Convoke vs Populate: Tough choice. Convoke is a much more appealing mechanic from a spike perspective, and it can lead to some very fun cards. Populate is more appealing from a creative card combo perspective. I'll call it a tie.
Replicate vs Overload: Overload had potential; a Shock that overloaded into Pyroclasm would be awesome. Sadly, the only-upside design of overload really killed its interest for me. Replicate is just a really cool mechanic, so it's got Overload beat. Also, Djinn Illuminatus.
Transmute vs Cipher: Transmute is just so freaking useful and versatile. Yes, it's a tutor mechanic, and that leads to repetitive games, but it's just wonderful being able to stuff random Dimir Transmute cards into decks that need a tutor for a lot of things at a specific mana cost.
Dredge vs Scavenge: Dredge made one of the most interesting (If non-interactive) decks in the game. Scavenge makes some counters at sorcery speed. The winner is obvious.
Radiance vs Battalion: Battalion, not even close. Battalion isn't even good, Radiance is just that awkward and annoying.
Bloodthirst vs Bloodrush: Bloodrush is more interesting for me; combat tricks are great in Limited, and the design space for Bloodrush was properly realized (Unlike a lot of the mechanics from Return to Ravnica block).
Haunt vs Extort: Extort for not being confusing rules-wise. It's also not nearly as boring as you'd expect, much like Exalted.
Hellbent vs Unleash: Argh, this is a tough one. Unleash is much better from a constructed standpoint, but it's boring as hell. Hellbent is horrible, but it's more interesting. I'll go for a tie of mediocrity.
Graft vs Evolve: Graft just never got the good cards it deserved.
Forecast vs Detain: I never liked Forecast, and Detain is pretty underwhelming. I'll go with Forecast, just because I enjoy how control-y it is; Detain is more tempo.
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
The wedding is over. Now it's time for the honeymoon.
As a mechanic I was always a little "meh" about forecast. Sure it had some constructed viability (although only a few of the forecast cards got any real play), but the mechanic always felt a little too boring and utilitarian to be interesting. Oh wait, I just described azorius.
doesn't feel like a complete mechanic, mostly since it's a little limited in what it does. Should be constructed viable and I'm a little surprised we've not seen more from it. However I prefer forecast simply because it feels like the mechanic had more scope than this one.
I felt that transmute was a quite powerful mechanic, but it didn't feel very dimir to me.
This feels to me like the polar opposite of transmute - I think it fits the guild very well, but feels like quite a weak mechanic (mostly only because wizards overcompensated and made the good cipher spells cost too much).
I prefer the mechanic over transmute for flavour, but feel that transmute is the stronger of the two.
Awesome, I loved hellbent, both in flavour and application.
Reasonably solid mechanic, if a little limited in scope. Nowhere near hellbent.
I wasn't a huge fan of bloodthirst. I did appreciate the way it encouraged good play, but never really liked the mechanic itself.
Not sure how this will pan out for constructed yet, but in terms of flavour I'm all for this over bloodthirst.
I did like convoke. Although it felt a little limited in scope I thought it did exactly what the guild was trying to do. (and I thought the creature based variations on the mechanic were rather good too.)
Don't get me wrong, this is still a perfectly good mechanic for selesnya. It's just that I like convoke better. It doesn't help the decision that both mechanics feel of a similar power level.
Felt more complicated than it needed to be, and I don't think it really conveyed what it wanted to convey about the guild. Some of the cards felt like they had great potential, but I wasn't really a fan of the mechanic as a whole.
I was pleasantly surprised by extort. My first glance at the mechanic made me think it would be intolerably narrow and more than a little innefectual. Having played with the mechanic I feel my first impressions were very wrong.
The mechanic is still narrow, but I feel that the way it hits dead on for flavour compensates for that. And also contrary to my first impressions it's not a weak mechanic at all.
I quite liked replicate, although it was a little mana intensive to do anything major with, it always felt right for izzet. don't know that there's much more to say than that.
Wonderful mechanic ruined by the cards they printed for the mechanic. Silly all-upside card design philosophy. All it would have taken for me to like overload more than replicate is just a few examples that can overload cheaply to affect all players equally. As it is I can't support this over replicate.
Dredge was a wonderful, flavourful mechanic. Shame it spawned a broken and abused deck in multiple formats. I would take dredge over scavenge any day of the week, but by the same token I understand why wizards don't want to make any more dredge cards.
Sadly the replacement for dredge doesn't really feel like a complete mechanic. It also doesn't feel particularly strong either.
I don't want to talk about radiance.
I like batallion, even if it is just an expanded version of the windbrisk heights ability. They've added enough scope to it IMO to make a worthwhile guild mechanic. It doesn't hurt that it also feels spot on for Boros.
I'm going to cover these two together mostly because they feel more similar than all the other mechanics that share a guild.
I liked the idea of graft, but it did suck that there weren't any really good cards for the mechanic. It felt like it could have been really quite good with better support.
Which brings us to Evolve, which is kinda like graft in reverse. Also a really neat idea, and hopefully one that will get some constructed play.
I'm torn between the two of these for which one i like more to be honest. Best to call it a tie.
Convoke vs Populate: In terms of gameplay, I think convoke worked out better, and had that feel of "community" that selesnya wanted to promote. Populate was cute, but that was about it. At least for both of these designs, they could be put on multiple card types, and open design space is always nifty.
Replicate vs Overload: Replicate. I felt the spells were fairly (if almost too fairly) costed, and it always feels good to get more mileage out of your spells. Overload just felt too "all-upside" and boring. Limited on card types, but I guess that's the price of being a UR ability.
Transmute vs Cipher: Transmute. Tutor abilities are fine when they are limited in what they can find, I think. Cipher just felt like they were trying a bit too hard. Cipher depending way too hard on creatures really disappointed me.
Dredge vs Scavenge: DREDGE. No contest. I don't care if dredge made a whole broken deck archetype, its still the most fun I have with to this day. I think it's fine in what it wanted to do, and was happy that it could be placed on any card type. Scavenge really bothered me with how narrow it felt in design.
Radiance vs Battalion: Can I choose neither? Creature metalcraft is really lazy design, and radiance was just awkward to play with. I guess Radiance would win over due to it simply having more variety to expand on, but it would really be a narrow victory.
Bloodthirst vs Bloodrush: I think both were good. Bloodthirst was simple in what it conveyed, and I think it went with how aggressive the guild was. The only thing I dislike is how narrow Bloodthirst really is, and bloodrush has a lot more design space going for it.
Haunt vs Extort: Extort. It was a much more flavorful version of what the Orzhov did (even if it felt cheesy), and it had the added benefit of not confusing the ever living crap out of new players. Both had the space available for design, even if Haunt could theoretically do more. Though it kind of begs the question, if Haunt was too complicated, why was Cipher made...? But moving on.
Hellbent vs Unleash: Hellbent. Unleash, while flavorful, felt incredibly narrow and never did anything creative with it's design. It was just dudes get bigger and better when you unleash em. Hellbent still felt rakdos, and had much more room to grow in design, even if it's just a threshold mechanic.
Graft vs Evolve: This one is honestly a toss up. Both really do what simic wants to be doing, the only difference is Graft didn't really have the support I think it deserved. Evolve had a lot going for it, and had a lot of little synergies that existed, as well as cards worth playing. I do wish they weren't so creature oriented, but oh well. They're both really well done, and I applaud them for doing a good job both times.
Forecast vs Detain: Can I choose neither? Detain is "flavorful", but I didn't really enjoy playing with it. Forecast didn't make much sense to me, but it played interestingly. I think forecast probably gets a little ahead for how open its potential design is. Also don't like how most detain only hit creatures.