[Magic Mondays] RtR Mechanics Spoilers

MY co,umn about Magic: The Gahtering

Its here folks! Return to Ravnica Spoilers started dropping on Saturday and now the mad dash of card reveals has begun. The updating list is on the Wizards site and I’d love to talk  about all of them, but I just want to focus on the new guild mechanics in this week’s column.

For those not in the know, RtR will feature five of Ravnica’s ten guilds. (For those even less in the know, don’t worry, it’s okay. All you need to know is that Ravnica plays using all ten two-color combinations, each represented by a guild.)  The guilds featured will be Azorius, Golgari, Izzet, Rakdos, and Selesnya. With that, lets talk mechanics.


The Senate’s return brings with it the mechanic of Detain. Fitting for a host of bureaucratic might. However, compared to Forecast, Detain has a totally different feel. It’s not so much a threat of action now as much as it is a halting of it. I like the flavor, but I’m not sure what effect it’ll have on game tempo. I mean yeah, it’ll feel great playing it, but playing against it will definitely have an un-fun factor to it.

That said, I’m not sure where it’ll go aside from limited and block constructed.  The staples of the current competitive scene that will remain don’t rely on extra creatures, so unless there are instants and sorceries that will also have detain, I don’t see this fitting in with anything built. That said, the mechanic is fairly strong and I could see constructed working around it, especially if there’s an enchantment for “When a creature ETBs, detain.”


The Swarm’s return brings with it a mechanic that’s appeared before, though in smaller form, on the infamous Scavenging Ooze. Scavenge puts a number of +1/+1 counters on a target creature, making Golgari a strong late game competitor. It also works marvels when paired with Dredge, and I wish they were printing both mechanics and not just the new one.

That said, I’m really looking forward to seeing it in action. I just wish other passive abilities were also granted. Like with this spoiler card, I wish Scavenging it also granted Deathtouch.


The League’s new machanic, Overload, converts any single target spell with the keyword into a board hitting spell blast when more mana is pumped into the spell. Flavor wise, its very them. Gameplay wise, it allows early spells to be late spells. Between these two points, I don’t really see a downside to it beyond the absurd mana costs. It’s certainly more accessible than Replicate was and its got some real applications.

I’m looking forward to seeing what some of the permanents are like and seeing how they make the flavor spread around.


The cult of Rakdos had an odd mechanic in Hellbent, and Unleashed is equally interesting. Throwing away defense for more offense works very well flavor-wise, but I’m not sure how strong the mechanic is, especially when compared to Selesnya’s ability to make lots of creatures with Populate. However, a couple of cards spoiled out of Golgari, along with staples like Doubling Season, it might see some very focused constructed play in modern. If there are lots of state altering enchantments based around +1/+1 counters I can see the guild doing well in limited, but otherwise I don’t see much application to the current Standard scene.

Then again, there could always be another Rakdos Pit Dragon and all of it is worth one bad-ass card.


 The Conclave’s new mechanic is Populate. Populate is simple and straight forward. Make a copy of a creature token you have in play. From a flavor standpoint, it really fits with the guild’s concept of a growing army that wins by overwhelming numbers and it’s a lot more balanced then Convoke was.

Coming out of Innstrad and M13, tokens are a pretty big way of doing things right now and Green/White is the king of token generation.  With the ability to make copies of tokens, I can see some white splash becoming a real boon  for Red/Black vampire decks or there being some fun interactions with Seance, Cackling Counterpart, and other make a token copy of a creature cards in the Standard pool right now.

I will say that it’ll make limited play particularly fun and I’d like to see it get play in Modern.

All in all, I really like the mechanics and they all work really well for limited. I can not wait for the 29th and these next few weeks are going to be super exciting. Catch ya’ll next week!


About Trevor Gulley

Trevor Gulley is a writer, cartoonist, and gamer. He works full time in the IT industry and judges Magic most weekends.

Posted on 09/03/2012, in Gaming, Magic Mondays, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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