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RAVNICA

GUILDPACT BEST CARDS COMMENTARY

I have deleted the Guildpact card list as such details can be found elsewhere.

RAVNICA

An introduction to the City of Guilds

I Convoke the great Zombie Spirit
Shine thy Radiance upon us
Dredge the darkness of our souls
Transmute us with thy divine clarity
into the greatest of Hybrid vigor.
Thy Clerics, Shamns and Wizards protect us - through our
sacrifices, and payments to the Guilds.

Now thy chosen stand forth - thy greatest champions:

Bathe in Light, Chant of Vitu-Ghazi, Concerted Effort, Devouring Light, Ghosts of the Innocent, Hunted Lammasu, Leave No Traces, Oathsworn Giant, Seed Spark
Compulsive Research, Flight Of Fancy, Flow of Ideas, Followed Footsteps, Hunted Phantasm, Mark of Eviction,
Peel from Reality, Telling Time

Hex, Hunted Horror, Necromatic Thirst, Shred Memory, Sins of the Past, Stinkweed Imp, Vigor Mortis, Woebringer Demon
Blockbuster, Cleansing Beam, Fiery Conclusion, Hunted Dragon, Seismic Spike, Torpid Morloch, Viashino Fangtail, Wojek Embermage

Birds of Paradise, Bramble Elemental, Chord of Calling, Doubling Season, Dowsing Shaman, Elvish Skysweeper, Fists of Ironwood, Gather Courage, Golgari Brownscale, Golgari Grave-Troll, Life from the Loam, Perilous Forays,Primordial Sage, Scatter the Seeds, Scion of the Wilds, Trophy Hunter, Ursapine

Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran; Brightflame, Circu, Dimir Lobotomist; Congregation at Dawn, Dimir Doppelganger, iremane Angel, Glare of Subdual, Gleanwalker, Lightning elix, Loxodon Hierarch, Phytohydra, Privileged Position, utrefy, Razia's Purification; Savra, Queen of Golgari; Seeds of Strength, Selesnya Evangel, Tolsimir Wolfblood and his sidekick Voja, Vulturous Zombie, Watchwolf, Woodwraith Corrupter,

Cloudstone Curio, Junktroller, Pariah's Shield, Voyager Staff, Peregrine Mask, Sunforger
Overgrown Tomb, Sacred Foundry, Temple Garden, Watery Grave

and then there are your mightiest champions but who require much gold to pay :

Blazing Archon, Chorus of the Conclave, Mindleech Mass, Razia, Boros Archangel; Sisters of Stone Death.

I will not detail thy worst servants , oh Ravnica, other than to point out that they are mainly Blue or Black.
However, Oh Ravnica, now I do do this after all:

RAVNICA'S BAD CARDS

NOT SO BAD

Caregiver W Creature; Human Cleric 1/1 Common
W, Sac a creature: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.
This doesn't seem so bad ; indeed it might be considered that if you use it to sac a creature that is going to die anyway to save another creature that it has been beneficial. True.
However, although White is a defensive color, this takes pre-emptive defense too far; with no other creature in play it is simply a 1/1 creature; admittedly being capable of preventing 1 damge to its controller IF they have a spare W mana.
But, better White creatures are available for the 1 mana slot.

Nightguard Patrol 2W Creature; Human Soldier First strike Vigilance 2/1 Common
I do not like having a 1 toughness creature in 3 mana slot unless it has outstanding ability eg Intrepid Hero.
Compare this with Kamigawa cycle's Kitsune Blademaster; which is a 2/2 First Striker whose Bushido effectively makes it 3/3. It is same cost and only lacks the Vigilance which isn't necessary with small creatures.
Sure, if you have Daru Warchief in play, then Nightguard Patrol becomes 3/3.
However, this is very situation reliant; that one can wait till get Daru Warchief; that have Daru Warchief in hand; that can afford to play the Daru Warchief instead of some other card that is more needed in that turn; whereas Kitsune Blademaster is self-reliant (standalone).
Against Green and possibly White deck one can afford to get Daru Warchief into play. But against Red or Black it is likely to get zapped, leaving the NP as a 2/1; easily vulnerable to many red damage spells and abilities, and also to Plague Spitter; while Kitsune Blademaster is not.
One other point; at this stage creature type Human is virtually meaningless, as no card enhances Humans specifically.

Belltower Sphinx 4U Creature; Sphinx Flying 2/5 Uncommon
Whenever a source deals damage to BS, that source's controller puts that many cards from the top of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
A 2/5 flyer for 5 mana isn't so bad. However, its ability could actually help an opponent.
Probably its best use is if you have pinger or damage spells that you yourself use on it to get cards into your graveyard.

Dizzy Spell U Instant Transmute 1UU Common
Target creature gets;3/-0 until end of turn.
Generally, Unsummon would be better. It is true that this actually gives a chance to safely kill opponent creature [eg if it is 3/3 and you block with a 3/1 creature].
However, if think of this card as a means to search for a 3 mana card in your library to put into your hand, then it certainly starts looking much better.
In retrospect, this is starting to look like a good card.
Imagine if you have 6 mana available, this in hand, and Tinker and Darksteel Colossus in your library.

Drake Familiar 1U Creature; Drake Flying 2/1 Common
When DF cip, sac it unless you return an enchantment in play to its owner's hand.
WotC loves regularly giving us bad Drake cards. At least this one is not 3 mana.
It can even be useful if you say have a Saproling Burst in play that has almost faded away; can retrieve and recast it. Or if want to transfer an enchantment from one of your creatures to another.
Or to temporarily remove an enchantment on one opponent creature [permanently if have a counterspell in hand].
One use is to get rid of an opponent Worship from play just before doing a killing attack.

Drift of Phantasms 2U Creature; Spirit Defender Flying Transmute 1UU 0/5 Common
As simply a creature is slightly inferior to Wall of Air which has 1 power.
However it is a Spirit and has Transmute, so not that bad after all.

Ethereal Usher 5U Creature; Spirit Transmute 1UU 2/3 Uncommon
U, Tap: Target creature is unblockable this turn.
It is a bit expensive simply as a creature; a 2/3 for 6 mana [but is a Spirit].
However, it can make any one other targetable creature unblockable [either yours or a Lured opponent creature], and its Transmute can get any other 6 mana card from your library.

Skyknight Legionnaire 1RW Creature; Human Knight Flying, Haste 2/2 Common
If this was straight White, it would be good [say 1WW].
The Red mana makes it less tenable for a Knight deck.

Thundersong Trumpeter WR Creature; Human Soldier 2/1
Tap: Target creature can't attack or block this turn.
Straight W versions that are superior, already exist.
As a Soldier can be advantaged by Daru Warchief, and some other effects.

Glass Golem 5 Artifact Creature; Golem 6/2 Common
A 6 power creature for 5 mana seems alright BUT it has low toughness AND as an artifact creature is vulnerable to many opponent spells and abilities.

Greater Forgeling 3RR Creature; Elemental 3/4 Uncommon
1R: GF gets +3/-3 until end of turn.
In some circumstances this may be handy.

Vinelasher Kudzu 1G Creature; Plant 1/1 Rare
Whenever a land comes into play under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on VK.
This is not good enough to be a Rare. Even if it was;any land;it would not be good enough.
Similar creatures have come before; they similarly suffered from having initial vulnerability; and most of them had superior triggering condition and/or were only Uncommon.
Possibly useable in a GU deck with blue permanent that can return lands to your hand; but this would still be a slow way to build up what is basically a vanilla creature as has no abilities like flyer blocking or trample.
Also, as a Plant, has no synergy with other cards.
May benefit slightly from playing with Selesnya Sanctuary, or other Lair-like type lands.

Cyclopean Snare 2 Artifact Uncommon
3, Tap: Tap target creature, then return CS to its owner's hand.
There are other artifacts that can do the same job more cheaply and without the penalty.
Two or three possible advantages for this; if opponent steals it, will only get one use out of it, then will return to your hand.
Can return it to hand to prevent its destruction by an artifact killing effect.
If there is some benefit for you when cast a permanent or artifact, then this is handy, as can continuously use and recast.

Spectral Searchlight 3 Artifact Uncommon
Tap: Choose a player. That player adds one mana of any color he or she chooses to his mana pool.
In virtually all imaginable circumstances, Darksteel Ingot is superior.
It could conceivably be used to give mana burn damage to opponent.
In multiplayer formet games it can be used to assist ally.

Leashling 6 Artifact Creature; Golem 3/3 Uncommon
Put a card in your hand on top of your library. Return Leashling to its owner's hand.
Generally a 3/3 creature for 6 mana is not good, especially if an artifact creature & without flying.
This does have a few possible uses; with Angelic Chorus or other effect that benefits from havng creatures come into play, if you have a very high cost creature in your hand that prefer to have in library as have way to get it into play from library, or if vital to save Leashling.
Without special circumstances such as these, the penalty is too great to justify saving Leashling and having such a puny vanilla creature for its cost in play.


SPECIAL NOTE RE: Skyknight Legionnaire and Thundersong Trumpeter.
As pointed out above; these would be better as straight W creatures.
However, if Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran is in play these become better from being both R and W.
Also they could benefit from Radiance effects more readily.


BAD

Gate Hound 2W Creature; Hound 1/1 Common
Creatures you control have Vigilance as long as Gate Hound is enchanted.
A 1/1 creature for 3 mana with no useful ability of itself ; basically a vanilla creature.
Would you waste a creature enchantment on this creature.
If you did it would probably still be pretty vulnerable; and as for the Vigilance it would then give your other creatures; this is generally only useful for large or unblockable creatures such as flyers, and there are more effective ways to give these vigilance that doesn't cost 2 cards in a vulnerable combo to provide. Examples are Serra's Blessing and Ravnica's own Oathsworn Giant [which is a useful creature in its own right and provides all your creatures Vigilance (& also +0/+2) without requiring any enchantment involvement].

Sandsower 3W Creature; Spirit 1/3 Uncommon
Tap three untapped creatures you control: Tap target creature.
A 1/3 creature for 4 mana is not a goer. Its one redeeming quality is that it is a Spirit; so suiting some deck concepts.
Wasting an Uncommon slot on this is no fair; either.
Is heavily situational dependent; need to have 3 spare creatures that can tap to power its ability, but these are more likely to be useful in some other role.
There are a number of other creatures that can tap another creature all by themselves.
Its one advantage compared to them is that this effectively has Haste in regard to use of its special ability.

Screeching Griffin 3W Creature; Griffin Flying 2/2 Common
R: Target creature can't block Screeching Griffin this turn.
2/2 flyers for 4 mana are so yesterday.
Its special ability isn't so great AND it requires mana of a different color (Red).
However, Red has stacks of ways of making one or even all of your creatures unblockable without needing a vulnerable and overpriced creature like this.

Votary of the Conclave 2W Creature; Human Soldier 1/1 Common
2G: Regenerate VotC.

Let's first compare this with Tempest's Ranger en-Vec:
Ranger en-Vec 1WG Creature; Soldier 2/2
First strike G: Regenerate ReV
Both require W & G mana to be available, with same converted mana cost BUT ReV has double the Power & Toughness of VotC AND in addition has First strike AND its regen only costs 1 mana compared with 3 for VotC. Both are Soldiers.
Again this is a lousy 1/1 creature for 3 mana. Task Force is much better, as are many other 3 mana creatures and even many 2 or even 1 mana creatures.

Grayscaled Gharial U Creature; Crocodile 1/1 Common Islandwalk
Why would a blue player want to play with an Islandwalker?
Sure it can hurt another blue player; unless he steals it, then it can hurt you.
Other 1 mana creatures have more useful abilities.

Lore Broker 1U Creature; Human Rogue 1/1 Uncommon
Tap: Each player draws a card, then discards a card.
There are plenty of other blue creatures that give you this ability without also giving it to an opponent, and it would be rarely to your advantage to also help your opponent this way.
It also wastes an Uncommon slot on an ordinary, sub-standard card.

Snapping Drake 3U Creature; Drake Flying 3/2 Common
AND
Tattered Drake; 4U Creature; Zombie Drake Flying 2/2 Common B: Regenerate TD.

What's with all these bad Drakes? Drakes are consistently among the worst creatures in M:TG.

Compare Snapping Drake with Phantom Monster; 3/3 for same cost.
As for TD; I can get a better B Zombie for 5 mana.

Vedalken Dismisser 5U Creature; Vedalken Wizard 2/2 Common
When VD cip, ut target creature on top of its owner's library.
Generally Man-o-War as effective, and at half its casting cost.
Only advantages TD has is that it is a Wizard, and sometimes useful to put a creature on top of the library instead of returning it to hand; generally as part of some stratagem involving your own creature.

Clinging Darkness 1B Enchant creature Common Enchanted creature gets -4/-1.
There may be some occasions where this is useful, but generally spells like Terror are more versatile.

Dark Confidant 1B Creature; Human Wizard 2/1 Rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost.
This is a card you want to Donate to an opponent. What a waste of a rare card slot.
Phyrexian Arena is less life draining and does not cause card to be revealed.

Dimir Machinations 2B Sorcery Rare Transmute 1BB
Look at the top three cards of target player's library. Remove any number of those cards from the game, then put the rest back in any order.
This card should be an Uncommon, not a Rare.
If you had some other way of knowing what top card of opponent deck is (on a regular basis, as provided by some artifacts, and some creatures), then this could be useful to remove his deadliest card.
Its Transmute ability is a saving grace.
This is a bad card because it is a Rare; if of lesser rarity then would be OK.

Vindictive Mob 4BB Creature; Human Berserker 5/5 Uncommon
When VM cip, sacrifice a creature. VM can't be blocked by Saprolings.
A 5/5 for 6 mana is not outstanding; requiring a sacrifice makes it sub-par.
Its special ability could with some exotic manipulation via other cards become useful.
However, black has creatures that are unblockable without requiring any other cards and that apply to all opponent creatures eg Woebearer.
Woop de do; Saprolings can't block VM.

Goblin Spelunkers 2R Creature; Goblin Mountainwalk 2/2 Common
Not particularly bad. I think this is a Reprint.
I have never included any of these in a Goblin deck I have constructed.

Viashino Slasher 1R Creature; Viashino Warrior 1/2 Common
If this was a flamebreather [ie R: +1/+0, it would be OK].
However, this is of the old Tempest cycle Flowstone mode of creature, and of little utility.

Moroii 2UB Creature; Vampire 4/4 Flying Rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, you lose 1 life.
A non-flying Vampire; how useless.
THIS IS AN ERROR; MY PRINTOUT MISSED THAT THIS HAD FLYING.
BUT DOES HAVE FLYING; which signifantly changes this from being a bad card to very good card.

Bottled Cloister 4 Artifact Rare
At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, remove your hand from the game face down.
At the beginning of your upkeep, return all cards removed from the game with BC to your hand, then draw a card.
This is a convuluted way to get to draw an extra card each turn. If your cards are removed from game at start of opponent's turn, then have no cards to react to anything he does and he knows that you won't have any surprises for him, so can safely do whatever he wants with you powerless to respond.

Char 2R Instant Rare
Char deals 4 damage to target creature or player and 2 damage to you.
IF this was useful it would be okay if a Common or even an Uncommon.
For a Rare it should either have lower casting cost or not have the 2 damage penalty.
Even without the 2 damage penalty it would be a borderline card, as generally a card of same or lower cost that can do 3 damage and prevent regeneration is more useful in 90% of cases.
eg Incinerate or Carbonize.

Sabertooth Alley Cat 1RR Creature; Cat 2/1 Common
SAC attacks each turn if able.
2R: SAC can't be blocked this turn except by creatures with defender.
Even if had its second ability free this would be a below par creature; 2/1 for 3 mana requires something outstanding & this isn't.

Sell-Sword Brute 1R Creature; Human Mercenary 2/2 Common
When SSB is put into a graveyard from play, it deals 2 damage to you.
There are a number of 2 mana 2/2 red creatures that do not have such an arduous penalty.

Eye of the Storm 5UU Enchantment Rare
Whenever a player plays an instant or sorcery card, remove it from the game. Then that player copies each instant or sorcery card removed from the game with EotS. For each copy, the player may play the copy without paying its mana cost.
This has 3 major problems:
Very high casting cost.
It can also help opponent.
It is very confusing, and will create an immense amount of headaches in actual games over interpretations of timing, etc.
Also imagine what would happen if someone did a Copy Enchantment on this; soon there would be multiple copies of EotS in play.






Overall Ravnica on initial impressions is an interesting and reasonably strong set.
It introduces several good mechanics:
Convoke - this enables tapping your creatures to get additional mana for that spell.
Dredge - enables returning that card from the graveyard in lieu of a card draw, and also adds cards to your graveyard from your library - handy for Threshold and Recursion abilities of other sets.
Radiance - not only is target creature affected but all creatures of its color.
Transmute - for 3 mana one can search your library for a card of same mana cost to replace the card in your hand.

Each color has a 'Hunted' creature - that is of lower than normal cost, but that gives opponent 1 or more creatures.
There is also in each color a spell that if spend a second color of mana also when cast it provides an additional effect eg Boros Fury-Shield - this enhances value of that spell.

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