Ravnica Guilds in Three Words

Azorius: “Guiity. Guilty. Guilty.”

Boros: “Shoot. Then Arrest.”

Dimir: “Don’t Mind Us”

Golgari: “It’s Just Mold!”

Gruul: “Burn it down!”

Izzet: “Bored. Moving On”

Orzhov: “Where’s My Money?!”

Rakdos: “Fuck. Eat. Kill.”

Selesnya: “Come Animal Friends!”

Simic: “Needs more… tentacles.”

My Kickstarter is live!

So, I know that the cost of the expansion was a bit crazy on The Game Crafter. It didn’t give me much money either, because they’re a print on demand site, it costs a lot to print each game, and they want 30% of the profit from printing, which is more than fair, it just meant that I got less than 1/6th of what a person might spend on my game.

So I talked to some printers and figured some logistics out and today I launched my very first, all my own Kickstarter! The goal is to print a large number of decks that I can then sell online and maybe get into the local game stores!

For you people checking this out, there are 300 early bird decks, 100 for $10 and 200 for $12, which lets you get the deck for a bit cheaper than retail, which will be $15. After those 300 early bird decks are gone, you can still get the deck by pledging $15! There’s also the opportunity to get custom cards added to your deck by pledging $20 for a deck and one custom card or $30 for two decks and two custom cards! I’ve also got a few things in the planning stages for stretch goal addons if this project does well.

I would greatly appreciate people helping me and pledging to back my first game. It’s really important to me, especially as a transgender/non-binary game designer. If this funds, it’ll kind of mean that this whole game design thing isn’t a pipe dream.

So, the Kickstarter failed, but you can find this expansion on The Game Crafter!

A Reference for Dual Lands (in Building a Budget Manabase)

Orzhov - Orzhov Basilica, Orzhov Guildgate, Scoured Barrens, Foresaken Sanctuary, Tainted Field, Salt Flats

Dimir - Dimir Aqueduct, Dimir Guildgate, Dismal Backwater, Salt Marsh, Submerged Boneyard, Frost Marsh, Jwar Isle Refuge, Dreadship Reach, Tainted Isle, Waterfall Cavern, Rootwater Depths

Golgari - Golgari Rot Farm, Golgari Guildgate, Foul Orchard, Jungle Hollow, Tainted Wood, Pine Barrens

Rakdos - Rakdos Carnarium, Rakdos Guildgate, Urborg Volcano, Cinder Barrens, Bloodfell Caves, Akoum Refuge, Molten Slagheap, Tainted Peak, Lantern-Lit Graveyard, Cinder Marsh

Boros - Boros Garrison, Boros Guildgate, Stone Quarry, Wind-Scarred Crag, Scabland

Azorius - Azorius Chancery, Azorius Guildgate, Coastal Tower, Meandering River, Boreal Shelf, Sejiri Refuge, Tranquil Cove, Calciform Pools, Cloudcrest Lake, Thalakos Lowlands

Selesnya - Selesnya Sanctuary, Selesnya Guildgate, Elfhame Palace, Tranquil Expanse, Arctic Flats, Graypelt Refuge, Blossoming Sands, Saltcrusted Steppe, Tranquil Garden, Vecc Townships

Simic - Simic Growth Chamber, Simic Guildgate, Woodland Stream, Thornwood Falls, Skyshroud Forest

Izzet - Izzet Boilerworks, Izzet Guildgate, Highland Lake, Swiftwater Cliffs, Caldera Lake

Gruul - Gruul Turf, Gruul Guildgate, Shivan Oasis, Timber Gorge, Highland Weald, Kazandu Refuge, Rugged Highlands, Fungal Reaches, Pinecrest Ridge, Mogg Hollows

Also of note: Vivid Grove, Crag, Creek, Marsh, Meadow.

Computers of the Ravnican Guilds
  • Azorius: A large tower that gets used for three things -- work, MMOs, and arguing on the internet.
  • Boros: They got a laptop that Izzet recommended for gaming, but they don't really use it that often. Email, weather, the basics. They mostly stick to TV.
  • Izzet: The most competent computer builder among the guilds, and the one with the sickest rig: personally built, ridiculous specs. Unfortunately, they also blow out computer parts at an alarming rate, and their cooling systems can get a little... elaborate.
  • Simic: Second in computer prowess only to Izzet. They've had the same computer case for well over a decade, swapping out parts and upgrading as needed. Doesn't let Izzet touch it.
  • Orzhov: Does all of their accounting (business and personal) by hand, then manually enters it into a desktop that has no Internet access and hasn't been upgraded since 1999. Also has a MacBook for personal use.
  • Golgari: A big laptop that really should be a desktop tower. Golgari treats it as one, anyway, hooking up massive speakers, a webcam, and half a dozen other accessories that ensure it never leaves the desk.
  • Selesnya: A full suite of Apple devices, most of which get surprisingly regular use. Everything is synced with each other, but they had to get Simic to help them set it all up.
  • Rakdos: A brand new laptop (barely a few months old) with several keys missing and a smartphone with a massive crack in the screen.
  • Dimir: An Android phone that has everyone else's passwords on file. Izzet tried to hack it once and their monitor blew up.
  • Gruul: The closest thing they have to a computer is a pay-as-you-go flip phone. It's indestructible (or as their friends call it, "Gruul-proof" but it's rarely ever paid for or charged.
Color Pie Friday: Of Guilds and Dragons

Some people view the color pie as a list of archetypes, but it’s more of a series of ideas from which archetypes can be built. Any color can be interpreted in many ways, and the ability to combine colors provides a limitless source of interpretations.

A great example of this tremendous breadth arose in Dragons of Tarkir. The set features five ally-colored factions, but this isn’t the first time factions based on these colors were created. Ravnica is a plane defined by the ten color pairs, yet the interpretations of these pairs differs between Ravnica and Tarkir (some more than others). Today I’m going to take a look at how the five ally-colored factions of Ravnica converge and diverge with their Tarkir counterparts.

Selesnya vs. Dromoka

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice and Dragonlord Dromoka

The Selesnya and the Dromoka have a few things in common, both being Green/White factions. At their core, they are groups that value the group above the individual. They take the stance that what’s good for the group is good for the individual. Both are dedicated to preserving life, as they see flourishing life as the greatest good in the world.

The core differences, however, arise from how each group’s identity is structured. The Selesnya are an equal mix of Green and White, while the Dromoka focus more on White than Green. For example, the Selesnya welcome all newcomers with open arms. They want to recruit as many outsiders as they can. The Dromoka, however, take a more White-aligned xenophobic stance. The Dromoka seek to destroy all outsiders, preserving the bonds within the clan (This is why they abandoned the practice of krumar, where they adopted the orphaned children of their enemies.)

While the Selesnya are more about nature magic and the religious reverence of it, the Dromoka play more into White’s martial side. The Dromoka are warriors, soldiers, and strategists that seek to win a long war of attrition against their enemies. They are much more willing to fight than their Ravnican counterparts.

Azorius vs. Ojutai

Isperia, Supreme Judge and Dragonlord Ojutai

White/Blue is the color pair that most wants to structure the world. This is a desire that both the Azorius and the Ojutai share. Both groups liken themselves as the most-right in their beliefs, thinking that the world would be a better place if everyone else followed their rules. The Azorius and the Ojutai are also truth-seekers, sifting through the answers to their many questions to make sense of things.

Again, the main differences will arise from the fact that the Ojutai are centered in Blue and the Azorius are a mix of both colors. The Azorius are trying to establish control over their society, aiming to create peace through unity. The Ojutai focus more on enlightening the individual through a structured method of learning. In essence, the Azorius think that making society better will make individuals better, while the Ojutai think that making individuals better will make society better.

The Azorius tend to be legislators, cops, and judges. These are legal professions that function in favor of their communal goals. Their ideas are transformed into actions that greatly affect (and limit) their society. Ojutai members, however, are far more spiritual. Their quasi-religious practices are more concerned with ideas than actions, even the physical components of Ojutai beliefs serving to center the mind.

Dimir vs. Silumgar

Lazav, Dimir Mastermind and Dragonlord Silumgar

House Dimir and Dragonlord Silumgar share a persisting sense of paranoia. They are always looking over their shoulder, keeping an eye on their allies that would quickly become rivals. Both groups covet information and recognize how much power it holds. They also know the value of silencing dissenters, as they both employ legions of assassins.

Because the Silumgar are focused in Black, they are not as secretive as the balanced Dimir. Quite the contrary, the Silumgar bask in opulence and aren’t afraid to brag about it. The Dimir are so secretive that some Dimir agents don’t even know they belong to the guild. They are masters of mental magic, erasing memories and twisting truths in order to influence others. The Silumgar take a much more corporeal approach, specializing in necromancy and sadistic rituals.

The Dimir are barely an organized group, rogues and sleeper agents scattered all over Ravnica. Some take orders from Lazav, but the connections between individual Dimir members are hazy at best. The Silumgar aren’t shy about how their members relate to one another. Either you’re a Dragon, a Dragon’s confidant, or one of their myriad slaves. The living and dead serve Silumgar and his kin, a breathing symbol of their dominance over the clan.

Rakdos vs. Kolaghan

Rakdos, Lord of Riots and Dragonlord Kolaghan

The Black/Red factions share a wild sense of individuality that makes them some of the most dangerous people on their respective planes. They lust for death; blood is their currency. A lack of regard for personal safety makes these groups recklessly confident. Each faction also has a similar goal: they just want to have a good time.

Despite this shared result, the Rakdos and the Kolaghan achieve it in very different ways. The Rakdos are entertainers. They want to have a good time, but they also want to put on a good show for others. If they also kill their audience, so be it! They are wild and uncontrollable. The Kolaghan, however, glean pleasure from killing in combat. This feeling is known as “the crave,” a lust for battle and blood. They rush into war slaughtering as many as they can. If they make it out alive, so be it.

The leaders of both groups are quite different as well. Rakdos revels in his domination over his petty toys, amused at their sacrifices in his name. He enjoys being the head of the guild, and his lust for power and destruction knows no bounds. Dragonlord Kolaghan, however, has no desire to dominate her underlings. She is almost feral, flying around Tarkir and razing anything she wants. Kolaghan cares little if Humans and Orcs and Goblins ride with her, they just better watch out for when she bathes the battlefield in lightning.

Gruul vs. Atarka

Borborygmos Enraged vs. Dragonlord Atarka

These final groups are probably the most similar. To start, both are ruled by the biggest and baddest individual around. Borborygmos is a gigantic Cyclops that leads the largest clan in Gruul territory, so few in the guild challenge his word. Likewise, Dragonlord Atarka is the biggest Dragon on Tarkir, and no other Dragon even attempts to take on her size, temper, and savagery. When it comes to leadership on these groups, might makes right.

The Gruul and the Atarka dwell in the wild places on their respective planes. On Ravnica, the Gruul live in the shambles of what used to be part of the city. They revere the natural parts of the world that still remain. The Atarka rule the least-settled parts of Tarkir. Almost no permanent settlements exist; the inhabitants of this area are nomadic survivors. They have a deep connection to nature, which aids them in their daily hunts. Both groups have shamanic traditions that connect them to the spiritual roots of the natural world.

The biggest difference between these groups is their intent. The Gruul are anti-establishment reactionaries looking to return Ravnica to its primal past. Their main method of achieving this is to smash away as much civilization as they can. Since the Gruul are equal parts Red and Green, they revel in wanton destruction. The Atarka, however, are weighted towards Green and don’t share as much of a recklessly destructive nature. The Atarka hunt for survival, doing everything they can do stay alive in the harsh wilds of Tarkir. For Dragons, this means getting as much food as possible. For the humanoids, this means feeding as many Dragons as possible so they don’t eat you.

Up To Your Interpretation

As you can see, different interpretations of color pairs don’t always have to look the same. They can pull from the same themes with different results or tackle totally different aspects of the pairs. The color pie is vast, flexible, and can be rearranged in almost endless combinations. Underlying philosophy, mechanical execution, and flavor all shift to ensure that no two factions look alike.

Join me next week, planeswalkers, when I psych you out.


Red/Black (Rakdos) Punisher Package

It’s a pain to have to respond to things all the time to make sure nobody gets out of line, this package makes sure you don’t have to. Even when your opponent do nothing!

Punisher builds typically want to make everything their opponents do hurt, even if it hurts them in the process. This package is a derivation of a typical stax (Sac, Tap, and Tax) package that uses black and red as its fire and brimstone.

Manabarbs and Zo-Zu the punisher keeps your oppoents tight on mana and hurts them for not being stingy with it. Rain of gore kills lifegain strategies with no ifs ands or buts about it. Tainted Aether and Mogis, takes care of creature heavy decks and make sure they don’t get out of control. And finially the star duo, Spellshock and Impatience hurt the opponent no matter what. Cast a spell? “Two damage!” Didn’t cast a spell?  “Two damage!” that will soon become music to your ears if you play these two.

Punisher and Stax are mean, mean builds and are only advised to be played in a meta with mature adults, as things could get ugly.

Until next time!

–Joe P. @oopsl