Foretold - Drawing two cards for two mana is good. Of course, when the second card draw is both conditional and delayed, it's suddenly less than spectacular, but hey, at least this one triggers heroic? Design-wise it's also probably one of the more creative and subtle members of its cycle.
Gainsay - My love for Gainsay is more undying than Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. Back when I was a wee lad who first became aware of Magic right before Invasion was released, I thought Gainsay was both insurmountably strange and the coolest thing ever. After all, if the best decks in that environment had all five colors in them, there were bound to be some blue spells for it to counter all the time, right? I'm glad it got a cycle spun off it in this set, and since it's a two-mana counterspell it'll find its way into sideboards no matter what its restrictions are.
Griptide - Another reprint? Eesh. Anyway, instant-speed top-of-the-library creature shove is especially dickish in this set because it messes with people's scries. Of course, in Limited, "dick move" and "nuanced, considered strategic decision" are often indistinguishable, so.