Friday, April 22, 2011


Dimir Guildmage

A 2/2 for two mana is decent in both blue and black, so that's a good start. This guy's abilities would be awesome if they did not have that "play only as a sorcery" clause, but they are still relevant in some games. What's good about this guildmage is that early on, it's a 2/2 beatstick, and later on it's a card drawing engine that must be removed. The abilities are a bit overpriced, though, to be playable in any game that's swinging fast.

My rating: 6/10

Azorius Guildmage

Two very useful abilities, reasonably costed. Countering activated abilities is not usually worth 3 mana, but sometimes it saves you by locking down a Visara the Dreadful, slowing down a Meloku the Clouded Mirror or just nullifying Legacy's Allure, Squirrel Nest and a variety of cards including planeswalkers. It's mana intensive, yes, but frequently relevant. Tapping creatures for 3 mana is even better - it will typically nullify fatties that could hurt you the same way good old Icy Manipulator does, but it will sometimes be useful for tapping key defenders.

My rating: 10/10

Rakdos Guildmage

Neither of its two colors are strong with creatures, so him being a 2/2 for 2 is good already. The first ability makes every card in your hand an overpriced Disfigure, which is not much, but may come in handy to kill pesky elves when the rest of your removal has been spent. The second ability, though, is more useful and although it's expensive, works good both in attack and defense, making micro Ball Lightnings or chump blockers.

My rating: 7/10

Gruul Guildmage

A popular aggressive combination that can definitely use a 2/2 for two. His abilities are too expensive to use in aggressive decks most of the time, but he can be used in the late game to deliver those extra points of damage.

My rating: 4/10

Selesnya Guildmage

Both green and white are used to 2 mana 2/2s with good abilities, so this guy's power had to be good, and they are. Creating saprolings can break stalemates and get you a significant advantage as well as create one, if you're being beaten. It has synergy with the other ability, which works wonders on weenie decks, creating complicated blocking conundrums for your opponent.

My rating: 9/10

Orzhov Guildmage

His abilities seem overpriced, and they are. However, repeatable is the keyword here. At the beginning of a game, it's unlikely any of those will be activated unless you aren't using your mana well. Towards the end, however, you'll be able to activate them twice or three times a turn, draining life quickly from your opponent if you're the beatdown or gaining life if you need more time. A mediocre guildmage early on (that is, if a 2/2 can be mediocre early on), but one that takes games when they drag for too long.

My rating: 7/10

Izzet Guildmage

Red and blue are not used to having Grizzly Bears so this one starts well. Its abilities, though, are very situational. They sound very cool to abuse, but the restrictions imposed make them very rarely useful. It can't be used to copy an opponent's spell, so it doesn't add to defense. The restriction that the ability has to have a CMC not higher than 2 means only a handful of the available spells in your cube are copiable. Maybe someone will make a deck that breaks this guildmage, but besides the very occasional double Lightning Bolt, he has been disappointing.

My rating: 3/10

Golgari Guildmage

When he was released, damage went to the stack, so a creature that was on its way to the graveyard anyway could be sacrificed. Now this trick only works with blockers, and they won't deal damage, so it has been nerfed. Still, this could be useful in certain situations, especially when using token makers or weak/recursive creatures, or when you need your dead finishers. The second ability is extremely slow, although when mana flooded, it can't hurt.

My rating: 4/10

Boros Guildmage

Since white and red frequently result in a beatdown deck, this guildmage is first an efficient bear, which can make combat quite difficulty for the opponent by imbueing your creatures with first strike at instant speed. Also his haste ability may seems very threatening, if the opponent is already low at life. A guildmage with situational abilities, but the right ones for those colors.

My rating: 6/10

Simic Guildmage

A bag of tricks in itself, despite being situational tricks. In decks with +1/+1 counter producers, this guy is awesome, providing as many combat tricks as your mana allows. The aura ability seems like a version of the +1/+1 ability at first glance (not that moving Boar Umbra around is bad), but it's also a great defense against Pacifism-like stuff. Getting back your Confiscated permanent by moving the enchantment to an opponent's land feel awesome too.

My rating: 8/10

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Draft Report - Apr 02, 2011

I'm quite late with this report, but better late than never.

- Naka (G Aggro) 4-0, 8-2
- Vitinho (UB Reanimator-Control) 2-2, 4-4
- Kamila (BR Midrange) 2-2, 4-5
- Samuel (WUB Control) 1-3, 4-6
- Thomas (UR Aggro-Control) 1-3, 4-7

G Aggro

14 Forest
Mishra's Factory

Basking Rootwalla
Essence Warden
Scute Mob
River Boa
Silhana Ledgewalker
Kavu Predator
Albino Troll
Garruk's Companion
Selesnya Guildmage
Great Sable Stag
Ohran Viper
Wickerbough Elder
Phantom Centaur
Silklash Spider

Giant Growth
Loxodon Warhammer
Boar Umbra
Elephant Guide
Stunted Growth

For the first time I drafted a monocolored deck. Yeah, a bit late, but I never thought that cutting your potential card pool by nearly 50% and being open on the color's weaknesses was worth the mana stability. I had not considered the raw power that playing a cube's worth of the same color brought, though.

This deck is extremely straightforward - play creatures, buff them and swing for 20 damage. Each card in the deck, except for Aeolipile, Harmonize and Stunted Growth works towards that goal, meaning those three cards - note how far off green's slice of the color pie they are - were quite important to win in certain situations - Harmonize to refuel after a wave of attacks, Aeolipile to kill small creatures and Stunted Growth consolidate a controlled board.

The deck's stars were probably the auras and equipment that created huge monsters fast and gave them trample. I had problems with defensive artifacts and enchantments too - solved when I was lucky to draw Wickerbough Elder - and with problematic creatures, which were removed with Aeolipile, Silklash Spider or some bluffing and combat tricks.

UB Reanimator-Control

7 Island
9 Swamp
Dimir Aqueduct

Oona's Gatewarden
Enclave Cryptologist
Royal Assassin
Necrotic Ooze
Carnifex Demon
Draining Whelk
Visara the Dreadful
Platinum Angel

Elixir of Immortality
Inquisition of Kozilek
Hymn to Tourach
Legacy's Allure
Crystal Ball
Erratic Portal
Diabolic Servitude
Demonic Collusion
Decree of Pain

A deck that looks like a classical UB control deck, but with a reanimation package (Necromancy and Diabolic Servitude) and good discard outlets that also help filter the deck (Enclave Cryptologist and Compulsion), may cheat its several finishers into play. This comes at the cost of a weaker early control suite, with little creature removal for a black deck, but makes up for it with multiple lives for its fatties. Necrotic Ooze is quite sinergistic with Royal Assassin and Visara the Dreadful, although it's easy to forget that.

BR Midrange

8 Mountain
8 Swamp
Akoum Refuge

Goblin Patrol
Scorched Rusalka
Runed Servitor
Hellspark Elemental
Wall of Razors
Blood Knight
Solemn Simulacrum
Rosheen Meanderer
Blazing Specter
Howling Banshee
Hoarding Dragon
Sengir Nosferatu

Brute Force
Last Gasp
Vulshok Battlegear
Phyrexian Arena
Bituminous Blast

A midrange with huge sheer power, very reminiscent of Jund. Several of the cards are two for ones (Nekrataal, Bituminous Blast, Blazing Specter, Blightning among others), creating overwhelming card advantage when allowed. There is some tension between offense and defense in the early game - Hellspark Elemental and Goblin Patrol don't usually go with Wall of Razors and Solemn Simulacrum -, but each side helped in a matchup: defense against aggro and early offense against control.