How Do You Draft Orzhov In Ravnica Allegiance Limited?

The acclaimed fast tutorials from Draftmaster Ryan Saxe keep on coming! This time, it’s black and white’s turn to get a once over! Learn these tricks to make sure you 3-0 your next queue!

The afterlife mechanic in Ravnica Allegiance is on four commons,
four uncommons, one rare, and one mythic.

Afterlife is one of the most powerful Limited mechanics we’ve seen. Any
creature with afterlife is a two-for-one. A 1/1 flier may not seem like
much upside, but with a variety of afterlife cards at uncommon, they do add
up. So much that there are cards in the set specifically in place to keep
pesky 1/1 fliers in check – Dagger Caster and Sagittar’s Volley.

Afterlife changes the value of a lot of cards in the set. Any creature with
one toughness loses a lot of stock against Orzhov. Similarly, cards that
invalidate 1/1 fliers, such as Concordia Pegasus, get a little bit better.
The mechanic, just like riot, is impactful enough to warp how games play
and decks are constructed. It also rewards games that go late. So far, I’ve
experienced Orzhov in this format as the epitome of midrange. Play a bunch
of value creatures, removal spells, and some fliers to finish it off.

A card that has impressed me a lot is Ill-Gotten Inheritance. I thought
that enchantment would only make my deck as a spectacle enabler, but I was
wrong. Half of Palace Siege is just good enough in Limited, and I’ve seen
an Orzhov deck turtle up behind an Ill-Gotten Inheritance multiple times to
end the game. It works.

These are some of the cards I’ve seen Orzhov hide behind in order to win
the game while their opponent has no profitable attacks. Azorius
Knight-Arbiter is the perfect splash card because it is both the clock and
the blocker that facilitates this plan. Screaming Shield is definitely
wonky, but it can mill six cards a turn for five mana and that’s quite the
clock. Angelic Exaltation turns any of the 1/1 fliers into real threats and
Vindictive Vampire just makes combat impossible for the opponent.

There are more cards that fit into this plan, but less directly. Good
removal spells like Mortify and Final Payment ensure that your opponent
won’t have the creatures to fight back in combat. Grasping Thrull is a nice
flying body that also has an immediate impact on a race when it enters the
battlefield. Furthermore, there’s a whole onslaught of creatures that
disincentivize attacking from the opponent.

Note that I’m not saying you can’t draft a run-of-the-mill Orzhov deck with
just good cards because you can; however, many of those decks will boil
down to this strategy. When you take the good Orzhov cards and put them
together, you end up with a deck that disincentivizes attacking from your
opponent. My advice to you is not that you can’t do other things, but that
you should embrace this part of the Orzhov Syndicate. Prioritize fliers
more than you would and other cards like Ill-Gotten Inheritance, Angelic
Exaltation, and Vindictive Vampire. They work very well with most
constructions of the archetype, so lean into them.

Curious what that looks like? Here’s an example deck for this archetype:

Orzhov Guildgate

Orzhov Guildgate
Twilight Panther
Orzhov Enforcer

Pitiless Pontiff
Concordia Pegasus
Imperious Oligarch
Imperious Oligarch
Noxious Groodion

Ministrant of Obligation
Bloodmist Infiltrator
Tenth District Veteran
Syndicate Messenger

Syndicate Messenger
Catacomb Crocodile

Grasping Thrull
Grasping Thrull
Orzhov Racketeers
Debtors' Transport
Final Payment

Final Payment
Grotesque Demise

Ill-Gotten Inheritance

Angelic Exaltation