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Ravnica Allegiance prerelease guide

Prereleases are awesome: you get a bunch of new cards and play lots of games with your local community. They are particularly great for new players, as well as for experienced players that might have taken a break and want to get back into the game.

At the Ravnica Allegiance pre-release you will receive a guild specific box (Azorius, Rakdos, Gruul, Simic or Orzhov, depending on what you picked) and 6 booster packs; you’ll have around 45 minutes to open the packs and build your 40 card deck. As you have chosen a guild, it makes sense to stick to it, potentially splashing a third colour if you feel it’s going to improve your base guild.

Some tips to generally consider at MTG pre-release events are:

  • Consider your mana curve: usually you want to play 17-18 lands and 23-22 spells. Probably no more than 7 non-creature spells and around 16 creatures. Within your creatures, you want to be able to play stuff each turn (“on curve”), so your creatures might split like this: 1+ mana: 0–2; 2+ mana: 4–6; 3+ mana: 3–5; 4+ mana: 2–4; 5+ mana 1–3; 6+ mana: 0–2. For a more detailed explanation on how to build your mana curve properly, you can read this great article by Gavin Verhey.
  • Have a clear game plan: how are you going to win the game? What are your win conditions?
  • Have decent removal: conversely, you want to be able to defeat your opponent’s win conditions, and for that you will need some removal spells at the right time.

Let’s take a look at each of the guilds of Ravnica Allegiance.

Orzhov (White/Black)

The new mechanic for this guild is Afterlife: when the creature in question dies, you create a number of 1/1 white and black Spirit with flying. This allows you to trade creatures and get annoying replacements for them.

Orzhov multicoloured cards include some great removal with the likes of Final Payment and Mortify; also very interesting creatures for limited such as Imperious Oligarch and Syndicate Guildmage.

Its Planeswaker is Kaya, Orzhov Usurper.

Simic (Blue/Green)

The new mechanic is Adapt: if a creature with Adapt has no +1/+1 counters on it, you can put a +1/+1 counter on it by paying the Adapt cost. You can really exploit this mechanic with creatures such as Skatewing Spy or Trollbred Guardian, who give extra powers to other creatures you control with a+1/+1 counter (flying and trample, respectively).

Simic multicoloured cards include spicy ones for the pre-release like Combine Guildmage, Sharktocrab and Galloping Lizrog. My favourite one though is probably Frilled Mystic, which can be flashed in to counter a target spell.

No Simic planeswalkers are featured in the set, though there are Simic bombs such as Zegana, Utopian Speaker.

Gruul (Red/Green)

Its new mechanic is Riot: the creature with Riot enters the battlefield with your choice of a +1/+1 counter or haste. This is a very straight forward and aggressive strategy. Some Gruul multicoloured perks include Frenzied Arynx, Sunder Shaman (artifact & enchantment removal included) and removal like Savage Smash (via Fight).

The Gruul planeswalker is Domri, Chaos Bringer.

Rakdos (Black/Red)

The Rakdos mechanic is Spectacle: if an opponent lost life this turn, you can cast the spell for its Spectacle cost rather than its mana cost. Cards like Cult Guildmage, Fireblade Artist or Rakdos Roustabout are going to ensure that you make the most out of Spectacle, allowing you to ping your opponent directly.

Other interesting multicoloured cards for Rakdos include Hackrobat (who can gain deathtouch and be bumped up), good removal like Get The Point.

Azorius (Blue/White)

The new mechanic for Azorius is Addendum, which gives you additional value if you cast the spell during your main phase. For example, if you cast Arrester’s Admonition during your main phase, you return target creature to its owner’s hand and you get to draw a card on top.

For the pre-release there are quite a few Azorius multicoloured cards to bear in mind, such as Absorb, Lawmage’s Binding (really great removal, and it’s a common!), the versatile and maybe not so good Depose/Deploy, Senate Guildmage (for card filtering and gaining life), a potential bomb like Sphinx of New Prahv and of course Dovin,

 

Let’s go through each of the colours individually now.

White 

Creatures I like (commons and uncommons):

Combat tricks I like:

Removal I like:

 Bombs!

 

Blue

Creatures I like (commons and uncommons):

  • 1 mana: Pteramander (a little flyer with the ability to grow significantly later in the game)
  • 4 mana: Skatewing Spy (gives flying to your guys with +1/+1 counters)
  • 5 mana: Windstorm Drake (makes your flyers bigger), Chillbringer (fElemental with flying that slows down a target creature)

Removal / counterspells I like:

Bombs!

Black

Creatures I like:

  • 2 mana: Orzhov Enforcer (deathtouch + afterlife, incredible value imo), Rakdos Trumpeter (potential enables Spectacle as it will be difficult to block)
  • 3 mana: Noxious Groodion
  • 5 mana: Blade Juggler (you definitely want to cast it for its spectacle cost, ping your opponent -enabling spectacle again- and draw a card)

Combat tricks and removal I like:

Bombs!

Red

Creatures I like:

Combat tricks I might like:

Removal I like:

Bombs!

Green

Creatures I like:

Combat tricks I like:

Worth mentioning Open the Gates as a mana fixing spell in green.

Removal I like:

Bombs!

I hope you look forward to the pre-release as much as we do, enjoy it and good luck!!!

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