Editor’s Note: This article was written before any commons and uncommons were spoiled for Ravnica Remastered. Some cards may have already been confirmed to be printed in Ravnica Remastered at either common or uncommon.

It’s that wonderful time of year again! About 8 seconds have passed and there’s already a new Magic set on the way. Ravnica Remastered is on the horizon with previews happening daily. Oh! I guess it’s almost time for gift giving holidays too! My wife, Liza, asked me what I would like this year. Since we’re looking for our first house, we’re definitely keeping our list shorter this year, but she told me that I should write her a list of simple things that I would hope to see happen in the future.

And I did it baby! Here it is!

Adam Bowles’s Top Ten Ravnica Remastered Downshift Holiday Wishlist!

Say it three times if you can! Even I’m getting tripped up on the possessive form of my own last name.

A quick breakdown of my thoughts about this list. The cards that I’m thinking about are mostly going to be Creatures or cards that have a “build around me” quality to introduce new ideas or reinforce previously existing ones in the Pauper format. I’m picking cards that have appeared in any of the Ravnica plane sets, such as the Ravnica block, Return to Ravnica block, Guilds of Ravnica block and War of the Spark. I’m trying to keep it reasonable by only wishing for uncommon cards from those sets. While it may be a push to have them in common because of their potential limited format power in draft and sealed, this is Adam Bowles’s Top Ten Ravnica Remastered Downshift Holiday Wishlist!™ so keep that in mind. What I’m not including are the uncommon Planeswalkers from War of the Spark. That card type is distinctly absent from Pauper and my current feelings say we should stay the course.

Ajani’s Pridemate

Pridemate was printed in War of the Spark at uncommon and more recently was printed as a Timeshifted card in Time Spiral Remastered. There isn’t currently a “Life” deck in Pauper as there’s no great payoff for gaining tons of life other than maybe buying time to do a second combo in your deck or try to combo off with a giant Weather the Storm and deck your opponent. What we get with Ajani’s Pridemate however is a way to apply pressure from a lot of smaller life gain effects. Both Soul’s Attendant and Soul Warden are already available to facilitate this gameplan. Add in some Battle Screeches and Pridemate is looking to get huge or die trying.

Bond of Revival

Recently, we saw Dread Return get downshifted to common and become the first Black spell at 4 mana to provide the ability to cheat a creature into play from the graveyard. It’s getting paired with Exhume to be the current standard for reanimation spells, but it’s not exactly making any waves. The “best” reanimation target in a vacuum would probably be Ulagmog’s Crusher but you still have to wait a whole turn to really take advantage of its attack trigger. Bond of Revival lets us cheat Crusher into play against an opponent who may have tapped out prematurely and give haste so we can guarantee an impactful play. At 5 mana, and a lot of sideboards already packing plenty of graveyard hate already, I don’t see this being a problematic card at all and could finally be the shot in the arm that reanimator needs.

Evolution Sage

Three color poison counter decks are currently the only home for the proliferate mechanic. That deck gets to leverage having no creatures to blank opposing removal, so Evolution Sage isn’t going there. What this downshift would get us though is a very open ended “build around me” effect that synergizes with a lot of interesting cards in the format. A quick list would be Evolution Sage, Hickory Woodlot and friends, Serrated Arrows, Skarrgan Pit-Skulk, Hunger of the Howlpack, Iron Apprentice, Servant of the Scale, and Pollenbright Druid. There’s probably a lot more if you branch out into other colors like White to pick up Kor Skyfisher so you can bounce your lands for extra landfall triggers. Play with Selesnya Sanctuary and Explore and baby you’ve got a stew going.

Cruel Celebrant

Normally, I would be asking for Blood Artist but until the Omenpaths bring that Vampire over from Innistrad I’ll compromise for their Orzhov counterpart. The Aristocrat deck doesn’t currently show itself in Pauper, but we get small glimpses of it in various Cauldron Familiar type brews. Getting Celebrant to pair with a bonafide Aristocrat from the Cartel would give us the core of an Orzhov Aristocrat deck that doesn’t currently exist. I could see this dipping into some extra virtual copies with Nadier’s Nightblade if we want to play with Cauldron Familiar, Food generators, and of course the mandatory Deadly Disputes.


The only blue card I have on my list. It’s tough for me to want to add a card that’s “another counterspell,” but that’s not really what Remand is. Remand is a tempo card and a very good one at that. The real value you get from this spell is when you’ve already created a board presence and get to take advantage of making your opponent waste their turn tapping all of their lands. I would think Remand might give rise to some more two color Aggro/Control decks like a Simic beatdown playing the Mono Green Aggro base splashing for Remand or maybe the Kiln Fiend decks diverging back to an Izzet build as well.


Traditional Blue-White control is an archetype that is noticeably absent from the format. It makes sense since the format is full of aggressive decks with multiple ways to gain card advantage. If you’re looking to play a U/W deck, Caw-Gates is currently your best option. Condemn could change that. Now, the staple white removal spell we’d be comparing this to is Journey to Nowhere. Condemn comes in at half the mana and does a decent impression of exiling a creature pseudo permanently. I think Swords to Plowshares could be one step too far to get downshifted but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable power level for the format. Condemn would be a happy middle ground that would be a new tool to let more traditional style draw-go decks survive the early aggressive threats.

Nullmage Shepherd

There are a LOT of artifacts and enchantments running around out here. Did you know Tranquility is legal in the format? Admittedly, Tranquility was declared to be “too much of a hoser” at the common rarity by Mark Rosewater. I want to focus on the artifacts though. There are Artifact Lands, Ichor Wellsprings, Experimental Synthesizers, Tithing Blades, Relic of Progeniti, Undercosted vanilla 2/2s and 4/4s, overcooked (overclocked?) gingerbread men and whatever the plural of Lembas is. There’s a lot of juicy targets. Nullmage Shepherd requires you to play a lot of creatures, have them live, and be able to tap out for four mana so there’s considerably more work involved than just casting a spell and being done with it but the payoff against certain matchups is massive.

Goblin Cratermaker

Goblin Tomb Raider joined the format just in time to replace the now banned Monastery Swiftspear. Looking at the rest of the creatures these aggressive red decks have access to, we have Goblin Blast-Runner, Goblin Bushwacker along with Kuldotha Rebirth tokens. Notice anything in common with the aforementioned Goblin Lara Croft? I’m wishing for Goblin Cratermaker as a friendly reminder that Goblin Grenade is legal in the format and sees zero play. Downshifting Cratermaker gets us to what I think would be a critical mass of Gobbos to start chucking them for 5 points of damage consistently and becoming the best burn spell in the format. Of course I know I’m asking for my opponents in the future to go Goblin Grenade, Goblin Grenade, Fireblast against me but that’s barely any different from getting double Galvanic Blasted currently, so I’m fine with it.

Ghost Quarter

Outside of Stone Rain spells you’ll see in Ramp decks and occasional Red deck sideboards there isn’t anything to keep lands in check. That being said, there aren’t a lot of lands that necessarily need to be kept in check, but if a tool like Ghost Quarter existed there might be more opportunity for the Treetop Village cycle of manlands to maybe get introduced. Right now this would just be a way for decks to fight Gates decks and Tron decks. I don’t like the idea of punching down on Tron since it’s been beaten down a lot already by bans but my hope would be with the presence of Ghost Quarter that Tron could get some pieces like Prophetic Prism or maybe even Bonder’s Ornament back.

Dryad Militant

This is the card that inspired this wishlist! Green is an underpowered color in the format and this is an aggressively costed threat that comes down quick and provides a lot of very meaningful text for the format. Mono Green aggro has fallen off ages ago and there’s already a variation of White-based creature decks that would be interested in this. The “rule setting” of white isn’t something we really see much in Pauper and would help bring some of White’s color pie identity to the game in a big way. Moment’s Peace and Prismatic Strands would only be half as good and your opponents would have to actually pay mana and cast them from hand since Dryad Militant exiles them if they discard them to a looting effect like The Modern Age.  Terror decks would need to kill this creature on site or they can’t set up for a cheap Serpent. Obligatory reminder that if your opponent Lava Darts your Dryad Militant, the Lava Dart gets exiled but if it gets Chainer’s Edict-ed they keep the Edict in the graveyard.

Please Don’t: Skullcrack

I figured I should say something about Skullcrack. Please don’t downshift this. Earlier in the year I was in the camp of wanting this card downshifted to give the red deck the chance to interact with Weather the Storm but after playing the deck more and having large Weather the Storms cast against me it really wasn’t that bad. Those situations were either a result of me playing into my opponent too much or my opponent successfully setting up a turn with a large storm count and this card would just kind of make me… lazier? I think that’s what I mean. I like that this card brings a unique ability to common, I hate that this card is a reactive card to other reactive cards, and I just don’t think that Red needs this at the moment.

As spoiler season goes on, we’ll find out how many gifts we got for the holidays. Ravnica Remastered releases sooner than you think. Owl Central Games is hosting a Preview Event on January 6th and an official Release Day event on January 13th. These are both fantastic ways to get your hands on new Ravnica Remastered reprints!

Are there any glaringly obvious things I missed? I bet there are. Let me know what you want to see get downshifted. I’ll even provide a handy link for you to browse all of the Uncommons from the Ravnica sets yourself. Enjoy your spoiler season!