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How Are the Mythics of Return to Ravnica Ranked?


Ravnica: City of Guilds was a truly watershed moment in Magic's history, being one of the first truly multicolored sets and doing it in a way that revolutionized the way we'd look at set design for years to come. The set - and block - was so impactful, there even some who heralded it as the second coming of Alpha. It was just that good. So how do you follow it up? By returning with one heck of an awesome set, of course!

Return to Ravnica was where Magic truly saw its first major boom period. Players absolutely poured into the game, leading to newfound interest in the game, record sales, and incredibly high print numbers for the time. But just how good was the set itself? In a word: it was stellar. The two that followed may have been somewhat less so, but this one was a truly magical time. With such a great set came a whole host of outstanding mythics and today, we're going to rank them.

Ready? Let's do this!

Number Fifteen

Epic Experiment was the butt of a lot of jokes about bad mythics during this era. Some players did some shenanigans with it and there was actually even a deck that managed to do some silliness for a brief moment, but it was a very flash in the pan thing. While it was a neat little concept, the fact is that it was largely lambasted, has lived most of its life in bulk status, and simply doesn't hold a candle to the other cards on the lower end of this list which at least have more casual appeal thanks to Commander. Still, as far as low-end mythics go, this one rocks, and is a testament to how awesome the mythics in the set actually are as a whole.

Number Fourteen

Return to Ravnica really felt like the first set made for the Commander era. There was just something about it where you could feel the impact it had on the casual scene as it really erupted around this time frame, signaling a massive jump in Magic's popularity. When it comes to the actual legends, though, you'd be forgiven for not caring all that much about Isperia, Supreme Judge. The card was and is fairly cool, but lacks some of the flashy appeal that players want in their command zone and so it ends up on the bottom of the list here. Still, if you build around her, you'll almost certainly drown your opponents in card advantage so I'd hardly count her out.

Number Thirteen

I remember when previews for Return to Ravnica were first landing and let me tell you: the hype around this one was off the charts at first. You not only got one 5/5 trampler, but you got two? For only 6 mana? And you could copy the token with populate as well?! The card had awesome playable written all over it, but as these things tend to go, the card ended up being a little too overhyped for its own good. It didn't see too much play in the long run, and when Dragon's Maze came out just a few months later it was grossly overshadowed by the similar Advent of the Wurm.

Number Twelve

In my Innistrad mythics review, I noted how we got a preview of a mythic from the set in From the Vault: Legends with Mikaeus, the Lunarch. This time, we got an early taste of Return to Ravnica in the form of Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord appearing in the Duel Decks: Izzet vs. Golgari preconstructed deck set. The card proved largely underwhelming at the time, though has since proven to be a fairly popular Golgari commander, surpassing other popular Golgari Ravnica legends like Savra, Queen of the Golgari and Varolz, the Scar-Striped.

Number Eleven

There was once a time where I might have put Necropolis Regent square at the bottom. It's clearly a card that doesn't have much competitive utility at all and for a long time was doomed to the bulk mythic bin. Then over time the popularity of Commander exploded, leading to the card being tremendously popular in Black decks all over. Now after several reprints and more powerful cards coming out, the card is once again back to bulk status, but still remains a popular and fun card among casual circles.

Number Ten

Everyone loves Niv-Mizzet, but there wasn't much doubt in most players' minds that this one was a little underwhelming. The original Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind was a powerhouse in early Commander games, where a single copy of Curiosity could end games on the spot. The only reason he's not higher on the current EDHREC charts is simply due to the newer iteration in Niv-Mizzet, Parun being more universally popular and arguably stronger. This one made you work way harder to get the payoff, and to many players it just wasn't quite as good as what they wanted, even if it was still a good card.

Number Nine

The gorgon planeswalker Vraska first showed up here, making one heck of an entrance. While she proved harder to utilize compared to many planeswalkers, players still managed to find ways to effectively make the most of her abilities. It wasn't too uncommon at the time to see players manage to ultimate her either, generating tokens that could let you win the game with ease. Despite this flashy finishing move and being the start of a fan favorite, the overall card often felt relatively mediocre in practice, hence its placement here.

Number Eight

Commander players love getting big creatures out. You know what they love even more, though? When those big creatures make even more big creatures! Utvara Hellkite is the crystallization of this ideology, making big dragon after big dragon. This led to the card commanding quite a hefty price tag for a while until it saw some recent reprintings. In reality, it's rather easy to pick off and doesn't see a lot of competitive play, which is why it lands here and not higher, but you can't deny that casual appeal.

Number Seven

Oh baby here we go! I absolutely adore Trostani, Selesnya's Voice. Making tokens is one of my favorite things I can be doing in Magic and the Selesnya absolutely epitomize this. Trostani especially provides an outstanding outlet for this - far better than most of the other Selesnya legends we received before and after. After all, you can populate each turn and gain ridiculous amounts of life. What's not to love? As it happens, she's far from the best, hence her placement here, but she's number one in my heart.

Number Six

I remember when Worldspine Wurm first got previewed and just about everyone had the same thought. Why cheat this into play when you could just run Emrakul, the Aeons Torn instead? In a lot of cases, that proved true, but Worldspine Wurm still did manage to see a fairly decent amount of play. This would only increase as time went on thanks to the inception of the Pioneer format where Emrakul, the Aeons Torn wasn't a thing. There it gets used in Indomitable Creativity lists in conjunction with Xenagos, God of Revels for super quick kills.

Number Five

When Rakdos, Lord of Riots was first previewed, everyone lost their minds. 4 mana for a 6/6 creature with flying and trample that also happened to make your creatures cheaper as well? Where was the downside here? As it happens, the need to hit your opponents for damage in order to cast Rakdos puts a damper on most people trying to actually play him in competitive events. However, as Commander was starting to really come into its own at this time, he proved massively popular there and even now he remains an extremely popular choice in his namesake color pair.

Number Four

Where Rakdos, Lord of Riots wasn't a huge player in competitive Magic, his Return sure was. Many players wrote the card off at first, as we'd had Mind Shatter only a few years prior and it hardly made a huge splash. It turns out that not just being able to rip away your opponent's hand but also being able to Fireball them at the same time was a good enough of a package for people to run it in strong quantities. The card was a big deal in its era and even now shows up on occasion, usually in Cubes.

Number Three

These days, Angel of Serenity is a bulk mythic that most people don't think about too much. It's the kind of thing you'll see in a Commander precon and go "oh, that's neat." In its Standard era, though, it was an absolutely monstrous force. The card was played in the Unburial Rites Reanimator lists of the era and was also one of the best things you could be doing in Limited as well. Not only did it wipe out your opponent's board, but it also gave you the opportunity to bring back some of your creatures to your hand if the Angel died. The card saw a modern interpretation in Murders at Karlov Manor in the form of Aurelia's Vindicator, which acts as a sort of cross between this card and Exalted Angel.

Number Two

You haven't lived until you play Jace, Architect of Thought against an aggro player. Talk about completely shutting them out of the game, as it so often seemed to do by repeatedly activating his +1 ability. Then you could use his -2 for a mini Fact or Fiction or else uptick him enough to get yourself to the search ability where you can get both your opponent's best thing and for your side...another Jace! You'd then use Elixir of Immortality to put the dead Jaces back into your deck and keep the chain alive. Jace was one of the biggest pieces of control decks of the era, and while he was no Mind Sculptor, he easily cemented himself as one of the all-time best planeswalkers right here.

Number One

The days of Sphinx's Revelation being king have certainly come and gone, but there's no denying how wildly popular and influential the card was in its time. You could not escape it and it lingered over the format the entire time it was legal. Control players the world over were absolutely enamored by it and it still holds a special place in many players' hearts to this day. Even now we're seeing regular callbacks to it, with the most recent being in Murders at Karlov Manor with Alquist Proft, Master Sleuth's ability creating a Sphinx's Revelation whenever you want it. Even if its peak has passed us by, there's no way this card could've been anything but number one.

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

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