We’re heading back to Ravnica this fall, and I for one am excited to see some new Limited formats on the plane. Our first two tours of Ravnica left a trail of sweet draft experiences. I missed out on the original Ravnica block when it was new, but it’s proven to be a fun flashback draft whenever people can get the packs together. Return to Ravnica block, however, was right in my wheelhouse. I believe I actually defeated Rich Stein in the final round of a Twenty Sided Store Return to Ravnica prerelease, before we knew each other.

Return to Ravnica block had three distinct Limited formats, but I think Triple Return was the best to draft. It featured five of the guilds: Azorius, Selesnya, Rakdos, Izzet, and Golgari. Unlike some recent sets, the focus on a subset of color combinations worked brilliantly. The result was a balanced draft environment, where aggressive decks did well but all sorts of long-game shenanigans were possible.

As we get ready for our return to the plane, I’m looking back at the Limited highlights from our last visit. This week, I offer my top five draft cards from Return to Ravnica, in no particular order.

Axebane Guardian was one of the big reasons the draft format did not grow stale with only five featured guilds. The set offered a few defender-matters cards and support, like the cute and playable Doorkeeper, but Axebane Guardian was the star of the show. You can splash anything off one of these plus Gatecreeper Vine. I drafted all sorts of “Golgari” nonsense decks, casting every blue draw spell available and winning with whatever—hopefully a few copies of Lobber Crew.

You could also slot this baby into your Selesnya decks, with the mana ramp helping power Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage and the like. Green was a strong color anyway, and the copious fixing helped you play whatever powerful gold cards that came your way in the draft.

Speaking of which! Thoughtflare is a real all-star for digging through your deck. Izzet offered a lot of fun and goofiness, and this sweet uncommon kept the cards flowing. As an instant, it’s basically Fact of Fiction without the hassle of waiting for your opponent to pick. Sphinx’s Revelation was the headline mass-draw spell, but you could pick up a copy of Thoughtflare a hell of a lot more easily. And if you had enough copies of Lobber Crew going, you could win just by casting gold spells!

Eyes in the Skies might not be Lingering Souls or Triplicate Spirits, but it was still a swet Limited card. First of all, it makes bird tokens. Who doesn’t want to make bird tokens? But if you get creative, you can find some better options to populate. The obvious choice was usually a 3/3 centaur—the rest of this interview will be centaur questions—but you could go a bit bigger. Then again, two 1/1 fliers look just fine when you are beating down with Lyev Skyknights—or blocking them for that matter.

Rakdos Ragemutt offers a very strange combination of stats and abilities. Both haste and lifelink are undervalued mechanics for Limited, and they work especially well together in Rakdos decks that are hellbent on racing. The unleash mechanic makes blocking very hard as a Rakdos mage—not that you were planning on blocking anyway—and this Lightning Helix on a leash helps make up that difference. There are a lot of bigger creatures you can bash face with, and efficient commons like Splatter Thug and Gore-House Chainwalker. But I love this little surprise for five.

Now this is my jam. Every set has a black spell or enchantment that shrinks creatures a little bit, but none of them are as fun or brutal as Stab Wound. You haven’t lived until you’ve dropped Stab Wound on an unleashed Thrill-Kill Assassin. That is good clean fun, in the same neighborhood as Reanimate on Fulminator Mage to take your opponent off Pact mana. You can also kill creatures with Stab Wound if you have to, but that’s the backup plan, like when you trade off Azure Mage on turn two so you can survive.

I don’t know what new delights await when Guilds of Ravnica drops in a couple months. But Ravnica brings it to the draft arena. You can bank of the guilds delivering sweet Limited games. And who knows, maybe they’ll reprint Stab Wound. It’s got perfect flavor!

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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