Archetypes of Guilds

Jason Chung

Jason Chung

Introduction

Hello everyone, I’m Jason Chung from New Zealand and I’m part of Hareruya Pros. I stream on twitch.tv/sqlut and I specialize in drafting.

Jason Chung

Image Copyright: Wizards of the Coast

Since the release of Guilds of Ravnica on Magic Online, I’ve been playing drafts in the competitive leagues pretty much non-stop. I’ve managed to play over 100 drafts with most of it on stream and I am yet to be bored of this format. Unlike most limited formats, GRN Drafts are incredibly deep and the number of possible archetypes and strategies expand beyond the obvious 5 guilds.

Today I will be covering all the archetypes I believe exist, what the game plan is, and how to draft it.

Overview

Firstly I would like to mention, the way I like to and always have approached draft is to always have a macro plan. This means, instead of making each pick based on pure card quality and evaluation, I think of how much value each card is giving to the overall game plan of what my draft deck is trying to do. This means I will be sometimes picking weaker cards that fit better in my deck, as well as prioritizing key cards.

Guilds of Ravnica is divided into 5 guilds, but the archetypes don’t split off equally. Some guilds can support as much as 3 drafters while still being a good deck where others require you to be the only one drafting it. As a result, certain archetypes require more signal reading than others. Here is the archetypes that I believe exist in Guilds of Ravnica Draft.

Wojek BodyguardPiston-Fist CyclopsBeamsplitter MageDarkblade Agent
Guild SummitRhizome LurcherRosemane Centaur

Boros – Mentor Aggro

Fresh-Faced RecruitSkyknight LegionnaireWojek Bodyguard

Boros is the only archetype I believe can support 3 drafters in the pod and everyone still has a great deck. Boros is made up of mostly commons and uncommons and due to the abundance of two and three drop creatures in this format, it is very easy to be boros no matter what seat you’re at in the draft. Although I don’t like Boros that much in this format, it is one of the safest guilds to draft as you don’t need to read signals as greatly as the rest of the archetypes.

The keys to Boros are prioritizing curve over everything else and making sure you have a good amount of tricks or removal spells to make sure you are always proactive and attacking.

Sample Deck Ratio

Healer's HawkManiacal RageTake HeartSure Strike

A mix of pump spells, removal spells and enchantments work best. Supplement your creatures with the correct mix of non-creature spells. For example, if we have multiple 《Healer's Hawk》s, then cards like 《Maniacal Rage》 go up in value. If we have many 3/1s such as 《Blade Instructor》 then we want to prioritize 《Sure Strike》 over 《Take Heart》. 《Luminous Bonds》 go up in value when we have a lot of fliers as you only need to get rid of one key flying blocker to continue our assault.

Sample 3-0 Deck + Draft Viewer

Boros

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Click here to watch whole draft picks of Boros

Izzet – Control/Spells

Wall of MistPiston-Fist CyclopsHypothesizzle

This archetype often overlaps with both the Aggro Izzet deck and the Blue Gates deck. This deck often has a combo finish, utilizing a bunch or one high impact spell for one big turn to either end the game or put yourself in a dominating position. The key to this deck is grabbing the card advantage and removal spells early as the rest of the deck is usually quite easy to patch up. This archetype can usually only support one drafter in the pod and require a rare or two to really be great.

Sample Deck Ratio

6-8 Creatures is often enough. You want high toughness blockers such as 《Fire Urchin》, 《Wall of Mist》 or 《Electrostatic Field》 as well as creatures that can end the game. Such example are 《Wee Dragonauts》, 《Murmuring Mystic》 and 《Piston-Fist Cyclops》.

The rest of the deck consists of spells.

Wee DragonautsGravitic PunchMurmuring MysticRadical Idea

The split is usually dependent on what kind of win conditions you have. If you have high power creatures such as 《Piston-Fist Cyclops》 or 《Wee Dragonauts》 you want 《Gravitic Punch》 while if you are planning on winning with a big rare bomb or 《Murmuring Mystic》 then you want to pile on card draw such as 《Radical Idea》.

Devious Cover-UpEnhanced Surveillance

If we are lacking on ways to win the game, we want to make sure we draft a 《Devious Cover-Up》 or at least a 《Enhanced Surveillance》.

Erratic CyclopsNiv-Mizzet, Parun

This deck really wants rares that other decks can’t make use of such as 《Erratic Cyclops》 and 《Niv-Mizzet, Parun》. Hence going into this archetype when Izzet is open is most ideal.

Sample 3-0 Deck + Draft Viewer

Izzet Control

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Click here to watch whole draft picks of Izzet Control

Izzet – Aggro

This is my favorite archetype as it’s a great backup deck that consist of unwanted commons and reminds me most of the 《Slither Blade》 archetype in Amonkhet. It may sound weird for an Izzet deck, but we play very little spells and rely on curving out with great two-drops that rewards attacking.

Sample Deck Ratio

The only one-drop I play is 《Goblin Banneret》 but I would play as many as I can.

Beamsplitter MageVedalken MesmeristOrnery Goblin

8+ Two drops. These are the most important part of the deck. The best two-drop for the deck is 《Beamsplitter Mage》 followed by 《Vedalken Mesmerist》. All other two-drops often act as fillers with some upside so don’t worry about picking them highly as long as we reach 8+.

Wee DragonautsWojek BodyguardLeapfrog

5+ Three drops. 《Wee Dragonauts》 and 《Wojek Bodyguard》 are the main ones we are looking for. 《Leapfrog》 is a great three drop that always tables that this deck can always complete the curve with. Avoid 《Piston-Fist Cyclops》 if we can as we don’t play enough spells to consistently set it off.

2+ Four drops. We mainly only want to play 《Rubblebelt Boar》 as our four drop of choice. I would avoid 《Crackling Drake》.

Around 6 spells is enough for the deck. The spells act as support for our creatures. My ideal spells suite is

The spells we choose to play are very dependent on what creatures we drafted. Below are some examples of two card synergies that exist in Izzet Aggro.

Sample 3-0 Deck + Draft Viewer

Izzet Aggro

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Click here to watch whole draft picks of Izzet Aggro

Dimir – Surveil Aggro

Nightveil SpriteDarkblade AgentWatcher in the Mist

Dimir is a deck that I was having huge success with before it became obvious how to draft it. We cast an early surveil payoff card or two and then take advantage of the fact that once we play one surveil card, we get to chain off and basically manipulate our draw step for the rest of the game. The individual cards in this deck are not so strong, but we rely on the fact that we will draw a more favorable ratio of spells/lands than our opponent, generating virtual card advantage.

Enhanced Surveillance

Additionally, cards like 《Enhanced Surveillance》 (one of the best cards in this archetype), allow us to manipulate our draws to such a large extent that we are answering every card in their deck most effectively.

NarcomoebaCreeping Chill

The two ways to win are by removing all their relevant threats, which will happen if you end up drafting 6+ removal spells; or more commonly, through fliers and tempo as most of the payoff cards have evasion or some way to sneak through damage. 《Narcomoeba》 and 《Creeping Chill》 pay a huge role in this strategy.

Disinformation CampaignDimir SpybugThoughtbound Phantasm

As Dimir is very reliant on uncommons, the amount of Dimir a pod can support is heavily dependant on how many 《Disinformation Campaign》, 《Dimir Spybug》 and 《Thoughtbound Phantasm》 are opened.

Sample Deck Ratio

Recommended: Not having more than five cards that cost 4 or greater.

Disinformation Campaign

The best possible card for this deck is 《Disinformation Campaign》.

Sample 3-0 Deck + Draft Viewer

Dimir

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Click here to watch whole draft picks of Dimir

Blue Gates Decks

Wishcoin CrabGatekeeper Gargoyle

We answer all our opponent’s good threats using removal spells while using 《Wall of Mist》 and 《Wishcoin Crab》 to mitigate the weaker threats. We generate huge card advantage through 《Guild Summit》 and eventually close the game with a rare or 《Gatekeeper Gargoyle》.

While drafting this deck, the key is to prioritize removal and guild gates as it will allow is to pick up random bombs along the way and most of the key cards in this deck can be picked up quite late as no other archetype wants them such as 《Wall of Mist》 and 《Guild Summit》.

Guild Summit

Our gameplan is to play an early creature that is great at blocking, this will mitigate a huge portion of incoming damage. We then use removal spells on key creatures or fliers and play a 1 for 1 gameplay until we draw a 《Guild Summit》 where it would draw us an abundance of cards and eventually a way to win the game.

Sample Deck Ratio

Sample 3-0 Deck + Draft Viewer

Gates Control

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Click here to watch whole draft picks of Gates Control

Golgari – Undergrowth

Probably one of the most misunderstood and talked about archetype. There is many things misunderstood about this archetype so I will go over the general strategy more than individual card choices.

Izoni, Thousand-Eyed

Only draft Golgari if you are the only one drafting it at the table. This means we want to see if good Golgari cards table or come late in pack one. The exception to this rule is if you get an early 《Izoni, Thousand-Eyed》, then you can probably muster up a great deck despite being contested.

Only play 1-3 noncreature spells. The way this deck works is trading creatures aggressively and eventually playing more threats than our opponent. The most reliable way to do this is good deck building and ensuring our deck has a huge threat density. For this reason, I believe 《Deadly Visit》 is the worst card that everyone commonly puts in their Golgari deck.

Portcullis VineChild of NightPlaguecrafterGlowspore Shaman

Pick creatures that end up in the graveyard without much help. This can range from picking defenders and using 《Portcullis Vine》 to place them into graveyards or drafting two-drops that are often a must trade such as 《Child of Night》. Premium cards include 《Plaguecrafter》 and 《Glowspore Shaman》.

Sample Deck Ratio

The best noncreature spells for this deck are:

Guild SummitGlaive of the GuildpactGruesome MenagerieFind // FinalityPrice of Fame

There is four subthemes to the Golgari deck. They can sometimes overlap or just don’t exist at all.

Glaive of the GuildpactGuild Summit

Gates Matter – The reasons for gates is so you can play a very good equipment in the form of 《Glaive of the Guildpact》 in your 20 creature deck. This strategy also works well with 《Guild Summit》 as its just such a good card advantage engine.

Lotleth GiantHatchery Spider

7 Drops – Golgari usually doesn’t have the ability to get to 7 lands however it is possible if you pick the creatures that help achieve this goal. The enablers for this are 《District Guide》 and 《Generous Stray》 while the pay-offs are 《Lotleth Giant》 and 《Hatchery Spider》(Usually only played when you have 《Izoni, Thousand-Eyed》 in your deck)

Child of NightMoodmark Painter

《Child of Night》 Aggro – This deck utilizes Child of Night to win combat races by supporting it with 《Moodmark Painter》 and 《Ironshell Beetle》 while also knowing that if early creatures trade, you can just play a giant 《Rhizome Lurcher》.

Chamber Sentry

5 Color – splash everything. This could also just be a Naya shelled deck, but it is often Sultai or GB splash white. Incentives for this is you use the Golgari shell of early blockers to live and then utilize the fact you splashed a bunch of bombs in your deck and win the game via rares rather than via pay-offs. Best shell for 《Chamber Sentry》 too.

Sample 3-0 Deck + Draft Viewer

Golgari

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Click here to watch whole draft picks of Golgari

Selesnya – Good Stuff

Rosemane CentaurConclave Cavalier

Selesnya is a mix of the good parts of Boros and Golgari. We are a creature deck at heart that fully relies on curve and playing creatures with better stats than the turn warrants. The only non-rare convoke card we want in this deck is 《Rosemane Centaur》 as we’d rather be attacking than take an entire turn off for casting a creature that is very volatile to the heavy removal nature of the format. I would only want to be Selesnya if I am the only drafting it and the card that draws me most into it is 《Conclave Cavalier》.

Healer's HawkIronshell Beetle

There are two obvious subthemes I like to build around in Selesnya. The more common one is 《Healer's Hawk》 plus 《Ironshell Beetle》.

Deafening ClarionGarrison Sergeant

The other is splashing rares that don’t go anywhere else as Boros and Golgari rares are quite unwanted generally. The most obvious card is 《Deafening Clarion》 that often goes very late despite there being multiple Boros drafters as it just does not belong in Boros. The other card that is great to splash is 《Garrison Sergeant》 as it synergizes with the great pump spells Green and White have to offer.

Sample Deck Ratio

For Three and Four drops, it’s less about numbers and more about prioritizing high impact cards. Ideally you want to be putting a 4/4 into play by turn four.

As you want to be attacking all the time, you want to prioritize pump spells the most. 《Pack's Favor》 and 《Take Heart》 is best.

Sample 3-0 Deck + Draft Viewer

Selesnya

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Click here to watch whole draft picks of Selesnya

Conclusion

Overall this set is awesome to draft and no matter how many times I draft it, I can always find new and exciting card interactions and synergies! This will soon be my most drafted Magic Set and I don’t plan on slowing down.

Hopefully this brief overview will help you get an idea of what the possible decks you can draft in the format are and if you’re ever in search of watching a draft, pop by my stream at www.twitch.tv/Sqlut.

Thanks for reading,

Jason Chung @Sqlut

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