Well I was expecting another god and some heroic deaths today but instead Ravnica has turned into a hippie festival and they’re bringing back a dragon!
To begin with we have a nice cycle of “bond” cards that each represent two of the guilds joining forces. The flavour text is wonderful on these and I love the conjoined logos of the guilds within the artwork; it’s a shame those same icons didn’t make it as a watermark on the card as per guild specific cards. Each bond is fairly expensive (except Bond of Flourishing), is of uncommon rarity, and is a sorcery:
- Bond of Discipline: Tap all of your opponents creatures and your creatures gain lifelink. I’ve lost many a game to Tempest Caller and I’m sure this has similar game-winning stature. Even if you don’t win then, you’ll presumably gain a lot of life.
- Bond of Insight: Mill your opponent and yourself for four cards each and then you get to return two instants or sorceries to your hand. I don’t love this, even if it does let you get stuff you’ve already played. For me this needed an extra bonus like “instants or sorceries cost less until end of turn”.
- Bond of Revival: Return a creature from the graveyard to the battlefield and give it haste. Very nice, especially as these spells usually bring back creatures tapped.
- Bond of Passion: It’s an Act of Treason with a Shock bolted on that costs more. That’s not passion, that’s going through the motions.
- Bond of Flourishing: Look at the top 3 cards of your library, put a permanent in your hand, and gain 3 life. Seems pretty decent to me as you’re likely draw 2 permanents in a regular deck.
Yesterday I pointed out that there were cheaper ways to give all your creatures a +1/+1 than Gideon’s Battle Cry. Today we got Pledge of Unity which does exactly that and gives you 1 life gain for every creature you control. This is a useful ability, especially at instant speed where it can double as a combat trick. It’s also a great thing to do before a proliferate in order to ensure you get maximum benefit.
Jace’s Triumph is a direct replacement for Divination that will give you one extra card if you control a Jace planeswalker. That seems like a good deal if you’re already planning on using any of the four versions of Jace that will be available in standard once WAR is released. The most interesting thing about this card is the flavour text; Jace has outsmarted Bolas’ plan…
Finale of Promise is one of those cards that I hate because it is just a big wall of text. It’s the sort of card you need to go and get your glasses for when it hits the battlefield. In any case, it’s a mythic rare sorcery that lets you cast both a single instant and a single sorcery from your graveyard with X CMC and you don’t have to pay the cost. If you do that, those cards get exiled which is fair. If X is 10 or more, then you can copy each of those spells twice and choose new copies for those targets. What this ultimately means is that you can pay 12 mana to cast two spells worth 10 CMC from your graveyard three times each which is bananas. There’s a reason this is called a finale; it will end a game very easily if you have the mana to pump into it and the powerful spells in your graveyard. Whilst my first thought went to Nexus of Fate, I foolishly forgot that it never goes in the graveyard so that doesn’t work. Boneyard Parley three times seems pretty nasty though as does Vivien’s Invocation. There aren’t that many big bad spells in standard though so it is more likely you’re going to pay around for X so you can spend 6 mana on spells totalling 8 mana or that you pump it up to but do that just so you can cast something like Electrify three times. In a spell heavy deck this will be a finisher but it isn’t necessarily as exciting in standard as you might first think!
Now we get to the big story development of the day. Niv-Mizzet has a plan to be reborn and it seems to have worked. Starting with Contentious Plan, you get to proliferate and draw a card. It might only be a sorcery but that is way better than Aggressive Urge, especially in the mid-game. It’s also probably better than Radical Idea if you have a few creatures with counters or some planeswalkers.
Firemind Vessel is an artifact that lets you tap for two mana of different colours. It’s always nice to be able to tap for two and the restriction that they have to be different colours isn’t too bad; it isn’t going to help you cast a splash card that needs two of a colour if you don’t have at least one of it already but it will help you cast all sorts of splashes if you need to. Perhaps a card like Niv-Mizzet Reborn which has one of those fun “every colour” casting costs that we’ve not seen since in standard since Magic 2015! Whilst you might think casting this is difficult even with Firemind Vessel, I’d remind you we live in a meta that contains Prime Speaker Vannifar and Neoform so this won’t be hard to cast. To begin with, he’s a 6/6 flyer which is always nice but when he enters the battlefield you may look at the top ten cards of your library and choose a card for each exact colour pair and put it in your hand. That is a cool ability that will likely draw you a couple cards and slots nicely into a gates deck especially as it’ll let you draw more gates. Oh, and don’t forget that Ilharg, the Raze-Boar can cast Niv-Mizz and really, really abuse that ETB trigger!
That’s all the spoilers for this week but you can check out everything spoiled so far on my cards page. You can also drop a note in the comments or join my Discord community if you think there is something I’ve missed.