Ravnica Allegiance is upon us! After I played every Prerelease and Release event I could get my hands on and squeezed in Drafts whenever I possibly could, I feel ready. Today I’ll share with you my take on how to draft this new Limited format. Just as there were five dual-colored guilds represented in the previous expansion, Guilds of Ravnica, you will find another five in Ravnica Allegiance. We’ll go through them in the order I would prefer to draft them. And we will look at the strengths and weaknesses for each of the guilds, as well as their corresponding keywords.
Gruul in Ravnica Allegiance Limited
Rioting with Red-Green Monsters
Simic and Gruul are pretty much neck to neck, and clearly the better available choices if they’re open. It’s not that tricky to draft a good Gruul deck. Play good big creatures, sometimes with haste. Combine them with the cheap combat tricks in green and good red removals. That got me loads of wins already.
I believe Riot is the best of the new mechanics in this set. The creatures with Riot have reasonable prices and the versatile use of the card is hands down great. Also, there are random synergies with counters. That’s just extra value. Cards like Rhythm of the Wild have proven very strong in these decks, as the Riot ability stacks in multiples.
Simic in Ravnica Allegiance Limited
Adapt to playing Green-Blue
I do find Simic to be a bit more versatile than Gruul, however this comes at the price of speed. The new Adapt ability gives you something to spend your mana on in the late game, and not only that. A 1/1 flier for U, a 2/2 for 1G and a 2/3 flier for 1UG? Wizards provided most Adapt creatures with a decent body, so even if you for some reason don’t activate the ability, there is basically no drawback. Removal is plentiful in this set, which is yet another reason Adapt is such a great ability. Although you must keep tricks in mind and play around obvious removal spells that just wait in your opponents’ hand to hit the moment you pay the Adapt price. This way, you didn’t pay a lot of mana upfront for a big creature before it’s taken off the board again. And your opponent must choose if they want to use a good removal on a small critter or if they can wait you out. And you still got some value off of your creature before it hits the graveyard.
Rakdos in Ravnica Allegiance Limited
The Spectacle of Drafting Black-Red
Rakdos is the way the go if you are in it for the aggro. If you draft it right, you can get some insanely fast decks. The new Rakdos keyword Spectacle plays a big role here, as most of the cards with it offer big discounts. Kind of like the old Madness ability, this ability is the way to get the most aggro decks in this format.
It’s especially important for this strategy to deal early damage so you can enable Spectacle. Rakdos have a lot of small, cheap creatures, which are necessary to get board presence fast enough. But there are also plenty of card in Rakdos that deal a bit of damage without the need to attack unblocked. To provide the deck with ways to enable spectacle and give it some reach to close out the game, cards like Vindictive Vampire, Spear Spewer, Ill-Gotten Inheritance, Rakdos Roustabout and Fireblade Artist are essential.
Azorius in Ravnica Allegiance Limited
An Addendum to the classic White-Blue Fliers
If you want to make these colors work, I believe that you have two options. You can either commit to High Alert. However, you have to be pretty dedicated to pull this off. Or you put together the classic fliers and walls deck. Nothing tricky about the latter, you just need to have creatures on the ground with toughness big enough to withstand most that’s coming your way. All the while your fliers take care of your opponent. On that note, I was pleasantly surprised by Screaming Shield. I wouldn’t actively try and build a mill deck, but the 3 extra toughness help your game plan quite a bit. And the mill part can randomly be a life saver in a stalemate.High Alert on the other hand needs a bit of set up to pay off. Most creatures that will work well in this deck are worse on their own, which is why it’s crucial that High Alert hits the table. For this reason, you want to draft multiple copies if possible. That can turn out difficult as it’s an uncommon, but if you pull this off, you will get some undercosted hard-hitting creatures that are a pain to deal with. Azorius Knight-Arbiter is a common worth mentioning, that will work well in both strategies.
Azorius have been given Addendum, which much like Adept, is often extra value to an otherwise decent card. As such, your game plan doesn’t depend as heavily on the keyword as for example Rakdos’ does. Ravnica Allegiance also contains more counterspells than usual, which works against the Addendum cards, so to sum it up, it’s great if you get them, but there is no synergy to chase here.
Orzhov in Ravnica Allegiance Limited
Living that Black-White (After)LifeEthereal Absolution and Kaya’s Wrath are just broken and if I open one or the other, I will try to put an Orzhov deck together. You didn’t open one of those? I’d advise you to avoid this guild as best as you can, even if you do open a decent Orzhov (mythic) rare. The problem with this guild is the lack of power in an otherwise powerful format. The good common and uncommon cards are simply too few and far between, and the Orzhov keyword Afterlife, although it can be slightly annoying to deal with, is far from impressive. The 1/1 fliers turn into speedbumps rather than into a win condition more often than not. But with no good reason to drag the game out late, you just postpone your scoop.
The Gate-Way to Splashes
The mana fixing is good in the format
Splashes are extremely easy, and quite a few decks will consist of three colors. However, the vast majority of decks will fall into one of the guild combinations, while the splash is often the rest of a guild that shares a color. Not surprisingly given my listing, I often end up in Temur when I splash.
Guildgates doesn’t only provide you with the great opportunity to splash a third color, but there are also a series of cards in Ravnica Allegiance that reward you for filling up on those gates. That brings us to a final bonus strategy that I’d like to share with you. 5color is alive and kicking. Open the Gates is key to your fixing, and if your deck can survive all the tapped lands that slow you down, it’s really rewarding to have access to cards like Gates Ablaze or cheap huge creatures like Gate Colossus and Gatebreaker Ram.
That’s it for today, happy drafting out there.