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Magic Has Debased to This - Farewell Ravnica - Patrick 'Debaser' Breeden (9/18/2007)

Hey, everyone. I want to start this entry off by apologizing for not keeping up on my bi-weekly ´´Magic Has Debased to This´´ column, but I haven't forgotten about Cardshark. I do have at least two articles under the magnifying glass right now, and they should be on your screens soon. This entry is going to be a little different as I write about a dear friend that will be leaving the Standard format very soon: Ravnica block.

Ravnica was set to be the mother lode of Magic freshness. It would define the way we thought of and played Magic – or so Wizards of the Coast told us. There would be a guild for every two-color combination, and every guild would have its own mechanic! Whoa! Ten different mechanics in one block definitely promises for extremely different gameplay, but we all wondered how much change is this set bringing about?

The advertisements that Wizards began pumping out for the new set and the opportunities alone were driving us completely mad. Gold cards were making a return! Enemy colors were going to be good again! Would Pernicious Deed
Pernicious Deed
Pernicious DeedSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
114
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
X, Sacrifice Pernicious Deed: Destroy each artifact, creature, and enchantment with converted mana cost X or less.
return then? Would Spiritmonger
Spiritmonger
SpiritmongerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger. B: Regenerate Spiritmonger. G: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
be snuck in? The rumors were flying around like mad.

Wizards then looked over and chucked at the madness that was being thrown everywhere and decided to drop another explosion in the middle of it: a preview of Temple Garden
Temple Garden
Temple GardenSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Forest Plains
Rarity:
R
Number:
284
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add G or W to your mana pool.) As Temple Garden comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Temple Garden comes into play tapped instead.
and a promise that every guild would have its own dual shock land. We would get these lands along with the already confirmed pain lands in Ninth Edition?! Three color decks would be easy as pie to make, and players could agree that the future of Magic would definitely be interesting and exciting.

After Ravnica came out and we were all crackin' away at packs to get our Char
Char
CharSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Char deals 4 damage to target creature or player and 2 damage to you.
s and Dark Confidant
Dark Confidant
Dark ConfidantSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
81
Artist:
Ron Spears
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost.
s, we realized that Ravnica hadn't truly altered the game in the way that some would foresee. Yes, hybrid mana certainly made playing certain spells a lot easier and more fun, but we were still tapping lands to play spells. What it did do was force us to rethink how to play the basics. What would seem to be a mono white deck could drop a Selesnya Guildmage
Selesnya Guildmage
Selesnya GuildmageSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
10
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
252
Artist:
Mark Zug
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
(G/W can be paid with either G or W.) 3G: Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play. 3W: Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn.
and make little weenies huge, and opponents that are tapped down can still Convoke spells onto the stack. The Dimir also introduces uncounterable tutoring through Transmute that could fetch important cards like Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
and Persecute
Persecute
PersecuteSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
146
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Choose a color. Look at target player's hand. That player discards all cards of the chosen color.
(which also became a big time player thanks to Ravnica).

Possibly the most important thing Ravnica did was send Mirrodin block off into ExtendedLand. We didn't have to worry about Tooth and Nail
Tooth and Nail
Tooth and NailSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
134
Artist:
Greg Hildebrandt
Text:
Choose one - Search your library for up to two creature cards, reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle your library; or put up to two creature cards from your hand into play. Entwine 2 (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)
or Scepter-Go anymore. As much as we would miss our Chrome Mox
Chrome Mox
Chrome MoxSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
152
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Imprint - When Chrome Mox comes into play, you may remove a nonartifact, nonland card in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) T: Add one mana of any of the imprinted card's colors to your mana pool.
en and a sad robot known as Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.
, most people would agree that Mirrodin had overstayed its welcome. It was time to leave Cybertron and not look back.

Ravnica also responsible for clearing the way to make some of the weirdest tournament decks I've ever seen in Magic. A friend of mine tried to play Ebony-Ow
Ow
OwSet: Unglued
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
36
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text:
Whenever any creature damages a player, for each Ow card in play, that player says Ow once or Ow deals 1 damage to him or her.
l Netsuke and Howling Mine
Howling Mine
Howling MineSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Each player must draw one extra card during the draw phase of each of his or her turns.
many months before Ravnica, and we all got a good laugh at the silly concept. Ravnica took this silly concept and turned it into a killer. Ow
Ow
OwSet: Unglued
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
36
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text:
Whenever any creature damages a player, for each Ow card in play, that player says Ow once or Ow deals 1 damage to him or her.
ling Mine wasn't just something to fear, it was something to hide from. If Ow
Ow
OwSet: Unglued
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
36
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text:
Whenever any creature damages a player, for each Ow card in play, that player says Ow once or Ow deals 1 damage to him or her.
ling Mine wasn't enough control for the average control-freak nutjob, Firemane Control gave us the opportunity to play one of the strangest and most obscure enchantments in Magic: Zur's Weirding
Zur's Weirding
Zur's WeirdingSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Players play with their hands face up.Whenever any player draws a card, any other player may pay 2 life to force the drawing player to discard that card.
. Yes, people were playing 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.
and Zur's Weirding
Zur's Weirding
Zur's WeirdingSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Players play with their hands face up.Whenever any player draws a card, any other player may pay 2 life to force the drawing player to discard that card.
together in a deck, and they were winning. A lot. It also allowed Heartbeat Combo to become a reality thanks to Dimir's Transmute mechanic. Players could now reliably fetch their kill spell when it was time to combo off.

Of course, Ravnica was also responsible for a lot of mean, terrifying tournament decks as well. It helped bring about Ghost Husk/Ghost Dad, Gruul, Boros Deck Wins, Rakdos Control, Satanic Sligh, and 'Vore(yes, I'm saying that Vore wouldn't be possible without Ravnica's help).

I definitely had favorite cards from this set, and I'll definitely miss these awesome bombs when they leave Standard. Here's a top ten list of my favorite Ravnica rares – minus the shock lands:

1. Debtor’s Knell
2. Dark Confidant
Dark Confidant
Dark ConfidantSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
81
Artist:
Ron Spears
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost.

3. Angel of Despair
Angel of Despair
Angel of DespairSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
101
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Angel of Despair comes into play, destroy target permanent.

4. Giant Solifuge
Giant Solifuge
Giant SolifugeSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Insect
Rarity:
R
Number:
143
Power:
4
Toughness:
1
Text:
((R/G) can be paid with either R or G.) Trample, haste Giant Solifuge can’t be the target of spells or abilities.
aka Cap'n Tickles [Editor’s note: O rly?]
5. Char
Char
CharSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Char deals 4 damage to target creature or player and 2 damage to you.

6. Remand
Remand
RemandSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
63
Artist:
Mark A. Nelson
Text:
Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, put it into its owner’s hand instead of into that player's graveyard. Draw a card.

7. Chord of Calling
Chord of Calling
Chord of CallingSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Convoke (Each creature you tap while playing this spell reduces its cost by 1 or by one mana of that creature’s color.) Search your library for a creature card with converted mana cost X or less and put it into play. Then shuffle your library.

8. Simic Sky Swallower
Simic Sky Swallower
Simic Sky SwallowerSet: Dissension
Color:
Multicolor
Rarity:
R
Number:
130
Artist:
rk post
aka Triple S
9. 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.

10. Dovescape
Dovescape
DovescapeSet: Dissension
Color:
Multicolor
Rarity:
R
Number:
143
Artist:
Shishizaru


Not everything in Ravnica was made of gold. Let's face it – some of this stuff just sucked. Here's a list of some things that the set probably could have done without.

1. The return of the split cards
2. The cheeseball commercials
3. 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.

4. Everyone trying to convince us that Helldozer
Helldozer
HelldozerSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
88
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Power:
6
Toughness:
5
Text:
BBB, T: Destroy target land. If that land is nonbasic, untap Helldozer.
was good
5. Ravnica/Guildpact/Dissension draft(it just got insane and nearly impossible)
6. Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
(what a bad fetch spell)

So where is Ravnica right now while we count down its demise in Standard? It is still an insanely popular set, and Magic Online is still seeing Ravnica drafts daily. The shock lands are still being hugged and worshipped by the fanboys, and the chase cards are still seeing play at tables all around the globe. Ravnica, we'll miss thee – but we'll be glad to meet Lorwyn.

Thanks for taking the time to look back at Ravnica with me. Next time I'll delve into the crazier side of Magic yet again.

-Debaser


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