Looking at a Random Card: Guardian of the Guildpact
(What am I doing here? Read here!)
Guardian of the Guildpact: That’s 16-2 in favor of creatures now. Just saying.
In my early days of playing casual decks on MTGO, I had one copy of this card in my UW deck as a reasonably hard-to-get-rid-off creature to actually win me the game after taking control of it. Even though my deck consisted exclusively of commons and uncommons, I was usually able to stop an opponent’s assault and get ahead of cards, but was then faced with a problem: Any creature I’d play would meet a number of creature removal spells my opponent was likely to hold in his hand, since he hadn’t needed them before. It turned out that practically all reasonable choices for finishers were rare (meaning that, if I’d ever possessed them at all, I’d already sold them for more tix to keep on drafting). Thus I had to get really creative to find ways to get on the attack. I had used Darksteel Gargoyle before, but found that with the advent of Ravnica way too many players ran Last Gasp – I couldn’t justify waiting to cast a 7-mana creature just to see it getting shot down immediately. I’m not really sure about my other winning conditions in that deck anymore – there had been a Genju of the Fields, and later an Urza’s Factory, but I’m sure I forgot a card or two here. Anyway, Guardian of the Guldpact worked nicely for a while, but the power curve for creatures kept going up with the following years, and when Terminate was reprinted as a common in Alara Reborn, the Guardian no longer fulfilled its intended function – what had once been a creative and somehow cute solution to a problem (at least in the MTGO casual room) had finally been relegated to a limited-only card from an out-of-date block.
Since there is no going back to earlier times, once again, I have to rate this card for its limited play value alone. For the third time in a row after Drowned and Matca Rioters, this is a creature intended to be used in a multicolor environment to play its supposed role. Of course, you can also put it in a generic environment, so that its ability reads essentially “protection from everything not colorless” – this might actually be interesting in an environment featuring many (colorless) artifacts, but is maybe a little overpowered if it effectively just means “protection from almost everything”. I feel it’s somehow inelegant in both cases. Be that as it may: The Guardian fulfills a very specific role in limited in a way no other card does. Depending on how you design your cube, it can be anything in between an interesting sideboard card and a first-pick caliber creature. Also, as a spirit, it possesses a very useful creature type.
In the end, the only thing which can be said against Guardian of the Guildpact is that its wording is slightly awkward and that its flavor is extremely block-specific. On the other hand, it is a plus that it plays so differently in different environments, keeping drafters who already have experience with it on their toes. These minor concerns cancel each other out, and thus the Guardian gets a sound C from me.