1/23/2013 LI: "Guilds of Gatecrash Initial Impressions"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Shambleshark will not get a +1/+1 counter if a creature with 2 power comes out since that's the same power as the Shambleshark.  Just FYI.
Missed opportunity here to reinforce players to lay out their limited pools in the special Ravnican color wheel. For Gatecrash, that would be . My point being that the pictures of the guildgates and the keyrunes should show them in this order. Small things help.
Really lacking article, although I understand he didn't have the full set to think about in the general (which is a mistake on Wizards part). I'm going to give my thoughts instead:

Orzhov:

Extort's two modes are obviously aggro similar to Zombies, where Extort is the BArtist that wins the game; and a control version that sits around and can't lose as long as it plays spells. Both are iffy. 

*Can an aggressive build be aggressive enough in Orzhov to win fast enough? Don't forget that once you're out of steam, spells come pretty slowly. 

*Can a control version really clog up the board well enough? (and would it even be fun?)


Dimir:

The two modes are again obvious: Saboteur (aka Cipher) and Mill. Both seem good. Evasion is an extremely broken mechanic in Sealed, and a lone SSpirit can be the end of you. Pack that un top of Cipher, and it seems like that deck can't lose. It's weakness, however, is that it probably can't block.

The mill version would be good in Limited, watch your deck size. Sideboarding into 60 would actually be kind of legit, aha. They played up how the mill strategy could have been novel: cards that get much more powerful simply because you mill the opponent. Cards like JPhantasm and SNemesis are still alive and well, just much more infrequent than you need to make a whole deck. They still exist in the form of the promo and the guildmage, and the power of those are still to be watched out for... also, they look extremely fun.


Gruul:

The modes of Gruul are how fast you want to beat face: fast, and faster. It's all about curve. Either you win early and often (especially paired with Boros), or you set up in the mid-game and just keep getting more and more huge. Bloodrush is immensely powerful, and the rares in a Gruul PR pack is likely to be an extra game winning superstar. The guild truly looks packed to the brim with power.


Boros:

In draft they certainly can be fast. In Sealed? I would be more worried, it's very unlikely to get a fast pool. If you do, run with it. Otherwise, suit up the big guns. Leave the extra Boros Elites at home and craft an unbeatable battalion. You don't need neat little batallions that help you a little. You either A) need a batallion that's beefy enough to beat through everything they've got turn after turn, or B) wait until your batallion outnumbers them, so they can't stop the win after a couple of brutal combat phases. Assemble the Legion would be auto-win for this strategy.


Simic:

The most peculiar bunch. The difficulty in judging Simic is in how Evolve is hard to predict without experimenting with it (no pun intended). Early on, it feels like every Evolve cards read, "when you play a creature, get a 1/1 counter". But that's not the truth. The truth is that if the deck isn't diverse, I forsee a lot of them only ever getting 1 counter. And hey, some of them pass the vanilla test with a single counter, but you know you want more to be competitive.

Also, people have dreams of 8/8's and 5/5's and such. How are you going to make that happen? To turn a *4 into a *5, you need, well, a *5+. So you need fatties to even hope to gain more fatties. But you don't run a lot of fatties because you have to curve out, fatties are what you have least of. Smaller things are what decks are made of-- 3/1's, 2/2's, 1/3's, etc. Those can't make each other bigger than 5/3 and 3/5, no matter what wishful order you can put them in. Either way, the reality is: Evolve has a cap. Eventually, things stop getting bigger. Simic looks very difficult to build, so pay very close attention to the spread of P/T in your deck. If there's a hole, the whole deck may just bottom out. But if built well, it could make the best decks.
Also, people have dreams of 8/8's and 5/5's and such. How are you going to make that happen?



Catacomb Slug in DGR draft. Doing it.
I really have to think this would be an article worth accepting a late submission from the author in exchange for being able to actually look at the whole set.
I was hoping to go White-Black-Blue or White-Black-Red.  Orzhov alone has access to lots of removal spells: two white (plus you might count the Luminate Primordial), four black (including Death's Approach, subject to abuse by the promo card Treasury Thrull), and two Orzhov (plus High Priest of Penance and Merciless Eviction).

My worry is blocking.  Is even 4-toughness going to be enough?  I don't know if I can hide behind Basilica Guards or Knight of Obligation and fool around with Extort.  Eleven Bloodrush cards say something's going to run over those guys, plus Martial Glory, Simic Charm, and possibly a lowly Burst of Strength.  Add Homing Lightning, Arrows of Justice, and Dimir Charm.  Throw in Rapid Hybridization for kicks.  Then there are three red cards, two Boros cards (plus Boros Reckoner, I suppose), three fight cards, and three other Gruul cards that can also possibly kill 4-toughness creatures.  Maybe I'm just being pessimistic...

Along those lines:

1) Simic - I'm afraid the +1/+1 counters might get as ridiculous as in the Lorwyn/Morningtide block - synergy for trample, flying, and card draw.  You're guaranteed to have a Fathom Mage in your deck.  Having an Ivy Lane Denizen or the Zameck Guildmage is not far-fetched.

2) Boros - I think the only mass-removal is the token-hoser, Illness in the Ranks, and the Merciless Eviction.  There are also Smog Elemental and Gruul Charm that won't affect Soldier tokens.  Amassing a small army to trigger Battalion might not be all that difficult.

3) Dimir - Like the author, I, too, am wondering how soul-crushing Cipher might be.  I want some of that action.  But on the receiving side, being coerced into blocking or being unable to block at all isn't going to be fun.  Well, keep your powder dry, I guess (a flicker spell, four bounce spells - three of them instant-speed - and a slew of removal spells in this set).
This article is of no interest for people who haven't been sleeping under a rock the entire spoiler season. Orzhov is defensive and grindy while Dimir has evasion/Cipher and *gasp* a mill subtheme? Who'd have thunk.

This is the most "meh" article I have ever read, lol.

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