This article is part 5 of a 10 part series covering the Singleton Guild Wheel Project, a 10 deck project in which there is only a single copy of any non-basic land among the 10 decks. Each deck uses the color combination of a different Ravnican guild. The methodology is introduced here and expanded upon each week by featuring a deck formed using part of the Wheel. Since the deck building process is iterative, expect featured decks to change in between articles. For the complete introduction to the project, see our first article here
Welcome back yet again! We are officially halfway done with the project and we’re hitting our stride just in time to do my personal least favorite guild around: the blue and black Dimir.
Working with Dimir was difficult for me for several reasons, because I tend to lean away from the blue and black guild. I’m not a control player but favor proactive rather than reactive decks. Choosing a commander in Dimir colors was difficult as well since they largely tend to favor strategies that rely heavily on the graveyard, which is an archetype I’m not terribly knowledgeable about. Thankfully a couple of my best friends are MORE than experienced in the ways of the blue and black and threw out quite a bit of knowledge my way.
The deck initially focused on mill, but a dedicated “mill your opponents out”, strategy sounded like it would quickly become repetitive. Therefore, I opted to play some of the cards that usually fit in a mill strategy, but focus more on a “I’m gonna steal all your crap and beat you with your own cards,” type build. Which is fun because, as Jason Alt argues, 75% decks can be the most universally played among different types of players. Play against a combo spike? Cool, I’m going to cast your Doomsday for you. Is your opponent a Durdles McGee with his all standard deck? Neato! I just got to cast Incendiary Flow in EDH for FREE! How’s that for busted!?
First off, since I’m no Dimir mage, I don’t know many cards other than the dedicated mill cards I’ve been blown out by several times. One of the obvious exclusions is Cyclonic Rift which gets played in over half of the typical Wrexial lists reporting to EDHREC. While most everyone loves this 7-mana win card, (yes, it costs seven, and if you cast it for two you did something wrong) I already used Cyclonic Rift in my first entry of the Guild Wheel in my Ezuri, Claw of Progress deck. So that’s out. Since I can’t win games on turn seven anymore I have to get creative.
Traumatize in another spicy piece of tech that we don’t get to indulge either. While it would be fun ham-hocking people with it, I’ve just never been in the mood to make people count to forty-something in order to fulfill the card. It’s just not my style. Plus I have an idea for it in another deck in the Guild Wheel so it’s out for now.
When I was going through the EDHREC page for Wrexial, I noticed that there are only a handful of true “staples,” for its decks. There are a few cards that are clocking in over half of the decks reporting in, but the real meat of the cards come in anywhere from 20-35% or so, which hints that there really isn’t a tried-and-true way to build the deck. This was actually very cool to see, you can play your hard control with all the counterspells in the colors or head down the mill route. Either way, it seems that there are just as many wyas to build Wrexial as there are players for the deck.
Stealing dudes with Wrexial means it has to connect. Naturally I figured some of the evasion pieces would be a plus in the deck. Because…you know…you can’t otherwise. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth casually fixes our mana needs along with giving Wrexial the ability to stroll his chubby self into the red zone haphazardly. This makes it fairly to easy to understand why this is one of the most played lands in Wrexial decks at 60%, second only to *yawn* Command Tower. If you think you’re saying something novel by noticing Command Tower is good in multicolor commander decks then I have a message for you…
What may NOT be as well known is that you can pair Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth with Tolaria West to make for a free land tutor. Since Tolaria West is only played in 16% of Wrexial decks it seems that there is room for this card to fill a sweet need: finding the right lands in a non-green deck.
Back in the days of me being one of those “filthy casual” players I had a slew of what I thought were totally sweet cards. Stuff like Stream of Life and Regrowth so you could never kill me. You know the type of player, you might even be one. Anyways, one of the cards that I did like, and I only like even more now , is Rhystic Study. It’s a $10 freaking common, it’s that good. Or old. Or both. Regardless, in a blue deck that isn’t playing a whole lot of extra draw effects, this one is a powerhouse and sometimes all we need. It’s one of the more played enchantments in most Wrexial and blue/black decks universally, and it’s not hard to understand why. The card is just super good at what it does and isn’t the easiest for your opponents to get rid of. I would play this in every blue deck I have BUT that’s the point of the whole Guild Wheel after all! I have to pick and choose, and Sir Slimy Fish Thing gets the nod for this beauty.
As I mentioned earlier, Cyclonic Rift was called into service way too early in this project to make it into the Dimir edition, so I needed some cards that could keep the board clear in case I have issues getting Wrexial to connect and steal things. Kederekt Leviathan is a neat and easily replayed reset button for the game. Sure, you have to pick up your own things too but if there is anything we learned from our Boros edition of the Guild Wheel it’s to have no regrets.
I also noticed two of my favorite sacrifice outlets in the deck don’t show up on Mr. Risen Deep’s EDHREC page: Attrition and Altar of Dementia. One of the goals of stealing people’s stuff and taking it in as one of your own is to make sure that they never get it back. So why not use stolen creatures to further your own plans? Attrition acts as a constant stream of removal much in the same way that Executioner’s Capsule does in Glissa, the Traitor decks(which we covered last time) since we have so many ways of taking the beaters from across the way.
Altar of Dementia seems to be wildly underplayed in Wrexial decks. If it did happen to show up on the Wrexial page I imagine it would have to be a +99% synergy type card. Wrexial thrives when the graveyard is full, so when we take something from the other players why not use them to fuel that graveyard even more? Do people just not know that this card is insane? If you happen to be playing a card like Ashnod’s Altar maybe try out it’s crazy cousin, you might be impressed.
If you’re bummed that we’re not playing Cyclonic Rift in here, don’t worry! We have a solution! Whelming Wave certain won’t go under on you. Seriously, it doesn’t target a player so in multiplayer games it has HUGE upside along with leaving a good variety of our own beaters around. The card is all upside in the deck since we can play it as a follow up to our leader and pave the way for what could only be numerous triggers of his ability. For a card you probably threw away or have rotting in your trade binder, it’s worth digging out.
And that’s it for this time! Did I do ok at making my first blue/black deck or did I drop the metaphoric ball and I should hang my head in shame. Actually don’t answer that. Well, do answer it in the comments because I want to know. Thanks again everyone!