Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Deadly Dimir

If you’ve been keeping up with Magic: The Gathering than you’ve likely heard of Dimir, one of the 5 guilds represented in the latest Gatecrash set. Dimir is a guild that uses a combination of blue and black creatures and spells to mill their opponent into dust and gain some benefit from every card the opponent loses. Add to this the new cipher mechanic and you have a powerful guild ready to take on any who would dare oppose them.

Dimir Guildhall
The Dimir deck relies heavily on a few different interrelated strategies for successfully bringing down their opponents.
1. Mill – The key word in the Dimir playbook is mill. While not every card directly contributes to this, through the use of card combinations nearly every card in the collection is either useful for milling or derives some significant benefit from the milling. This strategy can be used to simply deprive a competitor of a deck thus ensuring victory without ever touching their life points or it can be a means to create massively powerful creatures that can eventually cut down even the most impressive defenses. The key card for this strategy is the Consuming Aberration which not only mills but also derives a benefit from the milling.
2. Graveyard Love – This is a strategy that works in conjunction with the milling and serves to power up creatures and other cards based on the number of creatures or cards in your opponent’s graveyard. There are actually two different approaches to this built into the strategy of Dimir. The first of course is the use of cards that benefit from the contents of the graveyard. These cards include the Consuming Aberration, Wight of Precinct Six, Jace’s Phantasm, and Death’s Approach all of which become very effective cards quite rapidly. The other branch of this strategy makes use of those cards which exile milled cards and allow the Dimir player to use them themselves. Cards like Bane Alley Broker, Lord of the Void, Nightveil Specter, and Voidwalk are good options for this strategy.
3. Cipher – A new mechanic introduced in the Gatecrash set specifically for the Dimir guild (though that’s not to say others can’t make use of it) is the cipher ability. This is included on sorcery cards and has the controller upon resolving the initial spell exile the card attached to a creature they control. From that point on whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player the creature’s controller has the option of casting the spell again without paying its mana cost. This strategy works very well in conjunction with cards that either are or can become unblockable like Deathcult Rogue, Dimir Keyrune, Incursion Specialist, and Way of the Thief. Using this approach can not only take a heavy toll on your opponent’s life points but will also generate cool extra effects for you like creature tokens, tapping target creatures, extra cards, or additional milling among others. When played correctly the cipher mechanic can be one of the most powerful mechanics in the Gatecrash set.

If you’re looking for a great guild to play in the current block, it’s hard to go wrong with Dimir. Though it relies heavily on the mill strategy which can be overcome with enough graveyard hate, the diversity of strategies offered through the cipher mechanic more than make up for this weakness making Dimir a formidable guild worthy of its place in my N3rd C0rn3r.