Previous Guilds of Ravnica Reviews
Before I introduce the grading scale, I offer the usual caveat—the grades don’t tell the whole story, and what I write about each card provides context.
I’m fine paying 4 mana for this effect, even if it leaves you vulnerable to bounce or enchantment removal down the line. Blue doesn’t usually do much better, at least not at common.
I really hope this is good enough, because it looks like a sweet way to get an edge in a longer game. Jump-start is a substantial upgrade to Inspiration, as this does eventually see four cards, albeit for a large mana investment. In order to take full advantage of this, you’ll want to be a more controlling deck, and have plenty of ways to stabilize so that you can crush the opponent with all of your extra cards.
Citywatch Sphinx is a large flyer that gives you a nice severance package when it dies. There’s nothing wrong with this as your finisher, and requiring only a single blue mana makes it easy to splash as well.
If you have enough creatures, this can serve as a solid combat trick. By itself it’s card disadvantage, but if you can set up a fight between two creatures of equivalent size, this will dazzle your opponent nicely. Cheap surveil spells are also great with spells-matter and surveil-matters cards, of which both Izzet and Dimir have plenty.
Meme Potential: 5.0
Decking the opponent by looping two of these sounds amazing, and I will certainly be trying to win based on that. As for this card without those shenanigans, it’s a lot less devious, and more clunky—a 4-mana counterspell isn’t really where you want to be. Counterspells get much worse the more mana they cost, and 4 is enough that you really get punished when you leave it up and don’t get to counter something. I’d basically only run this if your opponent has a bunch of insane expensive spells or if you really are going for the decking achievement.
I love Dimir Informant. A solid defensive body plus card selection makes this a highly desirable 3-drop for every deck that isn’t completely aggressive. This works well without any surveil synergies, and gets even better once you add those. Don’t sleep on this one—it won’t go late in packs.
The first Disdainful Stroke isn’t bad, especially against all the guilds that aren’t Boros. They do get a lot worse in multiples, because of the risk of them being dead, so I wouldn’t prioritize this in the Draft. In Sealed, I’d always run two and might even run three—every deck is going to have a lot of good expensive cards to snipe.
This is aptly-named, as it will devour the hopes and dreams of your opponent. The combination of card selection, a big flyer (at instant speed no less) and a bounce spell is really hard to fight. This is incredible at any point in the game, regardless of whether you’re ahead or behind, and digs you to whatever else you need. That makes this a certified bomb, and a card you’ll rarely want to pass.
Limited: 1.0 // 3.0
This is a classic build-around, and a throwback to Dimir’s strategy from OG Ravnica. If you can pair this with blue jump-start cards and a good defensive deck, it’s a solid win condition, and punishing against opposing surveil decks.
Limited: 1.0 // 2.0
I’m trying to figure out what a surveil deck really does with this, and I’m not quite sure. You still need a good way to win because this doesn’t provide that, even with the ability to stop you from decking. Plus, surveil 4 isn’t that much better than surveil 2, so I’m not very excited about the prospect of Enhanced Surveillance (both in this set and in real life).
Limited: 1.0 // 3.5
I’m super hyped for Guild Summit. Making all of your Gates into cantrips sounds awesome, and there could be a sick deck there. I especially like that it pays you for Gates in play and ones you draw later, which makes this look like a strong incentive to draft that deck.
Leapfrog will attack as a flyer enough of the time that I’m into it, and if you have enough instants it could even leap to your defense. This is better in aggressive decks, and with 3 power, can be a solid clock even by itself.
You have to be very aggressive in order to maximize this, though it’s possible that spells-matter decks might want a 1-mana jump-start card. I like how much damage this brings to the table, as double Altitude on a key turn can push through a ton of flying beats.
With a ton of cheap spells, this is a playable, but that’s not going to be most decks. Note that you still have to pay for the spell, so this is essentially a surveil 2 Recoup that doesn’t have flashback. That’s fine, but not exciting.
Now this is a build-around, and given its stats, you don’t even need to do that much work. If this makes one or two Birds, you’re very far ahead, and in a dedicated jump-start deck this will be obscenely good.
Cantrip creatures are my muse, and this is a card I won’t often be cutting from my deck. A 1/3 flyer is exactly what you want to keep you alive while you reap the benefits of extra cards, and this is an attractive piece of any blue control deck.
I don’t hate Narcomoeba in a deck with a lot of surveil. Getting a 1/1 flyer for free (no mana or card cost) is a big game, and if you are seeing 6-7 cards a game via surveil, that gives you a decent shot of getting this into play for free.
Surveil 1 each turn is a big game, and this pecks in for damage while you’re at it. Even without the surveil payoffs this is a great card, and I’d be happy to start any Draft with it.
Let’s leave this one for the Constructed brewers, as you aren’t going to be turbo’ing out things like Enter the Infinite in Limited. Still, this is a 3/4 for 5, which doesn’t have the worst stats, and does let you play spells at a discount or at instant speed. I’d run this if I was really short on creatures, which does imply a lot of spells, though I wouldn’t be looking to try and cheat in off-color spells or anything like that.
This plays both defense and offense, but does neither spectacularly well. I’ll pass.
Getting two copies of your best creature is a very powerful effect, even if there’s more than a hint of win-more to this card. If you can stabilize behind something solid, this will give you a ton of power in the late game.
A real radical idea would be this costing 1 mana, but it’s probably for the best that it didn’t. I’d only run this if I had a heavy spells-matter theme, as paying 4 mana to draw two and discard one isn’t a great deal.
This is a hard card to evaluate, because it will vary so drastically between matchups. At a baseline, if you’re playing an aggressive deck you should probably run this, and if you ever snipe more than one creature at once it’s excellent. Control decks don’t want this, and you have to be selective while sideboarding—against some decks this will be awesome.
Against all of the guilds except Boros, countering a spell for 3 mana is decent, and the addition of surveil makes this a great value proposition. Cancel is usually slightly below the bar—add a surveil and all of a sudden it’s above it.
Limited: 1.5 // 3.5
In decks with a lot of surveil, this will be one of your better cards. Not only will it grow to threatening proportions, a cheap defensive body is exactly what a deck full of fiddly surveil cards wants. This is bound to be underrated, and I’m a big fan.
This will disappear from packs quickly, but there is a clear explanation—it’s a good card and fits well into any deck. Bounce plus surveil is a great deal for 2 mana, and I’d be happy to run multiples.
Vedalken Mesmerist has convinced me that it’s going to play well, especially in Izzet. This can help you push through damage and make profitable attacks, especially when you add some combat tricks to the mix. Blue isn’t the best color for this, as it would be a lot more exciting in white.
Wall of Mist
Sitting behind a Wall of Mist and surveilling sounds like an ideal situation to me, and Chemister’s Insight doesn’t sound half bad either. As far as defensive plays go, this is one of the better ones.
Watcher in the Mist
Creepy window peeper or not, this is a card I’ll always play. It’s a sizable body and surveil 2 is pretty close to drawing a card in the mid-to-late game.
Author’s Note: I somehow missed that this has flying – that makes it by far the best blue common, and one of the best commons overall. It upgrades the rating to 3.5, and makes it a card you should rarely pass – LSV
One of my wishes for this format is that I never have to play the Crab. A vanilla 2/5 is just not that exciting, and you can do better almost all the time.
Top 3 Blue Commons
Author’s Note: Now that I know that Watcher in the Mist has flying, it takes its rightful place as the best blue common. The other order is unchanged. – LSV
Blue is firmly on the defensive side of things. You’ll occasionally see an aggressive Izzet deck, but for the most part blue is looking to get value from surveil, cantrips, and defensive creatures. Dimir Informant looks great in any deck, and both removal spells are good enough, especially for blue.