- Ravnica: City of Guilds
← Ninth Edition Guildpact → Ravnica: City of Guilds Released October 7, 2005 Size 306 (88 rares, 88 uncommons, 110 commons, 20 lands) Keywords Convoke, Transmute, Dredge, Radiance Mechanics Guild system, hybrid mana Designers Mark Rosewater (lead), Tyler Bielman, Mike Elliott, Aaron Forsythe, and Richard Garfield Developers Brian Schneider (lead), Aaron Forsythe, Mark L. Gottlieb, Matt Place, Paul Sottosanti, and Henry Stern Dev. code Control Exp. code RAV First set in the Ravnica block Ravnica Guildpact Dissension
Ravnica: City of Guilds is a Magic: The Gathering set and is the first set in the Ravnica Block. Ravnica was released on October 7, 2005 (prerelease events were held worldwide on September 24 and 25 , 2005). Its expansion symbol is a silhouette of a city with a prominent clock tower.
Following in the tradition of recent Magic blocks, Ravnica takes place in a plane of the multiverse that was previously unexplored in the game's backstory. The world of Ravnica is an ecumenopolis, a vast city that covers the entire surface of its planet, and is home to a diverse assortment of sentient races. Much power in Ravnica is held by the ten "guilds", political factions that each represent a combination of two of Magic's five colors.
Ravnica was conceived following the success of Invasion. Invasion, released in 2000, emphasized interactions between the colors, and it was one of Magic's most popular releases ever. Magic's lead designer, Mark Rosewater, wanted to expand on the multicolor theme in a new way. Therefore, the design of Ravnica is based around ten two-color pairs, including cards in which those pairs of colors work in concert.
The Ravnica block is functionally different from Invasion block due to the interaction of the multi-colored theme. In the Invasion block, for example, the first two sets (Invasion and Planeshift) centered around friendly colors and the harmony they create when put together. The last set, Apocalypse, emphasized enemy colors and areas where the colors contrast and possibly create powerful effects. However, the Ravnica block features a limited number of color combinations (some friendly, some enemy) in every set based on what guilds are present. All the multicolor cards in Ravnica block (and many other cards) are associated with one of the ten guilds.
Each guild has the following cards:
- A legendary leader, whose mana cost includes two mana of each of the guild's colors.
- A legendary champion, whose abilities encourage players to play with cards of both of the guild's colors. The champion includes one mana of each of the guild's colors in its cost.
- Note: The aforementioned definition of guild leader and guild champion is solely based on game mechanics, not the story. Some guilds have the properties of their champions and leaders swapped around.
- A signet, a common artifact which produces one mana of each of the guild's colors.
- A common "karoo" or "bounce" land, which returns a land to hand when it comes into play (tapped), but produces 2 mana of the guild's colors.
- An uncommon "guildhome" land, which produces colorless mana but has a special ability.
- A rare "shock" land that has two basic land types (even though it is non-basic), which can be tapped for one of two possible colors of mana.
- A rare guild-affiliated artifact.
- Three hybrid mana cards, one per rarity level; the uncommon one is always a "guildmage" which costs two hybrid mana to play, has a power/toughness of 2/2, and has two activated abilities (one associated with each of its colors).
The appearance of a guild symbol in the background of a card's text box identifies that card's guild affiliation. For example, the symbol of the green-white Selesnya guild appears on green-white cards, cards with the convoke mechanic, lands that produce green and white mana, and so on. The guild symbols have no effect on game play.
Of the ten guilds that rule Ravnica, four are the focus of this first set in the block. The next expansion, Guildpact, focused only on three other guilds, and the last set in the block, Dissension, introduced the last three guilds. Each guild corresponds to a different two-color combination. The four guilds featured in Ravnica are:
- The Boros Legion (red/white): The militaristic guild, they act as enforcers of order on Ravnica, and are not against using force to keep the peace. The Boros Legion is epitomized by the actions of the Wojek League, the police force of Ravnica. They are inspired by the archangel Razia. The champion, Agrus Kos, is a Wojek police officer and was the main character in the Ravnica novels.
- The Golgari Swarm (green/black): A sect which emphasizes that death is an essential aspect of the life cycle, and which to that end encourages death and plague in order to foster regrowth. They are ruled by a trio of sibling gorgons called The Sisters of Stone Death (Lydya, Lexya and Ludmilla), but their rule is being contested by the elvish shaman Savra.
- The Selesnya Conclave (green/white): A quasi-monastic order whose members are zealously dedicated to keeping life in balance. The Conclave disapproves strongly of individuality, holding that the good of the whole is always more important than that of a single being. It is directed by The Chorus of the Conclave, a group of mostly ancient dryads. A preacher named Tolsimir Wolfblood is their champion.
- House Dimir (blue/black): A shadowy guild that few of the common people of Ravnica are sure still exists. The other nine guilds know it does, and that it traffics in secrets, employing a network of spies and assassins to discover them and enforce their use in blackmail. It is led by the eldritch psionic vampire Szadek and the mysterious champion of the guild Circu, Dimir Lobotomist.
- Hybrid cards ("Guild mana"): For the first time in Magic's history, entirely new mana symbols appear. Each symbol is a circle halved diagonally, in which the top left half is one color and the bottom right half another. A smaller version of the color's icon (sun for white, skull for black, etc.) appears in the corresponding half. These mana symbols mean that mana of either color may be used to pay it; for example, a spell whose mana cost is two green/white hybrid mana may be played using two green mana, two white mana, or one green and one white. The cards with these mana symbols have a colored border that fades from left to right, out of one color and into the other.
Each of the ten guilds has a new keyword or ability word associated with it.
- Radiance (red/white, Boros): Radiance is an ability word that appears on spells and abilities that affect every creature that shares a color with the target creature. When played on multi-colored cards, the effect spreads to all that card's colors.
- Convoke (green/white, Selesnya): A player playing a spell with Convoke may tap some of his or her creatures to pay part or all of the mana cost. Each creature tapped reduces the cost by one mana of that creature's color, or by one colorless mana. Selesnya takes advantage of Convoke by playing cards that create Saproling creature tokens.
- Dredge (black/green, Golgari): Cards with dredge may be returned from the graveyard to their owner's hand, provided that player opts to skip drawing a card and instead puts a number of cards from the top of his or her library into the graveyard.
- Transmute (blue/black, Dimir): A player may pay a certain amount of mana and discard a card with Transmute from his or her hand. Doing this allows the player to find a card with the same converted mana cost from that player's library and put it into his or her hand.
In addition, several spells of the set have an enhanced effect if a particular color of mana is spent to play it. This theme continues with creatures in Guildpact.
Ten millennia ago, the Guildpact was signed by the leaders of the ten guilds, ending ten thousand years of active warfare between them and ushering in an era of peace. But now, on the eve of the celebrations of the accord's ten thousandth anniversary, a sinister force threatens the survival of that peace.
The first novel in the Ravnica trilogy follows major players: Agrus Kos, Jarad, Fonn, Feather, Pivlic, and Savra. Each one of these characters has a part to play in the big storyline, but the main story is split between Kos and Feather, followed by Jarad and Fonn. As Pivlic is introduced to the story, all four characters come together in one place and everything breaks loose. From that point, Savra’s plan to take over her guild and resurrect the guildmaster Svogthir, a necromancer, begins and the five characters are thrown into a war that only ends when a titan crumbles, an angel fights, a guild is nearly destroyed, and Kos makes the greatest arrest in 10,000 years.
Thanks to policing from the Boros Legion, a guild run by angels from above, the upper tiers of the city have been peaceful for much of the time, but the underworld is dark and desolate, devoid of sun. That’s where the Devkarins, members of the Golgari guild, come in: dark elves that run the darker parts of Ravnica with necromancy and pure hunting skill. Jarad is one such Devkarin. However, they stay close to old Ravnica’s underworld, leaving the roads free, and so the Selesnya Conclave use Ledev, a group of paramilitary soldiers that protect the rights of free passage on the road. Within these elite Ledev is Fonn, eager to guard her friend, a priest, into Ravnica for his part in the Decimillenial celebrations. However, they meet with some heartache as an explosion tears through the city and kills the priest, flinging Fonn into Jarad’s arms and causing far too much trouble for Kos to handle.
With a partner dead and a contract he never signed keeping the ghost bound to his presence, Kos embarks on the investigation that takes him under Ravnica, through the skies and into the streets plunged deep with innocent blood. Unfortunately for him, that means crossing the doorsteps of some of the most powerful guilds of the plane. But only the corrupt ones and only the ones whose intentions do not honor the guildpact. Armed with his pendrek and his angel friend, he sets out to discover that the conspiracies of the present are invariably tied directly to the past; his past and Ravnica’s past.
- Shock lands - Overgrown Tomb, Sacred Foundry, Temple Garden, Watery Grave. The first 4 of the 10 "shock" lands printed in the Ravnica block, these dual lands each count as two basic land types, providing for potential interactions with numerous cards that seek out basic land subtypes. Upon announcement of the Modern format, prices for these lands doubled on the secondary market.
- Wizards of the Coast's Ravnica page
- Ravnica Trailer
- Official Spoiler
- Ravnica minisite
- Life in the Big City
- Back-Alley Ravnica
- A Little Home Town Pride
- Urban Flavor
- Group Think
- Digging into the Conclave
- Life and Death
- Green Thumb, Black Heart
- Pretty Sneaky, Sis
- Disorderly Conduct
- Holy War, The Boros Legion
- Guild Structure of Ravnica
- Complete, unofficial spoiler
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