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December 31, 2018

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Daily Dose of Ravnica Allegiance – Celebrating Rakdos Control

Welcome all to a new week of the Daily Dose of Ravnica Allegiance!

Last week, I talked about the new mechanics from the set. This week, I’ll be taking a closer look at some key new cards and why I’m excited about them. For today, I want to talk about a couple of Rakdos cards that are peaking my interest. Rakdos is often known as an aggressive guild that wants to kill your opponent quickly, but not today! The cards I’ll be going over are all about controlling the battlefield in your favour. Forget turns one and two, let’s start winning the game with some higher casting cost spells.

But before I dive into these Rakdos cards, I want to take a moment to cover the new Buy-A-Box Promo. Let’s take a look at The Haunt of Hightower:

I believe this card could be quite good in the right deck. Played in a control deck that clears the battlefield, or played at a point where you have enough mana to protect it, I think  The Haunt of Hightower is capable of taking over the game. Keep in mind that it will accumulate +1/+1 counters quickly. Whenever you attack with it, unless your opponent is empty handed, it will get a +1/+1 counter. Any time your opponent plays an instant or sorcery it will gain a +1/+1 counter. Any time one of their permanents goes into the graveyard it will gain a +1/+1 counter.

Having doubts because you see a 3/3 creature for six mana is not the correct way to evaluate this card. Every time it attacks it will be a 4/4 or higher. And if you have a way to protect it with counterspells or cards like Dive Down, it will just grow that much larger in a short period of time.

Next up we have the first in a cycle of guild creatures that cost two of each guild mana. We saw this in Guilds of Ravnica with cards like Crackling Drake, and now we’re seeing it again with Rakdos Firewheeler:

I am a huge fan of the entire four-mana uncommon creature cycle from Guilds of Ravnica, and I’m happy to see it return in Ravnica Allegiance. Each of the entries in this cycle from Guilds made an impact on either Limited or Standard, and I see Rakdos Firewheeler making a similar impact in the coming months. Being able to remove a threat, be it a creature or Planeswalker, deal two damage to your opponent, and still be left with a 4/3 creature on the battlefield is a three-for-one threat. You won’t always be able to remove something with the two damage to a creature or Planeswalker. But you can most of the time through other spells or playing this post combat to finish off something. I can’t wait to see what the other four creatures in the cycle bring to the battlefield.

Finally, we have what is sure to be a premium removal spell in Standard over the next couple of years, Bedevil:

I love this removal spell. Some of you might be thinking, “Why don’t you just play Vraska’s Contempt?”. Well Bedevil has some advantages over Vraska’s Contempt right now. First off, it can destroy artifacts. This is something we haven’t seen in main decks since Abrade left Standard. There might not be a lot of artifacts to target right now, but there are some. Karn, Scion of Urza‘s Construct tokens, for example. Plus there are transforming artifacts like Treasure Map and Thaumatic Compass.

Another big advantage is its casting cost. In control decks you often want to play your removal and keep some mana free for counterspells or more removal. Three mana vs. four mana can make the difference in being able to make this happen.

Vraska’s Contempt does provide you life gain and the ability to exile. However in the current Standard format there aren’t a lot of targets that you need to exile other than Adanto Vanguard. Of course, you would like to exile creatures against a Golgari Midrange deck, but nothing absolutely needs to be exiled in that deck. It’s just extra value if you can.

Rakdos looks to be in fine form with some key cards for a Rakdos or Grixis control deck. With Spectacle mana costs bring higher than normal mana costs on some cards, could we see a switch from an aggressive Rakdos mentality to a controlling one?

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Ravnica Allegiance. Join me again tomorrow as I continue my talks on the new cards from Ravnica Allegiance including a reprint of an Azorius counterspell that’s sure to make an impact on Standard.