Dimir is a color that has traditionally lacked really good options for cube. It wasn’t until recently with the printing of both The Scarab God and Hostage Taker that we finally began to see powerful cards in the Dimir slot. Did Dimir in Guilds of Ravnica provide us with more powerful options for cube? Let’s take a look!
Connive // Concoct
This card has a lot that I like about it. Mind Control effects are very powerful in Cube because the amount of powerful targets you can get is so high. Threads of Disloyalty is a card that used to see play but has unfortunately been pushed out of most Cubes. Having a mono-black variant is very interesting, as this is typically not an effect that black would get. Threads of Disloyalty did a good job in its time, but unfortunately got pushed out for being too narrow. However, having a mind control for 2 different colors and combining it with a half that cares about Reanimator, a classic Cube archetype, this card starts to look way more appealing. Unburial Rites sees play in a lot of lists, and this card is either Reanimation or Removal which is unique and powerful. Grade B+
5 is an awkward spot in the curve for black. The 4 drops are efficient and come down early doing powerful things such as Kalitas, and Ravenous Chupacabra and the 6 drops are almost all busted, and sometimes just win the game on the spot such as Grave Titan. 5 on the other hand, ins’t doing anything that 4 isn’t, and isn’t as game-winning as 6. Cubers were excited when Night Incarnate got printed because it seemed to be the powerful 5 drop we had been waiting for. That simply wasn’t true. Doom Whisperer is what we have been waiting for. A 5 mana 6/6 flample is crazy efficient, and the text Pay X life: Do Something is usually very busted. Doom Whisperer is a Griselbrand you can cast, that sets up your future draws very comfortably, and can also chunk in for 6 whenever it feels like. Doom Whisperer puts all other 5 mana black cards to shame. Grade A+
Dream Eater is going to win games of limited guaranteed. That ETB ability is incredibly powerful, both setting up future draws and slowing your opponent down. Adding Flash onto it turns an already powerful card into something that is very difficult to play against. However, as powerful as Dream Eater is, I don’t think it’s a card that will see play in many cubes. If you want to play a 6 mana Flash creature, Torrential Gearhulk does more interesting things in cube and can fit into more decks. If you want to play a 6 mana spell that draws you cards, almost nothing can beat the power of Consecrated Sphinx. If you want to slow your opponent down the turn you cast the card, Frost Titan does that job better than almost anything else. Simply put, the competition for this card is at a point that anything it can do, something else can do better. A 4/3 body also isn’t doing it much favor against all of the bolts running around in cube. If you want to condense all of your 6 drops into one card, this could be the choice, but even then, I’d still rather play something else. Grade C+
Out of all the guildmages being spoiled, House Guildmage seems to have the most potential for cube. While I think they are all incredibly powerful in draft, cube is a slightly different beast. What gets me really excited about this card is it’s first activated ability. Frosting creatures can buy you so much time against so many decks, and the price of 2 mana is a steal! The only downside is that House Guildmage doesn’t actually tap the creature by itself. Drafting around this card can be kind of fun, as including a bunch of tappers in your deck can create for a sweet deck. Pacification Array, Frost Titan, and Tumble Magnet all are really good at tapping creatures down, and with House Guildmage, once they are tapped they stay tapped forever. Even the threat of activation might be enough to keep people from swinging in with their creatures. And if your opponent chooses not to do that, you can punish them by getting the value off of Surveil. Grade C
Lazav, the Multifarious
A 2 mana mythic is always going to catch my eye, and Lazav has always been a really cool character. This version of Lazav comes out really cheap but has the drawback of not actually being able to clone a creature without a lot of setup. Building a deck around Lazav would require a lot of careful constructing and planning, and even then it may not even do Lazav much good. Having to pay for the copy of the card in your graveyard is the biggest turn off to the card, as you can’t stuff your graveyard full of fatties and hope that Lazav can just copy the best one. While a good graveyard can provide an excellent toolbox of options, the setup cost is just way too high for so little of a payoff. Grade D+
Never would I have ever expected them to cast a second version of Snapcaster Mage. Mission Briefing is nowhere near as good as Snapcaster, but many cards can’t really even compare to Snapcaster. Costing the same amount as Snapcaster is huge however, and it being an Instant may matter sometimes. Surveil 2 is also great to have because sometimes you will Surveil into the exact card you need to win. My main issue with this card is the UU casting cost. This makes it a lot harder to spash, but I feel by the time you want to be casting Mission Briefing, you should hopefully have enough mana that it shouldn’t be a problem. Grade A
Giving a creature unblockable is not an effect you would normally see in Pauper cube. One of the most recent examples of a card that could give other creatures unblockable is in Coralhelm Guide which had the exact same text but cost 5 mana to activate. Evasion is a very important aspect to have in draft, whether that be flying, trample, or this. Pauper cubes haven’t had a chance to see a card grant unblockable for that low of a cost. While it’s not exactly a slam-dunk, it can still provide great value and will end games that go on for too long. Grade B
Ritual of Soot
4 mana sweepers serve an important role in cube. Stop the early aggression before it overwhelms you. One of the big downsides to sweepers is drawing it and being unable to cast it because it will wreck your board state just as much as them. Ritual of Soot gives you a chance to build a deck that can avoid that issue. Casting a Baneslayer Angel and then following up with this is lights out for most aggro decks. However, sometimes the board wipe serve the role as a card that can deal with any opposing bombs, such as another Baneslayer Angel. Being unable to hit huge threats such as her is a big reason to be careful when playing it. Grade B-
Dissolve is a very playable cube card, and is one of the best Cancel with upside variants that we have ever seen. Sinister Sabotage is a near replica of Dissolve, but has the much more powerful ability of being able to stick any cards in the graveyard. The yard is a very powerful resource, and having the option to toss any card in there, could lead to some crazy plays such as Countering their spell and then dumping a Grieselbrand. Fitting more archetypes is important, and in my opinion, Surveil fits a lot more strategies than something like Scry typically would. If you are playing Dissolve, you have no reason not to play this card. Grade A-
Thief of Sanity
A Nightveil Specter variant is always welcome to see, and this appears to be a modern version of Nightveil Specter. Having the ability to pay any color of mana for spells is a very welcome change to have. If you were pitted up against a R/G deck with Nightveil, you weren’t feeling too hot. Another thing that I really like about this new Specter is the ability to choose what card you want out of the top 3. Notably, Thief of Sanity cannot play lands unlike his cousin, which makes the ability to filter out those lands really important. A repeatable Gonti effect is also pretty awesome to have, but one of the biggest things holding it back is lacking an ETB steal a card. Having to attack with a 2/2 flyer to draw one card is pretty loose, however, it can snowball if left unchecked. Grade B
For a guild that has been lacking a lot of powerful playables in the past few years, Dimir mages are finally getting spoiled. Surveil is a very powerful mechanic in cube, and can enable so many different strategies. Having this flexibility, while still being attached to very powerful cards such as Mission Briefing is awesome to have! Dimir has brought a lot of powerful cards to cube this year, let’s see how well Golgari can compare starting tomorrow.