Today, let’s take a look at my favorite cards in Guilds of Ravnica (so far) by guild. A quick reminder, all the guilds in this set are: Boros (RW), Dimir (UB), Golgari (GB), Izzet (UR), and Selesnya (GW). I won’t be looking at the shocklands because they are obviously great. Keep in mind that I am predominantly looking at these cards based on the context of a new standard format, but I will mention other formats occasionally.
This is a Sweltering Suns style card that is a bit easier to cast for 3 color decks. I’m not sure how often the lifelink half of this will come up, but this card will definitely see play even if the lifelink half of the card isn’t useful.
Legion Warboss is almost Goblin Rabblemaster. I think it is worse overall because you can’t really attack your 2/2 into their 3/3 just to get the mentor trigger, whereas Rabblemaster could trade up if needed.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a counter-burn deck in standard that plays this, but it also might be a better option for Grixis than the Sinister Sabotage (see below) as it is easier to cast for a 3 color mana base.
I’m not sure if this is actually castable in Grixis, but I want to try it with Sarkhan, Fireblood to play him on turn 4. I obviously want to pair him with Nicol Bolas, the Ravager but I don’t think I’ll be able to play many swamps if I go that route, which might affect the ability to play the one of the best black removal spells currently available, Vraska’s Contempt.
Lazav, the Multifarious
I’m not sure what this card can do in standard yet, but there are already combos being discussed with it in Commander that can end games pretty quickly.
I personally don’t like this card, but I’ve seen a lot of discussion about it. It is not Snapcaster Mage by any means. Snapcaster Mage is great because he can attack and block in addition to giving something flashback. Mission Briefing might be standard playable but I don’t think it is great. It would have to be in a deck where casting spells is important, like a deck that plays Guttersnipe.
(English text: Suveil 2, then draw 2 cards. Rain of Notions deals 2 damage to you.)
Rain of Notions
Rain of Notions is a better Read the Bones, even if it does cost 1UB instead of just 2B. This will turn on your Search for Azcanta very quickly, and Read the Bones has already seen a lot of standard play in the past. I’d be very surprised if this did not see play.
Our new 3-mana counterspell for decks that aren’t UR where it has to compete with Ionize (see above). Dissolve was the go-to counterspell when it was in Standard, and Surveil is a lot better than Scry with cards like Search for Azcanta in the format. This card will be great for flipping Search faster.
2 mana Thoughtseize is probably still good enough for Standard, and the extra Surveil just helps. This is definitely sideboard if not main deck in UBX control/midrange decks.
Vraska, Golgari Queen
I’ve seen mixed opinions on Vraska, including some comparing her to Vraska, Relic Seeker, which is currently in Standard…which she is nothing like. This Vraska requires you to build around her while Relic Seeker can be thrown in any GBX deck. If you are sacrificing things like Stitcher’s Supplier, Conclave Centaur (see below), etc. or any recurring threat, it is a great source of card advantage. When she ults, it is probably very difficult for your opponent to win and this style of deck would likely be good at protecting her.
Assassin’s Trophy is probably the best card in the set. This card will reach back into Modern and possibly Legacy. It’s set to become a staple in almost any GB commander deck. A 2 mana instant being able to destroy any permanent is great, and the downside is not a big deal. You probably shouldn’t be killing a 1- or 2-drop early on to ramp them. Assassin’s Trophy is designed to kill the big stuff later on when they really don’t need more mana anyways.
This is excellent removal at 1 mana. It isn’t as good on turn 1 like Fatal Push was but late game it will kill almost anything. I’ll probably be playing this in my modern Bridgevine sideboard as well.
(English Text: Undergrowth – Search your library for a black card with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of creature cards in your graveyard, reveal it, add it to your hand, then shuffle your library)
Secrets of the Mausoleum
If your deck is built around this it could just be Demonic Tutor, being able to search multicolored black cards with this means it can search Assassin’s Trophy meaning this is just extra answers for your deck as well as the option of being a threat. This card seems great to me.
This card is a better Regal Caracal in most decks(obviously not in cat tribal). It pumps your team and makes lifelink tokens, which is above the baseline for a card. I’m not sure if the 3rd effect is relevant but the fact that it’s there is interesting. It might just be a commander card, but with Dimir as a guild, we might see some Mind Control-esque effects become relevant.
(English Text: Vigilance; When Conclave Centaur dies, create two green and white 2/2 elf knight tokens with Vigilance)
The mana cost may be difficult but a 4/4 that dies into 4 power seems pretty good to me. It’s also important to note that they are knights so there are synergies with cards from Dominaria. I wouldn’t be surprised if Knights becomes an Abzan (GBW) or Selesnya archetype with the knight cards in this set.
(English text: Whenever Ledev Captain attacks, you may tap any number of untapped creatures you control. Ledev Captain gets +1/+1 for each creature tapped this way until end of turn. 3GW: Create a 1/1 Soldier creature token with lifelink)
His ability doesn’t read as that impressive at first glance but you have to keep in mind that he is a knight and most of the knight tokens in standard have vigilance, you can attack with them while still using them to activate his ability, I’m unsure if this card is quite good enough but he seems close to me if abzan/selesnya knights are a deck.
Knight of Autumn
This is possibly the 2nd best card in the set. Reclamation Sage was already playable, but this has other options that make it a great card for your main deck. This card will reach into Modern for sure, the versatility of having a 4/3, gaining 4, or destroying an artifact or enchantment is a huge benefit to all Chord of Calling and Collected Company decks. Being able to main deck at least one of this card is a massive upgrade, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Humans replaced Reclamation Sage in their sideboard with this despite it being slightly harder to cast. It’s also a knight, which is important for Standard archetypes.
March of the Multitudes
March of the Multitudes makes a lot of tokens. I haven’t seen any Soldier synergies yet, but there are still cards like Benalish Marshal to make this a powerful card.
This can be a 1-mana Oblivion Ring. Or could be a 4-mana Oblivion Ring. Either way, the versatile mana cost makes this card a great option for token decks. I expect that non-token decks will probably play Ixalan’s Binding instead, but Conclave Tribunal is a great card to keep in mind.
(English text: Search your library for up to two basic lands or Gates and put them onto the battlefield tapped.)
This is a better version of Ranger’s Path and Explosive Vegetation, which both saw a bit of play last time they were in Standard. I’m not entirely sure it is better than Gift of Paradise from M19 but if you are playing without Teferi to untap lands then it ramps for 2 while Gift only ramps for 1. In combination with Teferi though, I would rather have Gift because it is equivalent in mana production, and gains life. That said, if there are any big mana decks that aren’t UW they probably want this card.
Hunted Witness is a worse Doomed Traveler, but that doesn’t mean it’s unplayable. There are a lot of soldiers in this set and there could be other synergies with that eventually. I am more excited for an Aristocrats style deck that would want this.
4 damage and exile the creature could be relevant with cards like Conclave Centaur, where “dies” is an important trigger. With Magma Spray rotating, this is the next best option—and it can kill Rekindling Phoenix.
(English text: Counter target spell with converted mana cost 4 or greater.)
While not as good as it was in Khans of Tarkir, Disdainful Stroke should still be an excellent sideboard option. In Khans there were cards like Siege Rhino, Dig through Time, and Treasure Cruise to counter, so it had play against most match ups and could be easily main decked. It remains to be seen if it will be in this format, but I am hopeful.
A 4 mana 6/6 can end games quickly. It will depend what removal is seeing play and how well this lines up with the format. If people can afford to just pay 2 extra for a Cast Down it won’t be great, but if they are playing more burn spells or Vraska’s Contempts, this card will be very good.
Borderland Ranger with the upside of being able to fetch a gate is already a major improvement, and the elf typing could be relevant eventually, especially since we already have an elf lord in Standard.
A 2 mana 2/2 with removal tacked on is probably playable, but not really exciting to me.
If you like 4-5 color decks you’ll probably want this card. If you play Commander, you definitely want this card.
This is a wizard and that deck already wants to be casting a lot of spells, so this could be a good top end choice for the UR wizard deck.
That’s all for today. I hope you all have a FANTASTIC prerelease next weekend! I’ll be looking at Guilds of Ravnica again on the release day, where I’ll be talking about my week one deck ideas!
~ Sean Armstrong
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