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Building the Full Ravnica Cube, Part 2: The Wrath of Aurelia


Welcome back for another installment of my Full Ravnica Cube series. This week, we’ll be looking at the rest of the guilds that were in the original Ravnica set, namely Boros, Selesnya, and Golgari. Check out Part 1 for Dimir.

First up, we’re going to look at Boros. While they have always been aggressive, Boros decks didn’t get a mechanic that fit that strategy until Gatecrash. Mark Rosewater has gone on record saying that radiance was the worst mechanic in the original block. I definitely agree that a lot of the cards with the ability didn’t lend themselves to good Boros decks and often found their way into other guilds. The poster child for this concept is Brightflame, a card that is insane in the abstract but would be pretty much unplayable in Gatecrash Draft. For these reasons, Boros is going to be skewed toward the new cards. There are a couple exceptions, though, the best of which is Rally the Righteous and Bathe in Light. They’re cheap enough to play and help you dish out the last few points of damage. I don’t think they’ll end up making the cut here, but they might find their way into my Cube later on for budget reasons.

First, let’s add in the base cards from the template I came up with last week.

Boros Reckoner
Cycle cards – Razia, Boros Archangel, Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran, Boros Signet, Boros Garrison, Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion, Sacred Foundry, Boros Guildmage, Boros Charm, Boros Guildgate, Boros Keyrune, Aurelia, the Warleader, Sunhome Guildmage

High-pick Draft commons and uncommons – Daring Skyjek, Firefist Striker, Lightning Helix, Skyknight Legionnaire, Thundersong Trumpeter, Truefire Paladin, Warmind Infantry, Wojek Halberdiers

Sweet rares – Assemble the Legion, Aurelia's Fury, Boros Reckoner, Firemane Avenger, Foundry Champion, Frontline Medic, Sunforger

This actually comes out to twenty-seven cards, so I have to cut at least one. As much as I like having guild leaders and champions in the Cube for thematic reasons, Razia seems to be the most obvious cut. I can’t imagine her being a high pick do to her prohibitive cost. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better reanimator target, but that’s not a strategy that is going to have a lot of support in this Cube. Other than that, I like the ratio of creatures to spells, as Boros decks do need a lot of creatures in order to trigger battalion consistently. The curve is nice and low by construction, though there are some nice boom-booms to fill out the top end. After cutting Razia, I like the list as is.

Full Ravnica Cube – Boros

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Next up is Golgari. To me, Golgari decks always have felt like a hodge-podge of fat creatures and removal spells. Their game plan is to just survive long enough for the more powerful and expensive cards to take over. In both blocks, Golgari decks were all about grinding out as much value from your cards as possible via use of the graveyard. In triple-Ravnica Draft, Golgari decks were very awkward against the best deck, Dimir mill, because of the dredge mechanic and its lack of speed. As the other sets came out, Golgari was tough to draft due to the reduced options for a third color. The only color that gave you a guild in packs two and three was red, and if person feeding you was in either Gruul or Rakdos, you would often end up with a bad deck. I’m hoping the Cube will address this issues by having a much higher average power level among the non-guilded cards—meaning that not having a guild in one of your packs won’t be nearly as bad. As far as interaction between the old and new blocks goes, dredge and scavenge probably have the best synergy out of all the guild mechanics. When choosing cards for Golgari, I’ll be looking for cards that can best abuse one or both of these mechanics. Let’s apply our template first:

Crime // Punishment
Cycle cards – Sisters of Stone Death, Savra, Queen of the Golgari, Golgari Signet, Golgari Rot Farm, Svogthos, the Restless Tomb, Overgrown Tomb, Golgari Guildmage, Golgari Charm, Golgari Guildgate, Golgari Keyrune, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord, Korozda Guildmage

High-pick Draft commons and uncommons – Darkblast, Dreg Mangler, Elves of Deep Shadow, Grisly Salvage, Golgari Rotwurm, Moldervine Cloak, Putrefy

Sweet rares – Abrupt Decay, Corpsejack Menace, Deadbridge Goliath, Deathrite Shaman, Gleancrawler, Grave-Shell Scarab, Lotleth Troll, Plague Boiler, Crime // Punishment, Vraska the Unseen, Vulturous Zombie

Oh snap, a split card! Honestly, I’m not completely sure about how to allocate split cards. The approach I’m taking for now is to consider each half separately. If I want half of a split card for a particular guild, the other half is just a bonus. It just so happens that Golgari is the first guild thus far for which I’ve wanted a split card. I thought after looking at my sparse list of commons and uncommons that I’d come up short for Golgari, but the high number of sweet rares brings the total up to thirty cards. That means we’ll have to cut four or five of them. Once again, I find myself looking at the 8-mana guild leader. Sisters of Stone Death just isn’t worth its hefty cost, so she seems to be an easy cut. I don’t think I want to cut any of the other creatures, so I’ll have to cut three or four of the spells. After a bit of deliberation, I settled on cutting Abrupt Decay, Plague Boiler, and Golgari Charm. Abrupt Decay is just a restrictive removal spell, and its immunity to counterspells is irrelevant most of the time. Plague Boiler is a bit too clunky, and I feel that Punishment serves that role much better. Golgari Charm is just a weak card and was just kind of there for the sake of it being a Charm. Here’s the final list:

Full Ravnica Cube –Golgari

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Last, I’ll take a look at Selesnya. I felt that it was the best guild in Return to Ravnica because of its speed and ability to generate card advantage through the populate mechanic. Generating a lot of tokens works quite well with the convoke mechanic from Ravnica, so I see the two sets integrating well. Much like Golgari, Selesnya suffers from the inability to splash a third color and still have a guild in each pack. The problem is actually worse here since there are no three-color combinations with white and green that give you a guild in each pack. Again, I’m hoping the power level of the non-guild cards will make up for this. Let’s run the conclave through my little template.

Growing Ranks
Cycle cards – Chorus of the Conclave, Tolsimir Wolfblood, Selesnya Signet, Selesnya Sanctuary, Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree, Temple Garden, Selesnya Guildmage, Selesnya Charm, Selesnya Guildgate, Selesnya Keyrune, Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage

High-pick Draft commons/uncommons – Call of the Conclave, Centaur Healer, Devouring Light, Eyes in the Skies, Overwhelm, Pollenbright Wings, Scatter the Seeds, Selesnya Evangel, Siege Wurm, Trostani's Judgment, Watchwolf

Sweet rares – Armada Wurm, Chord of Calling, Collective Blessing, Glare of Subdual, Grove of the Guardian, Growing Ranks, Hour of Reckoning, Loxodon Hierarch, Loxodon Smiter, Wayfaring Temple

Once again, we need to make a few cuts. Unsurprisingly, we’re going to cut the 8-mana guild leader, as Chorus of the Conclave is pretty bad. Even if you do manage to cast it, by that point of the game, you’re not likely going to be able to use the ability very often. Next on the chopping block are Watchwolf and Loxodon Smiter. They are sweet cards, but the only thing special about them is that they are undercosted—beyond that, they’re just vanilla (or close enough for the Smiter) creatures. Call of the Conclave does the same thing as Watchwolf but better. The other cuts are Chord of Calling, Trostani's Judgment, Growing Ranks, and Hour of Reckoning. Here’s the final list:

Full Ravnica Cube – Selesnya

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Next week, we’ll be looking at the guilds in the next pack: Izzet, Orzhov, and Gruul. See you guys then, and happy cubing.

Take care,

Nassim Ketita

arcticninja on Magic Online


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