Friday, January 25, 2013

Gatecrash EDH Set Review Part 5: Dimir

The Dimir don't exist. There are no spies, cutthroats or rogues lurking in the shadows. That's your imagination. Paranoia. Old wives' tales and bedtime story bogey men.

But... if they DID exist, not that they do, but if the did... they might look something like this...

Cipher is one of the more... abusable... mechanics in Gatecrash. And this is one of the few commons with a guild keyword that is definitely playable. When used effectively, though, it's also likely to be rather oppressive. Encoding this on an Invisible Stalker is pretty good. Giving the Stalker double strike, via Rafiq or something similar, is likely to frustrate an opponent to no end.
This just seems absurdly powerful. Even if they kill the creature you Encode, you've already gotten at least one token out of the deal.  This is defintiely staple-worthy, provided your deck has some good evasive attackers.
Momentary blink as a combat damage trigger? Seems a bit clunky to me. I have a deck built around blink/flicker effects, and I wouldn't even play this in that deck. For once, the common seems far more playable than the uncommon. Perhaps a more creative deckbuilder will find a cool use for this, but this is at best a niche Johnny card.

I like the clone spell a lot better, and I think that one is more universally playable. But I can see this in certain Thraximundar builds. Possibly Skullbriar as well. It's a bit expensive to cast, but the effect can be devestating. I like that it can potentially clear blockers to guarantee further triggers, in a nice self-perpetuating way.

Seems like a possible sleeper hit. No one is really championing this card yet, but I can see it being quite good if given a chance.
I wouldn't even consider this, except that it has certain multiplayer implications that might be missed at first glance - the opponent who loses 3 life need not be the opponent you attacked. So if you really need to kill Opponent B, but can't get through for damage, just attack Opponent A instead, and try to bleed Opponent B three points at a time.

Probably not good enough in most situations, but it's a subtle aspect of the design that might get overlooked.
Neat. Seems like an amazing card for Wrexial decks. Not sure how much play it'll get outside of those decks, though. Windfall is pretty awesome, but not exactly a staple of multiplayer formats. Niche playable, but pretty damned good in the right niche.
Much like Whispering Madness, but a little more widely useful. Obviously great in Wrexial decks, or anyother UBx deck that lives out of the graveyard. Mimeoplasm is another one that could make superb use of this.

Sooner or later, a full-blown Mill archetype will actually be viable, with enough cards like this bug.
I appreciate the flavor and design, but this is just going to make the eventual, inevitable Wrath hurt you even worse. Oops, all those cards are gone for good once she dies. High risk for not much of a reward. Poo.
This is likely to be more of a Constructed card than a casual staple, but here's why I think it might be worth looking at for EDH. It is well-known that EDH is a format full of expensive bombs. Sure, a good EDH deck will pay attention to mana curve, to an extent, but almost any EDH list will contain a number of cards CMC 6 and up.

I've experimented with a number of decks that make it a point not to go this route, and more or less top off at CMC 4. I'm not sure U/B is a color pair that wants to go this way, but it would be cool to see a Dimir deck that runs a super-low mana curve, and plays this guy to punish all those decks whose mana curves seem to start at 5 and go up from there.

Recoil is awesome. But, it's an Instant and costs 3 mana. I'm not sure adding a 4/4 body is worth an additional 3 mana, and the loss of Instant speed. That said, this does make a nasty pairing with Deadeye Navigator, while Recoil cannot claim the same. That said, outside of such devious tricks, I think this is pretty terrible.

The first ability on this guy can just end games. Takes a bit of setup, or a cheesy combo, but it will happen, I can promise you, whether it's Traumatize, Mindcrank, or something else.

On the flip side, I think he's moderately playable even if you aren't out to just one-shot someone. Most decks would be better off with Blood Artist or similar, but a lot of Wrexial decks, for starters, would rather have this guy.

I might be overselling him a bit, but I think he's solid.

This is likely going to piss a lot of people off. At least in my group. For some reason people really don't like being milled.
This is definitely a powerful mill spell, and will likely see play in any deck that wants to see their opponent's graveyards well-stocked.

I like the design of this one. In case you weren't aware, you can encode this spell on the token created when you cast it. So, it's useful even if you have no other creatures in play. Not sure making a 1/1 token per turn is going to work wonders in EDH, though. Seems a bit slow and not impactful enough to the average EDH deck.

The first mode seems to be the only EDH-worthy mode. Stopping a Primal Surge, Exsanguinate, Tooth and Nail or even a ill-timed Wrath effect that would ruin your carefully crafted plans is pretty good. Milling 3 cards or killing someone's Wood Elves doesn't seem nearly as good.

Crap. If they let you keep the stolen creature, it's because they're about to Wrath anyway. Sure, if they do want it back, they have to discard two and let you draw two, but that's all this is - a glorified draw spell. I'd rather just play Syphon Mind or Treachery, depending on which effect I need more.

Encoding this on Wrexial seems like a play I'd be willing to make. Truth be told, this is pretty weak, especially if you're actually aiming to win via mill, but for keeping graveyards freshly stocked for Wrexial or the blue and black Primordials to do their thang, it seems acceptable.

Phew. This guy is the nuts. Become a copy of whatever you want, so long as it's on it's way to the 'yard... and it keeps Hexproof? Whoah.

You know me. You know how much I love Wrexial. No other U/B Legend has ever made me even question my loyalty to the Risen Deep.

There's a decent chance, this time next month, I'll be playing a Lazav deck instead. He's that good. But, even if I keep Wrexial as general, Lazav will definitely be in the 99.


  1. About Soul Ransom... they actually have no way to get the creature back. Any of your opponents can discard to KILL the creature. So it's either a control enchantment or a kill & draw spell. Either way seems pretty good to me.

    1. No, read it again. "Soul Ransom's controller sacrafices it..." They force you to sacrifice the Soul Ransom. Not the creature. So you can the ransom and they get their guy back. Pretty bad.

      That said, I did stick it in my Wrexial deck because stealing other people's guys is a main theme, and discard is a secondary theme that I'd wanted to expand a little... so this ended up being pretty on-theme for that deck, even though I still think it's pretty mediocre.