Let’s Work On Guilds Of Ravnica Draft!

When you think of Ravnica sets, you think lots of Draft options! That means we’re going to need Ryan Saxe to teach us the set before the competition catches up!

Guilds of Ravnica
is finally here! The Prerelease was this past weekend and now we’ve all had
a chance to play with the cards. My initial impressions are a bit all over
the place, but here are some of my relevant observations:

  • When it comes to both consistency and power, Dimir trumps all the
    other guilds.
  • Green appears to be the worst color by a reasonable margin. The
    quality of green commons is very low.
  • Jump-start smooths out your draws more than you would expect. I was
    originally low on Radical Idea, but it’s been solid every time I’ve
    seen it so far.
  • Golgari is somewhat clunky. The deck can certainly come together,
    but many of the Undergrowth cards aren’t good when played on curve.
    I’m hoping that this observation is because people aren’t building
    optimized decks yet and not because Golgari is underpowered.
  • Boros is the real deal. Mentor plays well, and there’s an abundance
    of two-drops in both red and white.
  • Convoke doesn’t feel like a deck, and I haven’t seen many good
    Selesnya decks, in general. It’s early in the format, so this might
    change, but I’m skeptical on the power level of Selesnya at this

With all of that in mind, let’s jump into a draft!

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

Dawn of Hope District Guide Nightveil Sprite Status Hypothesizzle Pack's Favor Notion Rain Maniacal Rage Radical Idea Luminous Bonds Rubblebelt Boar Artful Takedown Erstwhile Trooper Urban Utopia Boros Guildgate

The Pick:

This pack has quite the suite of cards to choose from. Both Nightveil
Sprite and Dawn of Hope have extremely high ceilings, but this early in the
format it’s difficult to discern how frequently these cards will be
optimizable. Usually I approach the beginning of a format with a “take the
rare for data” mentality. However, Dawn of Hope seems a little too mana
intensive for my tastes, especially since white looks like it’s trying to
be aggressive. It’s a real combo with Healer’s Hawk though, and given that
that’s a common, maybe Dawn of Hope is a fantastic card to first pick.

Nightveil Sprite, on the other hand, at least always does what you want it
to. It fixes your draws and pings your opponent for some damage over the
course of the game. Add onto that there’s an abundance of cards that care
about the surveil mechanic, and I expect Spire to be a premium card.
Repeatable ways to surveil are no joke, and this is the only one that
doesn’t require a mana investment.

Outside of that, the rest of this pack is fairly simple from a card
evaluation perspective. Both Luminous Bonds and Statue are great removal
spells and should be early picks. But if you’re going to first-pick a
removal spell, which is better? I think Statue is a better first pick by a
reasonable margin. The reason for this is that Statue is more flexible and
the multi-color start is less of a downside in a set with this much fixing.
I expect Statue to be splashed in any deck that can cast it.

District Guide is a straight two-for-one that fixes your mana, which I
expect to be valuable. However, given that the card isn’t splashable, and I
expect green to underperform based on my initial observations, I would
rather start with either Nightveil Sprite or Statue.

Overall, I think I’m going to take the most flexible of those two: Statue.
Nightveil Sprite is only great in a dedicated surveil deck, and while I
expect that deck to be very good, I would rather take a removal spell that
is castable in Golgari, Dimir, and Selesnya.

Pack 1, Pick 2

The Picks So Far:


The Pack:

Vivid Revival Truefire Captain Book Devourer Devious Cover-Up Hypothesizzle Severed Strands Wild Ceratok Selesnya Locket Child of Night Muse Drake Direct Current Portcullis Vine Crushing Canopy Dimir Guildgate

The Pick:

Both Direct Current and Truefire Captain are far off from Statue. Remember
that neither Rakdos nor Gruul are supported in Guilds of Ravnica,
which means that it may be hard to draft a deck that can cast both Direct
Current and Statue. I don’t think either Direct Current or Truefire Captain
are worth throwing away such a good first pick.

This leaves both Vivid Revival and Dimir Guildgate. I think this is a
pretty easy Vivid Revival, as that card is incredibly powerful to build
around. And you might think I’m crazy to consider Dimir Guildgate over the
rest of this pack, but I imagine it will be a top common. Having good mana
in a multi-color set is important and Dimir looks to be the color
combination with the most cards I want to play or splash. And it’s even
more important here because I would much rather be Dimir and splash Statue
than be Golgari.

With all of that in mind, I think Vivid Revival is just too powerful to
pass up. I can still splash it alongside Statue and maybe there’s a cool
five-color green deck I can look to draft.

Pack 1, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

Status Vivid Revival

The Pack:

Book Devourer Boros Challenger Chemister's Insight Luminous Bonds Generous Stray Urban Utopia Fearless Halberdier Rosemane Centaur Vigorspore Wurm Command the Storm Fresh-Faced Recruit Cosmotronic Wave Selesnya Guildgate

The Pick:

Even though I just mentioned a five-color green deck, I don’t think I’m
even considering Urban Utopia over either Chemister’s Insight or Luminous
Bonds. There’s just too much of a power-level gap to do that. I would take
a Circuitous Route if it was in the pack, but that’s not the world we live

So, what’s better? Removal or card advantage? Generally, removal is more of
a priority than Divination, but Chemister’s Insight is much better card
advantage than Divination. It’s instant speed and a three-for-one, and it
has good applications with both undergrowth and jump-start. Maybe I have
too strong of preferences this early in the format, but I would much rather
be within Sultai than Abzan given that I really haven’t been impressed with
Selesnya and Golgari. Because of this preference, I’m going to take
Chemister’s Insight, but I can see this being incorrect.

Pack 1, Pick 4

The Picks So Far:

Status Vivid Revival Chemister's Insight

The Pack:

Thoughtbound Phantasm Silent Dart House Guildmage Maximize Altitude Watcher in the Mist Sonic Assault Intrusive Packbeast Rubblebelt Boar Cosmotronic Wave Wary Okapi Rhizome Lurcher Izzet Guildgate

The Pick:

If this was my first pick of the draft, I would take Watcher in the Mist.
However, with the cards I have, I think it’s much more likely that I’ll be
Dimir than any other blue color-combination. Maybe there’s a Simic
five-color deck that would prefer the Watcher, but overall, I think House
Guildmage is a better pick here. Additionally, it’s nice that it’s lower on
the curve given the start of this draft.

While I do like Thoughtbound Phantasm, you do need ways to make it good. I
would rather prioritize enablers first, which is why I’m taking the House
Guildmage here.

Pack 1, Pick 5

The Picks So Far:

Status Vivid Revival Chemister's Insight House Guildmage

The Pack:

Glaive of the Guildpact Ledev Champion Artful Takedown Pitiless Gorgon Sure Strike Fire Urchin Burglar Rat Piston-Fist Cyclops Candlelight Vigil Kraul Foragers Dimir Guildgate

The Pick:

The final pick for this draft is a question you’ll need to get used to:
What’s better for you, a good land or a good spell? Dimir Guildgate is a
card I expect to be a top common and given that I’m already Dimir and
looking to splash, it’s a card I need in my deck. However, Artful Takedown
is a phenomenal removal spell, and it works quite well with Vivid Revival.

Personally, I’m going to take Artful Takedown here. While this set has more
removal than most, there are few instant speed removal spells that can
swing combat in the same way Artful Takedown can. Plus, passing the card
may send a signal that Dimir is open. While you shouldn’t usually worry too
much about the signals you’re sending, using this as a tie-breaker is good