This weekend is our official Preview Event for Ravnica Remastered, and I couldn’t be more excited for this set. It was a Ravnica block that originally brought me into Magic: the Gathering, so I’m looking forward to revisiting the plane, bringing together the cards from ‘05/’06, ‘12/’13, and ‘18/’19.

Not only is this set a combination of three blocks, but also three different eras of Magic Design philosophy. If you’re a newer player, or just didn’t play Limited during earlier blocks, then you might be in for an unfamiliar experience, especially while drafting. Let’s overview the basic things you should know before you play Draft or Sealed with Ravnica Remastered.

How RVR Differs From Standard Sets

Modern sets (LCI, WOE, etc) have highlighted the philosophy that Wizards of the Coast has developed to design sets for Limited. Barring sets with unique color themes, most sets contain some core elements. Most sets are designed with 10 two-color strategies for Limited, and those strategies often come with signpost two-color uncommons to aid in the draft experience. Many commons are tactically positioned to have flexibility across multiple draft archetypes, so pivoting in draft, or splashing in sealed, is more viable. Ravnica Remastered can’t do this.

Since this set is entirely reprints, some cards come from eras pre-dating these draft elements. Obviously, there’s a strong set of two-color synergies, but there’s a lot more Gold commons and uncommons to complicate your drafting strategy. Cards cover 26 unique mechanics and have been chosen specifically to help push their respective guilds. To avoid too many 4+ Color decks, Wizards picked cards that are less generically good and more situational.

Another element of RVR Limited that’s unique is the greater need for mana fixing. This set has heavy incentives to play multicolored decks due to the high number of Gold commons and uncommons. There are also a ton of cards with highly restrictive mana costs to fight against players going overboard into those 4 or 5-Color Piles. This can make deckbuilding a far more difficult challenge.

Ravnica Remastered combats this with a dedicated “mana slot”. This slot occupies one card in every pack, and is either a Signet, Guildgate, Shockland, or on rare occasions, a Chromatic Lantern. This means every draft pod will have 24 pieces of mana fixing guaranteed, leaving you free to prioritize proactive cards to win the game.

The Limited Archetypes

As I mentioned before, there are 26 of the 29 named mechanics returning in Ravnica Remastered, which means your deck isn’t going to be based around each specific mechanic, but a guild. However, one of the things that we can applaud Wizards for is how consistent the mechanical identity of each guild is. Each time we traveled to Ravnica, we got new mechanics that still mostly played well with the other mechanics of that guild. That means there’s a unified direction for each guild to push. Let’s look at what each guild is doing in Ravnica Remastered.


Returning Mechanics – Forecast, Detain, Addendum

Despite being the most popular control colors (and reprinting one of my favorite Azorius control cards in Sphinx’s Revelation), the general aim for Azorius in Ravnica Remastered is as a tempo deck, utilizing mechanics like detain to lock down their opponents early threats, alongside taxing effects and effective creatures like Judge’s Familiar, Sphinx of New Prahv, and more!


Returning Mechanics – Transmute, Surveil

Dimir is playing the role of the hard control deck in this format. There’s plenty of counter and disruption, especially in blue. Between transmuting your unneeded spells and surveiling away the rest, Dimir leans heavily on being able to find the right card to stop your opponent and reach the end game.


Returning Mechanics – Hellbent, Unleash, Spectacle

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Rakdos. This archetype wants to go fast! Rakdos has always been built around being aggressive and because of that, their mechanics work together well. Spectacle allowing you to play out your hand faster, getting you hellbent quicker. Chef’s Kiss!


Returning Mechanics – Bloodthirst, Bloodrush, Riot

Gruul leans on its strengths and is all about turning big creatures sideways. Bloodrush and Riot help you push through even more damage, and Scab-Clan Mauler’s Bloodthirst makes it a great follow up play after sneaking in damage. Another guild that is pretty true to its roots.


Returning Mechanics – Convoke, Populate

The only guild who had a repeat mechanic (Convoke), Selesnya utilizes that mechanic perfectly to go wide and swarm your opponent. If you’re going to draft this archetype, make sure to snag all the token cards that other players discard in the middle of the draft table, you’ll need them.


Returning Mechanics – Haunt, Extort, Afterlife

Orzhov is one of the slower archetypes in Ravnica Remastered. Haunt and Afterlife are well positioned for you to maximize your milage on your creatures and stretch out games and Extort serves as a win condition by being able to push through the last bit of damage once the board gets gummed up. If you haven’t drafted in a format with access to cards like Ill-Gotten Inheritance, don’t underestimate it.


Returning Mechanics – Dredge, Scavenge

Much like the previously mentioned guilds of Rakdos and Selesnya, Golgari’s mechanics are incredibly synergistic. All signs point to drafting a graveyard deck. Dredge helps you fill the graveyard, Scavenge gives you extra value for doing so. Too bad they thought Undergrowth would be too strong, otherwise we’d really have a good archetype in the works. Regardless, Golgari is looking to setup good payoffs late in exchange for filling your graveyard early.


Returning Mechanics – Graft, Evolve, Adapt

Simic’s mechanics all have one thing in common, +1/+1 counters. This archetype will reward playing creatures and growing them—uh, I mean Evolving and Adapting them. Unlike the other midrange guilds from Ravnica Remastered, Simic has a lot of potential to go long in games due to it’s creatures going from small threats to major problems as the game progresses. I’m looking at you Pteramander!


Returning Mechanics – Replicate, Overload, Jump-start

Izzet is the guild known for spellslinging and that doesn’t change in Ravnica Remastered. Drafting Izzet is signing up for burn spells, combat tricks, flyers, and of course, card draw. While not the most mechanically aligned guild, Izzet is always an interesting balance of offense and defense.


Returning Mechanics – Battalion, Mentor

The only guild to have a mechanic not return because it was considered too weak, Boros is on the more aggressive side of the scale. This guild does go wide, but also has payoffs for playing a few big beefy creatures later down the line too. With cards like Lightning Helix and Skyknight Legionnarie back in action, what’s not to love about Boros Legion?

In Conclusion

Ravnica Remastered will feel very familiar for anyone that’s enjoyed drafts of earlier Ravnica blocks. While the reprint-only restriction leaves the guilds mechanically more spread out compared to earlier appearances in Magic’s history, the guilds really reflect the greater vibes that we’ve come to expect from them through our previous three visits.

We are hosting two awesome opportunities to play Ravnica Remastered Limited at the Owl Central Game Center. Make sure to check out our Preview Event on Saturday, January 6th and our Launch Party Draft on Saturday, January 13th.