**Return to Ravnica spoilers inside**
Football season is upon us and as a football fan you run into bold predictions that are made for the upcoming season. Magic: The Gathering is about to start a new season as well and in the spirit of football here are my ten bold predictions for the future!
Return to Ravnica will be Wizards of the Coast's best-selling set of all time. Among this busy last weekend of mine I was able to catch a lot of Twitter conversation and follow the PAX Party to check out all the new Return to Ravnica spoilers.
This set is already incredible. From the power level to the flavor of the cards I'm already extremely impressed and willing to go out on a limb that this could be my all-time favorite set. Due to its power level that we've already been exposed to and the fact that Shocklands are being reprinted it's not that farfetched to think many boxes will be sold with people trying to get the Ravnica dual land reprints. I also wouldn't be surprised to see a few other powerhouse rares that will transcend all the formats. We've already seen an awesome Legacy playable in Judge's Familiar and that card is only uncommon!
I could go on about the cards already spoiled and how playable so many of them are. I think we know Wizards is ramping up power level and we saw how well the Zendikar block did. I'm betting Return to Ravnica ends up being the best-selling set to date. Magic is still on a huge upswing in terms of popularity and Return to Ravnica is going to reel people in for tons of different reasons.
Delver of Secrets.dek will still be a thing. Lots of you will collectively let out a big sigh (maybe because you think I'm wrong) but with Ravnica dual lands being reprinted and some crazy amazing instants and sorceries already spoiled (the Charms) I can see Delver and Snapcaster Mage continuing some domination.
On the plus side the Phyrexian mana spells are rotating which will keep the fairness of the deck in check. Gitaxian Probe and Gut Shot feel like the cards that sent Delver decks over the top. Delver also loses Ponder but I have a feeling that can be made up for with other cards. Just because it's not a popular block deck doesn't mean much. Hold on to those Snapcaster Mages!
Zombies will be a top tier deck and be even more dominant than it is now. All of the good cards in the deck survive rotation. The biggest worry the deck originally had was the loss of the mana base but that is no longer an issue. In fact Zombies gains ground in the removal package with Dreadbore and despite being sorcery speed it is simply a catchall removal spell that reminds me of how solid Jund's removal used to be. Being sorcery instead of instant will definitely matter on occasion but you don't pass on power levels like this.
Planeswalkers are actually a very difficult issue for Zombies because it is a Mono Red style deck and when it has to attack a planeswalker it makes for a slower clock. Dreadbore resolves that issue while being a Go for the Throat / Doom Blade without having to decide which one to use. On top of that Falkenrath Aristocrat isn't going anywhere and this set could have an even better two-drop which Zombies has always lacked.
Return to Ravnica will also mark a huge growth for Magic Online. This may take a little longer than I expect but with Return to Ravnica being the first set to be released within just a couple weeks of its paper release it will have more "newness" to it once it hits Magic Online. This is quite a positive for Magic Online and Return to Ravnica.
We don't know exactly when the new Magic Online client hits but if it coincides well with Return to Ravnica you'll probably want to be a part of that excitement which is why I believe Magic Online is about to hit a huge growth spurt.
Mono Red will be a real deck at some point during this next block. Hear me out! There are a few reasons I believe this may happen and it will probably depend on what Wizards is printing up in terms of red cards in Return to Ravnica. But if there are a few good ones particularly one- and two-drops then I foresee a Mono Red comeback.
Shocklands will have people building greedy mana bases at first and perhaps all the way through the new Standard. The last time Mono Red was good was when fetchlands were around; people Shocking themselves is a big deal. However the main reason I think this will happen is that cards like Wurmcoil Engine and Timely Reinforcements will be gone. Although Thragtusk will be around it's not quite as difficult for a red deck to beat as the other two aforementioned cards.
Liliana of the Veil will be better than she's been in the Standard metagame. This is a little bit of a shot in the dark; however Liliana of the Veil is a very powerful card that hasn't had the limelight some may have expected originally. She's made splashes in all formats but less so in Standard. That may change soon. Celestial Purge wasn't reprinted and that was a better hate card than Dreadbore will be because of the color restrictions. The new mana bases open up Liliana to using enemy colored duals easier or even three-color mana bases to create some powerful synergies.
Perhaps this one is personal bias but I still believe she has a strong chance to excel.
The new Charm cycle will dominate Standard for quite some time. They are similar to the Alara block Charms and perhaps they are similar to an older Charm cycle that I'm unaware of. But all the Charms seem extremely powerful because they are instants that cost two mana with multiple options in a format that splashes colors easily. From what I can guess Selesnya Charm seems to be the best one but it might depend on context. Selesnya Charm seems fantastic in a Bant Delver build as it's both aggressive and provides utility depending on the situation. It would also flip Delver pump Delver or even just make a 2/2 vigilant guy to start bashing with turn 2.
All the Charms will see Standard play while some will shine more than others. These Charms are going to be incredibly useful and fun cards.
I'll be picking up all mine in foil as soon as possible.
Five-Color Control is poised for a comeback. This isn't solely because of our mana bases. Standard is filled with quite a bit of color fixers but none are better than the newly spoiled Chromatic Lantern. Not only does Chromatic Lantern ramp you it makes all of your lands produce any colored mana which opens up who knows how many options. Pristine Talisman is sad about this (however Pristine Talisman still has a place).
From what I can see as far as the spoilers we've gotten so far there are enough powerful cards to have a need to use all five colors. Gerry Thompson and Michael Jacob have already pushed this strategy with what we currently have but the Scars of Mirrodin lands didn't quite cut it like the shocklands do. Either way I'm fairly confident we will see more control decks this time around.
Most people won't miss Scars of Mirrodin block.
Phyrexian mana for the loss.
I'm going to win a Pro Tour Qualifier.
I learned from Cedric Phillips that if you say it it just might happen (let's ignore the fact he's a master and I'm not there)! Law of attraction and all.
This will be my first article without a decklist since I began writing for StarCityGames.com. But current Standard is nearing its end and unfortunately I've been busy trying to pass my Certified Public Accountant exam so I haven't had the time to play or brew these last few weeks. As soon as we see some more spoilers I'll most definitely be proxying up some cards to bring everyone some early lists. There's no doubt that I'm filled with ideas already but it's just too early to start spewing out lists. That said I can't wait!
Many people know me for saying ridiculous things but I do believe the things I predicted in this article. Some are educated guesses; some are foresight from my experiences as a deckbuilder. But all that said if I'm wrong so be it.
Let's Return to Ravnica!