The Cipher mechanic is a perfect fit for the
Dimir, a guild full of infiltration experts.
Back in the first Ravnica, Dimir had two main
strategies-- mill, and small evasive beats. This
card pretty much marries the two together-- as
it encourages you to have small evasive
creatures to play it on so you can sneak in and
mill every turn.
The only problem is, that's a bad thing. The two
strategies don't merge well, as you're basically
dividing your efforts across attacking two
fronts-- the life total and the library. You're
better off focusing on one or the other, really.
The Cipher mecahnic is a cool one, no doubt, but
this isn't really a good showcase for it.
I love how this card's name could apply to so
many things, most of which don't apply to the
game except in the most peripheral of ways. I
don't have space to get into that here, so
instead I'll point out that this turns almost
any creature into a pretty nasty saboteur
(effect on combat damage). While denying future
resources can find you living on the edge as the
result of things they've already cast, it only
takes three or so hits from a creature carrying
this code to put an opponent in danger of
running out of cards, especially when combined
with similar effects from other cards and sets.
Even if you only use this to set up Sepulchral
Primordial, it's pretty decent.
Today's card of the day is Paranoid Delusions
which is a two mana Blue and Black that mills
three cards and can Cipher to mill three more
whenever that creature deals combat damage to a
player. While technically a decent and
efficient card the very nature of needing a
creature that deals damage to the opponent
consistently to function makes just winning with
damage a generally simpler strategy. Barring
very aggressive life gain it is still easier to
deal damage than mill faster than the opponent
can achieve a win condition. It is viable
support for an evasion based mill build, but
overall this card is not going to see much play
outside of that very specific design.
In Limited this can be surprisingly effective on
an evasive target and even with little or no
support can win a game, though just winning
through damage is just as likely aside from
Extort or pure lifegain cards stalling it out.
In Sealed it is playable for Dimir with support,
though winning on that condition is kind of a
gamble. For Booster it is a late in color pick
unless you are already working on a Dimir mill
deck which makes this a higher choice after