The Mechanics of Ravnica Allegiance

This last week, we got our first sneak peaks at the mechanics that are going to be featured for the five guilds in the second set of three of the Guilds of Ravnica block. I’m ecstatic about a select few of these, so let’s dive in.

Rakdos – Spectacle

The Rakdos mechanic featured in Ravnica Allegiance is Spectacle. You can cast a card for it’s Spectacle cost if an opponent has lost life this turn. It doesn’t matter how they lost life, whether it be from shock lands, combat damage, or burn spells, any amount of loss of life will turn Spectacle on. Spectacle only affects the cost of the card, however, not changing timing restrictions or the cards converted mana cost.

Spectacle has the potential to be very good. Already, in Light Up the Stage, we see the kind of push that aggressive decks are going to get. Being able to draw two cards for one mana is absurd. So what’s the best way to utilize those extra cards for that cheap of a cost, and the easiest way to turn Spectacle on?

Burn

It’s not the prettiest or most fun way to win, but it definitely wins.

Orzhov – Afterlife

The Orzhov have a pretty simple mechanic called Afterlife. Afterlife is always followed by a variable (in Tithe Taker’s case, 1) and when the creature dies (specifically has to die, so exiling the creature will prevent Afterlife from triggering) you create a number of 1/1 white and black Spirit tokens with Flying equal to their Afterlife variable.

This mechanic, as per usual with Orzhov mechanics, is outstanding in limited. Creatures that take two removal spells to kill, and hence usually a two-for-one are always great in limited. Coming from the guy with the Temur symbol tattooed on his chest, it breaks my heart to admit how excited I am to draft Orzhov.

Gruul – Riot

Boy oh boy, speaking of Temur, here comes Gruul’s mechanic, Riot. This a better version of the Tribute mechanic from Born of the Gods, this time instead of your opponent choosing which side the creature enters with, you do. This makes this mechanic superb in every sense of the word. Riot makes the creature enter the battlefield with your choice of a +1/+1 counter, or Haste. What’s notable about this, is it makes the creature enter the battlefield with the chosen effect, meaning you don’t have to declare which one you are going to choose until the spell resolves. Your opponent won’t have a chance to respond to the ability at all.

And let me tell ya ‘bout the synergies this has with Simic! I’m excited to play with Orzhov in limited, but I’m enlivened to draft Temur.

Simic – Adapt

Adapt is Simic’s mechanic this time around, and it’s kind of interesting. It’s like a better version of the Monstrous mechanic from Theros block. If your creature isn’t ‘X’, then it becomes ‘X’. I say this is better, because there are plenty of ways to remove +1/+1 counters from creatures, with Wizards of the Coast hinting at plenty more on the way. This means Adapt is going to be a recyclable mechanic, ideally being utilized multiple times in a game.

This mechanic has the potential to be very good, both in limited and constructed. If done correctly, players should be able to set up mana sink engines, being able to churn in mana and churn out value. I’m very excited to see the different ways that they explore this idea of making Adapt reusable.

Azorius – Addendum

Azorius is taking a cool spin on the usual draw-go playstyle that they typically have. Addendum is their new mechanic which rewards players for playing their Instant speed cards at Sorcery speed. This reinforces players into making correct decisions with timing. A lot of games will be decided by proper timing with this mechanic. This also gives the cards a lot more flexibility, so playing an Instant on your turn doesn’t feel nearly as bad. However, I believe that a symptom of this is going to be a downshift in power lever for our Instants, in compensation for the flexibility that Addendum allows.

Addendum is definitely an interesting mechanic, whether it’s good or not I’m unsure, but time will surely tell.

Those are the new guild mechanics that we’ll be able to play with come January 2019! Of them, I’m absolutely in favor of Adapt and Riot. The synergies that are going to come from those mechanics bleeding into each other in the same set is enough to make a Temur player cry. I hope everyone got their playset of Pelt Collector!