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Ravnica preconstructed decks contains 60 cards, a strategy insert, a premium Ravnica land cardand a random pro tour player card. Released on October 7, 2005, Ravnica is the first set in the Ravnica block. Its expansion symbol is a silhouette of a city with a prominent clock tower.
Following in the tradition of recent Magic blocks, Ravnica takes place in a plane of the multiverse that was previously unexplored in the game's backstory. The world of Ravnica is an ecumenopolis, a vast city that covers the entire surface of its planet, and is home to a diverse assortment of sentient races. Much power in Ravnica is held by the ten "guilds", political factions that each represent a combination of two of Magic's five colors. The set contains 306 black-bordered cards (88 rare, 88 uncommon, 110 common, and 20 lands).
Ten millennia ago, the Guildpact was signed by the leaders of the ten guilds, ending ten thousand years of active warfare between them and ushering in an era of peace. But now, on the eve of the celebrations of the accord's ten thousandth anniversary, a sinister force threatens the survival of that peace.
The first novel in the Ravnica trilogy follows major players: Agrus Kos, Jarad, Fonn, Feather, Pivlic, and Savra. Each one of these characters has a part to play in the big storyline, but the main story is split between Kos and Feather, followed by Jarad and Fonn. As Pivlic is introduced to the story, all four characters come together in one place and everything breaks loose. From that point, Savra’s plan to take over her guild and resurrect the guildmaster Svogthir, a necromancer, begins and the five characters are thrown into a war that only ends when a titan crumbles, an angel fights, a guild is nearly destroyed, and Kos makes the greatest arrest in 10,000 years.
Thanks to policing from the Boros Legion, a guild run by angels from above, the upper tiers of the city have been peaceful for much of the time, but the underworld is dark and desolate, devoid of sun. That’s where the Devkarins, members of the Golgari guild, come in: dark elves that run the darker parts of Ravnica with necromancy and pure hunting skill. Jarad is one such Devkarin. However, they stay close to old Ravnica’s underworld, leaving the roads free, and so the Selesnya Conclave use Ledev, a group of paramilitary soldiers that protect the rights of free passage on the road. Within these elite Ledev is Fonn, eager to guard her friend, a priest, into Ravnica for his part in the Decimillenial celebrations. However, they meet with some heartache as an explosion tears through the city and kills the priest, flinging Fonn into Jarad’s arms and causing far too much trouble for Kos to handle.
With a partner dead and a contract he never signed keeping the ghost bound to his presence, Kos embarks on the investigation that takes him under Ravnica, through the skies and into the streets plunged deep with innocent blood. Unfortunately for him, that means crossing the doorsteps of some of the most powerful guilds of the plane. But only the corrupt ones and only the ones whose intentions do not honor the guildpact. Armed with his pendrek and his angel friend, he sets out to discover that the conspiracies of the present are invariably tied directly to the past; his past and Ravnica’s past.
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. Magic's lead designer, Mark Rosewater, wanted to expand on the multicolor theme in a new way. Therefore, the design of Ravnica is based around ten two-color pairs, including cards in which those pairs of colors work in concert.
The Ravnica block is functionally different from Invasion block due to the interaction of the multi-colored theme. In the Invasion block, for example, the first two sets (Invasion and Planeshift) centered around friendly colors and the harmony they create when put together. The last set, Apocalypse, emphasized enemy colors and areas where the colors contrast and possibly create powerful effects. However, the Ravnica block features a limited number of color combinations (some friendly, some enemy) in every set based on what guilds are present. All the multicolor cards in Ravnica block (and many other cards) are associated with one of the ten guilds. The appearance of a guild symbol in the background of a card's text box identifies that card's guild affiliation. For example, the symbol of the green-white Selesnya guild appears on green-white cards, cards with the convoke mechanic, lands that produce green and white mana, and so on. The guild symbols have no effect on game play.
Hybrid cards ("Guild mana"): For the first time in Magic's history, entirely new mana symbols appear. Each symbol is a circle halved diagonally, in which the top left half is one color and the bottom right half another. A smaller version of the color's icon (sun for white, skull for black, etc.) appears in the corresponding half. These mana symbols mean that mana of either color may be used to pay it; for example, a spell whose mana cost is two green/white hybrid mana may be played using two green mana, two white mana, or one green and one white. The cards with these mana symbols have a colored border that fades from left to right, out of one color and into the other.
Each of the ten guilds has a new keyword or ability word associated with it.
Radiance (red/white, Boros): Radiance is an ability word that appears on spells and abilities that affect every creature that shares a color with the target creature. When played on multi-colored cards, the effect spreads to all that card's colors.
Convoke (green/white, Selesnya): A player playing a spell with Convoke may tap some of his or her creatures to pay part or all of the mana cost. Each creature tapped reduces the cost by one mana of that creature's color, or by one colorless mana. Selesnya takes advantage of Convoke by playing cards that create Saproling creature tokens.
Dredge (black/green, Golgari): Cards with dredge may be returned from the graveyard to their owner's hand, provided that player opts to skip drawing a card and instead puts a number of cards from the top of his or her library into the graveyard.
Transmute (blue/black, Dimir): A player may pay a certain amount of mana and discard a card with Transmute from his or her hand. Doing this allows the player to find a card with the same converted mana cost from that player's library and put it into his or her hand.
In addition, several spells of the set have an enhanced effect if a particular color of mana is spent to play it. This theme continues with creatures in Guildpact.
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