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Jeff Zandi is a five time pro tour veteran who has been playing Magic since 1994. Jeff is a level two DCI judge and has been judging everything from small local tournaments to pro tour events. Jeff is from Coppell, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where his upstairs game room has been the "Guildhall", the home of the Texas Guildmages, since the team formed in 1996. One of the original founders of the team, Jeff Zandi is the team's administrator, and is proud to continue the team's tradition of having players in every pro tour from the first event in 1996 to the present.

 

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This Space For Rent

The Southwestern Paladin
Ravnica Reviewed
Cards That Made the Cut in the Kansas State Championship
by Jeff Zandi
October 31, 2005

On a sunny Fall day in October, forty-nine of the state’s best Magic players gathered in the middle of America’s heartland to determine the championship for the state of Kansas. Big Magic tournaments are held in regularly held in convention centers, hotels and game stores. This year’s Kansas State Championships were held in the County Extension Center. This relatively new multi-use facility regularly houses 4-H and other agriculturally-centered events. On this day, across the hall from an arts and crafts show, forty-nine Magic players squared off to see who was the best at slinging spells and dealing damage. Today, successful agriculture meant you were able to resolve a Kodama’s Reach before your opponent.

Edward Fox, Magic tournament organizer and the man who brought the amazing game of Cricket from Australia to Kansas, was in attendance. The Fox’s job, today, is to enter tournament results into DCI Reporter and to keep an eye on the money, while yours truly performs the duties of head judge. I traveled up from Dallas to run this event with my longtime buddy and business partner Mr. Fox in return for fair pay, a place to stay and a movie at the Warren Saturday night. The ruddy haired Australian has been involved in Magic tournaments almost as long as there have been Magic tournaments. The next time you finish in the top eight of a Pro Tour Qualifier and you receive one of those cool top eight pins, you can thank the Aussie Fox! He developed the idea of top eight pins at the annual tournament organizers function in Las Vegas some years ago. Inventiveness would be Edward’s middle name, if he had one. Ten year old son Brandon Fox, one of Edward’s better ideas, used today’s tournament to try his hand at selling Magic cards and boosters for the first time. If breeding really does hold true, Brandon will soon be the best businessman in the fifth grade.

Getting down to the serious business of play, this tournament started at around noon on Saturday, October 22nd, 2005, with forty-nine players requiring six Swiss rounds to cut to a top eight that will play off to determine this year’s Kansas State Champion. A lot of the usual suspects have been rounded up, including past state champ Jim Dowell, badass Brett McCleaf and the highly successful Houston twins (the largely interchangeable Shawn and Shane). Aaron Simpson bought space from Fox and is selling cards today instead of playing. Aaron has been working hard to get his card selling business off the ground, and is doing quite well. Big Barry Smith made the scene, as well as the usually consistent John Blagg and Kansas Magic tough-guy John Diesel.

The State Championships have been referred to as a largely casual affair, with the winner taking home little more than an engraved plaque (personally, I will ALWAYS play hard to win an engraved plaque) and bragging rights. It does seem wrong somehow that the State Championships does not qualify the winner for some sort of future tournament benefit. I think it would be great if the State Champions qualified for the following year’s U.S. Nationals or how about a first round bye in every major tournament they play in their state for a year? Something.

LEARNING HOW RAVNICA CARDS PERFORM IN CONSTRUCTED PLAY

This year, the main benefit to be gained from States is the experience of seeing Ravnica: City of Guilds in meaningful constructed play for the first time. In this report, I will talk about the top eight finishers, what they played and what they played against in the six Swiss rounds. I even have the play by play of a very explosive quarterfinal matchup. There were a lot of different decks in play in the Kansas States, but the six rounds of Swiss helped the cream rise to the top.

DECK BREAKDOWN

Blue/Black with or without deck milling technology was the most common color combination, played by 8 players. Red/White was a close second with 6 players. Red/Green decks were played by 5 players, one of whom DID NOT build his deck around Wildfire. Green/Black was the choice of 5 players, two of which built reanimator decks. Green/Black/Blue Gifts decks were played by 4 players, but this basic design proved to be the most effective in the tournament, putting three players into the top eight. Enduring Ideal decks were also played by 4 people. There were 3 players playing each of the following decks; Mono Blue, Red/White/Green and Green/White. There were 2 Early Harvest decks and a total of 6 other more-or-less unique designs (I’m not enough of a elitist to call them ‘Rogue Decks’).

TOP EIGHT FINISHERS

In order by the results of six rounds of Swiss play.

Brett McCleaf, 5-0-1, from Wichita, playing a red/gree
n Wildfire deck, playing in his first State Champs top eight
2-0 in round one thanks to the odd number of players, Brett received a first round bye
2-0 in round two against John Petterson and his rather defensive green/white deck
Ravnica: City of Guilds
2-0 in round three against Holly Wilson and her red/white weenie deck full of goodies such as Glorious Anthem, Umezawa’s Jitte and plenty of little white and red men along with some serious burn from four Lightning Helix and three Char.
DREW in round four against Shawn Houston and his green/black/blue Gifts deck. I’m not sure if these two were unable to finish game three or if they had agreed on an intentional draw, but I think they were unable to finish their third game.
(after four rounds, Brett has lost only ONE game)
2-1 in round five against Brandon Simmons and his blue/white Enduring Ideal deck.
2-0 in round six against Justin Gardner. John played a blue/black control deck (no milling technology) containing quite a few nice fatties like Kagemaro, Ink-Eyes and Keiga. John would have liked a nice intentional draw in round six, but the undefeated Brett McCleaf was having none of it, preferring to win round six to assure himself the top seed and a HOPEFULLY more pleasant match up in the quarterfinals.

Jim Dowell, 4-1-1, playing a very original green/black/blue deck with Hypnotic Specters, Elves of Deep Shadow and Dark Confidants. Jim goes all the back to the beginning of tournament Magic, he is 29 years old and lives in Wichita.
1-1-1 in round one against John Diesel and his blue/green control/creature deck
2-0 in round two against Kenneth Castor and his four color Enduring Ideal deck
2-1 in round three against Chris Rohde and his aggressive green/red/white creature deck
2-0 in round four against Nolan Chaney and his green/black Rock-ish control deck
2-0 in round five against Barry Smith and his blue/green/black control deck. Jim and Barry go way back, but when they met in round five, only one of them would be able to compete for the top eight
Intentional Draw in round six against Jason Hardy and his very tight blue/black speedy creature/control deck. Jim has the distinction of playing against the most top eight finishers in his Swiss rounds.

Jason Hardy, 4-1-1, 26 years old from Wichita, playing a fast blue/black deck
2-1 in round one against Ryan McCoskey and his green/black “Ryan-imator Deck”
2-1 in round two against Scott Houston, the newest and most obnoxious Houston in Kansas Magic! Lil’ Houston was playing a four color Early Harvest combo deck, making a lot of mistakes and just generally causing a lot of trouble throughout the day. (don’t worry, he’ll get better, Shawn and Shane did!)
2-0 in round three against Justin Gardner and his blue/black control deck
lost in round four against Brandon Simmons and his rather slow Enduring Ideal deck
2-0 in round five against Shawn Houston and his Gifts deck
Intentional Draw in round six with Jim Dowell and his original green/black/blue design
(Hardy certainly was seeded in the top eight as though his Swiss finish was 4-1-1, but in my game notes, I have him getting an unintentional draw in round four. Unfortunately, I do not have the official tournament information in front of me)

Shawn Houston, 4-1-1, is 28 years old a
nd lives with his brother Shane in Wichita, playing a well thought out version of Gifts
2-0 in round one against Jason Bounds and his green/white creature deck featuring lots of good weenie creatures as well as three Serra Angels and three Loxodon Hierarch
1-0 in round two against Justin Kessel and his Flores Blue deck (with just a splash of black)
2-0 in round three against Frank DeMarco and his Early Harvest combo deck
DRAW in round four against Brett McCleaf, where BOTH players bound for the top eight each lost their first games of the day!
0-2 in round five to Jason Hardy and his dangerously fast blue/black deck
2-0 in round six against Carl Simpson and his green/white/red control deck featuring two Shard Phoenix

Nolan Chaney, 4-1-1, is 19 years old from Hutchinson, playing a green/black Rock-like creature/control deck
2-0 in round one against Shea Hart and his white/red weenie deck
2-1 in round two against Jason Wilson and his blue/black mill deck
2-1 in round three against Gregory Glass and his red/green Wildfire deck
0-2 in round four against Jim Dowell and his green/black/blue creature/control deck
2-1 in round five against Justin Kessler playing Flores Blue
Intentional Draw in round six with John Petterson and his green/white deck

Chris Rohde, 4-1-1, playing in his first State Champs top eight. Chris is 22 years old (he has the same birthday as me!) and lives in Lawrence. Chris is playing green/red/white with Kird Apes
2-0 in round one versus Ben Woodside and his blue/black deck filled with big creatures
DRAW in round two against Carl Simpson and his green/white/red control deck
1-2 in round three against Jim Dowell and his green/black/blue deck
2-1 in round four against Jason Mode and his Early Harvest combo deck
2-0 in round five against Jeremey Peter and his green/black monster-filled deck
2-0 in round six against John Gardner and his green/black/blue deck

John Petterson, 4-1-1, playing in his first State Champs top eight. John recently turned 18 years old, he lives in Salina. John is playing a defensive green/white control deck
1-0-1 in round one against Thanh Huynh and his blue/white control deck
0-2 in round two against Brett McCleaf and his red/green Wildfire deck
2-0 in round three against John Blagg and his red/green fattie deck
2-1 in round four against Frank DeMarco and his Early Harvest deck
2-0 in round five against Ben Woodside and his blue/black fattie deck
Intentional Draw in round six with Nolan Chaney

Loren Canady, 4-1-1, playing in his first State Champs top eight, Loren is 23 years old and calls Manhattan, Kansas home. With some competition from the Houston boys, Loren Canady is probably the most improved Magic player in Kansas over the past year. Loren is playing black/green with a tiny bit of blue.
2-1 in round one against Jordan Baranowski and his red/white weenie deck
1-2 in round two against Jeremey Peters and his green/black fattie deck
2-0 in round three against Ryan O’Conner and his green/black Reanimator deck
2-0 in round four against Bobby Gray and his mono black deck (splashing green)
Draw in round five with John Gardner and his green/black/blue deck
2-0 in round six eliminating Brandon Simmons and his Enduring Ideal deck from the tournament

QUARTERFINALS PLAY BY PLAY

I picked this quarterfinals match to record play-by-play because I had a feeling Brett McCleaf, the number one seed in the top eight, was on his way to become the state champion. At this point, I did not really know how good each of the decks in the top eight were, and wasn’t familiar with Loren Canady’s ability to play under pressure. I learned a lot over the next half an hour.

T1 Brett plays first mulliganing to six, Loren
Ravnica: City of Guilds also mulligans to six cards. Brett plays Karplusan Forest and Sensei’s Divining Top.
T1 Loren plays Swamp, Sensei’s Divining Top
T2 Brett plays Forest
T2 Loren plays Tendo Ice Bridge
T3 Brett plays Tendo Ice Bridge, Carven Caryatid (19-20)
T3 Loren plays Forest, Kodama’s Reach putting a Swamp in play tapped and one in his hand
T4 Brett plays Mountain
T4 Loren plays Swamp, Kodama’s Reach putting a Forest in play tapped and an Island in his hand
T5 Brett plays Mountain, Hunted Dragon, attacks with Hunted Dragon (20-14)
T5 Loren plays Llanowar Wastes
T6 Brett plays Karplusan Forest, attacks with Hunted Dragon, Loren responds by playing Putrefy destroying Hunted Dragon. Brett plays Silklash Spider. At end of turn, Loren plays Gifts Ungiven (Brett puts Kagemaro, First to Suffer and Soulless Revival in Loren’s graveyard, Loren gets Hana Kami and Kokusho, the Evening Star
T6 Loren plays Island, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Hana Kami, attacks with three 2/2 white tokens, one blocked by Silklash Spider (15-14)
T7 Brett plays Tendo Ice Bridge, Hunted Dragon, attacks with Hunted Dragon (15-8), plays Pyroclasm, Loren responds by sacrificing Elder to put a Forest into play tapped, sacrifices Hana Kami to return Kodama’s Reach from graveyard.
T7 Loren plays Kokusho, plays Kodama’s Reach using a pain land (15-7) putting a Swamp into play tapped and a Forest in his hand which he also plays.
T8 Brett attacks with Dragon blocked by Kokusho, Brett loses 5 life when Kokusho goes to the graveyard (10-7)
T8 Loren plays Swamp, Death Denied returning three creatures to his hand including Kagemaro, plays Kagemaro.
T9 Brett attacks with Hunted Dragon, Loren taps Top, drawing an additional card, activates Kagemaro, destroying Kagemaro and Hunted Dragon
T9 Loren plays Kagemaro, First to Suffer and Sensei’s Divining Top
T10 Brett plays Wildfire leaving himself three untapped lands and leaving Loren seven lands
T10 Loren plays Kokuso, the Evening Star
T11 Brett plays Kodama’s Reach putting a Forest into play tapped and a Mountain into his hand
T11 Loren plays Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers, attacks with Kokusho (5-7), plays Hana Kami
T12 Brett draws nothing useful, CONCEDES
LOREN CANADY WINS GAME ONE

T1 Brett goes first keeping seven cards, Loren mulligans to six cards and keeps it. Brett plays Karplusan Forest and Sensei’s Divining Top
T1 Loren plays Forest
T2 Brett plays Forest, Sakura-Tribe Elder
T2 Loren plays Forest, Sensei’s Divining Top, at end of turn, Brett sacs Elder putting a Mountain into play tapped
T3 Brett plays a Forest, plays Kodama’s Reach putting a Mountain into play tapped and putting a Forest in his hand.
T3 Loren plays Island, Kodama’s Reach putting a Swamp into play tapped and another Swamp into his hand.
T4 Brett plays a Forest and then plays Wildfire sacrificing Karplusan Forest, a Forest and two Mountains, and causing Loren to sacrifice all four of his land.
T4 Loren plays Swamp
T5 Brett plays Karplusan Forest
T5 Loren plays Llanowar Wastes
T6 Brett plays Forest, plays Hunted Troll putting four 1/1 flying blue Faerie tokens into play for Loren
T6 Loren plays a Swamp, taps Wastes for green mana (20-19) playing Kodama’s Reach putting a Forest into play and a Forest into his hand, attacks with four Faerie tokens (16-19)
T7 Brett plays Pyroclasm, attacks with Hunted Troll (16-11)
T7 Loren plays Forest
T8 Brett attacks with Hunted Troll, Loren plays Putrefy destroying Troll, Brett plays Silklash Spider
T8 Loren plays Forest, Kodama’s Reach putting a Swamp into play tapped and putting a Swamp into his hand. Loren plays Sakura-Tribe Elder
T9 Brett plays Mountain, attacks with Spider (16-9)
T9 Loren plays Tendo Ice Bridge, plays Persecute naming RED hitting no cards in Brett’s hand (I think)
T10 Things look good for Brett as he plays Hunted Troll, but at the end of his turn, Loren plays Gifts Ungiven, Brett puts Hana Kami and Soulless Revival in Loren’s graveyard and Kokusho and Kagemaro in Loren’s hand.
T10 Loren plays Kagemaro, First to Suffer
T11 When Brett attacks with Troll, Loren blocks with Kagemaro. With damage on the stack, Loren activates Kagemaro destroying all creatures in play EXCEPT Silklash Spider
T11 Loren plays Llanowar Wastes, Cranial Extraction naming Hunted Dragon, plays Kokusho, the Evening Star
T12 Brett plays Pithing Needle naming Kagemaro
T12 Loren plays Forest, Kodama’s Reach putting a Swamp in play and putting a Swamp into his hand
T13 Brett attacks with Spider blocked by Kokusho, at end of Brett’s turn, Loren plays Death Denied returning four creatures from his graveyard.
T13 Loren attacks with Kokusho (11-9) plays a second Kokusho causing both to be put in Loren’s graveyard (1-19), Loren plays Hana Kami
Two turns later, unable to draw anything to turn the game around, Brett plays out the remaining cards from his hand including Kodama’s Reach, Wood Elves and Sensei’s Divining Top, shrugs and concedes
LOREN CANADY WINS MATCH 2-0

TOP EIGHT PLAYOFFS

1st seed Brett McCleaf lost 0-2 to 8th seed Loren Canady, 4th seed Shawn Houston swept 5th seed Nolan Chaney, 3rd seed Jason Hardy beat 6th seed Chris Rohde 2-1 and 7th seed John Petterson swept top eight favorite, the 2nd seed Jim Dowell. In the semi-finals, Loren Canady (probably the favorite in the final four) chose to drop conceding the match to Shawn Houston while Petterson finally prevailed over Jason Hardy 2-1 in the day’s longest match. In the finals, Shawn Houston seemed energized and ready to play while John Petterson seemed a little tired from two tough top eight matches. Houston swept Petterson in a fast paced match controlled almost from the start by your new Kansas State Champion Shawn Houston.

How long was the semi-finals match between Petterson and Hardy? Jason Hardy started looking for something to do to entertain himself while John Petterson took long periods of time to make a move. After a while, Hardy started opening his top eight booster pack prizes (each top eight finisher was awarded half a box of Ravnica: City of Guilds boosters) Hardy managed to open all of his packs during Petterson’s lengthy turns.

TOP EIGHT DECKLISTS

1st place finisher
Shawn Houston
“Houston Gifts”
8 Forest
5 Swamp
1 Island
1 Watery Grave
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
1 Underground River
1 Yavimaya Coast
4 Mana Leak
4 Kodama’s Reach
2 Putrefy
3 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Gifts Ungiven
1 Hana Kami
3 Sickening Shoal
3 Kagemaro, First to Suffer
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Wear Away
1 Death Denied
1 Soulless Revival
1 Cranial Extraction
1 Goryo’s Vengeance
1 Kokusho, the Evening Star
1 Myojin of Night’s Reach
1 Meloku, the Clouded Mirror
1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Sideboard:
1 Putrefy
1 Exile into Darkness
1 Goryo’s Vengeance
1 Ghost-Lit Stalker
2 Kokusho, the Evening Star
3 Hideous Laughter
3 Cranial Extraction
1 Rending Vines
1 Pithing Needle
1 Shadow of Doubt

2nd place finisher
John Petterson
Fungus Control
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Loxodon Hierarch
2 Myojin of Cleansing Fire
4 Kodama’s Reach
4 Wrath of God
3 Final Judgment
4 Faith’s Fetters
4 Devouring Light
3 Genju of the Fields
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
4 Temple Garden
2 Brushland
8 Plains
6 Forest
Sideboard:
3 Reito Lantern
4 Ivory Mask
4 Seed Spark
4 Creeping Mold

3rd place finisher
Jason Hardy
Blue/Black Beats
4 Remand
4 Mana Leak
4 Cruel Edict
4 Last Gasp
4 Ravenous Rats
2 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
4 Hypnotic Specter
3 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Dark Confidant
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Underground River
3 Watery Grave
2 Quicksand
7 Swamp
7 Island
Sideboard:
4 Nekrataal
3 Cranial Extraction
3 Nezumi Shortfang
3 Dimir Doppelganger
2 Shadow of Doubt

4th place finisher
Loren Canady
2 Kokusho, the Evening Star
3 Putrefy
3 Sickening Shoal
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Kodama’s Reach
4 Gifts Ungiven
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
3 Kagemaro, First to Suffer
1 Hana Kami
1 Soulless Revival
1 Death Denied
1 Goryo’s Vengeance
1 Wear Away
2 Hideous Laughter
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Ghost-Lit Stalker
2 Tendo Ice Bridge
7 Forest
6 Swamp
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Island
1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
2 Llanowar Wastes
3 Overgrown Tomb
Sideboard:
2 Wear Away
1 Hideous Laughter
2 Dark Heart of the Wood
2 Nezumi Graverobber
1 Kokusho, the Evening Star
2 Ghost-Lit Stalker
1 Cranial Extraction
2 Nightmare Void
2 Persecute

5th place finisher
Brett McCleaf
Boom Goes the Dynamite
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Silklash Spider
4 Hunted Dragon
4 Carven Caryatid
4 Pyroclasm
4 Wildfire
2 Naturalize
4 Kodama’s Reach
2 Wood Elves
4 Sakura-Tribe Elders
10 Forest
8 Mountain
2 Tendo Ice Bridge
4 Karplusan Forest
Sideboard:
3 Hunted Troll
2 Flashfires
3 Boiling Seas
3 Boseiju Who Shelters All
2 Naturalize
2 Pithing Needle

6th place finisher
Jim Dowell
“How to Win a Championship”
2 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Putrefy
4 Dimir Cutpurse
3 Mana Leak
4 Hypnotic Specter
3 Persecute
1 Nezumi Graverobber
4 Elves of Deep Shadow
3 Dark Confidant
1 Grave-Shell Scarab
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
2 Forest
2 Swamp
4 Llanowar Wastes
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Underground River
4 Watery Grave
2 Tendo Ice Bridge
3 Yavimaya Coast
1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
1 Island
Sideboard:
3 Nezumi Graverobber
3 Naturalize
3 Nezumi Shortfang
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
3 Nekrataal
2 Cranial Extraction

7th place finisher
Nolan Chaney
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Carven Caryatid
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
2 Cranial Extraction
2 Svogthos, the Restless Tomb
4 Putrefy
2 Overgrown Tomb
4 Kodama’s Reach
3 Dark Confidant
3 Grave-Shell Scarab
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
4 Llanowar Wastes
3 Nezumi Graverobber
3 Kokusho, the Evening Star
4 Plague Boiler
1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
5 Swamp
7 Forest
Sideboard:
3 Mindslicer
2 Pithing Needle
2 Naturalize
1 Cranial Extraction
3 Nezumi Shortfang
4 Distress

8th place finisher
Chris Rohde
“Kird Ape Rides Again”
4 Char
4 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Boros Swiftblade
4 Skynight Legionnaire
4 Kird Ape
4 Empty-Shrine Kannushi
3 Viridian Shaman
3 Lightning Helix
3 Watchwolf
3 Moldervane Cloak
3 Trophy Hunter
3 Temple Garden
3 Brushland
3 Karplusan Forest
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Battlefield Forge
1 Plains
2 Mountain
5 Forest
Sideboard:
2 Devouring Light
3 Dosan the Falling Leaf
3 Naturalize
3 Circle of Protection: Black
4 Boros Fury Shield

SUMMING UP THE FIRST CONSTRUCTED USE OF RAVNICA CARDS

I do not believe that these results from Kansas, or any other state championships for that matter, settle the matter of what cards in Ravnica are good or bad for constructed play. What the results from these tournaments does do is give us a good first look at how Ravnica will play in the constructed arena. The new dual lands are clearly everything most people thought they would be. The real story with the new dual lands, in Kansas at least, was that many players simply do not have ENOUGH of the new rare lands to fill out their decks. Many players took pride in making their multi-colored strategies work WITHOUT the pricey new dual lands. The new dual lands (I kind of like the nickname “Shock Lands”) are obviously constructed worthy and incredibly sought after.

Cards that proved themselves right away as good Standard cards for any deck tool box include Putrefy, Carven Caryatid, Char, Lightning Helix, Last Gasp and Remand. Plague Boiler seems a little difficult to master, but certainly useful enough to make the effort.

Ravnica creatures that seemed very constructed-worthy today include Hunted Dragon, Hunted Troll, Dimir Cutpurse, Elves of Deep Shadow, Dark Confidant (which surprises me a little), Grave-Shell Scarab, Skyknight Legionnaire and Watchwolf. Loxodon Hierarch looks like a Ravenous Baloth replacement for Standard worth playing the extra color for.

Ravnica cards making the cut in sideboards include Nightmare Void (feels very experimental to me), Shadow of Doubt (feel like saying NO to a fetch land?) and Suppression Field.

A number of players had Dark Heart of the Woods in their sideboard, but I don’t think this card is enough like Zuran Orb to be included. I guess it COULD help against mono red, but I would really hate to water down my deck by sideboarding them in.

Some cards are very deck-specific…

Copy Enchantment may be pigeon holed into the Enduring Ideal deck in Standard play for now, but this card looks like the real deal, coming soon to a sideboard near you, if nothing else.

Even though none of the blue/black mill decks managed to make it into the top eight in Kansas, I think the important cards in that deck from Ravnica have already proved themselves worthy for constructed play, cards like Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, Induce Paranoia, Clutch of the Undercity, Glimpse the Unthinkable, maybe Moroii, Duskmantle, House of Shadow.

I can’t wait to see what other Ravnica cards are going to be good for constructed play. The next great learning opportunity is Pro Tour Los Angeles where Ravnica makes its first appearance in the Extended format.

As always, I would love to know what you think!

Jeff Zandi
Texas Guildmages
Level II DCI Judge
jeffzandi@hotmail.com
Zanman on Magic Online

WAIT, THERE’s MORE---
I know what you’re thinking…Hey, Zanman, you’ve already given me PLENTY of entertaining material this week with the Ravnica Uncommon Review earlier in the week, then with all the tournament info from Kansas…

Well, ordinarily, I would agree with you, but I’ve been spending a lot of time alone this week with my computer and my Magic cards, and that’s usually when WEIRD THINGS start to happen.

A lot of people come up to me asking which is better, Ravnica: City of Guilds or Champions of Kamigawa? Okay, ONE person asked me this. He’s six years old and he eats my food and raids my Magic collection without asking (it’s my son Lawson, for those of you who thought I was talking about Neil Reeves). Well, I feel it’s my job to tell EVERYONE once and for all which set is superior. There is only one really scientific, completely objective way to figure out the answer to this question. I have done the research, and the results are below.

Which Is Better?
Champions of Kamigawa or Ravnica: City of Guilds
DC-10 Championships

Champions of Kamigawa wins the flip and will play first in game one. This is a best of seven championship, with each game using a new pair of Champions and Ravnica booster packs. Each “player” has an infinite number of each basic land in play.

T1 Champs draws and plays Sokenzan Bruiser.
T1 Rav draws Darkblast.
T2 Champs draws Ethereal Haze. Attacks with Bruiser (20-17)
T2 Rav draws and plays Selesnya Evangel
T3 Champs draws Pull Under. Attacks with Bruiser (20-14)
T3 Rav draws Galvanic Arc. Attacks with Evangel (19-14) Plays Galvanic Arc targeting Evangel, Champs responds by playing Pull Under targeting Evangel. Galvanic Arc is countered with no target.
T4 Champs draws and plays Counsel of the Soratami drawing Scuttling Death and Kami of Ancient Law. Attacks with Bruiser (19-11) Plays Scuttling Death and Kami of Ancient Law.
T4 Rav draws Dryad’s Caress.
T5 Champs draws and plays No-dachi, attaches to Kami of Ancient Law. Attacks with all three creatures, Rav responds with Dryad’s Caress (19-14), (19-3)
T5 Rav draws and plays Faith’s Fetters targeting Bruiser (19-7)
T6 Champs draws Moss Kami. Attacks with Scuttles and Kami of Ancient Law, Rav responds with Darkblast targeting Scuttling Death (19-0) CHAMPS WINS GAME ONE

T1 Rav draws and plays Conclave Equenaut.
T1 Champs draws and plays Kami of Old Stone.
T2 Rav draws Recollect. Attacks with Equenaut (17-20)
T2 Champs draws and plays Soratami Mirror-Mage. Attacks with Kami of Old Stone. (17-19)
T3 Rav draws and plays Skyknight Legionnaire. Champs activates Mirror-Mage returning Equenaut and Legionnaire to Rav’s hand. Rav plays both creatures again. At end of Rav’s turn, Champs returns both creatures back to Rav’s hand.
T3 Champs draws Unearthly Blizzard. Attacks with Mirror-Mage and Kami of Old Stone (17-16)
T4 Rav draws Conclave’s Blessing, sighs, says GO.
T4 Champs draws and plays Horizon Seed. Attacks with Mirror-Mage and Kami of Old Stone (17-13)
T5 Rav draws Elvish Skysweeper. Thinks for awhile, then sighs again and says GO.
T5 Champs draws Kodama’s Reach. Attacks with all three creatures (17-8)
T6 Rav draws Incite Hysteria. Rolls eyes.
T6 Champs draws Vigilance. Attacks with three creatures (17-3)
T7 Rav draws Screeching Griffin. Plays Skynight Legionnaire. Plays Equenaut. Plays Elvish Skysweeper, Champs responds by bouncing Equenaut and Legionnaire. Rav plays Screeching Griffin, Champs responds by bouncing Skysweeper, Rav responds by activating Skysweeper sacrificing Skysweeper targeting Mirror-Mage, Champs responds by bouncing Mirror-Mage. Rav plays Recollect returning Elvish Skysweeper to hand. Plays Elvish Skysweeper, Screeching Griffin, Conclave Equenaut and Skyknight Legionnaire.
T7 Champs draws Kashi-Tribe Warriors. Plays Soratami Mirror-Mage. Activates Mirror-Mage to bounce all of Rav’s creatures, Rav responds by sacrificing Skynight Legionnaire to Skysweeper targeting Mirror-Mage, Champs responds by bouncing Mirror-Mage. Attacks with Horizon Seed and Kami of Old Stone (17-0) CHAMPS WINS GAME TWO

T1 Rav plays first drawing and playing Dimir House Guard.
T1 Champs draws Desperate Ritual.
T2 Rav draws and plays Flame Fusillade. Taps eight million basic lands dealing eight million damage to Champs. RAVNICA WINS GAME THREE

T1 Champs plays first drawing and playing Commune with Nature looking at Unearthly Blizzard, Blood Rites, Order of the Sacred Bell, Dosan the Falling Leaf and Akki Underminer, revealing Order of the Sacred Bell and putting it into his hand. Plays Order of the Sacred Bell.
T1 Rav draws Festival of the Guildpact.
T2 Champs draws and plays River Kaijin. Attacks with Order (20-16)
T2 Rav draws and plays Veteran Armorer.
T3 Champs draws Cage of Hands and plays it targeting Veteran Armorer, attacks with Kaijin and Order. Rav plays Festival of the Guildpact preventing all damage and drawing Ordruun Commando.
T3 Rav draws and plays Gate Hound, Ordruun Commando. Champs returns Cage of Hands to his hand.
T4 Champs draws Samurai Enforcers. Plays Cage of Hands targeting Ordruun Commando. Attacks with Order blocked by Veteran Armorer and Gate Hound. Plays Samurai Enforcers.
T4 Rav draws Perplex. Discards Perplex using its Transmute ability putting Benevolent Ancestor in his hand. Plays Benevolent Ancestor.
T5 Champs draws Devouring Greed. Attacks with Enforcers, Kaijin, Kaijin blocked by Ancestor (20-13)
T5 Rav draws Flow of Ideas.
T6 Champs draws and plays Pious Kitsune. Attacks with Enforcers and Kaijin, Kaijin blocked by Ancestor who also taps to prevent one to Rav (20-11)
T6 Rav draws Razia’s Putrification.
T7 Champs draws and plays Pull Under targeting Ancestor, who taps to prevent one point of damage to Rav. Attacks with Kitsune, Enforcers and Kaijin (20-9)
T7 Rav draws and plays Clinging Darkness targeting Samurai Enforcers. Plays Razia’s Putrification. Champs returns Cage of Hands, keeps Kaijin, Kitsune and one Plains. Rav keeps Ordruun Commando and one each Swamp, Island, Plains.
T8 Champs draws Lifted by Clouds.
T8 Rav draws and plays Surveiling Sprite.
T9 Champs draws Harsh Deceiver.
T9 Rav draws Goblin Fire Fiend. Attacks with Sprite (19-9)
T10 Champs draws Desperate Ritual.
T10 Rav draws and plays Selesnya Signet, attacks with Sprite (18-9)
T11 Champs draws Dosan the Falling Leaf.
T11 Rav draws Carrion Howler, plays Carrion Howler. Attacks with Sprite (17-9)
T12 Champs draws Akki Underminer.
T12 Rav draws Bramble Elemental. Attacks with Sprite (16-9)
T13 Champs draws Blood Rites.
T13 Rav draws Scatter the Seeds. CONCEDES. CHAMPS WINS GAME FOUR, LEADS SERIES 3-1

T1 Rav plays first drawing Golgari Signet.
T1 Champs draws and plays Ashen-Skin Zubera.
T2 Rav draws and plays Viashino Fangtail.
T2 Champs draws Soratami Rainshaper. Attacks with Zubera (20-19) Plays Soratami Rainshaper.
T3 Rav draws Cyclopean Snare. Attacks with Fangtail (17-19)
T3 Champs draws Glacial Ray. Attacks with Rainshaper and Zubera (17-16)
T4 Rav draws and plays Lurking Informant. Attacks with Fangtail (14-16)
T4 Champs draws Quiet Purity. Plays Glacial Ray targeting Lurking Informant. Attacks with Rainshaper and Zubera (14-13).
T5 Rav draws Terraformer. Attacks with Fangtail (11-13). Plays Terraformer.
T5 Champs draws Crushing Pain. Attacks with Rainshaper (11-11)
T6 Rav draws Tattered Drake. Attacks with Fangtail and Terraformer, Fangtail blocked by Zubera. (9-11) Rav discards Golgari Signet. Plays Tattered Drake. Champs plays Crushing Pain targeting Viashino Fangtail.
T6 Champs draws and plays Kami of Old Stone.
T7 Rav draws Dogpile. Attacks with Terraformer and Drake, Terraformer blocked by Kami (7-11)
T7 Champs draws FOIL Island. Attacks with Rainshaper (7-9)
T8 Rav draws Wojek Siren. Attacks with Drake (5-9)
T8 Champs draws and plays Kami of the Hunt. Attacks with Rainshaper (5-7)
T9 Rav draws Sundering Vitae. Attacks with Drake (3-7)
T9 Champs draws Sokenzan Bruiser. Attacks with Kami of the Hunt blocked by Terraformer. Plays Sokenzan Bruiser.
T10 Rav draws and plays Mindmoil. Attacks with Drake blocked by Rainshaper, Rav regenerates Drake, plays Dogpile targeting Champs (2-7), Champs responds by playing Quiet Purity targeting Mindmoil returning three cards to the bottom of Rav’s deck, Rav draws Mortipede, Dimir Machinations and Selesnya Sanctuary. Rav discards Dimir Machinations using its Transmute ability to search out Sundering Vitae. Plays Mortipede.
T10 Champs draws Rootrunner. Attacks with Bruiser (2-4). Plays Rootrunner.
T11 Rav draws Cyclopean Snare. Attacks with Drake (0-4) RAVNICA WINS GAME FOUR, TRAILS IN SERIES 2-3

T1 Champs plays first drawing and playing Nezumi Ronin.
T1 Rav draws Pollenbright Wings.
T2 Champs draws and plays Hisoka’s Guard, attacks with Ronin (20-17)
T2 Rav draws and plays Sparkmage Apprentice targeting Nezumi Ronin.
T3 Champs draws and plays Serpent Skin targeting Hisoka’s Guard. Attacks with Guard. (20-15)
T3 Rav draws Surge of Zeal. Attacks with Apprentice (19-15)
T4 Champs draws and plays Budoka Gardener.
T4 Rav draws and plays Golgari Brownscale. Plays Pollenbright Wings on Brownscale. Plays Surge of Zeal on Brownscale. Champs taps Gardener, does not put a land into play, but flips Gardener into Dokai, Weaver of Life. Rav attacks with Brownscale (17-15) putting two 1/1 Saproling tokens into play.
T5 Champs draws and plays Matsu-Tribe Decoy.
T5 Rav draws and plays Nightguard Patrol. Attacks with Brownscale (15-15) Champs taps Dokai to put a 999/999 green Elemental token creature into play.
T6 Champs draws Soulshaper. Activates Matsu-Tribe Decoy targeting each of Rav’s creatures including all four 1/1 green Saproling tokens. Attacks with Decoy and 999/999 Elemental token. CHAMPS WINS
CHAMPS WINS SERIES 4-2

And that’s all there is to it!





 

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