Hello everyone and welcome back to Limited Concepts! I hope everyone has been enjoying Guilds of Ravnica I know that I’ve been having an absolute blast with this set. Game play has been pretty interesting here on Ravnica and it keeps me coming back for more.
One problem that I’ve been having playing on Arena though is that the bots do not seem to be fully grasping how to draft this multicolored set just yet and so for quite awhile I was mostly playing with and against Dimir and Boros decks. This made things get a little old since I really wanted to try out some other guilds and kept getting sucked back into my preferred guild Dimir. I really need to get out and play this set in Pod because I feel like drafting in a Pod setting would make this set much more enjoyable to actually draft. Right now drafting is pretty on rails when you are on Arena. MTGO is quite a bit better for getting a more authentic digital draft experience right now but either way the games are still fun no matter where you play.
That being said if you are playing on Arena or are just curious about House Dimir then read on. Today I want to talk a bit about the Dimir guild and the “secrets” to success.
When playing most Dimir decks your game plan is to trade cards one for one with your opponent generally in the form of removal and counter spells then use card draw to out card advantage your opponent. In GRN this is very easy to do with the Surveil mechanic allowing you dump extra lands into your graveyard and giving you better card quality when you do cast your card draw spells. You can win the game with any random creatures laying around though it is nice to have some actual finishers to close the door.
With the abundance of great removal in this set and Dimir having the amazing Surveil mechanic I believe this is the most consistently winning archetype in the format. This doesn’t mean that you can just jam a bunch of counterspells and flyers in your deck and call it a day. Boros and aggressive Izzet decks are looking to come out swinging and while you are developing they are killing you on turn 4-6. This mean you need to make sure you have some early plays to combat these strategies.
The best card to have against aggressive decks is a couple of copies of Dead Weight. This is the best black common and is useful in other situations later in the game but is critical to have in the early game against aggressive decks before they can snowball out of control. Your goal is to bridge to the later part of the game and develop your mana and hand. Playing a few 2 drops like Vedalken Mesmerist are needed as well to make sure you don’t just fall over and die. I would avoid succumbing to playing Barrier of Bones for any reason but Child of Night is reasonable.
Often you may find yourself playing in a mirror in which case if you have any extra copies of Disinformation Campaign in your deck I would be bring them in. The card is already great and in the mirror can be truly backbreaking against your opponent. Another card I really like is Murmuring Mystic allowing you to turn your card draw and other spells into Birds to pick away at you opponent’s life total if they can’t deal with it immediately. It gives you a sort of virtual card advantage if they end up having to use a removal spell on your Mystic after you already got a Bird out of it. Devious Cover-Up is also a very important card to have in the mirror where you can often end up coming very close to or milling yourself out. I haven’t done it myself but have done it to others.
Devious Cover-Up is a very interesting card and I really did not expect a 4 mana counter-spell to be something I wanted in my deck let alone 2. Yet with 2 you can create an infinite loop to so you can never mill yourself. Counterspells in general in this format are probably the best they have ever been in Limited. Sinister Sabotage has been great and Disdainful Stroke can blow your opponent out big time. Not saying I am taking these over premium removal but you will be happy to have a counter spell when your opponent cast Izoni, Thousand-Eyed.
When drafting a Dimir deck you often get glutted in the 3 drop spot so try to make sure you are taking the opportunity to get some decent early plays and ways to finish the game. Also be on the look out for ways to Surveil at instant speed to use in conjunction with your Darkblade Agents during Combat which threatens the ability to draw a card or turn on Deathtouch leaving up a threat of activation.
Watcher in the Mist is one the best commons you can have for this deck giving you a way to finish the game and or stabilize and bridge later into the game by giving you better card quality with a couple of chances to Surveil. I would look to pick these highly while drafting and like to have 2 in my deck. Whisper Agent is another great common to have in the deck that can enable instant speed Surveil and can just be used as a flash threat.
Don’t forget to pick up some actual card draw along the way the best being Chemister’s Insight and Notion Rain. Otherwise you will find yourself running out of gas and the whole point is to run your opponent out of gas. Avoid playing too many Notion Rains because they can end up being a real liability against Direct Current decks. It’s a terrible feeling sitting there wanting to draw two cards but being afraid you are putting yourself in Direct Current range.
There are some of my thoughts on my favorite archetype in the format. I can’t say definitively that Dimir is the best guild in GRN but it is close and while it can fall to go wide strategies and quick aggressive starts there are the tools in the format for the archetype to stand up against the other guilds and adapt to win.
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