When last we left Ravnica, we were exploring the Red/Black aggro guild of the Rakdos, with their Hellbent ability. Hellbent, both thematically and mechanically, seemed a perfect fit for the guild, a sort of “all-in’s all in.” But as one so often finds in this game, what seems amazing on paper doesn’t always translate well to actually playing. Not only is this a lesson the brave unfortunates of the Great Designer Search 2 have been learning the hard way, it’s also an important one for us to keep in mind.
And so, to find out for ourselves just how well Hellbent- and the Rakdos- played out, we sat down to throw the customary three games. Sam was my opponent of choice, and she opted to go to battle under the banner of the Blue/Green guild, the Simic Combine.
Here are the match notes.
Following the decline in the game that many felt Kamigawa had represented, with its insular mechanics and over-emphasis on flavour- 2005’s Ravnica brought Magic back into a new renaissance. Set in a compelling world of ten competing guilds in a massive cityscape (one for each possible two-colour combination), it struck a near-perfect blend of flavour and mechanics. A great many of the cards in the set were watermarked with a guild symbol for added depth of narrative, and each of the ten guilds were assigned their own unique mechanic. While most have faded to obscurity, even today you’ll still hear some Red/White decks describing themselves as “Boros” just as three-colour decks take their names from the Shards of Alara (Jund and Naya most commonly).