Wenn we'll return to Ravnica at the end of September, we can expect a world full of colors, that already had quite some interesting experiences to offer at our first visit there: The best dual lands we ever had since … well … the Originals, Dark Confidant, Lightning Helix, Remand and the notorious Dredge mechanic – these are just some of the most important gems that Ravnica offered to every Planeswalker to set foot on it. But there's more to discover:
Ravnica is a city and a standalone world at the same time. Like a giant plant it has spread out more and more and has assimilated more and more of its environment. When we, the Magic playing Planeswalkers first set foot on Ravnica a few years ago, the city was just everywhere – and everywhere was Ravnica. With help from the so called Guildpact the power had been distributed equally between the mighty guilds. This peaceful pact had been stable for thousands of years and was only interrupted when the first planeswalkers arrived in the megacity. Of course there had been some revolutionary movements in the metropolis, but the ten reigning guilds had always managed to keep the city under their control. Thus, at our arrival on Ravnica, the situation was tense and fragile. In these difficult times, we could follow the adventures of Agrus Kos, Savra, Teysa, Crix and several other heroes and get a deeper understanding of Ravnica. The ten guilds that rule the City each represent the alliace of two Magic colors. Each guild has its own identity, which is translated into the game of Magic by several game mechanics. Thus, there are ten corresponding Signets (mana-producing artifacts) and a variety of lands: The so-called „bounce lands“ like Dimir Aqueduct or Boros Garnison, the „shock lands“ like Temple Garden or Watery Grave, softer re-make of the original dual lands, and finally the the „homeland“ of every guild: Lands that only produce colorless mana, but present a very characteristic activated ability. Vitu-Ghazi for example produces tokens thus reflecting the swarm subtheme of the Selesnaya-Guild. Further there is a legendary leader character to every guild as well as a few more characteristic creatures, guild mages and special guild mechanics that will only be found on cards that are associated to the guild in question.
The ten guilds:
The clerks on Ravnica are very similar to the ones in the real world. By applying laws and guidelines, they keep law & order upright – or at least they try to. Highest of the bureaucrats is Augustin IV, after his death by murder, Leonos II. takes over as guild leader. Hometown of the Azorius clan is Prahv, Ravinca's capital, a super-size tower, which hosts the senate's meetings.
Ravnica's mafia makes their living with all kinds of businesses, and death means no stopping to them. Thus, the contact with ghosts is one of the pillars of their success, another one is the relentlessness a debitor is pursued with until he will finally pay his debt – with all interests. The Orhzov guild is let by a mysterious Ghost Council, residing in Orzhova.
The Boros legion is the military force on Ravnica, a strong army that has the protection of law and order on Ravnica written on it's banners. They are very ambitious, effective and have a strong self-confidence. Atop the military hierarchy is their leader in chief, the Archangel Razia, who resides in their forteress Sunhome.
This apparently most harmonic guild on Ravnica lives in a kind of communist state and follows the rule “One for all and all for one”. Thus they are strong in producing high number of tokens, all equal in power and rank. This idea of collectivity is also found with their “leader”: A collection of the brightest minds in all Selesnaja, that sit together in the town-tree Vitu-Ghazi.
The most important fact about the Dimir is that they do not exist. Secrecy is indeed one of their main characteristics and goes well with their activities: espionage, infiltration, murder and other “shady” businesses are what Dimir is good at. The only one to fully know about Dimir is Szadek, a Vampire Lord, residing at Duskmantle, House of Shadows.
When asked about the Izzet guild, most people would answer “Mad Geniuses”. Indeed the guild members try to combine fire, technology and magic and thus find a way into new dimensions of Magic. While the outcome of these experiences might not always be controlled, at least you won't get bored on Izzet, ruled by Niv-Mizzet, the crazy fire brain residing in his own creation Nivix.
Another mad genius branch, this time mixing magic with the force of nature. At Novijen, their gigantic laboratory they breed crazy mutations, called Cytoplasts, however the people on Ravnica did not like too much the outcome like Experiment Kraj, a hard fact for their visionary leader Momir Vig.
The Rakdos of Fire and Death are a chaotic guild and their favored activities are toture, murder and pretty much anything that's against the law. The love chaos and pain, foremost their leader Rakdos, residing in his “castle” Rix Maadi, very unsurprisingly not one of the main tourist attractions on Ravnica.
The Golgari are the biggest guild on Ravnica, which is not too surprising as they have succesfully overcome Death and thus Reanimation is one of their strengths (you'll find the powerful Dredge mechanic only on Golgari guild cards). The residing Elves and Zombies together with an ever growing army of plant zombies are the backbone of their power. They are ruled by Svogthir, resinding in the wandering cathedral at Svoghtos.
The Gruul are less a single unit then rather a loose group of different vagabonding tribes. They move from village to village, living off robbery and only staying at a place until they have completely used and destroyed it. Ferocity and strength are their main characteristics and their capital is called Skarrg, the rage pit.
At the end of the Ravnica block, a new guildpact has been created, mostly formed by the (undead) old guild leaders that died in the struggles between the rivaling guilds. Amongst those ghosts, we also find Szadek and his Dimir guild, thus there's a high potential for new conflicts, as also Niv-Mizzet will be back when we return to Ravnica. According to some sources, Jace will also be back, and with our most beloved planeswalker on the horizon, there will definitely be some action...