If you were to ask any experienced Magic: the Gathering player which color is the best, we’d be willing to bet that the odds are high they’ll say blue. This is simply one of the most popular colors in the game, thanks to its massive library of strong cards.
But where is blue the strongest it’s ever been? Are there sets where blue truly dominates?
Those are questions we’re setting out to examine in this list of the best MTG sets for blue. Keep reading to see what we chose, as well as why.
Deja Blue: An Intro to Blue Mana
The thing about choosing the best sets for blue is that it’s, well, insanely difficult. Frankly, most sets are good for blue because it has generally been a strong color throughout its existence.
In fact, no one would question you for saying blue is the strongest color in MTG. You’d more likely than not get people nodding along with you.
So, what’s blue like that makes it so strong? Typically, blue decks and individual cards are controlling. You’ll have a lot of reactionary cards like Counterspell, which is pictured above.
A few strategies and mechanics commonly associated with blue include counterspells, stealing opponents’ permanents, bouncing opponents’ permanents into their hands, tapping/untapping permanents, and reducing the power of opponents’ creatures. Blue also has a few cards that allow players to take an extra turn – something that can be easily broken.
This makes sense, given that blue in Magic usually represents technology, illusion, and knowledge. If green often represents nature, then blue is, in many ways, the opposite.
A great part of the reason why blue is so powerful today is that, in the beginning, the creators of the game didn’t realize exactly how game-changing the concepts blue represented would be. In fact, they thought life gain, which is associated with white, would be stronger – and as any experienced Magic player knows, life is simply another resource for you to tap into.
In the long run, it’s things like card draw and counterspelling that are some of the strongest mechanics in the game…and these are mechanics that blue excels at.
Read Next: Best MTG Sets for White
Best MTG Sets for Blue
We’ve written a few best MTG sets by color guides, and we’ve noticed a trend: Urza’s Saga appears on quite a few lists. That’s because Urza’s block was easily one of the most powerful series of cards in the game.
The sets in the Urza block were so crazily strong, in fact, that they broke the game. When they were released, they caused a period of time called Combo Winter, which is when numerous strong cards flooded tournament decks.
Some examples of what we mean include classics like Gilded Drake and Tolarian Academy. Overall, this is just an amazing set, so if you’re able to get your hands on booster packs or boxes, you’re pretty lucky…and you’ll probably have to pay a high price.
- There’s a high concentration of rare, powerful cards of all colors in this set.
- The set has held its value extremely well.
- Tons of broken blue cards to choose from.
- Due to power creep, the game has continued to get more and more powerful overall – but these cards are still competitive.
- Extremely difficult to find boosters for.
- Cards tend to be really expensive.
Most Notable Blue Card: Tolarian Academy
It always feels a little bit like cheating including a Masters set on a list of the best Magic sets for any category. Masters sets are, by their very design, meant to be the best of the best.
Eternal Masters is no different. This is a set packed full with some of the best reprinted cards from across MTG’s history.
We stopped ourselves from including more than one Masters set on this list, though. After reviewing the top blue cards in each Masters set carefully, we settled on Eternal Masters simply because it has the highest concentration of powerful blue cards.
- An all-around strong set.
- Has tons of the best blue cards in Magic’s history.
- Filled with plenty of valuable cards.
- Tends to be expensive.
- Is not easy to find booster packs or boxes for.
Most Notable Blue Card: Force of Will
Modern Horizons is the set for you if Modern is your favorite format. This was the very first set specifically created for Modern players.
Although it incorporates some new cards, it was well-known for reprinting many popular historic ones. It also brought back 40 mechanics, making them legal for Modern at the time of its printing.
This is another great set for you if, like many other Magic players, you like the look of snow-covered lands. For the most part, it’s purely an aesthetic thing, but each booster pack still comes with a full-art snow-covered land for you to enjoy.
- Boosters come with full-art snow-covered lands.
- A great set for Modern format players.
- The cards in this set include tons of mechanics for you to experiment with.
- Some players felt that they could have gone even more powerful with the set, given that it’s supposed to represent the entirety of the Modern format.
Most Notable Blue Card: Urza, Lord High Artificer
Learn More about Colors in Magic: Best MTG Sets for Green
If you know anything about the plane after which the Zendikar set is named, you’d expect the set itself to be mostly green. After all, Zendikar is essentially the forest plane.
However, there is a surprising number of powerful blue cards in this set, too. It’s also a fairly popular set with long-time fans, so it’s held its value well. Individual booster packs and boxes alike are both valuable.
What’s more, if earning your value back when you open a pack is one of your greatest concerns, you’ll probably like Zendikar. You have the small possibility of pulling a fetch land from each pack.
- You can potentially pull rare and valuable fetch lands from each pack.
- It has a lot of cards that are perfect for mana fixing and building a strong mana base.
- Introduced Landfall, a fun and strong mechanic.
- Quite rare and valuable these days.
- Finding boxes or packs can be difficult, since the set is rather old.
- It was a very fast set, so it’s not as good for slow games.
Most Notable Blue Card: Hedron Crab
Opening Innistrad packs when it first came out was such a good time. Until its release, there hadn’t really been a fully horror-themed set, so Innistrad was a first in more than one way.
This set focused heavily on a handful of creepy tribes. Said creepy tribes include things like werewolves, zombies, vampires, and spirits. If you’re into all things spooky and you’re a Magic player, do yourself a favor and try to get at least one Innistrad booster pack to open.
- The gothic horror theme makes it a blast to open Innistrad packs.
- Thanks to its immense popularity, this is another set that has held its value really well.
- Great set for specific tribes, such as zombies and vampires.
- Because it’s such a tribe-based set, you have to pick a tribe and stick to it while drafting.
- Can be hard to find booster packs or boxes for.
Most Notable Blue Card: Snapcaster Mage
Fun Read: 8 Creepiest Planeswalkers in MTG (To Fuel Your Nightmares)
Are you a huge fan of Skyrim? Do you find yourself returning to it again and again, even ten years later?
Then Kaldheim might be the perfect set for you. This Norse-inspired set is filled with gods and other creatures that will make you think of snowy Skyrim.
Plus, there are gorgeous alternate versions of cards with Nordic patterns on them. These cards look impressive, to the say the least, and are a pleasure to open even if they’re not particularly valuable.
- Norse theme is intriguing and fun for lovers of Vikings or games like Skyrim.
- For better or for worse, blue stepped out of its comfort zone in this set with cards like Ravenform.
- As a more recent set at the time of this post, it’s more affordable.
- Strong flavor that comes through really well in the cards.
- Brings back the snow mechanic, which didn’t have much support before.
- Once again, white really got the short end of the stick with power levels in this set.
Most Notable Blue Card: Ravenform
There are many core sets like M11 that have a stock of strong blue cards. We ended up choosing M11 specifically, though, because we felt as if, out of all the core sets currently available, it has the most dominant blue cards.
Aside from there being an excess of great blue options in this set, there are other compelling reasons to give it a try. It has powerful Titans for each color which had great enter the battlefield effects. Additionally, this set has Leylines, which are “free” to cast if you start with them in your opening hand.
- Core sets are generally weaker than normal sets because they often serve as introductory ones – but M11 is surprisingly great.
- Particularly strong for blue.
- Included tons of cards that are popular even today in eternal formats, such as Birds of Paradise.
- Despite the presence of some extremely useful cards, the overall set doesn’t have that same level of power, which made playing it in sealed or draft formats kind of uninteresting.
- Can be difficult to find these days.
Most Notable Blue Card: Leyline of Anticipation
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Jace, the Mind Sculptor was a divisive card when it was first released. It’s an extraordinarily powerful planeswalker for a number of reasons, one of which is the fact he gets four different loyalty abilities. Plus, his 0-cost and +2-cost abilities are both great – one gives you card draw and the other lets you gently shape an opponent’s card draw.
Don’t even get us started on his -12. If Jace stays out long enough for you to get there, you effectively force someone out of the game, since you basically reduce their entire library to seven or fewer cards.
In short, Time Walk is one of the most broken cards ever printed. It’s deceptively simple, coming from a time when the creators didn’t understand how powerful different things would be in Magic.
Paying two mana at sorcery speed to take an extra turn is just one of the strongest effects in the game. By itself, it’s dominating, but the fact that it doesn’t exile itself like many other extra turn cards is what makes it extraordinary. You can keep bringing it back from your graveyard or even copy it.
A less expensive (monetarily, at least) alternative to this is Time Warp. It will also allow you to take an extra turn and you won’t need to pay potentially thousands of dollars for it. True, it does cost three more mana to cast, but it’s well worth the cost.
This is one of the Power Nine, a group of overwhelmingly strong cards that are (unsurprisingly) mostly blue.
The Power Nine is a grouping of cards that are widely considered the nine mightiest cards in all of Magic: the Gathering. To give you some perspective on just how strong Ancestral Recall is, it’s one of the Power Nine.
Why is it so powerful? Simple: for just a single mana, and at instant-speed, you can cast it to draw three cards. Card advantage is always a good thing in MTG.
Surprise, surprise – there’s another blue card in the mythical Power Nine. Timetwister is basically a soft reset of the game for a measly three mana.
Are you backed into a corner? Do you know your opponents are about to cast a devastating combo? Cast Timetwister and get a new hand plus shuffled library while all your permanents stay in play. It’s almost like getting to start over.
We’re taking some liberties by mentioning Mox Sapphire here, because it’s technically not a blue card. It’s an artifact, which means it’s colorless. However, it taps for blue mana, so we’re choosing to include it here.
Guess what? This is another member of the Power Nine. What’s amazing about this is you’re getting free mana. And, unlike Black Lotus, this one doesn’t require you to sacrifice it. You can keep using it every turn, provided someone doesn’t destroy it right away.
This card is really difficult to find because of how old and rare it is. We don’t have a link to it, but we did include a picture so you can see what it is.
Okay, so away from the cards that can easily cost you thousands of dollars. Let’s look at something a bit more modest (but still impressive): Consecrated Sphinx.
There are two things that make this an excellent card. Number one: it’s a fairly beefy flying creature with a power and toughness of 4/6. Not bad at all.
But then there’s its ability. It gives you the option of drawing two cards every time an opponent draws a card. Remember, card advantage is always a good thing – you never know if you’re going to draw into the perfect solution.
And should you not want to draw a card for any reason, the card’s text says “may,” so you don’t have to.
Ignore the…interesting art on Stasis for a moment, and you’ll see that this is actually a great card. If you’re prepared to make literally everyone else at the table hate your guts, this is a wonderful choice.
There’s a strategy called Stax. The objective of Stax is to slow down the game and keep anyone from making a move, frustrating your table to no end. Stasis is a perfect example of this strategy.
Read Next: Top 10 MTG Cards with Lovably Bad Art
Cyclonic Rift is a staple in many high-tier Commander decks. If you can swing the monetary cost of one, you should probably have at least one in your collection.
Basically, Cyclonic Rift allows you to reset the board – if you can manage the seven mana Overload cost. This can very easily be a game over for your opponents, since it’s like a board wipe that doesn’t harm you at all.
Countering spells is something blue is second to none at. But what if, rather than just countering a spell, you got an additional benefit from the mechanic?
Mana Drain boldly answers that question. There is no downside to this card. Not only will it counter an opponent’s spell, but it will take the mana from that spell and add it as colorless mana to your mana pool on your next main phase.
This card literally allows you to drain the mana from someone else’s spell and use it later. Bonus points if you use this on their most expensive spell and watch them scream in frustration.
We’ve played against Rhystic Study quite a few times. It’s a subtly insidious card because it doesn’t openly screw everyone else over.
But unless your opponents make an active effort in stopping you, you will continue to draw a card every time they play a spell. The drawback to this can potentially be getting a larger hand than you can hold, but there are plenty of cards that can remove hand size limits, too.
Even by itself, Omniscience is a compelling card. Sure, the initial mana cost is high, but the payout is priceless: the ability to cast spells in your hand for free. Indefinitely…or until someone tries to get rid of Omniscience.
But what this card is famous for is a well-known combo in which it is partnered with Laboratory Maniac and Enter the Infinite. In short, you play Omnsicience first, then Laboratory Maniac, which says that you’ll win the game if you need to draw a card when there are none in your library. Enter the Infinite has you draw your entire library, then put one card back in. The assumption is that you’ll then have a card in your hand then that will force yourself to draw multiple cards, completing Laboratory Maniac’s win condition.
Nexus of Fate
You’ve probably noticed a trend in our Honorable Mentions section for blue cards. We’ve included a few cards that give players an extra turn.
Generally, cards that give you an extra turn have some kind of downside afterwards, such as the cards exiling themselves after taking effect. Nexus of Fate has no such downside. And unlike other similar cards, it doesn’t go to your graveyard after use – it gets shuffled back into your library.
With the right setup, you could easily be taking multiple turns in a row with this one. We guarantee the other players at the table will hate you for it.
Force of Will
We normally make it a habit not to mention a card in our Honorable Mentions section if it was previously mentioned in relation to one of the sets on our list. In this case, Force of Will was technically reprinted in Eternal Masters, and we chose to pick it for the most notable blue card in that section.
However, Force of Will is so incredibly important in the world of MTG that we strongly feel it’s worth mentioning again. This is the ultimate blue card. It is the best counterspell in Magic, since you can choose to pay life and exile a card from your hand instead of the mana cost.
That means you can play it on any turn and at any time. If Force of Will is a little too rich for your blood, Force of Negation is an excellent and more affordable alternative. It also allows you to exile a card rather than paying the mana cost if it’s not your turn. The downside is that it can only counter noncreature spells. (link: https://amzn.to/3sc5eLa
Pact of Negation
Now here is a particularly interesting counterspell. Pact of Negation is a bit like taking out a loan – you may not pay up front, but you will pay for it later.
This isn’t a bad thing, though. If you’re all tapped out of mana on your turn or after taking your turn, Pact of Negation means you still have a way to respond to threats.
Want to make everyone else at the table shake their fists at you in rage? Then force them in between a rock and a hard place using Expropriate.
With Expropriate, all your opponents are forced to make a choice: either they allow to take an extra turn, or they must give you control of one of their permanents that you choose. Either way, this is a mean card.
This was quite possibly the most exhausting Magic-related list we’ve made so far. Although you might be able to make an argument otherwise, we feel as if blue is the strongest color in MTG.
There is no shortage of sets with an abundance of blue cards. Narrowing our list to several sets was nearly impossible.
If you forced us to narrow our list even further somehow, we’d probably choose Urza’s Saga. That’s not a surprising pick – Urza’s Saga was, overall, a very broken set. It’s packed to the gills with powerful cards in all colors.