Back for our second installment of the Planeswalker Deck Project! If you missed Monday's kickoff article or PDD #1, make sure to check them out!

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets was a rare version of the character that didn't make a huge impact in its Constructed lifespan. Maybe it's because it isn't utterly broken like its Mind Sculptor or Vryn's Prodigy brethren, or because it didn't play a massive role in Standard like the Architect of Thought or the OG Beleren. This Jace was merely...fine.

As far as inspiration goes, the Unraveler of Secrets doesn't provide too much mechanically, as it's merely an incremental value engine like so many from its era. However, it does give me a unique opportunity to base this deck around a Rare that I've long thought of as really cool and underplayed: Drake Haven.

As a lover of the Cycling and Madness mechanics, Drake Haven is right up my alley. And just to make sure the gas tank doesn't reach E, I've included an Investigate package to flavorfully reinforce this particular Jace's detective status on Innistrad.

Behold:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Jace, Unraveler of Secrets by Andy Hurst

'Jace, Unraveler of Secrets' - 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: $36.15

Cards

Daring Sleuth // Bearer of Overwhelming Truths

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/115903_200w.jpg

When you sacrifice a Clue, transform Daring Sleuth.

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Sky Diamond

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226684_200w.jpg

Sky Diamond enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.

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Choking Tethers

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190628_200w.jpg

Tap up to four target creatures.
Cycling {1}{U} ({1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Choking Tethers, you may tap target creature.

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Shoreline Ranger

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161830_200w.jpg

Flying
Islandcycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Search your library for an Island card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.)

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Windcaller Aven

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191739_200w.jpg

Flying
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Windcaller Aven, target creature gains flying until end of turn.

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Masticore

Market Price: $8.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6207_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Masticore unless you discard a card.
{2}: Masticore deals 1 damage to target creature.
{2}: Regenerate Masticore.

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Lonely Sandbar

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212427_200w.jpg

Lonely Sandbar enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Deep Analysis

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196570_200w.jpg

Target player draws two cards.
Flashback—{1}{U}, Pay 3 life. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Gone Missing

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/116402_200w.jpg

Put target permanent on top of its owner's library.
Investigate. (Create a colorless Clue artifact token with "{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.")

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Ominous Sphinx

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136488_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cycle or discard a card, target creature an opponent controls gets -2/-0 until end of turn.

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Merfolk Looter

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161494_200w.jpg

{T}: Draw a card, then discard a card.

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Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $5.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/115593_200w.jpg

+1: Scry 1, then draw a card.
−2: Return target creature to its owner's hand.
−8: You get an emblem with "Whenever an opponent casts their first spell each turn, counter that spell."

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Coral Atoll

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227336_200w.jpg

Coral Atoll enters the battlefield tapped.
When Coral Atoll enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you return an untapped Island you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {C}{U}.

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Tamiyo's Journal

Market Price: $0.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/114853_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, investigate. (Create a colorless Clue artifact token with "{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.")
{T}, Sacrifice three Clues: Search your library for a card and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

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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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Zenith Seeker

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130303_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cycle or discard a card, target creature gains flying until end of turn.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.66

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

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Cunning Survivor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136682_200w.jpg

Whenever you cycle or discard a card, Cunning Survivor gets +1/+0 until end of turn and can't be blocked this turn.

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Compulsion

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9665_200w.jpg

{1}{U}, Discard a card: Draw a card.
{1}{U}, Sacrifice Compulsion: Draw a card.

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Vizier of Tumbling Sands

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212370_200w.jpg

{T}: Untap another target permanent.
Cycling {1}{U} ({1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Vizier of Tumbling Sands, untap target permanent.

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Complicate

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $2.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10328_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.
Cycling {2}{U} ({2}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Complicate, you may counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}.

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River Serpent

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130267_200w.jpg

River Serpent can't attack unless there are five or more cards in your graveyard.
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Drownyard Explorers

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/116380_200w.jpg

When Drownyard Explorers enters the battlefield, investigate. (Create a colorless Clue artifact token with "{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.")

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Miscalculation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6343_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {2}.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Sacred Excavation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130269_200w.jpg

Return up to two target cards with cycling from your graveyard to your hand.

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Lay Claim

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130244_200w.jpg

Enchant permanent
You control enchanted permanent.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Hieroglyphic Illumination

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212396_200w.jpg

Draw two cards.
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Blasted Landscape

Market Price: $2.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/166738_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Circular Logic

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180805_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1} for each card in your graveyard.
Madness {U} (If you discard this card, discard it into exile. When you do, cast it for its madness cost or put it into your graveyard.)

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Drake Haven

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212390_200w.jpg

Whenever you cycle or discard a card, you may pay {1}. If you do, create a 2/2 blue Drake creature token with flying.

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Obsessive Search

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9614_200w.jpg

Draw a card.
Madness {U} (If you discard this card, discard it into exile. When you do, cast it for its madness cost or put it into your graveyard.)

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Erdwal Illuminator

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/116387_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you investigate for the first time each turn, investigate an additional time.

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Striped Riverwinder

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136719_200w.jpg

Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.)
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Curator of Mysteries

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212400_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cycle or discard another card, scry 1.
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Traumatic Visions

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/121922_200w.jpg

Counter target spell.
Basic landcycling {1}{U} ({1}{U}, Discard this card: Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.)

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Hekma Sentinels

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130232_200w.jpg

Whenever you cycle or discard a card, Hekma Sentinels gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

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The Game Plan

Use cyclers, looters, and clues to churn through the deck and keep a flow of threats going, while taking advantage of the synergies generated from said churn. The early creatures block fairly well and can surprise the opponent in combat, while the late game threats are either large or evasive—sometimes they're both!

The removal isn't great, which shouldn't be surprising in a Mono Blue list. Lay Claim is the best option here, although there are several very solid counterspells here in Miscalculation, Complicate, and Circular Logic that play well with our other synergies. If you've never cycled a Complicate to nab an important spell and draw a card in the process, well, then, you simply haven't lived. Choking Tethers and Gone Missing do a fine job of buying time, along with the trigger on Ominous Sphinx.

The Rares

Nostalgia Alert! There was a time when this was on the very short list for Best Creature Ever. It could go in any deck, it had great stats for the cost (things were different back then), and its abilities allowed you to swiftly dominate the board and even survive some removal. It's (correctly) considered one of the most absurd Limited Rares of all time, and still would be even in today's draft environments.

It does have a pretty restrictive drawback, forcing a discard every upkeep that can turn into getting "locked" if you're not careful with how you deploy your hand. In this deck though, the Nasty Masty's drawback creates a trigger for our various discard payoffs every turn and provides a Madness outlet when necessary. Pitching Obsessive Search to Masticore slaps, as the kids say.

One of the problems with a deck like this is that you cycle a bunch to try and keep turning cards into other cards, but you just draw lands instead, and then the fun ends. Curator can keep the party going by scrying away those boring extra lands to get to the good stuff. Oh yeah, and it's also a 4/4 flyer with no drawbacks for 4 mana. If for some bizarre reason that's not good enough, we can cycle it and spin the wheel again.

The raison d'etre for this version of the deck. We're trying to make a ton of Drakes and beat the opponent up with them. I played Astral Slide back when it was a Standard deck and it would have been absolutely fascinating if Drake Haven was around at that time. I like Cycling, Madness stuff, and creature tokens and this Rare provides a haven for those proclivities. Drake Haven is the card we're most hoping to see every game.

This here is the rare occasion of a card being featured in one of these Planeswalker decks while featuring another Planeswalker's name! However, in the lore of the Shadows Over Innistrad set, Jace does stumble upon Tamiyo's Journal during his attempt to unravel those secrets and (presumably) gleans some valuable information. Here, the Journal can help you get ahead on cards to make your filtering that much more effective and make absolutely sure those Daring Sleuths flip. If you get to Tutor, go get that Drake Haven!

Unsung Hero

Personally, I think it's a major "Level Up" moment for a Magic player when they realize that Merfolk Looter is really powerful. It's easy to teach a new player "more cards = more options = stronger chance to win the game", but for some reason looting for the sake of looting (i.e. not taking advantage of graveyard shenanigans or madness synergies, etc.) is tougher to sink in.

I remember years ago when The Looting Case Study took over Magic social media for like 2 weeks. When I was starting to play in tournaments and with groups larger than just my immediate friends at school, Looter was a key player in Standard specifically because there were Madness cards to enable, Threshold to reach, and Flashback cards to dump.

But it was playing it in such an environment that I finally had that light bulb moment of "Wow, this card is amazing, even if I don't have any direct synergies with it." Filtering cards is just a very powerful thing to do repeatedly for no extra mana, and this list has many ways to take advantage of what you're looting away.