September 5, 2018

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Daily Dose of Guilds of Ravnica – Throwing cards to the graveyard

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Guilds of Ravnica. Week one of preview season just started, and players are already picking some early favourites for which guild they want to allign with.

One of those guilds, Dimir, has a new mechanic that it’s bringing to the party. Surveil is a new mechanic that's similar to Scry. The difference between the two is that if you don’t want to the card you are looking at with Surveil, you place it in your graveyard instead of the bottom of your library. That might seem like a small difference, but your graveyard is a resource that can be used to your advantage. Today I’m going to be looking at two new spells that have the Surveil mechanic and a reprint of a creature that works amazingly well with Surveil.

First off is the usual classic spell infused with the new mechanic of the current set. Let's take a look at Sinister Sabotage:


There have been 13 other spells that counter any spell with the exact same casting cost printed in Magic history. Some of them don’t do anything additional, like Cancel, while others exile the countered spell, like Dissipate. When it comes to card selection, the best one up to this point has been Dissolve which also allowed you to Scry 1.

Where Dissipate countered a spell and removed the card from your opponent's graveyard, Sinister Sabotage can counter a spell and add a card to your graveyard thanks to its Surveil 1 ability. That card could be a creature to feed Undergrowth, or a spell that can be cast with Jump-Start. Or it could just be good card selection, removing a card from the top of your library that you don't want to draw.

With Disallow being rotated out, this card could fit nicely into that slot.

The next card I want to talk about is another variation on a spell we’ve seen before, Thought Erasure:


Like the previous card, there have been many iterations of this kind of card. The best of all time of course being Thoughtseize. Duress is considered quite strong as well, but doesn’t let you discard creature spells. Divest is also one mana, but only extends to creatures or artifacts. Another popular one is Inquisition of Kozilek, but tbat can only choose a card with casting cost three or less. As such, Thought Erasure makes a good addition to this form of

Being able to choose any card from your opponent’s hand to discard comes at a price though, and the price for this card is two mana. Specifically two mana of two different colours. But if you're playing a deck that can cast it, Thought Erasure has a definite upside. Being able to Surveil 1 is almost like a 2-for-1. You get to remove a card from your opponents’ hand while also potentially adding a resource to your graveyard for later.

Both of the cards above work well with this next one thanks to the new Surveil mechanic. The time has come to reveal a reprint from back in Future Sight. Here is Narcomoeba:


We've seen this card at uncommon in both Future Sight and Modern Masters. Guilds of Ravnica has bumped it up to rare, mainly due to it both being a complicated Magic card and its potential strength with the new mechanics of the set.

Being able to get a free 1/1 Flying creature simply by playing your other spells seems like it can be abused in the right deck. Just think of Ixalan's Explore mechanic. Having Narcomoeba on top of your deck will now net you a +1/+1 counter and a 1/1 Flying creature. Not too bad if you ask me. Using Search for Azcanta’s ability can also allow you to cheat a free 1/1 Flying creature onto the battlefield.

We'll have to see what other cards from Guilds of Ravnica could help cheat out this neat 1/1 Flying creature.

Personally, Surveil makes my brain immediately want to find ways to cheat stuff into my graveyard and find existing cards that will help me do that. This is a great new mechanic that has a lot of potential. It also works well with the new Jump-Start mechanic I talked about on Monday, and another new mechanic that I'll talk about tomorrow.

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose and join me tomorrow as I talk about that new mechanic and some of the cards that will take advantage of it.