Ravnica: Dimir Intrigues Review (Part 2 of 2)
Nobody likes taking a beating, even in the name of science. We might be taking liberties in calling what we do here ‘science,’ but in essence the idea is not dissimilar. We take precon decks, put them under the microscope, then introduce them into field conditions to see how they perform. In our last field test, Jimi took a savage hiding at the hands of her favourite deck archetype, the Red/White Boros. The speed of Charge of the Boros was such that her Golgari Deathcreep could scarcely begin to churn out its dredge engine, and so when asked which deck she’d like to pilot against the more contemplative Dimir Intrigues, it didn’t take her but a moment to decide. The Boros are back, and Jimi is ready for revenge. Here are the notes from our three matches.
Ravnica: Dimir Intrigues Review (Part 1 of 2)
In 1748 in Bavaria, a man by the name of Johann Adam Weishaupt was born. Although his own father died when he was five years old, he was raised by his godfather and given a very solid education, including enrollment at the University of Ingolstadt with a degree in law. He went on to become a law professor, and soon after a specialist in canon (church) law. In 1776, when Weishaupt was 28, he founded a secret society called the Illuminati, made up of freethinkers and dedicated to the overthrow of the established social order in Europe- an end to monarchy and state religion. Beginning with five members, the Illumanti had swelled to around 2,000 within the decade.
Ravnica: Charge of the Boros Review (Part 2 of 2)
Our first game of Ravnica, and we’re entering into Topsy Turvy Land. Ordinarily it’s Jimi who is seen piloting Boros constructions, but today for our opening salvo she’s instead navigating the Green/Black Golgari Deathcreep, with its signature dredge mechanic. Meanwhile, I’ve got point on Boros, and will look to see if I can take Jimi out of the game before she can get her recusrion engine online. As ever, we played three games, and here are our notes.
Ravnica: Charge of the Boros Review (Part 1 of 2)
Ravnica has remained as one of the iconic sets in Magic: the Gathering’s eighteen year history, and not without good reason. Sure, it had some help from the environment it was released into, a two-year low point in the game’s popularity stemming from the broken Standard environment during Mirrodin followed by the underpowered and underwhelming Champions of Kamigawa. Magic creator Richard Garfield was back, helping design his first set since 2002’s Judgment. And the set’s guild system proved to be tremendously popular. By breaking down the set into ten two-colour guilds, Wizards in a stroke gave Ravnica a strong sense of branding and identity. Mark Rosewater has previously observed that by giving players a sense of association that they could relate to (as in, what’s your favourite guild?), they found that the flavour of the set resonated much more deeply for them.
Whispers of the Muse: Ed G’s ‘Izzet Gizmometry’
Welcome to another installment of Whispers of the Muse, the occasional feature where a reader submits their tinkering of a precon deck and look for constructive criticism and feedback from the community. Today we’ve got a letter from Ed G, who has a rather unusual proposition. In lieu of a decklist, he has this to say:
[This is] probably the “worst” (in terms of being able to win games) pre-con I have ever come across…
Dissension: Simic Mutology Review (Part 2 of 2)
Having come full circle, Sam and I prepared to do battle with the final matchup of the Dissension set reviews: Simic Mutology versus Azorius Ascendant. The Simic certainly have a stronger fleet of creatures, but would they be fast enough to prevent the defenses of the Azorius from becoming too entrenched to cross? We shuffled the decks and prepared to find out. Here are our match notes.
Dissension: Simic Mutology Review (Part 1 of 2)
As one might imagine, no city with any hope of long-term growth would do well without some institutionalisation of medicine, and so it is with Ravnica and the Simic Combine, as represented in the Simic Mutology deck. According to the Guildpact, the function of the guild is medicine and health, but over time this has… adapted… somewhat to include medical research and mutation.
Dissension: Azorius Ascendant Review (Part 2 of 2)
Sam decided to operate a little out of her element and pilot Rakdos Bloodsport, the hyper-aggressive Red/Black deck against my Azorius Ascendant. Azorius was something of a trip through nostalgia-land for me, not because I was active in the game during Dissension (I wasn’t), but because my first decks at the dawn of the game tended to be White/Blue. Not so much the White/Blue Control archetype that we know today, but one that sought to enclose itself in an impregnable defense: Blessing, Moat, Circles of Protection, Farmstead and Ivory Tower were mainstays from White, paired with mainstays like Ancestral Recall, Counterspell, and Mana Short. Decks shamelessly ran past 100 cards, and constructing the perfect defense from which to hide behind and mess with my enemies was the crowning achievement of any game I was involved in.
Times have changed, and the closest I get to the Control archetype was with a Grixis/Cruel Ultimatum build. These days I’m most fond of Red and Black aggro builds. But from our analysis, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was about to step back through time, after a fashion. Here are our notes.
Dissension: Azorius Ascendant Review (Part 1 of 2)
For our next visit to the city of Ravnica, we’ll be looking today at the ruling body of the city- the Azorius Senate. Naturally, a city needs a governing body to function, and the Azorius guild is Guildpact-bound to maintain that duty. They don’t enforce the laws (that’s the job of the Red/White Boros Legion), but they do legislate them. To the Azorius, they are all that stand between Ravnica and sheer lawlessness and societal breakdown. To the common Ravnican, they are pompous windbags stuffed to bursting with overinflated self-importance.
Dissension: Rakdos Bloodsport Review (Part 2 of 2)
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.