Thursday, 9 November 2017
Dimir Raid .dec
Dimir aggro/tempo decks have always been a bit of a joke in cube. They are what you end up with when a draft goes wrong. Dimir, while very powerful, really doesn't lend itself to tempo creature strategies. Black and blue share a lot of the same good things hence being an excellent combo pairing however they also share many of the same weaknesses. One of those weaknesses it a lack of well rounded cheap robust tempo dorks. Mono black and even mono blue tempo strategies work better than Dimir ones as you get to exploit things like devotion and powerful cards like Phyrexian Negator and Vedalken Shackles. You got better consistency too from being just one colour.
I recently had a bad sealed deck pool and ran a Dimir tempo list. I was resinged to losing but at least I was going to get to play with a bunch of the new cards and that would be good. What happened instead was much winning. I don't want to lay this entirely at the hands of the new cards but they certainly helped. Cheap evasive creatures combined with cheap spot removal and disruption. Nothing new in principal but lots of newer cards helping out. Dimir has a very easy time of having raid and that is now something you can put to some use. It isn't any specific cards that have really changed things, Fatal Push would be the biggest contributor if I had to name one. It is more the case of having sufficient options of sufficient stand alone power that are on theme. You had to have and play everything good before and even then you were plugging holes with off theme dorks and struggling to get nice curves.
Red certainly offers far more redundancy. It has more cheap removal, more cheap tempo threats and generally all of them are better than what black brings to the table. The Dimir deck makes up for this with better value cards and substantially better control and disruption tools. It doesn't have the same burst and so it is looking to go a bit longer in the game. This in turn makes loads of higher cost tempo cards more viable. Your control elements let you play a higher curve and that in turn makes up for your lower number of early tempo plays.
Delver of Secrets
Go for the Throat
Chart a Course
Jace, Cunning Castaway
Sword of Fire and Ice
Liliana of the Veil
Drana, Liberator of Malakir
Force of Will
I'm not going to go over every card in detail here at all. This was mostly done just to say this archetype is a thing again. I do want to mention some of the highlights however! Skyship Plunderer was one of those. He is pretty frightening to leave unchallenged even when there are no counters or things that generate them in play. The threat of dropping something and getting an immediate boost is enough to ramp the threat level of this little 2/1 flier up quite significantly. Far more relevant that a Rattlechains or Dimensional Infiltrator. Another stand out two drop flier was the Freebooter. Despite his low power the high number of fliers in this list made it feel like you always had a Lingering Souls just cast! Your evasive chip damage really adds up. The selection of useful cheap fliers made raid pretty consistently available and turned on. Your tempo and disruption makes it hard to deal with things sensibly and so Freebooter was pretty effective disruption. The information gain was lovely too.
Hostage Taker was another nice new card. It was more the flexibility of it than the raw power than made it so appealing. Most of the time it was stealing 2 and 3 mana cards so it could instantly play them on the same turn. It was certainly a card that was held back for the right moment quite a lot but not in a bad way. It made you feel safe when you had it. If desperate you can run it out turn four and hope it survives. The ability for Dimir to deal with artifacts is great too. It used to have to bounce and then counter or discard something like a Jitte else it was just game over. That being so long winded ususally just meant the deck was cold to a number of artifacts. Hostage taker plugs a pretty big hole that was previously in the archetype.
Lastly we have Mausoleum Wanderer! In this list it is basically a Judge's Familiar although I did have a Sword on it once and felt very safe indeed. You don't really need spirits or pump to empower it in this kind of deck, it is good enough baseline. It adds a great deal to the chip damage and raid reliability and makes life super uncomfortable for your opponent. You get a surprising amount of mileage from the card. Both Wanderer and Familiar have recently started to perform really well in the cube. The early game has become so important that making a play that gets you active and on the board but that also disrupts your opponents plan really gets the momentum going.
Other good cards for this kind of thing;
True Name Nemesis
Glen Elandra Archamge
Gonti, Lord of Luxry
Other counter magic and discard