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CardShark Content - Samuel Stafford (10/1/2005)

[Editor's note: Forum link got lost again. Here it is:
http://ccncomics.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=1067 ]

Well with Ravnica about to hit stores shortly I bet there are a ton of questions and rumors floating around. Finally with the rumored cards being confirmed by a host of different sites including the Wizards’ site itself I think it’s safe to write this article. I’m not here to review the cards nor make any predictions, as I like to see the ideas unfold a bit before I make predictions that 25% of the time hold true. Instead I’d like to describe the set’s themes as well as the new mechanics we will all have to familiar ourselves with in the coming weeks. I know there are numerous prerelease events and if you have attended this article really isn’t intended for you. With that said, I have not attended any releases since I have been kept busy with my studies and have taken a little time off to write about something I really enjoy. For those of you who have not read all the rumor mills and kept up with the Wizards’ preview cards or the awesome trailer put out please stay with me as the following offers a lot to be excited about and to learn. Without any further ado Ravnica: City of Guilds

First off we look at the title, “City of Guilds.” Ravnica is the only set to be set dead center in the middle of a bustling city. The artwork depicting forests, mountains and even “islands” in a city setting is quite breathtaking. But it doesn’t stop there; at the heart of the set is the introduction of 4 of the guilds of Ravnica. Also unique to the Ravnica Block each guild will have its own set to shine in. That is the other 6 guilds will be introduced 3 in the next set and 3 in the final set for a total of 10 guilds. So what are the guilds comprised of? Why 2 colors of course. Now this set is being compared to Invasion, as it will be a multicolor set with gold cards. However Invasion pushed using all 5 colors, where as Ravnica takes a different approach by encouraging the player to play 2-color decks or “guild decks.”

As I mentioned before Ravnica will introduce the first 4 guilds:
The Golgari: Black and Green
The Boros Legion: Red and White
The Selesnya: Green and White
The House Dimir: Blue and Black

Before I elaborate on these particular guilds, here are a couple of notes on guilds in general. Each guild has their own philosophy toward life and this is expressed through the unique mechanics and themes each guild color possesses. Secondly although it really has no effect on game play each card that is associated with a guild will have the guild’s symbol in the background of the card’s text.

The Golgari Guild (B/G):

Theme: Life and death, Greens growth feeds Blacks selfishness and gives it the means to over power the opposition. As a result the Golgari is the guild of the graveyard.

Guild Mechanic: Dredge
Dredge
DredgeSet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
103
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Sacrifice a creature or land.Draw a card.


Graveshell Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab 2BGG
Creature – Insect (R)

1, Sacrifice
Sacrifice
SacrificeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Sacrifice one of your creatures to add to your mana pool a number of black mana equal to that creature's casting cost.
Graveshell Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab: Draw a card.

Dredge
Dredge
DredgeSet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
103
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Sacrifice a creature or land.Draw a card.
1
(If you would draw a card, instead you may put exactly one card 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.)
4/4

The Boros Legion (R/W):

Theme: Fiery justice, unrelenting and without fear. Red provides the emotion that drives White to carry out its laws fiercely. The Boros Legion is the guild of the battlefield.

Guild Mechanic: Radiance


Rally the Righteous
Rally the Righteous
Rally the RighteousSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
222
Artist:
Dan Scott
Text:
Radiance — Untap target creature and each other creature that shares a color with it. Those creatures get +2/+0 until end of turn.
1RW
Instant (C)

Radiance – Untap target creature and each other creatures that share a color with it. Those creatures get +2/+0 until end of turn.

The Selesnya Guild (GW):

Theme: Equality amongst everyone in the guild, all have their role and are part of a large community that yearns to grow both figuratively and literally that’s works for the greater good of the many. Individualism and selfishness is not practiced. Green allows White’s communal values to grow and prosper. The Selesnya are the guild of a power in numbers which is reflected in its mechanic…

Guild Mechanic: Convoke

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.
XGGG
Instant (R)

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.

The House Dimir (U/B)

Theme: Shrouded in mystery the “tenth” guild is kept a secret from nay of Ravnica’s citizens. The little information that is spread of it is spread in the form of ghost stories and myths. The House Dimir is purposely kept under wraps as it is the guild of unseen manipulation. The Duskmantle castle is underground deep in the sewers where nobody looks. It is here where agents of Szadek, the leader of the guild, plot the takeover of the entire city. The House Dimir is the guild of secrecy and manipulation, thus it is the guild of the library.

Guild Mechanic: Transmute

Perplex
Perplex
PerplexSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
217
Artist:
Tsutomu Kawade
Text:
Counter target spell unless its controller discards his or her hand. Transmute 1UB (1UB, 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.)
1UB
Instant (C)

Counter target spell unless it’s controller discards his or her hand.

Transmute 1UB (1UB, Discard this card: Search your library for a 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.)

Oh and one last thing, there is another mechanic kinda, sorta, and that is the “Hybrid” card.
They are not regulated to one guild but all 10 of them. So what are they? They are multicolor cards with a twist really. Let’s take a look at the Ravnica prerelease card shall we:

Gleancrawler
Gleancrawler
GleancrawlerSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
18
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Insect Horror
Rarity:
R
Number:
247
Artist:
Dave Allsop
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
(B/G can be paid with either B or G.) Trample At the end of your turn, return to your hand all creature cards in your graveyard that were put into your graveyard from play this turn.
3(B/G)(B/G)(B/G)
Creature – Insect Horror (R)

Obviously it is harder to write then it is to look at the actual card. I’m not going to show you what it does but I will discuss the important thing the mana cost. On the actual card the “(B/G)” is represented by a new type of mana symbol that looks like half of 2 colors combined. In this case you can actually see a small “forest” and a small “swamp” this is referred to as “guild” mana. So what is the actual cost it can be a great many different things. In this case you can pay 3 and any combination of black or green mana for example: 3BBB, 3GGG. 3BGG, or 3BBG. No mater how you pay for this card is still counts as the both of the colors no matter what they may be.

Alright now that I got all the technical jargon out of the way, here are just a few of the cards that will impact the new format:

1. Shock
Shock
ShockSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
206
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Shock deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
lands (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.
/Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown TombSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Swamp Forest
Rarity:
R
Number:
279
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add B or G to your mana pool.) As Overgrown Tomb comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Overgrown Tomb comes into play tapped instead.
/Sacred Foundry
Sacred Foundry
Sacred FoundrySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Mountain Plains
Rarity:
R
Number:
280
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add R or W to your mana pool.) As Sacred Foundry comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Sacred Foundry comes into play tapped instead.
/Watery Grave
Watery Grave
Watery GraveSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Island Swamp
Rarity:
R
Number:
286
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add U or B to your mana pool.) As Watery Grave comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Watery Grave comes into play tapped instead.
)

These are still not on the same level as the Onslaught
Onslaught
OnslaughtSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
92
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
“Fetchlands.” However they are strictly better than the invasion tap lands as they can tap for mana on the same turn they come out. They are overpriced right now, but as there prices slowly decrease be sure to pick a couple up as they are incredible in the predicted slower metagame.

2. 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.


If R/W Control becomes a contender this card will cause all kinds of trouble for creature strategies, not only taking out X/3 creatures but also gaining precious life for only 2 mana. This will be a staple of the new format.

3. Carven Caryatid
Carven Caryatid
Carven CaryatidSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
155
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
2
Toughness:
5
Text:
Defender (This creature can’t attack.) When Carven Caryatid comes into play, draw a card.


With a ton of great ground-beaters this card could prove very valuable as its high toughness and 2 power can throw a wrench in the plans of any quick agro deck.

4. Devouring Light
Devouring Light
Devouring LightSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
13
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Convoke (Each creature you tap while playing this spell reduces its cost by 1 or by one mana of that creature’s color.) Remove target attacking or blocking creature from the game.


Another possible tool for White Control playing a few utility creatures, light solves so many problems as it isn’t hard to cast and unlike reciprocate doesn’t require taking the hit. Legendary Dragons will have to watch out for the new “Plow” on the block

5. Stoneshaker Shaman
Stoneshaker Shaman
Stoneshaker ShamanSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Shaman
Rarity:
U
Number:
145
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
At the end of each player’s turn, that player sacrifices an untapped land.


Granted you only receive a 1/1 for 3 mana this card will give counter decks all kinds of problems as it forces them to tap out or lose a precious land.

6. 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.


Remember Ravenous Baloth
Ravenous Baloth
Ravenous BalothSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
278
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Sacrifice a Beast: You gain 4 life.
and the pain it caused agro decks? So what does this guy give you for 4 mana. Well you get a fat 4/4, 4 life on the spot without the sacrifice and the occasionally useful ability to regenerate all creatures you control.

7. 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.


Often times beatdown decks run out of gas late game. If your mana base can support it Tolsimir offers you a 3/4, 2 Glorious Anthem
Glorious Anthem
Glorious AnthemSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
15
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
All creatures you control get +1/+1.
s, and an endless supply of 4/4 Wolf tokens. This is not an auto-include in every G/W deck, however with a little work this card can easily be broken.







Well that concludes this brief introduction to Ravnica. As you can see Wizards is really trying to make this set a winner especially after putting out what could be argued as a weak block in Kamigawa that was justified of course by the brokenness of Mirrodin Block. As usual thank you for reading and I hope this has got you as pumped up as I am for this to rotate into standard.


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