I can’t believe that we are just one week away from Return to Return to Return to Return to Ravnica. The full spoiler is available on the WotC website here. Now that we’ve seen all of the cards, these are the Guilds of Ravnica #GRN cards that you should hope to open or trade for at the prerelease:
Conclave Tribunal, our replacement for the rotating Cast Out, can be cast for free if you Convoke a White or Boros creature! This could be a sneaky sideboard card in Mono Red with Flesh-Faced Recruit!
Finally, Standard White Weenie gets two new playables in Haazda Marshal and Hunted Witness.
Radical Idea and Chemister’s Insight, our replacement for the rotating Glimmer of Genius, bear striking resemblances to another Standard-playable card of its time: Deep Analysis. Turning dead cards into new ones is never bad. Mission Briefing has the potential to impact multiple formats. Although expensive, Murmuring Mystic could be the combo enabler for a Drake Haven-esque deck. And it at least is a body instead of a brick. Thoughtbound Phantasm has the potential to be the Quirion Dryad of a Miracle Grow control deck.
Doom Whisperer is incredibly cost-efficient for the body and abilities that it packs, but Demonlord Belzenlok didn’t see much Standard play, so the jury is still out on this one. Gruesome Menagerie could generate some sweet card advantage late game, although it can’t reanimate a Ravenous Chupacabra or Hostage Taker. Mausoleum Secrets is another card that looks really, really well-situated to impact multiple formats. Finally, I expect Necrotic Wound and Ritual of Soot to see play.
Black was tough. There are a couple cards that I couldn’t cut. Honorable Mentions go out to two cards that should see play if the Golgari “we each sacrifice something, but I always trade up” strategy takes off: Midnight Reaper and Plaguecrafter. Plaguecrafter is also a sneaky sideboard card against Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, as U/W Control tends not to run too many creatures.
Red isn’t too spicey, but if you like Goblins you should be happy and wow-wee hold onto your butts when we get to Boros! We kick things off with the highly anticipated Legion Warboss. Be aware that the warboss’s combat trigger does not require that the warboss attack. You get to make a 1/1 on the very first turn it comes into play, provided that you remember to play it during your Pre-Combat Main Phase. Goblin Banneret and Torch Courier can speed the game up a bit. Goblin Cratermaker is not only an Abrade-on-a-stick but might give the Eldrazi of Modern and Legacy some pause. Finally, Lava Coil could compete with Fight with Fire depending on what the de facto toughness of the format changes to. It’s been five for quite some time: The Scarab God and Lyra Dawnbringer.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a weird predilection for undercosted fatties with drawbacks, and Nullhide Fenox is no exception. Next up is Kraul Harpooner. We all know that Green hates flying creatures, and not only does the harpooner go 0:1 or 1:1 with your opponent’s best flyer, it also dies and further fills your Undergrowth shenanigans. Worst case, it’s also a 3/2 Reach for 2cmc.
Speaking of 2cmc three-power creatures, check out Pelt Collector! Merfolk Branchwalker, Steel Leaf Champion/Jadelight Ranger, Ghalta, Primal Hunger. ‘Nuff said. Just make sure you stack your ETB triggers to have Pelt Collector check Jadelight Ranger’s power after the merfolk Explores. Mono Green is looking pretty, pretty good.
Pause for Reflection, in a vacuum, isn’t very good. However, with several Fog effects rotating out of the Nexus of Fate Turbofog deck, this card could see some play. Finally, we get some sweet adaptive sideboard tech in Sprouting Renewal. Nothing to Naturalize? Then, make a dude!
Dimir, the home of Surveil, has some cheap, interactive cards that also give you a little bit of deck manipulation. Thought Erasure is, for all intents and purposes, Thoughtseize. Unmoored Ego is, for all intents and purposes, a replacement for the rotating Lost Legacy. Big thanks to our contributer, Rich aka @alittleepic for noting that Unmoored Ego can hit basic lands. Discovery digs through up to three cards for the answer you are looking for. Will Notion Rain be playable even though it’s a sorcery on a critical turn? Finally, Dimir Spybug is your Delver of Secrets-esque win condition alongside the aforementioned Thoughtbound Phantasm.
The Honorable Mention goes out to Concoct, which I hope enables some sort of Surveil Reanimator deck.
Boros’s keyword is Mentor, but I found that Boros’s five most impactful cards don’t even use the new keyword. Swiftblade Vindicator, although it doesn’t have Mentor, essentially makes the Mentor Deck. Skynight Legionnaire is one colored mana symbol away from the Modern staple, Mantis Rider. Response gives Mono White some less-conditional spot removal. Deafening Clarion and Chance for Glory both are both game-winners.
Honorable Mentions go out to Boros Challenger and the Mentor to end all Mentors: Tajic, Legion’s Edge. I told you that Boros was stacked.
Selesnya’s keyword, Convoke, is another keyword that may not be a build-around, but you’ll be glad that you have it. For starters, Conclave Cavalier and Knight of Autumn are insane value. They do so much. Believe it or not, I think we should keep an eye on Vernadi Shieldmate, who is essentially a 2cmc 2/2 Mana Dork. Vigilance and Convoke go hand-and-hand! Finally, Assure quickly replaces the rotating Blossoming Defense. Yes, I know I only cite four cards here, but I am confident that all four will overall make a larger impact than many of the others I have mentioned.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s Jump-Start our conversation about Dominaria Wizards, I mean… Izzet!
The two damage that Ionize deals may seem insignificant, but in a format where players are regularly dealing 2-4 damage to themselves per game with Shocklands, it can really speed up the clock. Ya’ll thought Teferi, Hero of Dominaria was busted? Get ready for Ral, Izzet Viceroy in a U/r Control shell. However, if U/r tends to be more proactive than reactive, then Piston-Fist Cyclops is poised to break down some Walls ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).
Yes, I saved the best for last. From under the growth of the new #GRN cards, Golgari’s new Undergrowth mechanic should be making Modern Jund players salivate. When trading 1:1 just isn’t quite good enough, Golgari gives us some wonderful options to make sure we always win out on that trade. The mostly hotly anticipated card of Guilds of Ravnica, other than the Shocklands, is probably Assassin’s Trophy. It literally kills anything. Turn one Stitcher’s Supplier, turn two Glowspore Shaman could be all that an Undergrowth Deck needs to take a commanding lead on turn three with a Charnel Troll, who also combos nicely with the aforementioned Kraul Harpooner and Plaguecrafter. Is Underrealm Lich the Sylvan Library-on-a-stick that I’ve always wanted? Finally, Vraska, Golgari Queen has already received some errata, she now reads:
+2 Recycle lands and tokens into gas.
-3 Abrupt Decay
-9 Oops, all Phages!
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