Beginner Planeswalker Guide to Ravnica AllegianceJanuary 15, 2019
This is an ongoing series of Magic articles aimed at welcoming people into Magic: The Gathering!
The newest set of Magic releases in a little over a week, meaning that this upcoming weekend is Prerelease Weekend. It’s time to party!
The first thing you need to know about Ravnica Allegiance is that you will be aligning yourself with one of the five guilds from the set in order to play in the event. Your choices are Azorius, Rakdos, Gruul, Orzhov, or (my favorite) Simic. You can read more about all of the guilds in last week’s prerelease prep article.
In order to be ready to play in the prerelease, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the new mechanics. This preparation will help the experience of building a deck feel less overwhelming, and you can go in with a better understanding of synergy in the set.
Here is a breakdown of the new mechanics. I hope this can help beginner players feel ready to play these never before seen cards.
Rakdos – Spectacle:
- As the name suggests, this is a way for a player to make a spectacle out of playing a spell. In the flavor of Rakdos sadism, you can only do this if you hurt someone (meaning an opponent lost life).
- Mechanically: If an opponent lost life this turn, you can cast the spell for the alternative Spectacle cost instead of its regular mana cost. This adds some benefit to the spell.
- If Rafter Demon is cast for his Spectacle cost, your opponent must discard a card.
- Hackrobat’s Spectacle cost is less than her regular cost.
- Opponent life loss doesn’t have to be from combat damage or direct damage. Loss of life is anything that lowered your opponent’s life total at any point in the turn.
Orzhov – Afterlife:
- Tying into the religious beliefs of The Orzhov Syndicate, the mechanic afterlife turns creatures into spirits when they die. Basically, if you are part of Orzhov, you have to keep fighting even after you die.
- Mechanically: Afterlife is always followed by a number. This number represents how many spirit tokens you create when the creature dies.
- For Imperious Oligarch, you create 1 1/1 white and black Spirit token with flying.
- For Seraph of the Scales, you create 2. The tokens will always be 1/1 white and black Spirit tokens with flying.
- The creature must go to the graveyard from the battlefield in order to qualify. This means that if a creature is exiled or removed in some other way that Afterlife will not trigger.
Simic – Adapt:
- Of course, Simic has found a new way to evolve. This time, with the use of mana, creatures can adapt to be bigger and stronger gaining +1/+1 counters.
- Mechanically: Similar to Afterlife, Adapt is always followed by a number. As long as the creature doesn’t already have counters, they will get counters equal to this number.
- Aeromunculus would become a 3/4 after adapting.
- Zegana would become an 8/8 after adapting.
- If a creature has counters, this activated ability will not do anything.
Gruul – Riot:
- The only way to fight as Gruul is to smashy-smash face. As Gruul creatures with Riot enter the battlefield, they must decide what will be more impactful in the moment: smashing fast or smashing powerfully.
- Mechanically: When a creature with Riot enters your battlefield, you decide if you want it to have Haste (and be able to attack immediately) or if you want it to have a +1/+1 counter (and be a bigger, stronger force to be reckoned with).
- Gruul Smash.
Azorius – Addendum:
- Typical Azorius, wanting to follow all the rules. Addendum awards players for having the patience to wait until their main phase to cast Instants.
- Mechanically: If you cast a spell with Addendum on your main phase, you get an extra bonus effect. The effect will vary depending on the card.
- You can cast Sphinx’s Insight at the end of your opponent’s turn, but if you cast it during your own main phase you will also gain 2 life.
- If you choose to cast Arrester’s Zeal before your combat on your main phase, your creature will have flying for the turn in addition to the extra +2/+2.
- Because this is the rule following Azorius mechanic, make sure to read this ability thoroughly each time. They love to call people out for mistakes.
If you are looking for a store to play at a prerelease in your area, check out this resource. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and have fun. These events are made to be a celebration of the new set and a place for everyone to learn how it works together.
If you want to study up on the cards before going, you can see them here.
I wish you all the very best of luck! I’d love to hear your prerelease stories on Twitter.