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May 03 2013

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Dragon’s Maze Set Review

renouncetheguilds

Renounce the Guilds

This is the set to conclude the Return to Ravnica block featuring all ten guilds.

 

Set Name: Dragon’s Maze

Block: Return to Ravnica block

Game: Magic the Gathering

Release Date: May 3, 2013

 

 

What is this set about?

All of the guilds return to Dragon’s Maze for one last showdown carrying over  the mechanics from the two sets before. It’s best to acquaint yourself with the effects from the first two expansions before moving onto Dragon’s Maze.

Split cards are back for Dragon’s Maze. This time a new mechanic called Fuse allows you to cast both sides of the Split card at once unlike the older Split cards before. Finally, the Gate archetype return with even more support, namely an instant win condition called Maze’s End.

 

Highlights

It’s been really difficult choosing but here are the top five cards I like that would play well in any situation.

Aetherling: Morphling’s new blue counterpart. Its self-blinking effect is the highlight of the card. It’s basically a large Invisible Stalker most of the time.

 

Advent of the Wurm: Dropping a 5/5 trampling wurm out of nowhere is scary. Your opponent will think twice before attacking when you have 4 mana open. The card itself is a good deal too.

 

Zhur-Taa Druid: Imagine a Llanowar Elves and Goblin Fireslinger attached together and you get this card. Even though it’s a little more costly, I find the multitasking makes up for it.

 

Beck // Call: Beck and Call is among the best split cards available this set. Beck gives all creatures a free draw (Glimpse of Nature). Fused with Call, you get four bird tokens and draw four cards! That’s a +7 net advantage from one card. The only downside is the 8 mana cost to cast it fused.

 

Warleader’s Helix: Lots of buzz surrounding this new Lightning Helix (known as the best “topdeck” card of all time). While it does cost considerably more than its predecessor, Warleader’s Helix degree of 4 damage and 4 life gain is actually a big jump from 3.

 

I feel some reprints this set deserve honorable mention as well. Putrefy is easily my favourite one and it is without question one of the best removal spell in the game. Unflinching Courage is virtually an Armadillo Cloak reprint  which is also good. Also this time, all ten of the Ravnica Shocklands are back albeit harder to pull. This is your last chance to acquire the best set of dual lands printed of all time (unless Alpha dual lands are back). No matter which one you pull, it will always have value.

 

The Legends

I thought I should go over the legendary maze runners seeing as they’re important characters in the set’s theme and story.

 

Azorius’ Lavinia of the Tenth: I see this as the anti-Rakdos card. It paralyzes pretty much all your opponent’s cards for that one turn and is especially devastating in multiplayer games.

 

Orzhov’s Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts: Seven mana is expensive. In return you can chump block something safely every turn. The token generator ensures that you get something if you’re damaged.

 

Boros’ Tajic, Blade of the Legion: It’s a tough-to-remove soldier which is handy as a commander. It gets a major boost but only if you trigger battalion.

 

Selesnya’s Emmara Tandris: Another expensive guild champion. It definitely protects your creature tokens from damage but not from creature removal.

 

Dimir’s Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker: Lots of milling. It’s really good value if you can pull off unblocked attacks every turn with it.

 

Izzet’s Melek, Izzet Paragon: Melek is exactly what an Izzet creature should be. It enables multicasting and it copies spells giving each cast more value. It’s almost as though the top card of your library is an extra card in your hand!

 

Simic’s Vorel of the Hull Clade: This technical nature champion reminds me of ‘Proliferate’ and ‘Evolve’ but is vastly different. It doubles counters in general but only on one card and not on planeswalkers.

 

Rakdos’ Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch: Highly aggressive card alone. It is actually a little tricky to pass on +1/+1 counters on creatures to get the haste effect unless you have ‘Unleash’ or ‘Scavenge’ but rewarding if you can pull it off.

 

Golgari’s Varolz, the Scar-Striped: Having every creature in your graveyard get scavenge can be handy. It creates synergy with the Rakdos and Simic guild too (and Death’s Shadow from Worldwake). The regeneration cost makes a  great sacrifice engine.

 

Gruul’s Ruric Thar, the Unbowed: A really aggressive red/green creature. Any control players will suffer a lot if they don’t get rid of this card quickly.

 

 

Which guild dominated Gatecrash? Which one was best overall in the block?

Of the guilds in Gatecrash, Boros enjoyed the most success while Orzhov and Gruul are closely tied for second.  As for overall, I think Golgari has the best new treasures to work with. Their cards don’t have the best synergy as a guild but as individual cards, several of them are good enough to compete in older formats.

 

Is this set worth my time?

Definitely. It is one of the best multicolor focused set to date. Even if you’re not into Ravnica, the Shockland reprints and the split cards are sure to be interesting to any players.

 

Strengths:

There are lots of dual color combination to choose from and all are just as good. The cards here are generally very player friendly. You have a cycle of Legendaries and three cycles of split cards keeping things fresh. It’s well packed but well organized too. Hardly any cards are out of place and most cards belong to a “cycle” either by color, guild, or rarity. I would go so far as to saying Dragon’s Maze is the best multicolored set I’ve seen since Alara Reborn.

 

Weaknesses:

This set is small. As such the number of guild cards featured are packed in so tightly that there is never one true focus. The rarity of the good multicolored cards tend to be uncommon or higher so expect to see more monocolored common cards in each pack. I would approach this set as a supplement to whichever guild you are supporting and go to Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash to delve further into your favourite guild. This set has ten guilds so it’s more for players with an open mind regarding guilds rather than players with only one or two favourites. Wizards did their best attempt to treat each guild equally but it’s not all perfect. I felt that the Dimir guild seems to have gotten the short end overall (Notion Thief being their only attractive card).

 

Rating: All in all this is the ultimate Ravnica set giving players a sample of what each guild is capable of while showcasing new and powerful cards. If you like multicolored cards and you’ve owned some cards from Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash, then I would recommend investing this set heavily by buying a booster box or a fat pack in multiples. This is an excellent wrap up of the Return to Ravnica block.

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment if you agree or disagree with something in my review.

 (Source: Magic Cards Info, Wizards.com)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.brokenfuse.com/2013/05/03/dragons-maze-set-review/

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