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guilds of ravnica pre release

Return to Return to Ravnica

We return (again) to arguably the fan-favorite plane, Ravnica.  The home of guilds, bountiful two-color cards, and Gates.  Wizards of the Coast has the full list of Guilds of Ravnica cards on their website, and there’s a lot to love.

Ravnica, the home of guilds. Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

Firstly, the return of Convoke, using your creatures like mana to cast cards with convoke. Several new abilities were added as well:

  • Jump-start – casting a card from your graveyard by discarding a card in addition to it’s mana cost
  • Surveil – a graveyard-dumping scry
  • Mentor – when a creature with mentor attacks it gives weaker powered creatures a +1/+1 counter
  • Undergrowth – an ability influenced by how many creature cards are in your graveyard

Secondly, I’m super excited to see the return of dual-named “shock” lands.  Island-Swamps, Mountain-Plains, among others, making fetching a specific type of land more powerful for multicolored decks.  Some of the best mana ramp spells specifically want you to fetch a forest, but if you need white, then you can now fetch a Forest-Plains.  They also allow a dual land to enter untapped (for a price), which is an uncommon feature of dual lands.

Lastly, the return of split cards.  Split cards now have a rule that the converted mana cost equals both parts of the card, but only while it’s still in your hand.  When it’s on the stack the converted mana cost is the half that you choose.

Playing at Pre-Release

“Who are the agents of the Dimir? No one and everyone.”  –Enhanced Surveillance. Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast

I dragged a bunch of friends with me to Guilds of Ravnica pre-release on Saturday.  I couldn’t not go when the draft included a guild-orientated booster.  You could choose between Selesnya, Boros, Izzet, Golgari, and Dimir.  Obviously I chose Dimir because it’s the only correct way to play Magic the Gathering.  The only way.

When it comes down to it, I was there for the Dimir cards.  I thought I’d not have much fun and most likely not win anything.  I expected to probably have a horrible time as more seasoned and/or serious players kicked my butt.  It happened last time I was at a tournament draft.  But I thought, in the very least, since there was a guild themed booster, I could assemble a half-decent draft deck and stand some kind of chance.

As per last time, I was one of two girls playing in a room with like 25+ boys.  Much to my surprise, I won three out of the five games and actually won a meager two boosters for my efforts.  One of my friends won four games and got five boosters, and all of my friends one at least one game.  The sealed guild draft was really fun and I hope that they will do it again for the next part of the expansion, with the other five guilds having pre-release guild boxes.  I will so be there if they do.

The Good, the Bad, and the Meh

While I’m mostly half joking about Dimir being the best guild, it actually held up during pre-release.  Surveil was a powerful mechanic when combined with Disinformation CampaignDarkblade Agent, and Dimir Spybug. Selesnya and Boros were also reasonably powerful, with Selesnya’s convoke ability and swarm, and Boros’ board wipe and double strike creatures.

Five guilds were present at pre-release. Image courtsey of Wizards Play Network.

From what I saw, Golgari and Izzet fell behind.  Jump-start wasn’t quite as helpful as it could be, and Golgari failed when it didn’t get the rares needed.  I heard rumors that Golgari was going to be the best, but then the rumor was that people were just choosing it for the powerful and/or valuable rares it could possibly contain.  Assassin’s Trophy being the big one in that regard. It’s a shame that these two guilds under-performed, considering they were the only two guilds with planeswalkers for Guilds of Ravnica.

And I just gotta say, hallelujah for the Boros Locket giving Boros some darn decent card draw it’s always been lacking.  I might actually start playing Boros now because of that one card.

The Future of the New Ravinca Set

The new Ravnica set is supposed to be a three-parter, with Guilds of Ravnica being the first set.  What can we expect from the next two expansions?  What would you like to see?

Ral, the Izzet planeswalker. Image courtesy of Wizards.

I am a huge fan of tribal effects.  I’d like to see guild tribal, including non-creature spells.  Creature – Dimir Rogue, Sorcery – Izzet, Enchantment Aura – Azorious.  Gruul creatures get +2/+2 until end of turn.  Selesnya creatures have lifelink.  Boros spells cost one less to cast.  It would be an interesting way to freshen up the guilds other than having an abundance of two-color cards.

Will there be alliances forming in the story?  What if a card could cost either a blue/red or a green/black, representing an alliance between Izzet and Golgari?  Or an Azorious card having an ability activated by a green/white?  I’d doubt that they would force a plethora of four-colored cards on us and would have to use the hybrid mana mechanic to let you have some flexibility.  Either that or they could use three colors, such as Esper representing Orzhov and Dimir working together (I ship them).  But at the same time, this seems complicated and probably won’t be implemented.

One thing is for sure:  we will be seeing more guilds as the new Ravnica block continues.  There are ten guilds, and in Guilds of Ravnica we are only seeing five.  I wonder if this set separation will represent the sides the guilds will take in the storyline?  If it is, I like where Dimir stands.  Time will tell.

Magic and Me

Vraska, who as of Guilds of Ravnica, is Queen of the Golgari. Image courtesy of Wizards.  

If you want to check out my decks (including the deck I drafted for pre-release), I have them logged on TappedOut.net.  And if you like playing Magic, I really recommend TappedOut period.  It is free to use to log your decks so you can keep track of your changes.

And, as I always say, better to buy Magic cards than packs of cigarettes!  Less cancer and more resale value.  So if someone complains about your investment in Wizards money-making scheme that is Magic the Gathering, you tell them it’s not the worst habit you could have.  You’re not just buying thin pieces of cardboard – you’re spending time with your friends, and that, sir or madam, is priceless.

Guilds of Ravnica officially releases on October 5th, 2018.  It is already available on Magic Arena.  Guild kits, featuring constructed 60-card decks based on the guilds and other goodies, will be released November 2nd, 2018.