The Best Card In Guilds Of Ravnica Is…

A little early? Maybe. But Gerry is ready to call the contest! This historical template for cards is excellent at two things: giving the credit to bigger, splashier cards, and also keeping great decks glued together! Gerry explains and gives his lists!

With Guilds of Ravnica, midrange will become king.

Anytime there’s good mana and gold cards, people will find a way to cram
all the most powerful cards into one deck. Aggression becomes difficult to
mount and the games will become about accruing value. Of course, that’s
only if good value cards exist.

We’ve got two game changers.

I’m not joking when I say I wanted a Civic Wayfinder reprint more than
anything. We haven’t had a body that can bridge into the late-game since
Rogue Refiner. These three-drops smooth out your draws, allow you to
continue playing Magic instead of running afoul of mana screw, and still
provide a reasonable body that impacts the game. Jadelight Ranger is solid,
but ultimately lacking in three-color decks due to the prohibitive mana
cost and unreliability.

You might think I’m overstating things a bit, but cards like Read the Bones
and Civic Wayfinder have been providing consistency to midrange decks for
years. Here’s a history lesson.

This deck was the precursor to Jund strategies. G/B Elves had basically
everything — Thoughtseize, spot removal, creature-lands, card advantage,
and difficult to remove threats.

One of the key pieces holding everything together was Civic Wayfinder.
Cards like Chameleon Colossus and Profane Command appreciated having
multiple lands on the battlefield, and Civic Wayfinder got you there. You
could play a small-ball game with Tarmogoyf and Wren’s Run Vanquisher while
still having something powerful at the top of your manacurve.

Civic Wayfinder was the glue.

Later, there was Borderland Ranger.

Again, we see the same fundamentals — an aggressively slanted deck that
makes good use of excess mana with Bonfire of the Damned, Kessig Wolf Run,
and Thundermaw Hellkite.

Civic Wayfinder and Borderland Ranger were the unsung heroes of their day.
They were also exactly what we’ve been missing. We’re currently lacking a
five-mana Dragon (Demanding Dragon doesn’t count), but there isn’t a
shortage of midrange tools in general.

Here are some great cards to build around:

If you want to go deeper, we also have Pelakka Wurm.

To top it off, we also have some phenomenal removal options:

Additionally, there are cards like Find, Izoni, Thousand-Eyed, and Vraska,
Golgari Queen to get our grind on.

This is about as classically “The Rock” as you can possibly get. District
Guide bridging you to The Eldest Reborn makes me rather fond of the card.
Previously, it didn’t seem like you could reliably play multiple five-mana
cards without playing 26 land, but those days are behind us. Suddenly, I’m
a fan of The Eldest Reborn.

The suite of creatures is chocked full of value and answers, but not
necessarily cards that anyone would deem threatening. Realistically though,
it won’t matter because this deck is all about grinding the opponent into

Assasssin’s Trophy is obviously strong, but you don’t need to always play
four copies. You have Vraska’s Contempt to handle planeswalkers already
(and sometimes The Eldest Reborn), so you’re not lacking in versatility. If
there weren’t other cheap removal spells without as steep of drawbacks,
such as Cast Down, I could see playing more copies of Assassin’s Trophy,
but it’s not necessary at the moment. Overall, it’s a very powerful card,
but it does have a real drawback.

Even without The Scarab God, Arguel’s Blood Fast is incredible in the
maindeck. Either you have an engine that completely breaks open midrange or
control matchups or an enchantment that will eventually become your best
way to stabilize against aggressive decks.

Vraska, Golgari Queen is an interesting pickup. She’s not as in-your-face
powerful as some other planeswalkers, and while she looks quite good in a
strategy that’s heavily creature-based, she’ll simply be a role-player in
midrange decks like these. Still, six loyalty is a lot, and she might be
better than I’m giving her credit for.

Find strikes me as the perfect card for Golgari. You’ll likely have enough
creatures to utilize Find. with District Guide (and Jadelight Ranger),
you’ll have plenty of mana at your disposal, making Find a “draw two”
that’s always spells. With this deck, it’s a little weaker than I’d like
given out lack of creatures, but it’s still solid.

Finality functioning as a sweeper, albeit an expensive one, is also
incredible. The versatility on this card is amazing and features two things
that Golgari wants to be doing. It’s an A+.

The singleton Golgari Guildgate isn’t necessary for District Guide, but the
deck might want additional copies of the mana fixer anyway. I can’t imagine
a situation in which you’d actually search for it though.

I like the midrange approach, but the undergrowth mechanic is what I’m
really excited about.

Some of the enablers are a tad on the weak side, so here’s hoping we get
Grisly Salvage or at least another self-mill creature that’s stronger than
Seeker’s Squire. If we don’t, it’s not the end of the world because this
sort of deck is still functionable.

Find is incredible here. Picking up additional copies of Stitcher’s
Supplier, Ravenous Chupacabra, Kitesail Freebooter, or your end-game in
Izoni, Thousand-Eyed is incredible. The lack of reach is somewhat
concerning, but this deck should do a good job of eventually grinding the
opponent out. Still, I should probably get around to trying Poison-Tip
Archer at some point.

Necrotic Wound is a fine early game removal spell, but you still need
things to go right. If you don’t draw Stitcher’s Supplier, you probably
won’t be removing their two-drop with it anytime soon. I still like the
efficiency of it over something like Cast Down, plus I’d like to get some
reps in with the card before outright dismissing it.

Bone Dragon might only be playable if we get that second enabler I was
talking about it, but it doesn’t hurt to try it early on. If you draw
Stitcher’s Supplier and Vraska, Golgari Queen early enough, returning Bone
Dragon will likely be trivial.

The end game for this deck is going to be amazing. Both Izoni and Vraska
allow you to convert your value creatures into more cards, which will
hopefully snowball. With decks like these, winning while your opponents are
trying to go over the top of you is difficult, but you can usually manage
that by sideboarding in disruption.

What about District Guide fueling Shalai, Voice of Plenty?

You will probably never be wow-ed by a Selesnya Midrange deck, but this
deck still looks quite good. There are powerful things to do at each part
of the curve and District Guide was, unsurprisingly, exactly what this deck
wanted. You could make the case for Jadelight Ranger, but given the mana
costs of our cards, I wouldn’t want to introduce that sort of

District Guide also allows us to get fancy by additional colors, which
Jadelight Ranger doesn’t.

Maybe this deck is lacking in top end, but it combines the early aggression
of the white cards with some powerful, grindy late-game elements. We’ve
seen this sort of strategy be successful in an Orzhov shell, but Abzan has
plenty to offer as well.

The Abzan removal suite gives you answers to any possible threat, so
winning the game with a couple of Knights from History of Benalia should be
easy. If you can’t make use of History of Benalia’s third ability, you can
always sacrifice it to Vraska, Golgari Queen. She also works quite well
with Emmara and pumps Knight of Grace.

I’m still looking for a great finisher, but The Eldest Reborn and Vraskas
are probably enough.

If you’re not a District Guide type of person, you have Rain of Notions,
which is basically the Grixis equivalent.

[Editor’s Note: Gerry wanted the below lists to include 4 Rain of
Notions. We are still in the process of integrating that card into our
decklist system.]

Thought Erasure into Rain of Notions into Nicol Bolas into The Eldest
Reborn is pure value town.

We’re a little short on cheap removal, but maybe I’m underselling Fungal
Infection. Thought Erasure strikes me as kind of mopey, but having
something proactive to do on Turn 2 is very relevant.

The most difficult card to evaluate so far is Dream Eater. Three toughness
is disappointing, but surveil 4 is no joke. It does a great job of giving
you control of the battlefield and can turn the corner quickly. The biggest
liability is the lack of toughness, but maybe it’s not as big of a deal as
I think it is. Hopefully I’ll get to cast the card soon and find out!

Here’s another take.

Sultai doesn’t seem like the right way to approach things because of all
the overlap. There’s no shortage of card advantage and removal, but we
could use some additional threats. Specifically, we need either a good
two-drop or four-drop that can block, which was what lead me to Grixis

Two of the best potential midrange finishers are both six mana, which leads
me to believe that Sultai isn’t ideal. Was Dream Eater made specifically to
use with The Eldest Reborn? Maybe we’re supposed to be pushing that
interaction harder?

This deck could also splash Nicol Bolas for more reanimation targets or
incorporate District Guide and Vraska, Golgari Queen. Find would probably
be nice too.

Dream Eater into Quasiduplicate is pretty incredible, even if it is Magical
Christmas Land. Narcomoeba makes Dream Eater even stronger, so I’m
definitely excited by that interaction. Stitcher’s Supplier into Chart a
Course is nice, but I don’t think it’s better than Search for Azcanta.
Getting to ramp into Dream Eater or The Eldest Reborn has got to feel

Between Reassembling Skeleton, Narcomoeba, and Saprolings from Fungal
Infection, there are enough random bodies lying around that I could see
exploring Torgarr, Famine Incarnate again. Those bodies make Whisper, Blood
Liturgist appealing, even if it’s the most fragile thing in the universe.
We also have Rise from the Grave and Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering as potential
reanimation spells, so maybe there’s something there.

Finally, an update to everyone’s favorite deck.

I’ve tried the majority of Magic cards at one point in my life; however, I
cannot remember a single instance of ever putting a Timber Gorge into one
of my decks. It took me a solid minute to even remember the name of it.

But here we are.

District Guide slants the mana toward green rather than black. The Golgari
pickups also help this deck quite a bit. Lava Coil gives us a solid removal
spell that’s more on-color than any of the other options as well.

Chromatic Lantern could enable some silly things with the manabase too,
like playing Vraska’s Contempt and Arguel’s Blood Fast while completely
shrugging it off.

Thanks to Dennis Brown for the heads up on Raging Swordtooth! The extra
little bit of consistency might be enough.

I hope y’all enjoyed my little trip into midrange land. Next week, I’ll be
back to exploring all Guild of Ravnica has to offer. You better
believe I’m working on everything else, including tokens, Soldiers,
Knights, and Dragons, featuring Niv-Mizzet, Parun.

Sarkhan, Fireblood just got a whole lot better…