Simon Says #45: Guild Structure in Dragon’s Maze Limited (DGR 8-4)

With Dragon’s Maze entering the format, the five-guild drafts of Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash are history. Instead, there are ten different three-color decks waiting to happen. All of them include two guilds from one of the previous sets, and only one of the other. Figuring out what this structure implies for drafting pack one and how to build powerful and focused, yet consistent decks is going to be the key to solving the Dragon’s Maze.

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  1. I love the videos, and your strategies and insights into limited formats are excellent, glad to see you stepping in to DGR right away.

    The deck is pretty sweet, though it’s possible you over-valued Blast of Genius early on in the draft. It’s power level is very high, but it’s not very consistent, since every time it draws you lands its damage ability gets worse. The Jelenn Sphinx isn’t quite as powerful, but it’s much more consistent, and is very hard to deal with for most decks, especially since flyers seem pretty powerful in this format. Plus it’s easier on your mana considering your first couple of picks, and lets you have a Wind Drake instead of the Rakdos guildgate. Not having to worry about splashing a forth color means that you get to take more relevant cards in your Ravnica pack too, and gives your deck more focus in a field where many opponents are, for the time being, trying to run decks with difficult mana bases.

    Since the format is still so young right now, I could very well be wrong about that though. I look forward to seeing more videos from you, and finding out how you analyze and master the format.

  2. Great draft, though I’m pretty sure getting into a white/blue/black deck by taking sphinx over blast of genius would have taken you to much better places – just in general, I think one should strive to have a deck that has one guild from gatecrush and one from return to ravnica, and shphinx is at least as powerful as blast of genius.

  3. Nice Color-Diagram but when should I choose my three colors. That can’t be only after the first pack!
    There were so many good green cards…
    And “armadilo cloak” is absolutly broken!
    I think gatekeepers are bad, because often they are 2/4, okay you need skill to play them early enough ;) In my first 2 Draft of DGR I didn’t get that many Gates, may be my friends took them too high…

    I really like your videos keep the good quality!

  4. I played pretty consistently through the pre-release weekend – definitely ended up doing much better in the block draft format than the sealed. My impressions:

    A focused 2-color deck will always out perform other decks in this format, even if a bit under-powered at the higher levels. But then again go look at the 6 and 7 on-color drops – they can be played in the 2-color decks to great effectiveness. So far I have piloted a 2-color Boros deck, a Rakdos deck, and a Simic deck to victory over 3+ color decks.

    If you can lock into 3 colors early on with some uber-powerful cards, that is also the way to go – I drafted along with you, but ended up with an over-powered Simic/Selesyna deck – I know the picks would have changed based on what I was picking instead of what you were picking, but I even first picked the 3/1 haste BR haste guy before jumping over to Selesyna with the Unflinching Courage aura!

    Other things I have noted – gates are drafted way high in the first pack – all the predictions of being able to pick up plenty of gates each draft is way off base. Cluestones you can get plenty of, but gates are pretty scarce so far – another reason to cut to 2 colors if you can manage it early on and another reason the gatekeepers are ending up note being as powerful as everyone thought – I consistently find myself having to pick between them in the same packs, and neither usually wheel!

    My final note – I still love Simic – I already have 4 of the on-color krasis Simic rare from Dragon’s Maze, and while clunky in getting going, he is amazing when you have lots of creatures with counters on them already. I have yet to get Vorel working in any decks – have taken him twice so far and then never get any evolve creatures to go with him – :[

    It’s going to be a fun ride while DGR is with us (although RTR packs are going to stay uber-expensive with it be the least rewarded pack in payouts and still having the most expensive mythic in it)!

  5. I am not sure whether three-color decks are the best option in this format as you say. Rakdos deck of your opponent was maybe little weaker but also much more consistent. Lately I have also seen couple people having success with drafting Simic. Apparently two colored deck is an option as well.

  6. Great video, always expecting your analysis of the formats where you offer some very strong insight into the strategy.

    I agree with most of the above, with sphinx probably being better than blast, other than that I agree with most of the picks.

    I also agree that the 2-color decks are powerful, however I feel that it’s not really a decision but rather a consequence of the two colors being open enough to allow you to go for that. In any case, having a strong 2-color basis with third color as a splash has to be a significant margin better than an even split of all colors, where 2-color 2-drops (which are strong in this format) can screw up your starts quite badly.

    Looking forward to new videos!

  7. the deck tech you provided with the introduction was great and i will consider it always. but i have to admit that still going two colour gives you a bonus on consistency which compensates the loss of cardpowerlevel in a high enough matter to give it more than just a consideration. i would alwys try to keep being two coloured and just swith to more colours by the appearende of real strong cards.

    additionally i have to say you overvalued your gatekeeper and that blast of genius. the later is just great when you have the card you want to discard in your hand. other wise its just a six mana divination which can end up discarding your only drawn spell to do any dmg. besides that you have to claim your target before you draw. i just realized THAT when the set was released. that weakens the car pretty much in the matter of consistancy. i have find this card very powerfull in the spoiler. today i would pass it till pick 5 or 6. youre better served with explosive impact.

    i was pretty suspicious about the keepers in the spoilers, just valued them as a bad cycle. givin its a great card for standard pauper, i never ended up with enough gates in the old formats. with one gate they would have been fine and a high pick for value, givin that the removal in dmg is really awfull. of course they will end up being reasonal picks over others, bu i guess you will see them being cast without additional value more than than with.

  8. I don’t really think Blast of Genius is worth the splash. Three colors already makes your deck inconsistent, and splashing anything but a huge bomb is not worth it at that point. To actually kill something good with BoG you usually have to discard the best card you drew (or hard in your hand). So it often ends up as a worse version of Thoughtflare.

  9. In my opinion, DGR is one of if not the best draft format of all time, even better than original Ravnica. Theirs so many option’s and strategies to play out.

  10. Frizzell, RTR-boosters won’t go over 4 tix, you can take my word for it.
    Man that M2G1 play (or should I say not-play) was so funny, never laughed so hard with a mtgo-video. Playing mind games with the oponent just to get a fist in the face, what a great lesson. There was absolutely no reason not to play the 0/4 on turn 2; you could have gotten a decent threedrop next drawstep, and what then ? Play the kingspin pet and not trade with it ? And did you really think not letting you oponent know you have a defender changed anything about his plays ? Always nice to see the pro’s blunder, makes us regular players forget about our own mistakes for a while :p.

  11. I probably would have jumped into Simic as soon as I saw the blue-green Arrest swing by at pick 4 or wherever it was; it would have meant throwing away the Tithe drinker and maybe the gatekeeper, but on the other hand there’s nothing that says “this color combo is open” like getting its only good removal spell in pack 4.

  12. Thank you for the video Simon. I always enjoy them and gleaning what insight I can. From what I have seen with gatekeepers, they rarely drop with the benefit of the double gate effect. If they do, it’s usually on turn 5 or later where the mana is in play, and you drop a tapped gate on turn 5. I don’t think they should be prioritized too highly. Mana fixing is definitely a plus. Also, clue stones are good for a turn of acceleration if you have big creatures. In DGM, the single color creatures are mostly mediocre. The gold cards are always best. In the later packs, you I don;t believe you can depend on a certain guild mechanic being available. I think single color cards will find more value in the new format… I’m looking forward to seeing if that is actually correct. Till next time, thanks for the videos.


  13. thanks for the video as always :)
    while watching your draft a 2nd time, i was testing if it would still be possible to signaldraft, like u did in triple-gtc-drafts.
    and from the signals you could have gone Bant/UWG with alot of strong blue cards from dragons maze (2x wind drake, 1x krasis incubation, 1x vorel, 1x jelenn sphinx) and cards like unflinching courage and give/take.
    so trying to pick azorius as mainguild with greensplash i got this from the picks you could have taken:–draft-test1

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