Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Return to Ravnica EDH Set Review, Part 7: R, G, A/L

Finally! It's been far, far too long this time around. But we are now at the final installment of my Return to Ravnica EDH Set Review. Red, Green, Artifacts and Lands are all that is left, so let's dive in.


I can't see this being worth the investment of card and mana in even a token-based Red deck. Krenko Mob Boss and Ib Halfheart might be the two exceptions, but even in those decks this will often be a mediocre-to-okay card.
Very hard to utilize in EDH. It's got potential, as recurring source of targeted damage, but the enchantment itself is a bit too expensive, the damage is in too-small increments, and the trigger is too narrow.

By the way, is there some sort of law now that Red has to get an enchantment like this in every set? "Whenever you do {insert block mechanic here}, deal X damage (usually 2) to target creature or player" is a phrase we see in pretty much every damn block now.

Oh well, at least the Flashback-triggered one was sorta playable.
Such an amazing, exceptionally great card. However, this is clearly a Constructed card, designed for a very specific metagame - one in which Snapcaster Mage gets cast multiple times in nearly every game. Narrow, meta-game-y sideboard cards like this are almost always worthless in EDH (unless they're graveyard hate).
 I think this will get poo-pooed by most players for being a "do-nothing" for six. However, in any R/X/Y "Giant Monster" build, this is actually highly appealing. I'm thinking Kaalia and Mayael for starters - both are all about cheating large, expensive battlecrusiers into play, and those decks contain them in high enough numbers to make this fairly reliable.

It's free monsters, AND you'll often kill whatever your opponent flips over. Best of all, in Multiplayer, you get to pick your opponent in the Guild Fight, so you can always harrass the Edric deck or the Mono-White Soldier deck - their guys will never be big enough to kill whatever you're flipping.

'Nuff said.

Now, see, THIS is the effect I wish was on the dumb Red enchantment. Casting instants or sorceries is a broad enough trigger that it would be EDH viable, and the 2 damage to each opponent is a much more multiplayer-oriented  ability.

Sticking this on a fragile 2/2 creature is the surest way to ensure this guy is virtually worthless in EDH. Creatures just die way easier and way more often in EDH.

That said, the ability is desirable enough I can see him getting some play, especially in Blue/Red decks loaded with spells and countermagic. Counterspelling a removal spell or sweeper to protect this guy actually triggers him. Delicious.


There are easier ways to get a good, blanket overrun effect. The value in this card, though, is that, if you're already casting an Overrun spell, she effectively doubles it. Case in point: You have her, some other dudes, and you cast Overrun. Everything gets +3/+3 including her. Declare attackers. She's a 4/4 so she gives all your other guys an addition +4/+4.

I guess that's okay, but it seems kinda win-more to me.

Oh, and I really think it's a crime that she isn't an Elf. Elves and Overrun effects have been like Peanut Butter and Jelly since the early days of Magic.
 The new Guild Gates are sure to be staples of the format, helping budget-minded players fix their mana bases. The key to making them relevant to players who are already packing ABUR duals and Shocklands out the wazoo is to make the Gate type relevant. So far this is the closest thing in print to making us care about the "Gate" type, and I'm not sure even this cuts the mustard. Hopefully by the time "Sinker" hits, there will be some more powerful incentives to care about "gates".
Maze of Ith, Gaea's Cradle, Cabal Coffers. Anything that taps for lots of mana or has a powerful, cheap utility effect is worth enchanting with this. That said, I can't say it's going to be reliable enough that you'll want to play this. Getting the right land in play, AND having this in hand at the same time is tricky to pull off. And if you're using tutors to do it, well, there are probably just far better things you could be doing with your tutors and mana.

Still, sticking this on Maze of Ith in an Edric deck seems like really good times.
I'm sure this has a legit use, but I can't see what it is. Slow-rolling that mana advantage is not usually the way to get ahead in EDH, especially in Green.
Big, fat "duh". Obviously this gets played in the format. Not ever deck with green will automatically want a CMC 11 fatty, and those that do will often just run Ulamog instead. But if you're sick of playing with Elrdazi funwreckers, give this shit a try. I've seen it in live play already and it is disturbing how good this guy actually is.
Ghave decks, obv. However, Ghave already has like a million good enchantments that work great with him and this one is on average 1 more mana than most of them. Plus it's a bit less explosive than, say, Doubling Season or even Cathar's Crusade. I spent over 30 minutes trying to squeeze this into my Ghave deck and it just wouldn't fit.

Savra seems like an okay fit, but the average creature is too small to really make this shine in that deck.

No, I really think Skullbriar decks are where this is most at home. Oh, and of course Animar decks.
I'm not sure if this has an EDH home, or where that would be, but I love this card. The concept and flavor are excellent, as is the art. I think it might have a place in Edric as a sort of budget Kira, Great Glass-spinner. Other than that I'm not so sure.
Green so rarely gets "destroy target creature" cards, and when it does, they usually say "with flying" right afterward. That's okay, though because most threats to a Green deck are flying creatures. There was a time, back in the day, when every Green deck ran Wing Shards as a way to deal with Akroma, Angel of Wrath, who was, for a very long time, THE best game-ending creature in the format.

They've been printing strictly-better versions of Wing Shards for a while now, and while I still prefer Plummet over this (the 2 life isn't really worth the additional mana) I'll still happily play this in any Green deck that simply NEEDS more removal.


I usually hate it when people declare a brand-new card a "staple". By the very definition, calling something a staple precludes it being brand new to the format.

That said, if there's one card in this set I'm willing to make an exception for, it's this. Sure, it's worthless in mono-colored and only worth running in some two-color decks. But at three or more colors, this is pure, undiluted auto-include.

This WILL be a true staple of the format. Get 'em while you can - remember what happened to Coalition Relic back in the day?
EDH players have been longing for a colorless Eternal Witness for a very long time. Well, here it is. Time will tell if we're willing to pay six mana for something Green can do for 2 or 3 mana, but a colorless Regrowth is bound to make a few players happy to pay double for it.
Hilarious, inventive design, but utterly terrible nonetheless.

This represents the whole cycle of Keyrunes for RtR. This is my favorite of them, because the "looting" ability is the only one among them likely to be relevant at all points at the game.

I dislike the green-producing ones because Green has access to near-inifinite amounts of better ramp. The Rakdos one is playable, as that's a color pair that usually needs more ramp badly, but the creature is likely to be irrelevant after turn 4 which would be the earliest it could attack! And the Azorius one is just uninspiring with a 2/2 flyer (but again playable if you just need more mana rocks).

So for now, Izzet Keyrune remains the most compelling of the bunch.


The Gate Cycle
All of the Gates are certainly playable. The Invasion tap lands were always fine, and these are basically the exact same thing, save that there are (after Gatecrash) enemy pair versions too, not just friendly pairs. Also the Gate subtype might end up proving mildly relevant.

All in all, these are fantastic budget options, and while I still prefer the original Ravnica bouncelands in most decks, I can definitely see playing these in most two-color builds.

Unlikely to find the ubiquity of, say, Reliquary Tower, this is nonetheless a near-universally playable land. For virtually any deck that has a reasonable chance at General Damage wins, this is a sure bet. For many other decks, this will just be good at letting that one critical attack through.

It is a bit expensive, though, which is why I'm not touting it as playable in "every single deck in existence". Some decks simply won't have the mana available at the right time, or the right creature to push through.

But it will definitely see some play in EDH, rest assured.

Okay, folks, that's a wrap. Sorry it took so damn long to finish, but hopefully life will settle down soon, and I'll be able to get back to brewing, playing and writing.

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