We're in the presence of royalty today, folks! One of the First Five Planeswalkers.

As usual, make sure you're up to date on the Planeswalker Deck Project with my intro article and the past few weeks of planeswalkers!

If there's one thing that Jace Beleren does well, it's drawing cards. If there's two things that Jace Beleren does well...okay, I'm not actually sure if Baby Jace does anything else well, but he sure can draw some cards.

This planeswalker was a fascinating topic of discussion back in the day—I recall endless debates about what to do with him. The ultimate ability seemed like joke text, never to be reached, and the real argument boiled down to: do you ever activate the + ability? Most of the time, I settled on "no." For me, I was happy enough getting a discount on a Concentrate. But I suppose the right circumstances might exist where we just want to be constantly drawing cards. (I played mostly multiplayer back then, so the + activation gave my opponents at least 2 cards but me only 1...sometimes it pays to be selfish.)

Before we get to the decklist, I feel compelled to share my favorite Jace Beleren memory. Years ago, when I was starting out in college, I played at a store for FNM whenever I could make it. One night I was waiting for a draft to fire and thinking of ways to kill the time. The store had the new Jace Beleren book, so I bought it. Imagine my surprise when the store owner gave me a special Jace Beleren promo with really cool art! (Apparently it came with every purchase of the book and I had no idea.)

It was a highly sought after collectible item for a long time, and I eventually traded it to a dealer at a Grand Prix straight up for an Underground Sea. More than a decade later, my favorite interaction with a dealer owes its success to Magic players being too lazy to show up on time to fire a draft. Thanks for the memories, Book Jace!

Anyway, we're looking to see how we can make drawing cards pay off for us. I think we've figured something out:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Jace Beleren by Andy Hurst

'Jace Beleren' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $47.61

Cards

Sea Gate Oracle

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216055_200w.jpg

When Sea Gate Oracle enters the battlefield, look at the top two cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the other on the bottom of your library.

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Silumgar Sorcerer

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/96655_200w.jpg

Flash (You may cast this spell any time you could cast an instant.)
Flying
Exploit (When this creature enters the battlefield, you may sacrifice a creature.)
When Silumgar Sorcerer exploits a creature, counter target creature spell.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/dragons-of-tarkir/silumgar-sorcerer

Jwar Isle Avenger

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110900_200w.jpg

Surge {2}{U} (You may cast this spell for its surge cost if you or a teammate has cast another spell this turn.)
Flying

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/oath-of-the-gatewatch/jwar-isle-avenger

Forbid

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4328_200w.jpg

Buyback—Discard two cards. (You may discard two cards in addition to any other costs as you cast this spell. If you do, put this card into your hand as it resolves.)
Counter target spell.

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Arcanis the Omnipotent

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/139893_200w.jpg

{T}: Draw three cards.
{2}{U}{U}: Return Arcanis the Omnipotent to its owner's hand.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-2017/arcanis-the-omnipotent

Disdainful Stroke

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176441_200w.jpg

Counter target spell with converted mana cost 4 or greater.

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Chasm Skulker

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $3.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/124426_200w.jpg

Whenever you draw a card, put a +1/+1 counter on Chasm Skulker.
When Chasm Skulker dies, create X 1/1 blue Squid creature tokens with islandwalk, where X is the number of +1/+1 counters on Chasm Skulker. (They can't be blocked as long as defending player controls an Island.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-2016/chasm-skulker

Inspired Sprite

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/18000_200w.jpg

Flash
Flying
Whenever you cast a Wizard spell, you may untap Inspired Sprite.
{T}: Draw a card, then discard a card.

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Sage of Fables

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/18053_200w.jpg

Each other Wizard creature you control enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it.
{2}, Remove a +1/+1 counter from a creature you control: Draw a card.

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Galestrike

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227018_200w.jpg

Return target tapped creature to its owner's hand.
Draw a card.

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Jace Beleren

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $5.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93796_200w.jpg

+2: Each player draws a card.
−1: Target player draws a card.
−10: Target player mills twenty cards.

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Stalking Stones

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11588_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{6}: Stalking Stones becomes a 3/3 Elemental artifact creature that's still a land. (This effect lasts indefinitely.)

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Quicksand

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161824_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Sacrifice Quicksand: Target attacking creature without flying gets -1/-2 until end of turn.

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Cryptic Annelid

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/58074_200w.jpg

When Cryptic Annelid enters the battlefield, scry 1, then scry 2, then scry 3. (To scry X, look at the top X cards of your library, then put any number of them on the bottom of your library and the rest on top in any order.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/duel-decks-venser-vs-koth/cryptic-annelid

Legacy's Allure

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5608_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a treasure counter on Legacy's Allure.
Sacrifice Legacy's Allure: Gain control of target creature with power less than or equal to the number of treasure counters on Legacy's Allure. (This effect lasts indefinitely.)

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Ivory Tower

Market Price: $2.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/1806_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, you gain X life, where X is the number of cards in your hand minus 4.

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Thassa's Emissary

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/71015_200w.jpg

Bestow {5}{U} (If you cast this card for its bestow cost, it's an Aura spell with enchant creature. It becomes a creature again if it's not attached to a creature.)
Whenever Thassa's Emissary or enchanted creature deals combat damage to a player, draw a card.
Enchanted creature gets +3/+3.

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Thieving Magpie

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15361_200w.jpg

Flying (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.)
Whenever Thieving Magpie deals damage to an opponent, draw a card.

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Turnabout

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $5.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7078_200w.jpg

Choose artifact, creature, or land. Tap all untapped permanents of the chosen type target player controls, or untap all tapped permanents of that type that player controls.

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Mage-Ring Network

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180845_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{1}, {T}: Put a storage counter on Mage-Ring Network.
{T}, Remove any number of storage counters from Mage-Ring Network: Add {C} for each storage counter removed this way.

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Oneirophage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216242_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you draw a card, put a +1/+1 counter on Oneirophage.

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Accumulated Knowledge

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161713_200w.jpg

Draw a card, then draw cards equal to the number of cards named Accumulated Knowledge in all graveyards.

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Gadwick, the Wizened

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198943_200w.jpg

When Gadwick, the Wizened enters the battlefield, draw X cards.
Whenever you cast a blue spell, tap target nonland permanent an opponent controls.

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Treasure Cruise

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180788_200w.jpg

Delve (Each card you exile from your graveyard while casting this spell pays for {1}.)
Draw three cards.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230465_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Merfolk Trickster

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162225_200w.jpg

Flash
When Merfolk Trickster enters the battlefield, tap target creature an opponent controls. It loses all abilities until end of turn.

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Exhaustion

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.59

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12643_200w.jpg

Creatures and lands target opponent controls don't untap during their next untap step.

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Psychosis Crawler

Market Price: $0.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212348_200w.jpg

Psychosis Crawler's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.
Whenever you draw a card, each opponent loses 1 life.

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Surge Mare

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169088_200w.jpg

Surge Mare can't be blocked by green creatures.
Whenever Surge Mare deals damage to an opponent, you may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.
{1}{U}: Surge Mare gets +2/-2 until end of turn.

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Svyelunite Temple

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/2757_200w.jpg

Svyelunite Temple enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
{T}, Sacrifice Svyelunite Temple: Add {U}{U}.

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Wizard's Retort

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216060_200w.jpg

This spell costs {1} less to cast if you control a Wizard.
Counter target spell.

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Propaganda

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212386_200w.jpg

Creatures can't attack you unless their controller pays {2} for each creature they control that's attacking you.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-2020/propaganda

Coral Barrier

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/90838_200w.jpg

Defender (This creature can't attack.)
When Coral Barrier enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 blue Squid creature token with islandwalk. (It can't be blocked as long as defending player controls an Island.)

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Ominous Seas

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212260_200w.jpg

Whenever you draw a card, put a foreshadow counter on Ominous Seas.
Remove eight foreshadow counters from Ominous Seas: Create an 8/8 blue Kraken creature token.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ikoria-lair-of-behemoths/ominous-seas

Aether Adept

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79915_200w.jpg

When Aether Adept enters the battlefield, return target creature to its owner's hand.

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Blighted Cataract

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/149175_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{5}{U}, {T}, Sacrifice Blighted Cataract: Draw two cards.

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Killer Whale

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4340_200w.jpg

{U}: Killer Whale gains flying until end of turn.

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Boomerang

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15062_200w.jpg

Return target permanent to its owner's hand.

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Laboratory Maniac

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180811_200w.jpg

If you would draw a card while your library has no cards in it, you win the game instead.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ultimate-masters/laboratory-maniac

The Game Plan

Drawing cards of course! Naturally, one of the fundamental heuristics of Magic is "more cards = better", but there are also some effects that specifically reward us for drawing cards. Several of our Rares like Chasm Skulker and Psychosis Crawler get powerful triggers with each extra draw. Oneirophage and Ominous Seas are similarly far more dangerous if we get to draw more than once per turn. Ivory Tower is an old school payoff for a full grip. And if we get too carried away with our draw engines, Laboratory Maniac (Downshift Alert! Thank you Ultimate Masters!) can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

We have a small Wizard package, so it seemed right to try and lean into that just a bit, with payoffs Sage of Fables and Wizard's Retort. Sage of Fables in particular is extremely useful because while it buffs our Wizard squad, it doesn't need to remove counters from Wizards specifically to get more draws. This ends up being quite handy with Chasm Skulker or Oneirophage because you pay 2, remove a counter, draw a card, then add the counter back. It's a pretty phenomenal rate; don't forget to take advantage!

I didn't play Ikoria Limited because I was stuck in my apartment for 4 months during the Covid lockdown, and I don't play online, so I may be behind the curve on this, but man it is wild that you don't have to sacrifice Ominous Seas to get the sea monster. You just need 8 counters! It's not unrealistic to expect to get multiple Krakens if you land this in the early game.

Our creature base is kind of dinky except for a couple monsters that can get huge. Our removal base is similarly quirky. Propaganda and Exhaustion are capable speed bumps. Turnabout is a regular Swiss army knife, operating as a Cryptic Command / Village Bell-Ringer / Mana Short / High Tide hybrid that gives you a ton of options. Gale Strike and Boomerang (Mirage art, shout out to Richard Kane-Ferguson) help keep the board clear.

Forbid is here, and man, if you've never played with or against it...prepare yourself. I probably shouldn't have included it, as it's too obnoxious and powerful, but I couldn't resist. The nostalgia is real and this deck is the perfect home for it. Wayyyy back in the day, Forbid was the cornerstone of a Standard deck called Forbidian, which used Ophidians to draw extra cards to constantly fuel the extremely steep buyback cost on Forbid. With your normal draw + an Ophidian draw, you'd always have enough cards to keep up with your opponent's spells. These days, our Ophidians are better. They still deal their damage when you get the extra draws! Look how far we've come.

The Rares

Your opponent better kill this guy quick! In this deck, it is well primed to get out of hand fast. Obviously the Worse Case Scenario is that this terror somehow gets exiled. While we don't want our big beatstick to die necessarily, in this case it leaves behind a nasty surprise for your opponent, so going to the graveyard is not the worst outcome for Big Skulks. Keep in mind that we may want to do the dirty work ourselves and sacrifice this to the exploit on our Silumgar Sorcerer if we need to go wide or come up with some blockers.

Killing our opponent as we're killing our opponent, you love to see it. Crawler here is the best Maro we can ask for. Like any Maro, just keep in mind that its stats will change as the number of cards in your hand fluctuates, so beware what you play out of your hand if this has combat damage on it.

Gadwick the Wizened

If we play this with X = 0, we'll have one of the most efficient creatures in our entire deck. But this takes up a Rare slot, so we're looking for much more than simple efficiency! Don't wait too long, because the triggered ability here helps make up for our lack of good removal and we'd love to land this in time to make use of those triggers, but make sure to cast for a couple cards. Occasionally you gotta treat yourself.

Arcanis, the Omnipotent

This guy is just plain cool. If you've never had an active Arcanis in a game, I think you've got a new entry for your Magic Bucket List. Ancestral Recall is one of the most powerful cards of all time, and Arcanis here lets us do that every single turn! We really can't ask for a card that works better with our game plan and other cards. It pumps Skulker/Phage, charges Ominous Seas, enables Ivory Tower, and fuels Forbid. If we get Arcanis active, losing becomes a difficult proposition.

Unsung Hero

Control Magic is powerful—probably too powerful. Early on in the game, it helped reinforce that Blue was just too good at everything. Legacy's Allure is a much more interesting version of Control Magic as it requires time and investment. It may take forever to build up the right number of counters. Your opponent knows it's coming and can try to bait it out.

But that cuts both ways. If you land this in the first few turns, your opponent knows you have it! They have to contend with the misery that you can just gank their best guy at some point in the game, and it is a real nightmare to play around. And it's staring down your opponent the entire time, daring them to try and figure it out.