Staples of Modern 2018: Top 5 Blue Spells

In yesterday’s article we kicked off color week here at GGG with white spells. Today we are moving to another slice of the color pie with the top blue spells in the Modern format. Before you dive in though, make sure to participate in our giveaway and get yourself some free cards.

The following cards have been ranked by dominance rating using data from This is calculated by multiplying the percent of decks they appear in by the average number of copies that appear in said decks. For frame of reference, a card that appears in 25% of decks as a two of will have a 0.5 dominance rating. For a hypothetical, 100-player tourney this means that there would be 0.5 copies of said card per player in the room. These cards have had their mainboard and sideboard dominance ratings summed when applicable. Cards with a mixed color identity have been excluded from the results.

#5 Phantasmal Image: 0.36
Phantasmal Image may not be the first card that you think of when you think of blue cards in Modern. However, it has carved out a nice little niche for itself in the tribal aggro decks. Starting in Humans and moving into Spirits, Image has been a mainstay in two pillars of the format through 2019. Allowing for extra copies of anything on board, it pairs well with the highly synergistic tribal strategies of the format. The sacrifice when targeted drawback is usually not an issue because Image was likely going to die anyway from any removal spell pointed at it.

#4 Opt: 0.43
The addition of Opt into the Modern card pool is something that many players have been asking for for years. Having a quality instant speed cantrip is something that blue has been needing for a long time. Opt has found homes in U/W Control as well as most of the blue based combo decks of the format. U/W Control is a particularly interesting home as it allows the control player to hold up interaction as well as miracle Terminus on the opponent’s turn. Opt will continue to be a Modern mainstay as many blue decks are looking for cheap, reliable cantrips and this is the only instant speed one available.

#3 Cryptic Command: 0.44
Cryptic Command has seen play all the way down to Legacy in the past. This is generally not something you would see from a four mana card with a triple blue casting cost. However, all four modes on Cryptic Command are very useful which allows Cryptic to be the versatile card that it is. Despite the claims that the format has gotten extremely linear at times through 2018, Cryptic Command still managed to show that it is powerful enough to include in blue decks despite its high casting cost. This fan favorite will be a core piece of control decks throughout 2019.

#2 Snapcaster Mage: 0.57
Snapcaster Mage is arguably the most powerful blue creature ever printed. It is a multi-format all-star seeing heavy play all the way down to Vintage. It is no surprise that it ends up on the list of the most played blue cards in Modern. Snapcaster is generally as good as the spells in the format are. Modern is not only a format with incredibly powerful spells, it is also one where many decks utilize their graveyard as a resource. Snapcaster is really at its best when it has plenty of targets to choose from. Expect to see the blue power two drop as a pillar of the format for the foreseeable future.

#1 Serum Visions: 0.59
Finally, we have Serum Visions, the most powerful blue cantrip that Modern has to offer. Serum Visions has been the cantrip of choice in Modern ever since the banning of Preordain and Ponder many years ago. Although it does not offer any card selection before you draw, Serum Visions still allows players to see three cards deep when all is said and done. Many comparisons will be made to Opt and Sleight of Hand, which both allow for card selection before you draw,  but do not offer any deck manipulation afterwards. Serum Visions takes the top spot for blue cards in 2018 in large part due to it’s ability to set up future draws.

Despite past rumblings of blue being underpowered in Modern, 2018 was a very solid showing from blue decks. Not only were blue based combo decks out in full force, control and even midrange decks put up results throughout 2018. Moving forward blue decks are poised for very strong showings in 2019 with Izzet Phoenix, UW Miracles, and others poised to have strong showings. We will be back tomorrow to take a look at black. For now though, make sure to participate in our giveaway this week.

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