Gatecrash guilds analysis for the pre-release.

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Yep. I love analysis so this was bound to happen.

First the guilds in order of their potential to give you a strong deck, then the explanations

Boros
Gruul
Simic
Orzov/Dimir


Boros 
 

If you can rule the early game, you usually win in sealed.  Boros has the best early game by far. But wait,  there's MORE. Fast aggro decks usually have a shackey late game (if the game reaches that point) but NOT in gatecrash. You see, black or red, usually have an uncommon and a rare that can deal with multiple small creatures. Something like infest or pyroclasm or mutilate. In gatecrash, there is NO uncommon spell that can sweep your guys. And the only rare to do so costs 6 in Orzhov colors. So you get 100% of your tempo and lay some smack, not worrying about overextending. Which means your late game will give you more and more guys with a million battalion triggers that make it impoossible to block properly.
And speaking of blocking, Boros combat tricks are INSANE.Aerial maneuver, smite, skullcrack, homing lightning,boros charm, martial glory, and arrows of justice. And that's not even counting sorceries like mark for death that can kill you on the spot. Plus, righteous charge is now a good limited card. battalion enabler of choice.

Gruul 
 
Not quite as fast as boros, but still pretty fast since it does get the small red beaters like firefist striker and skinbrand goblin, and with the average size of its creatures, borrowing red battalion beaters and attacking with 3 creatures is not hard. It also has access to green evolve creatures. And evolving isn't hard whehn you get stuff like ruination wurm (I STILL can't believe that thing is common, . 6 mana for a 7/6, and if you manage to kill it, there might be another one coming) And MARK MY WORDS. experiment one in gruul is going to beat face, like, a lot.

If you're lucky and pull a burning-tree emissary, your early game could developp as fast as a boros, and that's scary

If you have any mana open, blocking becomes a nightmare. About 1/3 of your deck can and probably will be combat tricks, but you don't lose creature density in your deck. All hail bloodrush. There isn't really any mana accel to speak of. But I think there's a good reason for that. You don't need it.

Gruul has just about the best commons around. I mean, huge creatures with stuff like burst of strenght, how can you go wrong?

Simic 

 Simic is in between Gruul and Boros. Sometimes it'll beat you fast, sometimes it'll beat face with huge creatures. I consider it 3rd because you don't really get to chose which happens, and it's unstable. Sometimes all your creatures will have about the same size, and then you'll draw two fat creatures in a row and everything will grow, suddently turning the tide. Sometimes your guys will start growing for a turn or two, and come to a deadstop as the size of your opponent's creatures catches up ans stalemates you. Saving grace, you have a lot of card advantage to look forward to and blue tempo tricks to stall if evolve isn't happening just yet. 

With the exception of biovisionary, any rare you get is going to be great in your deck. drakewin krasis and cloudfin raptor are commons, so try and cast a biomass mutation without winning (hint,a lot of your creatures will have +1/+1 counters before casting this, which makes the X in the cost a lot less scary).  Also, in YOUR deck, sapphire drake is a bomb. And of course you get the green bloodrush creatures. And keep an eye out for skygames


Now, Orzhov and Dimir are both 4th here because I don't feel either has an edge over the other. Short of opening a god pool, your board positions are never going to be as impressive as the other 3 guys.

One issue shared by both is the lack of 2 for 1 creature removal possibility. There are only 2 ways you can get a 2 for 1 that I can see (please correct me if this is wrong) either you open merciless eviction (which, because it exiles, doesn't synergize with the few graveyard reccurssion cards found in black) or cast a undercity plague and hit with the creature it's encoded on. But note that it says "permanent", so the opponent is free to sac. whatever they want. Unless you count smog elemental, which COULD 2 for 1 sometimes.

Your potential for a great early game is low on both sides, and ALL black removal is conditional. So the control aspect, which is already hard to pull of in sealed, is even tougher here.

 Dimir

 
Dimir is not the source of card advantage it was in Ravnica. No Keening banshee,no ribbons of night, not even twisted justice or flight of fancy. And there's going to be a lot of variance in dimir sealed pools since some of your cards are going to be mill cards. Either you have enough to make a deck, or they're all dead cards.

You're going to need to pull a few deathcult rogue  and keymaster rogue for your cypher cards to do anything. Otherwise, they'll just be overcosted cards. Thank god there is more extort in black cards than white. So you can piggyback on that. With enough unblockable guys, it could give you a win through tempo alone. shadow slice,  is common so that's one way to race. You'll have to work for it though. Manage the defensive and tempo cards in your deck with care. Also, the dimir cards don't have much synergy between them.

oh, one thing to add is that Dimir has an additional removal in death's approach that other guilds won't value much. So that's one more playable card than Orzhov.

Orzhov 

 
I loved Ravnica Orzhov. Return to Rav. Orzhov? Not so much.

Orzhov also lost a lot of CA since it no longer has a token subtheme. And its early game is a bit on the weak side. None of the rares are swingy, and you can open alms beast (shudders). Even merciless eviction doesn't give you  that much of an advanatge. First, your opponent has about 7 turns to beat your face before it shows up. And on top of that, you can't take advantage of regeneration or graveyard manipulation

I was expecting great removal in a guild that's black and white. But the removal in gatecrash isn't amazing. However, you should get more than other guilds on average. You'll have to pray for dutiful thrull and basilica guards, because you'll need some way to slow down your opponent's onslaught. Extort does a good job of that, but you need more than one card, and spells cheap enough to afford to pay extra mana. The few 2 mana creatures you have access to are kind of lacking for the most part, and your keyrune is a bit disapointing. Oh, yeah, and you have NO cantrips. So keeping extort going enough to win with it isn't going to be easy.

Big creatures can be problematic though. Most of your creatures are small, so you won't be killing on block very often.  I imagine looking at ruination wurm with a orzhov charm or executioner's swing in hand. Either I take 7 damage to kill it, or lose a creature or lose 7 life. And if they have a zhur-taa swine I'll take 12 damage for playing my charm. Worse case scenario but you get the idea.

There are some goodies in white though, like urbis protector.

You have most expertly captured my thoughts on the subject, sir. A lot of people have been saying Boros isn't good enough an I though that was insane. I think Dimir is gonna be the weakest in limited, but the constructed cards it has, I love.
I am Blue/Black
You have most expertly captured my thoughts on the subject, sir. A lot of people have been saying Boros isn't good enough an I though that was insane. I think Dimir is gonna be the weakest in limited, but the constructed cards it has, I love.



If the format had uncommon sweepers, it would. But when you can just put your hand on the table and swing, AND can double strike or alpha strike whenever you have a charm in hand, things get messy. Plus, the rares/mythics are pretty backbreaking AND you have the best removal in the format. 

Dimir can at least use discard against Gruul. But it won't work against Boros. 
I can agree on this for the most part, but I'm thinking Boros and Gruul are going to be neck and neck for dominating guilds.  If Gruul can make it to the mid game without getting hit to hard for Boros to finish with any reach spells, Gruul will just brutalize boros with huge efficient creatures.  A strong Boros cardpool will beat out a strong Gruul cardpool mehtinks, simply by outpacing them every step of the way.   However to me the average cardpools one can expect seems to be much closer, and if Boros doesn't get enough explode out of the gates cards, it's going to have a rough time dealing with the incredible Gruul mid-game. 

That said, one edge that Boros has is extremely efficient removal, particularly Smite.  It's conditional, but it's a condition that doesn't really matter.  Infact it has the very strong possibility of 2 or more for 1-ing Gruul bloodrushers without even causing a trade.  And it's common.  At 1 cmc. 

Still, Boros has some pretty efficient removal as well available to it in the common/uncommon slots.  Really, combat is going to be tricky against both guilds, and these two are going to be the meanest of the mean.

As for simic, I think that it has the possibility to outpace Boros if it gets the right curve down.  Problem is getting that curve down right, and getting everything on the board.  It will be absolutely stellar at times, and flop HARD at others.  And this isn't even considering different cardpools, but the same pool of cards and the same deck.  I foresee this guild mulliganing often.

Orzhov I'm just unimpressed with really.  Extort realistically isn't going to go online until turn 4 or 5.  And if you are playing spells where you can actually extort for a significant value, you are getting outpaced by large board threats (On turn 4, your opponent plays a 4 cmc creature, and you play somethign at 2 cmc to extort).  So really its a late-game ability that may not save you.  Couple that with some rather meh commons/uncommons and it just isn't going to hold water.

Dimir seems like it will work if you get a very strong card pool.  Average pools will be beaten hard by Boros, Simic, and Gruul, and will be out-controlled by Orzhov. 
Aetherize is the "sweeper". It's in Blue this time. What's gonna happen is you'll swing in on T4 (or whenever) and meet an Aetherize and it'll kill your tempo.

I agree in general with what you say though, I think Boros and Gruul will wreck house.
I can agree on this for the most part, but I'm thinking Boros and Gruul are going to be neck and neck for dominating guilds.  If Gruul can make it to the mid game without getting hit to hard for Boros to finish with any reach spells, Gruul will just brutalize boros with huge efficient creatures.  A strong Boros cardpool will beat out a strong Gruul cardpool mehtinks, simply by outpacing them every step of the way.   However to me the average cardpools one can expect seems to be much closer, and if Boros doesn't get enough explode out of the gates cards, it's going to have a rough time dealing with the incredible Gruul mid-game. 

That said, one edge that Boros has is extremely efficient removal, particularly Smite.  It's conditional, but it's a condition that doesn't really matter.  Infact it has the very strong possibility of 2 or more for 1-ing Gruul bloodrushers without even causing a trade.  And it's common.  At 1 cmc. 

Still, Boros has some pretty efficient removal as well available to it in the common/uncommon slots.  Really, combat is going to be tricky against both guilds, and these two are going to be the meanest of the mean.

As for simic, I think that it has the possibility to outpace Boros if it gets the right curve down.  Problem is getting that curve down right, and getting everything on the board.  It will be absolutely stellar at times, and flop HARD at others.  And this isn't even considering different cardpools, but the same pool of cards and the same deck.  I foresee this guild mulliganing often.

Orzhov I'm just unimpressed with really.  Extort realistically isn't going to go online until turn 4 or 5.  And if you are playing spells where you can actually extort for a significant value, you are getting outpaced by large board threats (On turn 4, your opponent plays a 4 cmc creature, and you play somethign at 2 cmc to extort).  So really its a late-game ability that may not save you.  Couple that with some rather meh commons/uncommons and it just isn't going to hold water.

Dimir seems like it will work if you get a very strong card pool.  Average pools will be beaten hard by Boros, Simic, and Gruul, and will be out-controlled by Orzhov. 



It's tough to call it on Simic vs Boros, since

1. Simic needs to get comfortable first (not much, but it matters) but boros cards are already where they want to be. So Boros gets a smal ledge here.

2. Simic has no shortage of 4+ toughness creatures. You don't want to see clinging anemones if you're boros. It's going to be 2/5 eventually. And 2/5 is usually the worse possible stats a limited blocker that costs 4 or less can have for a fast aggro deck. And high toughness helps evolve just as much as high power, so simic won't mind throwing fat **** at you.

Plus, you'd normally want to use your burn strategically, but you'll be in trouble if you let their creatures grow out of control, so you'll have to use it early. It's a bit heads or tail. 

For Boros vs Gruul. Gruul has a good midgame, but boros has more evasion and better triks that aren't always damage based. Though Boros creatures are easier to burn on average while, as you said, Gruul can get 2 for 1'd a lot more. I still think Boros will do better on average because it's a sealed format.
 
 
Aetherize is the "sweeper". It's in Blue this time. What's gonna happen is you'll swing in on T4 (or whenever) and meet an Aetherize and it'll kill your tempo. 



Yeah aetherize is a soft sweeper. But it's pretty rare that your opponent can afford to attack with everythig. They can attack with a lot, but there will always be some creatures that aren't worth attacking with. So while it is a pretty dangerous spell. Coming back from it is a lot easier than an actual sweeper.

But I really think more and more that WotC pulled an Avacyn restored again, and removed sweepers so that battalion would be useful. I really hate when they warp a format to justify an ability. That means the ability should have been done better to begin with. 
How is gruul going to be 2-for-1'ed by smite, exactly?  Bloodrush only works on attacking creatures, and its only until EOT.  I think you misread the mechanic.  This doesn't work.  Bloodrush doesn't use the stack, so it can't be countered, and can't be responded to until the creature has already recieved the bonus.  So either you deal with the giant creature at instant speed, or try and remove EVERY creature before combat....good luck with that.

For most folks, it IS going be boros vs gruul though.  Aggro usually wins in sealed, and these are the guilds to do it in.  The other 3 will be sleeper builds, and while it won't help you during the pre-re, no one is going to want to draft these guys when the set comes out, which will allow much deeper cardpools and the ability to pull out wins.  

The OP states orzhov is too slow, but you forget that that half of the boros beaters are playable by white....so you can EASILY get a solid early game and then transition to extort later, once you've gummed up the field.  The guild leader is just....f'ing insane if you're lucky enough to pull him.  Seriously....he just = you win.  How do you fight that? The 6/6 thrull is better than most give him credit for.  Its a freakin' 6/6 wall....think of it that way.  At 4cc, he completely shuts down aggro.  Sure they gain 2 or 3 life if they attack, but he forces a stall, a 2-for-1 (bloodrush to overrun him) to any sane opponent.  He's not meant to be a beater.  He shuts down  aggro....period.  Then you use your white to fly in for the kill....or lay back and start casting extort and laugh as boros can't do anything.  Orzhov also has a few nice early creatures....they have a 3cc 2/2 flyer with extort, and if you slap the contaminated bond onto an early land....you CRIPPLE aggro's tempo, or cost them 6-8 life for 2cc.  You just need to realize that this isn't a swingy straight-forward, non-thinking aggro deck.  It IS a control deck, and that's how it should be played.  It has the power to keep up...but you're going to give up some life in the early game, and have to play smart.

As previously stated, simic can be a little unstable (perfect flavor for the guild tho).  They do have MANY cheap evolve creatures, and when you pair that with blue's flyers, or green's aggresive fat...simic could certainly be tough to deal with.  Its going to be all about managing simic evolve when you go up against it.  You don't want to trade your 4cc 3/3 with a 1cc 3/3 that you let grow....but that's going to happen A LOT.  Simic will need to push their evolve guys early, take the early damage, then gain the tempo back by trading up, and following up with green fat.  Swingy....but easily playable.  

Dimir is the true underdog of all the guilds out there.  No one EVER wants to play mill in limited, and few want to play control it seems.  Dimir's path to victory is the same as orzhov....as a control deck.  They need to play black's regeneration creatures and blue's high defense creatures to stall early game....or borrow some of simic's blue evolve guys, although defence is better IMO.  You can also borrow some of orzhov's extort to make up for any life you lost early on.  Between kill cards, contaminated ground, and blue's bounce effects...your goal is never to take control of the board.  Simply, to stall while your mill eats away at them.  40 card deck (for 95% of people) - opening hand = 33 cards.  Assuming 1 draw every turn, and putting a 10 turn clock on the game, you can reasonably assume you need to mill 23 cards on average.   If the average mill card does 3 cards, then you need to hit 7-8 mill cards, or maybe 4-5 + a few cipher copies.  That's really not a crazy number to hit.  The main thing here, is either deciding on mill, or the lifeloss as the main focus, plus no one is going to bother drafting this guild...and orzhov is off of most people's radar....so your black picks are going to be primo, and you still have blue to lean on, plus your splash color.  
I'm not gonna quote everything he said, but I agree compeletely with what ilvmymustang said in his reply regarding Orzhov.  OP is seriously underestimating them, and I think they will prove one of the more powerful in limited.  Also, I too predict that anyone who is writing off Alms Beast will be eating their words very soon now.
How is gruul going to be 2-for-1'ed by smite, exactly?  Bloodrush only works on attacking creatures, and its only until EOT.  I think you misread the mechanic.  This doesn't work.  Bloodrush doesn't use the stack, so it can't be countered, and can't be responded to until the creature has already recieved the bonus.  So either you deal with the giant creature at instant speed, or try and remove EVERY creature before combat....good luck with that.
 


Gruul attacks, Boros blocks with a creature in order to trade, gruul responds by bloodrushing to pump their creature, boros casts smite, which destroys the gruul creature before combat damage is dealt. 

OP missed Grisly spectacle as (basically) unconditional black removal at common, instant speed and 4cmc. 

I think Orzhov is going to be better than a lot of people are saying.  
i believe that the orzhov are going to be monsterous if they get enough land and dont miss those land drops
My Analysis...

BOROS: The most powerful, no questions asked.  Boros have early agression, battallion synergy, late game survivability, some access to evasion through white flyers, and the best removal selection, bar none, by being in the two best removal colors in modern Magic.  Their only perceptable weakness is being slightly weak on the defense (Tending to be X/1 or such)... which, thanks to Boros removal keeping the aggression rolling, should never be an issue.  Still, if the game does turn against them, however unlikely that may be, it can turn hard.  Oh wait, lifelinkers.  Their prerelease promo is the best.

ORZHOV: More powerful than they'll often be credited for, they've got good removal selection and a nice suite of creatures.  Their mechanic, Extort, however is going to be very difficult to learn to use properly.  Holding cards for Extort, much like holding kicker cards until you can kick them, will get you better power-per-card byt could also ruin your development and leave you vulnerable to a coup.  Their promo amply displays their propensity for winning long, grinding games.

SIMIC: The Simic are powerfully dependant on their curve.  Amateur deckbuilders will get their rears handed to them by their own simic pools the same way as amateur players will get manhandled by their own Orzhov decks.  However, if built carefully, with a good curve of cost and power, they'll be strong.  If they get some of a few key cards, they'll be amazing.  Their weakness, overall, is in removal: the simic are the straight up worst at it.  Their promo is a straight-up CA machine that might provide the biggest boost over baseline of any promo.

GRUUL: I don't actually like the Gruul a lot.  They work out a little like a watered-down version of the boros.  They have better sizes, but at higher cost and without quite as much removal as the Boros are blessed with.  Their mechanic, Bloodrush, is a painful trap: paying permanent cards for a temporary boost.  It will kill sometimes, but if your opponent survives the bloodrush assault (perhaps by instant-speed-answering the rushed creature, even with bounce), you've really put yourself in a bad place.  Their promo is one of the better Gruul critters, but nothing to write home about compared to the previous three.

DIMIR: Poor House Dimir.  I love their flavor, and want to build around many of their cards, even their lowly guildmage.  Dimir Drafts might be possible with good selection (especially of mill), but Dimir Sealed is going to be terrible.  They have very little removal (though more than the Simic), and their specific mechanic is almost never going to be useful: Bar two, Cipher spells are overcost to the point of being practically useless.  Their promo seems like it would be nice, but it's a potential dead card, and its species of mill (mill to a land) is gimped in limited where land ratios are significantly higher (17/40 > 24/60).  Not totally useless, but not great either.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

How is gruul going to be 2-for-1'ed by smite, exactly?  Bloodrush only works on attacking creatures, and its only until EOT.  I think you misread the mechanic.  This doesn't work.  Bloodrush doesn't use the stack, so it can't be countered, and can't be responded to until the creature has already recieved the bonus.  So either you deal with the giant creature at instant speed, or try and remove EVERY creature before combat....good luck with that.



The reason bloodrush can't be countered (in limited) is because it's not a spell, not because it doesn't use the stack. You can counter it with stifle just fine.

It's an activated ability. You announce it, pick a target, pay a cost then put it on the stack. Thus, your opponent can respond to a bloodrush after block with smite. I think it's you who misread the card in this case. Smite kills a blocked creature, not a blocking creature. If a bloodrushed creature is attacking, then you can block and kill it. The fact that Bloodrush is only active until EoT is not relevant here.

1. Creature attacks.
2. You block.
3. Opponent uses bloodrush on it.
4. You respond with smite, thus getting a 2 for 1. 

But don't take my word for it. This is from WotC
www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...


Bloodrush is an ability word that marks a particular kind of activated ability you can use when a creature card with bloodrush is in your hand. Each bloodrush ability has a cost of paying some amount of mana and discarding the creature card. It targets an attacking creature, which means it can be activated only during combat and only targeting a creature that's currently attacking.


A bloodrush ability isn't a spell and can't be countered by things that only counter spells. It uses the stack and can be responded to normally.
 

but you forget that that half of the boros beaters are playable by white....so you can EASILY get a solid early game and then transition to extort later, once you've gummed up the field.




There are two mono white small Boros creatures. boros elite and daring skyjek. The third one is frontline medic, and it's a rare. And trying to stall with small creatures isn't exactly a great  strategy. They can't block anything, so, even assuming you always draw them early somehow, they won't buy you the time you need to extort to a win.

Plus, you can't decide what you're going to draw early. Decks that try to be aggro and control at the same time usually end up failing at both. And we're talking about sealed. You don't have that much control over he exact type of deck you end up with.

The 6/6 thrull is better than most give him credit for.  Its a freakin' 6/6 wall....think of it that way.  At 4cc, he completely shuts down aggro.  Sure they gain 2 or 3 life if they attack, but he forces a stall, a 2-for-1 (bloodrush to overrun him) to any sane opponent.



It's not a 2 for 1. Your opponent is going to attack with something that will survive combat, which isn't hard when your commons are 5/4's and 6/7's. Even if they trade, they'll gain enough life to make up for the card they lost.

Orzhov also has a few nice early creatures....they have a 3cc 2/2 flyer with extort, and if you slap the contaminated bond onto an early land....you CRIPPLE aggro's tempo, or cost them 6-8 life for 2cc.



Kingpin's pet IS a great common. But contaminiated bond is a card that doesn't do anything if not drawn early. So unless you open 3 of them. Putting one in your deck and hoping to draw it before it's dead isn't a good strategy. And I'm not sure I'd be comfortable maindecking contaminated bond instead of a threat.

No one EVER wants to play mill in limited, and few want to play control it seems.  Dimir's path to victory is the same as orzhov....as a control deck.  They need to play black's regeneration creatures and blue's high defense creatures to stall early game....or borrow some of simic's blue evolve guys, although defence is better IMO.

 

People play mill in limited whenever there are enough cards to do so. But Dimir isn't dedicated to mill this time around. The only way to make a sealed mill deck is out of dumb luck. Also, there are NO black creatures with regeneration in gatecrash. The only regenerator is white. And extort is basically monoblack for Dimir. So it's not nearly as efficient. If most of your cards are blue, then you rarely have enough swamps out to capitalize on extort, and if most of your cards are black, your open mana will tend to be blue.

I'm not gonna quote everything he said, but I agree compeletely with what 
ilvmymustang said in his reply regarding Orzhov.  OP is seriously underestimating them, and I think they will prove one of the more powerful in limited.


Why? What exactly do you feel makes them more powerful than other guilds?


 

 
I like your thinking OP, but that may be because I am totally biased towards Boros.
Although, I don't have high hopes for Boros in limited formats, because I do not think that you could get enough creatures to hold a presence, playing with the random factors limited brings.

On the other hand, I think, (but not hope,) that Dimir will hit limited hard with the amount of milling cards they get, coupled with their scary prerelease card, Consuming Aberration

And all will know the wonder of my dark and jeweled sky, when all the world is wrapped in an eternal lullaby.

How is gruul going to be 2-for-1'ed by smite, exactly?  Bloodrush only works on attacking creatures, and its only until EOT.  I think you misread the mechanic.  This doesn't work.  Bloodrush doesn't use the stack, so it can't be countered, and can't be responded to until the creature has already recieved the bonus.  So either you deal with the giant creature at instant speed, or try and remove EVERY creature before combat....good luck with that.
 


Gruul attacks, Boros blocks with a creature in order to trade, gruul responds by bloodrushing to pump their creature, boros casts smite, which destroys the gruul creature before combat damage is dealt. 

OP missed Grisly spectacle as (basically) unconditional black removal at common, instant speed and 4cmc. 

I think Orzhov is going to be better than a lot of people are saying.  



Grizzly spectacle is also conditional. It says non-artifact. 

How is gruul going to be 2-for-1'ed by smite, exactly?  Bloodrush only works on attacking creatures, and its only until EOT.  I think you misread the mechanic.  This doesn't work.  Bloodrush doesn't use the stack, so it can't be countered, and can't be responded to until the creature has already recieved the bonus.  So either you deal with the giant creature at instant speed, or try and remove EVERY creature before combat....good luck with that.


It uses the stack (like every other activated ability), it just can't be countered.

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How is gruul going to be 2-for-1'ed by smite, exactly?  Bloodrush only works on attacking creatures, and its only until EOT.  I think you misread the mechanic.  This doesn't work.  Bloodrush doesn't use the stack, so it can't be countered, and can't be responded to until the creature has already recieved the bonus.  So either you deal with the giant creature at instant speed, or try and remove EVERY creature before combat....good luck with that.


It uses the stack (like every other activated ability), it just can't be countered.



Dr. D is correct.  Hell, Bloodrush could even be countered by Voidslime or Trickbind in theory.  And a kill spell in response to the activation is just the proper retort

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

How is gruul going to be 2-for-1'ed by smite, exactly?  Bloodrush only works on attacking creatures, and its only until EOT.  I think you misread the mechanic.  This doesn't work.  Bloodrush doesn't use the stack, so it can't be countered, and can't be responded to until the creature has already recieved the bonus.  So either you deal with the giant creature at instant speed, or try and remove EVERY creature before combat....good luck with that.
 



By the stack and combat damage, my friend.

If you block their creatures, and they decide to bloodrush in response for whatever reason, Smite can be cast in respoonse to the Bloodrush ability.  Creature dies before combat damage is dealt, Bloodrush card goes to the graveyard, and it doesn't trade at all with the blocker (as combat damage has not been assigned).  Really, any instant speed spot removal is going to be the  bane of Gruul, as it all will 2-for-1 the bloodrush targets.  Smite just means you only need to leave open.  And if you do see open, do *not* bloodrush a blocked creature, even if said bloodrush provides trample damage that might allow you to win.

Even instant speed burn in response to the bloodrush will 2-for-1  a creature, as the Bloodrushed card will go straight to the graveyard if you cast in response (Remember:  Last spell cast resolves first).

And edit:  Bloodrush most certainly uses the stack.  It is an activated ability of a card, and all activated abilities (Barring mana abilities) use the stack.
I stand corrected, thank you all for pointing that out.  Good to know, so I don't play it wrong (since I'm declared gruul already).  

I will also say that since smite is a common, those situations will certainly come up, but as other players have noted....most people aren't going to open 3 or 4 copies, and then how many people will be in white?  Only maybe half or 60% at best?  Its not the kind of thing you play around.  You go straight for the throat if you're gruul....and if you get smitten, do it again next time.

Spot burn DOES work, but most instant speed burn is 2-3 points....and gruul creatures are at least that big already for the most part.  I don't see burn doing that much harm to gruul IN the combat step.  I think that flaming arrows card for 4 damage was the biggest instant speed burn I saw....and if you're playing against white OR red, they're NOT going to want to be holding 4 mana open to 2-for-1 you, or they're already not utilizing their deck properly (unless they're orzhov I suppose).

Continuing, if we're going to talk about the entire guild sucking based on one card, then why can't we just splash blue for some of their unblockable creatures.  No block = no smite.  Heck, how about the hexproof guys in simic?  We play green.  Hexproof = no smite.  Not to mention WE play red....and WE have access to burn as well.  With the exception of boros (toughest matchup I see) we run more creatures than other decks, and ours are bigger to boot, so using spot burn to get rid of blockers eliminates the chance of a smite as well.  I see FAR more ways around the card than I see liability from it.  

I see (for those playing AS gruul) that boros and orzhov are going to be the toughest matchups, as boros is the fastest on purely pumping out weenies, and orzhov is going to be wicked control.  

Vs boros, I'm not going to fear much in the way of combat tricks.  They may run a smite or 2 because its so cheap to deal with our big creatures....but a solid boros deck is going to be tapping out every turn to dump their hand onto the field, activate battalion and beat face.  They may also run a little burn...but most likely as a closer.  Its going to be getting our bigger creatures out in time to shut down their aggro game.  That's going to require some combat tricks like giant growth on a 1/1 of our own, or a little bit of mana pumping.  I feel it will be a good tight game.  

Vs. Orzhov, they're not going to try to match our creatures.  They're going to throw down 1/4 walls and play extort.  THIS is the deck I fear spot burn and smite in.  Boros doesn't have a lot of life gain, but orzhov has tons.  If we can't beat them early, extort is going to get worse and worse for us as they get more lands to support it and gum up the red zone.  They could also pull lots of small flyers from the white side and play black as creature kill and attempt to race....but in most cases, I believe this would be wrong against gruul.

Why? What exactly do you feel makes them more powerful than other guilds?



 




Okay, I'll try to explain myself.  When I first heard about the Extort mechanic, my reaction was "wow, that is very powerful.  I bet they won't put on very many common or cheap creatures".  Well, turns out I was wrong.  At common you have two 2 drops, two 3 drops and a 4 drop.  Looking at uncommon gives you a 1 drop and another 4 drop.  You could easily fill a draft deck with these.  Sure the creatures themselves might not look too impressive, but they don't have to be.  Your opponent's creatures may be outclassing yours, but you won't really care when you're triple and quadruple extorting every turn.  A 6 or 8 life swing every turn is very hard to keep up with.

I think extort is scary because the threat is spread across all of your creatures rather than in just one.  So it's powerful in some of the same ways as Exalted was powerful in M13 (but you don't have to attack).  What I mean by that is that sure, your opponent might have a kill spell, but none of your creatures is particularly important. Together they present a large threat. So unless they get rid of all of them, then the threat continues. 
totally off topic question : if a cartel aristocrat equipped with illusionist's bracers uses her eff, would u still have to sacrifice a creature to use the copied ability from bracers ?????
I stand corrected, thank you all for pointing that out.  Good to know, so I don't play it wrong (since I'm declared gruul already).  

I will also say that since smite is a common, those situations will certainly come up, but as other players have noted....most people aren't going to open 3 or 4 copies, and then how many people will be in white?  Only maybe half or 60% at best?  Its not the kind of thing you play around.  You go straight for the throat if you're gruul....and if you get smitten, do it again next time.



Oh, there is more.  But Smite is merely the easiest to cast.  Arrows of Justice is a very good removal card, and has the ability to kill your bloodrusher before damage is declared.  Most creatures have four or less toughness, so it's not exactly irrelevant against Gruul.  Homing Lighnting is also a good instant, though requires a bit more color commitment.  Still, in limited that kind of damage kills a lot and will screw up Gruul's gameplan hard.  Killing Glare will handily kill most anthing small you try to bloodrush.  Massive Raid will be good as well, dealing a good chunk of damage, probably more than enough to do so.  Pit Fight is another option, though a bit more situational.  Still has the ability to wreck your bloodrush plays.  And Rapid Hybridizationn is yet another 1 cmc common that will kill our Bloodrush.  Simic Charm isn't exactly the same thing, but does kill bloodrush right-quick and gives you a tempo advantage.  Same with Totally LostOrzhov charm is also good, as there are more than a few huge power/low toughness creatures out there for Gruul.

Right here we have several options, open to every color, at the instant speed level, and either common/uncommon.  If you just try to bloodrush to victory without thinking, under the premise that you "can do it again next turn", you will find yourself hurting hard.  The CA loss like that is going to lose you games.  You need to pick your Bloodrush wisely. 

Spot burn DOES work, but most instant speed burn is 2-3 points....and gruul creatures are at least that big already for the most part.  I don't see burn doing that much harm to gruul IN the combat step.  I think that flaming arrows card for 4 damage was the biggest instant speed burn I saw....and if you're playing against white OR red, they're NOT going to want to be holding 4 mana open to 2-for-1 you, or they're already not utilizing their deck properly (unless they're orzhov I suppose).



This is funny, because most burn in the set hits for 4.  And yes, leaving open mana for burn is quite viable if the situation calls for it.  Infact, it's an extremely common tactic.  Particularly in the late game, where things stall out. 


Continuing, if we're going to talk about the entire guild sucking based on one card, then why can't we just splash blue for some of their unblockable creatures.  No block = no smite.  Heck, how about the hexproof guys in simic?  We play green.  Hexproof = no smite.  Not to mention WE play red....and WE have access to burn as well.  With the exception of boros (toughest matchup I see) we run more creatures than other decks, and ours are bigger to boot, so using spot burn to get rid of blockers eliminates the chance of a smite as well.  I see FAR more ways around the card than I see liability from it.  


Never said anything about Gruul sucking.  If you look, I think it's going to be the monster in the house.  That said, I do think that people will play Bloodrush very improperly, and be very disappointed when the lose due to getting all of their target removed, and leaving them with a very bad board state with very few cards in hand.  G/R doesn't have a lot of ways to make up this disadvantage in limited, and the only way it can really do so is splash if you get some awesome Simic card draw engine.  And the point still remains that there is a *ton* of instant speed removal at common/uncommon for a limited environment, and there are many options available.


Firstly, thank you for the intelligent insight.  Nice to discuss things with people who don't just say "na-uh!".

Going back to the burn issue, a few of those cards (and I admit there's probably more you didn't list) I don't see being threats.  Massive raid isn't gonna do much unless you're in a mirror match, or going up against boros (where the card REALLY shines).  Seeing as how its double red makes it not splashable, and the other guilds are not so creature focused, lots of people won't be playing this.  I could also argue that vs boros, it will be the right play most of the time to trade creatures wherever possible early so that you keep them off of battalion power, and gruul can easily cast this to keep the opposing creature count down.  I see gruul using it more, as gruul doesn't care about the sheer number of attackers....just the size of them, and boros guys are small.  

Homing lightning is uncommon, and again, a double red comittment, so I don't see a lot of decks playing this against gruul.  Boros isn't going to want to sit on 4 mana just to wait for a bloodrush that may never come every turn when they could be threaning you on the board.  This is better used by gruul honestly, and at uncommon, not a card I'm going to fear.   Same thing with killing glare.  Control decks would certainly play this, and it IS splashable, but how often are you going to see it at uncommon?  Two-three times out of 4-5 rounds?

Pit fight is a joke.  Gruul is gonna have much larger creatures, so unless you're trying to force it onto a 1/1, is not going to be a concern.  And really...if you're attacking with a 1/1 and the field isn't open...they're gonna know you're up to something.  

Rapid Hybridization is NOT a common, its uncommon...and it gives the "victim" a 3/3 token.  While that may be fine for the blue mage defending against my 7/6 ruination wurm, even though it may be worth it to stop the bloodrush...that's not an ideal play by any means.  I think a lot of blue mages are going to not want to run this card, as it generates little to no advantage.  

The charms are solid, and have proved themselves in constructed even, but again....uncommon, and you won't be getting more than 1 in a draft for sure.  

Totally lost certainly works....but at a hefty 5cc for what boomerang nearly does for 2, only experienced tempo drafters would see the value in this little guy.  And even then....you're trading your bounce for the creature I cast bloodrush with...I get the original creature back (minus the tempo loss) so its still not a 2-for-1.  


The only thing I can really agree with you on, is the need for draw in this guild.  Bloodrush, even when working as intended, burns through your hand like a hot knife.  Unless you can end the game within 1-2 swings, the correct play is USUALLY going to be to hardcast the creature.  The only time I want to bloodrush is if my opponent is tapped out AND if I have a way to get trample, or flying, or otherwise FORCE the damage through....or if I know that it will be leathal.  Trying to rush a 2/2 into a 6/5 on turn 3 is going to be a bad idea most of the time unless you're packing a TON of burn to finish.  I see bloodrush as a strong creature-based form of burn to push past a fat/problematic creature or to end the game.  Unless your opponent is obviously mana screwed, there's no point in gambling to knock him from 20 to 12-15.  So what?  

If I can get my hands on anything draw related from blue....that'll be my splash.  I'll likely be looking to borrow some cheap simic creatures for the early game anyways.  Other than smite, I don't see a lot in white, or black that tickles me gruul.

 
In fact, after sorting the gatecrash search engine to only red cards....the only instant speed burn spells that do more than 2 damage are the 2 red charms (boros and gruul) @ 4 and 3 damage respectively, both at uncommon, aurelia's fury (mythic rare), cinder elemental, (if we count activated abilities...also uncommon) homing lightning (uncommon) @ 4 damage, massive raid (common), and skullcrack @ 3 damage, (uncommon) and arrows of justice @ 4 (common).

So there's only 2 common slot burns spells, one of which is very situational in massive raid.  

SURE, there are going to be times when burn will ruin your plans no matter what guild you play as.....but do I fear this set's overpowering removal?  That's gonna be a no.   

Why? What exactly do you feel makes them more powerful than other guilds?



 




Okay, I'll try to explain myself.  When I first heard about the Extort mechanic, my reaction was "wow, that is very powerful.  I bet they won't put on very many common or cheap creatures".  Well, turns out I was wrong.  At common you have two 2 drops, two 3 drops and a 4 drop.  Looking at uncommon gives you a 1 drop and another 4 drop.  You could easily fill a draft deck with these.  Sure the creatures themselves might not look too impressive, but they don't have to be.  Your opponent's creatures may be outclassing yours, but you won't really care when you're triple and quadruple extorting every turn.  A 6 or 8 life swing every turn is very hard to keep up with.

I think extort is scary because the threat is spread across all of your creatures rather than in just one.  So it's powerful in some of the same ways as Exalted was powerful in M13 (but you don't have to attack).  What I mean by that is that sure, your opponent might have a kill spell, but none of your creatures is particularly important. Together they present a large threat. So unless they get rid of all of them, then the threat continues. 



You have to pay 1 for each trigger.
Having 10 critters with extort is no better than having ONE SINGLE SHADE in terms of power.

Extort will be played by Boros, too -- because the best critter with extort is Syndic of Tithes.


You have to pay 1 for each trigger.
Having 10 critters with extort is no better than having ONE SINGLE SHADE in terms of power.

Extort will be played by Boros, too -- because the best critter with extort is Syndic of Tithes.



If you have more extort triggers than mana you have to pay for it, then I think you're doing fine...  If you get out that many extorters, and the game has gone late enough that you have 6/7 lands, then all you have to do is draw a couple 1 or 2 drops and the game is over.

Yes, Boros will throw in some random extorters here and there.  But I think Extort will be best as an all-in strategy. A deck that is mostly full of spells costing 1-4 mana, a lot of which are extort creatures, will work extremely well.  Another reason it will be so powerful is because any top deck suddenly becomes good.  If you draw something that is too expensive to extort much, chances are its your bomb.  If you draw something cheap that might not be great late game, like say Dutiful Thrull, then you just extort to your hearts content.

You go straight for the throat if you're gruul....and if you get smitten, do it again next time.


"Smitten" and "smote" are two different things.  If you are smitten by your opponent during game one and you lose, you're probably not going to try too hard to win game two.

Rules Advisor



You have to pay 1 for each trigger.
Having 10 critters with extort is no better than having ONE SINGLE SHADE in terms of power.

Extort will be played by Boros, too -- because the best critter with extort is Syndic of Tithes.



If you have more extort triggers than mana you have to pay for it, then I think you're doing fine...  If you get out that many extorters, and the game has gone late enough that you have 6/7 lands, then all you have to do is draw a couple 1 or 2 drops and the game is over.

Yes, Boros will throw in some random extorters here and there.  But I think Extort will be best as an all-in strategy. A deck that is mostly full of spells costing 1-4 mana, a lot of which are extort creatures, will work extremely well.  Another reason it will be so powerful is because any top deck suddenly becomes good.  If you draw something that is too expensive to extort much, chances are its your bomb.  If you draw something cheap that might not be great late game, like say Dutiful Thrull, then you just extort to your hearts content.



i feel like people are going to try extort + cipher

~Your either my puppet or my matchstick~

color preferences (1st is fav and so on):

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Fact is, any two guilds with a shared color have some synergy and will see some use together. It's more a matter of identifying the key cards in limited, especially the commons and uncommons since they'll compose a large portion of your deck.

Boros + Orzhov will favor lots of cheap spells and permanents with extort. Early game you'll be playing Boros Elite and Syndic of Tithes, maybe Blind Obedience if you got lucky, then once you have a few creatures swinging and a few extort permanents, follow up with Boros Charm or Skullcrack for the game.

Simic + Dimir is an odd mix combining large creatures and spells that favor evasion. However, Simic provides evasion in the form of flying and at least one unblockable creature, the Elusive Krasis, as well as tramplers who can get damage through and trigger Cipher anyway. Simic also provides the best creature protection, helping ensure your encoded creatures stay on the field. Simir will favor Hands of Binding and Last Thoughts.

Orzhov + Dimir is perhaps the most control-oriented combo in GTC limited. Cipher spells will mix favorably with Extort by freeing up mana to spend on triggers. Like Borzhov, this combo will want to deploy its Extorters early in preparation for Cipher spells. Deathcult Rogue will be a prime evasion creature for Orzhimir, as non-Rogue creatures can be removed. Mental Vapors and Shadow Slice are the best Cipher spells for this combination, though Hands and Thoughts should not be passed up if sufficient color fixing is available.

Gruul + Boros is easily the most aggressive combo in GTC if not the entire block. Bloodrush compliments Battalion rather well, encouraging cheap 1 and 2 cmc creatures that can be pumped by larger creatures like Viashino Shanktail and Wrecking Ogre. Given the lack of defensive options, however, Gros will also want sufficient removal. Arrows of Justice are a good option for burn and Smite will take care of anything Arrows can't destroy.

Gruul + Simic is a tricky combination. Evolve creatures want you to play bigger creatures while Gruul has you discard them to make creatures bigger for a turn. Depending on your play style, Gruul provides Simic with burn for removing creatures or Simic provides Gruul with blue spells for card draw, control, and evasion. The latter choice is probably easier to support as it requires less creature commitment and can leave more mana open.

the only uncommon cipher spells that might be played in limited are: call of the nightwing, hands of binding, undercity plague, whispering madness (maybe) though not as good as you think in limited due to the fact that YOU'RE the one playing control most of the time and stolen identity. If they're really going for mill, then maybe that return from grave spell

seeing that, most people playing cipher will be Orzhov splashing Dimir spells. 
Undercity Plague and Whispering Madness are rare, not uncommon.

Also, Hands of Binding is common, not uncommon.

Rules Advisor

sorry, I didn't mean to write uncommon. But those spells seems to most viable in drafts

Continuing, if we're going to talk about the entire guild sucking based on one card, then why can't we just splash blue for some of their unblockable creatures.  No block = no smite.  Heck, how about the hexproof guys in simic?  We play green.  Hexproof = no smite.  Not to mention WE play red....and WE have access to burn as well.  With the exception of boros (toughest matchup I see) we run more creatures than other decks, and ours are bigger to boot, so using spot burn to get rid of blockers eliminates the chance of a smite as well.  I see FAR more ways around the card than I see liability from it.  



The unblockable creature in Dimir is either double black or doubleblue. Then you have keymaster rogue that is splashable but has a drawback that is preferred by Simic. The only other option is the keyrune, which requires both black and blue.

You may run more creatures in Gruul than other decks on average. But if you use bloodrush, it will tend to even out.

Boros doesn't have a lot of life gain, but orzhov has tons.



Actually not that much. There are no creatures with lifelink besides the keyrune. There are only 2 spells that give you life, purge the profane and zarichi tiger. And filling your deck with 4 cost cards doesn't sound like a great plan when you plan to use extort to win. Plus, the tiger is kind of bad. So it's really just extort, which is not fast by any means.

Also, using extort isn't as easy as it looks. You need to play spells, and after the first few turns,  your hand won't be that big. And there are things like orzhov charm and removal that you won't play just to get an extort out of them. The turn you decide to play them, you might have all your mana, or you might have drawn a smog elemental that you want on the battlefield asap.

Also, this is a discussion about the pre-release, so it only concerns sealed.

totally off topic question : if a cartel aristocrat equipped with illusionist's bracers uses her eff, would u still have to sacrifice a creature to use the copied ability from bracers ?????



No, it's like copying a spell. You don't have to pay the cost a 2nd time.

Rapid Hybridization is NOT a common, its uncommon...and it gives the "victim" a 3/3 token.  While that may be fine for the blue mage defending against my 7/6 ruination wurm, even though it may be worth it to stop the bloodrush...that's not an ideal play by any means.  I think a lot of blue mages are going to not want to run this card, as it generates little to no advantage.



It's removal in simic,. You don,t really have a lot of choices. and for 1 mana, you get your number 3 evolve, killing a creature that would die anyway and boost your evolvers during combat.





Rapid Hybridization is going to be run by anyone heavy in blue in limited, ESPECIALLY against Gruul where the 3/3 is a bust at worst and it also costs them the bloodrushed card.  Hybriding your own dying/useless creature to get a round of evolution: also nice.  Like Pongify before it, that card will be massivley underrated.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920



The unblockable creature in Dimir is either double black or doubleblue.       ......


This statement is incorrect.

in dimir colors (blue or black, not including the simic green) there are 3 creatures with "unblockable." One is the keymaster, as you mentioned. The next option is Incursion Specialist (which is more of a gimmic creature, and I don't recommend) which costs 1 and 1 blue. The third option is the Deathcult Rogue, (unblockable here being conditional aswell.) which costs 1 and 2 hyrid mana. So while it IS double of colored mana, the double can be any combo of blue or black... I know this isn't a big distinction, but it does make the Rogue more playable.
/rant


The unblockable creature in Dimir is either double black or doubleblue.       ......


This statement is incorrect.

in dimir colors (blue or black, not including the simic green) there are 3 creatures with "unblockable." One is the keymaster, as you mentioned. The next option is Incursion Specialist (which is more of a gimmic creature, and I don't recommend) which costs 1 and 1 blue. The third option is the Deathcult Rogue, (unblockable here being conditional aswell.) which costs 1 and 2 hyrid mana. So while it IS double of colored mana, the double can be any combo of blue or black... I know this isn't a big distinction, but it does make the Rogue more playable.
/rant



For the purposes of slpashing them in Gruul as suggested, my interpretation is correct. There is no point adding 2 different land types to cast one creature. So in a non blue non black deck. It's virtually double colored.
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It's removal in simic,. You don,t really have a lot of choices. and for 1 mana, you get your number 3 evolve, killing a creature that would die anyway and boost your evolvers during combat.




That's my thinking.  This one spell is one of the versatile in the set. As destruction, it has many useful options:

Against Gruul, you're going to be getting rid of something big *and* a pump for cheap.  Yeah, they get a 3/3 vanilla.  Better than a 4/4 trampler pumped by +5/+4 any day of the week.

Against Battalion, it really screws up their ability to attack.  Take away that 3/3 flyer that drains you for 3, and they get a 3/3 vanilla.  Seems good enough.

Against Orzhov... uh... [c]Alms Beast[c]?  Other than that, not a whole lot I'd like to kill off in Orzhov.

Against Dimir, a ciphered up unblockable is not a 3/3 vanilla.  Good trade much of the time.

Against Simic, can get rid of their nastier evolvers, but I'd be a bit more careful.

Against yourself, you evolve everything and leave a decent body to boot.

In draft I can see myself snagging these whenever I get the chance.  1 mana unconditional removal is quite good, and the "drawback" is rather meaningless.
The player getting 4x hands of binding, 2x Cloudfin Raptor, 1x Nimbus Swimmer, 2x Drakewing Krasis and 1-2x Sapphire Drake is going to flip tables.

Mark my words.

Heck.

The more I look at Simic, the more my subconscious tells me to go simic, just for the evolving fliers combined with Hands of Binding.

Add Alpha Authority to that.

Slaughterhorn too.

...
But that may be because I've only looked at Dimir, Orzhov and Simic -- and not so much at Boros and Gruul.
Well, my pre release is over and I'm pretty happy with the resulting 3-1 finish.

I played gruul and built a pretty mean deck that was basically early game muggings and mana ramp from a keyrune and double verdant growths into my 5 6cc slots including double rublehulks and several ruin worms.

Only match I lost (and horribly) was my first against a boros deck that popped the big angel auerlia on me each time when my manabase was a bit unstable.

After that first loss, I played a mirror against gruul, and then had to go through two more boros decks.

I stumbled across a SICK combo by pairing madcap skills with alpha authority....which was ruled as essentially creating an unblockable creature and helped me through the final round.

I'll post a decklist later...as its 8am here and I'm exhausted.  

Best of luck to those still to play.  Madcap skills is WONDERFUL.  Play it!  I promise it'll be used against you.  
I stumbled across a SICK combo by pairing madcap skills with alpha authority....which was ruled as essentially creating an unblockable creature and helped me through the final round.



Wow, I was just thinking about this combo yesterday.  Hope I can pull it at my prerelease in a few hours.  I think I'll go Boros today and Gruul tomorrow.

I stumbled across a SICK combo by pairing madcap skills with alpha authority....which was ruled as essentially creating an unblockable creature and helped me through the final round.



Wow, I was just thinking about this combo yesterday.  Hope I can pull it at my prerelease in a few hours.  I think I'll go Boros today and Gruul tomorrow.




A few pointers then from someone who went gruul and was relatively successful:

1.  Madcap Skills on its own is worth it.  By the end I was maindecking 2, which I generally *never* do with creature enchantments with rare exceptions.  It creates an absolute mess of the situation for your opponent.  Just remember, don't put it on your big bomb.  Put it on something small to medium-ish, forcing your opponent into bad blocks (Many situations involved either double blocking the enchanted creature, only for it to be bloodrushed out of control, or only blocking the bomb and put through a good chunk of damage).  Since you are planing for both Boros and Gruul, this is an easy inclusion into your deck.

2.  Evasion is the absolute bane of Gruul's existance, particularly flying.  Millennial Gargoyle may be not be the most efficient flyer out there, but Gruul does not have options. 

3.  When going gruul, avoid overstocking on the big beaters, like Zhur-Taa Swine.  I got far more mileage out of Scab-Clan Charger, as generally you want to hold off on bloodrushing until you will either kill the opponent or trade with a creature.  The swine gives a huge boost, but is overkill and really limits what you can do the turn you cast it.  Generally, the +2/+4 gives more than enough power boost to kill any blocker, and the 4 toughness boost gives the defense you need.  The less intensive cost is also very nice.

4.  Disciple of the Old Ways is one of the best commons for Gruul.  THe mere threat of a bloodrushed first striker is going to put most people off from blocking.

5.  Don't go for the "all-in" strategy.  Plan accordingly, take pot-shots here and there, bloodrush only if absolutely necessary from turns 3-6, and once you get into a good winning position go for the kill.  Do *not* bloodrush every single chance you get.