Magic: The Gathering, now in its 25th year, is returning to the fan-favorite plane of Ravnica. The upcoming Guilds of Ravnica set is due out on Oct. 5 and will include cards from five of its 10 playable guilds.
Today, publisher Wizards of the Coast is revealing some of the first cards in the set. Here’s your first look at the mysterious Dimir, below.
Polygon spoke with Gavin Verhey, a former professional Magic player and member of the research and development team at Wizards, about the Dimir guild. He stressed that Dimir is an excellent faction for players who enjoy holding back in the early game and then swooping in for the kill.
“Dimir decks in Guilds of Ravnica tend to play a slower game,” Verhey wrote in an email interview, “gumming up the ground with creatures effective at dealing with your opponent’s attackers or providing you with some kind of advantage without needing to attack themselves. In the meanwhile, it carefully casts removal, countermagic, and discard spells to take out the problematic threats that mount on the other side of the table — all while drawing more cards for itself in the process. After the opponent’s board of creatures are removed or rendered ineffectual, and your opponent’s resources are drained, Dimir comes in for the kill with flying or otherwise difficult to block creatures that gracefully perform the coup de grâce on your opponent.”
Verhey said that those playing Dimir would do well to try and bluff their opponents, at least early in the season while players are still getting to know the different factions.
“From across the table, Dimir decks often look like they’re on the back foot, getting slow starts and being attacked early,” Verhey wrote, “while the player piloting them knows that they’re actually winning and carefully assembling the right cards to counteract your opponent’s strategies.”
To that end, Dimir’s unique mechanic is to surveil. It’s an ability written into the rules on certain cards that allows Dimir players to look at cards on the top of their own libraries. Similar to scrying, cards with the surveil keyword allow players to keep those cued up to be drawn next or toss them into their graveyard.
“Black always has a penchant for pulling cards out of your graveyard,” Verhey wrote. “Additionally, if you cross the streams a bit and play with any of Golgari’s (the green-black guild) undergrowth cards in your deck, dropping extra creatures into your graveyard can help fuel those as well.”
The pre-release weekend for Guilds of Ravnica, when players will have their first chance to use the new cards in games, starts Sept. 29.