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Ravnica Allegiance Standard Set Review: Orzhov & White

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Welcome back to my Standard set review! Today we will be going over the Orzhov cards and the White cards from Ravnica Allegiance. I will not be going over cards that I believe will not see play in Standard. For example, cards like Azorius Skyguard and Senate Griffin will be omitted since they are just Limited cards and saying, "This is just a Limited card" repeatedly gets old rather fast. Don't worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I'm rating all these cards for Standard playability. I may mention Modern/Legacy applications, but my goal is focused on Standard.

Each card will be listed by color/guild, then alphabetically by name.

Each card will given a rating of 1-5. If a card would receive a 0, meaning it will see no play in that format ever, its rating is left off the list.

Rating - Explanation - Standard - Examples

0 - Will never see play in this format (0 ratings are not listed).

1 - Unlikely to see play. (Light of the Legion)

2 - Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Drowned Secrets)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Wildgrowth Walker, Disdainful Stroke)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (History of Benalia, Settle the Wreckage, Arclight Phoenix)

5 - If you're in these colors, you should almost assuredly be playing that card. (Teferi, Hero of Domanira, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Carnage Tyrant)

Let's go ahead and see what Orzhov has to offer!

Basilica Bell-Haunt
2 - This card could be a decent sideboard card against aggressive strategies. Gaining 3 life, then gaining more life if your opponent discards a burn spell, and then continuing to gain life because you have a 3/4 blocker isn't too shabby. If I was playing a bwx control deck, I'd want access to this against aggressive strategies.
Ethereal Absolution
2.5 - If afterlife takes off, this card is going to be a monster. It already is against Mono-White, rw, and Mono-Blue tempo/aggressive decks. Resolving this and killing most of their creatures then making 2/2 spirits (pumps your creatures too) is game ending.
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
2 - Kaya is more of a Sideboard card than anything. She is the weakest of the three new planeswalkers. She's a great to bring in against graveyard based strategies, and is a very fun anti graveyard card; much better than something like Sentinel Totem.
Kaya's Wrath
3 - A four-mana wrath is fantastic. This gives Control decks an excellent way to deal with creatures, especially annoying ones like Carnage Tyrant. However, you won't be able to play Niv-Mizzet, Parun and Kaya's Wrath in the same deck. You'll have to pick one or the other.
Mortify
3.5 - Enchantments are going to be more prevalent with Ravnica Allegiance, at least from what I can see with Rhythm of the Wild, Theater of Horrors, Experimental Frenzy, Conclave Tribunal, Ixalan's Binding, etc. Mortify is going to be a staple in bw decks
Pitiless Pontiff
2.5 - If the sacrifice deck takes off (aristocrats) this card will prove to be an important piece in that deck, but I do not believe that deck has enough cards just yet. It really wants a free sacrifice outlet.
Seraph of the Scales
3 - It's too bad Seraph of the Scales is not a 3/4, as dying to Lightning Bolt variations sucks but it still gives you bodies if it dies. It's kind of like a Rekindling Phoenix for Orzhov Decks.
Teysa Karlov
2 - Tesya Karlov has a powerful effect, but for Standard it just costs too much and is very weak alone since it doesn't do anything by itself. I'd rather play Vindictive Vampire over this in my token/sacrifice deck, especially since it stacks with Judith.
Consecrate // Consume
3 - Both halves are solid. Takes care of an Arclight Phoenix or a Chemister's Insight while drawing you a card. It is also able to deal with huge threats like Carnage Tyrant and buffering your life total.
2.5 - Revival is all right on something like Ministrant of Obligation or Midnight Reaper to sacrifice your creatures again. Revenge would be unplayable on its own, but it is a nice option to have against burn decks to gain some life, or to kill your control / midrange opponent out of nowhere by reducing their life total by half.
Angel of Grace
4 - A 5/4 Flash Flying creature is good enough. Everything else on this creature is just a bonus. Having the option to discard this to Jump-Start something like Chemister's Insight and then setting your life total to ten can be quite handy. I like this angel a lot more in the main deck for control decks as I find Lyra Dawnbringer to be awful in the control mirror as it just gets destroyed by Teferi where Angel of Grace could come in at end of turn and kill an opposing Teferi.
Archway Angel
2.5 - If all your tapped lands entered the battlefield and gained you two life, you'd play a lot more of them. Archway Angel essentially does this and is much safer than Lyra Dawnbringer against aggressive decks since you just gain all the life right away.
Hero of Precinct One
2 - You need to play a lot of multicolored cards to make this card work and I'd rather just stick with History of Benalia, Adanto Vanguard, and Tithe Taker over this one.
Lumbering Battlement
2 - If you have a lot of creatures with enter the battlefield abilities, this is one way you can re-buy them or protect yourself from a wrath by exiling your creatures. However, I don't really see this taking Venerated Loxodon's spot.
Ministrant of Obligation
2.5 - It's no Lingering Souls or History of Benalia, but this Ministrant is still very solid. It is 4 power overall and is annoying to kill. Ministrant of Obligation is the cheapest creature with Afterlife 2 and that is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Smothering Tithe
2.5 - For some reason I thought you only had to pay 1 mana to ignore this ability but two is much better for this card. It gives big W/x decks a way to generate more mana. I actually like this in Boros Prison as a way to ramp into Haphazard Bombardment, fuel Dawn of Hope, or fuel Treasure Cove. It also makes your Karn tokens huge!
Tithe Taker
3 - Powerful ability on this card, especially against control making countering your spells much harder as well as making Settle the Wreckage come a turn later. A turn five or even turn six Settle the Wreckage against an aggressive White deck could be way too late. It also has Afterlife one, which helps since it has such a big target on its head.
Unbreakable Formation
2 - I like this card as a Sideboard option against decks with battlefield wipes. It is nice that you can also just use it to finish off your opponent if they have not played a battlefield wipe yet.

Top 5 Orzhov and White Cards

  1. Angel of Grace
  2. Mortify
  3. Kaya's Wrath
  4. Tithe Taker
  5. Consecrate // Consume

Orzhov looks good card wise. They also got one of the best, if not the best mechanic from Ravnica Allegiance. I'm excited for four mana battlefield wipe along with finding a home for Angel of Grace.

That's it for today. Make sure to check back tomorrow for more set review where I'll be going over the Rakdos and Black cards from Ravnica Allegiance.

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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