Guilds of Ravnica - Top 10
So Guilds of Ravnica has been prancing around for about a month now and I don’t think the metagame is anywhere near what it will end up being. With this in mind I’ve compiled my top ten cards that I think will make a splash in constructed (standard and modern mainly) along with some honourable mentions that caught my eye. So, without further ado, let’s go...
10. Dead Weight
It feels like this format is a lot slower than our previous format of a fast, effective curve from red black aggro. Right now it feels like you’re going to be fighting off more fair one and two drops at a slower rate, we used to have Magma Spray for those times and Shock is still a thing but Dead Weight works well early and late, making it slightly more versatile. In the early game it can get a creature and in the late it can let you come out of a huge combat step with some value, the additional perk to Dead Weight in this format is that it plays really well against Mentor. It can completely shut off some early Mentor triggers and even in the mid-game enchanting an Aurelia means that your opponent has to work so much harder to get proper value out of her. I don’t think it’s a four-of but I really like having Dead Weight back in standard, it’s cheap and surprisingly effective.
9. Experimental Frenzy
People may wanted so have seen this higher on the list and there’s something in my head that agrees. Experimental Frenzy is definitely my type of card and it has a fair bit of potential power but it feels so slow, if you have to give up your turn four to drop this enchantment you want to do it with a decent board position and if that isn’t the case then you could just get run over. I’m certainly going to try out Frenzy because I really want it to work but there’s a lot of mana involved here.
8. Glowspore Shaman
Value creatures are what Magic is all about and Glowspore Shaman packs quite a bit of value. Trading up in the early game is a given but the ability to fix your mana and fuel your graveyard at the same time is the real kicker to the point that you don’t mind throwing Glowspore Shaman away as a chump block to get even more graveyard value. Overall this two mana creature could net you up to four cards in your graveyard and if any amount of them are creatures then it makes your Undergrowth cards good not to mention jump start.
7. Emmara, Soul of the Accord
Let’s keep on the value creatures thing for the time being, Emmara is such value it almost feels like this was a mistake. Two mana for a 2/2 is good and then whenever you tap Emmara, not just to attack but with Convoke or other keywords like that, getting a 1/1 Lifelink creature is fantastic, if Emmara goes unchecked she can get very out of hand. Selesnya comes with a powerful go-wide strategy and Emmara is a key player in that, if you can protect her she can easily take the game so far away from your opponent turn after turn.
6. Doom Whisperer
The value on this creature is undeniable, there is no drawback to Doom Whisperer at all and that’s what’s going to make it a powerhouse in constructed. A five mana 6/6 Flying Trample creature is already straight up good enough to play bar any text at all, then add in the ability to start filtering your draws at a measly two life a time and suddenly Doom Whisperer has gone past the incremental value line and is speeding off into the sunset. Thanks to it’s mono colour nature it’s a very versatile card: Doom Whisperer will do so much work in UB control type decks that want to find particular spells at the right time, it’s going to allow you to churn out threat after threat in a GB midrange deck circumventing any dead draws and even just in a mono black deck Doom Whisperer is one of the pillars of your deck that needs to be answer before you snowball all over your opponent.
5. Necrotic Wound
It’s not quite Fatal Push but it’s not far away. As some of you may have noticed when playing the prerelease or the last couple of weeks of standard, you can fill your graveyard up with creatures quite quickly with the right cards. A Stitcher’s Supplier here and a Glowspore Shaman there and your Necrotic Wounds can viably take down a late game threat by turn three and I think that’s something to take note of. You do have to work to make this one mana removal spell effective but we were spoiled with Fatal Push’s ability to just ruin early game states for your opponent so easily, Necrotic Wound is effective but actually allows a game of Magic to happen instead of just crushing dreams against a slow, creature based hands. I don’t expect to see the full four in most decks because you do have to utilise some other spaces in your deck to get value out of Necrotic Wound but it’s certainly going to show up for the coming months as sometimes black based decks need to keep the board in check in the early turns before getting the Vraska’s Contempt.
4. Dawn of Hope
This is a control decks dream. Two mana means that Dawn of Hope can come down early and just sit there until you need it and getting further into the late game it can become and all star player. Being able to make a 1/1 Lifelinker at instant speed is a great way to mitigate your opponent’s creatures or just slowly build up a board position and when you get to those points where you flood out of draw some less than optimal cards you can pump your mana into Dawn of Hope to start going through your deck. I think that Dawn of Hope is a little slow and maybe when Azorius comes into play in the next set it will find a home but I genuinely think that people will overlook this enchantment for the time being and that could leave the door open for using it as a sideboard option.
3. March of the Multitudes
I don’t think anyone could look at this card and think anything other than “pure mass value”. First of all it’s an instant speed X spell, it makes Lifelinking creatures and has Convoke, if you can drop creatures turns one through 3 then you could viably drop a March of the Multitudes with X equalling 3. I’ve been testing with this card a fair bit as well and it may look like a one or two-of type card but that’s it’s misleading way, you play four all the time because one can help fuel the next so well and if your opponent has no answer then you just run them over with little 1/1 men.
2. Knight of Autumn
There is an argument for Knight of Autumn being my number one card on this list because of its sheer versatile power. Having a Swiss Army-knife type card like this is a great catch all in sideboards, Knight of Autumn allows you to save on key spots to fight other decks because it can get around so much already. Additionally, don’t discount the fact that it’s a knight because with all these History of Benalia’s seeing play you could easily end up with a maximum sized 6/4 Knight of Autumn and that could often be enough to close out a game. Being able to answer a tricky artifact or enchantment early on in the game, claw yourself back into a game with the life gain later on in the game or just have a big threat, I think Knight of Autumn is going to have a good home in standard for months to come.
I had some other cards that didn’t quite make the list but I thought should get a shout, they may not be on point right now but I think they will be in the future.
I really wanted to put Dream Eater on the list. With Torrential Gearhulk departure looming it seemed like the nightmare sphinx would be an adequate substitution for your six drop, alas I’ve been underwhelmed in reality. The value on Dream Eater is so pushed but it’s not a good feeling when your six drop a Flash creature pales in comparison to a Lightning Strike, I think Dream Eater will come into its own later on in the format but right now control isn’t holding firm in build and when a Boros aggro deck can go under control so easily there isn’t much point.
Good Cancel is good.
Dissolve was a great card, no ones debating that but Sinister Sabotage is so much better. It’s the same rate as Dissolve or Cancel but the Surveil 1 is the real player here, whereas Dissolve allowed you to Scry 1 more often than not just ditching the card all together is so much better than putting a land or dead card on the bottom of your deck. Couple that with the fact that graveyard strategies are a thing again and Sinister Sabotage wins hands down. In this current standard format I think that control is a bit meh and because of that countering a spell and digging a card deeper isn’t good enough. Like with Dream Eater, Sinister Sabotage will be good later on in the format but as much as I have tried it’s not really playing well right now.
This is a very powerful removal spell on the cheap, you’re looking at double Magma Spray here and on turn two that can be very effective against certain creatures. The fact that Lava Coil can be splashed fairly easily is a nice position to be in, you can run it in a three colour deck that splashes red and not be too unhappy, though because of the sorcery speed nature you could well be taking your turn two off to deal with a creature which isn’t a bad thing but does put you on the back foot a bit. I think Lava Coil will show its power in constructed formats in the months to come but right now things are very aggressive and quick that a turn two or three Lava Coil would feel worse than an end of turn Lightning Strike.
As I said in my set review, this feels close to Sorcerous Spyglass as it doesn’t just let you go after your opponent’s hand but other resources as well, in this case your opponent’s graveyard. There is a good chance that this is just a passing feeling but I do think that there is enough variance in this early metagame that something like Never Happened could be a sideboard player for grindier black based control decks.
1. Assassin's Trophy
I think it’s safe to say that Assassin’s Trophy could be set to warp some formats, modern is a definite victim of this as it lines up great against utility land based decks like Tron and man-lands like Celestial Colonnade in Jeskai/UW control. It’s cheap, it’s quick and it loves to ruin your opponent’s plans, be it taking out a lethal Death’s Shadow, Glistener Elf or Phyrexian Unlife in the Ad Nauseam combo, all are welcome to be depressed. As for standard, Assassin’s Trophy will most probably feel like when we had Path to Exile in standard: the white decks got so much better and multicoloured decks had the best removal spell they could’ve asked for. Green black isn’t going to get super good because of Assassin’s Trophy but it definitely gets another tool for its value arsenal. Get ready to get caught out by this two mana removal spell a fair bit for a few weeks before people start understanding how to play around it well.
So that wraps up my top ten cards for constructed. Maybe there was a card you like that wasn’t on the list or maybe you don’t think a card on the list shouldn’t have been, why not let us know. For more content like this why not check out Game Changers at www.gamingtank.blogspot.com.
Happy gaming guys!