Although it seems like Ashiok, Dream Render would be a shoe-in for some kind of Mill deck, I felt discouraged from going that route because unfortunately Ashiok, Dream Render exiles the graveyards after it mills—and the payoffs I was most excited to play all focused on the size of the opponent's yard.

Fortunately, this seemed like a fine time to build around the Dimir Guild itself! After all, I feel like the Dimir have gotten largely shafted on the trips to Ravnica except for this most recent one, when surveil was finally The One. Transmute was clunky and weird, cipher was even clunkier and weirder.

Neither one really did what I feel the Dimir Guild should be doing: making use of all possible information. Surveil is really fun and interesting. It makes me wish there were sweeter blue or black cards with threshold, but I'll have to wait for that one. In the meantime, Ashiok, Dream Render is cooking up plenty of fun Dimir antics.

Feeling nosy? Hopefully this will help:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Ashiok, Dream Render by Andy Hurst

'Ashiok, Dream Render' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $29.77

Cards

Enhanced Surveillance

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176727_200w.jpg

You may look at an additional two cards each time you surveil.
Exile Enhanced Surveillance: Shuffle your graveyard into your library.

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Ashiok, Dream Render

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.59

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188627_200w.jpg

Spells and abilities your opponents control can't cause their controller to search their library.
−1: Target player mills four cards. Then exile each opponent's graveyard.

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Thought Erasure

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175178_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
Surveil 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put it into your graveyard.)

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Creeping Chill

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176732_200w.jpg

Creeping Chill deals 3 damage to each opponent and you gain 3 life.
When Creeping Chill is put into your graveyard from your library, you may exile it. If you do, Creeping Chill deals 3 damage to each opponent and you gain 3 life.

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Tainted Isle

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $4.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/125514_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}. Activate this ability only if you control a Swamp.

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Dimir Guildgate

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222602_200w.jpg

Dimir Guildgate enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Doom Blade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145420_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonblack creature.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235544_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Circu, Dimir Lobotomist

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/13226_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a blue spell, exile the top card of target player's library.
Whenever you cast a black spell, exile the top card of target player's library.
Your opponents can't cast spells with the same name as a card exiled with Circu, Dimir Lobotomist.

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Covetous Urge

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198885_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from that player's graveyard or hand and exile it. You may cast that card for as long as it remains exiled, and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast that spell.

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Bad River

Market Price: $3.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4974_200w.jpg

Bad River enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}, Sacrifice Bad River: Search your library for an Island or Swamp card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Shadowmage Infiltrator

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161815_200w.jpg

Fear (This creature can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or black creatures.)
Whenever Shadowmage Infiltrator deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.

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Dimir Spybug

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176733_200w.jpg

Flying
Menace (This creature can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.)
Whenever you surveil, put a +1/+1 counter on Dimir Spybug.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235542_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Recoil

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/52140_200w.jpg

Return target permanent to its owner's hand. Then that player discards a card.

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Agony Warp

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128832_200w.jpg

Target creature gets -3/-0 until end of turn.
Target creature gets -0/-3 until end of turn.

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Deadly Visit

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175182_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature.
Surveil 2. (Look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them into your graveyard and the rest on top of your library in any order.)

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Discovery // Dispersal

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176782_200w.jpg

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House Guildmage

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176448_200w.jpg

{1}{U}, {T}: Target creature doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
{2}{B}, {T}: Surveil 2. (Look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them into your graveyard and the rest on top of your library in any order.)

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Dimir Aqueduct

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222601_200w.jpg

Dimir Aqueduct enters the battlefield tapped.
When Dimir Aqueduct enters the battlefield, return a land you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {U}{B}.

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Head Games

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15157_200w.jpg

Target opponent puts the cards from their hand on top of their library. Search that player's library for that many cards. The player puts those cards into their hand, then shuffles their library.

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Mundungu

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5887_200w.jpg

{T}: Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1} and 1 life.

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Whispering Snitch

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176444_200w.jpg

Whenever you surveil for the first time each turn, Whispering Snitch deals 1 damage to each opponent and you gain 1 life.

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Notion Rain

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176445_200w.jpg

Surveil 2, then draw two cards. Notion Rain deals 2 damage to you. (To surveil 2, look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them into your graveyard and the rest on top of your library in any order.)

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Price of Fame

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222574_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a legendary creature.
Destroy target creature.
Surveil 2. (Look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them into your graveyard and the rest on top of your library in any order.)

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Baleful Strix

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $3.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218260_200w.jpg

Flying, deathtouch
When Baleful Strix enters the battlefield, draw a card.

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Whisper Agent

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176063_200w.jpg

Flash
When Whisper Agent enters the battlefield, surveil 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put it into your graveyard.)

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Sleep

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/168452_200w.jpg

Tap all creatures target player controls. Those creatures don't untap during that player's next untap step.

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Sinister Sabotage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175177_200w.jpg

Counter target spell.
Surveil 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card into your graveyard.)

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Mnemonic Wall

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145422_200w.jpg

Defender
When Mnemonic Wall enters the battlefield, you may return target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Aid the Fallen

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188304_200w.jpg

Choose one or both —
• Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
• Return target planeswalker card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Citywatch Sphinx

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176581_200w.jpg

Flying
When Citywatch Sphinx dies, surveil 2. (Look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them into your graveyard and the rest on top of your library in any order.)

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Deadeye Brawler

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/155678_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
Ascend (If you control ten or more permanents, you get the city's blessing for the rest of the game.)
Whenever Deadeye Brawler deals combat damage to a player, if you have the city's blessing, draw a card.

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Jester's Cap

Market Price: $3.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12706_200w.jpg

{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Jester's Cap: Search target player's library for three cards and exile them. Then that player shuffles.

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Thoughtbound Phantasm

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176584_200w.jpg

Defender
Whenever you surveil, put a +1/+1 counter on Thoughtbound Phantasm.
As long as Thoughtbound Phantasm has three or more +1/+1 counters on it, it can attack as though it didn't have defender.

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Junktroller

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183378_200w.jpg

Defender
{T}: Put target card from a graveyard on the bottom of its owner's library.

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Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206670_200w.jpg

Menace
When Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths enters the battlefield, target opponent looks at the top three cards of your library and separates them into a face-down pile and a face-up pile. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.

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Nightveil Sprite

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222534_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever Nightveil Sprite attacks, surveil 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card into your graveyard.)

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Disinformation Campaign

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176735_200w.jpg

When Disinformation Campaign enters the battlefield, you draw a card and each opponent discards a card.
Whenever you surveil, return Disinformation Campaign to its owner's hand.

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Thief of Sanity

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.59

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176941_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever Thief of Sanity deals combat damage to a player, look at the top three cards of that player's library, exile one of them face down, then put the rest into their graveyard. You may look at and cast that card for as long as it remains exiled, and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any type to cast that spell.

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Watcher in the Mist

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176729_200w.jpg

Flying
When Watcher in the Mist enters the battlefield, surveil 2. (Look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them into your graveyard and the rest on top of your library in any order.)

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Mahamoti Djinn

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180890_200w.jpg

Flying (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.)

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The Game Plan

Our goal is to draw the game out as long as possible until we can look at pretty much all our cards, then use the best to pick the opponent apart. Enhanced Surveillance and Junktroller make decking difficult, and because we know what we'll be surveilling away, we don't have to take unnecessary risks. From there, our card selection and card advantage engines can take over and nickel-and-dime the opponent until they give up from sheer frustration.

Our creatures are strange. They're not the most imposing bodies, but several of them have deathtouch, which will make our opponents leery of combat, and they'll want to spend their removal on our surveil enablers, even though the bodies attached to them are medium at best.

We won't be able to punch through for much damage until later in the game, when Citywatch Sphinx and Mahamoti Djinn come online (can we pour one out for Mahamoti Djinn by the way? Usually I'm ecstatic whenever we get something rare downshifted, but Mahamoti Djinn was one of the original "bomb" rare flyer archetypes, and it feels just a tiny bit sad it's not even worthy of a rare symbol anymore. We'll make sure to take out our grief on the opponent's life total). But that's ok. In this deck, we've got time.

Just like Guilds of Ravnica Limited, Disinformation Campaign is really good as long as our board isn't left totally undefended while we're engaging in some shenanigans. Our removal is pretty solid, with excellent targeted removal in Doom Blade, Price of Fame, and Recoil, with Deadly Visit shoring up some weaknesses and Agony Warp ideally waiting until a perfect combat step to ruin.

The Rares

(Remember, since this Planeswalker is Uncommon there are 5 Rares instead of 4.)

If the Thief of Sanity goes uncontested, losing is tough. It's easy to understand, but some of the youngins might not realize how utterly insane this card is when we can use our mana to pay for the spells. There are many niche cards from yesteryear, like Muse Vessel or even previous Dimir star Nightveil Specter, that are just so much worse than something like the Muse Vessel here. The clock isn't terribly significant, but the ability will turn the game if not dealt with.

These decks are largely singleton, so I'm not sure how relevant Circu, Dimir Lobotomist Meddling Mage ability will be, but the milling is consistent with the grindy nature of this deck and the Dimir in general, so I thought it merited inclusion. Remember that because the way the card is worded, a blue/black spell will get two cards.

Fact or Fiction is one of my favorite cards in the entire game, and this lets us play a very enjoyable and satisfying subgame while also providing a serviceable evasive body. It's not the best card ever, but hey, it's fun, and it'll provide us with some cards.

Once upon a time, this was a highly coveted chase rare. Unfortunately, this card fell under the Law of Cranial Extraction: it was expensive and didn't impact the board, so it was largely ineffective despite being cool and having really scary art. However, in a format like this where our opponents only have four to five rares plus a planeswalker, the ability to nullify three of them provides some serious value.

Sure, we might not take rares, opting for some removal or something instead, but the option to deal with sometimes more than 50% of the opponent's best cards is too good to pass up. I love D. Alexander Gregory's artwork, but how dare they replace the original in 9th Edition? Sacrilege.

This feels like a very Dimir card to me, although I think our opponent will question the use of "games" in the name, because games usually imply fun. Suffice to say, your opponent won't be having fun when this resolves. If they've never known what mana flood looks like, we'll be able to provide some...ah...enlightenment on the subject.

Unsung Hero

Back in the day, I used to make it a point to collect Invitational cards—cards designed by winners of the aforementioned tournament. I thought they were the coolest thing. And in the multiplayer games I used to play, Shadowmage Infiltrator was a boss. (It still has an incredible name. I hope we get more Shadowmages.) I suppose I'm not terribly surprised it's not worthy of rare status anymore, but it was printed at a time when creatures were beginning their transformation from "Mostly Bad" to "Sometimes Pretty Good," and unfortunately it was juuuuust a little too weak to fully make the leap.

Funnily enough, it was printed in the same set at the same cost, but a higher rarity than Psychatog, which was one of the most dominant creatures of its era and unfortunately for the Shadowmage Infiltrator, could block it easily. Wild Mongrel, another of the more dominant creatures of the era, could change colors as it grew, also making it much less fearful of Johnny Magic.

Anyway, Shadowmage Infiltrator is still a fine creature! It provides card advantage, blocks fine, and is an evasive (if slow) threat at an acceptable rate. I'm very happy to have it available for multiple decks without taking up a rare slot. And thankfully, the extremely arbitrary rules I go by for the actual cards themselves let me play the Timeshifted versions of the card, as I like the cardframe and the art much more than the M25 editions. God I love the Timeshifted Sheet. Long may it live.