return to ravnica tagged posts

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Gold, Artifact & Land

I know what you’re thinking, how can a Return to Ravnica review have gold cards when we already did the guild reviews (followed by how come it has taken this long to judge cards)? Well, one card didn’t have a guild symbol. So there.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Vraska the Unseen

Planeswalkers are an interesting breed for multiplayer games. The normal test is can they defend themselves, but when facing down three or four opponents, defending isn’t a real option – until now. Vraska’s +1 evokes No Mercy with great delight. Taking a page out of the Azorious playbook, her ability lasts until your next turn so unless someone can one-short this gorgon, she’s going down with one hell of a fight.

Her -3 is great since everyone loves Vindicate (well, except the person it has been cast against). Then there is her ultimate which is hilariously over the top. Getting three 1/1 assassins isn’t great, but getting mini-Phages is amazing. Thankfully they only trigger off combat damage, but I’m just dying to play around with the assassins and Camouflage. Oh, and this seals the deal on my Golgari-Populate deck idea.

Chromatic Lantern

This is mana fixing! For anyone considering any multicolor (or even mono-colored) Commander deck, you probably want to run this. We may have finally found a replacement for Darksteel Ingot! But where this card interests me most is the weirder color combinations that don’t always get mana fixing support – like white-red-black. Oh, and this is a minor piece of mana acceleration.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Green

Green is usually the most multicolor-friendly color thank to an abundance of color fixing. For Commanders, that usually means green becomes a cornerstone of any 5-color deck (or four color at the kitchen table – unless you like playing on hard mode).

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Arial Predation
Green keeps getting more and more targeted flier removal. While strictly better than Wing Snare, Aerial Predation’s measly two life doesn’t compare to Eaten by Spiders.

Archweaver
Giant spiders are usually decent, but the combination of reach and trample just feels wrong. When monogreen has access to gems like Silklash Spider, why would you pay seven for a 5/5? It gets even more absurd when you go into the multicolor spiders that really defend you.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Black

Monocolored reviews in a set like Return to Ravnica is boring. All the fun cards are gold or hybrid, which leaves just a handful of monocolored cards to sift through. And it takes a lot of sifting to find the gold – and I don’t mean gold cards. I found those just fine.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

 Assassin’s Strike

For a while, there was a time when the idea of black getting unrestricted creature removal was awesome. Now, black is able to kill pretty much any creature. At six mana, killing one creature at sorcery speed just isn’t enough.

Catacomb Slug

Main deck this in your slug deck.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Red

Unlike normal sets, the color wheel is slightly out of whack. Black and red have switched places so instead of black, red is getting reviewed after blue!

As that weird mono-red Commander who doesn’t play Kiki-Jiki, I always get excited when I see new red cards for my Jaya deck. And while Blue felt like more of the same, Red in Return to Ravnica is very, very exciting.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Annihilating Fire

And when I mean very, very exciting, I don’t mean this card. If scavenge, dredge, undying or persist are huge issues at your table, this is an okay removal spell (Disintegrate would cost 4 for the same effect). It really is one of those metagame dependent calls that I can’t make for you.

Ash Zealot

Last night I tried out my Crosis Commander deck which is all about reanimation from everyone’s graveyard. Then Josh played Grafdigger’s Cage on turn 2 and my deck was shut down. Ash Zealot is an amazing two-drop. Red usually doesn’t get two abilities on a 2/2 for RR. But the final ability is the perfect piece of table hate. When Memory Plunder, Snapcaster Mage or flashback spells become a hassle, she viciously punishes people with Lightning Bolts.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Blue

The second stop on this tour of the Return to Ravnica color wheel reminds me a lot of some older sets. Mainly that it opens with an amazing whimper. For blue mages who want excellent control spells, you’re going to be disappointed. For Johnnies looking for weird cards, you’re in luck!

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Aquus Steed

Here is how I envision this card working:

Mage 1: “Look at my horse!”
Mage 2: “What in the nine hell is that?”
Mage 1: “Ha! Now you are confused and get -2/-0!”

End scene.

Cancel

The art of Mr. Explodey Hand is wasted on this reprint. Also if you like counterspells, I don’t like you as a person.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: White

Now that the five guilds are done, I’m looking at all the non-affiliated cards in Return to Ravnica. So if you don’t have a guild watermark, you’re included! I’ll start with white since they usually go first.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Angel of Serenty

Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand…

This card worries me. Not because Kaalia will throw her down every turn, but because of how easy this card is to abuse. Oh the exiling trigger is on the stack? Bounce it. Or flicker. Either way, you now don’t have three permanents for good and three more are gone. I don’t rage quit often, but this might make me do it. A lot.

Armory Guard

I’m so glad this guy gains vigilance and doesn’t do something like “loses defender.” I kind of want to see what the Gates end up doing by the end of this block, but for now, don’t bother.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Golgari Swarm

I’m a late convert to the Golgari guild. While I’ve been a Naya player at my core since it was called Thornscape, the Izzet vs. Golgari Duel Deck was something I found beyond fascinating. I love reanimating and find the graveyard an underutilized resource in casual Magic, so Scavenge got me excited.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord

A lot of Jarad’s thunder is already echoing in the distant thanks to the fact that people have had a few weeks to play with him. In multiplayer, this guy is excellent. He’s big and just keeps getting bigger as the game progresses. His activated ability can rapidly end games as everyone else’s life totals get ground lower and lower. And he’s recursive! Sure, the mana cost is clunky as can be but it is worth it.

Deadbridge Goliath

Remember when Blastoderm was an awesome creature? Well, now you get a 5/5 with a bonus when it dies! How is that possible? While a 5/5 isn’t the most exciting creature, he’s big, he’s cheap and you can easily cast him turn 3 without fail. When he dies, you can scavenge him to make any creature on the battlefield into a giant.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Cult of Rakdos

Return to Ravnica is an interesting set. While most expansions only offer one or two archetypes when it comes to mechanics, Return to Ravnica allows for five right off the bat. But there is one small issue with this for kitchen table players: Rakdos doesn’t really work.

The core of Rakdos is the unleashed mechanic which is great for sligh decks, but those never work against more than one player. Dealing 20 damage to someone quicker than they deal 20 to you is easy, but when you’re facing off against 60 or 100 life, you can’t win.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Rakdos, Lord of Riots

Rakdos has been in desperate need of a do over since he originally debuted. But holy crap is this a commander! Costing only 4 mana, he’s pretty easy to cast. As long as any opponent lost life, he’s in play and changing the game. He’s a 6/6 flying, trampler for only four mana! That’s beyond amazing.

The second ability is fantastic. Dubbed “paincast,” it allows you to rapidly escalate your army. Grab some eldrazi and get to work.

Rakdos’s Return

What do you get when you combine Mind Shatter and Blaze? Really good discard and really good damage! Taking out someone’s hand is mean, but burning them is delightful. This is exactly the kind of card that won’t make you any friends but will feel so satisfying when it connects. Good thing this card says opponent, so you don’t have to worry about it coming back to you.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Izzet League

The Izzet League is the guild everyone seems to love. The band of mad scientists working for an insane dragon certainly has some appeal, but the lack of focus makes me think Izzet has no idea what they are doing. Every now and then, they’ll do something awesome though. Probably accidentally.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Epic Experiment

This card is hilariously stupid and equally awesome. Generate enough mana and this can end games in a mess of spells waiting to resolve. In Commander, I see this being the destroyer of worlds like Genesis Wave. I can’t wait to see one go off.

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius

Curse you Wizards, you had to make a second Niv-Mizzet that doesn’t automatically cause infinite damage when combined with the first. An inverse of his old-self, Niv-Mizzet is still a good card and a great legendary but he’s so much harder to abuse now. That said, turning UR into a card whenever you want is amazing. For combo commander players, he will easily find a home but his original version is better.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Azorius Senate

I don’t know why I’m listening to people on Twitter, but the readers spoke and said I should review Return to Ravnica by guild, not color. That’s a great idea except a good chunk of the monocolored cards in this set aren’t tied to a guild. But that won’t stop me from trying. Like always, I review every. Single. Card. in this set – including the awful limited pieces of fodder.

Return to Ravnica is a great set. I barely played Magic when the original Ravnica block came out (but returned with a violent vengeance thanks to Time Spiral), so this is giving me a chance to experience Magic with a unique twist because Ravnica is essentially Magic with 10 colors, not 5. To start off these reviews is Azorius! Also, I’m not going alphabetically this time because that often results in me slamming my head into my desk repeatedly thanks to most sets starting off horribly.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Isperia, Supreme Judge

Legendaries are always fun in Commander because each one is a new chance to make a deck! Maybe it’s because I’ve been on a Craw Wurm kick, but I love that he’s a 6/4 for 6! But what I love even more is him being a twisted reverse Edric. Drawing cards whenever you or one of your planeswalkers gets attack is amazing. It deters a lot of attacks, but thanks to new cards like Courtly Provocateur, Azorius has plenty of ways to force unfavorable attacks.

The big downsides though to Isperia are the cost and the fact that this card doesn’t do anything when it resolves. The double-blue, double-white makes this a hard cast (though great reanimating bait). Just make sure you have a pair of boots waiting upon resolution.

Sphinx’s Revelation

As a mythic, this doesn’t completely wow me. The fact that it is instant though makes me excited since so much card draw lately has been sorcery speed. I love that this card just combined Alabaster Potion and Stroke of Genius into one delicious package. This card is good, especially late game, but it doesn’t do anything mythical.

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