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Top 10 First Picks for Return To Ravnica Draft (Review, Strategy, & Tips) [Updated 10/5/2012] September 26, 2012

Posted by James in : all, reviews, previews, strategy, limited, draft , trackback

When Drafting Ravnica Restored you will want to look into choosing one of the five guilds — Rakdos (RB), Azorius (WU), Selesnya (WG), Izzet (UR), and Golgari (GB). What does that mean? It mostly just means you will be in that corresponding color combination. How will you decide on a color combination? Take whatever cards you think are best early on that can be played in one of the five guilds and keep taking them.

The cards that you decide are “best” will determine the first cards you take, and the list below are the commons and uncommons I believe to be the most powerful. The reason that I do not discuss rares in this list is because you can’t depend on seeing any particular rares when drafting. My list is the following:

1. Street Spasm

street spasm

Street Spasm is a bit weaker than Fireball because it can’t hit fliers or players, but being in instant helps. Additionally, the Overload ability can be potentially game winning. Remember that this will work best in an Izzet or Rakdos deck.

2. Skymark Roc

skymark roc

Skymark Roc can bounce a creature whenever it attacks. That is a good way to kill tokens or just slow the opponent down. The fact that Skymark Roc is only second place on the list doesn’t mean it is “less powerful” than Street Spasm. They are both great cards, but Street Spasm doesn’t require you to commit to a two color deck theme right away.

3. Selesnya Charm

selsnya charm

Selesnya Charm can be removal against large creatures, an instant Knight, or an instant +2/+2 to a creature. All of these modes are good, but the removal option is what makes Selesnya Charm the most powerful of the new charms.

4. Izzet Charm

izzet charm

Izzet Charm can be used as a counter spell, it can deal damage, or it can dig. The option to be used as removal is the most important, but all of the abilities are decent.

5. Arrest


Arrest is one of the best removal spells you can hope to get in Return to Ravnica. Remember that you can take this and end up with a Selesnya or Azorius themed deck.

6. Annihilating Fire

annihilating fire

Decent instant-sped removal and burn. It’s one of the only commons on the list and it’s a good reason to play red.

7. Vitu Ghazi Guildmage

Vitu Ghazi Guildmage

Vitu Ghazi Guildmage is the best of the guildmages. Both of it’s abilities are great, and it is the easiest non-rare way to keep populating throughout the game. The guildmages are small and easy to kill, but there’s always a chance that they will do you a lot of good. Vitu Ghazi Guildmage is could actually be the best card on this list if you can build around it properly. However, there is no guarantee that you will make the “populate” deck you hope for.

8. Augur Spree

augur  spree

Augur Spree is one of the best commons in the set and it’s the only Rakdos card on this list. Even so, it is a pretty good reason to play Rakdos considering how few commons are on this list — the only other one is also red.

9. Ultimate Price

ultimate price

Ultimate Price can’t kill everything you want it to kill, but it can kill enough things to be decent removal in Return to Ravnica. Remember that Ultimate Price works best in Rakdos and Golgari decks.

10. Izzet Staticaster

izzet staticaster

Izzet Staticaster is one of the best “pingers” we’ve ever got. It has flash, it has haste, it’s big enough to blog 2/2’s and survive, and it can shoot a bunch of tokens all at once.

Honorable Mention: Call of the Conclave

call of the conclave

Call of the Conclave gives you a 3/3 for two mana, and tokens are much more powerful in Selesnya than usual because of the new “populate” mechanic.

(Update 10/6/2012): I have had a chance to play the set a few times and decided that the list should be updated. I removed Rakdos Charm, Azorius Charm, and Golgari Charm from the list. I added Skymark Roc, Vitu Ghazi Guildmage, Augur Spree, and Annihilating Fire to the list.



1. Will Harris - September 27, 2012

Wow, charms that are actually worth a damn! I’m impressed!

2. James - September 27, 2012

I think I like the Charms from Shards of Alara more, but they are certainly something to look forward to. The “Guildmages” are also quite good. The new Selesnya Guilmage is probably my favorite this time around.

3. pilota - September 29, 2012

Hi Everyone ,

I just finished to play the Prerelease and I can only say
I had a lot of fun! My son (8Years asked me to play with me) so I decide to Play Rakdos a very simple Deck to understand for him. Attack Attack Attack LOL! We played in Italy
in a small Town. 20Players and we reached 5th Place.
We got some Problems against Izzret because of low cost defenders in this deck. But i can really say that Rakdos is a great Deck to play at the Prerelaese with 40 Cards. Finished an Opponent in 4Turns with this Deck. Just take some small creature with 1/1 increase in this Deck and some big creatures with Haste and
First Strike and Flying. Only a few Sorceries or Instants. Very simple and it really works. Greetings from Italy

4. Michael - October 6, 2012

No love for the Azorius Guildmage?

5. James - October 6, 2012

What would you want to replace with the Azorius Guildmage on this list?

I like all the Guildmages. I also like the Azorius Charm. Neither made my list, though.

6. Winterstone - October 8, 2012

Yeah, tough to make it as a list, ’cause there are plenty of things (Azorius Guildmage being among them) that I was surprised, bordering outraged, weren’t on the list, but then I thought “what do you replace?”

So many cool interactions and uses for commons and uncommons is making this a very good set indeed.

7. Zohren - November 15, 2012

Surely Stab Wound is better than Izzet Charm?

8. James - November 16, 2012

Stab Wound might be better. I will keep that suggestion in mind. I do think Izzet Charm is a good card to take early on because it’s a signal to be in those colors.

9. Cameron - December 12, 2012

Pack rat, mizzium mortars, stab wound, martial law, mercurial chemister. are all amazing. Definite first picks. If you are not drafting money, you never pass pack rat. Ever. It is the most broken limited card I have seen in many sets. Stab wound and mizzium mortars are both amazing and easily splashable. If you are in white, martial law wins games. If you untap with mercurial chemister,its usually the game.

All of the guildmages minus the izzet one are awesome. They are usually first or 2nd picks.

All of the money in the set, barring a few cards are all draft friendly, and should usually be taken.

Other than that, in color guild gates are pretty important if you are going 3 color (happens often), and should be valued somewhere near picks 3-4 in pack 2-3. Cards like chromatic lantern are beautiful, and can be possible first picks.

10. James - December 12, 2012

Cameron, I didn’t mention a single rare and lots of them are first picks. I made that clear above.

I agree that Stab Wound is very good. I did mention the guildmages I think are best.