Monday, December 31, 2012

RTR Block Names

Consider this:

Th Return to Ravnica block has the following set names:

  • Return to Ravnica
  • Gatecrash
  • Dragon's Maze

The original Ravnica block had the following set names:

  • Ravnica: City of Guilds
  • Guildpact
  • Dissension

Notice anything? Set #1 in each block begins with an "R," Set #2 begins with a "G," and Set #3 begins with a "D."

Just thought that was somewhat cool and figured I would share.

Deck Color Names

So, I've had some thoughts on the Magic color names. So, obviously there are five basic colors:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Red
  • Green
After that, you have the paired colors in Ally and Enemy colors.


  • "Azorious" (White/Blue)
  • "Dimir" (Blue/Black)
  • "Rakdos" (Black/Red)
  • "Gruul" (Red/Green)
  • "Selesnya"(Green/White)


  • "Orzhov" (White/Black)
  • "Golgari" (Black/Green)
  • "Simic" (Green/Blue)
  • "Izzet" (Blue/Red)
  • "Boros" (Red/White)

So far, that's 15 different types of decks. But... we haven't done tri-colors yet. There are two varieties of those... Shards and Wedges. Shards are taken from the names from Shards of Alara and are allied colors (the two colors are allied to the middle color), and then Wedges are enemy colored tri-color decks. So, here we go:


  • "Bant" (Green/White/Blue)
  • "Esper" (White/Blue/Black)
  • "Grixis" (Blue/Black/Red)
  • "Jund" (Black/Red/Green)
  • "Naya" (Red/Green/White)


Based on the comments section and the popularity of this post, I'm actually going to errata the section on the wedges... These names come from Apocalypse of which there were cycles involving these names with cards interacting with these colors from the enemy color of the allied colors in the pair (i.e. Dega related cards are white, but have effects involving red and black).

Thanks to Tristamicus for letting us all know about this.

UPDATE: Due to Khans of Tarkir's spoilers, we know the "official" names that Wizards of the Coast has created for the Khans block.
  • (Black/White/Red)
  • "RUG" (Red/Blue/Green)
  • "Junk" (Green/Black/White)
  • "America" (White/Red/Blue) [Actually, technically it should be Red/White/Blue, but look at the back of a MTG card. you'll see the order I'm doing this...]
  • (Blue/Green/Black)
  • (Black/White/Red) - Dega
  • (Red/Blue/Green) - Ceta, currently commonly called "RUG"
  • (Green/Black/White) - Necra, currently called "Junk" or "Rock" (but Rock also refers to Black/Green)
  • (White/Red/Blue) - Raka, now commonly called "America" but may be different around the world.
  • (Blue/Green/Black) - Ana, but now commonly called "BUG"
  • (White/Black/Green) - Abzan (Junk/Rock)
  • (Blue/Red/White) - Jeskai (America)
  • (Black/Green/Blue) - Sultai (BUG)
  • (Red/White/Black) - Mardu
  • (Green/Blue/Red) - Temur (RUG)

Now, there are names for everything, except Kaalia of the Vast's colors and the Mimeoplasm's colors. Technically "RUG" isn't a real name since it is abbreviations of the color names, but it kind of stuck... Yeah... I want names for those... I have no idea what to call them, so... yeah...

Next are the four colors combined and the five color deck. Very few people would ever play four colors together unless they splash something for flashback (Bant control with Lingering Souls anyone?), yet in Dissension, 5 creatures of the type Nephilim were created for 4 colors...

Nephilim Colors

  • White/Blue/Black/Red (Yore-Tiller Nephilim)
  • Blue/Black/Red/Green (Glint-Eye Nephilim)
  • Black/Red/Green/White (Dune-Brood Nephilim)
  • Red/Green/White/Blue (Ink-Treader Nephilim)
  • Green/White/Blue/Black (Witch-Maw Nephilim)
No names for those types of decks either, but people rarely do an outright four color deck. Now... for the last deck color type:


  • Kaleidoscope/Five-Color (White/Blue/Black/Red/Green)

See, names for everything except the five four-color decks and two of the Wedge colors (three if you count "RUG", but I don't...)

So, there are names for everything except for the four-color decks, but the Nephilim happen to have been the only time four color creatures were made, and some people at Wizards of the Coast believe that they should have been made legendary (then we'd have some pretty cool EDH decks).

Perhaps we should get some names for them. And hopefully some four-color legendary creatures are created... Any thoughts? Post in the comments below!

Gatecrash Spoilers Part 2

So already we've seen seven cards and know about 25 other cards already (from this post). Now we have four more to reveal.

Evolve is already known as the keyword for Simic, so what else do we have? These, of course:

  • Bloodrush - Gruul
  • Battalion - Boros
  • Extort - Orzhov
  • Cipher - Dimir
The first reveal we have this morning is Rubblehulk. This card fits somewhat with the abilities of Borborygmos Enraged as it deals with land. With this card, if you discard it (what appears to be the Bloodrush keyword), an attacking creature gets +X/+X for the turn where X is the number of lands you control. This looks pretty cool. Either a creature with power and toughness equal to the lands you control, or a three mana pump spell... For people who like Red/Green, this looks like a really good keyword for you. Based on the two revealed Gruul cards so far, they appear to be solely land based.
The second card is Firemane Avenger. So Battalion is the keyword for Boros, and you get to fully utilize red and white abilities in this card. When it attacks with two other creatures, target creature or player is dealt three damage (red), and you gain three life (white). So based on this, I'm assuming Battalion involves a creature attacking and requires a couple more creatures to attack as well... I'm not so sure the 3 damage and 3 life gain is involved in each creature with Battalion of it. These keywords seem a bit more complex than the RTR keywords... Nevertheless, imagine three of these under your control at the same time attacking... That's 9 damage wherever you want and 9 life gained, PLUS the 9 total damage dealt in combat. Pretty awesome!
Orzhov's keyword Extort comes from Treasury Thrull. So first the keyword: You cast a spell and pay white or black mana, and an opponent loses one life and you gain one. Perfect black/white flavor. If you have several creatures with Extort on the field, and you pay that one White/Black mana, you gain a nice amount of life, while making your opponent lose a good amount. Assuming the ruling on Extort executes individually (like Exalted executing separately for each Exalted creature). So I mean the one mana covers all instances of Extort and you don't have to pay per instance... We'll see where this goes...

Now to the card itself: So here you have a great ability of returning an artifact, creature, or enchantment when Treasury Thrull attacks. Not deals damage, but attacks. Pretty awesome...
Our last card today is Whispering Madness. Cipher, the keyword for Dimir is found on this card... Personally, I'm not big on the whole "discard hand and draw" since I build decks based on cards I typically need to pull out and play, not where I lose the good cards and draw cards that aren't so great. Although, maybe Laboratory Maniac might be good here...

Anyway, on to Cipher: so you "encode" a spell with Cipher on a creature, and when it deals combat damage to a player, the creature's control can cast  a copy of the spell. Personally, I wouldn't use this card, and I especially wouldn't use Cipher with this card, unless I just plain didn't have any cards in my hand and my opponent does...

I will say, Cipher looks good for my Blue/Black unblockable deck...

So there you have it... four more cards released as previews. Gatecrash is looking good...

Rats in Standard

The purpose of this deck is to overrun opponents with Pack Rat based on the power it gains from other rat creatures. There are currently 4 different rat cards in Standard. There is Drainpipe Vermin (RTR), Typhoid Rats (Innistrad), Ravenous Rats (M13), and Pack Rat (RTR).

Typhoid Rats  Ravenous Rats
Drainpipe Vermin  Pack Rat

Deck List

4x Drainpipe Vermin
4x Typhoid Rats
4x Ravenous Rats
4x Pack Rat
2x Griselbrand

2x Ring of Xathrid

20x Swamp

Other Spells
4x Tragic Slip
2x Undying Evil
2x Murder
2x Ultimate Price
4x Stab Wound
2x Sever the Bloodline
2x Destroy the Evidence
2x Exquisite Blood
2x Undying Evil
2x Ultimate Price
2x Murder
2x Destroy the Evidence
3x Killing Wave
2x Ring of Xathrid
2x Elixir of Immortality

So the primary win condition is to overrun your opponent with the Pack Rats. Pack Rats, of course, allows you to discard a card and pay three mana to put a token of Pack Rat onto the field. This means you could have an absurd number of rats, because even with just two Pack Rats on the field, you'd be able to put down two tokens since the abilities would activate separately, leading to a total of four Pack Rats existing, then 8, then 16, et cetera and so forth since the tokens copy the entire card, including the discard ability.

A secondary win condition is Griselbrand, which allows you to draw cards and deal 7 damage with lifelink. I know I should also include Reliquary Tower for the "no maximum handsize" based on having Griselbrand, but by the time I get Griselbrand out and deal damage, I doubt I would want to keep more than 7 cards because I could play at least one or two of them or discard them and create more Pack Rats with them. Plus, by then I believe gaining life would be a priority over card draw.

Speaking of life gain, that's why I included Exquisite Blood so that when your opponent loses life, you can gain life. Unfortunately, with mono-black decks, life gain is a problem. With both Griselbrand and Exquisite Blood, life gain shouldn't be much of a problem.

I included Undying Evil to keep more important creatures alive, such as Typhoid Rats, Griselbrand, and Pack Rat alive.

Destroy the Evidence is included in order to, hopefully, take away an opponent's ability to cast some spells and also mill out some of the creatures or spells that an opponent may be able to take further down the road.

There's a control suite in place in this deck that included Tragic Slip, Murder, Ultimate Price, Stab Wound, and Sever the Bloodline. That way hopefully your opponent's creatures can be eliminated while you put out more creatures, and with Sever the Bloodline, stop any mass of tokens from populate decks. Stab Wound will specifically help to bring down an opponent's life to help the win conditions succeed.

The sole artifact in the main deck, two copies of Ring of Xathrid, is only in place in order to allow for an increase in power and toughness of creatures, as well as hopefully keep them around longer through regeneration.

The sideboard is essentially everything that couldn't fit into the main deck (complete playsets of some cards) while there are three copies of Killing Wave and two copies of Elixir of Immortality. Killing Wave is only in place in the even that opponents put out too many creatures, and Elixir of Immortality is in the sideboard in the event that you need to recycle your graveyard because your opponent is running a blue control and/or blue mill deck.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Gatecrash Spoilers

With Gatecrash around the corner, we already have seven new cards revealed, plus we know that the other five shock lands will be reprinted and we also know that the Charm cycle and Guildgate cycle will be returning in this set. MTG Salvation also has the names of the Guildmages (which will also be a returning cycle). So let's begin!

Spoiled Cards

First, we have the Enter the Infinite. This card let's you draw your entire library, keepit until your next turn, before you have to discard.

This is perfect for a self-mill deck including Laboratory Maniac (Innistrad) so you play this, then play all four from your hand the next turn when you draw the card you put back as the one card in your library.

Next we have Hellkite Tyrand. This looks to be an awesome card since you can gain control of artifacts from your opponent with it when you deal combat damage to them, and on top of that, if you control 20 artifacts, you win the game. I don't know how much it will be used in Standard format play since the Scars of Mirrodin block is now out, but it might be more for Extended or Modern format. This is probably a snap judgment given that I don't know what a majority of the cards in this set are, nor what comes in Dragon's Maze or any of the M14 and block after...
The third revealed card is one of our guild leaders, Aurelia, the Warleader. It appears the Boros guild is going to have something probably to do with double strike as their keyword since Aurelia allows for two combat phases, one after the other, in which you can untap and attack with your creatures again. For a converted mana cost of 6 with 2 and double red and double white, for a creature with flying, vigilance, and haste plus a 3/4 with this ability, it's great, but more of a late game card. Hopefully there will be more cards for Boros that will help hold off opponents. Although I could see some possibilities that could happen with a Naya (Red, Green, White for those that don't know) deck...

Our fourth card is a second guild leader, Borborygmos Enraged. This costs 8 mana! 4 plus double Red and double Green. He's also a 7/6 trampler and when you deal combat damage with him, you reveal the top three cards of your library and put all land cards revealed into your hand and the rest into your graveyard. At 8 mana, I don't think you'll need too much more land, so it's a nce touch to be able to discard a land card and have him deal three damage to target creature or player.
Next, we have one of the two planeswalkers from the set as our fifth previewed card. Meet Domri Rade, a red/green planeswalker (1RG specificly). His first ability is to let you look at the top card of your library and if it is a creature, you reveal it and put it into your hand. Other cards go back on top of your library. While it doesn't say that, when you look instead of draw, it typically goes back unless there is an ability or purpose for you to keep the card. The second ability just lets you have two creatures fight each other. I believe there is a green card from Innistrad or Dark Ascension that does something similar to that ability. The third ability gives an emblem that allows all your creatures to have double strike, trample, hexproof, and haste.

Domri seems like a planeswalker specific for a particular deck... I don't see much of a combo between this and any card right now, but there are stll many more cards to be revealed. There could be an interesting RUG mill deck with Borborygmos Enraged and Domri Rade... I'll have to experiment...

Second to last, we have Simic Fluxmage and we learn of the Simic keyword... Evolve is the name and adding +1/+1 counters is the game. When you play a creature with a greater power OR toughness than Simic Fluxmage, Simic Fluxmage gets a +1/+1 counter. So this works with any card with Evolve. And Simic Fluxmage has the ability of moving a +1/+1 counter from itself to another target creature. This is looking good. I could see some interesting combos with this and perhaps Blessings of Nature (green Avacyn Restored miracle card) in a deck... Maybe a good amount of defender creatures as well (Doorkeeper and Axebane Guardian from RTR, for example). This is looking good...
Fathom Mage, the seventh and last spoiler so far, is a great combination of blue and green all bundled into a nice rare. First of all, we have the keyword Evolve sitting on this nice 1/1 creature. This shouldn't be hard to drop a creature with greater power or toughness, that's for sure. So the adding +1/+1 is the green ability (think Blessings of Nature as mentioned with Simic Fluxmage), while drawing a card each time a counter is placed handles the blue aspect. Simic is so far looking to be a pretty good guild...


  • Stomping Ground - Gruul
  • Watery Grave - Dimir
  • Breeding Pool - Simic
  • Godless Shrine - Orzhov
  • Sacred Foundry - Boros

Guildgates, Charms, & Keyrunes

  • Gruul Guildgate, Gruul Charm, Gruul Keyrune
  • Dimir Guildgate, Dimir Charm, Dimir Keyrune
  • Simic Guildgate, Simic Charm, Simic Keyrune
  • Orzhov Guildgate, Orzhov Charm, Orzhov Keyrune
  • Boros Guildgate, Boros Charm, Boros Keyrune


  • Skargg Guildmage (Gruul)
  • Duskmantle Guildmage (Dimir)
  • Zameck Guildmage (Simic)
  • Vizkopa Guildmage (Orzhov)
  • Sunhome Guildmage (Boros)

Other Information

So we already know 32 of the 249 cards. Well, we at least know the names, yet we know what 17 of them do (the seven previews, the guildgates, and the shock lands). The only other thing we know is that there is a Gideon planeswalker, and will probably be a new one (Sorin, Elspeth, Sarkhan, and Tezzeret, four of the non-original five planeswalkers have two versions each already, so a new Gideon isn't a foreign idea).

Either Gideon will be white only, or he'll be a White/Red planeswalker (given the promo image of him with Aurelia, the guild master of the Boros guild, but Jace wasn't a Blue/Red planeswalker when he was with Niv-Mizzet). I'm thinking the latter, so we'll just have to see.

Dragon's Maze will probably have Ral Zarek as a Blue/Red planeswalker as the one for that set since he has appeared in other MTG media and his picture is one of the ones used to promoting Dragon's Maze.

2012 Magic is over, so what's coming in 2013?

So the Holiday Gift Box was the last MTG item to be released this year... What do you have to look forward to next year? Well... for starters... these:

  • Gatecrash (Februrary 1)
  • Duel Decks: Sorin vs. Tibalt (March 15, featuring Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad)
  • Dragon's Maze (May 3)
  • Modern Masters (June 7)
  • Magic 2014 (maybe? July release...)
  • From the Vault (possibility, if so, release August 30)
  • Duel Decks: ??? vs. ??? (September release, if following pattern, will be tribal based)
  • "Friends" codename of next set (October)
  • New Commander set (???)

Given that Modern Masters will be showing up in June, which is normally the release time for the "Summer of Multiplayer" set release (Planechase, Archenemy, Commander), I assume Archenemy will not be coming out this year. Planechase had 2009 & 2012, so I would have assumed Archenemy would get 2013 since it had 2010...

Also, I'm assuming on Magic 2014. Probably that will be the name, but I'm not sure...

From the Vault, if it has another release, is August 30 for one reason: the previous five times, it was released on the last Friday of August... Not sure what it will be, but I'm hoping in the next couple of years, we'll have "From the Vault: Planewalkers".

The Duel Deck in September will be tribal since each year, there is a tribal dual deck set and a planeswalker duel deck set. First was Elves vs. Goblins and Jace vs. Chandra. Most recently were Knights vs. Dragons & Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas and then Venser vs. Koth & Izzet vs. Golgari. With Sorin vs. Tibalt, I'm expecting September's release to be a tribal duel deck based on previous sets.

The new Commander sets will be done each year as a replacement for the Premium Deck Series. It was revealed that they would do this when they announced Commander's Arsenal this year, which was a rushed product since they didn't have the two year production time to push new Commander decks through...

Well, that's all I know and can assume. Feel free to comment and ask questions about the upcoming 2013 timeline and my predictions about it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Prerelease Deck #2: Selesnya

Centaur's Herald x2
Trained Caracal x1
Centaur Healer x2
Selesnya Sentry x1
Wild Beastmaster x1
Armory Guard x1
Phantom General x1
Towering Indrik x1
Rubbleback Rhino x1

Civic Saber
Selesnya Keyrune

Forest x6
Plains x6
Selesnya Guildgate x2
Grove of the Guardian x1 (in foil promo style)

Other Spells
Giant Growth x1
Ethereal Armor x1
Soul Tithe x1
Druid's Deliverance x2
Selesnya Charm x1
Sundering Growth x1
Common Bond x1
Avenging Arrow x1
Chorus of Might x1
Knightly Valor x2

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Prerelease Deck #1: Izzet Any Good?

Sorry, Mark Rosewater started a thing about puns based on the Ravnica guilds, so I had to...

So, I opened the box up on camera, and now I'm going to show my deck (I got about 18 out of 52 people). Video will be uploaded later...

Izzet Deck:

Faerie Impostor x1
Crosstown Courier x 1
Frostburn Weird x2
Guttersnipe x1
Stealer of Secrets x1
Cobblebrute x1
Runewing x1
Hypersonic Dragon x1 (foil promo since you can use it in the prerelease!)
Minotaur Aggressor x2 (one foil, one regular)

Island x7 (1 from the original Ravnica and 6 from Zendikar)
Mountain x7 (all from original Ravnica)
Izzet Guildgate x1
Transguild Promenade x2

Other Spells
Mizzium Skin x1
Blustersquall x1
Downsize x1
Chemister's Trick x2
Izzet Charm x1
Pursuit of Flight x1
Essence Backlash x2
Inspiration x1
Traitourous Instinct x1
Survey the Wreckage x2
Explosive Impact x1

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Land of Return to Ravnica

Basic Land - Plains

Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains

All of the basic lands have great artwork, so I can't really say much more than that... I will say that the fifth artwork here is a reprint from the original Ravnica block...

Basic Land - Island

Island Island Island Island Island

Ditto to everything I said about Plains. This is probably a recurring theme, so I'll just post the rest of the basic land. I will say this: I want some full arts of all of these... In addition, it appears that John Avon is doing one of each land type, and Richard Wright is doing two of each land type. Well, more accurately, one of the lands by Richard Wright for each color is the reprint from the original Ravnica block and the other is new artwork for RTR.

Basic Land - Swamp

Swamp Swamp Swamp Swamp Swamp

I can't read the numbers off these... I just assume Gatherer has them in order. Anyway, fourth one is the reprint.

Basic Land - Mountain

Mountain Mountain Mountain Mountain Mountain

This time the third one is the reprint...

Basic Land - Forest

Forest Forest Forest Forest Forest

Third one here is a reprint... You know, back on the subject of full-art land, I hope Wizards is like "Here, have a fat pack" and then inside are full art lands and they are like "Hah! You got full arts. Thought you were getting regular lands, didn't you?" but that probably won't happen sadly. They'd probably make a publicity thing about it since they were popular in Zendikar...


Blood Crypt Hallowed Fountain Overgrown Tomb Steam Vents Temple Garden

I don't think I need to say anything about these... Other than watch my eBay account... I don't think I'll use them, but who knows... I might find a good purpose for losing two life for immediate use of a dual land...

I probably just don't understand the appeal... If someone would like to explain, please do so in the comments, but when I look at these, I see dollar signs...


Azorius Guildgate Golgari Guildgate Izzet Guildgate Rakdos Guildgate Selesnya Guildgate

The "Land - Gate" type is the common set of lands that replace the bounce lands from the original Ravnica block. This was done to differentiate and add more cards instead of reprinting multiples, which the bounce lands were reprinted in Commander... And by bounce lands, I mean lands like this. Those types of lands bounce a land back to your hand but give you two land and was also a cycle of land that was marked as common... Essentially these are shocklands without the shock ability. They come in tapped whereas the shocklands come in tapped unless you pay two life, so these are a bit watered down. They also add a mechanic to the game where some creatures or abilities benefit from you having a Gate card on the field. Not a bad idea...

Other Lands

Grove of the Guardian Rogue's Passage Transguild Promenade

Anyone who thinks Grove of the Guardian is pointless, obviously doesn't know green/white decks, and definitely doesn't understand the Selesnya mechanic "Populate".

Rogue's Passage is okay... I have a blue/black unblockable deck where pretty much all the creatures are unblockable, or I'm swinging with some inquisitor's flails and trepanation blades... It's pointless unless I'm pairing it with the 8/8 creature token from Grove of the Guardian...

Transguild Promenade is a functional reprint of Rupture Spire... That's about it...