Into the Scrapheap? Episode 11 (Play it again, Sam)

With the return of Archaeomancer in Magic 2014, I was reminded of Call to Mind as a potential card for my Nicol Bolas deck (since I certainly can’t afford something like Snapcaster Mage!), which got me searching for similar cards.

Relearn
The first spell to let you get back an instant or sorcery came in Weatherlight for 1UU.

Call to Mind

Then came a clear upgrade in Magic 2011: In anything except a mono Blue deck, you’d rather have a 2U spell over a 1UU spell, even though the converted mana cost is the same. So, unless you need eight of this effect in your deck, then Relearn has been consigned to the scrapheap.

Mystic Retrieval

More recently, in Dark Ascension, a new option was thrown our way. Pay one more but get a second use out of it if you have red in your deck too.

Archaeomancer

Interestingly, Magic 2013 gave us an even more interesting choice. Essentially for one extra blue mana, you get the spell effect plus a 1/2 Human Wizard (which isn’t shabby considering there is no blue vanilla 1/2 for U even available in the game; the closest thing being a Nivmagus Elemental). So, not strictly an upgrade, but unless you’re trying to turn off people’s Essence Scatter or you really need the spell at the three-drop spot, why not get a creature who can block 1/1s all day long to go with your re-learned spell.

Izzet Chronarch

If you’d like something a little more robust and you’re going the UR route, maybe the Izzet Chronarch could find his way into your deck. Probably not, though. He’s not really that much better than the Archaeomancer, and he costs one more and requires you to play red too.

Mnemonic Wall

If you’re going to spend that much mana, the Mnemonic Wall is probably a more useful option in most decks. It’s not much of a deal, though, as it’s essentially a Wall of Tears plus a Call to Mind, and yet not quite as good.

Nucklavee

As you get to this end of the mana curve, you may want to just go one more to get the significantly beefier Nucklavee: A 4/4 that can net you two cards back from the graveyard for the same price as two Call to Minds is nothing to shake a stick at, although you definitely have to build your deck around this to make sure it’s usually useful.

Conclusion: Bye-bye Relearn and have a seat on the bench Izzet Chronarch.

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