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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Jan 07 2019 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to PureMTGO's exclusive preview card for Ravnica Allegiance! This card has been freely provided by Wizards of the Coast for us to show off to the world.

As some of you will know, I primarily focus on Limited content for this site and am predominantly a Limited player. To me, drafting is the best way to play Magic, so I was thrilled to be given one of the uncommon 'signpost cards' that Wizards slip into sets to help define what a colour pair is supposed to be doing. You saw this in Guilds of Ravnica with the Guildmage cycle: Legion Guildmage, League Guildmage, House Guildmage, Swarm Guildmage and Conclave Guildmage.

There was also another uncommon cycle of gold cards: Truefire Captain showed that Boros was about attacking and the Mentor mechanic, while Crackling Drake showed the Izzet was all about spells, for example.

Our preview card for Ravnica Allegiance is part of the Guildmage cycle. 

World, meet Combine Guildmage:

As you can see, Combine Guildmage is all about those sweet, sweet +1/+1 counters. This is handy, as the Simic mechanic, Adapt, is also about +1/+1 counters as previewed by Wizards of the Coast here. Adapt is a twist on the Monstrosity keyword from Theros block, in fact.

Combine Guildmage is a perfect example of a Limited signpost card. It tells us exactly what green/blue wants to do in draft (it wants +1/+1 counters) and helps us with that. It's first ability will help grow our creatures; though, interestingly, it means that our Adapt cards actually can't use that ability.

Its second ability, however, is the one I like the most. Being able to move +1/+1 counters around messes with combat for your opponent, which is one of the most frustrating things you can do to someone. If you have a single creature out with a +1/+1 counter, and your opponent has, say, a 3/3 and you have another 3/3, the opponent can't attack you if you leave up 1 blue and 1 generic mana or risk losing their creature. Because of that, that means at the end of your turn, you can spend that mana to move counters around anyway, getting your creatures to sizes that will help you attack your opponent or hold off their creatures if you are playing defence.

Wizards of the Coast previewed Zegana, Utopian Speaker in their article I linked above. One of its abilities is to give all of your creatures with +1/+1 counters trample. While I'm not sure if we will see other cards that give your creatures benefits like this, I imagine it is highly likely, making the ability to move counters to creatures who otherwise wouldn't have them very valuable indeed.

So, that's Limited covered. If you are in Simic colours during a draft, you will certainly want to pick up at least one of these.

What about Constructed?

An interesting thing to note about Combine Guildmage is that it is a Merfolk. This is interesting for Standard while Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan are still legal. Imagine it with this card:

Making all of your creatures unblockable certainly sounds like an easy way to win games of Magic. Especially if you combine it with cards that Merfolk decks already want, such as Jadelight Ranger, Merfolk Branchwalker and River Herald's Boon:

  

I'm not sure if this card will be enough to push Merfolk into the top echelon of Standard decks, but it is certainly a card the deck wants. 

I hope you enjoyed our preview card for Ravnica Allegiance. Once again, thanks to Wizards of the Coast for freely providing us this card to show. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the card in the comments below!