Let’s dive into Ravnica politics. Last time we were on Ravnica, Jace became the living Guildpact, basically a magical mediator that keeps the guilds from killing each other. We were having a relatively stable peace with guilds testing the current situation with negotiation and force, but on the whole, they were getting along.
During this time of relative peace, Izzet League guild leader and ancient dragon Niv Mizzet made the head of the Boros Legion, Tajic, look like an inept human fool over a bio-terrorism crisis with the Simic Combine.
In the meantime, the Izzet came up with an ingenious and bold strategy that simply offered to take the Simic bioweapon, knowing they didn’t want it, to keep the entire plane in peace. It was un-Izzet, but the offer allowed everyone to win. The Simic appeared, at least to most people, to agree with the plan.
Due to the deal, communication between the Izzet and the Boros had stabilized. The craziness of the cold-fusion standoff was only a distant memory. We then flash forward . . .
Niv Mizzet just finished hosting the plane-wide Ravnican games, when one of his only friends, Domri Rade, clan leader and planeswalker of Gruul, fled his territory in shame after constant protests against him. Daily challenges for power forced Domri to flee elsewhere.
The protests were over Domri’s decision to break off talks with the Guildpact and bring the guild closer to just the Izzet guild.
Niv Mizzet was very upset that anyone would not want to be closer to Izzet, especially members of a territory adjacent to his. Obviously, Izzet is the best with the most geniuses! Niv Mizzet was severely threatened by anti-guild demonstrations in Gruul territory . . .
. . . as they served a huge blow to his dreams of remaking an Izzet League–led trio (or quartet or more) of allies, restrengthening the prospect and purpose of a full, real Ravnican democracy on his border.
But the destabilization of the region provided Niv Mizzet with a big opportunity.
The new, weaker tribe leaders that replaced Domri Rade could not defend their Gruul guild clans. They’re normally spread out, and without a planeswalker to defend them, Niv Mizzet himself might have been able to occupy Gruul territory.
This past week, Niv Mizzet actually arrived at the Izzet League’s guildgate, asking the Izzet League leaders, including Ral Zarek, to use Izzet troops to “defend” Gruul territories and the area he wished to claim.
This disputed territory has a majority of goblins with a lot of Izzet-leaning ties. Knowing this, Niv Mizzet sent thousands of armed Izzet League mages into the disputed territory and met no resistance.
These mages surrounded Gruul settlements and took over their clan halls to “protect” the Izzet-loyal creatures from the Gruul and Boros aggressors.
Pro-Izzet demonstrations also popped up in some of the Gruul region, although Azorius reports point to the fact that many of these demonstrations were being shipped in from Izzet League.
This Izzet League occupation was in clear violation of Ravnican law and made Tajic very unhappy. Tajic’s immediate response was to call on Izzet to voluntarily pull out of the region—or else there would be “costs.”
Niv Mizzet responded by sending more mages.
Now Tajic is threatening economic and political sanctions against the entire Izzet League . . .
. . . which is particularly difficult given the Boros attempts to repair relations with Niv Mizzet over the last few years since the Guildpact was reborn. Tajic also has the extremely difficult task of rallying other guilds into a coalition against Izzet to keep their chaotic aims and ambitions in line.
And they may be reluctant to do that since so much of Ravnica’s energy supply comes from the Izzet League.
Tajic has sent word to the Gruul emissaries to facilitate the first steps for Gruul clans to receive Boros assistance.
But there are no signs that Niv Mizzet has any intention of backing down or that his occupation will end with this disputed territory. Since his ambitions were, well, granted by the Izzet League, they extend to all of the Gruul guild area.
Meanwhile, Ravnica is left, once again, begging for a peaceful solution . . . with Niv Mizzet.
Since February, Azorius Senate polls found about 41% of the disputed Gruul area wanted the Gruul clans to unite or annex to the Izzet League. Last year, only 35.9% of the Gruul constituents shared the same opinion. 77% of the disputed area and 94% of next nearest clan are active red magic users.
Yesterday, the Gruul clan in the disputed area had a voting battle to leave the Gruul territory and join the Izzet league. It has been filed as a referendum on secession with the Azorius Senate.
The sanctions set forth by the Boros Legion appear to be working, but President Putin—er, I mean Niv Mizzet—is rather unpredictable. We shall see what the future brings.