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So I did three pre-release events this weekened going Rakdos, Simic, Rakdos. I took 9th out of 38 in the first event. I would say my Rakdos card pool was above average with a decent amount of spectacle cards, but only a few enablers. I was basically saved by how powerful Judith, the Scourge Diva and Ill-Gotten Inheritance are. I found Spectacle to be quite strong and can lead to some pretty crazy play sequences (usually starting off with Dead Revels post combat).

On a more funny note. By the end of the night, everyone hated Orzhov simply because we had something like 8-11 ties occur as the Orzhov decks would just stall until time was called. Piloting and deck building choices were likely more to blame than the guild itself, but Orzhov was always involved. Also, I think I saw 5 immediate scoops to a T3 Rhythm of the Wild (including myself once when I was stuck on lands). That card is way too strong at uncommon for how little enchantment removal is in this set.

The other two pre-releases were train-wrecks. My Simic pool had a total of 3 adapt creatures and 3 of my packs in my second Rakdos pool had 1 or less red or black cards in them. I didn't even pull many payables in the other colors so both times I was forced into some 3 color conglomerate that struggled mightily against synergistic decks.

I did notice a lot of people running into issues with not getting enough cards in their pools that had their guild's mechanic. Probably just a weird coincidence, but it seemed like a much bigger issue this time around than in GRN. Either way though, I am excited to try out draft where you can actually get a critical mass of synergistic cards.

January 21, 2019 11:13 a.m.

If anyone is curious. Here is the Judith, the Scourge Diva EDH deck that I have been working on.

January 17, 2019 11:40 p.m.

Outside of Azorious these guild kits look great!

Each guild besides Azorious got at least one $$ card. The Debtors' Knell and Voidslime reprints are much appreciated, but there are some other great choices here too. I do like their choices on which new cards they included as well.

My only complaint is that some of the new artwork for the legends is pretty bad (looking at you Teysa, Orzhov Scion and Zegana, Utopian Speaker ).

January 16, 2019 12:31 p.m.

So has anyone noticed how fun Judith, the Scourge Diva and Teysa Karlov can be with Lifeline ? The deck would essentially be a Mardu Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker shell (sadly Judith's pump ability is a non-bo Shirei himself). It also saddens me greatly that Judith doesn't trigger for tokens dying, but owell time to brew!

LittleBlueHero - I'd say just follow your heart on your chosen guild, but Rakdos did look pretty strong in LRR's pre-prerelease. The only guild that I wasn't impressed with was Simic, but I think that may have been more due to piloting error and not the guild itself. The pre-prerelease is also a super small sample size so take that for what it's worth.

January 14, 2019 10:27 a.m.

CChaos - Tough to say until we actually get our hands on the cards, but from a first look I think WOTC did a decent job setting up a critical mass of payoffs and support for each guild. Hopefully that will lead to a balanced environment.....or it will be a terrible environment with Gruul just stampeding (or should I say Rioting?) over everyone else before they can even set up haha. I am definitely leaning towards either Simic or Orzhov for the pre-release.

Coward_Token - I am so glad I wasn't the only one who noticed the return of Ferocious.

January 11, 2019 10:27 p.m.

ZendikariWol - You would never play Molderhulk outside of Limited or Golgari though. However, within the confines of the Golgari guild where it has great synergy with the guild mechanic, it is quite powerful. That is basically my point for The Knight. It's pretty strong in Orzhov Limited, and it passes the vanilla test making it's CMC fine. I'd be hard pressed to play The Knight in Rakdos or Azorious though.

On the topic of its ability, while yes 2 mana is probably the max acceptable cost for such an ability, the presence of the other afterlife creatures in the set makes this repeatable ability much stronger (and is likely why it costs 3). Regardless of afterlife, being able to cash in your creature for a 1/1 flyer in the event of a removal spell should never be slept on. Removal is always at a premium in Limited. Being able to negate it's effectiveness can decide games.

Wow, there were some pretty strong commons and uncommons spoiled today.

January 11, 2019 2:51 p.m.

DemonDragonJ:

My guess for why they did the Sphinx the way they did is because saying "all colors' in the text is easier than printing each color symbol. Think of it as a reverse Devoid.

Also, Knight of the Last Breath is costed perfectly. Any lower and the card would be too strong at uncommon. Think of it this way. It's 7 mana for a 4/4 with an extremely relevant (albeit a bit over costed) ability. When it dies you get 3 evasive 1/1 bodies making it essentially cost 7 for 7 P/T. In the worst case scenario where it immediately eats a removal spell, you just 4-for-1'ed your opponent. I agree though that this only wants to be in specific decks, but I think it will be very strong there (like Molderhulk was in Golgari from the last set).

January 11, 2019 9:40 a.m.

I do love me some graveyard/sac strategies which is why I tend to gravitate towards those cards, but I have only one true aristocrats deck that is currently in flux. I am figuring out who I would rather prefer as commander between Krav, the Unredeemed&Regna, the Redeemer and Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker (both very different strategies).

Smothering Tithe is for my Boros-Angel-reanimator list :)

and I reallllly want to try out Mirror March in Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer. Though my build has budget restrictions and is more of a spell slinger version so it might not fit.

January 10, 2019 9:28 p.m.

Well the top card for me is definitely Smothering Tithe. Other than that I find Priest of Forgotten Gods, Judith, the Scourge Diva, Teysa Karlov, Rhythm of the Wild, and Mirror March all pretty interesting.

The idea of Biogenic Ooze alongside 4 Quasiduplicate and 4 Repudiate//Replicate could be pretty fun in Standard as well.

Objectively, Light Up the Stage is probably the best card as I feel it slots into decks across multiple formats.

Prime Speaker Vannifar is probably the strongest Commander card and I think WOTC made a mistake printing her. I wouldn't be surprised to see her banned in the near future.

January 10, 2019 3:27 p.m.

Saddle up cause this is a long post!

First, the lore discussion:

The Ixalan storyline changed Jace's character considerably, so to me the likely route they will take is that he stays on Ravnica (with Vraska) afterwards. Though they could try to tug on the heart strings by having Vraska kill him before all of her memories come back completely, which would cause her to turn on Bolas.

That being said...The Professor threw out an interesting lore idea (that I've added some thoughts to) and I am whole heartedly behind it now (though it won't happen) Here's how it goes:

Everything leading up to this was a ploy by Bolas.

1) He was the one that made it possible for The Gatewatch to come together. Why you ask? To gather the most powerful walkers in the multiverse under one banner. He knew how the Gatewatch would rally other walkers against him once they "knew" of his plan. Amonkhet was just a testing ground to see if they were ready yet.

2) While the Gatewatch was leveling up on Zendikar, Innistrad, Kaladesh, and Amonkhet etc. He was busy creating a powerful army of beings from multiple planes (i.e. Amonkhet and Ravnica).

3) At the very end of the Ravnica storyline, as Bolas stands victorious over the assembled walkers, he reveals that this has all been set up in order to gather the most powerful force he can muster for one reason: to go to war with New Phyrexia. That's right ladies and gentlemen, Nicol Bolas is the hero of this story! He may be twisted and egocentric, but he is trying to defend the multiverse from the scourge of the Phyrexians.

Now this is all extremely unlikely, but I just like that idea since it would be such a deviation from the current, predictable storyline.


Also, some spicy new spoilers today. Each of these look pretty powerful:

Such a lovely card for commander sacrifice themes.

Seems pretty solid, especially since it can pay for it's own adapt costs.

Chain Lightning and Lava Spike are in standard ladies and gentlemen.

I just find the flavor of this card hilarious. You drop all you early ETB creatures. Later on they all pile onto this beast to redeploy.

We also got a two mana lord for multicolor creatures which is interesting.

January 9, 2019 4:17 p.m.

ZendikariWol - Are you sure you read Combine Guildmage properly? It's second ability literally removes counters from creatures. So far we have three: Galloping Lizrog, Combine Guildmage, and Bolrac-Clan Crusher, and they are all at uncommon to boot. Plus there is the rare Biomancer's Familiar that allows for additional adapt.

It isn't a lot, and I'd like to see more for sure, but there is support for counter removal.

Also, Standard merfolk just got a nice boost:

January 8, 2019 1 p.m.

So some comments on the cards which I missed that were spoiled yesterday:

The Guildmages seem fine. The Rakdos and Simic ones are very synergistic with their guilds. The Orzhov one is just bad, but oh my that Azorius one. That will be a nice card in limited.

I am starting to see why WOTC designed Adapt the way they did with so many pushed uncommons appearing in Simic. Galloping Lizrod is a sweet build around that only needs 1 creature with a +1/+1 counter on it to be a 5/5 for 5 (with trample). Any more after that is just gravy. Both Skatewing Spy and Trollbred Guardian are great payoffs for +1/+1 strategies. And then we have Winged Salamander. In limited it is just good, but in constructed this will be a 5/5 flyer for more times than not.

The artwork on Thrash//Threat makes me more concerned about Ruric Thar appearing in this set (it shows Nikya instead). I am now thinking he shows up in the final set instead.

Mesmerizing Benthid seems like a really cool mythic and pairs very nicely with Phantasmal Image. My Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer deck might want this guy.

January 8, 2019 10:44 a.m.

Note that on Theater of Horrors, you don't have to play the spell the turn it is exiled.

January 7, 2019 11:15 a.m.

Hot damn, the spoilers are starting out spicy today. All of these cards look great:

January 7, 2019 11:13 a.m.

So here are my thoughts on possibilities on what's going on:

a) We have another Emmara Tandris/Voice of Resurgence situation. As Phaetion pointed out, Nikya's abilities seem very Ruric Thar-esq.

b) Someone mixed up the flavor text on the Guildgate and Stomping Ground.

c) Because the Gruul don't really have a hierarchy, they are exempt from the pattern that has emerged.

d) Just about all of the rare legends from the guilds controlled by Bolas are leaders of the dissenting faction, and lets be honest, Ruric Thar isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Nikya might just have been chosen as she is more capable of leading (from a story standpoint). That being said, this possibility is a bit perplexing as the Gruul don't care about smarts, just brute strength. Furthermore, most quotes from Nikya have her rejoicing in the idea of the City of Ravnica being razed to the ground (which is what Domri Rade is after).

c) We still have 170+ cards left to be spoiled and WOTC is just trolling us over the weekend and will drop a Ruric Thar early next week.

January 6, 2019 1:37 p.m.

Huh interesting. We might be getting a Nikya of the Old Ways card after all. I haven't seen it confirmed on mtgsalvation with a source yet, but mythicspoiler has it posted with a translation (and they usually do their homework on real vs fake cards). I still expect a Ruric Thar card as it would be odd to break the Guildgate trend over the last 2 sets. Out of all of the guilds, however; Gruul would be the most likely to do so.

January 6, 2019 11:42 a.m.

Last One Standing is a flavorful addition. Okaun, Eye of Chaos might be a good finisher if you slap Darksteel Plate onto him.

If you are going control, Thrilling Encore and Balthor the Defiled could be fun.

January 5, 2019 5:32 p.m.

I would only want a Fblthp planeswalker if it could be used as a commander. However, a 0/1 for that has some busted ability (like the first half of Tooth and Nail since everyone is looking for it, or a tuck ability since it always seems to be getting lost) would be hilarious.

Also, there is our Ruric Thar confirmation if the trend from GRN and RNA holds true. However, the more concerning thing for me here is how pointless that "gate" is. That being said, the card has magnificent artwork.

January 5, 2019 3:27 p.m.

Awe ZendikariWol you beat me to posting that theory haha. I truly wish that is how the story plays out. Maybe, just maybe, Bolas is looking for him and that is why he is hiding out with the Selesnya). Sadly though Humongulus isn't a story spotlight card...

Unfortunately, it feels like Fblthp is reaching Urza's or Yawgmoth status where no card will do it justice, relegating it to a story only character. But I am enjoying this "Where's Waldo?"-esq way they are treating the character.

January 5, 2019 1:59 p.m.

Coward_Token - I see your point there (and interesting article!). However, in a vacuum, I don't see any problem with giving colors access to abilities outside of their color slice (i.e. card draw in white) as long as the barrier to do so falls in line with that color's strengths.

That being said, I think what Maro (and you) are getting at is that the unique needs of EDH can negatively impact other formats. I totally agree with this concern and sentiment, which is why the Commander products are so important. The problem however, arises when you produce an inferior product like Commander 2018 (and to an extent Commander 2017). In doing so you starve the commander community of exciting new cards or needed reprints prompting complaints when new regular sets don't have anything for EDH. If they just threw the kitchen sink at Commander products in terms of reprints and new cards they could lessen the risk of more commander centric cards messing with the color pie in main sets.

TL/DR: I agree with Maro's/your concern, and I think the best way to avoid that issue is to roll out better Commander products (like pre-2017 products) so they don't have to try to fit more EDH type cards into main sets.

January 4, 2019 5:39 p.m.

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