www.Blackborder.com www.Blackborder.com www.Blackborder.com
www.Blackborder.com

Navigation

Small orders ship for just 60 cents!

RSS

Subscribe to Syndicate

Hot Products

Overgrown Tomb

Overgrown Tomb

$11.24

4 available

view Buy

Stony Silence

Stony Silence

$2.49

4 available

view Buy

Painful Quandary

Painful Quandary

$1.19

5 available

view Buy

Godless Shrine

Godless Shrine

$9.99

13 available

view Buy

Detention Sphere

Detention Sphere

$1.23

8 available

view Buy

Hot Buylist Offers

You are here

Guild Wars

node_image: 

Richard Bland
Richard Bland

About Richard Bland

Richard is an English pro player. He started playing Magic on a foreign exchange trip to Germany in the dark days of Darksteel, and was running sick homebrew Shared Fate decks at FNM while everyone else was playing affinity mirrors. While he has learned better since then, he still retains a soft spot for combo decks of all hues.

  • Platinum Pro Player
  • 98 Lifetime Pro Points
  • 2nd Worlds 2011
  • 2nd GP San Diego 2011
  • 3rd GP Barcelona 2011
  • 3rd GP Madrid 2010
  • 2nd Great Britain Nationals 2010

Guild Wars

Hello everyone,

The release of the new set draws ever nearer and the Return to Ravnica pre-release will be a rather unique experience compared to other pre-releases with the special Guild Boosters unique to the events. For those unaware, you get 5 boosters of Return to Ravnica and a booster of the guild of your choice, and a guild promo card you’re allowed to play. Making decisions is not something I tend to do lightly, so the question of where my allegiance lay was not an easy one. Which guild was I?

To find out, I decided to look back through my Magic-playing history and the decks I’ve played over the years and see which guild I’ve turned to most often through my almost decade-long playing career.

Selesnya

Green/White is a classic allied color combination, and one that has presented the constructed world with many playable cards over the years, from Armadillo Cloak to Glare of Subdual, Anurid Brushhopper to Knight of the Reliquary, Loxodon Hierarch to Qasali Pridemage, there’s a lot to be said for powerful, efficient creatures that also happen to disrupt the opponent’s plans. I’ve played a lot of Naya decks in my time, by far my favorite shard, but I’m only looking at Selesnya here.

Combo decks have always been a favorite of mine, so when Matt Nass’ combo elves deck took down an Extended Grand Prix the weekend before an extended PTQ, I knew I wanted to play it. The UK PTQ scene has improved over the past few years, and it’s certainly not the case as much anymore, but playing last week’s best new deck was often enough to gain a huge advantage over the slower-moving metagame. After losing the first round to a deck that played a turn 1 Chalice of the Void for one in game one, I swept the rest of the tournament and took home the blue envelope. The deck was amusingly complicated to play, and scored a lot of free wins from unaware opponents.  Being able to draw your deck with a combination of Elves, Cloudstone Curio and Glimpse of Nature was tons of fun, eventually winning by playing your deck onto the table in one turn and Primal Commanding all their lands to the top of their deck.

GW Elves

Tags: 
Green
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3.333335
Average: 3.3 (33 votes)

A GW deck I’d rather forget was another extended deck, Summoning Trap in Worlds 2010. The idea of the deck was solid. Play out 3 mana guys, activate Windbrisk Heights or cast Summoning Trap and hit either Primeval Titan to get more Hideaway lands or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play. A foolproof plan. The reality was somewhat different. After a dream start in the team rounds with my turn 2 creature being Mana Leaked allowing me to Trap into Emrakul in the very first game, the wheels fell off with hideaways into nothing and mulligans into Emrakul leaving me 0-4 in the first 4 rounds and struggling to maintain my pro level for the year. I made it at 1-4-1, but I swore never again to play a combo deck with no good tutoring or redundancy.

GW trap

Tags: 
White
Green
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
4
Average: 4 (11 votes)

Golgari

Golgari is a guild themed around graveyard recursion and reuse of resources. In constructed play Green/Black decks also tend to follow these themes, leading either to graveyard based combo, or grinding midrange decks that try to out-resource the opponent using their inherent card-advantage cards and 1-for-1’s. I am of course, talking about Rock decks.

Rock has never been a favorite of mine. I just don’t like decks where you have to draw the right cards at the right time in every matchup. Card selection was something GB decks tended to lack. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever played a straight Green/Black deck at a high-level tournament. So instead enjoy one of my favorite decks from the Ravnica/TimeSpiral era, Tarmo-rack, which placed my friend Marco Orsini Jones in the UK National team that year.

Tarmorack

Tags: 
Black
Green
Colors
Artifact4
Black26
Gold4
Green4
Land22
Converted Mana Cost
112
219
37
Type
Artifact4
Basic Land6
Creature15
Instant8
Land16
Sorcery11
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
4
Average: 4 (13 votes)

This deck was beautifully disruptive, with piles of grinding card advantage discard spells, the powerful Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant and The Rack to really put the hurt on the popular slower tap-out control decks like Angelfire and Blink-Touch, while still being able to deal with the little guys with Funeral Charm and Ravenous Rats providing surprising utility. Treetop Village is a staple of Rock decks, providing a free threat that you’re happy to just beat down your opponent with after resolving a huge Death Cloud, or simply trading off removal and creatures until you’re both empty-handed.

Azorius

Ahh, Blue/White. So many powerful and exciting decks have come from these classic controlling colors. I’ve played a good number of UW decks in my time, though I didn’t always like the color combination. I don’t need to tell you that I’ve played a good amount of UW Delver in the past months, and the summer of CawBlade is still a fresh and painful memory to many players. My all-time favorite UW deck, however came from an entirely different format. Zendikar Block Constructed was an odd beast. Mono-Red was the deck tipped to perform before the tournament began, with Staggershock, Kiln Fiend and Kargan Dragonlord sure to do well. R/U/G stole the spotlight for the tournament thanks to PV and others doing very well with the ancestor to the Standard RUG deck that put me into the top 8 of GP Barcelona, but the deck our team favored was one of the most fun decks I’ve ever played. U/W Eldrazi control was a strange beast. It had board control with Day of Judgment and Oust against creature decks, and an almost unstoppable lategame plan of Kozilek and Ulamog to win the U/W control mirror matches. Oh, and it ran some 4-cc Planeswalker that was apparently pretty good or something. So powerful a trump were the Eldrazi, that I overheard one teammate saying to his opponent sadly ‘please don’t scoop, I want to Annihilate you’.

UW Eldrazi Control

Tags: 
White
Blue
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
4
Average: 4 (12 votes)

Another fond U/W memory I have is of the slow-as-molasses but Juggernaut strong Reveillark deck. A dog to Faeries, but so powerful against any strategy that let it start dropping 4’s and 5’s uncontested. And with a combo finish that could beat any deck, you could never count out the lark deck. Here’s Pascal Vieren’s Nationals-winning list. Possibly the decklist containing the most 2-ofs ever? If you know of one with more I’d like to see it.

UW Reveillark combo

Tags: 
White
Blue
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
4
Average: 4 (11 votes)

UW seems to always be a contender in any format, but what about the color combination makes it so good? The decks featuring them don’t all fit under one banner of control or tempo, so is it simply that Blue and White tend to get the most powerful and complimentary cards? Perhaps. The true UW gold cards are surprisingly weak compared to the offerings of other color combinations. Geist of Saint Traft is a recent exception to this, but any Cube builder will tell you that UW is one of the harder gold card slots to fill with powerful cards. Hopefully Return to Ravnica will fix that without making UW too powerful. A tough ask, but we shall see.

Rakdos

You might be forgiven for thinking that Red/Black is a color combination reserved for the beginners and the bad decks, the obvious aggro deck at the beginning of the constructed season that is quickly overshadowed by better, faster, more reliable and skill intensive decks. In some ways you might be right. I’ve found myself drawn to Red/Black on a surprising number of occasions, and none of them have turned out all that well for me. I played Blightning and Ashenmoor Gouger at Nationals in 2009, where I lost playing for top 8 in part due to my mediocre Standard record.

Rakdos aggro

Tags: 
Black
Red
Colors
Gold12
Hybrid12
Land24
Red12
Converted Mana Cost
18
24
320
54
Type
Basic Land18
Creature16
Instant16
Land6
Sorcery4
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3
Average: 3 (28 votes)

More recently, Rakdos has become much more legitimate as a Black deck splashing red than a red deck splashing black. Black/Red Zombies and Black/Red Vampires are two recent examples of this trend, with one-mana black 2/2’s supported by red burn and very good manabases, we get Rakdos decks with both good spells and good creatures, which has often been the stumbling block of previous iterations. Sorry Goblin Outlander, you really weren’t that great in retrospect. Here’s a deck where the 2 power guys only cost a single mana and the cards have actual synergy rather than being an assortment of cards that were the best in their mana slot.

BR Standard Zombies

Tags: 
Black
Red
Colors
Artifact3
Black28
Gold3
Land21
Red5
Converted Mana Cost
115
214
37
43
Type
Artifact3
Basic Land11
Creature26
Instant10
Land10
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
4
Average: 4 (14 votes)

Izzet

For a guild of enemy colors, Izzet decks make a surprisingly large number of appearances in my play history. Traditionally combo colors, Red and blue mix fast mana and card selection and a love of instants and sorceries, creating well-known combo decks like Storm, Pyromancer Ascension, Splinter Twin, Dragonstorm and Seismic Swans to name a few. One of my first Pro Tour successes, way back at Pro Tour Berlin was with UR Grapeshot Storm, which earned me a spot in the money despite only being the second best combo deck in the room. A few Pyroclasms in the sideboard actually gave me a somewhat anomalous winning record against the Elves! Decks that dominated that Pro Tour.

UR Swathstorm

Tags: 
Blue
Red
Colors
Artifact5
Blue17
Hybrid4
Land15
Red19
Converted Mana Cost
05
110
220
36
64
Type
Artifact5
Basic Land2
Enchantment2
Instant20
Land13
Sorcery18
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
4
Average: 4 (12 votes)

Another deck close to my heart is the Splinter Twin deck I played at the inaugural Modern Pro Tour in Philadelphia. I was but one of a staggering 5 different UR combo decks in that tournament (Empty the Warrens Storm, Hive Mind, Splinter Twin, Pyromancer Ascension and Blazing Shoal Infect). The power of Rite of Flame, Ponder and Preordain made themselves much known that weekend. I managed another top 50 after a rocky 1-3 start with Twin – one day I hope to learn how to win a game before midday at a Pro Tour.

Splinter Twin - Jarvis Yu

Tags: 
Blue
Red

This deck forms part of my feature article:

A GP, a PT, Kiki-Jiki and Me

Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3
Average: 3 (81 votes)

UR isn’t just for combo decks; they do a good job at control too in certain formats. Ravnica/Kamigawa Standard was one of those formats and it allowed the formation of one of my all-time favorite decks – U/R Izzetron. It had it all: Big mana, Remand & Compulsive Research, two of my favorite cards ever, efficient removal and sweepers in Electrolyze and Pyroclasm and huge finishers in Keiga, the Tide Star and Invoke the Firemind.

UR Izzetron

Tags: 
Blue
Red
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
4
Average: 4 (11 votes)

The question of which guild to pick becomes a lot clearer for me after all that, and at the Pre-release I will be representing the Izzet faction and overloading my opponents’ defenses with powerful spells and the amazingly efficient Hypersonic Dragon. At least I will be for the first flight; I hear the drumbeat of the Rakdos calling out to me once again, and Red/Black does have so much lovely removal...

Thanks for reading and have fun at your pre-release, whichever guild you choose,

Richard

Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3.416665
Average: 3.4 (72 votes)
All trademarks and copyrights are acknowledged and are the property of their respective owners. This website is not produced by Wizards of the Coast TM. As an Authorized Internet Retailer of Wizards of the Coast, adventuresON.com may only ship sealed Magic: the Gathering products within the United States. As an Authorized Internet Retailer of Wizards of the Coast, adventuresON.com cannot sell sealed Magic: the Gathering products business to business. Authorized Internet Retailer for Wizards of the Coast