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Ravnica Set Review

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In this article I’ll be taking a look at the soon to be released Ravnica: City of Guilds set and touch on some of the cards I find to be either interesting or useful. Also since I’ve actually been doing pretty well at predicting some of the cards that eventually wind up expensive over the last few sets I’ll be mentioning some of the cards I feel might go up in price after the set has been out a while. I was able to buy my copies of Vedalken Shackles for $2.00 each and Beacon of Creation for $1 each while both cards are well over $5 now. This can be helpful not only for not having to try and get the cards when they are so expensive but also the fact that you could possibly make a profit on them and sell them or trade them for other cards when they are worth much more than you paid for them.

I’m using the full spoiler at MTG Salvation for this article so if there is a mistake there it might affect things. I wont be looking at every card but just the ones that I have something to say about. Also I wont really be looking at limited for these reviews. If I included limited many of the cards that are only applicable there would be very boring to read about. How many times do you need someone to tell you that a 3/3 flyer for 5 with a semi-relevant ability is pretty good in limited? I’ll leave those types of reviews to people who actually don’t suck at limited. I’ll also be concentrating a bit more on casual play than tournaments (that is what we play after all).

The links wont work until Wizards adds the cards to Gatherer but I figured I should add them now anyway.

White:

Auratouched Mage
Probably not very good but as with any card that tutors for something and puts it directly into play it needs to be looked at. I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually wound up decent at least in casual play when you can throw a Mythic Proportions on it for a 11/11 Trample for 5W.

Blazing Archon
Not worth the cost but possibly a good reanimator target against aggro decks.

Hunted Lammasu
I like the Hunted creature cycle. They are extremely undercosted for the drawback of giving your opponent dudes as well. If you can handle the 4/4 a 5/5 Flyer for 4 mana is nothing short of amazing. This is one of the less good Hunted creatures though as a 4/4 is not easy to deal with.

Three Dreams
While Auras are in general weak cards and 5 mana is a lot this is massive card advantage in a color that has almost none.

Blue:

Compulsive Research
The Sorcery speed hurts it but this is still a fine card and given that Thirst for Knowledge is rotating out and there is no instant speed card drawing in 9th this is one of the better options out there. The actual effect is much better than Thirst (unless you are running Goblin Welder or something) as not every deck runs enough artifacts to make that good but all decks run land.

Copy Enchantment
Certainly not good but I just wanted to comment that I’m surprised it took this long for them to print this.

Eye of the Storm
Seven mana is a lot but Holy Crap look at that effect. It basically turns every Instant and sorcery you play into an Epic spell without that “You can’t Play Spells” drawback. The manacost will keep it casual only though.

Followed Footsteps
This looks like a lot of fun. Copying creatures is fun so making a bunch of copies will likely be even more fun. Not a tournament card though as it does nothing until your upkeep and the creature may die before then.

Hunted Phantasm
This is much better than the White Hunted creature. While I doubt it will see play outside of casual this was the color of Tims so 1/1s aren’t that hard to deal with and the reward is quite satisfying. An unblockable 4/6 for three mana is quite the deal.

Telling Time
It’s not as good as either Brainstorm or Impulse but it is still an extremely solid card. Will likely be included in any blue decks that pop up in Standard and Block while it is legal and since Brainstorm and Accumulated Knowledge are rotating out of Extended will likely be important there as well.

Black:

Dark Confidant
This can be very dangerous and will kill you if you aren’t careful but if you can use it without dying the effect is immensely powerful and its tacked onto an aggressive body as well. This one may or may not wind up seeing a lot of play. Even if it doesn’t see much play expect it to be around $5 just by virtue of being a rare Invitational card.

Hunted Horror
The most dangerous of the Hunted creatures but with great reward. That protection from black will likely make this one unplayable though as they can just use them as blockers and never take more than 1 damage from him. A 7/7 Trample for two mana still looks cool though and this is at least better than Desecration Elemental.

Moonlight Bargain
This is potentially amazing. If you are willing to pay a bit of life it can draw cards like crazy or can just dig for something specific. This is definitely something I’d recommend getting ahold of.

Necroplasm
I would be surprised if this doesn’t see tournament play. With the ability to wipe the board as well as recurse itself this is just amazing against aggro decks. Just think of what this does to White Weenie. It blow up all those Suntail Hawks then the Leonin Skyhunters and Samurai of the Pale Curtain next turn.

Red:

Breath of Fury
This is just a cool card. Likely it will just make the opponent chump block the creature you throw this on but it still looks to be fun in casual play just for the thought of what it could do.

Char
I remember when this was blue. It took them 10 years to print it in the correct color. The fact that it is rare really sucks but it is still quite solid even in a color that actually is supposed to get burn.

Hunted Dragon
This is likely the best of the Hunted cycle just because it has haste and its creatures can’t block it. The fact that you get the first swing makes it much easier to race. You do get Rorix for one more mana though and he just has one lower toughness.

Green:

Carven Caryatid
This isn’t as good as Wall of Blossoms but not being as good as the best wall ever printed isn’t exactly the end of the world. I fully expect this to see play as there is little that can get through its 5 toughness early on and being a cantrip makes it never a dead draw. One problem with it is that Umezawa’s Jitte allows pretty much any creature to take it out in two turns. We’ll see how significant this is. I expect this to be worth at least a dollar or two once it catches on so if you want some it is a good idea to get them early.

Chord of Calling
Probably not worth it but you have to at least take a look at any of these types of card nowadays. The fact that Tooth and Nail, Natural Order, Pattern of Rebirth, Skyshroud Poacher, and Defense of the Heart have all seen tournament play gives this mechanic a pretty good track record.

Elves of Deep Shadow
A cool reprint. Not terribly good especially with Birds of Paradise in the same set but still a cool card. Though admittedly the art was one of the things I liked about it before and I’ve yet to seen the new art.

Farseek
This is only notable because it finds the new dual lands. Otherwise just a bad Rampant Growth. I don’t expect it to see play. One thing I want to point out is that it puts the lands into play tapped even if you pay the 2 life for the dual land so they are pretty much drawback free when you use this to tutor for them.

Hunted Troll
This is the easiest of the drawbacks on the Hunted creatures to deal with. I have visions of using this with Trophy Hunter.

Recollect
With Eternal Witness leaving I sort of expect this to see a bit of play. It looses the broken part of Witness as it can’t chump block, beat for 2, or be abused with bounce. I think this is a balanced Regrowth.

Trophy Hunter
I really like this card. It is a nice kick in the balls for Meloku and all the small white flyers around right now.

Multicolor:

Autochthon Wurm
This card is total ass. I just wanted to point out there is a new card that is nice to flip with Erratic Explosion, only one mana cheaper than Draco. I fully expect one of these to make it into a reject rare draft.

Bloodbond March
There has to be some sort of fun combo with this card in casual play.

Circu, Dimir Lobotomist
I also like this card. This one also has the potential to be really good as well. I would certainly use this in a deck designed to kill with Quirion Dryad as those are generally made just to cast a bunch of black and blue cantrips every turn anyway which is also the best way to abuse this. Psychatog also likes these decks.

Dimir Cutpurse
Wow, the Ophidian replacements just keep getting better and better. I’ll more than likely be getting some of these.

Dimir Doppelganger
At least it is easier to understand than Volrath’s Shapeshifter. It is another way to cheat Phage into play without dying.

Grave-Shell Scarab
This is a pretty solid creature. It has a solid body and provides a slow but steady source of small card advantage. Sounds perfect for The Rock.

Lightning Helix
We haven’t had an instant 2 mana for 3 damage burn spell for a long time. If you happen to be playing the correct colors this card is amazing. Too bad the color combination generally sucks.

Mindleech Mass
This looks like another fun reanimator target for causal play. Playing your opponent’s spells for free is likely fun.

Moroii
Very solid aggressively costed beater. I wouldn’t be surprised for this to see tournament play if the right deck for it pops up.

Putrefy
With the exception of the new dual lands I think this is the best card in the set. I recommend for every one of you to get 4 of these early as it will see play in almost every deck that can cast it.

Watchwolf
I can’t do it as much justice as Zvi did) but the key thing to look at is the fact that it can at least trade with practically every creature that costs 4 or less mana (Yukora and Iwamori excluded). This can be a tremendous source of tempo. There is a very good chance of a G/W beatdown deck in the the future.

Guild Mana:

Dimir Guildmage
This didn’t look exciting at first until I realized that a card that was just UU for a 2/2 that had 3U: Draw a card would be quite good for blue and this is essentially that with other abilities tacked on. Just being a 2/2 2 drop in blue is enough to make this at least not suck.

Gleancrawler
There is a lot of combo potential here.

Artifacts:

Bottled Cloister
Not exciting but at the very least is better than Grafted Skullcap and great with Ensnaring Bridge. With the Bridge you have no hand during your opponent’s turn and likely quite a few during your turn. If that doesn’t break the symmetry on the Bridge I don’t know what does.

Sunforger
I can’t quite figure out if this is good or not. I’d have to think more about potential targets.

Temple Garden
Here are the biggest things to come out of the set. These are the best dual lands since the fetchlands and go with them quite well. I expect all of these to be worth $5-10 but still well worth it. I plan on trying to get a set of these as well as the fetchlands over the next year.

Conclusion:

Ravnica is looking to be a pretty good set. It is certainly more interesting than Kamigawa block. There are plenty of cards for both the casual player and the tournament player and the block is laid out in a way we haven’t seen before which keeps it interesting. I’m looking forward to the rest of the block which is more than I can say for any block since Invasion.

As far as which cards are likely to get expensive quickly there aren’t too many at rare. The new duals are of course amazing and will almost certainly be worth at least $8 with the commonly played colors to be closer to $10-12. They might be a bit less since I doubt they will see much play in Vintage or Legacy since you can use real duals there. So maybe they will be like the fetchlands and be worth $5 for the cheap ones and $10 for the expensive ones. Whatever it is they will hold the price for a long time as they will be a staple of both Standard and Extended as long as they are legal.

Dark Confidant will also be a bit pricey and if it doesn’t break the environment (which I doubt it will) will likely settle around $5.

Necroplasm will likely be pretty expensive once it is discovered and I’m guessing will start a bit cheaper so this might be one of the ones to grab early if you are interested in them. If you want them better to get them for $3 or so than $5-6 if they see tournament play (which I expect it will). Moonlight Bargain is in the same boat but stands a smaller chance of becoming more expensive as it isn’t as easy to see it being used.

If a deck pops up for it Dimir Cutpurse might not be too cheap but will likely not start expensive so might be another that wouldn’t hurt to grab early.

Even if it isn’t used in standard Grave-Shell Scarab stands a decent chance of being played in Extended so consider it a Ravenous Baloth of sorts.

Circu, Dimir Lobotomist and Sunforger might be $3-5 purely for casual play reasons.

As far as big uncommons go Putrefy is all but guaranteed to see play and is a likely candidate for chase Uncommon of the set. If you were to go after only one card from Ravnica this would be a good choice. Watchwolf also is likely to be used heavily and is also very solid. The only other Uncommons I see being worth a bit more than $1-2 would be Recollect and Telling Time but I doubt they will be too bad in price.

Even if they see very heavy play Commons are never worth anything while in print. Wild Mongrel was still a quarter when it was dominating multiple environments.

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