Ancestral Recall is a blue instant, originally designed to be a common, but Richard Garfield was persuaded to make it a rare instead. That didn’t stop Ancestral Recall from being a totally unbalancing card. The ability to draw 3 cards with no penalty allowed decks to become invincible. Ancestral Recall rightly so was banned in all formats but Vintage, where it is now restricted. It’s frequently cited as Blue’s most powerful card, and it’s one of the Power Nine.
What if Ancestral Recall had been a green card?
Let’s face what has to be the most pressing part of this issue: Ancestral Recall just sounds like a green card, doesn’t it? Caring about ancestors: green. Caring about things that came before: green, unless it’s the unrelated card named Recall.
Green loses Giant Growth as its entrant into Alpha’s boon cycle. This leaves Berserk and Web as the only cards that directly enhance a creature; this staple green effect could very well end up in white or red instead. But, in exchange, it establishes green as the “card draw” color, along with Verduran Enchantress, card rearrangement like Natural Selection, and the soon-to-come Sylvan Library. Blue of course still has Braingeyser and Timetwister. The justification then, is that blue gets big card draw, and green gets small card draw (similar to the current policy about what color gets flying creatures).
Perhaps just as importantly, this breaks blue’s monopoly on the colored cards in the power nine. Green is forever established as something that gets to do “Powerful Stuff,” and every vintage deck has to start with a blue-green base to support that. Green-based aggro is an unholy terror.
Then, when more card draw spells are printed—Inspiration, Whispers of the Muse, and the like—they default to green cards. Green’s identity moves from being entirely creature-based to a creature-spell hybrid, spilling out its hand with Elven accelerants, then refueling off its plentiful draw spells.
And what does this leave for blue? It’s certainly not going to be good. It’ll still get the occasional draw-seven or draw-X, but the core of blue’s “counter and refuel” gameplan is sullied. Good thing it still has “control anything,” “copy anything,” and “counter anything” in its share of the color pie.
by: Jesse “Total Recall” Mason
forward by: Matt Dolge
Get your hands on Ancestral Recall at Card Kingdom.