Guildmages!

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No, we are not ranking them... But I am forking from another thread:

+1 Duskmantle Guildmages (as a general rule, always play as many guildmages as your draft) 



I love these cards BUT I never ever seem to have a board where I can use their abilities profitably... it seems like their best use in this format is as a finisher in aggro decks (when you have a bunch of 2/3 drops down around turn 5/6).


rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
Is this a question?

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

Question:  Am I unlucky, or stupid?  Or do folks see the guildmages as bears then maybe happen to do something useful in the mid-late game as a bonus.
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
Duskmantle is probably the worst of the 10 guildmages, unless I'm missing something.

Aw shucks let's rank 'em!

1 Vitu-ghazi - one man army maker not very reliant on other cards to be the scariest card on the field. Obviously better when there's already a token in play but I think it's still the best, further evidenced by the fact that it's splashable, pushing its rating to 4.5.

2 Sunhome - another one-man army maker

3 New prahv - gives reach to the azorius tempo / evade plan

4 Rix maadi - rakdos is so much scarier with this on the table but this one is more dependent on other cards than some GM's are

5 Skarrg - keeps the beats coming but I think he suffers a bit from this being such a fast, tempo based format

6 Khorozda - very good abilities but does depend on other cards to be good and sometimes feels expensive especially when scavenge is also expensive and finally the guild was overall a bit weak

7 Vizkopa - I want to like this one but it often doesn't seem to have much impact. Maybe I'm underrating this one, but which of the above does it beat out?

8 the izzet one - those times when you copied a removal spell were epic, but how often were you able to? Looting is okay but I never had much success with this guy - or his guild

9 Zameck - I don't know where to put this guy and he landed at #9 sort of by default, last spot left. I've been super unimpressed with this guy, both in evolve simic and out. However, I lack experience both with and vs him. Maybe he can climb in the ranks after I see him in action more.

10 duskmantle - mana costs feel expensive for small effects and he has no effect on board state beyond his 2/2 body, though I guess some argument could be made for "turning on" wight and death's approach, but there are other great cards (spectacle, balustrade) that also do it
I have never played with the RTR dudes.
I like Zameck better than Vizkopa.  (unless you smuggle in an exquisite blood for hilarity).  But maybe that's because I like +1/+1 counters more than gaining life.

The army makers are sick but so is sitting there around turn 7 (or 5) with unspent mana to get a 3/3 (or a 1/1)...  just to bring it on track for OP.  
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
I'd put Khorozda higher than Rix-Maadi. People hated Golgari enough for intimidate to equal unblockable.

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

That list seems off by quite a bit. Let me fix it:

Tier 1
Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage - Left unchecked it can completely take over a game.
Korozda Guildmage - Both abilities could be killer in the right situations. Either pushing through damage, or an endless stream of tokens.
Rix Maadi Guildmage - This fit the Rhakdos game plan perfectly. Just the threat of -1/-1s was enough to push through damage. Then you got to deal additional damage, or play out more creatures.
Skarrg Guildmage - Once you get past the point where you need more lands, a 4/4 every turn is killer. If you already have a stacked side, trample ensures your opponent can't chump block it.
Sunhome Guildmage - Fits the Boros gameplan well, but also requires you to be more methodical than is helpful for Boros
New Prahv Guildmage - Generally underwhelming, since most of Azorius is low power, but an alpha-strike is an alpha-strike, and the arrest ability was great in the late-game.

Tier 2
Zameck Guildmage - Removing counters, to draw creatures, to revolve creatures is a solid plan in any solidly Simic deck.
Nivix Guildmage - Paying to loot isn't terrible if the game stalls, and the few times you had a valid target for the copy ability was epic.
Vizkopa Guildmage - The two abilities work well together, but you still need a lot of mana to make it work. If you have something that already has lifelink, the damage ability on lifegain can be activated multiple times.
Duskmantle Guildmage - There had to be a worst guildmage, and this one is it. It needs a ton of mana to even compete with the other 9.
I'm gonna have to agree with silentbobus on this one, except I think Skarrg beats Rix Maadi.
I neglected to point out that I thought ranks 2-6 were very close to each other, so really I think our two lists are quite similar.
Don't know about the rankings, but I don't think I've had a chance to play ANY of these guys in GTC... maybe the Sunhome, but that's it.  I felt like the guildmages were way easier to come by in draft in RTR than in GTC.

I think Izzet GM has to be worse than Dimir, but not sure.
Don't know about the rankings, but I don't think I've had a chance to play ANY of these guys in GTC... maybe the Sunhome, but that's it.  I felt like the guildmages were way easier to come by in draft in RTR than in GTC.

I think Izzet GM has to be worse than Dimir, but not sure.



This is pretty interesting. I've played all the GM's at this point, some only a little though. They don't seem to impact the game like the RTR ones did. I think part of it is that this format seems more wham-bang fast, and the mana activations are too much of a luxury. Take vizkopa. There have been a couple games where it took the game over in late-game situation with lots of mana and you're in topdeck mode, but before that it just doesn't do much.
1.Vitu-Ghazi

2.Rix Maadi (one and two are actually close for me. This card has won me more games than Vitu even though I played Selesnya more.)

3.Sunhome (This card seems to put the Boros player over the tipping point whenever I see it played.)

4.Korozda (Very good, but often for me the Intimidate wasn't useful.)

5. New Prav (Maybe underrated, once you get the Detain online you really take over a game, God forbid you get to ten mana!)

6. Skarrg (Maybe I'm underrating him although I quite like him.)

7.Vizkopa (being underrated here pretty hard. She's very good and will see more popularity once more people play with her.)

8.Zameck

9.Nivix

10.Duskmantle (I've only used him once and he did help me win a game.)
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
Freely acknowledging I'm at odds with many here on some choices:

1.  Vitu-Ghazi.  Bloody Vitu-Ghazi.  One of the only truly first pickable almost always Guildmages, and pickable over a number of rare bombs in the set.  One man army here, and a damn effective one at that.

2.  Rix Maadi.  Nearly on the same level as Vitu, though not quite.  This thing is fairly cheap removal, bleed, combat trick, and a bear all rolled into one.  Reason I have it below is that Vitu was always board-state alterring if it hit the board.  Rix is just an efficient means of getting there, and although gamestate alterring he simply doesnt take over the board as well as Vitu.

3.  Skaarg.  Trample for all for cheap is extremely nice and makes combat a pain.  Have a 4/4 attack turn 4 is also extremely nice, as well as giving you blockers that can block most relevant fast game critters.  He doesn't severely alter the board-state nearly as much as Vitu or Rix, but he does lay the beats and eeks out that extra bit of damage you need.
 
4.  Korozda.  The option for evasion was always very nice, and the second ability really made removal a risky affair.  Not nearly game changing in the format as the above, but still very good to have around and scavenge made the second ability down-right mean at times.
 
5.  Sunhome.  This is the one I disagree with most on.  I've never actually seen it take hold of the game and rangle its dead or dying body like I have with any of the above.  Its first ability is nice to have around, and can eek out the damage.  The second ability, however, I've never actually seen to great effect.  Its expensive, produces a fragile body, and doesn't really do much for you.  That 1/1 isn't going to save you if you need it to, and I have yet to see it actually win the game more quickly.  Still, I've seen the first ability used to decent effect and at the least its a mana dump with a board improving ability.  Just not one that is particularly useful or game-changing like many of the above.

6.  New Prahv.  At first I thought this one would be the strongest.  Evasion+Detain?  Awesomesauce.  It's good, quite good at that.  Problem is, Azorius had plenty of flyers open to it already, and most decks utilized this fact.  Which made the first ability marginally useful for the few creatures without flying you would have.  The second ability is the real meat, however due to the cost (A necessary cost) it meant that you ran the risk of putting yourself between playing a creature (Or bomb), or stalling one of their creatures while they build up a better board presence.  Still, it is useful particularly if the game goes on longer.  I just found that the second ability was prohibitively expensive at times, and it despite appearances just couldnt' take over the game very well.  If it does take over the game, it's hard.  Just that you need to get to that point first.

7.  Zameck.  I quite like Zameck, really, and I think its criminally underrated.  Its major problem is that it doesn't play nicely with the stronger Simic gameplan much.  It function best as a mid to late game drop rather than early drop.  Its abilities are both very nice for mid game shenanigans, as it leads to ridiculous card draw engines.  It also makes that normally late game evolver dead draws gain some extra mileage.   It just doesn't have the ability to drastically alter board position.

8.  Nivix.  I actually like this one a lot, and although it doesn't have game-alterring abilities in the same sense of any of the above still is quite useful.  Digging into your deck in the mid-late game can give you a huge advantage, and the copy ability is also quite nice at times.  Still, narrow and less useful than the rest. 

9.  Vizkopa.  I've never seen it do more than get a few points of life gain/loss at best.  It has potential, but it's awkward and clunky potential to try and work with.

10.  Duskmantle.  My favorite guildmage.  Though still it's not particularly good.  The first ability is actually useful if you leave mana open, and the second ability is decent to have around.  It falters, however, with Vizkopa's clunkiness in using its abilities to strong effect.  I still like it, it just not as useful as any of the others.

That said, I would still very gladly include any of the guildmages in any draft where I could run them.  They are all very useful, and still quite powerful in their own right.  Even duskmantle is a very strong card to have around in your deck.  So just because its the least of the guildmages doesn't mean it's bad at all.  Its still quite good.  Just not as so as the others.
Don't know about the rankings, but I don't think I've had a chance to play ANY of these guys in GTC... maybe the Sunhome, but that's it.  I felt like the guildmages were way easier to come by in draft in RTR than in GTC.

I think Izzet GM has to be worse than Dimir, but not sure.



This is pretty interesting. I've played all the GM's at this point, some only a little though. They don't seem to impact the game like the RTR ones did. I think part of it is that this format seems more wham-bang fast, and the mana activations are too much of a luxury. Take vizkopa. There have been a couple games where it took the game over in late-game situation with lots of mana and you're in topdeck mode, but before that it just doesn't do much.



I'm still not overly certain that GTC is such a hyper-aggressive format as some make it out to be, but I do agree to a point.  I've seen all of the guildmages wheel pretty late, much later than any would in RTR (Except Nivix, perhaps, and even that was snagged fairly early).  That said, the one I've seen used most often is Skaarg, as it does work wonders in or against more aggressive builds.  Sunhome I've seen used some, but mainly its first ability for a little extra damage.  The others, it seems, are just not well-like by most and being picked after bafflingly odd choices.  They all are, after all, bears at worst and in the format I will still pick them early.  I think people are giving to much thought to how useful the abilities are and completely forgetting how useful a 2/2 for 2 actually is.
I neglected to point out that I thought ranks 2-6 were very close to each other, so really I think our two lists are quite similar.



It does appear that everyone ranking them put Vitu first, Duskmantle last, and had the same Tiers 1 and 2 (if you make tier 1 the first 6 and tier 2 the last 4)

Freely acknowledging I'm at odds with many here on some choices

Not particularly at odds with mine, I just put Korozda 2 spots higher. Perhaps the Intimidate +1/+1 ability worked better in my games than it did in yours. I remember a lot of games where it was the #1 must kill creature on whichever side it was on.


Not particularly at odds with mine, I just put Korozda 2 spots higher. Perhaps the Intimidate +1/+1 ability worked better in my games than it did in yours. I remember a lot of games where it was the #1 must kill creature on whichever side it was on.



I just noticed that.  I would like to say that 1-4 are all extremely strong, it's just how I've seen them work and the effect they had on the game once they came out.  Korozda was always strong when on the board, and a threat you absolutely needed to answer sooner over later, just that its presence wasn't always game-state changing in my experience unlike the other three.  Vitu-Ghazi just devastated most games I saw it in, Rix Maadi could remove many threats on its own for reasonable costs, and Skaarg just lays the beats and makes attacking into you a difficult affair when there arent many creatures that can profitably get through a 4/4 on turn 4+ (Or vice versa).  Really, 1-4 are fairly close with only Vitu being the outshiner of the group. 

The one which  I disagree with most on, however, is Sunhome which although useful for the Boros gameplan also isnt as great as people make it up to be.  It's first ability is nice and all and almost always useful, but its second ability I've just never seen be useful.  If you've burned out enough to consistently be making a 1/1, chances are you are going to get beat down soon by bigger threats.  It's a nice little tack on, and should be used if you have the mana open, just that it doesn't dramatically alter the game at all.  But with the first ability being what it is, it is what you would call "Tier 1".  Just on the lower end of the spectrum than the rest.

That all said, I would like to reiterate that even though there are some clear winners and losers in the guildmage comparison, all of them are still miles and ahead above a great deal of the chaffe in their respected sets.  There is very little reason not to snag an on-color guildmage early to mid pick, even in GTC.  They are, as I said, all bears with fairly decent abilities tacked on.  I've won and lost because of all the guildmages, barring Vizkopa and Duskmantle which I have yet to really see.  Vizkopa I've used once myself, and it was nice enough to help stall the board but ended up being really clunky trying to work its abilities effectively into the gameplan; Duskmantle I haven't really seen.  Only drafted Dimir once so far (As Orzhov is one of the more popular archetypes now that most have jumped on board the bandwagon and it snags the great black removal, and anything worthwhile in black).  Still, I can't see myself passing Duskmantle for, say, Shadow Slice which I have seen happen and baffles me to no end.

Basically, I would prioritize most every on-color guildmage with few exceptions (Cloudfin/Experiment over Zameck, and possible Truefire/Halbierders over Sunhome, etc).  The top 4 of my list would likely be #1 priorities if in color, and very likely to be first picked by me unless a truely bomby card were present.
New Prahv in an Gatecrash/DMZ esper/cipher deck?  Flying rats, wights, soliders and... fenciing aces.   
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
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