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Dissension booster pack containing 15 cards per pack. Distribution is 1 rare, 3 uncommon, and 11 commons. Released on May 6th, 2006, Dissension is the third set in the Ravnica block. The set contains 180 black-bordered cards (60 rare, 60 uncommon, and 60 commons).
Dissension is the 60th Magic the Gathering set, 38th expert level set, and the third and final set in the Ravnica Block. Ravnica was conceived following the success of Invasion. Invasion, released in 2000, emphasized interactions between the colors, and it was one of Magic's most popular releases ever. Lead designer MarkRosewater wanted to expand on the multicolor theme in a new way. Therefore, the design of Ravnica block is based around ten two-color pairs, including cards in which those pairs of colors work in concert. Of the ten guilds that rule the city of Ravnica, three are the sole focus of this third set in the block. The previous expansions,Ravnica: City of Guilds and Guildpact, focused on seven of these guilds. Dissension brings it to a close by introducing the last three guilds. Each guild corresponds to a different two-color combination. The three guilds featured in Dissension are:
- The Azorius Senate (white/blue): The lawmakers of Ravnica, founded by Azor, hence the name Azorius Senate. The Senate is obsessed with keeping the status quo, no matter the cost. Their current leader, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, believes that the best way to serve the city is to make any sort of action illegal. For his hierarchical and bureaucratic guild, history, stability, and the rule of law are paramount. The Grand Arbiter consults a sphinx known as Isperia the Inscrutable, who is the champion of the Azorius.
- The Cult of Rakdos (black/red): Named after its demon leader, Rakdos the Defiler. The Cult of Rakdos is completely self-absorbed, out only for a good time. However, their idea of a "good time" usually involves murder and mayhem – the more bloody and depraved, the better. The cult would love to rule Ravnica and turn it into one big slaughter-fest, but to them, it's the process of random death and destruction that is fulfilling, not the goal. Fortunately for the Rakdos, their interest in the dark art of death has made them into top-notch mercenaries and assassins, which the other guilds are more than happy to take advantage of. The guild's champion is Lyzolda, the Blood Witch. She is at the forefront of most of the guild's macabre sacrificial ceremonies.
- The Simic Combine (green/blue): The Simic's original role was to protect and preserve what was left of Ravnica's natural ecosystems. Despite their best efforts, they failed, and there is no place on Ravnica that is left to nature. Now, the Simic Combine spends their resources creating new - and often frightening - species of creatures that not only survive in the concrete jungles of Ravnica, but thrive. The guild is headed by the distant and cool elvish biomancer Momir Vig, SimicVisionary. The Simic champion is known as Experiment Kraj, the culmination of all of Vig's previous experiments. It is intended to be the ultimate life form and rapidly "adapts" to change.
- Split cards: Dissension features the return of the popular split card mechanic originally from Invasion and Apocalypse. There are 10 gold split cards representing some combinations of the other guilds of Ravnica. The allied color guilds are represented in uncommon split cards, whereas the enemy color guilds are represented in rare split cards.
- Hellbent (black/red, Rakdos): Cards with the Hellbent ability word gain additional attributes when their controllers have no cards in their hand. It is very similar to the Odyssey block's threshold ability, but revolves around the hand instead.
- Graft (green/blue, Simic): Similar to Modular from the Mirrodin block, cards with the Graft ability come into play with +1/+1 counters in accordance with the number associated with their Graft ability. When another creature comes into play, a card with Graft may move one of its +1/+1 counters onto that creature.
- Forecast (white/blue, Azorius): Rather than play a card from his or her hand, a player may use its Forecast ability during his or her upkeep, and only once per turn. To use Forecast, the player pays a cost and reveals the card with Forecast in his/her hand. Forecast effects are often either a lesser version of the main spell or a support effect for the main spell. A card with similar mechanic, Infernal Spawn of Evil, was first seen in Unglued.
Ravnica block includes many mono-color cards which encourage people to play with multiple colors. Ravnica: City of Guilds featured cards which have activated abilities that use mana of different color from the cards' color. Guildpact introduced cards which are enhanced if another mana color is used to play the card. In Dissension, in addition to the first 'group' of abilities, another group of mono-color cards have abilities associated with two colors, but must be played with mana of a different color or else the card must be sacrificed. An example is Azorius Herald. It is a white creature with a life gain effect (white's specialty), as well as unblockability (blue's specialty). However, if Azorius Herald is played without blue mana, it must be sacrificed just after it comes into play.