The next three sets are a promising return to one of the game’s most popular planes
By Lauren Kelly, Graphics Manager
Magic: The Gathering (MtG) players are back in Ravnica for a third time, following 2006’s “Ravnica” block and 2012’s “Return to Ravnica” block. First, we will dive in with “Guilds of Ravnica,” then “Ravnica Allegiance” in January 2019, followed up by a third yet-to-be-named set. Whether you’re a new player or an old one, this return to a classic, beloved block is full of enjoyment. Use this guide to decide whether you’re interested, and what kind of events and products you’d like to try out.
In “Ravnica” there are 10 guilds, each of which represents the philosophy of a two-colour combination, meaning players of nearly all play-styles will find something for themselves. For example, Boros, who are red and white, is completely aggressive and combat-oriented; while Dimir, who are black and blue, uses stealth and assassination to dispatch their enemies. “Guilds of Ravnica” will focus on five guilds: Boros, Dimir, Golgari (black and green), Selesnya (green and white), and Izzet (red and blue).
The lead-up to and release of this set comes with many new ways to get involved and new products for every level of player and every budget. First, over the weekend of September 22 to 23 most stores will be hosting an event called an Open House, where anyone who is interested in trying the game can come learn it and receive a free beginner deck and free promo. Players who are interested in teaching friends or other new players are encouraged to go as well, and they will also receive these goodies. This is the perfect way to get a handle on the basics of the game before you try another event.
The next event is the set’s pre-release. Over the weekend of September 29 to 30, stores will hold pre-release events. These cost $35 to 40 per person and each player receives a box that includes six booster packs of 15 cards each and one foil promo rare from the set. For this set, players will get to choose from one of the five guilds featured, and one of the six boosters will contain only cards from that guild. With these boosters you build a 40-card deck and compete with the other players for money and booster prizes. A couple of stores will also host a pre-release format called “Two-Headed Dragon”, where you team up with a friend and share your pool of cards to create even stronger decks. For newer players who might be worried about going out on their own, this is a great way to dip your toe in since you can consult your teammate and it is generally very casual.
Finally, the set’s release is celebrated with a draft weekend from October 6 to 7. Players will receive a special promo card for participating. The draft format involves buying three boosters and passing around a table, each player taking one from each pack, until all the packs are finished. This is one of the harder formats for a new player since you need to know the cards a bit better to make decisions without holding other players up. However, it is one of the most affordable ways to play and to build your collection, so I would highly recommend it.
For players who prefer to play with their own constructed deck, the high power level so far revealed in this set makes it a promising game changer for Standard—a format allowing cards from only the last few released sets. With the release of “Guilds of Ravnica”, format-shaping blocks “Kaladesh” and “Amonkhet” are rotating out and will no longer be allowed in Standard, which will also cause a big shake-up in what’s being played. Standard Showdown events are held weekly at most game stores, and players compete for one of four to six Standard Showdown packs, which contain two rares, a foil basic land, and a foil of any rarity, all from any of the Standard-legal sets. Players who prefer to play casually with friends can buy “Guilds of Ravnica” Guild Kits on November 2, which are 60-card guild-themed decks that also come with a pin, stickers, and a spin-down life counter for that guild.
If you’ve ever had an interest in MtG, or if you have friends who play and you want to get in on it, check this set out. The original “Ravnica” was how a friend got me to play the game after he gave me a deck for my favourite guild, and I’m so happy I got into it because it’s a massive community if you put yourself out there. I don’t have to sell this to old players—it’s “Ravnica.” Go play some MtG!