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CardShark Content - Jeffrey Ovadya (5/23/2006)

The time has finally come when all the guilds of Ravnica are present, accounted for, and ready to do your bidding. Each guild will tempt you with its own sultry appeal, its own concept of defeating your opponent, and its own alliances with the other guilds. The synergistic capabilities within the Ravnica block are astounding; Selesnya and Gruul, Rakdos and Dimir, even Boros and Orzhov have similar goals. There is a lot you can do to ensure that your draft picks work seamlessly together toward either a common theme, or a common sense of kicking the crap out of your opponent, but before we address those issues, I present to you with the Three Rules of Drafting.

#1 Always take the best card in the pack.

This is a concept that people take for granted, and is also subjective. If your first pick is a Glimpse the Unthinkable
Glimpse the Unthinkable
Glimpse the UnthinkableSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
208
Artist:
Brandon Kitkouski
Text:
Target player puts the top ten cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
, then milling is your first choice, right? Wrong. If the next three packs present a Moldervine Cloak
Moldervine Cloak
Moldervine CloakSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
173
Artist:
Wayne England
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature gets +3/+3. Dredge 2 (If you would draw a card, instead you may put exactly two cards from the top of your library into your graveyard. If you do, return this card from your graveyard to your hand. Otherwise, draw a card.)
, a Watchwolf
Watchwolf
WatchwolfSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wolf
Rarity:
U
Number:
239
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
, or even a Pollenbright Wings
Pollenbright Wings
Pollenbright WingsSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
219
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature has flying. Whenever enchanted creature deals combat damage to a player, put that many 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play.
, you might have to reconsider your goals. For the first pack, this is the most important rule of all. Take the best card, work out the colors you are playing later. Even if your first pick is a Glare of Subdual
Glare of Subdual
Glare of SubdualSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
207
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Text:
Tap an untapped creature you control: Tap target artifact or creature.
, the next few packs may have some amazing Dimir cards you will skip just because you are already focusing on a theme. Instead, pick the better cards in the packs and watch out for signets and ´´karoos´´ for the Glare.

#2 Removal is removal.

I don't care what you think about Brainspoil
Brainspoil
BrainspoilSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
78
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Text:
Destroy target creature that isn’t enchanted. It can’t be regenerated. Transmute 1BB (1BB, Discard this card: Search your library for a card with the same converted mana cost as this card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library. Play only as a sorcery.)
, it is removal and therefore AMAZING. If you ever come along any card that can destroy or eliminate a creature (Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
, Fiery Conclusion
Fiery Conclusion
Fiery ConclusionSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
122
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
As an additional cost to play Fiery Conclusion, sacrifice a creature. Fiery Conclusion deals 5 damage to target creature.
, etc.), multiple creatures (Hex
Hex
HexSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
89
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
Destroy six target creatures.
, Odds//Ends, etc.), or permanents (Plague Boiler
Plague Boiler
Plague BoilerSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
269
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a plague counter on Plague Boiler. 1BG: Put a plague counter on Plague Boiler or remove a plague counter from it. When Plague Boiler has three or more plague counters on it, sacrifice it. If you do, destroy all nonland permanents.
, Hour of Reckoning
Hour of Reckoning
Hour of ReckoningSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
21
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Convoke (Each creature you tap while playing this spell reduces its cost by 1 or by one mana of that creature’s color.) Destroy all nontoken creatures.
, etc.), then you snag it right away. There are some exceptions (Clinging Darkness
Clinging Darkness
Clinging DarknessSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
80
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature gets -4/-1.
is nothing special), but you have to take any form of creature control that you can. If you have a decision between multiple types of removal, take the most effective and the most surprising one. If you had to decide between a Stinkweed Imp
Stinkweed Imp
Stinkweed ImpSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Imp
Rarity:
C
Number:
107
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying Whenever Stinkweed Imp deals combat damage to a creature, destroy that creature. Dredge 5 (If you would draw a card, instead you may put exactly five cards from the top of your library into your graveyard. If you do, return this card from your graveyard to your hand. Otherwise, draw a card.)
and a Last Gasp
Last Gasp
Last GaspSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
93
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.
, you take the Last Gasp
Last Gasp
Last GaspSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
93
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.
. Some would disagree, but at the end of the day, Stinky just stays in play while your opponent figures some way around it. Last Gasp
Last Gasp
Last GaspSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
93
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.
kills their Firemane Angel
Firemane Angel
Firemane AngelSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
205
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Power:
4
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying, first strike At the beginning of your upkeep, if Firemane Angel is in your graveyard or in play, you may gain 1 life. 6RRWW: Return Firemane Angel from your graveyard to play. Play this ability only during your upkeep.
right away. End of story.

#3 Tempo is key, but remember the fatties.

Getting cards that create a tempo shift are CRUCIAL to drafting. Dropping a second turn Watchwolf
Watchwolf
WatchwolfSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wolf
Rarity:
U
Number:
239
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
is painful for any opponent. Putting a Moldervine Cloak
Moldervine Cloak
Moldervine CloakSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
173
Artist:
Wayne England
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature gets +3/+3. Dredge 2 (If you would draw a card, instead you may put exactly two cards from the top of your library into your graveyard. If you do, return this card from your graveyard to your hand. Otherwise, draw a card.)
on it on your third turn will most likely win you a game if they don't have any removal. That said, fear the tempo shift. I know people who love to draft fast Boros-type decks, but lose in the late game with their opponent at 2 life because they couldn't handle a Siege Wurm
Siege Wurm
Siege WurmSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
C
Number:
183
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Convoke (Each creature you tap while playing this spell reduces its cost by 1 or by one mana of that creature’s color.) Trample
. Keep your momentum when playing, but make sure you pull some fatties! Unless you are completely defensive, grabbing a larger creature over your 5th Silhana Ledgewalker
Silhana Ledgewalker
Silhana LedgewalkerSet: Guildpact
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Rogue
Rarity:
C
Number:
94
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Silhana Ledgewalker can’t be blocked except by creatures with flying. Silhana Ledgewalker can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.
may be a good idea.

With that in mind, ALWAYS play a 40 card deck; 22-24 maindeck, 16-18 lands. Once in a while I throw in a 41st card. This is OK so long as you run the right amount of mana. And always use any mana-fixers you pick up!

So, down to brass tacks. What do I need to know about drafting R-G-D you ask? Well, that is a tough question, but I will start with a very bold statement: Your Ravnica pack will NOT determine the colors you pick while you are drafting.

This ties back to Rule #1, and I will stand by it. Your first pack, so long as it is Ravnica, should be about taking the very best cards you can. Guildpact and Dissension are unbalanced in color distribution, while Ravnica is pretty even. Take anything good that you see, note the trends in colors that are being pulled, and remember that creatures and creature removal are very important regardless of the enchantmental (yeah, I said it) focus of the block. Noting what colors are being pulled will be very clutch when you draft Guildpact and Dissension. If you notice that most of the black cards are gone (which will happen very often if you don't get in on it first), then you will not be playing the off colors in G-D, which will make your life much easier and your drafting more flexible. You can now choose from the larger bulk of the guilds knowing that other people will be fighting for Orzhov and Rakdos.

On that note: Rakdos, Dimir, and Orzhov are the most powerful guilds in the set. I will say that with no hesitation. Barrin
Barrin
BarrinSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
1
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Power:
+0
Toughness:
+6
Text:
You may sacrifice a permanent to return any creature to its owner's hand. Play this ability as an instant.
g a few key cards in other guilds, you need to attempt to tap into these guilds as much as possible. Once you have gotten your fingers on some of the useful cards from those guilds, you can build synergy around them. Starting with Dimir you can then snag some useful Izzet or Azorius control, or maybe back it with some Simic pumpage. Either way you will be defensive while you fly in for the kill.

Ooh! If you don't already know it, draft flyers! If you see a [beefy] flier in a color you can work with, grab it! Flying is a form of evasion (avoiding other creatures and spells) that will win you games. Hence the power of Moroii
Moroii
MoroiiSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
U
Number:
216
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying At the beginning of your upkeep, you lose 1 life.
, a 4/4 flyer that has loads of game tempo. You can play a slow, defensive deck with loads of control, but throw in a Moroii
Moroii
MoroiiSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
U
Number:
216
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying At the beginning of your upkeep, you lose 1 life.
and an Assault Zeppelid
Assault Zeppelid
Assault ZeppelidSet: Dissension
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
103
Artist:
Jeremy Jarvis
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying, trample
and you've got yourself a winner!

Ok, so we've mentioned the Three Rules, powerful guilds, ideas for synergy, and the importance of evasion. Knowing these things will make you a very powerful drafter indeed, even if you have had over a liter of vodka and can barely see your opponent in the 6th round at the Dissension prerelease, you can still win! (That statement was in no way based on actual events)

Knowing all this, I will make a Top Ten list of Rares, Uncommons, and then Commons that you MUST take if you see it in your pack. Barrin
Barrin
BarrinSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
1
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Power:
+0
Toughness:
+6
Text:
You may sacrifice a permanent to return any creature to its owner's hand. Play this ability as an instant.
g that it is your 40th pick and you are nowhere near splashing that color, take these cards every time. There are a lot of other good cards, but I feel that these cards could win you games almost every time:

RARES:
Glare of Subdual
Glare of Subdual
Glare of SubdualSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
207
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Text:
Tap an untapped creature you control: Tap target artifact or creature.

Debtor's Knell
Followed Footsteps
Followed Footsteps
Followed FootstepsSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
R
Number:
51
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
Enchant creature At the beginning of your upkeep, put a token into play that’s a copy of enchanted creature.

Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Grand Arbiter Augustin IVSet: Dissension
Color:
Multicolor
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai

Hex
Hex
HexSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
89
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
Destroy six target creatures.

Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon HierarchSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elephant Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
214
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Loxodon Hierarch comes into play, you gain 4 life. GW, Sacrifice Loxodon Hierarch: Regenerate each creature you control.

Privileged Position
Privileged Position
Privileged PositionSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
17
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
251
Artist:
Wayne England
Text:
(G/W can be paid with either G or W.) Other permanents you control can’t be the targets of spells or abilities your opponents control.

Rakdos Augermage
Rakdos Augermage
Rakdos AugermageSet: Dissension
Color:
Multicolor
Rarity:
R
Number:
127
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai

Tolsimir Wolfblood
Tolsimir Wolfblood
Tolsimir WolfbloodSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Warrior
Rarity:
R
Number:
236
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Other green creatures you control get +1/+1. Other white creatures you control get +1/+1. T: Put a legendary 2/2 green and white Wolf creature token named Voja into play.

Vulturous Zombie
Vulturous Zombie
Vulturous ZombieSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Plant Zombie
Rarity:
R
Number:
238
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying Whenever a card is put into an opponent’s graveyard from anywhere, put a +1/+1 counter on Vulturous Zombie.


UNCOMMONS:
Moldervine Cloak
Moldervine Cloak
Moldervine CloakSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
173
Artist:
Wayne England
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature gets +3/+3. Dredge 2 (If you would draw a card, instead you may put exactly two cards from the top of your library into your graveyard. If you do, return this card from your graveyard to your hand. Otherwise, draw a card.)

Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.

Mortify
Mortify
MortifySet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
122
Text:
Destroy target creature or enchantment.

Watchwolf
Watchwolf
WatchwolfSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wolf
Rarity:
U
Number:
239
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
3

Savage Twister
Savage Twister
Savage TwisterSet: Mirage
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Bob Eggleton
Text:
Savage Twister deals X damage to each creature.

Moroii
Moroii
MoroiiSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
U
Number:
216
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying At the beginning of your upkeep, you lose 1 life.

Spell Snare
Spell Snare
Spell SnareSet: Dissension
Color:
Blue
Rarity:
U
Number:
33
Artist:
Hideaki Takamura

Lightning Helix
Lightning Helix
Lightning HelixSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
213
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Lightning Helix deals 3 damage to target creature or player and you gain 3 life.

Supply // Demand
Almost any Guildmage

COMMONS:
Last Gasp
Last Gasp
Last GaspSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
93
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.

Faith's Fetters
Faith's Fetters
Faith's FettersSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
16
Artist:
Chippy
Text:
Enchant permanent When Faith’s Fetters comes into play, you gain 4 life. Enchanted permanent’s activated abilities can’t be played unless they’re mana abilities. If enchanted permanent is a creature, it can’t attack or block.

Pillory of the Sleepless
Pillory of the Sleepless
Pillory of the SleeplessSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
125
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature can’t attack or block. Enchanted creature has “At the beginning of your upkeep, you lose 1 life.”

Snapping Drake
Snapping Drake
Snapping DrakeSet: Starter 1999
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drake
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying

Stinkweed Imp
Stinkweed Imp
Stinkweed ImpSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Imp
Rarity:
C
Number:
107
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying Whenever Stinkweed Imp deals combat damage to a creature, destroy that creature. Dredge 5 (If you would draw a card, instead you may put exactly five cards from the top of your library into your graveyard. If you do, return this card from your graveyard to your hand. Otherwise, draw a card.)

Wrecking Ball
Wrecking Ball
Wrecking BallSet: Dissension
Color:
Multicolor
Rarity:
C
Number:
139
Artist:
Ron Spears

Azorius First-Wing
Blind Hunter
Blind Hunter
Blind HunterSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bat
Rarity:
C
Number:
102
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying Haunt (When this card is put into a graveyard from play, remove it from the game haunting target creature.) When Blind Hunter comes into play or the creature it haunts is put into a graveyard, target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

Infiltrator's Magemark
Scatter the Seeds
Scatter the Seeds
Scatter the SeedsSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
181
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Convoke (Each creature you tap while playing this spell reduces its cost by 1 or by one mana of that creature’s color.) Put three 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play.


Enjoy, and good luck!


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