Decks for the Guildless (Decks you enjoyed drafting or wished were stronger in RTR)

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Did you enjoy brewing in RTR draft?

Personally, I feel that the 5 main guild strategies were so powerful both in terms of speed AND synergy, that there wasn't a lot of breathing room for weird brew decks that try to win by cobbling together a synergy of weak cards. 

Also, while the Guilds each had aggro and slow versions, they didn't necessarily seem to play that differently.

Could it just be a result of player perception? Were there rogue decks that actually worked well if we didn't get stuck with a certain stance and drafted it in a particular way?

Also, when you were drafting a guild deck, what were the cards that most created a decision point between whether you should go the aggro or control route? Did you find any sub-archetypes for Guild decks that felt distinct from a typical build of that guild? 

Post any decks that you enjoyed drafting, as well as decks you wanted to make work but didn't quite work.
Goblin Artisans - A Magic Design Blog by GDS2 Contestants and Collaborators
One of my favorite subtype of Azorous decks was the Stealer of Secrets / Etherial Armor deck. Sometimes I would pick up some Stealer of Secrets very late and notice that it's being drafted particularly low in that pod. In subsequent picks I would start to prioritize them *slightly* higher over otherwise equal cards, because the more copies of them I had, the more confidently I can pick up the support cards for Stealer like Etherial Armor without fear of those support cards being mediocre because of not drawing it with a good target.

I've had two decks where I happened to end up with 4-5 Stealer of Secrets (although the of Stealers opened in an average pod will be less than that) 2-3 Etherial Armors, 2 Knightly Valors, many bounce and detain effects, etc.  I liked how the white Common creature slots are stocked with many creatures that like being enchanted with Etherial Armor such as Fencing Ace, Armory Guards, even Trained Caracel. I would take those as late picks, as well as some Paralyzing Grasps to raise the Enchantment count.

I don't know how effective it is on average. Those two times, the decklists seemed perfect for what it was trying to do, but it played very swingy. The deck would completely dominate some games, but draw my cards in the wrong order in others. It was fun to play, though.
Goblin Artisans - A Magic Design Blog by GDS2 Contestants and Collaborators
My most successful deck (any my favourite as well) was populate.  Although this uses a lot of weak cards (or cards that were originally perceived as weak such as Druid's Deliverance) I really, really enjoyed it.

For this style of deck you would often pick very highly cards that in other environments would go late (e.g. Rootborn Defences, Eyes in the Skies and Security Blockade - I have first picked all of those at some point).  Obviously, there were strong allstars like the Guildmage, Knightly Valour and Courser's Accord but this deck seemed the most 'brew' based deck out there.  I generally enjoy those types of deck most and Spider Spawning/Self-Mill was my favourite strategy in Innistrad as well.

I also drafted 5 colour decks twice both with good success rates (either 5-1 or 4-2 I can't remember).  Here, cards like Seek the Horizon were very powerful as the decks would often be designed to be slow with very powerful high-end creatures.

The one deck I didn't draft and would have liked to was the Defenders deck with Door Keeper as the win con.   
One of my favorite subtype of Azorous decks was the Stealer of Secrets / Etherial Armor deck. Sometimes I would pick up some Stealer of Secrets very late and notice that it's being drafted particularly low in that pod. In subsequent picks I would start to prioritize them *slightly* higher over otherwise equal cards, because the more copies of them I had, the more confidently I can pick up the support cards for Stealer like Etherial Armor without fear of those support cards being mediocre because of not drawing it with a good target.

I've had two decks where I happened to end up with 4-5 Stealer of Secrets (although the of Stealers opened in an average pod will be less than that) 2-3 Etherial Armors, 2 Knightly Valors, many bounce and detain effects, etc.  I liked how the white Common creature slots are stocked with many creatures that like being enchanted with Etherial Armor such as Fencing Ace, Armory Guards, even Trained Caracel. I would take those as late picks, as well as some Paralyzing Grasps to raise the Enchantment count.

I don't know how effective it is on average. Those two times, the decklists seemed perfect for what it was trying to do, but it played very swingy. The deck would completely dominate some games, but draw my cards in the wrong order in others. It was fun to play, though.



Did you ever play Sphere of Safety?  That card is brutal in decks like this and I have lost to it more than once.
That Rootborn defense populate deck was actually my bread and butter. My local store's players would hate pick Roots and Druid's deliverance knowing I may have drafted call of the conclave or centaur's heralds.

My favorite decks were wicked Azorius tempo. Sunspire Griffin and vassal soul playing off of the super powerful soulsworn spirit and voidweilders.

Fun decks included volatile rig aura deck with ethereal armor, knightly valor and detain/bounce.

"big rakdos" helped me quite a bit as well
bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge

Did you ever play Sphere of Safety?  That card is brutal in decks like this and I have lost to it more than once.



I managed to try Sphere in one of the Stealer decks. It delayed the opponent's plays long enough for me to win first, but I haven't managed to get a high enough density of Auras to really tax the opponent heavily. 

One deck I really wanted to try was one that picks up all the Chronic Floodings in the pod to try to combo with Sphere of Safety. I wish there was an enchantment tutor in the set so you could fetch the Sphere! (Or Pyroconvergence)

Speaking of mill, it would be fun to mill youself with Codex Shredder until you mill a copy of Psychic Spiral from your library into the grave, then sac the Codex to return the Spiral to your hand, then turn all that previous self-milling onto the opponent with Spiral.

It should be possible to speed-up the self-milling process with Grisly Salvage and a Chronic Flooding x Urban Burgeoning on yourself, so maybe Golgari with Blue splash, or GU with Black splash for Grisly Salvage is the way to go for that. That would also allow you to play the Golgari Defender synergies with Doorkeeper. All those Floodings and Burgeonings would form a nice combo with Sphere of Safety, if the mana base allows.

Treasured Find would give you an additional way to retrieve the milled Psychic Spiral. I guess the key to this archetype would be to have enough of these graveyard retrieval uncommons, because if you don't draw one first, you are in danger of milling away your Codex Shredder or Treasured Find


Goblin Artisans - A Magic Design Blog by GDS2 Contestants and Collaborators
In the beginning I really enjoyed GW aggro/populate, which eventually turned into a desire to play Junk. As the set got older, I found myself going into Jund A LOT, Azorius fliers occasionally, and finally I ended up playing pretty much straight Golgari. It's such a complex, fun deck to draft, build, and pilot.

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

One deck I really wanted to try was one that picks up all the Chronic Floodings in the pod to try to combo with Sphere of Safety. I wish there was an enchantment tutor in the set so you could fetch the Sphere! (Or Pyroconvergence)

Speaking of mill, it would be fun to mill youself with Codex Shredder until you mill a copy of Psychic Spiral from your library into the grave, then sac the Codex to return the Spiral to your hand, then turn all that previous self-milling onto the opponent with Spiral.

I don't think the Codex Shredder strategy is really viable. You might just lose before you even mill yourself 10 cards...

I managed to play one successful mill deck:

     
This was really fun to play, and had some alternate win conditions: Stab Wound and Sphinx of the Chimes
The fastest way to win was to auto-mill with multiple Chronic Flooding and using Psychic Spiral as a finisher.  
One deck I really wanted to try was one that picks up all the Chronic Floodings in the pod to try to combo with Sphere of Safety. I wish there was an enchantment tutor in the set so you could fetch the Sphere! (Or Pyroconvergence)

Speaking of mill, it would be fun to mill youself with Codex Shredder until you mill a copy of Psychic Spiral from your library into the grave, then sac the Codex to return the Spiral to your hand, then turn all that previous self-milling onto the opponent with Spiral.

I don't think the Codex Shredder strategy is really viable. You might just lose before you even mill yourself 10 cards...

I managed to play one successful mill deck:

     
This was really fun to play, and had some alternate win conditions: Stab Wound and Sphinx of the Chimes
The fastest way to win was to auto-mill with multiple Chronic Flooding and using Psychic Spiral as a finisher.  



How in the Nine-Blazes did you get yourself 3 Stab wounds?  I'm lucky to see one in a draft, let alone multiples.  And usually if I do it becomes a choice between Stab Wound and something equally awesome. 



One deck I really wanted to try was one that picks up all the Chronic Floodings in the pod to try to combo with Sphere of Safety. I wish there was an enchantment tutor in the set so you could fetch the Sphere! (Or Pyroconvergence)

Speaking of mill, it would be fun to mill youself with Codex Shredder until you mill a copy of Psychic Spiral from your library into the grave, then sac the Codex to return the Spiral to your hand, then turn all that previous self-milling onto the opponent with Spiral.

I don't think the Codex Shredder strategy is really viable. You might just lose before you even mill yourself 10 cards...

I managed to play one successful mill deck:

     
This was really fun to play, and had some alternate win conditions: Stab Wound and Sphinx of the Chimes
The fastest way to win was to auto-mill with multiple Chronic Flooding and using Psychic Spiral as a finisher.  



How in the Nine-Blazes did you get yourself 3 Stab wounds?  I'm lucky to see one in a draft, let alone multiples.  And usually if I do it becomes a choice between Stab Wound and something equally awesome. 



How in the Nine-Blazes did you get yourself 3 Stab wounds?  I'm lucky to see one in a draft, let alone multiples.  And usually if I do it becomes a choice between Stab Wound and something equally awesome.

If you look at the deck, besides Supreme Verdict and Lyev Skyknight, Stab Wound is the only "excellent" card. All the other cards are mid to late picks. I never had to chose between a Stab Wound and anything else, since everything I wanted was going to wheel anyway... Wink 

In a recent draft, I had
Pick 1 Stab Wound 
Pick 2 Stab Wound
Pick 3... Stab Wound

It didn't feel like a bad start...
The one deck I didn't draft and would have liked to was the Defenders deck with Door Keeper as the win con.

I tried a few times to build a Defender deck and my best achievement is that one:



With 12 Defenders, I don't recall actually winning one game with the mill condition... The multiple Ogre Jailbreaker and Lobber Crew were just too powerful.
Note that 3 out of 4 guildgates didn't splash for anything since I was playing 4 colors (excluded white).    
I was always wondering what was the real potential of the Nivix Guildmage... I saw it yesterday night from the opposite side. It was a sweet Izzet deck:



Given that you have enough mana, it becomes insane:
Nivix Guildmage+Inaction Injunction=Azorius Justiciar+Inspiration
Nivix Guildmage+Annihilating Fire=Exile any target creature.
Nivix Guildmage+Explosive Impact= (often) Game
Nivix Guildmage+Inspiration=Draw 4 cards...

At the end of G2, I drew 15 cards (7+8), he did 31 cards... I had Lobber Crew+Dead Reveler on the board and had 9 Life Points. He was at 2 LP with Nivix Guildmage and 4 cards in hand. He won that game!
 I don't think the Codex Shredder strategy is really viable. You might just lose before you even mill yourself 10 cards...


I agree Codex Shredder isn't fast enough, but it still seems like a crucial piece to me since it's a way to recover Psychic Spiral from the graveyard. 

The plan would be: Once you have Codex Shredder or Treasured Find in hand, you can start milling yourself like crazy with Chronic Flooding and Urban Burgeoning. Becaue you get to dump almost your entire library, even if you didn't draw Psychic Spiral, it should be in your grave for recovery. So you should be able to cast Psychic Spiral every game, instead of only drawing it in some games.

Without Codex Shredder or Treasured Find, I wouldn't be able to mill myself for fear of milling away Psychic Spiral; I would have to hold on that until I draw the Psychic Spiral. Also, I wouldn't be able to use self-milling as a way to "tutor" for my Psychic Spiral.

This is all hypothetical; I haven't actually tried it. 
Goblin Artisans - A Magic Design Blog by GDS2 Contestants and Collaborators
Living the dream of Orzhov.

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