Welcome to the fourth article of “Things that colors do, but badly.” We’re on the home stretch, with just green left after this, so buckle in as we uncover the secrets of blue ramp! Before we begin, I’m going to eliminate a few cards from consideration. The cards from Battle for Zendikar and Ixalan blocks make Eldrazi Scion and Treasure tokens respectively, but while they technically ramp, I view them as set mechanics stapled on to blue cards instead of “blue ramp.”
Blue in large measure deals with ideas and things more than people. Having the largest concentration of instants and sorceries of any color is a perfect indication of this. It makes sense, therefore, that much of blue’s ramp falls under “only instants and sorceries” or tacked on to such. Most famous of these is Mana Drain. What could be more blue than denying your opponent a spell and stealing its energies for yourself? Nothing, that’s what.
The “things” portion of blue is tied to artifacts. Getting them out, powering them up, using them to power other things, all very blue. The recently printed Urza, Lord High Artificer fits the bill perfectly. Not only does he call back to Tolarian Academy (of which he was headmaster) but he also brings along his beloved Constructs to enable the Academy ability.
The rest of blue’s ramp is quite a grab bag of abilities. Tap a creature to add colorless mana equal to its CMC, removing ice counters, usable only for upkeep or colorless spells, and so on. Most notable among these is High Tide, known for its eponymous Legacy combo deck. This group, however, does not include one of blue’s trademark abilities: untapping. Most spells that untap lands only hit as many as or fewer than their CMC, but there are a few creatures like Vizier of Tumbling Sands that untap lands, thus netting you a mana.
I do have to mention a few cards specifically. Apprentice Wizard, Benthic Explorers, Deranged Assistant, and Sea Scryer add mana almost unconditionally. While none of them are amazing, I can see them in either mono blue Merfolk or Wizard tribal Commander decks. Benthic Explorers can be played in a politics deck, or even Sen Triplets. Yes, mana rocks are usually better, but having the versatility of either ramping or swinging is nothing to sneeze at.
Overall score: 4/10. I’m quite impressed. The other colors, when they’re bad at something, they’re really bad at it. Blue has some very impressive ramp, considering, and though it may be temporary in large measure, gaining a lot of mana for haymaker plays changes games considerably. I’m not going to do individual cards because there’s so many of them, but a 4 overall is not bad. Just another reason why people say blue is the best color: even at its worst, it’s better than other color’s worsts.
Alrighty everyone, thanks for reading. Have a good whatever!