GRN Draft #4/5 – Dimir (7-2)

After drafting a bunch more Guilds of Ravnica this season I am now convinced that Dimir is the strongest guild on average. I still think Boros is very close, and those two are head and shoulders above the other three, but these two decks in particular have sold me on how powerful Dimir can be even without any rares. Surveil is just such a strong mechanic in limited in and of itself. It allows you to dig through your deck and find all of your spells, leading to a consistency that the other guilds simply don’t come close to. I am going to combine both decks in my breakdown, since each played mostly the same (which is why I gave them the same name). While the first deck used Surveil to power up Thoughtbound Phantasm, the second (which got me to mythic!) had a couple different payoff cards, the best of which being Dimir Spybug. While the first deck had a better curve, the second had a fantastic set of flyers and featured bomb uncommons Nightveil Predator and Murmuring Mystic. I think between these two decks you can see what Dimir is trying to do and how powerful it can be with just a few key cards.

The Deck(s)

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You can watch me play matches with the first deck in this highlight video:
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/413066686

You can watch me draft the second deck and play matches until I hit Mythic in this video: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/413071424 (I take about 2 minutes to decide between the bug and March of the Multitudes lol).

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The All-Stars

Besides Disinformation Campaign (which I unfortunately didn’t see in either draft), Dimir Spybug and Thoughtbound Phantasm are the best Surveil payoff cards. Nightveil Sprite is the best enabler and a card I absolutely love seeing in my opening hand. House Guildmage is another good enabler and is easily the best Guildmage in GRN, with both abilities being strong and cheap. Murmuring Mystic doesn’t even need to be built around to be valuable. 1/5 blocks almost anything and even getting a bird or two is nice. I noticed a couple opponents would remove him over my 3 power flyers even when there was no indication I had any spells to trigger him. Nightveil Predator is the real MVP though, Hexproof is just ridiculous.

The Supporting Cast

Darkblade Agent and Whispering Snitch are solid secondary Surveil payoffs and worth taking as middle picks. Watcher in the Mist is a fantastic card and well worth an early pick. The flash and surveil on Whisper Agent make him a little better than Spinal Centipede, in my opinion. Passwall Adept is a good blocker early and a win condition late, not bad for a common 2-drop! Watch your curve, but Muse Drakes are good even in multiples. They thin your deck, play well with Severed Strands, and attack/defend as needed.

The Life Blood of a Dimir Deck

Drafting the right noncreature spells is very important to this archetype. Price of Fame is top dog here, but Deadly Visit and Notion Rain are the most important commons. All of the rest shown are strong playables, though. Severed Strands should typically be limited to a one-of since we don’t want to sacrifice most of the creatures, but if your deck has a lot of Burglar Rats and Muse Drakes it is possible. Capture Sphere and Disdainful Stroke are decent options, and actually work okay together. Sometimes you can let something resolve and Capture Sphere it or take it out altogether with Disdainful Stroke. There aren’t a lot of good instants in the set though, so leaving counterspell mana open when you don’t have board control is a bad idea as your opponent can simply play nothing until you do. I was surprised how well I liked the Locket and Selective Snare this season. With cards like Watcher in the Mist and Deadly Visit, playing your 5 drops on turn 4 is pretty sweet. Plus, activating Guildmage is a great use of the extra mana. Later on you can crack the Locket for some card advantage. In most archetypes I would not suggest playing Locket, but certain Dimir decks benefit from it quite a bit. The Snare is great against Boros and Selesnya because so many of their creatures share a type. If you are able to bounce 2-3 permanents it is completely worth it. I recall one game in particular bouncing humans and getting 3 against a Boros deck that was curving out against me, and that play ended up buying me enough time to win the game. Ultimately, besides scoring Surveil payoffs you are going to win matches on the back of Blue and Black commons like Watcher in the Mist and Deadly Visit, so don’t be afraid to draft those very early.

Conclusion

Dimir is a phenomenal archetype and my opinion has changed a little in that I think it edges out Boros on average. There are just so many great tools at common and the Surveil mechanic helps smooth out your hands to a great extent. I still don’t suggest forcing it unless you see some Surveil Payoff cards like Dimir Spybug, Thoughtbound Phantasm, and Disinformation Campaign, or a good rare. I also don’t suggest playing an aggro version of Dimir, and instead play to the strengths of the archetype with a midrange/control deck.

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