Return to Ravnica prerelease is a week away and we have the entire spoiler so let’s see what we can tell about the set. I will probably do some kind of full set review, but I wanted to start by examining what the set brings us in terms of certain types of cards. The presence or absence of these cards can have a significant impact on a set, especially in Limited.
Rare: Shocklands (5), Chromatic Lantern
Uncommon: Keyrunes (5)
Common: Guidgates (5), Transguild Promenade
For comparison: in the original Ravnica there were 4 Shocklands at rare, 4 karoos at common, and 4 signets at common. It was also a larger set (286 cards in Ravnica, 249 in RTR – excluding basic land). More recently, Shards of Alara gave us 5 TriLands at uncommon, 5 Panoramas at common, and 5 Obelisks at common.
If those past sets are any indication, I would expect playing 3 colors in Ravnica will be commonplace and splashing for a 4th color not unreasonable. Colorless manfixing should be valued higher than it would be in a normal set like Innistrad or M13. Shocklands are first-pickable (especially given their dollar value) and probably Lantern too. I’d probably take Keyrunes after bombs and good removal then Guildgates around mid-pack (5th-8th). Promenade is a function reprint of Rupture Spire (from Conflux) and should probably be valued accordingly; I don’t care for the card, but it’s certainly playable especially if you go 4 colors.
Rare: Mana Bloom, Deathrite Shaman
Uncommon: Seek The Horizon
Common: Gatecreeper Vine, Axebane Guardian , Grisly Salvage, Urban Burgeoning
Gatecreeper seems very playable in any green deck, especially if you have some Gates.
Seek The Horizon is probably much better here than its original printing (SOK).
Axebane is effectively a BOP even if he is your only Defender, but that effect on a 3-drop isn’t too impressive. It’s main use would seem to be in conjunction with a mass of Doorkeepers for a Defender Mill deck in Limited, or as a cute casual card in conjunction with cards from ROE.
Mana Bloom is a very interesting card, but between the initial mana investment and the limitation of removing only one counter per turn it seems purely a color fixer.
Deathrite seems unreliable in Limited, though may still be useful. It would love a format with Fetchlands.
Burgeoning seems too cute unless you have a lot of Guildmages or other activated abilities.
Grisly Salvage fits nicely in Golgari decks (and 4 Salvage + 4 Mulch in a deck could be very interesting…)
By comparison, the original Ravnica: City Of Guilds set had Birds of Paradise at rare and Farseek, Civic Wayfinder, and Elves of Deep Shadow at common (and Stone-Seeder Hierophant plus Perilous Forays at uncommon, but I don’t think those latter two were relevant at all).
Overall, there seems to be more an emphasis on color-fixing rather than accelerating which should be good thing for the format.
Join me next time when I talk about removal spell. I think the full Official Spoiler goes live on Monday on the mothership.
(In the meantime, I am using the unofficial spoiler on MTGSalvation as my source.)