With lots of new cards previewed each day, I'm trying to stay as up to date as possible with all the goodies in Ravnica Allegiance. We are still a bit away from having access to the full spoiler, but there are some really exciting cards that have already been revealed. I'm going to discuss the Ravnica Allegiance Mythics we already know about and which stand out the most. I apologize in advance for not talking about Mythics that have not been previewed yet.
It seems Wizards has come back around to the idea of three-mana Planeswalkers. It can be tough to find the right power level on a cheap Planeswalker, as we have seen some really strong ones like Liliana, the Last Hope in recent memory, but also some that haven't quite lived up to expectations, like Jace, Cunning Castaway. Dovin, Grand Arbiter makes a lot of sense to me, and I like the design a lot. Let's get into its abilities.
Plus abilities on Planeswalkers are extremely important; if you want to keep your Planeswalker on the battlefield for a while, their plus abilities will be the ones you use the most by far. Dovin, Grand Arbiter's plus ability is particularly interesting—a way of gaining more loyalty than the ability's activation cost indicates. This means that, by itself, this ability actually isn't doing anything other than helping get to your other abilities.
This, in many ways, makes the first ability the toughest to evaluate. It naturally makes sense that it will go better in a deck with lots of creatures that are attacking, though assembling a board with a lot of attackers isn't always easy. The endgame for Dovin, Grand Arbiter is ultimately card advantage. The dream is being able to uptick and then the next turn have seven loyalty, but that isn't all that realistic. More often if will take a few turns to get to that seven loyalty.
If you do get to seven loyalty though, it is going to be game-breaking a lot of the time. Looking at the top ten cards and then selecting your three best cards isn't that different from straight-up drawing ten cards in the late game. However, I expect that the ability that will be used most often will be the middle one. The first ability requires lots of creatures attacking to be great, so small fliers work perfectly alongside Dovin, Grand Arbiter even if you don't have other creatures in play when casting it.
I see Dovin, Grand Arbiter in most white/blue decks, though I don't expect it be a four-of. It can come out of the sideboard in some situations as well; cheap Planeswalkers have high upside, as control decks have a ton of trouble dealing with them. Azorius decks have a lot of new tools to work with, so it will have some good cards to compete with for that three drop slot.
Yep, another Azorius Mythic. This is a combo-oriented card. It won't fit into a traditional Standard deck, it is for building around. There are definitely going to be homes for it though, especially in casual formats. Drawing seven cards is a lot, though your opponent gets to do the same, which can be a high-variance effect. This wants to be played in a deck that has permanents with high converted mana costs to put into play. Addendum will be interesting to see in action, as this card works particularly well with it because you are able to draw a bunch of cards to find something to use alongside Addendum.
I have heard mixed opinions on Hydroid Krasis, but I'm personally a big fan. Gaining life and drawing cards are both great—the question is whether the mana investment is worth it. It seems like it should be, but this isn't something you want to cast early on in games. At three mana it really is mostly useless, so you are going to be waiting until at least turn four to cast it. At various points in the curve it can be seen as a little bit worse than some comparable cards, but its flexibility carries a lot of value.
Ramp decks are the obvious home for Hydroid Krasis. It is going to amazing if you cast it late in the game with lots of mana to play with. Keep in mind that countermagic isn't that effective against Hydroid Krasis because the card-draw and life-gain trigger on cast, not on resolution. The fact that there is potentially a creature on the battlefield after you get to take advantage of Hydroid Krasis drawing you cards and gaining life is icing on the cake. Hydroid Krasis is such a good payoff for Simic ramp that entire decks will be built around it. I believe we will see lots of Hydroid Krasis.
Prime Speaker Vannifar is going to be tons of fun to play with. It reminds me a lot of Birthing Pod, a card that's currently banned in Modern. This will go well in toolbox-style decks that have certain creatures to search for that excel in specific situations. Also, creatures that benefit from going to the graveyard are important with this one. For example, Modern has access to cards like Voice of Resurgence and Kitchen Finks that are great with sacrifice effects. We will have to see if there are enough cards in Standard that work alongside Prime Speaker Vannifar, but it would be awesome to see a successful creature toolbox deck.
Like Dovin Grand Arbiter, Kaya, Orzhov Usurper isn't the easiest card to evaluate. Kaya, Orzhov Usurper is at its best when the opponent has a lot of cards in their graveyard, which isn't necessarily on the third turn of the game. It is fairly easy to cast it on turn three and get up to five loyalty in many cases, but the minus five may not be good enough to win the game on turn five. The minus is quite nice against super aggressive decks with lots of one-drops. Overall, I'm still a little unsure on where Kaya, Orzhov Usurper fits, but it is fairly likely that other Orzhov cards will make her go.
Seraph of the Scales fits in the category of high-power Mythic fliers. The vigilance and deathtouch abilities are nice, but they don't effect the power level on Seraph of the Scales all that much. The best part other than the raw stats is afterlife 2. If Seraph of the Scales trades in combat, it leaves behind two flying spirits. The less exile removal being played, the better afterlife looks.
This is a great top-end play for Gruul strategies. The base stats are there—Ravager Wurm is already large—but there's a bonus on top. Being able to give this haste is a good way to attack Planeswalkers or kill the opponent if they are at a low life total. However, a lot of the time putting the counter on Ravager Wurm is going to be the way to go, as it also allows you to use the fight effect to kill larger creatures. The flexibility riot provides is definitely valuable.
Most of the time Ravager Wurm will be both a big creature and a removal spell. This is plenty good enough to be a Standard staple in any deck capable of casting it. The fact that it can destroy lands means against control decks you can still get rid of a land like Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, which is a big deal if you can successfully pull it off. This will be a staple in Gruul decks at the top of the curve, and also could see play in ramp strategies as well.
Ahh yes, the classic art of flipping coins. You know you are getting a huge creature with a potentially game-warping enter the battlefield effect. I'm sure there will be many games won or lost on the back of how the coins fall, which can feel frustrating or rewarding, depending on which side of the odds you're on. However, it is also possible to construct a deck where your creatures are immune from dying to Rakdos, the Showstopper. This is when the card will be at its absolute best. With a card like this in your deck you have to be extremely mindful of your creature types.
When Rakdos, the Showstopper is good it will be a one-sided Wrath of God, and you will still have, at minimum, a huge flyer in play, which sounds pretty darn good to me. What will be interesting is if Standard Rakdos decks are able to be built with high converted mana cost cards like Rakdos, the Showstopper in them, or if they end up being more aggressive.
There are, in fact, mono-colored Mythics as well! The trample on Spawn of Mayhem is a nice bonus but probably won't matter very often. I tend to value trample more on large ground creatures, since Spawn of Mayhem flies, there is a lower chance an opponent can block it anyway. The fact is that this card gains its power from having Spectacle, which means it can cost three instead of four. That's a huge difference.
Spawn of Mayhem is built to be played in an aggressive deck that can reliably cause the opponent to lose life early on, which usually means playing one- and two-drop creatures. Curving into Spawn of Mayhem on turn three sounds great, and should be a centerpiece for aggressive black decks to work with. The upkeep trigger is also going to be better in aggressive decks that are willing to sacrifice their own life total a bit if it means killing the opponent faster.
Most of the time it makes sense to put the counter on Skarrgan Hellkite, because that will allow you to use the activated ability, which is pretty darn good. There are already Dragon based synergies in Standard, so we could certainly see this alongside a card like Sarkhan, Fireblood.
Thanks for reading,