While the dust might still be settling from the release events of Avacyn Restored as well as from the AVR Pro-Tour in Barcelona this past weekend but we can’t deny the exciting announcement of Return to Ravnica sitting on the horizon.
At this point in time little is known about RTR yet since it is still two sets away with the summer release of 2013 sitting between us and our return to the cityscape of Ravnica but we have plenty to speculate about at this point. First off we have been teased with an image of two of your favorite characters in the Magic universe who are going to be making an appearance in the block.
Jace and Niv-Mizzet, blue should be excited.
Lets start with talking about the Izzet dragon. So last time we saw him he was a legendary creature so I doubt we will see him return as such. There has never been a remade legend with different text that is more or less the same dude (we see remakes of characters after something has changed, ex. Glissa Sunseeker vs Glissa, the Traitor or Sygg, River Guide vs Sygg River Cutthroat) and I strongly doubt we would be looking at a straight up reprint of Niv which leads us to one logical conclusion: planeswalker. There is a chance I am terribly wrong and we are just going to looking at some cool new legendary creature but I know I am not alone in hoping for a Niv planeswalker. While not being a planeswalker he has seemed to have vanished from the plane of Ravnica pointing to planeswalking as the only explanation. This wouldn’t be the first time we see a legendary creature make the jump to planeswalker. Look at Venser, Karn, or Nicol Bolas, the latter being a perfect example of why Niv-Mizzet might be becoming a planeswalker. The main argument against that is that he doesn’t have the ability to planeswalk but I feel that the arguments for him being a planeswalker are much stronger. Niv being incredibly intelligent perhaps discovered a way to artificially planeswalk and this discovery is the big crisis plaguing the set. Or perhaps this is where his relationship with Jace takes place. Maybe Jace has found a way to planeswalk with others, bring Niv with him.
So what exactly is Jace’s role on Ravnica? Is he here because of Niv-Mizzet or does he have some other motivation for being here? So if Jace is showing up it would be a safe assumption that he would show up as a planeswalker. If so this would be the fourth variant of Jace we would be getting which feels a little boring for R&D to be making so perhaps we will be looking at something like a duo planeswalker thing going on between Jace and Niv? One way or another I get the feeling R&D is going to doing something new and spicy for the return to the plane.
Since the release of the Ravnica block two major things have happened to Magic: the release of mythic rares and the release of planeswalkers. Many people are hoping that with RTR we will be seeing a cycle of dual-colored planeswalkers, one for each guild but chances are this won’t happen regardless of how badly we all want it to. Wizards really wants to keep planeswalkers special and exciting and to do this they have to keep them rare. Since the release of planeswalkers, a given block sees about 5 or 6 planeswalkers. If they were to go ahead with the cycle we would be looking at a jump to 10 planeswalkers spread out over a block with 3 or 4 per set. Maybe this number is low enough to preserve the special-ness of planeswalkers but there is a good chance R&D will deem it too high. Than again there are always first times for everything and this might be the perfect environment to try it out and would an amazing way to show off the flavor of each guild. With the planeswalkers that have been shown off in Duels of the Planeswalkers one can only hope that we will be seeing not only their debut on real cards but accompanied by one for every guild. One way or another I am sure we are going to be looking at some pretty epic mythics representing each guild as well as some gnarly legendary creatures to accompany them.
Speaking of dual colored cycles, the Ravnica blocks most famous cycle was its dual colored lands. The Ravnica shock lands are perhaps some of the best lands ever printed so it leaves its return a large responsibility to uphold. I doubt we will be seeing a straight up reprint of the dual lands because powerful cards such as these don’t usually get reprinted and if they were, their only real effect would be on such a small scale. I feel like R&D will take this opportunity to come up with some kind of crazy new land but what exactly I am not sure. Mark Rosewater, MTG’s head designer has mentioned that we should look to the Innistrad’s cycle of enemy colored lands for insight into the next blocks mana-base but I don’t know what to make of that. That hint suggests we will be seeing the allied colored M10 lands being reprinted here which I feel is very unlikely due to them having become a core-set staple and being pretty boring for an opportunity to something so exciting. Additionally, Ravnica’s basic lands are widely regarded as some of coolest and best looking basic lands made to date. Wizards of the Coast is quite aware of this fact so fingers are crossed they do homage to the original beauties by perhaps going as far as making new full-art lands similarly to Zenidkar’s? I realize this is very doubtful but it can’t hurt to hope!
So lastly, the block needs an instigator or a antagonist. With the return to the Mirrodin we saw things get mixed up a bit with the return of the Phyrexians and their invasion of the plane. With Return to Ravnica to keep things exciting we need something new going on on the plane. With Guildpact we were given the Nephilim as the bad guy wreaking havoc on the plane and would love to see them return to Ravnica as well. But I feel like they aren’t necessarily new enough to be the main threat. Something to consider which is admittedly highly unlikely is something Eldrazi related. This seems incredibly unlikely since it has been such a short time since we last saw them but there a couple things that suggest it is a possibility. The last time we saw Jace outside of a core-set was in the Zendikar block doing battle with the Eldrazi and now we see him again. On top of that I have always found several connections between the Eldrazi and Nephilim. Both are powerful creatures that are awoken and start destroying their respective plane. Their behavior as well as appearances’ seem somewhat reminiscent of the Eldrazi. On top of that both have special relationships with the color pie, the Eldrazi being completely void of it and the Nephilim being all over it. To be completely honest I really doubt we will be seeing them show up in the block but theres no harm in speculating.
So all in all Return to Ravnica is a set that I am really looking forward to. I absolutely loved the Ravnica block, gameplay and flavor-wise and cant wait to see what happens. Ravnica is all about color combinations and multi-colored cards and god knows I love me my multi-colored cards. You can be sure to expect some multicolored goodness coming up here as well as some game changing cards and some rule breaking on R&D’s behalf.
So what do you think is going to happen with RTR? Are we going to be seeing a new Jace? How about a cycle of planeswalkers? Will Niv be a planeswalker or will Ral Zarek fill the Izzet planeswalker slot? Maybe Jace will be part of the multicolored planeswalker cycle and if so what color combo would he be? What do you think the lands will look like? What do you think is going to be going on on the plane and is there going to be some new bad guy out there? Leave all of your thoughts and speculations in the comments below or let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!