This weekend is an exciting weekend for Magic—it’s the Ravnica Allegiance prerelease! This set is the second consecutive on Ravnica, and it features the remaining five guilds: Azorius, Gruul, Orzhov, Rakdos, and Simic. Now the question is, what guild should you pick at the prerelease?

There are a handful of questions to consider when choosing a guild. What guild has the most valuable cards? Which guild has the best Limited cards? Which guild do you enjoy the most? I’m no “Limited Master,” but for this article I’m going to review the new mechanics for each guild and share a few cards I find interesting.


Azorius may have gotten the least exciting new mechanic for Limited. It may prove powerful, but it supplements a Limited deck rather than defining it. You probably want to play the usual UW skies style of deck: small evasive creatures backed up with tempo spells and removal, along with some big butts on the ground for defense.

Addendum cards are instants that give an extra reward for casting them in your main phase. Many people see that a card is an instant and assume it is always best used at instant speed, and Addendum helps people think about the benefits of casting an instant at sorcery speed instead. If we look at the card Unbreakable Formation, we can see how it can be used as a combat trick to punish an opponent for their blocks or attacks. However, Addendum rewards you for playing it in your main phase by giving Vigilance and +1/+1 counters. That is quite powerful, especially with an army of evasive creatures and good blockers.

Another card that shows off the use of the main phase is Precognitive Perceptions. You often want to draw cards at the beginning of your turn to increase your options, unless you already have a better use for your mana that turn. Encouraging strategic spell-casting during the main phase helps players grow in their decision-making and gameplay. But if you choose Azorius at the prerelease, you’ll mostly be playing your best creatures and spells from those colors rather than building a guild deck. Azorius Skyguard is a good uncommon to look for as you crack your packs.


Gruul’s new mechanic encourages aggressive or midrange creature decks. That’s great for Limited because almost all forty-card decks are full of aggressive or midrange creatures. Riot allows you to choose whether a creature enters the battlefield with haste or a +1/+1 counter, and both of those choices are great. Being able to make decisions is largely an advantage in Magic, especially when that decision is stapled onto a large and powerful creature. But choices are also opportunities to make mistakes. It’s probably safe to default to putting the +1/+1 counter on each Riot creature unless you are going to win the game with a hasty attack, though we’ll have to play with the cards to get a real sense of the optimal Riot play patterns.

Ravager Wurm is obviously great, but it’s mythic. In the rare slot, Gruul Spellbreaker looks primed for Standard play. If you’re picking a guild to maximize the value of your financial return, Gruul looks loaded with relevant Constructed cards. There are plenty of sweet Riot creatures at lower rarities though, like Frenzied Arynx at common and Clamor Shaman at uncommon. And Rhythm of the Wild might be the best uncommon in the set!


I’m very interested to see how Afterlife plays. I think will be very powerful in Limited and Constructed formats, and it likelythe most powerful mechanic in the set. Adding Afterlife onto an already strong card, like Seraph of the Scales, produces groans from across the table. Not only is the card a problem on its own, but your opponent can spend a card to remove it and still be left facing one or more flying spirit tokens.

Additionally, this mechanic synergizes well with other typical Orzhov themes, like sacrificing creatures and death triggers. See, for example, Teysa Karlov.

You might need a handful of good Orzhov cards to make these synergies work in Limited, but these cards appear to be powerful enough to have an impact on Standard after release. Orzhov also has many valuable Standard pulls, like Kaya’s Wrath at rare and Mortify at uncommon, making it an excellent choice for prerelease if you don’t care what archetype you play.


Spectacle offers a unique way to pay for spells with an alternate mana cost. If an opponent lost life in a given turn, you may cast a card for its Spectacle cost rather than its converted mana cost. Sometimes you pay more for an additional effect, while other cards simply cost less once the opponent has lost life that turn. Regardless, you will want to be aggressive, or at least relentless, when playing Rakdos.

Spawn of Mayhem is absolutely absurd if you are lucky enough to crack it. Other cards like Drill Bit and Skewer the Critics could prove to be powerful Standard staples. Ill-Gotten Inheritance provides an engine for slower Rakdos decks to use Spectacle without having to attack each turn, and it could prove to be a decent finisher in the right deck.


The final new mechanic is Adapt. Once again, Simic focuses on placing and manipulating +1/+1 counters on creatures. This time, the Simic mechanic is also a powerful mana sink. Adapt puts +1/+1 counters on a creature if that creature has no +1/+1 counters on it yet. There are plenty of ways to add and remove these counters even without Adapt, and big rewards from cards like Galloping Lizrog, Zegana, Utopian Speaker and Simic Ascendency.

My predictions are that these kind of mechanics are very powerful in Limited and that Simic would be a fine choice for pre-release, however I don’t think Simic will be a powerful guild in Standard without an additional color to support it in the Constructed format. If you do go for Simic at your prerelease, keep in mind that blue-green decks tend to lack hard removal—that means your slow Adapt decks need to be able to win even if your opponent is dropping must-kill threats. Frilled Mystic can help if you get to hold up mana, and it also helps your trade binder as another high-value uncommon.

Overall, any guild you choose for prerelease will likely result in a fun time playing with unique new cards. Whether you choose based on fun, card prices, or your favorite guild; you probably can’t go wrong with any of your options. For good Limited cards I would likely choose Simic or Gruul, while for Standard cards I would likely choose Gruul or Orzhov. Happy prereleasing!

Ally Warfield is a Magic grinder and personality. She hosts the VClique podcast and is an up-and-coming grinder with an impressive range in terms of archetype selection. You can find her on Twitter @ArcticMeebo.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.