It’s Magic Week at Robot VIking! What does that mean? That I’m going to talk about nothing but Magic all week. Duh. Hope you like Magic! Anyway, let’s get things started by roping up all of the wild bits of Return to Ravnica info that Wizards let loose at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC to the cool kids), plus awesome news for Commander fans.
Magic fans have been pretty excited since Return to Ravnica was announced. The original Ravnica block is widely considered one of the best in Magic’s history. It concerns a plane that is entirely made up of a giant city (Ravnica), dominated by ten guilds. Each guild coincides with one of the ten two-color combinations in Magic. Boros is red/white, for instance, and Golgari is green/black. The guild names have become Magic shorthand for those color combos, so if you bring your red/white deck to Friday Night Magic, you might say, “I’m playing Boros aggro tonight.” (Actually, you’d probably just say, “I’m playing Boros,” since that particular color combo generally implies an aggro build, but that’s diving a little too deep into the abyss for this discussion).
What the hell was I talking about? Oh, right, Ravnica. So, the big alliance of the guilds was dissolved at the end of Ravnica block, but the guilds are still around. You can see the new guild symbols in the top image. One of the big reveals at SDCC was the way the block will be organized. The first two blocks, named Return to Ravnica and Gatecrasher, will be large sets, while the third (as yet unnamed) set will be a small set. The first two will each feature five of the guilds, and the final set will feature all ten. Each guild is getting a new mechanic — they’re not reusing the mechanics from original Ravnica. Finally, the first two sets will be drafted by themselves, but when the third set comes out, all three will be drafted together.
Wizards also unveiled a bunch of art from Return to Ravnica. There’s some amazing new land art, and we discovered that a Boros version of Gideon Jura will appear, along with yet another version of Jace, the Most Annoying Planeswalker.
The best way to experience these new sets will be at the prereleases, which have a whole bunch of crazy fun stuff going on. You’ll pick a guild when you register, and receive a guild pack containing all cards of that color combo, along with a foil promo card for that guild. Yup, five different promo cards (of which you’ll get one). Plus, you can actually play your promo card in the prerelease, something that’s unprecedented. You don’t have to play just your guild colors, but obviously having a whole pack plus promo in those colors will tend to nudge you in that direction.
It’s not all about the Ravnica, though. Wizards is retiring the premium deck series. Those decks were a cool idea and gave us some nice alt art versions of cards, but they never really found a home. In their place? Commander. When Wizards put out Commander decks last summer, everyone went crazy for them. They sold out all over the place, and some of the cards in those decks are worth a bucket of cash because they’re so hard to come by.
Now, Wizards will unveil a Commander release every year. Details were sketchy, but there will likely be some more decks and new cards, like the initial release. This year they couldn’t get them ready in time for a summer release, so in November we’ll be seeing something called Commander’s Arsenal. Again, no details, but there should be some useful cards and other goodies like deck sleeves, life counters, oversized cards and the like.
They also unveiled some cards from the upcoming From the Vault: Realms set, but if you’re the kind of Magic player who’s planning to buy an FtV set, you probably don’t need me to tell you about it.