Guilds of Ravnica – Playing To Your Weaknesses: Multicolor GW, RW, GB

NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them. I’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)

As for my rating system, after a lot of feedback I’ve decided to abandon my 3 tier scoring system of Low-Medium-High and I will instead be moving onto a 5 star ranking system. For the most part, I will focus mainly on cards from 2.5 to 5 stars in my article. The system is as follows:

  • 1 star = a card that is barely playable, even as filler for your deck
  • 2 stars = this card could be a strong sideboard card, but is highly conditional and not always effective. Example: A creature that fills the curve, a spell that destroys an artifact. Probably filler to finish up your limited deck or needs synergy to be playable.
  • 3 stars = a 3 star card is a solid role-player. These cards could be less than amazing removal effects, or a creature that is a glass cannon (high power, low defense). They could be good except for a few flaws. Example: A creature with a good ETB effect or decent activated ability. A spell that has a great effect but costs too much or has a big drawback. A good 2nd to 5th pick in draft.
  • 4 stars = Here’s where we get into the powerhouses. 4 Stars could be good finishers, or cards that can end a game if left unchecked. They also have multiple effects, and are all around good value for you. The only thing holding them back is restrictive costs or some small drawback. Example: A creature that will win the game on its own if left unchecked and wins head to head battles often. A spell that has multiple effects or creates a huge swing in tempo. Usually a first pick in draft.
  • 5 stars = you won’t see a lot of these at common and uncommon. These will usually be your rares and mythics because they are incredibly bonkers. Planeswalkers, massive creatures, etc., these are the cards you could build a deck around. Example: A creature that is almost impossible to due to special abilities or recursion. A spell that wipes the board or gives you massive card advantage. “Windmill slam” first pick in limited.

 

I’m gonna let you know that I’m not a big fan of blue, so I’m saving that for last. Due to the sheer number of playable multicolor cards I’ll be splitting this article into two parts. I’ll be talking about Selesnya, Boros, and Golgari today, and leaving the remainder of the cards for the final article. So what can we expect from these 3 guilds today? In my previous articles I talked about each one in depth. Boros seemed to have a lot of potential as a go wide strategy that could hit hard, while Golgari seemed to have some great Undergrowth effects and amazing removal. Selesnya, however, seemed to be lacking. There weren’t a lot of non-rare Convoke cards that screamed that you should run the archetype. Today we’ll be able to put for rest if the archetypes are playable or better off in a supporting role. 

I’ll also be adding in an extra part to each card. I’ll be saying where it it SPLASHABLE or NOT SPLASHABLE. This means that the card can be played outside of it’s colors and still be a good card, or if you should only play it in a deck of those colors. Some need the synergy, while others can be great without it. 

 

Selesnya

 

Worldsoul Colossus

 

One of the best non-rare Convoke cards has to be World Soul Colossus. It can be downright scary in a cheap, creature heavy deck. Sure it doesn’t have trample or any other type of evasion, but if you play it on curve it’s not crazy to see this as a 8/8 on turn 5 or something a long those lines. Definitely splashable in both GBW and RGW decks as well.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Conclave Cavalier

 

Another card I really like is Conclave Cavalier. A 4/4 body with vigilance is a decent beater that also functions well as a defender, and getting 2 creatures when it dies is great. Lots of value here, but sadly it’s not splashable with that double green and white casting cost. 

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Ledev Champion

Aggressive, easy to cast Selesnya creature. I like that you can pump him up using “convoke” so you can put your outmatched creatures to good use. The ability to pump himself up with the 5 mana ability by creating a creature to Convoke with is also neat. I want to say that this is a splashable card, but if you’re playing RGW then you probably want an aggressive deck and getting all those colors early on is an impossible task for a limited deck. Maybe a slower GBW build could make use of him outside of plain old GW?

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Conclave Guildmage

 

This seems like a great card to have in any green deck. Big creatures like Worldsoul Colossus become a lot better and late game it functions as a way to go wide. I would be tempted to splash it in an Abzan deck due to the number of great pump effects from Undergrowth like on Vigorspore Wurm, but that could just as easily be in GW as well. Therefore I’ll say it’s NOT splashable. Body isn’t powerful enough, and abilities don’t shift the game. 

RATING: 2.5 Stars

 

Flower::Flourish

 

You’re not always going to be able to Convoke everything in GW, so you’ll be relying on your mana to get those beaters/finishers into play as well. Flower is good early game, but Flourish can be pretty powerful in a god wide token strategy as well. Not sure I would splash this in GBW, but I think this could be a good card in Boros since Flower would be very easy to cast to grab more land, and late game it would be very powerful with Mentor. Just too bad Flourish is a sorcery. 

RATING: 2.5 Stars

 

Other Cards that Might See Play

 

  • Centaur Peacemaker (2.5 Stars) – I don’t like giving 4 life to an opponent, but I guess a 3/3 for 3 is good filler. 
  • Join Shields (2) – Seems neat with Convoke. Tap your creatures in an attack or to use a Convoke spell, then untap them when your opponent attacks and make them unkillable. Good tempo swing. 
  • Sumala Woodshaper (2) – Not sure I like paying 4 mana for a 2/1, even if you can search for another card with it. 
  • Vernadi Shieldmate (2) – Filler. 
  • Rosemane Cenatur (2.5) – Good body, convoke, and vigilance. Solid choice for any GW deck.

 

 

Boros

 

Truefire Captain

The Boros Legion doesn’t go down without a fight, and nothing says that louder than Truefire Captain. You get a decent beater that pumps up another creature most of the time, and when it dies you get to push even more damage through. It makes all of those red burn spells that target only creatures even better. I’m sure some people will be attacking, the opponent takes the damage, then they die when you burn the Captain to hit for the last few points of damage needed. Sadly it isn’t splashable with the double symbols though. 

RATING 3.5 Stars

 

Swathcutter Giant

I know Boros is meant to be known for its agile, dangerous creatures, but I like their bigger options as well. Swathcutter Giant is a great way to clear away all the chump blockers and glass cannons. I would also think that this ability works well if your creatures have first strike too. It seems worth splashing for in a Naya (RGW) or even Jeskai (RUW) deck. Good beater, good defender, and strong ability.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Integrity:Interventoin

I’m already sold on Mentor and think it will be a defining mechanic of this limited format, so if you tell me I can play a card that both lets me activate Mentor easily, deal 3 damage to a player, OR kill a creature with 3 toughness while gaining me life then I’m solid. We’re getting further away from good Lightning Helix effects, but this one is decent. I think I would probably splash for this in RW/x decks as well. 

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Justice Strike

It’s not always going to be great (like against those high toughness blue and black cards), but it should be more than enough to deal with green, white, and red cards easily. Not going to be easy to cast early in a 3 color deck, so I think I’d keep this one to a straight Boros build. I’d give it a slightly higher score if it could be more consistent. 

RATING 2.5 Stars

 

Skyknight Legionnaire

This original Ravnica all-star didn’t see too much play in Return to Ravnica block limited, but I think it could make a comeback with a Mentor heavy deck. There are quite a few 3 power Mentor cards which would work very well with Skyknight Legionnaire, not to mention the sheer number of combat tricks red and white has. I think this is a great 3 drop in Boros decks, but not worth a splash otherwise.

RATING. 2.5 Stars

 

Legion Guildmage

I don’t think most of you will be using this for the 6 mana ability, but if games go long I guess you could burn out an opponent. No, the 3 mana ability is probably what you’ll be looking to play with. If your opponent is on a slower midrange deck with bombs this is a good card, but otherwise I think it just becomes a bear vs. other Boros/aggro decks. Not splashable.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

 

Boros Challenger 

Boros Challenger is definitely the superior 2 mana creature. It gets an extra toughness, has mentor, and even better you can pump it up later in the game to make sure that Mentor triggers upon attacking. Not going to be splashable since you want to play this quickly, but definitely a high pick for Boros players. 

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Other Cards that Will see Play

 

  • Garrison Sergeant (2 Stars) – Dangerous card if you have a few gates to give it double strike, otherwise it’s a subpar 3/3 for 5 mana. 
  • Hammer Dropper (2.5) – I like that you are assured to get a Mentor trigger, I DON’T like that he will most likely die in the process. 
  • Fresh-Faced Recruit (2) – In really aggressive decks with tons of combat tricks its an okay card, but otherwise it’s filler. 

 

Golgari

 

Rhizome Lurcher

You’d be wise not to underestimate “The Swarm”. Golgari cards are deceptively strong, especially in a halfway decent deck. Rhizome Lurcher may seem rather overcosted for a 2/2 body, but in a good Golgari deck this card could come out as a 5/5 or bigger on turn 4, and late game it becomes absolutely huge. I played with this a few times in my pre-release and was very happy to have it each time. Not sure I’d splash it, but this type of card literally gives new life to your graveyard. 

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Swarm Guildmage

 

Swarm Guildmage is probably my favorite Guildmage in the set. It has the most relevant abilities, either gaining you life with extra mana when you can’t attack, or making your creatures nigh unblockable if you pay 5 mana. Having a built in mini anthem effect that also gives evasion is great. I might even consider playing this as a splash in a Dimir deck with some green just so I can give that bonus to the flyers and sneaky creatures UB has. I’d defintely pick it high in draft if I was in GB. It also works very well in Selsenya go wide strategies.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Status:Statue

No matter what, somebody is going to die. Status is a great combat trick, especially if you’re attacking with trampling creature. You can assign 1 damage each with death touch and then push the rest through. While I miss Putrefy, Statue is very good in its own right. We’re paying an extra mana to be able to destroy an enchantment as well, and I feel it’s worth it for the versatility of this uncommon card. Another Splash worthy card.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Molderhulk

If you have a good curve, through normal play you should be able to play this on turn 5 or 6. If you’re playing a team sealed or draft deck then I think this card could come out even sooner thanks to cards like Glowspore Shaman and the black Surveil mechanic. If the Golgari synergy isn’t there but you’re playing a lot of small creatures I say go for it. It’s a great finisher and it also brings back a land if you’ve put one in the graveyard. By the time you cast it you probably won’t care about the land, but think of it like a present a cat would bring you like a dead animal. It’s the thought that counts. Maybe okay to splash in a GBW or BUG deck?

 

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Erstwhile Trooper

I thought this was going to be Golgari filler, but I was pleasantly surprised by Erstwhile Trooper’s ability. You can only activate its ability once a turn, but this also means on your opponent’s turn. The zombie gets turned into both a great attacker and blocker, and helps you to fill your graveyard for big Undergrowth effects. I really liked playing this with cards like Vigorspore Wurm and Moodmark Painter. Giving himself trample on top of the +2/+2 is what sets this ability over the top. Not sure it’s worth a splash however. 

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Golgari Findbroker

 

It’s not the strongest of the double/double symbol cards, but Golgari Findbroker is definitely worth playing in a Golgari deck. If you have any kind of synergy you’ll be putting creatures into the graveyard left and right. Golgari Findbroker lets you get them back, and if you have any other permanents you want to get back (like a Planeswalker or Enchantment) she can grab those as well. Hard to splash though. Also, sweet dress. It’s like a fungus is growing on her shoulder. 

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Other Cards that Will See Play

 

  • Glowspore Shaman (2.5) – great enabler card for Golgari decks and Undergrowth abilities. 
  • Undercity Uprising (2.5) – I was talking earlier about how I liked Prey Upon for its efficiency, so I can’t be that happy about a 4 mana fight spell. Sure you give all your creatures death touch, but Golgari is already chock full of that ability. I could see this being a great splash card for GBW though. Great for a mainly GW go wide deck to play.
  • Pitiless Gorgon (2.5) – Deathtouch is nice, but just like 1/1 death touch creatures, they are better as blockers than as attackers. 

 

Coming Up Next

 

Sorry about the length. I told you it was going to be long. So many playable cards to talk about and not enough space to do it. Boros multicolor cards definitely kept true to their form and gave the archetype a lot more room to grow. The cards early on the curve in both red and white work nicely with the more midrangey multicolor cards. There isn’t such a big top end, but the speed is there. 

Selesnya added a little more power to their archetype but I still don’t feel like it has what it takes to go head to head with the others unless you manage to open some of the powerful rares like Venerated Loxodon. It should be a great support color and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of Boros and Golgari players splashing white. While Boros made up a lot of ground from the main color articles, Golgari still ended up having a slight edge over it in my opinion. Lots of great removal, big creatures that have nice abilities, and synergy with other archetypes like Surveil is what did it for me.

I’ll be working on the remaining multicolor guilds Dimir and Izzet next time, but don’t expect it that soon. Most likely it will be up around Wednesday or so. By the time you read this you’ll have probably already finished your pre-releases and have some observations you want to share. By all means please feel free to talk about your builds and any other interesting interactions you came across in the comment section down below. Thanks again for reading and see you back here in a few days!

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