As many of you know, I have an aversion to buying more than a few packs of each set. This is because most often, the contents of a pack don’t typically justify the purchase.
Ravnica, however, is awesome. I love the set. I can actually see myself buying packs. That’s because the set has such an awesome distribution of solid cards.
Unlike most sets, Ravnica has an unusually high number of extraordinarily good uncommons. You can open up a pack with a Blood Funnel and still be happy since you also pulled a Lightning Helix or a Putrefy in it.
While those two are clearly the favorites to open, there are still a bunch of uncommons that you hope you open up. Watchwolf, Moroii, Suppression Field, Carven Carayatid – all are Constructed worthy pulls. There’s also Boros Guildmage, Devouring Light, Remand, Moldervine Cloak, Auratouched Mage, Vhitu-Ghazi the City Tree, and other second-tier uncommons that are either suitable for constructed or become the centerpieces for new decks.
With the ability to potentially open up even two great uncommons in a Ravnica booster, opening up packs for the thrill isn’t really what I would call a reckless waste of my card cash. Opening up a Saviors pack, for example, would be a total waste unless you basically pulled a Kagemaro, a Pithing Needle, or some other solid rare (of which there weren’t that many). Uncommons and commons? Blech. Not much for digestion.
Even the commons in Ravnica are great for collections – Signets, common guild duals, Last Gasp, Civic Wayfinder, and even Elves of Deep Shadow for those who don’t have a playset of the originals. Dredge cards like Stinkweed Imp and Golgari Brownscale are nice additions to Spike’s toolbox; Thundersong Trumpeter and Skyknight Legionnaire are great for R/W decks, casual and serious alike. Compare to Fifth Dawn, which had almost no truly playable commons at all outside of Serum Visions and Condescend.
Admittedly, I really like Ravnica. It’s not just because I can open a Razia, Boros Archangel and a foil Dimir Cutpurse and be more excited that I pulled the last Watchwolf and Suppression Field that I needed. It’s because I have to give Wizards a hand for actually making me feel like it’s worth buying more than a few packs from each set nowadays. That means that I can play lots of Solomon Draft and not feel like I’m left with a lot of chaff – which is great, because Drafting Sol is our favorite format in the house. We haven’t done it for a while, since you have to buy ten to twelve packs; and you don’t want to buy that many if you feel it’s not worth it.
So before I say goodbye ’til the morrow, I wanted to leave you with my recent Solomon draft decks (six packs each). It was a pretty awesome control deck, even though I lost, 4-1. (Note, however, that my wife prohibits sideboarding in casual games.) Check ’em out:
//Solomon G/B, njx
1 Golgari Rotwurm
2 Stinkweed Imp
1 Keening Banshee
1 Golgari Thug
1 Dimir House Guard
1 Selesnya Guildmage
2 Civic Wayfinder
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Golgari Brownscale
1 Carven Carayatid
1 Greater Mossdog
If you managed to draft a deck like this in a normal draft, you would be assured of a Top 8. If you pulled this in Sealed, they might as well give you first place up front. The potential for brokenness is pretty sick. Imagine a turn 1 Elf, turn 2 Wayfinder, turn 3 Banshee, turn 4 Ursapine and you should pretty much be on your way to world domination. Don’t have the Ursapine? Transmute for it with a Brainspoil. Gleancrawler + Golgari Rotwurm = You win. With a 2/5 wall and Stinksters, you’ve got plenty of defense until your heavy hitters come along.
Despite this being a pretty ridiculous deck, FrummyChick handed me my tuchus in four out of five games. She read me well and fed me Golgari all day long, which essentially coerced me to feed her a ridiculous amount of goodies in every other color, particularly Boros nastyness.
I started by giving her a Loxodon Hierarch, which I passed up in favor of a first-pick Putrefy/Last Gasp pile that she split for me. I did not, however, realize the importance of the Sunhome Enforcer in the same pile as the Hierarch. More on that in a moment.
Here’s what she ended up with:
As you can see, her pile was just insane. You would think that a control deck like mine would be able to deal with this, but the answer is something like "hell no". Her Trumpeters had to be killed or they would completely shut off my Imps on defense or my fatties on offense; she could burn me out with Helix and Char, and in one game she simply stalled me long enough to deck me as she killed my Imps and used my own dredging against me.
Of course, I passed her the Char that she killed me with twice, which I knew she would take over twelve cards in the pack. (I think she handed me my third Last Gasp and the Keening Banshee in that pick, though; so I shouldn’t complain.)
The worst, though, was trying to deal with Sunhome Enforcer. If she managed to get a Galvanic Arc on it, she just went to town. Heaven forbid I tell you what she did with it and Rally the Righteous. That Enforcer is just nuts! The only way I could really deal with it was Putrefy; which is what happened in the only game I won.
Anyhow, Solomon Draft is a blast. Try it out sometime if you can. If you ever buy ten or more boosters, try it before you simply load up the cards in your binder.