The blink archetype is all about getting lots of creatures with CIP/LP abilities, and abusing them to hell. This deck can be tempo/aggressive, or it can very controling, and it’s always very fun to play, and usually one of the more skill intensive builds in the cube.
Why play Blink?
Blink is a great archetype which gets to abuse one of the few common denominators in cube ; creatures with etb abilities. Depending on what you draft, you could win by gaining obscene amounts of life with Lone Missionary, or you could keep your opponents board empty with Faultgrinder and Shriekmaw. As long as the deck is well built, it’s always very fun to play with and (usually) against.
Why not to play blink?
Not all cubes have specific blink support, which can make drafting the deck a little more difficult that expected. For example, Venser the Sojourner is amazing in the blink archetype, but a lot of cubes don’t run him. Another problem is that a lot of the cards which are good in blink are also good in a lot of other decks, and so will be picked early on.
The main core of a blink deck is a blue control shell, featuring ETB creatures like Man-o’-war and Aether Adept, Clique, Mulldrifter etc, with lots of strong mana fixing. My deck usually end up in bant, or UGb or even UWb, splashing for Shriekmaw and it’s buddies.
There are two key areas you need to focus on when drafting blink cards:
1.Creatures to abuse. You’ll be wanting at least 10 or more creatures to abuse, and probably the more the better. Man-o’-war and Venser are easy picks in blue to get, but white, black and green offer a great selection of cards to choose. Off the top of my head, great creatures to abuse in white,green and black are:
- Lone Missionary – Gain obscene amount of life
- Wall of Omens – Weaker target, but drawing cards and absorbing damaged shouldn’t be sniffed at.
- Cloudgoat Ranger – Getting an army of tokens can easily be your win con, and failing that, it’s a great card.
- Sun Titan – A lot of your creatures will have a lot cmc, and so recurring them a lot can be awesome.
- Reveillark – Removal resistant and allows you to return your man-o’-wars and vensers for bouncing funtimes.
- Karmic Guide – Whilst it can’t return 2 creatures like ‘lark, returning Sun Titan or Lark to play can easily turn the tide of games in your favour.
- Flickerwisp – A 3/1 flier for 3 is a fine deal, and it blinks creatures out for you. Fun!
- Bone Shredder – Killing your opponents creatures and gaining CA is a great way to win in blink
- Shriekmaw – Like Boneshredder, but can be evoked then blinked, allowing for 2 kills and a cheaper Shriekmaw.
- Nekrataal – See Bone Shredder
- Skinrender – See Bone Shredder
- Liliana’s Specter – Empty your opponents hand.
- Grave Titan – Token fury win con
- Phyrexian Rager – Losing life sucks, but repetitive card drawing is pretty cool.
- Puppeteer Clique – Returning creatures is cool, and comes on a 3/2 flier.
- Viridian Shaman – Blinkable silver bullet
- Indrik Stomphowler – Big, fat blinkable silver bullet
- Eternal Witness – Go infinite with Time Walk and this, or just recur other cards a lot.
- Wall of Blossoms – See wall of omens
- Terastodon / Woodfall Primus – Lose their land!
- Acidic Slime – Kill anything in your way.
- Deranged Hermit – Get a huge squirrel army and swing for the win! An epic way to win.
- Sundering Titan – get an armageddoning robot
- Duplicant – Like a colourless Bone Shredder clone
- Myr Battlesphere – Can allow you to win in a single turn
- Solemn Simulacrum – Empty your deck of lands
- Kitchen Finks- more lifegain!
As you can see, there are plenty of targets to pick outside of blue, so don’t be afraid to take cards beyond the colours you’ve already got.
2.Blinking cards! This might sound a little obvious, but in order to make a blink deck, it helps to have cards which can blink things. For me, they come in 2 varieties. Hard Blink, and Soft Blink.
Hard Blink cards are cards which remove a card from the game,and return it to play at end of turn, whereas soft blink cards are just those which return cards to your hand. The more of the former you get, the better, but they’re few and far between in most cubes, so you may have to settle for the latter. If you see cards like Flickerwisp, Venser the Sojourner, Ghostway, Galepowder Mage etc coming your way, snap them up quickly! I’d snap them up even above the creatures you’re blinking, since there are plenty of them about, but only limited blink. You can be a lot less demanding with soft blink, since it’s more common. Ideally, you’ll be getting Erratic Portal, Capsize and Crystal Shard,so you can repetitively bounce your creatures, but even Kor Skyfisher, Man-o’-war and Aether adept can be useful here, if you’re returning powerful creatures.
There are plenty of already broken cards which get better in a blink deck. Recurring Nightmare is easy to abuse anyway, and a blink deck can easily incorporate Recurring Nightmare, and usually vice versa. Survival / Fauna Shaman allow you to tutor up your blinkable creatures, and the draw 7s can allow you to dig for your ‘combo’ pieces.
As I mentioned earlier, I tend to get two types of blink. Tempo/aggressive blink, which has less abusable creatures, but is more likely to be running aggressive one drops and ninjas, in a hope to get lots of damage in early game, then blink decent creatures until you win. Depending on how aggressive you make it, it’s arguable this isn’t a blink deck, but I’d be happy either way if I got a deck which looked like this:
- Elite Vanguard
- Gilded Drake
- Kor Skyfisher
- Ninja of the Deep hours
- Lone Missionary
- Aether Adept
- Vendillion Clique
- Kor Sanctifiers
- Sower of Temptation
- Cloudgoat Ranger
- Galepowder Mage
- Crystal Shard
- Venser the sojourner
- Mana Tithe
- Momentary Blink
- Swords to Plowshares
- Turn to Mist
The other type is control blink. This build tends to be much slower, blink larger creatures for crazier effects, and has more colours. A sample decklist would be:
- Lone Missionary
- Kitchen Finks
- Frost Titan
- Sun Titan
- Angel of Despair
- Mirran Crusader
- Knight of Meadowgrain
- Recurring Nightmare
- Turn to Mist
- Venser, the sojourner
- Crystal Shard
- Swords to Plowshares
I would say the build I’ve given above is a little TOO slow, and has a few too many high costing creatures, but when you get recurring nightmare or venser out, these slow creatures will quickly destroy an opponents board, and secure you the win.
I think the most similar decks to Blink I can think of in most cubes are rock, due to the winning due to incremental advantage, and recurring nightmare decks, due to the ridiculous abuse of CIP/LP abilities.
This deck is great fun to play if it comes together, but as more and more cubes forget about it as an archetype, the less support there is for it, and slowly the deck can die as an archetype. I’m looking to increase my support for blink , but it’s a trade off between reducing the power of (mostly) white in getting flickerwisp and galepowder mage in ,but at the same time, making the deck more avalible is what I want.
Overall, this deck is moderately difficult to draft in a normal cube, but can be easy if catered for, can be obscenely powerful, especially in unpowered cubes, and is great fun to draft,
Thanks for reading,