Is Urza's Blueprints a Good Card in EDH?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Nov. 26, 2019, 9:06 p.m. by DemonDragonJ

I recently became aware of the existence of Urza's Blueprints , and I am wondering how good of a card it is in EDH format.

Many of my EDH decks contain Arcane Encyclopedia , because it is a colorless and repeatable source of card advantage, but the blueprints are potentially better. They do have a higher initial cost, as well as an echo cost, but their ability costs no mana to use, so, after the initial cost and echo cost have been paid, they provide free and repeatable card advantage.

What does everyone else say about this? How good of a card is Urza's Blueprints in EDH?

Caerwyn says... #2

I would say it is pretty mediocre. Card draw is only good if you can utilise it. Paying for one card (or for two) is fairly steep, rendering it difficult to cast those extra cards. Sure, it might start being with it after four or five turns... but that’s a long time to survive when you can’t even cast it until you’ve hit six mana.

November 26, 2019 9:17 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #3

Caerwyn, you do have a good point, there, and I am very displeased that it is so difficult to find a source of card advantage that is colorless, repeatable, and inexpensive, since the majority of such effects require large amounts of mana to be paid. However, since Arcane Encyclopedia is strictly better than Jayemdae Tome , I am hopeful that there shall eventually be a better version of Urza's Blueprints , as well.

November 26, 2019 9:25 p.m.

griffstick says... #4

The Immortal Sun is the best colorless card draw card at 6 cmc

November 26, 2019 9:30 p.m.

Skullclamp , Mind's Eye are common card draw pieces for colorless.

November 26, 2019 9:36 p.m.

enpc says... #6

Clearly the best card draw is Tower of Fortunes . 12 mana nets you 4 cards, rather than 2 :P

November 26, 2019 9:51 p.m.

Drakorya says... #7

I feel like there's probably two types of deck that Urza's Blueprints could be good in: big mana decks that lack alot of good card draw (like mono-green Azusa, Lost but Seeking ), or decks that look to use/abuse activated abilities of artifacts with cards like Rings of Brighthearth and Voltaic Key .

I think the card could really shine if you can take advantage of not having to pay mana into it's activation cost, by either untapping it repeatedly or copying the ability. But it would lead to alot of feel-bad moments when you devote 12 mana into it just for it to eat a removal spell. You could try to cheat on the costs with cards like Mairsil, the Pretender or Myr Welder .

November 26, 2019 10:11 p.m.

Mj3913 says... #8

In a shell that reduces cmc and/or recurs artifacts easily perhaps, but there are still likely better options all things considered.

November 26, 2019 10:14 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #9

griffstick, yes, that card is awesome, and all of my EDH decks that do not contain planeswalkers, which is most of them, have that card.

Raging_Squiggle, yes, I have considered Mind's Eye for my EDH decks, but I am uncertain about its high initial cost.

enpc, I actually did have Tower of Fortunes in some of my EDH decks, briefly, but the high cost of its ability made me remove it; however, 8 mana for four cards averages out to 2 mana per card, which is better than both Jayemdae Tome (4 mana per card) and Arcane Encyclopedia (3 mana per card), so I wonder if it is worth reconsidering?

November 26, 2019 10:40 p.m.

Lordeh says... #10

In colourless decks you might want to take advantage of some of the utility lands to draw cards such as Arch of Orazca , Mikokoro, Center of the Sea or Geier Reach Sanitarium and artifacts like Seer's Sundial , Mind Stone or Hedron Archive or if you have a cheap/agressive commander Tome of Legends .

November 26, 2019 11:09 p.m. Edited.

enpc says... #11

DemonDragonJ: Tower of Fortunes is pretty bad. Personally I would stick with stuff like Arcane Encyclopedia . Also, Mind's Eye is pretty good (and the high initial cost is still less than that of Urza's Blueprints ).

November 27, 2019 12:01 a.m.

greyninja says... #12

I dont think anyone has mentioned Staff of Nin yet, which is another comparable card

I've been enjoying Endless Atlas in my two mono colored decks, and I just put one it my rakdos deck to try it in two-color

November 27, 2019 7:26 a.m.

griffstick says... #13

If I'm in mono white or boros I have no problem running Howling Mine

November 27, 2019 8:25 a.m.

BS-T says... #14

greyninja I'm using Endless Atlas in Torbran and Chainer, seems to be fine in the two colour deck so far, barely limiting it's usefulness as long as you play say 25-35 lands as basics. Can anyone reference or do good maths on minimum of a type of basic to use, would 10/10 Mountains/Swamps be viable for e.g.?

November 27, 2019 11:24 a.m.

griffstick says... #15

Endless Atlas is not better than Promise of Power or Liliana's Contract

November 27, 2019 12:49 p.m.

dingusdingo says... #16

One thing to consider with Urza's Blueprints is that you can use it in response to the echo, plus the turn you play it. So you can choose to draw 2 cards for mana, or you can pay to get a card every turn.

If you're more interested in repeatable artifact draw, Mind's Eye or Staff of Nin will serve you better.

November 27, 2019 2:49 p.m.

Drakorya says... #17

BS-T Looking at Frank Karsten's article on how many mana sources you need to consistently cast cards on curve (consistently defined as 90% probability), if you want to reliably activate Endless Atlas on turn 3 you'll need 37 lands with the same name in your deck. This number will obviously decrease if you instead settle for reliably activating it on later turns (33 for turn 4, 30 for turn 5, 28 for turn 6, ...).

So I think if you're using Endless Atlas in a two-colour deck, you need to be aware that you'll never have a great probability of activating it in early turns, unless your deck is heavily one colour. If you use your suggested 10 mountains and 10 swamps, you only have about a 12% chance of having 3 lands with the same name on turn 3. This increases to ~25% for turn 6, but that still isn't great.

Note: these probabilities were done on a hypergeometric calculator, calculating the probability of drawing at least 3 cards with 10 copies in a deck of 99 cards. The resulting probability was then doubled, since you have two basic land types. I'm not 100% sure this is right though.

Links to Frank Karsten's article: https://www.channelfireball.com/all-strategy/articles/how-many-colored-mana-sources-do-you-need-to-consistently-cast-your-spells-a-guilds-of-ravnica-update/

Link to hypergeometric calculator: https://aetherhub.com/Apps/HyperGeometric

November 27, 2019 5:31 p.m.

BS-T says... #18

Thank you Drakorya! I knew Frank'd be the man with the solution haha. I'd never hope to be going 10/10, just a number I plucked out but interesting to see. As I said, it seems fine and is far from the only card draw plan in the deck, but I'm probably cutting it pretty fine on Swamps/Mountains for it to hit the actually 'good' threshold.

To be a bit more back-on-track... I'd generally favour one-offs of draw like Read the Bones / Sign in Blood etc etc than expensive repeatable colourless options.

As for the initial Q - I'd marginally prefer Encyclopedia over Blueprints in isolation. Maybe.

November 27, 2019 5:58 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #19

dingusdingo, I like Staff of Nin very much, but the fact that its card drawing ability triggers only once per turn is problematic, so I would rather use Arcane Encyclopedia instead.

November 30, 2019 9:56 p.m.

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