Guilds of Ravnica prerelease week is upon us! I love the fall set release, not least because it tends to fall on my birthday weekend. There’s not much I’d rather do this weekend that crack new Ravnica boosters and build goofy multicolor decks. Grand Prix Denver is coming up in a couple weeks as well, so I am eager to start learning the format.

Zach Barash wrote a great rundown of the common removal and interaction in Guilds of Ravnica. You should check it out before heading to your prerelease. But let’s be serious: the cards you care most about at the prerelease are the rares you open. I want to highlight some of the rares that have caught my eye for Limited play. If I can play with a few of these this weekend, I’ll be quite pleased.

March of the Multitudes is a mythic rare, but it’s too awesome not to mention. Selesnya Revelation reminds me most of White Sun’s Zenith, except it’s much better. Lifelink is one of my favorite Limited mechanics because it throws off your opponent’s racing math and allows you to climb back into a game after falling behind. You don’t get to draw any cards from your deck here, but you can pick up major card advantage if you flash in an army of blockers.

Convoke probably won’t help too much there—these tokens are going to be worse blockers than whatever you tapped to make them—but you are allowed to pay the mana cost with lands too. You’re even better off if your opponent chooses not to attack into your board. Then you can dump all your mana, convoke or otherwise, and make an end-of-turn token army. That can easily be a finisher, but you can also win the race with the extra life you’ll gain during combat.

The new and improved Nightveil Specter looks amazing. Impulse-drawing off your opponent’s deck whenever you can connect with this evasive 2/2 is exactly what I want to do at the prerelease and for the rest of my life after it. Theoretically you can even mill your opponent to death, since you throw the other two cards in their graveyard. You’ll probably win before that happens if you’re connecting every turn, but that’s a nice free bonus.

Just make sure not to stock their graveyard in a way that helps them. Against a Golgari opponent, you should probably take creatures with this ability so you don’t feed undergowth. Jump-start spells will end up in their graveyard after you cast them anyway, so that probably doesn’t matter too much. But again, once you’re drawing multiple cards with Thief of Sanity, you’re probably winning anyway.

I have a feeling there will be a lot of boardstates that this card will absolutely crush. Ritual of Soot leaves more room for the big ones to fight in, and as a black deck you can probably deal with the opposing big stuff. In the right situation, this is Duneblast. But this is also close to Wrath of God when you play it on turn four. Boros and Selesnya decks look poised to flood the board with cheap creatures (and tokens), and I expect to be eager to reset their assault with my slow black decks.

Red looks weak in Guilds of Ravnica. I couldn’t find a red rare I was excited to play. But I like sweepers and lifelink, so here we are. I’m not sure what the two halves of this card have to do with each other. Is it pushed for a Standard metagame? Did they want to soften the “feel-bads” of cards like Anger of the Gods and Sweltering Suns that tend to play poorly in red Limited decks? Are they writing a story that somehow captures both aspects of Deafening Clarion? Who knows, but this card looks pretty good.

This is a slow card, but look at that value. I suppose you could have a deck where all the good cards are monocolored, but that seems unlikely with the huge array of gold and hybrid cards in the set. Obviously the temptation is to go for a five-color control deck with all the best cards in your pool, and Vivid Revival is the perfect card for such a deck. But even if you’re getting back two midrange creatures, you’re getting a solid deal.

Perhaps the best value with Vivid Revival comes from the split cards. Guilds of Ravnica has a cycle of rare and uncommon gold split cards, and they tend to have one small and one big effect. The flexibility of being able to choose the mode you need is huge, but with Vivid Revival you can have your cake and eat it too. You might actually want to cast the cheap version of your split cards to make sure you have them in your yard to buy back. Regardless of how you use it, however, this card is going to provide huge value in your sealed deck.

I love the sunburst mechanic, and that’s what Chamber Sentry has without spelling it out. You may know it from Engineered Explosives, but my favorite is Etched Oracle. Chamber Sentry looks like a much sweeter version of that old card, essentially. Yeah, you need five colors instead of four to go off; but if you can make WUBRG mana, this is a recursive machine gun. The tap ability is weaker than Walking Ballista, but that card has a lot of room to be weaker and still broken in Limited.

Most sealed decks won’t want to make all five colors necessarily, but you don’t really need to be a rainbow deck to use Chamber Sentry. All you need is to put all your pool’s guildgates and mana fixing into your deck, and especially any five-color mana sources you have. You can always cast this card for three mana or whatever you have available, pop it off, and scrounge up a fourth or fifth color to recur it later. Hell, you can play it as a 2/2 and beat down! Even in a solely two-color deck, this is good value.

Brendan McNamara (Twitter: @brendanistan) is Editor in Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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