Dimir Rogues Deck Guide – Zendikar Rising Standard
Our Standard Dimir Rogues deck guide features the best deck list for MTG Arena. You can find some general strategy advice and a breakdown of the deck’s key cards and sideboard.
Sorcerers, magicians, and witches – welcome to my first Zendikar Rising guide! I got the opportunity to play Zendikar Rising constructed one day before it hit MTG Arena at the Early Access Streamer Event, and I was able to test a lot of different decks already!
Obviously Lotus Cobra and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is always going to be powerful going forward, but Dimir Rogues have really impressed me because it is a fast deck that has strong interaction spells, powerful individual cards and strong synergy. It’s really the type of tempo deck that I have been waiting for to finally be good, and I think we got there.
The format is still in its baby days so the sideboard guide will just be a rough draft about how I would board against specific archetypes and cards. This also means that my list is very likely to be flawed (especially the sideboard), so adjust as the format adjusts!
One thing this deck has going for it is its proactivity. If you’ve read my recent articles, I always talk about how important proactivity is in newer formats, when no one really knows what the deck best is. So even if you play against something you’ve never played before, you can always just pursue your game plan and force your opponent to find the answers.
- Uro: Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
- Rankle: Rankle, Master of Pranks
- TGE: Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
- WotC: Wizards of the Coast
- STT: Soaring Thought-Thief
- Dimir: Color combination of Blue/Black (U/B)
- Zareth: Zareth San, the Trickster
- Mill: Effects that put cards from your opponent’s library into the graveyard
- Omnath: Omnath, Locus of Creation
Typically you want to play some smaller threats in the early game like Thieves’ Guild Enforcer, Merfolk Windrobber and Soaring Thought-Thief and start milling your opponent. Once you reach the threshold of eight cards, your whole deck gets more powerful and suddenly your small threats aren’t as small anymore.
You want to make sure to interact with your opponent and slow them down with cards like Bloodchief’s Thirst or Drown in the Loch as you need time to mill your opponent. Your cheap creatures will be very efficient at beating them down later once you fill their graveyard, but should it not be enough, Rankle and Zareth will finish the games for you.
This card does not look like much, but it fills two important roles: First, it’s a cheap creature that starts milling and progressing your game plan. Second, it is an evasive flyer, which can enable Zareth’s ability for you. Third, it is a Rogue so it synergizes well with TGE and STT. And to top it all off, you can cash it in for a card later when it has already done its job and when a 1/1 in the air isn’t important anymore. All of this makes it a very efficient enabler, and I want all 4 of them.
If you’ve read my constructed review about Zendikar Rising, you surely know how much I think of this card. It’s just a very efficient removal spell that will deal with everything including planeswalkers and decks like this really need efficient removal spells to work. Especially now when it seems that Dimir Rogues, Boros Warriors and Lotus Cobra decks are popular, it gets even more important. There goes an adage around Twitter right now, which goes like this: If you can’t deal with a turn 2 Lotus Cobra, you will have a bad time. Luckily for us, we can! Bloodchief’s Thirst is a very strong spell in general and it deals with one of the potentially strongest cards in new Standard, so we definitely want all 4.
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
This card does it all: It is another cheap Rogue, mills your opponent quickly with the rest of your deck, and becomes a reasonable threat later in the game (1 drops that are valuable at any stage of the game are usually the best ones: Think of Knight of the Ebon Legion, Edgewall Innkeeper, Siren Stormtamer). I mean, WotC basically introduced this archetype with this card with Core Set 2021, so it’s just natural that we want all 4.
With all the Uro and Omnath decks running around, Mystical Dispute is (once again) a main deck-able card. This card is amazing right now, and if you feel like you want more of them, shave some Zareths.
Drown in the Loch
Believe it or not, but this card is actually one of the strongest from Throne of Eldraine; it’s just not easy to have the right place for it. Luckily for us, it’s absolutely perfect in this one, because it’s usually just a 2 mana spell that counters absolutely everything and also kills everything. The fact that you can use it against creatures even if you let them resolve sometimes is just amazing. For me, Drown in the Loch is one of the best reasons to play this deck. Together with Bloodchief’s Thirst you now have 8 super efficient interaction spells, and you probably shouldn’t cut them from your main 60 cards.
Another all-star in this Deck. It’s a Rogue, pumps your Rogues later, mills your opponent, flies (enables Zareth): This card does it all (you will notice that a lot of cards in this deck “do it all”). WotC gave it their best to enable archetypes, and we see it in those cards. No reason to play less than 4.
If you cut a Vantress Gargoyle from this list, play 4 Brazen Borrowers instead. Unlike Drown in the Loch, it was quickly visible that this card was actually one of the strongest out of Throne Eldraine; and it’s really funny that it just happens to also be a Rogue. Brazey-B is just another example of efficient interaction, even if it doesn’t remove the threat forever. You get a 3/1 Flash flyer stacked onto your interaction – that’s just super strong, considering that the creature type checks out and that it also enables Zareth. Note that we play a lot of cards with Flash, and this gives you even more agency to play in your opponent’s turn. This number here can always vary on the metagame, as bouncing isn’t always great (it’s bad against Temur Adventures for example).
I wasn’t sure if this card was strong or very strong, and quickly realized that it’s the latter. This guy slaps for so much damage in this deck – it’s absolutely absurd. It’s also really tough to race this when your opponent is on a deck that attacks your life total, because it’s very likely to get hits through as it has Flying. It’s kind of unbelievable that this card is a Rogue as well, further advancing WotC’s decision to push certain archetypes even harder. I probably wouldn’t even cut this card against slower decks, because it just hits for a lot. I think you need some strong individual beaters in this deck to get you over the finish line, and I would not be happy with less than 4 copies for now.
I knew this card was going to be good, but holy cheeseballs is this card absurd. You just replace some Swamps in your Deck with this, and suddenly you get late game punching power that your low-curve tempo Deck shouldn’t really have. This card feels a bit like cheating sometimes, as even with only 5 mana you are able to return Vantress Gargoyle and Thieves’ Guild Enforcer, which is already a pretty good deal for a freaking land. If you don’t know how to evaluate this card, trust me, it is the stones, and I wouldn’t blame you for playing 4. I just think that you need a good amount of mana to make this work and it’s usually better way later in the game, so you should have enough time to draw one of these.
I am a bit unsure about this one, but it has been pretty good in my games. It’s just another utility land; people play the Triomes all the time and this can be much better than them in some situations. We do play a good amount of tapped lands now, so if you dislike that, replace them for Swamps or Islands, but I have been quite happy to have some excess removal as a back up. This also costs 3 mana more often than I thought it would, because everyone plays the Pathways, Temples, Triomes and the Modal Double-Face Lands, and it’s easy to play the first turns of the game without having a Basic Lad involved. Tapped lands are still annoying, so I wouldn’t blame you for cutting them.
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Rankle is a great card in general and it helps you finish your opponent off out of nowhere. Oh and, did you know that it’s a Rogue? What a coincidence (Kappa)! I love that using the “discard” mode on this card also fills your opponent’s graveyard, and it’s just a nice flying threat to have. Rankle has always been a good card, but it’s gotten a bit overlooked because Eldraine was full of overpowered nonsense. I am not playing 4 because we got enough threats at some point and it’s also legendary.
Zareth San, the Trickster
Zareth, unlike your cheap Rogues, doesn’t do “it all”, but it’s one of the best payoffs for milling your opponent. Sometimes you just get this into play attacking on turn 4 and win the game on the spot (thank you so much opponent for giving me an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon for free on turn 4). I know that Zareth is legendary, but it’s won me so many games that I just want to have it as consistently as possible on turn 4. Don’t forget that you can get any permanent; so you can always snag that land if you want a stronger Agadeem’s Awakening the next turn. If you think this number is excessive, I can see cutting the number down a bit, but this card will just win games that you shouldn’t be winning otherwise.
Zagoth Triome, Temple of Deceit, Clearwater Pathway
We lost Watery Grave, so we need all the fixing we can get. Obviously I hate to play Temples and Triomes in Decks that want to curve out as much as possible, but that’s just the world we live in right now. Hopefully we get more untapped fast mana in the next sets.
Sideboard: What I Play
These 15 cards are just an example of what I would play right now. I will try to explain every card and where to bring it in (archetype-wise), but I will not give you specific matchups, as the format is literally a few days old. I will also try and give you some other options that you could play.
2 Concerted Defense
This is like a Spell Pierce in this Deck, which is a great card. Bring it in against cards that bring in tons of removal. The card is a bit narrow, so don’t play too many copies.
2 Vantress Gargoyle
Bring this in against aggressive decks and they will struggle against turn 2 Gargoyle. Should you be able to survive early this also ends the games quickly. Gargoyle is definitely strong and this is one of the few decks where this is great in, but it can also be a bit clunky so I’d advise against playing more than 2. It’s also worse when you take mulligans, as you won’t have as many cards.
4 Heartless Act
Heartless Act is one of the best removal spells on Arena; It just answers tons of threats cleanly. Bring it in against any creature Deck that doesn’t put too many counters on their creatures. I am not saying that we are bad against aggressive Decks, because we aren’t, but this will make the matchup even better. Play less if you feel like, but this card is just really good.
2 Mystical Dispute
Just to have the whole playset. It’s really good against the Uro Decks because you can even counter Omnath for just 1 mana. Typically this kind of effect is not great against ramp, because they are able to pay the price soon, but Mystical Dispute is just so efficient and cheap that it works wonders (everyone who experienced this knows that). Uro Decks are also a bad matchup for us, because Uro heals them, is a thicc blocker, and exiles their own graveyard. Rogues are a strong Deck; let’s spend our sideboard slots to combat our worst matchup (without Uro this matchup would be a free win, just sayin’). Other than that, it’s probably good against any deck that plays blue, although you probably don’t need all 4 copies.
2 Ashiok’s Erasure
This one is literally only for Uro, as you can answer it forever. Obviously it is horribly expensive, but hard times require hard-to-cast counterspells. The Uro Decks also appear to not have any answers for this, so it’s pretty effective here. If you’re one of those guys who is saying that this card isn’t great, I don’t disagree! But it is one of the cleanest answers you can have against Uro so I want to have this. If you find another matchup where this could be good, I am not stopping you; but remember that we have such strong interaction spells already that this is mostly unnecessary.
2 Erebos’s Intervention
I like this because it is flexible: You can have it against smaller aggressive creatures, but it also answers Uro in their graveyard and Lotus Cobra, which are played in the same deck. I think this was never a bad card to begin with, but the stars needed to align for this to be useful, but I think this is the time. If your removals in your sideboard are good against multiple decks; that’s when you know that a card is good. It’s expensive though, so don’t play more.
This card is very strong, and this is the best deck to slot this in. You want to bring it in against any deck that plays creatures (you could try it against Uro, too. I haven’t yet; but if they exile their graveyard this could be tough to cast). To explain the power of this kind of card better, think of it like this: “Destroy target creature. Create a token that’s a copy of it”. This can be backbreaking against any Deck that tries to win via creatures, because you take care of your problem while creating problems for your opponent. As with most “X” cards, this will be expensive and clunky; but you could probably play more than one. Also, the first 3 letters of this card are pretty dope.
Sideboard: Options and Arguments Against Them
This card is really effective in this format; I just think that we don’t need it, because we can play strong black removal instead. It also doesn’t solve the problem with Uro, so I don’t like it specifically in this Deck, although it is great right now.
I almost had one of these in my sideboard. There’s not much to say about Negate – this card always sees play when it is legal because it is efficient in what it does. Much like Essence Scatter, I don’t think that this deck specifically needs it, because we have a lot of other great answers already (especially Drown in the Loch), and most grindy decks play creatures like Omnath and Uro anyway, so it would be a bit narrow.
Deny the Divine
If you want to save some Wildcards and not craft Ashiok’s Erasure (I wouldn’t blame you), play this one instead. It will be another answer for Uro – it will not stop all of them, but at least it’s one mana cheaper. You do what you have to do to make budget decks work.
This card isn’t bad, but we have swamps in our decks, so we have better cards for removal options.
I was this close to playing this card, but I just couldn’t find room for it in the main deck and didn’t want another version of Quench, even if it’s slightly better. I wouldn’t blame you for playing this though, I had this in my list for a while.
I think this card is better than I gave it credit for in my Constructed Review. It does stop your ramp opponents from going almost infinite. That being said, I still don’t think that Rogues should play it. This card can be great when you are ramping yourself and is just a mirror card for me. Rogues wants to either pressure your opponent or interact in other ways – plus this doesn’t do much if you don’t slam it turn 2. The biggest problem is also Uro, and not the other ramp cards, so I wouldn’t play it.
This card is only good if you play a lot of lands or can bounce them. This is not the deck for it.
This card can be great in sideboards; I just don’t think that this is the time for it. Witch’s Oven is gone because Cauldron Familiar is banned and the key cards have rotated out, and it’s bad against Lucky Clover because they can save it with Borrower and it’s also expensive. This card will find it’s time to shine, but this is not the day!
Jace, Mirror Mage
Against control, this can be nice to bring in for some extra card draw and selection. We don’t have control right now, so we don’t need Jace right now.
Charix, the Raging Isle
Crab? More like crap.
Sea Gate Restoration
The black counterpart is just much better, and we will probably never use this.
Duress is great, but for as long as Uro is legal and all the grindy decks play tons of creatures regardless of the archetype, we don’t need Duress. Our deck is also pretty proactive, so I’d rather have more proactive cards too.
This does hit noncreatures, but much like with Duress, I’d rather be more proactive.
Eliminate, Grasp of Darkness, Epic Downfall, Feed the Swarm, etc
All of these are certainly playable and can be better than Heartless Act, depending on the metagame. Right now, I like Heartless Act the most, but don’t let that stop you from playing the removal that you like the most. Everyone of these can be played and can be better depending on what you play against.
Soul-Guide Lantern, Tormod’s Crypt
Those are fine cards against Uro, but remember that we don’t want to get in spots where we exile our opponent’s whole graveyard or we mess up our own synergy too much.
Tymaret, Chosen from Death
I could see having a 1-of here, because it does exile Uro without hitting the whole graveyard. My issue is that it’s kind of awkward to cast with double black, and you also need to use mana to get rid of Uro eventually. I like that you can always play this and then just wait for their Uro, so this is definitely an option.
Oh how the times have changed. Murderous Rider is really good, but we just got so much good removal in this deck already, so we just don’t really need it. Bloodchief’s Thirst really just is the better looking card in comparison and you don’t want to play infinite.
Don’t play this unless your opponent tries to win with exactly one card. It’s still bad against Uro because you are not pressuring them enough with this.
Thank you so much for reading this early guide about Dimir Rogues! This one was a challenge because the format is still so fresh, and I am sure I have missed some things. As always, let me know in the comments! Until then, I hope to see you at my next article or on my stream at Twitch.