Gatecrash Set Review

Gatecrash is the second entry to the Return to Ravnica block. It reintroduces five more of Ravnica’s guilds.


Set Name: Gatecrash
Block: Return to Ravnica block
Game: Magic the Gathering
Release Date: Feb. 1, 2013

What is this set about?
Gatecrash follows up on Return to Ravnica’s success. Gatecrash focuses on the second half of the guilds and updated their effect mechanics. The five new mechanics of the set are Extort, Cipher, Battalion, Bloodrush, and Evolve. In my opinion, I think the Bloodrush and Extort are the best effects. Cipher and Evolve requires some build around while Battalion is situational.

As always, it’s tough to choose from so many good cards. Lots of the Gatecrash cards directly support their own guilds very well.

Duskmantle Seer: I didn’t ever think Dark Confidant will ever show up again. At least this card is a little more balanced, right? Nope. It’s also a 4/4 flier for 4 mana too. Expect this to fit right at home in modern/legacy Grixis decks.

Assemble the Legion: Having this card out is like having Elspeth, Knight-Errant on the field. Assemble the Legion generates an extra soldier token with haste each passing turn setting a clock on your opponent.

Spark Trooper: Talk about another blast from the past. This one reminds me of the infamous Ball Lightning but it costs 1 white mana more. In return you get a lifelink effect. I think it’s worth the bargain because a single unblocked swing causes a massive 12 life difference.

Frontline Medic: I can picture this card in many white decks in the future. Once battalion activates, your creatures are immune to kill spells and combat damage. That’s quite an unfair edge against your opponent already. Its second effect counters the popular X spell so your opponent has to take an extra step getting rid of it first.

Rapid Hybridization: This would be blue’s Beast Within for less versatility and costs 1 mana. It’s cheap creature destruction in blue which is really rare.

Gatecrash shocklands: If you missed Return to Ravnica’s dual lands or don’t like their color combination, here’s 5 more you’ll be guaranteed to like. Not really much to say here, they’re easy to pick up and still fetches $10+ regardless of the color combination. Alternatively, you can wait for Dragon’s Maze where all 10 shocklands will be reprinted.

Experiment One: An odd name for a Magic creature card but science is the focus of Simic. Excellent turn 1 creature with the possibility of growing to an enormous size and it can regenerate too.

Is this set worth my time?
If you missed out on Return to Ravnica, you should have no problem picking up Gatecrash. I recommend this set just as much as I recommended Return to Ravnica. If you are already satisfied with the guilds from Return to Ravnica, there’s no reason to pick up this pack because there’s hardly any direct support for them. Wait for Dragon’s Maze when all 10 guilds come together.

The five new guilds in Gatecrash are still fair and competitive in their own way. They stand out just as much as the Return to Ravnica guilds from before and you can tell that some effort is put in to differentiate themselves. For example, the Orzhov guild never really stood out to me before back in Guildpact but its reintroduction in Gatecrash raised my interest in it just a bit. The rares and mythic rares are still great. Gatecrash plays it safe by being very similar to Return to Ravnica but just with different guilds. It’s a decent set but not spectacular.

As with before, this set’s main focus is on multicolored guilds so you have to settle on a guild to be successful (or splash a third color) . Thankfully, the mono colored cards this time are a little more usable for those wishing to use a less mana intensive deck in Limited. While the mono colored cards are ok, I felt that the new multicolored cards are lacking in power compared to Return to Ravnica. Creativity is the main issue with Gatecrash. I feel the new effect mechanics are a little less on the creative side with many effects resembling older mechanics. The planeswalkers’ effect of this set are a little too plain as well.

Looking back, which guild really dominated Return to Ravnica?
Rakdos style red/black decks really took off but that’s thanks to the help of vampires and zombies from the Innistrad block. Azorius also deserves honorable mention thanks to the Miracle cards from Avacyn Restored.

Which guild will dominate Gatecrash?
If I had to choose, it will be Dimir and the reason I think so is because there are a lot of good fliers and evasive creatures for them to spam the cipher effect. Gruul is my second choice and it will be the standard aggro deck thanks to cards like Thragtusk and Huntmaster of the Fells already available in Standard. Orzhov seems more fit for older formats where the Extort effect can be abused.

Rating: Gatecrash follow up to Return to Ravnica very nicely. It does what a “part 2” of a set should do which is to finish off introducing the rest of Ravnica’s guild and adding a little something extra for everyone else along the way.

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

(Source: and for estimated card prices)

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