Let's Discuss: Shards, Wedges, and Guilds
Posted on Aug. 13, 2018, 5:07 a.m. by TypicalTimmy
Hello everyone, :)
I thought this would be a nice topic to discuss and just waste time with. It'd be nice to throw around ideas and opinions, as well as help introduce newer players to terms and mechanics they may be unfamiliar with.
What are your favorite Shards, Wedges, and Guilds and what about them appeals the most to you, and why?
Each of these terms refers to multicolored pairings. The difference is how many colors are paired.
Shards, referring to Shards of Alara, are a three-color pairing of either of the following five combinations:
- Bant ()
- Esper ()
- Grixis ()
- Jund ()
- Naya ()
The unique aspect of Shards is that it is a single color paired with BOTH of it's Allied Colors. This tends to make Shards uniquely powerful in respect to their ability to play off of one-another's strengths. Such is the case with Esper, having the controlling aspects of white, blue, and black all at it's disposal. Or for another example, Naya which plays off being able to create vast tokens and make them huge, quickly.
Wedges, named after the clans of Tarkir, are the following:
- Abzan ()
- Jeskai ()
- Sultai )
- Mardu )
- Temur ).
What makes Wedges powerful is that by aligning with BOTH of it's Enemy Colors, it is able to become far more flexible in it's assault. You can do multiple things, easier, with Wedges. For example, in Temur you can have the benefit of big creatures / ramp while still maintaining a decent pool of counter spells or burn spells as you see fit. Abzan is known for making huge creatures with +1/+1 counters, but what's nice is that while you strengthen your boardstate, you can also create a large divide between life totals with white and black pulling each other apart.
Guilds, named after the Guilds of Ravnica, are uniquely powerful in their own right. There are ten of them in total, which means there are five that are Allied Colors and five that are Enemy Colors. These play into the same benefits, and therefore weakness, as the Shards and Wedges from prior - Just to a somewhat lesser degree in terms of their overall flexibility. But what they lack in flexibility, they make up for in their potential. The less colors you have, the more honed your deck can become toward a singular (or duality, in some cases) goal.
The Allied Guilds are the following:
- Azorius Senate ()
- House Dimir ()
- Cult of Rakdos ()
- Gruul Clans ()
- Selesnya Conclave ()
The Allied Guilds are powerful in their respect that their two colors benefit from the same strategy. Both white and blue love to control, so Azorius is a powerhouse in control. Both black and red love to destroy, so Rakdos is a slaughterhouse in mayhem.
On the other side of the coin are the Enemy Guilds.
The Enemy Guilds are the following:
- Orzhov Syndicate ()
- Izzet League ()
- Golgari Swarm ()
- Simic Combine ()
- Boros Legion ()
What makes the Enemy Guilds powerful is actually their seemingly contradictory ideologies. For example, if black loves to kill, but green loves to grow... Then how in the heck can the Golgari Swarm even function?? Simple. You sling big creatures into your graveyard, and resurrect them for a lot less. Likewise, if red wants to burn but white wants to control and spread, How can Boros work?? Well, if you play cheap white control cards and bide your time to heavy burn spells, you can spread life totals and board advantage farther in your favor with each passing turn.
Every one of these, be it a Shard, a Wedge, or a Guild has a unique purpose that can be built around. It's up to us, the players, to find those purposes and build upon each of their individually unique abilities.
So with that being said, I'm curious: What are your favorite Shards, Wedges, and Guilds and why?
I personally love big, flashy cards. For me, winning is a lot more enjoyable if I can do so by bringing some kind of unique flare to the game. For example, Reverberating a See the Unwritten to free-cast four of my most powerful creatures from the top 16 cards of my library is totally awesome and fun. Likewise, nuking the board with Bontu's Last Reckoning and dropping in an Eerie Interlude on top of it is just painfully hilarious.
I absolutely adore Gruul for it's fast-paced, huge beatsticks that only serve to die in glorious combat.
But I also love the divide Orzhov creates, where I can just sit back and let life totals aggro out of control.
For Wedges and Shards, I like to go more broad rather than narrow. For this, Jund, Esper, and Naya are my go-to combinations.
Jund, essentially the love-child of Gruul and Rakdos, gives me my stupidly big creatures with my sociopathic onslaught.
What I love about Esper though is it's ability to hit multiple angles at once. Do I want to mill? I can. Do I want to raise some tokens? I can. Do I want to counter your spells? I can. Do I want to stop you from even playing the game?? ... Yeah, I can. Esper is like a blank canvas. I could build three Esper decks in the same format, and all three do something totally different. And I love that.
And with Naya, well... If you're a self-proclaimed Timmy and you DON'T love Naya, then you're not a Timmy, now are you? ;)
Woah. I literally just noticed that all three of my favorite three-colored combinations are actually Shards. See, already learning stuff about ourselves :D And that's exactly why I wanted to make this thread :3
Favorite Shard: Grixis
Manipulative, cruel, powerful. Edicts, burn, bounce, counterspells, everything control can be found here, and with a handful of evasive, aggressive creatures to swoop in with once you've established control of the board, or you can play the slow-burn game with effects like Nekusar, the Mindrazer. Put your opponent(s) on a clock and deny them the ability to stop it. Plus their ability to run some of the meanest creatures in the form of things like Kederekt Creeper, Baleful Strix, Master of Cruelties, etc. So much fun to be had.
Favorite Wedge: Abzan
Relentless power. I love Abzan because of its resilience, strength, and versatility. I'm not a huge fan of a lot of Abzan specific cards, but being able to run things like Animate Dead, Sun Titan, Brave the Sands, alongside gigantic green creatures like Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Ghoultree, Avatar of Might, etc is just incredible. The incredible suite of removal that B/W brings to the table in the form of Vindicate, Anguished Unmaking, Utter End, etc, combined with the might of Green creatures, further compounded by the volume of powerful reanimation effects these colors all have, builds a powerful, versatile deck that just never gives up. I've run Abzan decks that have had their most crucial cards hit with Slaughter Games type effects, and they still didn't stop, didn't slow down, and pulled out a win.
Favorite Allied Guild: Rakdos
Rakdos just knows how to throw a party. Every time I've built Rakdos I end up having fun, win or lose. Chaotic game-changers like Everlasting Torment, Havoc Festival, and Sire Of Insanity just bring a lot of shenanigans to the table that people just aren't prepared to deal with. Terminate is one of the kings of removal. Cards like Backlash, Delirium, and Rakdos Charm punish a variety of opposing playstyles. The individual colors also contribute a lot to your ability to handle creatures, and create even more chaos. Endless Whispers, Scrambleverse, you name it.
I cannot wait to get my hands on Last One Standing.
Favorite Enemy Guild: Simic
This one is simple, these two colors compliment each other so well it's insane. There is almost nothing that exists in this game that Simic cannot do. Green's weakness is its inability to manipulate the board much without combat. Blue's weakness is in its board presence and creatures. They are ideal together. Ramp, removal, aggro, counterspells, creature control, resilience. Simic has all its bases covered, and with just two colors. Mystic Snake, Trygon Predator, Kiora's Follower, Plasm Capture, Voidslime, Simic Charm, these cards are amazing, and that's without getting into the mono-color cards.
I'd also like to throw out some love for "Growth", the combination. The only pure Growth cards we have thus far are Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, and Witch-Maw Nephilim, but boy what cards they are. But the colors themselves are awesome together. G/U's flexibility, W/B's removal, much less other multicolor synergies, access to Abzan cards, Sultai cards, Esper cards. Obviously the mana base gets complicated fast, and it can be hard to handle, but if it works, it works.
August 13, 2018 7:22 a.m.
Wedge: Temur - Combining Big stompy things with control is great.
Shard: Bant - Various direction's you can take with a bant deck, they all offer a level of control and ramp, go wide or big to take the game.
Allied: Azorious - Control and evasion mostly.
Enemy: Orzhov - You can giveth life, or taketh away. Spend you life taking life.
Although these are favorites I do try to dabble in everything... I'd like to one day have a deck for each mono/guild/shard/wedge/nephilim/5c my wallet says no though...
August 13, 2018 8:45 a.m.
It's got everything I want; big creatures, killing enemy creatures, and throwing Lightning Bolts. I don't play modern, but Jund is one of my favorite decks to watch.
I've never been a blue player, but I've found myself in Temur in various drafts, and the 3 colors have everything you need for a great tempo deck. The card draw in blue is really good at fueling all the red burn and getting more big green creatures for action.
Not Gruul? THEN DIE!
I like reanimation, plus I am a Jund mage at heart and it's the missing piece of Gruul.
Every time I look at ideas for commander decks, it almost always ends up splashing as closely as I can get into Jund. It's the 3 color pair that I feel most at home playing, and there's nothing quite as satisfying as Junding someone out.
August 13, 2018 9:36 a.m.
I don't really have a favorite Shard/Wedge, but I'd be close to Temur because I love green's ability to ramp out lands, not making me worry about them being wiped. As for red/blue...
My favorite guild is Izzet, and it's more for flavor reasons. The pair is summed up with one key word: Creativity. For me, that is the key word, and I live by it. I'd want to be creative and discover multiple paths while achieving the end goal at the same time. This is why I love the Izzet deck from C18. Every time I look at the archetype, I discover something new, and it fascinates me. Of the archetypes Izzet uses, I find the most creativity in artifacts since there's so many different avenues to go through, not to mention all the synergies.
August 13, 2018 1:54 p.m.
Wedge-Sultai : value and reanimation, what’s not to like?
Shard-Jund : combo of favorite color pairs. Speaking of which...
Allied-Gruul : big dudes smashing face
Enemy-Golgari : read-sultai without blue
Honorable mentions for Simic, Temur, Selesnya
August 13, 2018 3:28 p.m.
Shard: Esper, what can't this shard do? Nearly every kind of combat/combo trick in the book available. Highly synergistic but also very unpredictable. Can go aggro, can go mid-game, can build control for late game. And contains one of my favorite tribals, Sphinx's.
Wedge: Jeskai. I don't get into the Wedges much, but Jeskai has the versatility I like.
Allied: That which can't be named. Black and blue defines my play style, and I DON'T mean mill. For some reason Wizards got the idea that B/U was all about mill. But there was a time it was all about manipulation and board-state control. B/U is all about head games, feints, and bluffs. You never know what the desk is trying to do outside of milling. You set up your opponent to play into your hand, allow them to set up their own demise, let them think they're about to win and then turn it around. That's why I love it, mind games to no end.
Enemy: Orzhov, they bring so much synergy to table. It's tricky without being complicated but not so overwhelming that no one wants to play against it....generally speaking, fun to play as or against.
August 13, 2018 9:22 p.m.
My personal favorite shard is Grixis, but I find myself loving Esper a ton. Esper has hate for everything, both card advantage based colors, and can do almost anything.
I like Temur as my wedge. It's got hate for almost everything(except Graveyard) and control. It's a fun Tempo color set!
I like Dimir as my Guild. It's a good, solid color set only lacking in Artifact and Enchantment hate. Simic also holds a place in my heart, mainly because it's just fun as flip to use.
August 16, 2018 7:47 p.m.
Shard: Jund Jund 'em Out... nuff said.
Wedge: Abzan Love Tokens and Counters.
Ally Guild: Gruul Stomp once and Stomp hard.
Enemy Guild: Simic Love what the represent and the idea behind it.