Return to Ravnica
|Return to Ravnica|
Ken Nagle (lead),|
Ken Troop[note 1]
Erik Lauer (lead),|
|Art direction||Jeremy Jarvis|
|Release date||October 5, 2012|
|Themes and mechanics||
(25 basic lands, 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares)
|Return to Ravnica block|
|Magic: The Gathering Chronology|
- 1 Set details
- 2 Themes and mechanics
- 3 Cycles
- 4 Reprinted cards
- 5 Notable cards
- 6 Preconstructed decks
- 7 Gallery
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Return to Ravnica contains 274 cards (25 basic lands, 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares), including randomly inserted premium versions of all cards in the set. As was the case with the original Ravnica block, Return to Ravnica focuses on the guild system and multicolor cards. Five guilds — the Azorius Senate, Golgari Swarm, Izzet League, Cult of Rakdos, and Selesnya Conclave — are featured in Return to Ravnica; the other five guilds appear in the following expansion, Gatecrash. Because R&D had to fit in five guilds, rather than four, the set contained more uncommon cards than usual. It is is unknown what the expansion symbol of this is set is meant to represent, though some people think it is a stylized Orzhov Mitre, a nib of a fountain pen or a gate.
As Gatecrash would not feature any basic lands, despite being a large expansion, Return to Ravnica featured 25 basic lands, 5 more than the usual 20. For the first time basic lands were printed in an expert expansion with reused artwork: one of each basic land type featured artwork previously used in the Ravnica block. Return to Ravnica also marked the return of the shock lands.
Richard Whitters was the Return to Ravnica Lead Concept Artist. He, alongside Aleksi Briclot, Pete Mohrbacher, Wayne Reynolds, Sam Burley, Jeremy Jarvis, created the Return to Ravnica motif sheets and style guide.
Flavor and storyline
|“||Choose Your Guild||”|
As the name of the expansion implies, Return to Ravnica is set in Ravnica, a plane comprising a singular megalopolis or ecumenopolis, in which a vast and diverse variety of inhabitants co-exist. Once, the law of city and plane of Ravnica was dictated by the Guildpact and was controlled in relative harmony by the ten guilds, each of which representing a color pairing of the five colors of Magic. In Dissension, however, the Guildpact had been broken. Faced with a magical code that is built into the very foundations of the city-world itself, Jace Beleren marches into the numinous depths of Ravnica's underbelly in search of the promise of powerful magic. Once buried in past, the code resurfaces as Ravnica's power-hungry mage guilds, unbound by the Guildpact that had once maintained order, struggle for control of the plane.
Return to Ravnica was sold in 16-card boosters, 6-card boosters, five intro packs, two event decks and a fat pack. As a first for an expert-level set, it also featured a Booster Battle Pack. The 16-card boosters featured artwork from Korozda Guildmage, New Prahv Guildmage, Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius, Rix Maadi Guildmage and Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage. The small booster featured artwork from Vraska the Unseen.
An early preview picture of the set showed Niv-Mizzet, the leader of the Izzet League, adjacent to planeswalker Jace Beleren. Wizards of the Coast created a "Choose Your Guild" interactive quiz and Planeswalker Points Web page for the expansion, allowing Magic players to choose their guild. At the expansion's prerelease events on September 29–30, 2012, players chose their guild; a choice that affected gameplay, as, in addition to receiving five Return to Ravnica boosters, players received a guild-specific sticker, an acceptance letter from their guild leader, a spindown life counter, a promotional prerelease card, an achievement/challenge card, and an additional guild-specific booster. The launch party was October 5–7, 2012  and Game Day was October 27–28, 2012.
In September 2012, Mark Rosewater confirmed that Magic novels would return as e-books, with Doug Beyer writing them. On November 28, 2012, Doug Beyer introduced the novel written for Return to Ravnica as The Secretist, with the first part being available from then onwards as an e-book. The novel is centered around Jace Beleren.
In addition to interactive online activities and promotional cards, after widespread interest expressed on the part of the people on Twitter, Wizards of the Coast paired up with licensing partner Araca to produce guild t-shirts and baseball caps.
For the first time, there were five promotional prerelease cards, with the card received dependent on the guild chosen. Another novel feature of the Return to Ravnica prerelease was the fact that the card could be played in decks at the prerelease itself, unlike previous promotional prerelease cards, were:
- Azorius: Archon of the Triumvirate
- Izzet: Hypersonic Dragon
- Rakdos: Carnival Hellsteed
- Golgari: Corpsejack Menace
- Selesnya: Grove of the Guardian
These cards were also available in the intro packs as foils, albeit without the alternate art and prerelease date.
Other alternate-art promotional cards were:
- Game Day: full-art Dryad Militant
- Game Day (Top 8): full-art Cryptborn Horror
- Release-day Friday Night Magic: Deadbridge Goliath
- Return to Ravnica League: Knight creature token with vigilance
- Buy-a-Box: Supreme Verdict
The sixteenth card in the boosters is a token creature card. Although there are advertising cards on them, one of which featuring Gideon Jura on its front face, there are no "Tips & Tricks" cards associated with Return to Ravnica.
The Return to Ravnica tokens, in the order in which they are listed, are:
- 1/1 Bird with flying produced by Eyes in the Skies and Seller of Songbirds
- 2/2 Knight with vigilance produced by Knightly Valor, Security Blockade, and Selesnya Charm
- 1/1 Soldier produced by Precinct Captain
- 1/1 Assassin with "Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game." produced by Vraska the Unseen
- 6/6 Dragon with flying produced by Utvara Hellkite
- 1/1 Goblin produced by Goblin Rally and Survey the Wreckage
- 3/3 Centaur produced by Call of the Conclave, Centaur's Herald, Coursers' Accord and Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
- X/X Ooze produced by Slime Molding
- 4/4 Rhino with trample produced by Horncaller's Chant
- 1/1 Saproling produced by Korozda Guildmage
- 5/5 Wurm with trample produced by Armada Wurm and Worldspine Wurm
- 8/8 Elemental with vigilance produced by Grove of the Guardian
Themes and mechanics
Return to Ravnica revisits five of the ten Ravnica block bicolored guilds, each of which with its own keyword or ability word that is similar but not identical to the original one. As a returning mechanic, the set also featured hybrid mana. Development focused efforts on building a 'slow' and 'fast' strategy into each guild.
|Guild||Colors||Crest||Legendary guild members||Keyword or ability word|
|"Control" theme (tapping effects, "bounce" effects, counterspells, "taxation" effects)|
Combat abilities, particularly "Flying" and "Vigilance", and effects subtheme
|Cult of Rakdos||Rakdos,
|"+1/+1 counters matters" subtheme|
|Weenie token and, more broadly, creature token subthemes|
|"Graveyard matters" subtheme|
To note: the Guilds are presented in the official order, but they were originally displayed alphabetically by Wizard: Azorius Senate, Golgari Swarm, Izzet League, Cult of Rakdos, Selesnya Conclave.
Other themes and mechanics include:
No novel creature types were introduced in this expansion.
|Land Auras||Security Blockade||Chronic Flooding||Underworld Connections||Racecourse Fury||Urban Burgeoning|
|Each of these Auras enchants a land and grant that land an activated ability with a in its cost, an triggered ability which triggers when that land is tapped, or lets it untap during each other player's untap step.|
Guild cycles in Return to Ravnica each comprise of five members, one for each guild featured in the expansion. Along with many of the Gatecrash guild cycles, many of the Return to Ravnica guild cycles form Return to Ravnica block mega cycles.
|Uncounterable spells||Supreme Verdict||Slaughter Games||Loxodon Smiter||Counterflux||Abrupt Decay|
|Each of these rare multicolored spells with the ability to not be (conventionally) countered.[note 2]|
|Monocolored spells that cost M and have Overload M. Whereas Downsize shrinks opponents' creatures, Dynacharge pumps your creatures. Both are spells costing one mana with Overload at three mana each.|
|Multicolored non-permanent spells costing and have Overload . Whereas Chemister's Trick shrinks opponents' creatures until end of turn and forces them to attack, Teleportal pumps your creatures and makes them unblockable until end of turn.|
Although Rakdos's Return and Sphinx's Revelation are an apparent mirrored pair, with their similar, but opposite, effects and similar, but non-identical, casting costs, Mark Rosewater has stated they are not in fact a mirrored pair, neither intentionally nor unintentionally, on multiple occasions. Furthermore, the sphinx referred to in Sphinx's Revelation is not, or at least not necessarily, Isperia, the guildmaster of the Azorius Senate in the Return to Ravnica block. Rosewater has, however, said that Magic players, being who they are, will invariably think that the two cards are a mirrored pair, and that they are what people see them to be; either a mirrored pair or not.
The following cards have been reprinted from previous sets and included in Return to Ravnica:
- Arrest, first printed in Mercadian Masques was last seen in Scars of Mirrodin.
- Cancel, first printed in Time Spiral was last seen in Magic 2012.
- Cremate, first printed in Invasion (as an uncommon) was last seen in Guildpact (as a common).
- Dispel was last seen in Worldwake.
- Giant Growth, first printed in Limited Edition was last seen in Magic 2011 and for the first time in an expert-level expansion.
- Heroes' Reunion was last seen in Invasion.
- Inspiration, first printed in Visions was last seen in 8th Edition.
- Mind Rot, first seen in Portal, was last seen in Magic 2013 and for the first time in an expert-level expansion.
- Paralyzing Grasp was last seen in Zendikar.
- Pithing Needle, from Saviors of Kamigawa was last seen in Magic 2010.
- Seek the Horizon was last seen in Saviors of Kamigawa.
- Shock lands were last seen in Ravnica: City of Guilds, Guildpact, Dissension.
- Syncopate was last seen in Odyssey, it changed rarity from a common to an uncommon.
- Tower Drake was last seen in Invasion.
- Traitorous Instinct wast last seen in Rise of the Eldrazi.
- Keening Apparition is a functional reprint of Kami of Ancient Law from Champions of Kamigawa and Ronom Unicorn from Coldsnap, save for creature type.
- Runewing is a functional reprint of Kingfisher from Urza's Destiny.
- Sunspire Griffin is a functional reprint of Chapel Geist, save for creature type.
- Towering Indrik is a functional reprint of Giant Spider from Limited Edition and Giant Mantis from Mirage, save for creature type.
- Transguild Promenade is a functional reprint of Rupture Spire from Conflux.
- Aerial Predation is strictly better than Wing Snare.
- Deadbridge Goliath is strictly better than Hollowhenge Beast and Silverback Ape.
- Deviant Glee is strictly better than Unholy Strength.
- Dynacharge is strictly better than Path of Anger's Flame and Trumpet Blast.
- Electrickery is strictly better than Desert Sandstorm, Evaporate, Hurly-Burly and Seismic Shudder.
- Ethereal Armor is strictly better than Lance.
- Golgari Decoy is strictly better than Prized Unicorn.
- Gore-House Chainwalker is strictly better than Goblin Raider, Hulking Goblin and Yellow Scarves Troops.
- Grim Roustabout is strictly better than Craven Knight, Spineless Thug and Young Wei Recruits.
- Judge's Familiar is strictly better than Aven Skirmisher, Cloud Pirates, Cloud Sprite, Cursecatcher, Fledgling Osprey, Flying Men, Kitesail Scout, Lantern Kami, Manta Riders, Royal Falcon, Sea Eagle, Suntail Hawk, Thought Nibbler, and Zephyr Sprite.
- Mizzium Skin is strictly better than Tortoise Formation.
- Splatter Thug is strictly better than Hulking Ogre.
- Awe for the Guilds is strictly worse than Chaos (Order/Chaos).
- Bellows Lizard is strictly worse than Goblin Taskmaster.
- Daggerdrome Imp is strictly worse than Vault Skirge (but strictly better than Bog Imp, Dakmor Bat and Misshapen Fiend).
- Trained Caracal is strictly worse than Serra Ascendant.
- Deathrite Shaman is a very strong mana dork banned from Modern and Legacy for its useful abilities.
- Azor's Elocutors is an alternate-win card.
Return to Ravnica has five bicolored guild-centric intro packs.
|Intro pack name||Colors included||Foil rare|
|Azorius Advance||W||U||Archon of the Triumvirate|
|Izzet Ingenuity||U||R||Hypersonic Dragon|
|Rakdos Raid||B||R||Carnival Hellsteed|
|Golgari Growth||B||G||Corpsejack Menace|
|Selesnya Surge||W||G||Grove of the Guardian|
|Creep and Conquer||B||G|
|Wrack and Rage||B||R|
A Return to Ravnica booster pack depicting Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
A Return to Ravnica booster pack depicting Rix Maadi Guildmage
A Return to Ravnica booster pack depicting Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius
A Return to Ravnica booster pack depicting Korozda Guildmage
A Return to Ravnica booster pack depicting New Prahv Guildmage
RTR Game Day promotional card Dryad Militant
RTR Game Day (Top 8) promotional card Cryptborn Horror
RTR release-day Friday Night Magic promotional card Deadbridge Goliath
RTR Buy-a-Box promotional card Supreme Verdict
RTR Azorius prerelease promotional card Archon of the Triumvirate
RTR Golgari prerelease promotional card Corpsejack Menace
RTR Izzet prerelease promotional card Hypersonic Dragon
RTR Rakdos prerelease promotional card Carnival Hellsteed
RTR Selesnya prerelease promotional card Grove of the Guardian
- With contributions from Mark Gottlieb, Ethan Fleischer, Shawn Main, and Billy Moreno, who designed 11 cards, namely, Bazaar Krovod, Chronic Flooding, Codex Shredder, Oak Street Innkeeper, Rogue's Passage, Search the City, Security Blockade, Street Sweeper, Tavern Swindler, Underworld Connections, and Urban Burgeoning.
- These uncounterable spells can be "countered" by removal from the stack by cards such as Mindbreak Trap and Time Stop, for example, or, in the case of spells with targets, by causing the spell to "fizzle" due to a lack of legal targets.
- Product page
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