The Pro Tour is in the bag and I’m already looking forward to the next chapter in Standard’s history: Ravnica Allegiance (RNA). It may seem a little far off to be making moves based on a set that will come out in mid January, but in actuality it’s exactly the correct moment to be thinking about these types of picks.
The first reason I’m all about thinking toward Ravnica Allegiance is that we’ve seen the brunt of the swingy changes in the Standard metagame. Guilds of Ravnica (GRN) has been out for over a month, and we’ve seen enough premier events (including a Pro Tour) to have a feel of what the decks and metagame look like. It’s unlikely that anybody will “break it” this weekend and turn the format on its head. With that in mind, prices should begin to settle and stabilize into what they will be until the next spoiler season.
Secondly, speaking of spoiler season, it will be coming up sooner than you think. We are already halfway through November, which means we’re only about a month away from Ravnica Allegiance spoilers starting to drop. If we wait much longer to make our pre-spoiler RNA picks, then we will have waited too long.
What We Know About RNA
Honestly, we don’t know very much right now but what we do know is useful. The most important piece of information we know about Ravnica Allegiance is that it will feature the five guilds—Simic, Azorius, Rakdos, Gruul, and Orzhov—not in GRN.
We also know that the set will feature the shock lands unique to those five guilds.
Basically, we know that the next set will be based around the other five guilds, and feature the fixing to play all ten guilds as well as all ten shards and wedges. The set will create a ton of powerful options for fans and deckbuilders, which means a lot of cards that can potentially gain value upon new spoilers and release.
Obviously, I also like the buddy lands as picks going into the next set:
These are the obvious building blocks of the decks of tomorrow, and the demand for these lands will be greater come January than it is right now.
I’ll break down each of the five upcoming guilds and show you the cards I believe have the greatest chance of making a large impact once reinforcements and better mana fixing arrive.
Cleric is already a well positioned card. It’s extremely effective against all of the Drakes and Phoenixes that are ruling the skies. One Cleric can effectively shut down an army of these powerful flying threats.
It’s difficult to say if Vampires will be the chosen tribe of Ravnica Allegiance, but if they are this card will be a big difference maker. It’s already close to being constructed-worthy, and only needs a little bit of help and better mana to truly make a move.
Elenda would be a nightmare in the White Weenie mirror match. A giant lifelink creature that grow? Yeah, effective. It’s also a Vampire and so plays into that tribal strategy. Elenda could easily be a Constructed staple depending upon what the next set brings.
Aryel is kind of a longshot, but if Knights get a big boost this card could make a splash. It plays nice with History of Benalia (what doesn’t?), and can go into a shell with both Knight of Malice and Knight of Grace. The fixing, along with a few more cheap, useful spells, could push this strategy into the forefront.
I tried really hard to build this deck in the current Standard but it is a few pieces short. The effect is so powerful that my bad deck was actually winning a fair amount just based on the power level of this one spell. If the next set has a few more cheap legendary creatures in the mix, Urza’s Ruinous Blast is a potential bomb.
Sanctum Seeker is the card that makes me want to play Vampires. It is so powerful. If Vampires get a few more cards this is the reason the strategy could be Tier 1. It’s good on it’s own but it also creates ridiculous life total swings seemingly out of thin air!
Simic is basically Merfolk right now. It’s possible that RNA will double down on Merfolk and Kumena will see a boost in play.
The MC could be a decent engine for a Turbo Fog / Ramp deck if Farseek ends up coming back in the next set. It’s difficult to predict what a blue-green deck might look like, but chances are it would be either tribal or ramp.
I think the obvious money here is on Teferi:
He’s one of the most powerful cards in the format and having access to better mana and new cards (instants that cost two mana?) would be a boon for UW.
I actually think that Teferi is poised to gain value (as long as it doesn’t get reprinted!) as we head into the next set. I’m currently playing Jeskai because I think Teferi is the best card in the format. I doubt it will get worse with Hallowed Fountain and friends joining the mix.
Rakdos are everybody’s favorite villains. They are aggressive and bring the “all-in” style of beatdown that everybody either loves or loves to hate!
A powerful walker that lays the damage on thick. Also, I love the flavor of “Threaten plus sacrifice at end of turn.” I think this card could be actively good.
The other good Rakdos cards are simply aggressive red and black creatures (which are already good, and thus not great picks).
The Gruul are typically a beatdown guild, and there are some enticing future options here.
Radha brings the beats and makes the mana, two awesome abilities in a beefy red-green beatdown deck. I was always really impressed by this creature in Draft, so maybe it can translate into the top end of a beatdown deck. I love the way the card allows you to tap out and still have mana open during combat to play removal or combat tricks.
Radha would play really well with bloodrush, should that mechanic return like convoke did. I think Radha has the potential to be a special card if the stars align with the release of the next set. After all, dealing damage and making mana are two of the best things a creature can do!
I absolutely love the current Standard format. There are so many possible options and variations because the format isn’t dominated by a few busted cards or decks. If Wizards continues this trend of creating fun and balanced Standard cards, there’s no reason to assume the Standard hype won’t continue to build into the next set.
If that is the case, these are all cards that could suddenly find themselves in the spotlight come mid-January. Enjoy the great format, but also keep a leg up on the competition—get ahead of the spoiler season hype with today’s speculative picks!