Ravnica, the Multiverse’s biggest city. Full to bursting with people and planeswalkers alike, all under the palm of the guilds. Ten great institutions representing the 10 two-color combinations available in Magic. I’ve talked about the guilds in the past, specifically about how the Simic
and its abilities really only favor the Green side of its Blue/Green combination. So, what about the other guilds? How do they rank when it comes to their mechanics flavor and function? Well today we’re gonna answer that with this guide to Ravnica. I’ll be ranking each guild, from 1-10 based on which one’s mechanics fit both the flavor of the guild and the actual game mechanics present in Magic. Let’s get started.
Counting Down the Top 10
10. Simic Combine
Graft, Evolve, Adapt
I’ve already gone over the Simic but as a quick recap. None of these abilities feel at all Blue and all deal with +1/+1 counters which Blue doesn’t really have access to. On a flavor level they're fine, but I honestly feel like Mutate fits better as a Simic mechanic than any of their actual ones.
9. House Dimir
Transmute, Cipher, Surveil
Oh Dimir mechanics, what the hell are you? Transmute is really cool gameplay-wise and arguably has some of that sweet Dimir spy flavor of gathering intel. It also fits nice in both Blue and Black. Similarly, Surveil is amazing on all fronts. While Transmute is only arguably flavorful, Surveil is a knockout mix of flavor and function, fitting cozily between Black and Blue while having the best spy flavor yet! Then you have Cipher. I don’t even know where to start here. The mechanic is cool, but it’s needlessly complicated and doesn’t really fit the flavor of Dimir or the functionality of Black and Blue. The failure of Cipher and the borderline nature of Transmute are what land Dimir the number 9 spot.
8. Gruul Clans
Bloodthirst, Bloodrush, Riot
The Gruul are an interesting case with none of their abilities feeling super out of place in the Gruul guild but they do seem out of their colors. Riot is fine, but the real offenders are Bloodrush and Bloodthirst. Both of these abilities just don’t really feel like Gruul mechanics, in fact both fit more at home in a Black/Red color pie. Similar to the Simic neglecting Blue, Green just doesn’t feel represented in either of these mechanics. Riot however fits perfectly on all axises so that earns it the 8 spot.
7. Azorius Senate
Forecast, Detain, Addendum
Good news, Azorius, you’re where things start to get better. Addendum and Detain are great mechanics for the law-loving guild, fitting both the colors well on top of the flavor win. Each mechanic represents the two sides of the guild, the lawmakers and the arresters. And then there’s the odd one out, Forecast. It’s a good mechanic that fits in the colors but honestly, what the heck does the Azorius have to do with the weather? It’s just a weird one that doesn’t fit in my opinion.
6. Boros Legion
Radiance, Battalion, Mentor
Boros is a little bit more clear cut. Similar to the Azorius it has two mechanics that fit and one that doesn’t. Battalion and Mentor are great fits here, each really giving off the vibes of an army of soldiers. Radiance however, doesn’t really fit at all. Arguably it shows how the soldiers work together but that’s not a super defensible case. The only reason the Azorius ranked lower is Forecast makes even less sense than Radiance.
5. Cult of Rakdos
Hellbent, Unleash, Spectacle
Alright! Half way through, this is where things started to get hard. See all three Rakdos mechanics actually fit the guild pretty well. The reason why it scores the fifth spot is because of Unleash, even though it fits the colors pretty well. Of the guild mechanics remaining it fits the guild the least well. Unleash is a mechanic that would fit just as well in the Gruul Clans as it would in Rakdos.
4. Izzet League
Replicate, Overload, Jump-Start
Although all Izzet mechanics all work pretty well, it scores fourth because, in my opinion, Overload is really the only interesting one. Replicate as a mechanic is cool, but the cards that have it are nothing special and Jump-Start is just a tweaked version of Flashback.
3. Orzhov Syndicate
Haunt, Extort, Afterlife
The Orzhov are pretty great when it comes to mechanics, they get points off though because of Haunt. Similar to Cipher, Haunt is complicated and only sort of fits the Orzhov. It’s a mechanic that feels more at home on Innistrad. But with the ghostly themes of the Orzhov, it still fits more than a lot of other mechanics, getting the Orzhov the bronze.
2. Golgari Swarm
Dredge, Scavenge, Undergrowth
The Golgari really earned the Silver. All their mechanics completely fit the guild’s flavor and it’s colors. However it gets 2nd because they’re also all kind of boring. Just like the Izzet, the mechanics here lend to very linear types of strategies. Still, the second best mechanics in all of Ravnica ain’t too bad!
1. Selesnya Conclave
I mean, it wasn’t even close. The Selesnya only have two mechanics but Jesus do they work. Convoke is wonderful for a guild that’s all about working together and Populate makes so much sense considering their themes of community! Both mechanics also feel right at home in Green and White, making the Selesnya fit all the criteria.
That’s all for this month. If you have any thoughts on the Ravnican guilds and their mechanics I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. You can also find me on twitter @East2Westmtg
or email me at East2westmtg@gmail.com
. As always this has been East2West with Coast to Coast Casual (CCC), I'll see you guys on the battlefield.