For our final match before leaving the plane of Ravnica, I’ll be taking the reins of the Selesnya Conclave. A Green/White swarming strategy that looks to make full use of the conclave mechanic, I’ll be up against the slower Dimir Intrigues piloted by Jimi. The Dimir deck demans a bit of time to fully develop its milling strategy. Will it be able to withstand the Saproling hordes and let it dominate the endgame, or will the Selesnyan beaters storm the gates of the ‘secret guild?’
Here are the notes from our match.
In the Conclave, individuality is an anathema.
That’s not to say that you, as an individual, don’t matter. It’s better to say that while you, the individual, are critical to the aims of the Selesnya, you as an individual must by necessity be sublimated to the needs of the whole. Look at the selfish- their lives are zero-sum. They advance themselves at the expense of others, getting ahead by leaving someone else behind. Such waste! Is it not better to group together, so that all may benefit as one? This is the way of the Selesnya Conclave, the way of fulfillment of the one through the fulfillment of the all.
Approaching the end of our reviews of Ravnica and readying for Duel Decks: Ajani vs Nicol Bolas, we’re still finding the Ravnica set full of surprises. The designers did a very impressive job giving each guild its own unique feel, and translating the theme decks into showpieces for each guild is a perfect match. Not for nothing this is one of the most fondly-remembered sets. For today I’ve secured Sam as my sparring partner, and she’s chosen Selesnya United to serve in opposition.
Here are our notes from the customary three games.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
This is not only a slogan for today’s eco-conscious times, but could just as easily apply to the Golgari guild on Ravnica. To the Golgari, no living creature is ever truly dead, but rather lives on through the eternal cycle of life. A person is born, he lives his life, and then, inevitably, he dies… and then his body is fed to the Rot Farms’ crops of shambling plant-zombies. Simple. Elegant. Beautiful.
Of course, every guild in Ravnica must serve a civic function (discounting, of course, the guild that doesn’t exist- Dimir). The Boros, for instance, form its military and police force. The Selesyna provide organised spirituality as well as patrolling roads and byways and other routes of travel. To the Golgari fall the critical tasks of food production for the city’s poor (for those familiar, think ‘Flea Bottom’ and ‘bowls of brown’) and waste management.
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.
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.
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 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.