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Advanced Jumpstart: House Dimir


There are whispers and rumors abound in Ravnica, a city where all things are possible. The plane is home to some of the multiverse's greatest secrets with few as shrouded in mystery as House Dimir. There are those who don't even believe this shadowy guild even exists, like a bedtime story you tell your children to keep them in line. But the Dimir are very much real and use their guild to control the city from behind the scenes.

Today I'm going to be running through four Advanced Jumpstart packs for the Dimir Guild, starting with the original iteration of the guild in Ravnica: City of Guilds. Let's dive right on in and have a look!

Glimpse the Unthinkable
Dimir Guildmage

Dimir is really interesting as a guild because of how it approaches winning the game. It's kind of like a control-oriented aggro-mill strategy a lot of the time, and that's very strongly on display here. Lurking Informant, Glimpse the Unthinkable, and Circu all mill. Heck, even Szadek - the original guild leader - replaces his damage with mill. In normal 60 card Magic, this isn't really a very reliable way to win your games. In 40 card Limited that Jumpstart looks to mimic, however, it's perfect. This is what made largely a Constructed dud like Jace, Memory Adept such a house in Limited, after all.

And we're not just in the plan of milling people out, either. We're also controlling with card draw and discard effects like Consult the Necrosages and Dimir Guildmage. I've always had a soft spot for the ol' Guildmage and I think somewhere like this is an especially awesome place to shine. You can do both card draw and discard all at once if you manage to stick a hit with Dimir Cutpurse - a powerhouse from the past.

If all else fails, you can also go on the offensive. Dimir Doppelganger can become your opponents' best creature that you've managed to put into their graveyard - something that you should be able to achieve quite frequently. This could be a simple evasive critter or a monstrous behemoth - all for just 3 mana. Beyond that, you can also bring the beatdown with the Moroii. This thing is an absolute monster in Limited as a 4/4 flier for 4 mana. Sure, it pokes you for one every turn, but that's nothing compared to the damage you'll be inflicting on your opponents.

The Dimir guild in the original Ravnica set was my absolute favorite to play with at the time, and for good reason. The cards were strong and interesting and played well with the ub Underworld Dreams deck I was running at the time. Unfortunately, though, at the end of the story for Ravnica: City of Guilds, Szadek is defeated and House Dimir dissolved.

...or so the citizens of Ravnica thought.

Enter Gatecrash Dimir, where Lazav has taken over the guild of secrecy and shadows and made it his own. Unfortunately for him, the guild was noticeably powered down in this block - so much so that the guild was deemed nigh unplayable in draft for the set. Thankfully, though, there were still some great cards - just not a ton at common and uncommon that really help us push a solid strategy. That's okay, though, because this is custom Jumpstart, much like a Cube, so we can do whatever we want! And you'd better believe we're stocking up on rares.

Nightveil Specter
Consuming Aberration
Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker

Nightveil Specter - monstrous tournament staple in its Standard tenure? Check. Reverse Dark Confidant in Duskmantle Seer? Yup, we're rocking that too. And yes, we're even running the massive mill monstrosity of Consuming Aberration. Because of the limits of this block, this pack lacks quite the same degree of controlling elements found in the other blocks, but there's just so many strong bombs that they make up for it in their own way.

Have you ever connected with a Mirko Vosk? In Limited? If not, you're missing out, as he's an absolute beating when left unchecked. He's not the only way to mill out your opponents either. The aforementioned Aberration does a great job of it, as does Mind Grind. Duskmantle Guildmage does an especially fantastic job at showing just how much Dimir's game plan is a marriage of both mill and aggression.

If you want to push mill a little more, you might also want to consider adding Breaking // Entering to your pack. I left it off here because it's not strictly Dimir, but the Breaking side of things is basically just a smaller Glimpse the Unthinkable. That's huge in Limited! Build your packs how you want I say, so if you want to slot it in, by all means.

Lazav's attempts to manipulate the Implicit Maze and take over Ravnica at the end of the block's story may have failed, but that just gave him further opportunities at later times. While he was a little preoccupied gearing up for the showdown of War of the Spark by flushing out the agents of Nicol Bolas, he and House Dimir had plenty of time on display in Guilds of Ravnica.

Guilds sees a pretty serious departure for the playstyle of the guild of secrets. In previous sets, there was a clear focus on milling, though with a somewhat aggressive twist. Perhaps because it didn't quite stick the landing as well in Gatecrash as Wizards may have liked, but instead the Dimir plays with self-mill, library manipulation, and general control.

Here you'll find a lot of fairly standard control effects. This includes things like countermagic (Sinister Sabotage), removal (Artful Takedown), card selection (Notion Rain and Discovery // Dispersal), and good ol' discard (Thought Erasure and Disinformation Campaign). Once you've got a firm hold on the game, you can overwhelm your opponent with cards like Doom Whisperer and Dream Eater. It's a much more straightforward gameplan, but a potent one all the same.

Now let's go ahead and mix them all together!

Oh, how I wish I could've put more cards in this pack. Dimir is filled with fantastic cards across all three blocks and I tried to weed out the cream of the crop here. The beaters are big and the mill effects are at their absolute best. If you want to go a little more all-in on the Mill here, I'd obviously suggest Glimpse the Unthinkable and Breaking // Entering as mentioned prior. To get a good representation of the guild across all three blocks and create a solid pack, I had to forego this strategy a little. That said, we still get the biggest and baddest mill cards around, making it a totally viable strategy over raw aggression - fitting for the secret and totally nonexistent House Dimir.

And so, as the Dimir slink back into the shadows, that wraps up this round of Advanced Jumpstart. Next week I may be back with the next iteration with the Izzet League, but I also might have something else to talk about. I've been playing a lot of Legacy lately and had a great time with Eternal Weekend this past weekend, so I may take a little bit of time to chat it up about my favorite format in Magic. See you then!

Kendra Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: Kendra Smith

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