RETURN TO RAVNICA HAS BEEN SPOILED and I am all like-
I would say the world is getting shaken up, but we are actually going to a new world entirely! If you were with us in Ravnica the first time around, you have an idea of the value-packed, multicolor goodness that is coming. If you weren’t, you are in for an epic treat.
Today we go over some of the more exciting spoilers from the much anticipated fall expansion. Let’s go!
This has the potential to make me a very rich or very poor man in RtR draft. Whether forcing around this card is going to be viable or not, I’m going to have to try it. It looks way too fun. This card has the potential to be an archetype defining repetitive Shock like Glacial Ray or Burning Vengeance. With the right enablers, a card like this can fuel a dominant control deck in Limited. I can’t wait to try.
5 mana is a lot for an effect like this, so we are going to have to see what kind of enablers we get to work with. How many multicolored cards do we have to draft? Probably a lot—but we should have access to a lot, which is going to make this better than the almost useless Rage Extractor.
Worst case scenario, this is a Golem Foundry-sized trap that is going to sap all my tickets at the cost of great fun, but I think this will be better. You can expect a video of me forcing around this card to come up sooner or later. Hopefully it makes for a hilarious 3-0.
This is a card I’m not expecting to cast, but a card I’m expecting see cast against me a lot. This card is INSANE. What makes this card not just another occasionally playable Blue Sun’s Zenith?
When you tack life onto an already reasonable card, the card becomes crazy good. Take a look at Kiss of the Amesha. Looks like trash right? Well, maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, but it came out in force at the Alara Block Pro Tour in Hawaii. This is no Kiss of the Amesha. This could potentially lead to a comeback for control players over the next two years. I’m excited to beat it.
And now for the most relevant card of them all! This card can make a sick backup win condition in a Battle of Wits deck in conjunction with Traumatize. You Traumatize yourself for a cool 100, and Psychic Spiral them right out! Obviously, this is not a very good strategy in the Battle of Wits mirror match, at least until you realize that it can hit them below 200. Wait, what did I say about relevant?
Rakdos, Lord of Riots
WHATTT. Yeah, this card is absolutely ridiculous! I think the second ability might turn out to be irrelevant, but a 4CC 6/6 is worth building around. This guy is like an Abyssal Persecutor—harder to cast, but you don’t have to remove him after.
This guy is a reasonable top end in a B/R aggro zombie deck in the space of Falkenrath Aristocrat. With Geralf’s Messengers and Blood Artists, it’s going to be hard to stem the bleeding and stop Rakdos from coming down. With this and the new Rakdos Cackler (B/R hybrid one-drop, 1/1 unleash [-ed]), B/R aggro decks seem poised to be completely insano. B/R mages rejoice, the Zombies are alive and well:
This is a crazy fast aggressive deck that is not really a new idea, but an augmented idea. Zombies retains so much that this deck is really, really scary. This is something everyone is going to have to be prepared for at States.
When I was 16, I brewed a deck at 3 a.m. on a $30 budget, went to the tournament at 8 a.m. to buy the cards, never dropped a match, and qualified for JSS Nationals. The deck was built around card draw like Compulsive Research, rituals like Rite of Flame and Seething Song, and finishers like Empty the Warrens and Wee Dragonauts.
Guttersnipe is like a Wee Dragonauts to me. The same storm pieces aren’t going to be around him this time, but cards like this are powerful enough to force and can make for pretty cheap decks when balling on a budget. Turn 3 Guttersnipe, turn 4 Lava Spike, Lava Spike, Lava Spike, Lava Spike, you’re dead! That’s a powerful play for $1. In Standard we can do repetitive damage with flashback cards like Faithless Looting. Here’s a rough sketch of what something like that could look like.
Izzet Aggro Guttersnipe
This is a Delver deck that I could see being both competitive and cheap. We present a ton of damage with Delver, Guttersnipe, and Electromancer in combination with our flashback spells that can really burn through our deck. This deck could be an early season contender in one form or another. Snapcaster Mage should maybe be in here, and we have a lot of options with cards like Geistflame and Silent Departure. I might revisit this deck in a couple of weeks.
LOL. Okay, I guess I have to build around this. My main beef with this card is that Genesis Wave hit on lands, and this doesn’t. This makes most of your deck a brick, but it’s a hilarious card that I have to try to break anyway.
Izzet Epic Experiment
Now this deck looks sweet! This is basically a value Epic Experiment deck. We are keeping their creatures under control with Silent Departure, Geistflame, Mizzium Mortars, and Burning Vengeance. Electromancer can power our flashback cards to keep hitting our land drops. Eventually a big Epic Experiment will pull us far ahead and kill them with Guttersnipe and Burning Vengeance.
I can’t wait to start testing with decks like this. It might not work, but I am sure as hell going to try. For anyone wondering, Izzet is my favorite guild, and the spoilers have not disappointed.
This guy is absolutely ridiculous. He is guaranteed to see fringe play in Momir Basic… but he does have an outside shot of making it in Legacy or Modern. In Legacy this is a pretty sweet Sneak Attack card if you are concerned about Karakas but not Swords to Plowshares. In Modern this is a reasonable monster to send Through the Breach.
I don’t really see myself ramping to this in Standard, but I will probably try it at some point. 11 mana is a crazy amount, and I don’t really see this thing dying in Standard often. He is more likely to get exiled which would be pretty frustrating. Maybe I am a five-year-old, but this card makes me want to game.
A potential heir to Palladium Myr! Three-mana ramp creatures sometimes cut it. Will this be another Elvish Archdruid, or another Somberwald Sage? Time will tell, but I’m really rooting for this guy. We are going to have to wait and see what kind of support he gets. If something like Wall of Roots, Overgrown Battlement, or Vine Trellis comes out, this guy could be sick. Even if he doesn’t get much support, 2-power might turn out to be key in this format, which would make this guy’s stock go up on account of blocking.
Axebane Guardian is going to be pretty sick in Limited. I plan to play this on turn 3 and play Pyroconvergence on turn 4 a whole lot. A 3-mana ramp defender like this will be solid in most Limited decks.
Call of the Conclave
After Gavony Townshipping all summer long I’m excited for a break from Selesnya. If you really want to play Selesnya, this has got to be the card to start. A 2CC 3/3 is pretty aggressive, and this guy has a ton of upside with the new populate mechanic. Turn 2 this, turn 3 Wayfaring Temple, turn 4 Trostani, Selesyna’s Voice is a sweet start.
It’s gonna be hard for me to ever pass one of these in Limited. They are all sick. They accelerate, they fix, and they turn into pretty reasonable beaters once you have the mana. These are so flexible that they are going to make easy first picks—for me! I hope everyone passes them so I can snatch them up to accelerate and power my Pyroconvergences.
Put four 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens onto the battlefield.
Goblin Rally is really exciting because of Battle Hymn combo decks. I first heard about Battle Hymn combo from AJ Kerrigan, and we found that there weren’t really enough token producers to make it work… yet! This one is a little slow but incredibly powerful. I think it is powerful enough to potentially make the whole thing work. Here is what a Battle Hymn combo deck might look like:
The idea with this deck is to make tokens, produce a ludicrous amount of mana, burn through your deck with Epic Experiment, flash everything back with Past in Flames, and hadooken them out with a Burn at the Stake. Is this strategy viable? I don’t know, but I will find out.
At this point it’s hard for me to even look at more spoilers because I am so excited for
1. Pyroconvergence in Limited
2. Izzet in Constructed
These are ideas I am going to revisit once Return to Ravnica is officially released. I expect there will be some other fun toys that will come out as well. Maybe I will dedicate myself to this strategy. Maybe I will be pulled away by something even more exciting. Next week I am hopefully writing about Legacy if a certain sleeper deck pans out, but if not, it might be more Return to Ravnica.
Questions! Comments! Think there’s something I missed?