January 16, 2019

Image Credit:

Daily Dose of Ravnica Allegiance - Guide to Combat Tricks and Removal Cards by Color

Welcome to the Daily Dose of Ravnica Allegiance, where prerelease week continues with one of my favourite articles to write for each set.

Today's guide is here to help you prepare for Ravnica Allegiance Prerelease and Limited play. Knowing your cards and what to do with them is often half the battle. If you can tell what cards your opponent could cast, you'll be even further ahead. We'll go colour by colour and cover the cards you can expect to see when it comes to combat tricks and removal spells in Ravnica Allegiance!

White Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Angel of Grace is a flash creature that you won’t see very often during Prerelease weekend. But if your opponent has a few cards in hand and leaves five mana open, it’s something you should consider.

Expose to Daylight could lead to trouble during combat if you have an Aura attached to one of your creatures. Unbreakable Formation and Justicar’s Portal are both combat tricks that improve your opponent's creatures and can quickly turn your victory into a loss.

Beware of Rally to Battle if your opponent makes what seem like multiple bad attacks. Summary Judgment can take out a small attacking creature while Arrester’s Zeal is a tricky one mana combat trick that most players will overlook.

Blue Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

As usual, blue doesn’t have much in the way of permanent removal. What it can do is prevent creatures form ever hitting the battlefield with counterspells.

While three counterspells total is low for a set, there are some good ones. Essence Capture counters a creature spell while pumping up a creature and Quench is great in the early-to-mid game. There is one pure counter spell in the form of Thought Collapse that also sends a few extra cards to the graveyard.

Code of Constraint, Slimebind, and Faerie Duelist all provide a way to win combat and provide a little something extra. Swirling Torrent may be an expensive removal spell, but it can deal with two threats at once and is great to clear the way for some attacks to get through. Arrester’s Admonition is the only instant bounce spell to look out for from blue.

Black Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Usually the colour with the most removal spells, black has little in the way of straight removal here. Consign the Pit gets rid of a creature, but costs six mana to do so. Clear the Stage and Grotesque Demise are instant removal spells, but can only be cast on certain creatures for permanent removal. Cry of the Carnarium is one of the only sweepers in the set and it only gives creatures -2/-2. Bladebrand is a neat combat trick if you have a creature on the battlefield and it’s a cantrip so you won’t lose card advantage when casting it. Spire Mangler is a neat flash creature that could become a 2-for-1 depending if you have another flying creature on the battlefield.

Red Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Burn Bright and Storm Strike are the two combat tricks you need to worry about the most, especially since Storm Strike only costs one mana.

Deface has a narrow range of uses, but could see play at only one mana. Gates Ablaze is one of the few sweepers in the set and since most players will have two to three gates at minimum, it's still a strong removal spell.

Scorchmark and Flames of Raze-Boar are the only instant removal spells that doesn’t have X in their casting cost. Electrodominance can end games, but at rare there hopefully won’t be too many of them kicking around. Skewer the Critics is something to look out for in your opponent's second main phase after they’ve already done some damage to enable its Spectacle cost.

Green Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

As usual, Green doesn’t have much when it comes to combat tricks and removal cards. The only two green removal cards are Titanic Brawl and Sagittar’s Volley, and even those are situational spells. Tower Defense could be a blowout against an alpha attack to make sure it's a one-sided affair. Stony Strength and Gift of Strength are both great pump spells that can provide a surprise blocker. Rampage of the Clans is a unique removal spell that could be used offensively or defensively. Watch out whenever an opponent destroys their own artifacts to get some 3/3 creatures out of it. Be sure to watch out for the two mana Root Snare if you're ever lining up an all out attack to win the game.

Gruul Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Both split cards provide multiple ways to impact the game with the Thrash half of Thrash // Threat hitting the hardest. Savage Smash is a great removal spell that could also allow an attacker to get through for extra damage as well. Collision // Colossus is like two separate cards in one with a sideboard card attached to a combat trick.

Simic Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Applied Biomancy could be both a two for one removal spell in combat and the best bounce spell in the set. Frilled Mystic is something to worry about if your opponent passes on turn four without a play. Incubation // Incongruity allows you to exile a much larger threat than the 3/3 Frog Lizard creature token it leaves behind. Repudiate // Replicate is a great combat trick that could shut down any tricky plays your opponent might have had in store for you.

Orzhov Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Final Payment and Mortify are two of the best instant creature removal cards in the set. Any straight removal for three mana or less is valuable in any set. The Consume half of Consecrate // Consume is the most valuable part of this card, allowing you to always take out your opponent's largest creature while gaining some life in the process.

If your opponent is playing Orzhov, beware of the best sweeper in the set, Kaya’s Wrath. At only four mana it can turn the advantage bar in any match to the other side.

Rakdos Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Bedevil is one of the best removal cards in the set and the only one that can take out one of the three planeswalkers in the set. Get the Point is much better than the removal black has, and is an instant to boot. Macabre Mockery is one of the most interesting cards in the set from a design perspective as it can be used both offensively and defensively. Watch out for your opponent taking your best creature and using it against you to block your attacker. Both split cards are situational removal cards that can also hit your opponent directly if needed.

Azorius Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Lawmage’s Binging is basically a removal spell that shuts down everything on a creature except triggered abilities. Either half of Depose // Deploy can be used to surprise your opponent before or during combat. Warrant // Warden is an amazing tempo card that will put your turns ahead of your opponent.

As you can see there are plenty of cards to consider when it comes to combat tricks and removal. Each guild has plenty of tricks up their sleeve, but if you know the cards and work out the possible scenarios, you should be able to limit the possible cards your opponent could have. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Ravnica Allegiance. Join me again tomorrow as I crack open a Prerelease kit and do a practice deck build so you can see what to expect this weekend.