A Whole New World: MTG post rotation – Lands and Multicolor

I fell behind a little bit. Sorry. As you probably already know, the spoilers of have already started. 6 cards have already been posted (5 can be seen on Nurgleprobe’s website at http://nurgleprobe.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/return-to-ravnica-five-spoiled-cards/ ). Things are going to start getting crazy rather quickly, and pretty soon there is going to be too much information to handle. I still have black and white to do after this post, but hopefully both lists will be complete before the end of the first week in September.

Out of the cards spoiled so far, Izzet Charm looks incredibly nasty. It reminds me of the Charms that were back in Mirage and Visions (and later in the Shards of Alara block). Some are great, some are ho-hum, but with the current state of Magic R&D, I think the collection of charms in the Return to Ravnica block are going to be some of the best.

I’d also recommend you to take the Guild test on Wizards of the Coast’s website to help you decide which Guild to pick come pre-release in less than a month. If you can’t find it, I recently posted a link to it on my Twitter. Since switching to my GW Life gain deck, I’m definitely feeling Selesnya. Izzet seems to have the most followers so far, but in the end I think life will prevail!

Today’s post is going to focus on Lands and Multicolor cards. Overall, the Scars of Mirrodin block wasn’t a multicolor heavy set, so the metagame won’t be losing much. We will be losing some very useful lands, but I’m sure there will be plenty of pain lands, as well as other artifacts in RTR that will take their place. What’s going to decide which decks thrive in the next 3 months is going to depend on which lands are released in each set. If they are following the first 5 Guilds of Return to Ravnica, then we’ll see a WG (Selesnya), BG (Golgari), UR (Izzet), UW (Azorius), and BR (Rakdos) pain lands.

Here at the top 10 Lands/Multicolor cards rotating out in October:

  1. Copperline Gorge
  2. Seachrome Coast
  3. Razorverge Thicket
  4. Inkmoth Nexus
  5. Darkslick Shores
  6. Venser, the Sojourner
  7. Karn Liberated
  8. Blackcleave Cliffs
  9. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
  10. Buried Ruin

1. Copperline Gorge

Why is Copperline Gorge #1? Well, which deck is huge in the metagame right now? GR and Naya (GWR) beatdown. Huntmaster of the Fells, Bonfire of the Damned, Primeval Titan, Inferno Titan and a number of other cards depend on a diverse set of lands to get them all out with the utmost speed. Rootbound Crag (M13) will take over for it after rotation, but that card is also already in the deck. GR and Naya decks will lose another multicolor card, and along with losing Birds of Paradise it could mean that the decks won’t be able to hit their mana consistently, leaving them open for your attack. You might think that, but in all likeliness there will be a pain land in Ravnica to take over for it, and probably an artifact like the Signets of the past Ravnica sets to take over for the Birds of Paradise. I don’t think GR and Naya decks will be hurt, no, I think they’ll become more deadly with painlands in RTR. However, players might have to wait until Gatecrash when the Gruul (GR) guild is in the spotlight.

This could be a huge hit against GR beatdown decks if they have only 4 dual lands instead of 8 starting from October.

2. Seachrome Coast

UW Delver (and UW Miracles) still have Glacial Fortress (M13), and just like with GR, you’ll definitely see pain lands in RTR that will take over for Seachrome Coast. Some players might grumble that they have to replace 4 of their lands post rotation, and you might catch some Delver players with their pants down if they can’t get a hold of the 4 new Azorius lands, but otherwise don’t count on Delver losing a step. They’ll be more affected by card draw and manipulation without Ponder.

3. Razorverge Thicket

Naya beatdown and GW aggro will be affected the most by the loss of Razorverge Thicket, but by this point you know what I’m going to say. There’s going to be a pain land that will take over for it. Sunpetal Grove (M13) will perform extra hard until then. At this point, it might be a good idea to switch over to my GW Life Gain deck that you’ve seen in a recent post on my website. With all of these decks having to pay life to get the advantage, it’s going to put them in more of a compromising situation where each point of life counts. Just like how you hated it when one of your cards got Vapor Snagged and you lost a life, now those players will know how it feels. If you see a lot of pain lands after the rotation, it might be fun just to play mono red to quickly reduce their life to nothing. Make them feel each damage they take.

Selesnya is one of the RTR guilds, so there should be a GW land in the first set.

4. Inkmoth Nexus

All I have to say is THANK GOD. I hated this card. It’s the whole reason why I have 3 Ghost Quarters in my life gain deck. It’s a staple of Kessig Wolf Run Ramp decks (GR, GRW), and once a Primeval Titan hits the table this is usually the first card your opponent gets alongside a Kessig Wolf Run. It’s found it’s way into other infect based decks as well, but come October none of those decks will still be around. Without Infect in the metagame, a lot of these matches are going to be long and grindy. Life total will become incredibly important, as well as how many creatures you can get out to block and beat down your opponent. You might see some players add in Hellion Crucible post rotation to see how it works in their deck, but I don’t know if that’s going to see a lot of play. From one of the RTR spoiler pictures, it looks like there will be a Green or WG land that turns into a big creature, so I think that card will probably take Nexus’ place come October.

5. Darkslick Shores

UB Zombies are going to be hurt the most by the loss of this card. That deck depends HEAVILY on getting a creature out on the first turn and every turn past that, and Drowned Catacomb (M13) can’t do that on the first turn. With the current build of Zombie decks with Blood Artist, losing life to pain lands probably won’t be a problem, but if something doesn’t come out to replace Darkslick Shores, Zombies can lose some of their “bite”. I don’t think Dimir (UB) will be out until Gatecrash, so it’s possible that UB Zombie decks will only have 4 dual lands instead of 8. That could slow down the zombies from a march to a crawl. It could also mean that people switch to Grixis (BUR) Zombies so they can add in 4 Dragonskull Summits. It all depends on which lands WotC releases with RTR.

6. Venser, The Sojourner

Without Venser, blink decks will become a little more bearable. I went up against a Bant (GWU) blink deck with Venser, Restoration Angels, and Acidic Slimes the other day and got steam rolled. It’s incredibly powerful against control decks, quickly destroying all of your land, and if you can’t take care of Venser in time, his -8 ability will destroy you. It’s pretty much game over if they ultimate. Venser lock decks with Stonehorn Dignitary will also become a thing of the past once he rotates. Blink decks will get a little weaker, but I think they will be able to switch out Venser for a Conjurer’s Closet (AVR) for the same mana cost. The closet can be destroyed easier, but that’s why you’d run cards like Trading Post along side it to bring it back into play. Just a thought.

7. Karn Liberated

Ok, so he’s not a land, nor is his multicolored, but he didn’t fit into any other place. Control decks will definitely lose some oomph when Karn leaves play in October, and there is little he can be replaced with in the non rotating block of cards. He can fit into any deck, but you’ll usually find him in decks that focus less on creatures and more on wiping everything out (like Esper/UW Planeswalker Control). Without Karn, Gideon, and Venser, “Superfriends” (planeswalker) decks are going to probably fall out of favor for a while until a few new ones come along that work well together.

8. Blackcleave Cliffs

Rakdos looks like it’s going to be one of the first guilds in RTR, so Black/Red should get a pain land to compensate for the loss of Blackcleave Cliffs. Dragonskull Summit (M13) and the Cliffs are staples of BR control decks, and have seen more play recently in Grixis control and Grixis Zombie decks, but I don’t think either of these decks will be hurt much by it’s rotation. There will definitely be more BR stuff in RTR to fill the void.

9. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

I really thought Tezzert was done for a few months ago, but with the addition of Trading Post (M13), there has been a resurgence of him in UB Tezzeret Post decks. They are slow and lose to some of the faster decks if you don’t have enough kill decks, but once they get rolling it can be nasty with all of those 5/5 artifact creatures, Batterskulls, and Wurmcoil Engines. I got up to 60 life against one with my Life gain deck, but then started to take a lot of heavy hits and couldn’t gain enough life in return. I read an article stating that Tezzeret has a home in Ravnica, so it’s possible we’ll see him back in another form before the end of the RTR block.

Trading Post decks will most likely fall out of favor as tons of great artifacts rotate out, but I’m sure by the 2nd set we’ll have a decent amount of artifacts to put together a re-made Trading Post deck. You can be sure they’ll drop in price for a few months before heading back up to their current level of about 500 yen in Japan.

10. Buried Ruin

I like Phyrexian Core a lot too and had trouble deciding which one to feature as my #10, but I think Buried Ruin is a more versatile card. Core was great in artifact based decks, especially UB Tezzeret Post and other Trading Post decks alongside Spine of Ish Sah (MBS). But Buried Ruin could be put in more decks to help bring back an artifact that might have been destroyed, like a Birthing Pod, Phyrexian Metamorph, or a Wurmcoil Engine. This was before Trading Post became popular of course, which now does pretty much the same thing for a Goat Token. Looking back on it, I probably should have featured Phyrexian Core, but I’m too lazy to edit this last choice. Number 10 doesn’t really matter as much as the first 9 anyways.

Wrap Up:

The Return to Ravnica block is going to be a multicolor set, so it’s going to be a lot easier to cast multicolor cards than it was in this last Scars/Innistrad block. There will no doubt be dual lands, some with abilities and some that will damage you when used as a certain color. The loss of some of these dual lands might show in the initial weeks as people search for cards and spend money to get a full playset of their pain lands. Some decks might slow down, some might speed up, and it’s all going to depend on which lands Wizards of the Coast decides to release in Return to Ravnica. Will they do all 10 Guild Colors? Or will they only release the first 5 colors? That is something to take into consideration as you think about rebuilding your decks post rotation in October.

That does it for today, and hopefully next time I can feature one of the remaining two colors. I’d like to do this before Friday, so keep an eye out for an update. If you have any comments or suggestions for cards you think should be in the list please let me know down below. I hope you found this article somewhat useful for your future deckbuilding. Thanks for reading!

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