It’s back to the table for our last visit to Return to Ravnica- at least until next year’s Preconstructed Deck Championships! Joining me is Sam, who’s been eager to get her hands on Creep and Conquer. Can she steer the Golgari to the finish, or will the Rakdos pitch a carnival tent stake on her grave?
The table is set and the tea is brewed, an altogether overly civilised setting for the brutal savagery that’s about to take place. I’m piloting the Golgari and their Creep and Conquer Event Deck, while Jimi’s looking to dance on our graves with the Radkos and Wrack and Rage. Can she burn her way to victory, or will she just end up another body in the fungus pile?
Inthe long history of Magic: the Gathering, few colour pairings have gone together like chocolate and peanut butter to quite the extent of Red and Black. Indeed, their iconic stature is rivaled perhaps only by White and Blue. This may not be a coincidence- if you plot the game on an axis with control and one side and aggression on the other, looking at colour combinations you tend to find both these two pairs on opposite extremes.
Moreso than any other preconstructed product in recent memory, the Event Decks have become a lightning rod for attention and criticism amongst the Magic community. To be sure, there isn’t a thing that Wizards could issue that wouldn’t have a Greek chorus of detractors, bemoaning some or other aspect of the release- some of it fairly, some of it not. But perhaps because of the unique intersection that the Event Decks product line inhabits it finds itself much more squarely in the community’s sights.
It’s our final match with Return to Ravnica until next week when the Event Decks get their turn. Today we take the Selesnya to task with Azorius Advance, a White/Blue creature-based deck that looks to stamp its opponents with the force of law through its detain mechanic.
Sometimes things are simple. As we saw in our last review, the Izzet guild presented few hurdles to Wizards R&D, either in its initial conception or its Return to Ravnica iteration. Both Red and Blue had a natural affinity for instants and sorceries, so the ‘design space’ the Izzet occupied virtually carved itself out. The Izzet’s first mechanic, replicate, was fairly straightforward, and didn’t cause any headaches in development (that we know of). When it came time to create their second mechanic, for Return to Ravnica, lead designer Ken Nagle already had the perfect fit- from a mechanic he’d come up with some years back in the Great Designer Search. Sometimes, everything just comes together.
Other times, well…
Jimi’s back, and ready to roll with Golgari Growth and awaiting me at the other side of the table. The objective: to put Izzet Ingenuity through its paces, to see how well it performs under battlefield conditions. Can the spell-centric guild hold its own against its nemesis from the most recent Duel Decks?
The concept of the guilds was the glittering foundation the entire set of Ravnica was built upon, and it gave the game one of its most enduring identities. Even as late as Scars of Mirrodin block, some half a decade later, it wasn’t at all unusual to hear folks refer to Red/White decks as “Boros,” even if some of the other guild names had fallen from common parlance. They were one of the game’s greatest flavour innovations, but they didn’t all come easily.