September 13, 2018

Image Credit:

Daily Dose of Guilds of Ravnica - The Queen returns and X Marks the Spot

Welcome to the Daily Dose of Guilds of Ravnica, where preview season continues! A lot of exciting new cards are being released in the lead up to prerelease at your local gaming store come September 29th.

Today, it's time to load up on Gilded Lotuses and get as much mana as possible because we're looking at spells with X in the casting cost. But even better than regular X spells are ones that you can cast at instant speed. These cards let you wait until the end of your opponent's turn, then cast them and unleash some serious pain. I'll take a look at both of those kinds of cards, plus the return of a certain Golgari Planeswalker, now with its lowest casting cost ever. So without further ado, let's see what Guilds of Ravnica has in store for us today.

I want to start off talking about a card that can flood your battlefield with tons of creatures. To top it off, the more creatures you already have, the more you can create. Here is March of the Multitudes:


The two cards most comparable to this are Secure the Wastes and White Sun’s Zenith. March of the Multitudes' mana cost is closer to the latter, but the creatures you create are more similar to the former.

The good news here is that the casting cost could be much cheaper than shown thanks to Convoke. With even two other creatures on the battlefield, this spell becomes significantly better. And although the creatures that come onto the battlefield are only 1/1 creatures, they do have lifelink.

That lifelink means that it's unlikely you'll lose through one attack. Even if the creatures die when you use them to block, you'll still be gaining some life to counteract any loss of life during combat that turn. Being able to tap your better creatures that you don’t want to block with to get more 1/1 tokens is a great exchange as well, since you don’t mind blocking with the tokens. I really like this card and hope to find a deck with a good fit for it.

Next up we have another split card from Guilds of Ravnica. I was waiting for the Izzet rare split card since I knew it would probably be one that I would like. It didn't disappoint. Let's take a look at Expansion // Explosion:


Let’s talk about the Expansion half of the card first.

The drawback of not being able to copy a spell of five mana or greater isn’t much of a drawback in my opinion as most instant and sorcery spells cast in a Magic game cost four or less. Here is an example of some of the great spells you will be able to copy:
- Almost any counterspell in the format, including the new cards Ionize and Sinister Sabotage.
- Most direct damage spells including Lightning Strike, Shock, Wizard’s Lightning, and Spit Flame.
- Direct creature removal spells like Cast Down, Murder, Settle the Score, and Vraska’s Contempt.

There are possibilities to use it in combination with your own spells but works even better when you can copy one of your opponents’ spells and be able to cast your own copy for only two mana.

Now let’s talk about the Explosion half of the card.

I'd explain this half of the card as being the opposite of Sphinx’s Revelation. At instant speed you get to draw X cards, but deal X damage instead of gaining X life. I’ve been waiting for a good reason to play four Gilded Lotuses in a deck and I think I’ve found it.

The casting cost may seem high at first, but if you can draw three or more cards off this and deal three or more damage later in a game, it’s paid for itself. That’s the great part about this card, if you draw this in the early game you can still use the Expansion half to keep the game close. The debate for me now begins on whether I want to use this in a Jeskai Control build or a Grixis Control build. I’m leaning towards Grixis, but I’ll have to see what else is revealed for Guilds of Ravnica.

Finally, we have the return of Vraska. At only four mana, the Queen returns. I present Vraska, Golgari Queen:


At only four mana, this is immediately appealing to me. Her casting cost is different from previous incarnations, and four loyalty is a solid foundation to start off this planeswalker. Let’s break down her abilities:

[+2]: You may sacrifice another permanent. If you do, you gain 1 life and draw a card. – Adding two loyalty for one ability should never be overlooked. Plus, it puts Vraska, Golgari Queen safely out of reach of being killed in most circumstances, having six loyalty already after turn one. As for the ability itself, there are possibilities. You don’t often want to kill your own permanents, but being able to gain life and draw cards may be better than the permanent you are sacrificing. But since this is an optional cost, it just means this ability has more value.

[-3]: Destroy target nonland permanent with converted mana cost 3 or less. – Being able to protect itself is a key ability for a planeswalker. This ability could be an issue, due to the drawback of only being able to target something with converted mana cost three or less. If your opponent has a high casting cost threat on the battlefield, all you can do is use its +2 ability to gain loyalty quickly to help it survive. This will still be able to target a lot of threats on the battlefield.

[-9]: You get an emblem with "Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game." – This just screams, "Vraska ultimate ability!" You won’t be able to use this until perhaps four or more turns after you cast Vraska, Golgari Queen, but if you are able to use it you are most likely in a position to win the game anyway. This will just help speed things up a little.

Overall, I’m not all that impressed with Vraska, Golgari Queen, but her value will also depend on the current metagame and what kind of decks are in the format.

Are you ready to spend all your extra mana to overwhelm your opponent? My favourite of today's cards must be Expansion // Explosion, as both halves of the card are very powerful.

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose. Join me again tomorrow as I continue with my analysis of everything Guilds of Ravnica!