Magic the Gathering: Return to Ravnica

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So, you saw the hordes of people playing Magic: The Gathering at rAge and now you want to start playing too? We take a look at two of the new intro packs for Return to Ravnica.

Return to Ravnica is a great place to start playing Magic, or to catch up if you played many years ago. Why? Because of the guilds. There are 10 guilds, each are two colours and each with their own playstyle and mechanic. From the overzealous Azorius lawkeepers who stop creatures from attacking or blocking, to the undead swarm of Golgari that uses pieces of corpses to strengthen their living army. Who will you choose?

Meet Selesnya. Using the power of white and green, the Conclave never fights alone. Using the populate mechanic to make copies of token creatures you control, the enemy will be hard pressed to deal with the larger tokens, which Return to Ravnica is full of.

To start off your token creation strategy, Call of the Conclave offers you a solid 3/3 token for two mana. Besides starting combat off early, this is one of the tokens you want to copy as often as possible. Wayfaring Temple gets bigger the more friends it has, and it populates every time if deals combat damage to a player, making it get even bigger in the process. To make sure he gets through, and to double his size for a while, Chorus of Might will give the elemental trample, making sure you get a free token while stomping all over your opponent.

Call of the Conclave Wayfaring Temple Chorus of Might

The foil (that means SHINY) rare in this pack is a land. Don’t let that distract you from its power though! This land’s second ability may cost a bit, but it makes an 8/8 vigilance token. Now this is the token to populate. If one wasn’t enough to deal with, your opponent will have a hard time handling a few of them. To help you reach the mana you need for the Grove, Arbor Elf can tap to untap a forest. Now because mana only leaves your mana pool at the end of each phase, you can tap a forest, untap it with this elf, and then tap it again to add another green symbol to your mana pool, meaning four Arbor Elves can make use of the same single forest. To make sure you have something to do with that mana every turn, the Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage can make a token for a hefty price, or populate for a bit cheaper. At four mana to populate, you could make an 8/8 off your Grove every turn until your enemy is ground into dust.

Grove of the Guardian Arbor Elf Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage

If you are looking for more cards to put into your intro deck, Rancor from Core 2013 gives your creatures trample and returns to your hand when that creature dies. Suddenly your vigilance token is a 10/8 with trample and vigilance, making him a massive beat stick and a formidable shield. Growing Ranks lets you populate every turn for free, leaving your mana for protecting or boosting your army. The Selesnya Charm is great because it has three spells in it, and you get to choose one as you cast it. Boost a creature and let it trample, exile your opponent’s largest threat or make a 2/2 knight with vigilance, the choice is yours, and is never a bad card to draw.

Rancor Growing Ranks Selesnya Charm

Here is the decklist for Selesnya Surge:

Main Deck

60 cards

12  Forest
1  Grove of the Guardian
11  Plains
1  Selesnya Guildgate


25 lands
1  Arbor Elf
1  Axebane Stag
1  Brushstrider
3  Centaur Courser
1  Centaur Healer
2  Centaur’s Herald
1  Healer of the Pride
1  Phantom General
1  Risen Sanctuary
3  Seller of Songbirds
1  Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1  Wayfaring Temple


17 creatures

2  Bountiful Harvest
2  Call of the Conclave
2  Chorus of Might
1  Coursers’ Accord
1  Druid’s Deliverance
2  Eyes in the Skies
1  Heroes’ Reunion
1  Rootborn Defenses
2  Savage Surge
2  Selesnya Keyrune
2  Trostani’s Judgment


18 other spells

Izzet is about being smart. These guys are geniuses. That love explosions. Disrupt your opponent’s plans and hurt them for every move they make. BOOM!

Electrickery can be handy at any point of the game. Use it on turn one to zap an Arbor Elf or something else that is weak. Or use its overload cost to do one damage to each creature your opponent controls, great for decks trying to swarm you with small creatures. The Goblin Electromancer makes your spells cheaper, even if you cast them for their overload cost. Remember that several of them will make spells cost even less, but you always have to pay the coloured costs of a card. Nivix Guildmage lets you draw a card and toss away a lesser card, or he can copy a spell that you cast (even if it was overloaded) so that you get the effect twice. See what I meant about explosions and genius?

Electrickery Goblin Electromancer Nivix Guildmage

Sometimes you want to rub your opponent’s face in what you are doing. Then Guttersnipe is your friend. He makes all of your instants and sorceries painful to your enemy, even those that make you draw cards or damage a creature. Seeing two of those on the battlefield with a handful of cards will make your opponent frown. Mizzium Mortars is the big mean brother of Electrickery. Deal four damage to a creature your opponent controls, or pay six to do four to each creature they control. Ouch! The
Hypersonic Dragon, this deck’s foil rare, takes the attack to the enemy the turn it is cast thanks to haste. It also lets you cast your sorceries at instant speed, something that can really catch an opponent off guard. Mizzium Mortars when they declare attackers? There won’t be anything left to clean up.

Guttersnipe Mizzium Mortars Hypersonic Dragon

If you want to take advantage of Guttersnipe, cards from Innistrad with flashback allow you to cast them from the graveyard, activating Guttersnipe’s damage again. Geistflame can be used in the same way, while dealing a bit of direct damage too. If you need something more flexible, the Izzet Charm can counter noncreature spells, deal two damage to a creature or help you draw cards, all for just two mana.

Think Twice Geistflame Izzet Charm

Here is the decklist for Izzet Ingenuity:

Main Deck

60 cards

12  Island
1  Izzet Guildgate
12  Mountain


25 lands
2  Blistercoil Weird
3  Cobblebrute
2  Goblin Electromancer
2  Guttersnipe
1  Hypersonic Dragon
1  Nivix Guildmage
3  Runewing
1  Tenement Crasher
1  Welkin Tern


16 creatures

2  Annihilating Fire
1  Blustersquall
1  Chandra’s Fury
1  Downsize
2  Electrickery
1  Explosive Impact
2  Goblin Rally
2  Izzet Keyrune
2  Krenko’s Command
1  Mizzium Mortars
1  Pursuit of Flight
1  Teleportal
1  Thoughtflare
1  Wild Guess


19 other spells

Which deck do you prefer, and how would you modify them? I looked at the cheapest options available, but there are as many ways to build decks as there are people. Remember that intro packs also contain two boosters, which will hopefully net you some great cards to add to your deck, or to trade for the cards you want.

Last Updated: October 10, 2012

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