Gatecrash tips: Playing to your Weaknesses – Multicolor
I need to start off by saying I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to get this article posted by the time of the pre-release. Hopefully you’ll still be able to find it useful for drafting and playing sealed events in the future. There will undoubtedly be a few Gatecrash sealed Grand Prix this year, and this information should still be useful to you. On the positive side, with 3 Pre-release events under my belt already (I played Simic, Orzhov, and Dimir), I feel like I have a better understanding of the cards and can give better advice. We have A LOT of cards to go through for multicolor, so let’s get started.
I didn’t see too much of this card at the pre-release events, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an amazing card if you’re running Boros. Since limited tournaments focus mainly on creatures, you’re going to be attacking a lot. The third and second abilities on this card are probably the best when you’re playing an aggressive Boros or Naya deck, but the first one is also really good at finishing your opponent if attacking isn’t an option. If I was running Boros in limited, I’d probably take this card very early, maybe one of the first 3 cards. It’s an easier decision to make when you’re playing sealed, but you could get screwed out of your colors in a draft so be careful. Make sure you pay attention to what colors are coming back around to guess what the other players are using.
Dimir Charm is another good charm if you’re playing control. A lot of Orzhov players will splash a little blue in there for a few counterspells so Dimir Charm could fit in there, but for the most part it will be stuck in a Dimir deck. It only counters sorceries which won’t help you too much in limited and standard, but the 3rd ability is either a mill effect on your opponent for two cards or a filter for you to get rid of lands or cards you don’t need so you draw a good card next turn. The 2nd ability will probably see a lot of play, but it will be pretty worthless against Gruul and Simic after the first few turns when the creatures get bigger and bigger. It’s best against other control decks. Drafting this? Hmm, well if you’re in Dimir then yeah you should take it, but if you’re thinking of splashing it in there are much better counterspells out there. In Sealed I’d probably have it in my deck, but it would be like the 20th card or so and get cut easily when siding out.
I had a chance to play Simic at the pre-release and this card was great. It usually activated other Evolve triggers on turn 3, and it was amazing with my Master Biomancer which put 2 +1/+1 counters on it and killed everything else in the air. I think it can be safe to say that if you’re playing Simic or RUG with some Bloodrush in there, this card would really work well. If you’re playing Dimir and splashing green it would probably be okay too. It has both flying and trample and if you have ways to boost its power you can destroy your opponent with it. Top 10 pick in Simic/RUG decks, definitely top 10 in a sealed Simic deck as well.
This was another creature I got my hands on during the pre-release and I REALLY like him. On average I could get him up to a 3/7 unblockable creature, and he played both defense and offense for me in my Simic deck. This would definitely be a top pick if you’re playing Simic because he’s hard to kill without a removal spell, and since he’s unblockable he’ll put your opponent on the clock. Just make sure you can keep adding counters to him! Great if you combo him with Simic Fluxmage or Forced Adaptation. Definitely recommended.
There weren’t many Gruul players at the pre-release, but a few people were playing Naya. This card would work well in either. If you’re splashing green in a Boros battalion deck, his ability is great, especially if you have first strike. If you’re playing Gruul, he’s also pretty good . A 4/4 trampler on turn 4 will probably be the biggest creature on the field in most cases, giving you the upper hand against slower decks. If you can swing RUG it also works well as an Evolve trigger. If I was drafting Gruul he’d be one of my top 10 picks, but in the other colors such as Naya and RUG I’d probably pass on it until later on in the draft until after I decided what colors I’m splashing.
This is a GREAT card in limited. Lifelink, flying, and +1/+1? Sign me up. You can play it in an Orzhov, Dimir, Naya, Boros, and Esper deck easily, which gives it’s a lot of functionality. It’s great for those decks such as Boros that don’t have a lot of lifegain but more importantly for the flying. I’d probably take this as one of my first picks in a draft, and it would definitely be part of my sealed deck as well.
There isn’t a whole lot of burn in Gatecrash that you can direct at creatures, so this is a good card to have in both Gruul, RUG, and Naya. If you’re playing any of those I’d put this in there as one of my 23 cards, and if your draft pool looks like it’s falling into any of those I’d take it as well. Just remember that creatures come first, because if you take too many removal spells you won’t have anything to block with. Two mana is pretty cheap as well.
Gruul Charm is really good in limited. You already know as a Gruul or Naya player that you’re going to be playing bash your face in Magic, which means you’ll be hitting hard, hitting big, and hitting often. While there are a good amount of flyers in blue, outside of Simic match ups that first ability is pretty good. It basically makes your creatures unblockable. I’m not to sure about the 2nd ability, but the third one is also good if you’re facing off against a lot of Cloudfin Raptors, Drakewing Krasis, or the Kingpin’s Pet. I would know because I was running 3 of the Pets in my Orzhov deck at the pre-release and extorting my opponent into oblivion. I would have been screwed if he had this charm. If you’re playing an aggressive deck take this early in draft, but if you’re thinking of more of a slow RUG Evolve deck, this would probably be a later pick for slot 20 in the deck.
I WISH I had one of these at the pre-release. Not only can it come into the battlefield absolutely HUGE and activate all of your creatures’ Evolve, you can also use those counters to draw cards if you have a Zameck Guildmage in play. He also works really well with Keymaster Rogue in that combo. When the rogue enters, your return him then reset all those counters that you used up with Zameck Guildmage. But aside from that combo, a potentially massive flyer in a RUG, Simic, or BUG deck is very welcome. He’s a top 5 pick in Simic, and in the other variations I’d take him in the top 15. Definitely play this in sealed.
If you’re playing Orzhov, the life loss from the 2nd ability is negligible. You’ll gain it back in no time with extort. It’s one of the cheapest removal spells out there and it also gives black and white an unsummon for their own creatures. The last ability is pretty worthless in limited, but probably good for modern and legacy players I’m guessing. This is an automatic pick if you’re playing these colors or even splashing them in another deck like Esper or RBW. Very playable.
I was brave enough to play Dimir in my second tournament and I actually have a lot of fun with it. There are TONS of mill cards, removal, and counterspells in their colors, however, you shouldn’t force it. Not all counters are created equal. For example, the Soul Rupture works best in Simic decks because your creatures will have pretty high powers which will make your counter more powerful. Psychic Strike works best in Dimir or Esper decks, but if you’re not playing a dedicated mill deck the added ability is pretty worthless. If you are, it’s an amazing card, especially if you combo it with Totally Lost on one of their creatures. I’d take it early in a Dimir deck, somewhere later on in an Esper deck, and probably stay away from it in all other decks. Mill is the real deal in Gatecrash limited, but you better go all in if you choose to do it.
Love him. He’s shark lightning in a can! He’s actually . . .not a shark at all. Bummer. Well, in Simic he’s a pretty good 2 drop. If you’re playing Simic you’ll no doubt have quite a few weak creatures initially like Fathom Mage, Cloudfin Raptor, and Experiment One. What’s so great about this guy (and also Merfolk of the Depths) is Flash. I don’t know if I’d play him right away if your opponent thinks they have the upper hand. Sometimes it’s better to flash him in after they’ve attacked and evolve your creatures to kill their attacker. He also has a very low defense so you can bet that he’ll get up to 4/3 on average with the creatures in your deck. He’d work well in a RUG deck too and is great against control decks. Top 10 picks if you’re drafting either of those colors, and would also have a spot in my sealed deck too.
Removal is incredibly important in limited, and that’s what makes Simic Charm so strong. If you’re playing against Boros (Aurelia’s Fury), Gruul (Clan Defiance), or any of the removal spells for Dimir or Orzhov, this charm is going to be your go to guy. Hexproof is great of course, but so is the Unsummon spell (I had my creatures stolen or reanimated constantly). The built in Giant Growth (+3/+3) is also really good both on defense and offense, and if you have a Master Biomancer in play, cast it on him before playing your creatures that turn so they come into play with 5 +1/+1 counters! Definitely a first choice in Simic, also good in RUG and BUG. I’d take it in the top ten.
Flying, haste, 2 damage in the air, plus in a Boros deck it’s a good way to activate Battalion on turn 3. The Legionnaire fits best in Boros, but it also gives Naya evasion which is much needed. Aside from the various Angels Naya and Boros are going to pushing their damage along the ground which can easily get derailed with some well timed removal. The Skynight is a good card and it should be one of your first choices in draft if you’re doing Boros.
While the Guildmage is great at boosting all of your creatures and creating more each turn, I also like Truefire Paladin. He’s a great early drop for 2 mana, and later on he becomes a place to pour mana into . If you need more two drops in your Boros or Naya deck, he’s pretty good. This guy will be better in a Naya deck with big Gruul creatures and bloodrush, but it wouldn’t hurt to have him in a Boros deck either. He’d be an early choice in both draft situations.
I believe my friend described this as a mix between Tidings and Explore, and that sounds about right. Limited tends to be a little slow, so things like card draw are extremely important. In a Simic, BUG, and RUG, playing this on turn 5 could swing the match heavily into your favor. Heck, it’s a good card anytime. If you’re playing Simic or any of those decks, take this card in the top 5 and you won’t be sorry.
The Halberdiers are one of my favorite common/uncommon Battalion Cards. Along with the Skyjek, Boros has some really good two drops. A 3/2 body on a 2 mana card is really good. With so many great cards at 2 and 3 mana, choosing which RW cards to use in your Boros/Naya is going to be hard. This card should be a part of a both decks, and you probably couldn’t go wrong taking this as one of your top 10 choices. Just make sure you have enough creatures in your deck to activate it.
The last and in my opinion BEST of the Guildmages in limited/draft is the Zameck Guildmage. The others tend to be really mana intensive for their colors, but the Zameck can give you a benefit right away. Simic decks are flush with +1/+1 counters which would allow you to draw a card right away, and the other ability is also beneficial whenever you cast a new creature. In my opinion, card draw is very important in limited. Being able to draw your removal or play a new creature faster than your opponent is what wins games. If you’re playing RUG or Simic this is a must have. I’d probably collect my ‘bomb’ cards and some other creatures/finishers first, but this card has a spot in the top 15 cards of any Simic deck I make.
Other cards that might see play
- Fortress Cyclops – Big hitter of big blocker if you need him. Probably good in Naya.
- Kingpin’s Pet – In Orzhov it’s a great card. Gives your WB deck evasion and the extort trigger is great against control. I had 3 when I played Orzhov at the pre-release and they won the game for me once or twice.
- Mortus Strider – I pulled 3 of these when playing Dimir at the pre-release and they were absolutely amazing when teamed up with Undercity Informer. I’d block, sacrifice to mill my opponent, then play it again. Not good against trample though of course.
- One Thousand Lashes – it’s similar to Pillory of the Sleepless from Guildpact, except that now it costs one more mana and deactivates the creature’s abilities as well. This means no extort, no +1/+1 counters, etc. Pretty good removal for Orzhov, and can be splashed into Esper as well.
- Paranoid Delusions – awesome in a Dimir deck, and very aggressively costed for that guild. If you can put this on a creature with evasion early, such as a Cloudfin Raptor, Deathcult Rogue, or Keymaster Thief, you can do a lot of damage to your opponent’s library.
- Deathcult Rogue – almost unblockable, but in most situations you can count on him as a source of damage in your Simic, Orzhov, or Dimir deck.
Well that’s it. All of my articles for Gatecrash limited are done. I want to thank you all for sticking with me until the end and I hope some of my advice helped you out at the pre-release and WILL help you at drafts in the future. I really felt like I was in the zone yesterday and today while making my decks, but mulligans and not having enough discipline TO mulligan made my deck worse than it could have been. Next week is going to be pretty busy here at The Japan Hobbyist. I plan to finish up my “Bang for your Buck” articles about investing in cards before Gatecrash is released next Friday, and next week I also plan on starting up my “Impact” series of articles talking about which cards from Gatecrash will see play in standard. I don’t know if I’ll be churning out an article a day, but you can bet that I’ll have new content every other day until February 10th. Hope to see you back then, and thanks for helping me to get 1000 hits in one day during the pre-release!