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Ravnica Allegiance Standard Set Review: Gruul & Red


NOT GRUUL? THEN DIE! So, you might as well throw away all your cards that are not Green or Red because they are worthless. Gruul has all you need! Today I'll be going over all the Gruul and Red 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 the festivities begin!

Let the smashing commence!

2.5 - This card seems good to me. It's an answer to enchantment and artifacts while also being punisher effect for control decks and Nexus of Fate decks. In the right meta, Cindervines could easily be main deckable.
Domri, Chaos Bringer
3 - Worse than Dovin, Grand Arbiter but he is a solid card advantage engine for Gruul. He does not protect himself which is the biggest issue but decks playing Domri can play him out turn three with a mana creature. Giving creatures haste or +1/+1 counters is very versatile, I also like that you can use the mana on whatever you want. You could play a hasty Carnage Tyrant by turn four if you cast Domri on turn three. That is pretty dang scary.
Gruul Spellbreaker
4 - Another punisher card for Settle the Wreckage. I honestly do not think that Gruul Spellbreaker needed to give the player Hexproof as well but here we are.
Nikya of the Old Ways
2.5 - Nikya has a solid body for a 4-drop. Nikya plays well with Nullhide Ferox but they both occupy the same slot. I'm also not sure what creature you are ramping into. Obviously, Carnage Tyrant is fine, but I think the biggest payoff is probably just Siege-Gang Commander as you can use the extra mana laying around to shoot things.
Ravager Wurm
3 - Competes with Carnage Tyrant but it's better than Carnage Tyrant in my opinion against every non-control deck. So, depending on how the meta shapes up decides how much Ravager Wurm will see play.
Rhythm of the Wild
3.5 - This card is so good that it is easily main deckable. It is obviously good in your midrange Gruul deck but it is also good in a combo deck. This card is fantastic in a elf combo deck with Marwyn, the Nurturer, Incubation Druid, and Beast Whisperer.
Sunder Shaman
3 - Sunder Shaman is disgustingly good. It is just a better Polis Crusher. Great as a sideboard card but is also fantastic main deck as is extremely hard to block and trade with it early in the game.
Zhur-Taa Goblin
3.5 - Just a great 2-drop for Gruul aggro or midrange. Again, Riot really shines here allowing you to use the card how you want depending on the matchup.
Collision // Colossus
3.5 - Main-deckable Plummet! Gruul should be playing this card main deck as it is a great combat trick, a burn spell, and answers annoying flying creature like Enigma Drake, Crackling Drake, and even the Parun himself, Niv-Mizzet.
Thrash // Threat
3 - Rabid Bite at instant speed that can also hit planeswalkers? Fantastic! The 4/4 trampling beast option is also solid on this removal spell. Gruul easily got the best split cards this time around.
1 - 4 mana for a 1/1 and you do not even have any real payoff when you untap with it. Even if it got trample it wouldn't be good enough. It is just too fragile of card.
2 - This card is way overhyped for Standard. I hear people talking about flashing in Niv-Mizzet end of turn. I mean why do that when Niv-Mizzet is already uncounterable? Maybe if it put a permanent into play but it does not which means your opponent can just take the burn damage and counter whatever the next spell you play is.
Gates Ablaze
2.5 - Another gate payoff card and this one is solid. If your deck is built right it should be a 3 mana battlefield wipe at every point in the game.
Immolation Shaman
2 - This card is good against slow durdly decks running Treasure Map, Thaumatic Compass, and other similar cards. However, if you're playing Red you should already have a solid matchup against those decks.
Light Up the Stage
4.5 - 1 mana Divination. Why does Red get this? Who knows but Red is going to be a powerhouse with Ravnica Allegiance. With Light up the Stage you don't even have to play the card right away, you can wait until your next turn. You also get to play lands off it. This card is pretty dirty.
Mirror March
2 - 100% a meme card and would be fun to watch this card going off. Also seems pretty sweet in Commander but this won't see any competitive play in Standard.
Rix Maadi Reveler
3.5 - A 2/2 that loots is not good enough on its own. Luckily it is a Red card, so it gets pushed. If you have no cards in your hand when you play Rix Maadi Reveler, you will just draw a card. You also have the option to pay 4 mana if your opponent lost life and draw three fresh cards. It is a playable Bedlam Reveler in Standard. Very solid card.
Skarrgan Hellkite
3.5 - It's not Glorybringer or Thundermaw Hellkite but it is still good enough and will see play. It is great as a hasty beater against midrange/control decks while also being able to stabilize the game for you against small creature decks since you can start Forked Bolting your opponent's creatures at instant speed.
Skewer the Critics
4 - More Lightning Bolts. Red has access to twelve of these now alongside Light up the Stage. Apparently burn has not been good enough the past couple of years; winning back to back Pro Tours was not enough! Just be ready for the mono red decks.

Top 5 Gruul and Red Cards

  1. Light Up the Stage
  2. Gruul Spellbreaker
  3. Skewer the Critics
  4. Rhythm of the Wild
  5. Rix Maadi Reveler

The way I'm doing this set reviews by guild + colors makes some of the Rakdos single color cards go here. Like Rix Maddi is a Red card but aligned with Rakdos, same with Light up the Stage. Regardless, Rakdos and Gruul both made out fantastically well. My vote is that Gruul has the best mechanic for Standard in Riot. I am positive we will get a Gruul Monsters type of deck that will be quickly become competitive in new Standard.

That's it for today. Tomorrow I'll be going over the Simic, Green, artifact, and land cards to wrap everything up. I'll see you then!

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

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