Return to Ravnica Speculations

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 Beleren and Niv-Mizzet

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!

All of the basic lands depicted beautifully the city covered plane

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!

So this might be a little over-powered but imagine how awesome a planeswalker like this would be! Now imagine 9 more!

10 thoughts on “Return to Ravnica Speculations

  1. Nice speculations! I may add a bit, if I may.
    We have Izzet vs. Golgari announcement, which reads that the Swarm will be reprisented by Lich Lord Jerad, one of the key characters of the Ravnica novel cycle. Jarad inherited the Golgari guild, was killed by Izolda and selfreanimated as Lich lord at the end of the story, that means we will come to the plane with the Guildpact destroyed as well as some paruns and guildmasters. The phisical world is combined with Agyrem with Agrus Kos watching over ghost realm. We also may meet some other characters there: Angel Feather, Half-elf Fonn, Pivlic the Imp, Teysa Karlov…
    We also may see the return of Nissa Ravane, who came after Sorin for help.

    1. Thanks for all of the additions! I haven’t gotten around to reading any of the Ravnica novels so all of this additional insight is absolutely fantastic! I would love to see the return of all of those characters, it could allow for Wizards to possibly make some really cool new variants of them! Or perhaps do you think if we see them again in RTR they will be altered or evil or something similarly to what they did with Sygg or Glissa? It would make sense for Nissa to show up on the plane if Jace is going to but if she does my fingers are crossed that she is WG and serves as the Selesnya planeswalker. I really want to see that cycle happen…
      Also do you think any of the multicolored creatures showing up in Planechase 2012 will also show up in RTR or in the block at some point?

      1. My guess is that Wizards are preparing ground for RTR with both Avacyn Restored and Planechase 2012. MaRo was always telling that there should be something common in adjacent, next-going sets, therefore, I believe we will see more Boros Angels there, however, in storyline, all of them were destroyed by Szedek on Razia’s quest to find the traces of planeswalkers, and the sole survivor was Angel Feather, who became guildmaster of Boros.

        It’s hard to predict what Wizards have in store for Ravnica, but I doubt thay will repeat the shift-to-evil to the characters. There’s not so many left actually. Lets’s see about the guildmasters:

        Selesnya: Birakazir the Wolf is leading the Conclave of new Dryads now
        Boros: Razia is dead. Feather is the only angel and guildmaster
        Orzhov: Obzedat is ghostly present under the city somewhere and Taysa Karlow is prime matriarch of the guild
        Azorius: there’s new guildmaster, don’t remember who.
        Dimir: Szedek is apparently destroyed, though its clear that lurker had survived (the horrific ancient wormish shapeshifter thing)
        Simic: Momir Vig is dead
        Izzet: Niv-Mizzet gloriouzly destroyed three of five grown huge nefilims and flew away, no one knows where. Goblin female Crixizix is proclamed as lordmage of Izzet
        Rackdos: Demon Rackdos is defeated (not dead)
        Gruul: No unity, scattered clans, no true leader
        Golgari: Jerad the undead Lich Lord is leading the guild. Svogthir (ancient Parun) seems like still lives somehow though.

        The Ravnica block was about enchantments and I believe RTR will also feature enchantments mostly.
        We also have potential Dack Fayden planeswalker from IDW comic, who actually native to Ravnica. And Ral Zarek you’ve mentioned.

      2. One more thing.
        Tezzeret. Last time we saw him in Scars of Mirrodin, where he acted as the agent of Nicol Bolas. But in the end of the “Test of Metal” novel, he made his way to Ravnica, when Bolas forced him to go to Mirrodin.
        According to the “Agents of Artifice”, Jace had been forced to work for Tezzeret in Ravnca’s branch of the Consortium and eventually Beleren rebeled and took over the branch and teamed with planeswalker Beltrice (red aligned woman).
        But back to Tezzeret. Tez mastered ethirium, the most valuable metal in universe etc. In Ravnica, Niv-Mizzet created “impossible metal” mizzium. Tezzy might need it for some reasons.

        Therefore, the main antagonist in RTR might be Tezzeret or Nicol Bolas himself as he was absent for some time now and he will be printed in M13.

  2. Your Niv Mizzet planeswalker is beyond reality. The -8 ability especially.
    Anyways, I think WoTC are really in touch with the fanbase, because other than the Alara block, it’s hard to find any more flavor than we have in Innistrad now and what we had with the original Ravnica. Now we get a Standard format with both Innistrad and Ravnica? I’m almost drooling at the idea. This will most definitely be fun!

    1. I know isn’t that ridiculous? I didn’t actually make that one, I just stumbled on it when looking for Ravnica pictures.
      Words cannot describe exactly how stoked I am for this block. I mean we know WOTC is bound to do something new to RTR so there is bound to be a big dash of that new flavor on top of the already super flavorful set. I have not been more excited for a set perhaps ever.

  3. Nope, the two planeswalkers will Be Jace, and Gideon. If you look at spoiled artwork, it reveals that Gideon will be on the plane. So you are left with the assumption that they brought both awesome Planeswalkers from Cawblade into Return to ravnica. I speculate that he will be in it due to the spoiled artwork at Comic-con, in addition it has already been confirmed that Jace will already be the other. Being that they stated 2 planeswalkers in the first set, this will be how it goes. As for Niv, they are bound to reprint him, rather change him slightly as they did with all reprints of the past. But he will remain blue/red and will more than like have draw abilities. Perhaps a cost, pay 1 blue tap; draw a card. Pay one red untap; deal one damage to target creature or player. or perhaps a firebreather ability that when you use it you draw a card for each time you pump him up.

    1. Ya I have been meaning to write a follow up article. Jace is confirmed to be showing up in RTR and it has been confirmed that Gideon is showing up in the second set, Gatecrash. Despite hearing this it doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t seeing a planeswalker for each one. Gatecrash is featuring Boros and I feel Gideon could very well fit into Boros similarly to how Ajani did. I am so stoked about Niv showing up either way, I am just hoping for something new and not just a reprint.

      1. I feel the same way, I really do hope that Niv-Mizzet isn´t reprinted in Return to Ravnica but it´s confirmed that in the duels deck Izzet vs Golgari that Niv-MIzzet the Firemind is being reprinted with new art and shiny (sweeet). During the conferece in comic-con, they said that all the guildliders would be mythic lendary rares and be completely different from the last set. The olny two that didn´t die in the first ravnica block were Rakdos and Niv-Mizzet..But as with everything , nothing written in stone so here´s hoping that I can but two Niv-Mizzets in play and make a temporal peradox that only a izzet guildmage would have no problem in understanding..

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