The Spoilers So Far

It’s been a good week for Magic players, since WOTC has been spoiling a ton of really really good cards.

Today, let’s first take a look at the mythic cycles.

Since Return to Ravnica is a particularly large set (about 30 cards larger than most large sets at 274 cards versus say, Avacyn Restoreds 244), we can expect at least 15 mythics (the standard), but I’m speculating we can have up to 16 or even 17. (Innistrad, a 264-card set, had 16 mythics).

The predicted cycles are:

5 mono-color mythics: Necropolis Regent, Angel of Serenity, Worldspine Wurm, and two undisclosed creatures. Some assume that since Jace, Architect of Thought is blue and mythic, he’s the blue member of this cycle, but since the set has been very cycle-centric so far, I do not doubt that the two other mythics are in fact creatures, each showcasing variations of the most powerful abilities in those colors. That’s why Angel of Serenity is a triple Oblivion Ring, Necropolis Regent is insane for mono-B vampire aggro, and Worldspine Wurm is the poster child (wurm?) for creature value.

5 Guildmasters: Trostani, Selesyna’s Voice; Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius; Isperia, Supreme Judge; Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord; and the yet-undisclosed Rakdos. I will talk about the individual guildmasters when Rakdos is finally spoiled, so they’re here only for the roll call.  (In the course of this writing, I’ve discovered that he’s already been leaked, so I’ll put him here.)

Definitely an enabler in EDH.

5 Guild Mythics: Rakdos’s Return, Epic Experiment, Sphinx’s Revelation, and two unrevealed spells. As with Jace, some expect that Vraska is the guild-aligned mythic for Golgari, but I disagree.

1. She does not have the guild symbol.

2. The cycle so far has three spells with an X in the mana cost and a dual effect.

While Vraska’s preview article discussed her origins as a Golgari member, now that she’s back she does not necessarily need to be aligned with Golgari. Unfortnately, a very  large number of people signed under Golgari for the prerelease in the local stores I’ve checked, and a lot of them are hoping to get her. They’ll probably be disappointed.

One is a burn/discard spell. One is a Genesis Wave for Instants and Sorceries. The third is great for control decks to cast during their opponent’s end step, assuming they didn’t counter anything. Given how the set’s design so far is very heavy on cycle symmetry, I highly doubt that a Planeswalker (whose abilities aren’t so iconic of Golgari) is the Golgari representative of the cycle.

I will definitely run Rakdos’s Return in my Thraximundar EDH, but unfortunately that seems to be the only use this card has. There are faster discard and burn effects, and since we don’t have Dark Ritual in Standard, Rakdos’s Return is no Mind Twist. As such, I don’t see the big deal, and I don’t think the $12 price tag is justified.

Without mana rituals to fuel it, Rakdos’s Return is hardly comparable to Mind Twist in standard.

Although Sphinx’s Revelation is in colors I don’t usually play (I have a makeshift Azorius control deck, and whenever I play it, it makes me feel dirty.) , I can appreciate its value. Sure, damage is better than life gain, but we all know awesome card advantage is, especially for control.

Epic Experiment, however, is a gem made of win. I can see fantastic combos with it in Standard (Index your topdeck!) as well as in Legacy and EDH (Storm!) Even better is that as far as I can tell, you do not have to cast them in order. They’re all exiled at the same time, then you can pick and choose which to cast in the order you desire upon the resolution of Epic Experiment, rather like Chandra Ablaze‘s ultimate.  I’ll soon write about it later on when I discuss my Niv-Mizzet EDH in detail.

As I close on the mythics, let me say for the record: I predict a whopping 17 mythics: 5 Guildmasters, 5 guild-aligned signature spells, 5 mono-colored uber-creatures, and the two planeswalkers.

I hope to be able to write more this week about the other significant cycles in this set, which has been so darn cool thus far.

Until then, may the Aether tides favor your journeys, planeswalker.

As The Day Approaches

The much-awaited release of Return to Ravnica is nearing, and as such the hype is gaining momentum. I’m pretty sure Wizards has invested so money in RTR that it has to sell well—and the way things are going, I predict it will.

Duel Decks: Izzet vs Golgari

One of Wizards’ primary hype builders is the Izzet vs Golgari Duel Deck.

I have to admit that at first I was willing to gloss over this deck since Return to Ravnica was on its way. Duel Decks don’t really have a good reputation, mostly having most of their value in the two foil rares (usually Planeswalkers) that you’re going to get. I figured I would rather spend my money on the actual set rather than get a bunch of reprints. Even Niv-Mizzet himself wouldn’t make the deck worth it (it didn’t help that I’m not such a fan of the new art)!–or so I thought.

When I saw the decklists, I was sold immediately.

Izzet

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind: I already have one, but having him in foil would be awesome.

Isochron Scepter: I hope this one comes with really spiffy new art, Izzet style.

Now between the two of these, it’s already worth buying the Izzet half. Now let’s see the Golgari half.

Life from the Loam-I’ve been looking for one for ages. Because of high demand (and the consequent hefty price tag), I’ve been unable to.  This card alone is worth $13, and makes the Golgari deck worth buying. However…

Eternal Witness–This EDH staple is going to find a lot of uses in my decks.  At about $4 value, this only makes the Golgari deck more inviting.

Add to that not one, but two copies of Putrefy, Golgari Grave-Troll and Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord himself and we’ve got a deck that is of at least $20 value. This deck is so worth it. I’m glad I was able to preorder mine before my LGS ran out. It arrives next week!

Now for some keyword spoilers.

Rakdos Keyword: Unleash

It seems Rakdos will really be a force for aggro this time, as it should be. I guess Unleash fits the Rakdos paradigm of “hit every turn, and who cares about card advantage?” I’ve never been a fan of Rakdos, but I think this will get some serious mileage in the meta. I also predict that Grim Roustabout here is only on the lower side of the scale. I’m pretty sure some pretty sick Unleash creatures will be in the set.

Lands! 

Someone posted the following land cycle.

Rakdos Murder Gras (which is probably not the most enlightened pun to come out of this set)

Azorius Legislative District

Selesnya Vertical Garden

Izzet Industrial Zone

Golgari Drainage Canyon

We can only speculate on what these cards actually do, but I have a feeling they aren’t the set’s chase dual lands but rather will be similar to the old “bouncelands” back in RAV (due to the naming scheme).