Top 10 RtR & GC Cards for DMZ

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The prerelease is less than a month away! So, as a Chaotic-Good-aligned-Type-A player, I want to start generating a list of the "top" cards to look out for in the pre-release and release events. Here's something I threw together to start the discussion:

10. The Exes (Slime Molding, Nimbus Swimmer, Miming Slime)

Being able to put out hunky tokens in a format that has populate is just rude. The color requirements make it difficult, but it's an incredibly viable strategy if you can make it work.

9. Cloudfin Raptor

I think DMZ will be where Simic really shines, and this lil' guy will be an auto-include if you get him in multiples.

8. Way of the Thief

Ouch, right? There won't be many decks that don't want to run this.

7. Crowned Ceratok and Sapphire Drake

These are almost like Simic generals, but more relevant as they come with great bodies and provide tier-one abilities.

6. Skaarg Guildmage

In a slow format, generating 4/4 creatures is, uh, killer.

5. Fixing (Verdant Haven, Axebane Guardian, Greenside Watcher, Prophetic Prism, the Keyrunes, the guildgates)

Do I need to explain? I feel like the beginning of the format will be people snatching up as many playables as possible, then getting screwed by stretching their colors too thin and losing to the people who prioritized fixing first.

4. Assemble the Legion

Maybe a little difficult to cast, but in a pre-release format that's spreading colors thin I don't see it being unreasonable to being able to cast this and reap the rewards.

3. Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage

Will continue to dominate...

2. Stab Wound

Mono-colored and efficient removal that will wittle your opponent down. Sign me up.

1. Pack Rat

This card will continue to be insane, especially in what I'm assuming will be a moderately slower environment.

EDIT: Rathyr kept it real.

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

Pack Rat / Ogre Slumlord for the winmoar combo.

I was messing around with a Izzet deck last night and realized there are some nice synergies with cipher/guttersnipe .. .with electromancer to cheapen stuff like shadow slice.  


rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
So one card that was only reasonably good in RTR, but will be absolutely insane is Corpsejack Menance.

I build a block-constructed deck with evolve and scavenge and he is easily the best card in the deck. Double evolves anything upon entering the battlefield and keeps on giving...
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While Pack Rat will still be a very strong card there are many more answers for it now that we are combining gatecrash and then whatever is added in Dragon's Maze.

It's no longer broken, IMO.
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
While Pack Rat will still be a very strong card there are many more answers for it now that we are combining gatecrash and then whatever is added in Dragon's Maze.

It's no longer broken, IMO.



Really? I'd only think it was no longer broken if we had access to a bunch of cheap and playable removal at common. Devour Flesh and Mugging are there, I suppose, but I don't know if that's enough to "un-break" it.

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

So one card that was only reasonably good in RTR, but will be absolutely insane is Corpsejack Menance.

I build a block-constructed deck with evolve and scavenge and he is easily the best card in the deck. Double evolves anything upon entering the battlefield and keeps on giving...



Yeah, there's going to be a nasty BUG deck with Corpsejack, Ooze Flux, and scavenge+evolve out there at least a coupoe of times. What's crazy is they all have on-curve playables that flesh out your end-game too. Granted, rarity will prevent this from happening a lot, but it'll be brutal when it does.

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

I vs'd an RTR constructed golgari deck with these. He had 2 corpesjacks in play and scavenged a deadbridge goliath onto his lothlet troll, giving it +20/+20. Selesnya charm to the rescue!
While Pack Rat will still be a very strong card there are many more answers for it now that we are combining gatecrash and then whatever is added in Dragon's Maze.

It's no longer broken, IMO.



Really? I'd only think it was no longer broken if we had access to a bunch of cheap and playable removal at common. Devour Flesh and Mugging are there, I suppose, but I don't know if that's enough to "un-break" it.


Homing Lightning
While Pack Rat will still be a very strong card there are many more answers for it now that we are combining gatecrash and then whatever is added in Dragon's Maze.

It's no longer broken, IMO.



Really? I'd only think it was no longer broken if we had access to a bunch of cheap and playable removal at common. Devour Flesh and Mugging are there, I suppose, but I don't know if that's enough to "un-break" it.


Homing Lightning



It's uncommon and prohibitively costed for most guilds.

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

I vs'd an RTR constructed golgari deck with these. He had 2 corpesjacks in play and scavenged a deadbridge goliath onto his lothlet troll, giving it +20/+20. Selesnya charm to the rescue!



Yeah selesnya charm can be a problem, aswell as decking youself!

Needs more trample.

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

Needs more trample.



Lol, true . The game still went on for several minutes because he played a couple of lotleth trolls and could regen with his experiment ones.
Seriously though, if this happens a lot a miser's Essence Harvest might be worth considering.

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

Yeah it doesn't happen that much, and it's block constructed so... but i was thinking of trying to make it into a standard deck and essence harvest sounds like a really good idea.
Trying to think of something hilarious to do with the 96 {G} on Gyre Sage... if you could make it 1/2 blue you could draw quite a few cards from Zameck Guildmage
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
Trying to think of something hilarious to do with the 96 {G} on Gyre Sage... if you could make it 1/2 blue you could draw quite a few cards from Zameck Guildmage



Mind Grind for 96 would be a certain level of hilarity. 
It really depends on how fast Dragon's Maze allows us to be. I can imagine Boros still being insane, especially when they get Azorius Arrester and Gore-house Chainwalker. Both Unleash and Detain seem insane for Boros.

On the other hand it might be possible that the format slows down enough for Dimir to really shine, maybe together with Azorius or Izzet.

I'm cautious as to what is going to be possible but I'm hoping the format slows down enough to make the five color control decks possible (Verdant Haven is one of my favorite cards from Gratecrash but it hardly has a home right now).
Nimbus Swimmer isnt a token, BTW.
Nimbus Swimmer isnt a token, BTW.



Derp. Thx.

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

I'm thinking Wild Beastmaster would be a perfect rare to get a lot of the time, considering the variety of Boros and Simic power buffs (+1/+1 counters or combat tricks) that Gatecrash had...and that's not including, of course, the ever-present bloodrush. RtR had a few green combat tricks, but not nearly the variety or frequency of GTC. And with the case of Boros/Gruul/Selesnya colors, all three guilds tend to put a lot of creatures down on the field...

Yeah...I really hope I get to build with a Wild Beastmaster in one of the prerelease sealed events.
Came for the flavor, stayed for the game. (10/4/2013: Discovered that I suppose I most closely resemble a Vorthos player, right after my odd obsession with making hyper-budget but effective decks and right before being a Johnny)
I had thought this would be about the existing Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash cards that would get better in Dragon's Maze. Pack Rat and Stab Wound were already as solid in RtR as they're going to get. But let's see now, cards in RtR that will get better.

Aetherize makes populate cry 
Balustrade Spy could power scavenge 
Crowned Ceratok makes unleash pretty brutal
Dinrova Horror punishes populate 
Drakewing Krasis looks like a good target for Scavenge
Gruul Charm is killer against Azorius
Hellraiser Goblin seems more at home in Rakdos
Ivy Lane Denizen will make populate more powerful  
Massive Raid digs populate
Miming Slime digs populate
Mugging gets better Guildmages to kill
Prophetic Prism gets better, with a slower game and more 3-color decks
Riot Gear also likes a slower game 
Sapphire Drake in Rakdos just seems mean
Simic Charm kills a populate token 
Smog Elemental is killer against Azorius
Urbis Protector gets better with populate
Voidwalk can only get better, right? Could be fun with Armada Wurm or your opponent's tokens
Court Street Denizen is pretty sweet with white tokens too, is my guess.
Preparing for the M14 Prerelease - New article up! IN THE TANK - my very own blog for rambling about Magic!
I've mentioned this in some other threads, but Electrickery  is much stronger with Gatecrash cards in play than it was in RtR drafts, and who knows how many 1 toughness creatures there are in Dragon's Maze.  
Selesnya will be significantly weaker against blue, there is so much token hate in Gatecrash!

Voidwalk is good removal
Aetherize goes from very good to bomb!
Totally Lost
Simic Charm
Illness in the ranks Bird tokens beware!
Legion Loyalist
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
essence backlash bring it on, high power/t creeps

syncopate, cancel, doorkeeper dimir agent's best friends

pack rat with an experiment one or cloudfin raptor means evolve every pack rat made

ultimate price, avenging arrow, stab wound, launch party orzhov is happy

dispel cause why not?

electrickery, rakdos charm, golgari charm, izzet staticaster for those poor 1/1 soldier tokens

cobblebrute, racecourse fury boros' good friends. detain, boros' worst enemy. 

golgari decoy is good with gruul, scorchwalker is beautiful with izzet and who needs a boros keyrune when you have fencing ace to bloodrush this on? Oak street innkeeper is a good sideboard against orzhov/dimir.

sky games makes azorius and izzet very happy (who wouldn't love a flying cobblebrute?)

hurray for street spasm at uncommon! +1/+1 lords will help rakdos if they're willing to splash a colour.

Guardian of the gateless, lol.

Giant growth + ghor clan rampager + scorchwalker + savage surge...

search the city... wait, what am I saying? That thing's never gonna get played.

 
I'm thinking Wild Beastmaster would be a perfect rare to get a lot of the time, considering the variety of Boros and Simic power buffs (+1/+1 counters or combat tricks) that Gatecrash had...and that's not including, of course, the ever-present bloodrush. RtR had a few green combat tricks, but not nearly the variety or frequency of GTC. And with the case of Boros/Gruul/Selesnya colors, all three guilds tend to put a lot of creatures down on the field...

Yeah...I really hope I get to build with a Wild Beastmaster in one of the prerelease sealed events.



Actually, I'm mostly certain Bloodrush doesn't interact the way you think it does with Beastmaster.  Since you can only Bloodrush an attacking creature, and the Beastmaster trigger occurs on the attack, I don't think there is really anyway to make it work barring using Aurelia.

At least as far as I could see.  Could be wrong.
Actually it does work. Once you attack with the beastmaster its triggered ability goes on the stack. The actual power is only checked on resolution of the ability.

So, with the ability on the stack you can use the bloodrush on the attacking beastmaster and raise its power before its triggered ability resolves.

Remeber it. The stack is your friend
Actually it does work. Once you attack with the beastmaster its triggered ability goes on the stack. The actual power is only checked on resolution of the ability.

So, with the ability on the stack you can use the bloodrush on the attacking beastmaster and raise its power before its triggered ability resolves.

Remeber it. The stack is your friend



Wow that's nasty. Playing a T1 into a T2 into a Beaster T3 into a bloodrush swine T4 is a swing for at least 21.

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

Actually it does work. Once you attack with the beastmaster its triggered ability goes on the stack. The actual power is only checked on resolution of the ability.

So, with the ability on the stack you can use the bloodrush on the attacking beastmaster and raise its power before its triggered ability resolves.

Remeber it. The stack is your friend



Aha, I wasn't thinking there and forgot that it checks the power after resolution.  I was under the impression it checks it on trigger.

I'm not as rules savvy as some, particularly when it comes to triggered abilities and when they check for what-not and resolution. 
Actually it does work. Once you attack with the beastmaster its triggered ability goes on the stack. The actual power is only checked on resolution of the ability.

So, with the ability on the stack you can use the bloodrush on the attacking beastmaster and raise its power before its triggered ability resolves.

Remeber it. The stack is your friend



Aha, I wasn't thinking there and forgot that it checks the power after resolution.  I was under the impression it checks it on trigger.

I'm not as rules savvy as some, particularly when it comes to triggered abilities and when they check for what-not and resolution. 
Another thing to note is that if the Beastmaster is removed after the trigger is already on the stack, it uses the last known Beastmaster power. I had to look that up during a game once, I had thought it would just use 0:

"The value of X is determined when the triggered ability resolves. If Wild Beastmaster is no longer on the battlefield at that time, use its last known power to determine the value of X. This could be bad for you if Wild Beastmaster’s power was negative. For example, if Wild Beastmaster’s power is -4, each other creature you control will get -4/-4 until end of turn."
One thing, OP suggests that early on people will not get enough fixing and grab too many playables, I expect the opposite to happen.  I think people will over-estimate how much fixing they need.

Could be wrong.
One thing, OP suggests that early on people will not get enough fixing and grab too many playables, I expect the opposite to happen.  I think people will over-estimate how much fixing they need.

Could be wrong.



More like Definitely wrong!

One thing, OP suggests that early on people will not get enough fixing and grab too many playables, I expect the opposite to happen.  I think people will over-estimate how much fixing they need.

Could be wrong.



More like Definitely wrong!




How do you know?

Based on what?
I agree with yankem
It's still gonna be a 2-color format, 3rd color will be a splash, maybe a heavier splash but still a splash not requiring massive fixing
I'm basing my analysis on the fact that there'll only be 8 packs per set from the block. 8 packs of RtR can't support enough guilds for every player at table, and RtR doesn't mesh so well with GC that you can build upon those packs to continue in-color with the same guild.

Obviously DMZ will determine how we construct decks so this is all speculation. But at the moment I don't see 2-color decks being a thing. I hope I'm wrong. Also, a "heavy splash" is a three-color deck ;)

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

I don't see how this is going to end up a 2-color format. Playing 3 colors opens you up to picking cards from 3 different colors and 3 different guilds. 2-color means 2 and 1.
But if the format stays aggressive then 2-color aggressive decks will punish the 3-color decks playing gates. It depends on what DGM looks like I guess. If it has aggressive cards then the format will be aggressive and favor 2-colors with light splash. With all 10 guilds available, there will be a higher chance that you get good playables in your guild.

If DGM doesn't look aggressive then 3-color decks will be better.

Just my speculation. It could go either way I think, depends on the aggressiveness of DGM.
It's those guild champions that make me feel like people will push into 3 or 4 colors. They're simple rares, so there's a good chance people will have one or two and will force colors to play them bc, if they're anything like the Gruul champion, they're insanely good.

I'm not saying it's just the champions, but if there are strong guilld-specific cards in DMZ similar to the championds, it's going to make people want to force people to play 2, maybe 3 guilds, anchored by one color or on guild. Selesnya into Gruul with a Golgari splash, for example, seems entirely playable.

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

One potential strategy is to lean toward 2-color decks, and I will likely do that.  You could settle on a guild sometime during the DMZ pack.  Then you can take the guild cards for that particular guild during whichever pack that is.  On the off-pack, you focus on mono-colored cards.  This is similar to BDM's strategy for drafting Boros during Triple RTR.  I think it's viable and will likely punish the multi-color decks.  Without knowing what's in DMZ, though, I can't say for sure. 

I think the thought of this strategy because I tend to prioritize consistency over power-level.  It may not work.  Don't know yet.

It could also be the case that there is no way around playing 3-5 color decks.  Don't know.

I just think it's silly to say someone is "definitely wrong" when we don't have much information just yet.