Today, we take a look at the two from the blue/black guild of Dimir: Duskmantle Guildmage from Gatecrash and Dimir Guildmage from Ravnica: City of Guilds.
The second ability for 2UB is a bit underwhelming compared to the first ability. You just mill the top two cards of your opponent’s deck into the graveyard. There are much more effective ways of doing this in Constructed, but it has Limited applications, and if nothing else, you have four mana open to do it, and nothing better to do, it can’t hurt, really. In Commander, however, if you get infinite mana, you can mill everyone for game. Of course, that’s only true as long as one or more of your opponents doesn’t play an Eldrazi in their decks. Then again, the good news is that if you use his 1UB ability before-hand, which would make lots of sense, you’ll probably kill them with the life drain anyway.
Overall, Duskmantle Guildmage is a pretty nice little uncommon. For Constructed, it fits very well into the Dimir strategies, and three mana for a potential major life drain is pretty darn good, I must say. Also, in multi-player formats, EDH especially, that first ability can do serious harm in multiple situations, as it affects any of your opponents.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad abilities, especially considering that if you have the mana open you can draw and discard a few cards, especially in Commander. However, you can only play them any time you could play a sorcery, as in during your own main phases.
For Constructed purposes, the new Guildmage blows this one away, but I can see this card still being relevant in Commander as a decent mana sink. But not being able to play those abilities at will really makes this card nowhere as good as it would be if they didn’t have that limitation of being only played at sorcery speed.
Winner: Duskmantle Guildmage. He’s just a great solid card and he has great utility in Standard, Limited, and EDH. It remains to be seen how and if he is utilized in other Constructed formats, but in any case, he’s just a great card to have in your deck-building arsenal.