I’ve been a Magic player since the first release of the Mirrodin block, and since then a lot has changed. My favorite set in the game was the Ravnica block and the latest block in the game has taken players back to the legendary city with Return to Ravnica. Today the last set in the block, Dragon’s Maze, has released and a plethora of new cards are upon us. I’ve taken some time to look over the cards in the new set, and having playtested them, I wanted to go over my thoughts on this ending set for our Return to Ravnica.
After simply looking over each card in the new series one thing was very apparent: multicolored cards are most definitely the majority. The Dragon’s Maze set was released to compliment all of the available guilds that were released in the previous two sets. Instead of following their previous plans with the old Ravnica set where they released new guilds in each set, this time around Wizards of the Coast wanted to have a large, large, small ratio put into place to get as much out to players in the block as possible. I completely agree with this mindset, as I think it worked very well with introducing cards that will help tie the different guilds together.
Not only are there multicolored cards that compliment the guilds themselves, but with the addition of the returning split cards it makes for much easier play when combining guilds together. I think with this set, more than ever, we’ll see players getting three to four guilds together in most formats. Not to mention the fact that the guild gates are basically dual-lands that are a bit slow, so that provides all players with the possibility for a bigger, yet slower mana base with which to play their multicolored deck.
Of all the Intro Packs available (I’ve got a huge gripe about those that I’ll get to later) I played Simic. This guild isn’t my first choice, and that being the case I wanted to try it out to see how it stacked up to previous packs in the block. I played it straight out of the box against a block-constructed Izzet deck. It wasn’t the fastest deck, but it got out of hand quickly. The new multicolored cards really helped with card advantage, and spells like Krasis Incubation and Bred for the Hunt made sure that I was always ahead of my opponent. The new Intro Packs feel like they’re constructed much better than previous ones in the set, which clearly shows through the release of all the new multicolored cards.
My one big pet peeve about the Intro Packs released for Dragon’s Maze is that only 5 guilds were released: Azorious, Orzhov, Simic, Gruul, and Rakdos. This leaves out the rest of the guilds and there were no announcements from Wizards that they would be showing up anytime soon. I feel like, of all the guilds, the least powerful ones were made into Intro Packs. I understand that Melek and Varolz are very powerful, but I firmly believe Wizards should have offered the whole of the guilds to players this time around.
The next thing I want to cover about Dragon’s Maze is the new set of Legendaries we’ve received. Each guild has a new legendary creature which essentially is their mazerunner. The story behind this set is that each guild needs to run through the Implicit Maze to help restore peace to the city of Ravnica. Because of this each guild has chosen a champion and these champions come in the form of legendary creature cards we can get from the set. With the Intro Packs that were released these cards are the foil rares you’ll receive. I think these will come in handy during Limited play, but when it comes to Standard I’m not too sure. Still, each one has its strengths, and I see a lot of them becoming Commanders for EDH decks. I’m already working on a Vorel deck.
Finally we get to format talk. On its own Dragon’s Maze is the perfect set for drafts and Limited play. Block Constructed will also see a lot of use out of the new set, simply because it really coincides with everything that’s available on a grander scale. When it comes to Standard play I think some of the cards will be useful, but there will be a lot that falls by the wayside. Each of the mazerunners will dominate in Limited, and I see a lot of players building decks around them. The new Planeswalker, Ral Zarek, will see play in any control deck running Izzet colors, though he’s not as powerful as you’d imagine.
One thing to note, too, with the new set is that cards don’t really stand on their own here. There is a huge synergy between pairing up guilds, and the amount of multicolored cards makes the monocolored cards seem like our little friend Fblthp, totally lost. During play I threw together an Orzhov-Azorius-Dimir deck that had all sorts of nasty tricks up its sleeves. I tossed in some of the monocolored cards like Opal Lake Gatekeepers, Maze Abomination, and Haazda Snare Squad. Compared to some of the multicolored creatures in the set I felt like these guys were just out on a limb. Where monocolor cards get their strengths, however, is in one-off spells. Cards like Lyev Decree and Runner’s Bane can be devastating in Limited, and a Sinister Possession can win you the game if played correctly.
The bottom line here is that Dragon’s Maze is a great set that really plays to the guilds of Ravnica’s strengths. It’s packed with plenty of multicolored spells to make playing two to three-colored decks a lot more plausible. I think it’s a wonderful set to play in drafts, and if you’ve got anyone you’re trying to teach how to use multicolored decks, this would be the set to do it with. When thinking about buying Booster Boxes versus single cards, I’d probably choose the singles route with this one, especially since I think Dragon’s Maze will see a lot of its cards being played in EDH. Still, if you’re a collector and want to get as much of the set as possible, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. All in all I’m quite happy with this set, and I think it will bring players a lot of fun!