Welcome back fellow Planeswalkers. With the New Year in full swing, the latest set for Magic: The Gathering is vastly approaching. Ravnica Allegiance aims to bolster your existing collection, expand upon current storylines, and bring forth new mechanics to play with.

So, join us as we give a brief rundown on the new mechanics of five of the guilds.

Orzhov – Afterlife

The Orzhov Syndicate function on loyal, everlasting service. Your obligations to the Orzhov Council doesn’t end in death. Oh no, once bound in life, you service continues in another form. The keywork Afterlife triggers once the creature dies and creates a 1/1 Spirit creature token. The higher the number after the Afterlife keyword, Afterlife 3 for instance, dictates how many tokens are created. Souls bound forever to do the bidding of the Syndicate!

As a whole, this mechanic is very useful in controlling the board at all times. Splash a few creatures in set mana costs to ensure you have a form of attack and defense through your game. This will also give you targets for any buffs you might have and keep the threat level against your opponent present.

Cult of Rakdos – Spectacle

The Cult of Rakdos revel in entertainment fueled by blood, pain, and torture. It’s not just mindless killing and suffering. The crowds love a good show, just like any other. It’s just this crowd is a little obsessed with the colour crimson. The keyword Spectacle allows you to pay a different cost for your spells if your opponent has lost life the same turn. By paying this different cost you will gain new and/or different effects. For instance, instead of discarding a card and drawing a card with Rix Maadi Revealer, you can pay the increased Spectacle cost and discard your hand then draw three.

This mechanic can see some use in innately fast Red/Rakdos(Red/Black) decks. Keep the pressure on will allow you to pay the Spectacle cost often and, in the case of Rix Maadi Revealer, keeping your hand topped up with fuel. For more mid-range decks, cards such as Rafter Demon forces each opponent to discard a card once the Spectacle cost has been paid. This is great for dwindling down the opposing players resources!

Simic Combine – Adapt

The Simic Combine focus on evolving to survive any threat or situation. The power to manipulate themselves and surroundings via nature and science makes them very formidable and hard to keep down. The Adapt keyword allows you to pay a activated cost to put a number of +1/+1 counters on the associated creature if it has none already. Cards such as Zegana, Utopian Speaker allow you to put 4 +1/+1 counters on it when it adapts. Whilst creatures have a counter, Zegana gives them trample to push through into your opponents life points and, she can draw you a card she enters the battlefield when another creature has a counter. Peak performance!

Using adapt can provide you with very powerful creature to batter you opponent with. It might seem costly to activate at first but, when combined with other cards such as Zegana in synergy the value increases dramatically. Mid-range to slow decks will favour this mechanic as building a steamroller is an easy objective to aim for with the added benefit of drawing more cards with Zegana!

Gruul Clans – Riot

The Gruul Clans are good at what they do and enjoy every moment of it. What are they good at? Smashing, crushing, and destroying. If they can’t have then it won’t belong to anyone. The Riot keyword provides some flexibility in how you want to topple your opponents. As a creature with Riot enters the battlefield it can either have +1/+1 counter or Haste. So, do you want to summon a tough threat that is hard to move or, do you want to pile in and give them hell?

Cards such as Gruul Spellbreaker create interested choices to take and can gear towards rush decks naturally. By giving it +1/+1 you can pump it to 4/4 and it comes with Hexproof on your turn which is hard to remove. But, because of the Hexproof you could give it haste and have no fear in your opponents magic to target it. In the case of Frenzied Lynx, a Haste choice will combine with its activated ability to give it +4/+0. Hitting for 8 is not to be scoffed at!

Azorius Senate – Addendum

The Azorius Senate make it their agenda to keep the unrest a bay throughout Ravnica. As the law bringers and peace keepers of the realm, they act as a policing guild adamant on keeping order. The Addendum key work allows you to gain additional effects on spells if you cast them in your main phase. Cards such as Emergency Powers shuffles each players hand and graveyard into the library and then draws 7 new cards. This can be cast as an Instant on your opponent’s turn. However, displaying that everything is in order and casting it in your main phase will allow you to put a Permanent card with converted mana cost of 7 or less from your hand to the battlefield. Great way to show order is in effect when a Sphinx lands!

This mechanics provides more considerations to when you should play your cards. Holding on to it to provide a bigger advantage on your turn can shift how your opponent conducts their next move. But, the option to cast it as an Instant is still a powerful tool to have. Gearing more towards control decks, which fits Azorius perfectly, this keyword will bolster existing cards in your arsenal with more tricks to unleash on the battlefield!

So, which of the 5 mechanics has tickled your fancy? Do you want all hell to break loose with Riot? Or do want to rise above the rabble with evolve? Let us know in the comments below. Ravnica Allegiance releases on January 25th 2019 with the pre-release on January 19th-20th 2019. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days and for more news, reviews, previews, and guides. Until next time, smile and game!