Guilds of Ravnica Dimir Guild Kit…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

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I picked this up at my favorite comic book and games store, The Tangled Web in Spartanburg, SC.  The Tangled Web is the only non-big-box store where you can buy stuff like this in Spartanburg.

Some of the story about this product.  In case you didn’t know, there are five colors of Magic.  On Ravnica, a sprawling city world, there are ten different “guilds” that make up the society.  These translate into two colors for each guild.  So Dimir is one of those guilds, and happens to be Blue and Black.  The Dimir guild is made up of assassins, mobsters, ninja-types, and generally unsavory, seedy people.  In MTG, Blue is the color of drawing cards and control decks.  Black is the color of the evil stuff like zombies and demons and vampires…general horror…including killing things.  So the Dimir guild should be multi-talented at winning you games.

The box is adorned with the Dimir Signet…a spidery symbol.  the back of the box has some very general information, and features the two cards with new art treatment, and a picture of the new Dimir Swamp basic land.

Lets dig in and see what is in the box!

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Once you remove the box, you see this double blister package.  Opening that, you can remove the contents.

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You get…(from left to right)…a “pamplet” about the Dimir guild and decklist, a Dimir themed deckbox, a Dimir themed life counter dice, a nice Dimir pin, a Dimir sticker, the deck, and the premium foil Etrata, the Silencer with alternate art.  (the same on display at the front of the unopened box).

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The Dimir booklet features mostly flavor.  You would have to decode that in order to understand it.  Perfect for a group of spies!  Here is the decklist.  If you read my other MTG reviews, you know I care very much that they include this specific item.  Sure, you can find the contents on the web.  But your collection doesn’t seem complete without a decklist.  Furthermore, it can be handy to have when you organize your stuff.  (The SpartanNerd is anal about keeping his stuff organized.)

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The other side of that features Murko Vosk.  He is a particularly potent vampire.

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I’d like to talk about this deckbox a little bit.  It is just flimsy cardboard.  But thankfully they made it big enough to accomodate sleeved cards.  This is a huge improvement only added fairly recently.  I think the first deck they did that with was the Mind vs. Might Duel Deck, which also used the deckbox formation of the Planechase Anthology.  The lid features a little recess where you can open it easily.  One thing that is different is that this box stands upright.  But that is positive, because people will be collecting these and building “battle boxes,” a sort of Cube where you make these guild kits into duel decks for casual play.

They have made a more solid plastic deckbox for each of the Guilds of Ravnica decks.  But purchasing that is just extra bling for the player who is into that.  This deckbox is perfectly fine!

Lets have a good look at Etrata.

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She can’t be blocked.  You have to shuffle her into your library when she deals combat damage.  On damage, she removes target creature, and the player gets a hit counter.  Three hit counters, and that player loses the game.

This is a great and powerful card.  It hasn’t quite made it in Standard or Modern yet for competitive purposes.  It is very powerful with Helm of the Host, which makes a non-legendary copy that has haste.  Which basically means the turn afterward, if the player has a board presence, then they lose the game if they can’t remove Etrata.

But this deck only has one of this card…really only one of each card in general.  (there are a couple of exceptions.) . And Helm of the Host is from Dominaria, so it isn’t here!

So what’s in the deck.  Here a pictures of the cards, and I am going to point out the most significant cards.  First of all, most of the rares.

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Nightveil Specter is a personal favorite of mine.  I took my first top-8 playing Mono-Black devotion back in Return to Ravnica/Theros block, and this card was a key piece.

Lazaav, the Mastermind is one of SpartanKid’s favorites.  Making him a copy of something nasty is always a hit.

Consuming Aberration.  This is a great card in mill strategies.

Mission Briefing.  This is a new card…a Snapcaster Mage spell that lets you Surveil.  (Surveil is like Scry, but you can keep the cards on top of the deck or send them to the graveyard. where they are more useful or at least out of your way.)

The other legendaries are also pretty scary.  Szazadek, Lord of Secrets gets really big.  Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker makes your opponent mill cards from the top of their library everytime he hits them.

Next up, Tokens.  Double Sided.  (YES!)

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The same flpped over…

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These horror tokens are for Call of the Nightwing, a pretty cool card that creates flying blockers.

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This was the biggest, coolest surprise.  Special Dimir flavored basic Islands and Swamps!  These are fetching a decent price after-market, and are expected to go up!

The Dimir Guildgate sucks.  Dimir Aquaduct…some people love it and some people dislike it.  The Wizards could have given us four copies of Dimir flavored Watery Grave…

Next some creatures

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The best of these is either the Dimir Guildmage or the Moroii.  Dinrova Horror was a hit with Modern Masters Draft.  True story.  I kept looking for this card and was at pack three.  I opened a foil Damnation, which happened to have Dinrova Horror as well.  So I took the foil card.  And then someone killed me with Dinrova Horror.  Good times!

Here are the spells.

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I mean, you might want to Dredge…The deck wants some graveyard.  Surveil is nice…Notion Rain is sort of like Sign in Blood with Surveil attached.  Call of the Nightwing…Syncopate…This is all pretty useful stuff.  And is on flavor with Dimir.  The Dimir Charm…the charms were all pretty good cards.  Dimir Signet.  The Signets are one of the best “mana rocks” the Wizards ever printed.

Playing the Deck

This deck has a little bit of trouble deciding what it wants to do.  I really believe  it wants to mill the opponent.  You are stealing their stuff with Nightveil Specter.  You are getting big stuff like Consuming Aberration and Szasedek.  So it has control . It has evasion.  It has big beaters.  It likes the graveyard.  It wants to mill out your opponent.

That’s a lot of wants.

And yet, at the SpartanNerd house, it has mostly wins.  It beat the Jace (vs. Chandra) duel deck.  It beat the Journey Into Nyx and Face the Hydra challenge decks.  It beat the Second Sun Control deck.  Yet it lost to the Galgori Guild Kit deck.  (A review of that coming later.)

So it has been tested some.  If I have a complaint, it is that bouncelands and guildgates are terrible together.  Your guildgate enters tapped.  Your bounceland makes you return a land to your hand.  If your opening hand has a Dimir Aqueduct and a Dimir Guildgate in it, you might just consider mulliganning.  Because sprirtually, you have no lands.

SpartanNerd’s Rating

Strengths of the deck.  It is a good casual deck.  Lots of flavor.  A good deckbox.  Double sided tokens.  Interesting Guild Kit lands.  A collection of Dimir legendaries, each of which you can use to make a commander deck.

Weaknesses.  This deck can be inconsistent.  And the mana base is really slow.  I’d venture that this deck could stand up in a Modern tournament…if you swapped the Dimir Aqueducts and the Dimir Guildgates for fetches and shocks.  It still would need some more control elements, or mill elements.  Or graveyard elements….you see what I mean.  It is lacking in identity as far as strategy.

So, the SpartanNerd rates the Guilds of Ravnica Dimir Guild Kit a 4 of 5.  If the other guild kits are built the same way, they will make a great balanced Battle Box.  And like I said…it could be fitted for Modern.  (It might not be competitive, but it could work for an FNM.)

Do you agree or disagree, Hub City Geeks?  Leave me a comment of message.  I am writing this review as a part of my decision to return to writing review articles (or not.) . Feedback, please!!!!

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