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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Feb 05 2019 1:00pm
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RAVNICA ALLEGIANCE

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 Ravnica Allegiance is the unofficial follow-up to Guilds of Ravnica, presenting the other five guilds that were missing from the previous set, complete with relative shock land and mechanic (all the guild mechanics are new this time). Tribal-wise, the focus is even more scattered, because the five guilds from RNA all share a dominant Human population, except for the Elves of the Simic Combine. The latter is also responsible for the large, possibly unprecedented amount of triple-subtype creatures, due to their crazy biomantic experiments a la Dr. Moreau. On top of this, the iconic supernatural monster of each guild is adequately represented: Sphinx for Azorius, Demon for Rakdos (including Rakdos himself), Beast for Gruul, Spirit for Orzhov, and a wide range of things for Simic, most notably Ooze.

 In other tribal news, Sheep (baah!) has got the third member that makes it playable as a proper tribe in Tribal Wars (with an amount of Changelings that's not greater than the amount of tribal creatures); Elephant and Sphinx are now major tribesMutant is close.

 Anyway, let's have a look at all the new creatures and their tribes. As always, the main focus is on all the Constructed applications, the tribes are presented alphabetically, and you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 268 (+5 duplicated Gates)
  • New cards: 243
  • New creatures: 138
  • Reprinted cards: 25
  • Reprinted creatures: 3 (Concordia Pegasus, Mammoth Spider, Junktroller)
  • New Legendary creatures: 8
  • New artifact creatures: 3
  • New enchantment creatures: 0
  • Triple-subtype creatures: 10
  • Creature types affected: 64
  • Tribes with more than 5 additions: Human (+34), Warrior (+14), Rogue (+12), Shaman (+11), Beast (+9), Wizard (+9), Cleric (+7), Soldier (+7)

Advisor: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 51, online: 39

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Orzhov Syndicate is in turmoil during the facts of Ravnica Allegiance: Kaya, previously seen on the Conspiracy plane of Fiora (in one of the increasingly more common instances of a planeswalker from an ancillary product showing up in the regular storyline – I'm dying for the Kenrith twins to come give fashion advice to Jace and Chandra!), took a contract from Bolas to take over the Orzhov leadership by killing all the members of Obzedat, Ghost Council (her former moniker of Kaya, Ghost Assassin delivered on its promise). Enter longtime Orzhov schemer Teysa Karlov, who always wanted to get rid of her old ghostly masters, but now that her wish is fulfilled she finds herself as the number two of the new girl in town, and unawarely aligned with Bolas, to boot. Oh well, at least her new card is good enough. Teysa, Orzhov Scion was a valuable combo piece that didn't have many other applications; Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts was an overblown finisher that saw little play; her RNA incarnation is back to being build-around-me, but in a softer way. You want a deck involving both tokens and death triggers, so creatures like Doomed Traveler or Hunted Witness are her best friends. It's a building space less narrow than one might think, and she has a solid body for a reasonable price.

 On the other hand, the second Advisor of the set is trying to insert a whole new strategy into the tribe's bag of tricks. Persistent Petitioners is the fourth card in the game, after Relentless Rats, Shadowborn Apostle and Rat Colony, to override the four-copy rule to create a deck filled with itself; too bad the result appears to be just a clunky and unappealing mill routine. I mean, each Petitioner requires you to spend one mana per turn to mill one card. Sure they block decently, and four of them can team up to accelerate the milling considerably, but I still can't see the Petitioner deck as something that will happen. It's a neat idea, though, and nice flavor. It's also the first card to reference the Advisor tribe in its rule text, making it the first "Advisor lord" of sorts.


Angel: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 154, online: 153

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Ravnica Allegiance includes powerful Angels. First of all, a five-powered flash finisher for five is always good news, especially for control decks, and Angel of Grace also adds a little bit of, wait for it, Angel's Grace effect on top of everything. Not sure it's worth waiting to cast her until she can counteract a finishing blow, because you'll still be in a dire situation afterwards, but it's a good option to have. As is the returning to 10 life as a graveyard-activable ability, which makes this Angel a potentially useful discard target.

 Seraph of the Scales feels less justified in her mythic status, but she sure is a good four-drop, particularly for her ability to turn into two little fliers post-mortem, thanks to afterlife. Archway Angel is just a tool offered to Gate-heavy decks; and probably not the most alluring one, to be honest, as a 3/4 for six is pretty overcosted.


Beast: +9

   

   

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 New Tribal Total: 366, online: 357

 Related Tribes: Cat, Hydra, Jellyfish

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Lot of filler for Beast (Axebane Beast wasn't even worth featuring), mostly representing the Gruul Clans, with tons of very basic instances of the guild mechanic riot, and one of them even directly linked to brand new Guild Leader Domri through his Planeswalker Deck.

 The Beast that most stands out here is actually Simic-aligned: Hydroid Krasis should more correctly identify as a Hydra, due to the +1/+1 counters based on the X cost, but it's given to the Beast tribe as well. And it's a hoot for ramp decks: a potentially huge flying trampler that also gives you some life and some cards? Great synergy between blue and green, and definitely one of the great cards in the set.

 To a lesser degree, but the rare Lumbering Battlement is also interesting. You want to play it as a follow-up to an early board development, especially with creatures that have an ETB trigger. You exile all those creatures, get a huge vigilant beater, and when your white Beast leaves the battlefield, no matter toward what destination, you get all your other creatures back. So you might also want to flicker this intriguing build-around-me dude yourself.


Berserker: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 68, online: 65

 Related Tribes: GoblinOgre

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Of the two new Berserkers, Zhur-Taa Goblin is the one that's most likely to see play in Constructed, since it's a two-drop that you can play either as a 3/3 or as a hasty 2/2. Riot is a pretty strong mechanic.


Bird: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 237, online: 224

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Only filler for the Birds, as the similarly named Senate Courier and Syndicate Messenger are just two unremarkable commons, aligned to Azorius and Orzhov, respectively, as the names imply. The Courier is part of a minor cycle of monocolored creatures with an activated ability that uses the other color of their guild.


Boar: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 36, online: 34

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: A trinity of Boars! And they're all playable. I mean, Territorial Boar is just a Grizzly Bears (which, for a Boar, is already noteworthy), but can occasionally become better. And Charging War Boar, an exclusive of Domri's Planeswalker Deck, is a solid, aggressive three-drop if its favorite planeswalker is around.

 But the big news here is that the Boars get their own Craterhoof Behemoth! To be fair, they already had the very similar Decimator of the Provinces, but End-Raze Forerunners is cheaper and has/provides vigilance as well. In fact, the Forerunners cost as much as the actual Craterhoof Behemoth, and while the latter is able to generate more overwhelming alpha strikes more often, there's something to be said for a 7/7 vigilant trampler that remains so even after its very first turn ended without a win. There might be situations where this guy is even better than its model.


Cat: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 172, online: 165

 Related Tribes: Beast

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Man, half these Cats are vanilla, and the other half is still made up of forgettable commons. I guess the tribe now has a one-drop with deathtouch. Sort of.


Centaur: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 56, online: 56

 Related Tribes: Druid

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Gruul's new Guild Champion, Nikya of the Old Ways, is a Centaur lady who feels very flashy, but if analyzed closely, I don't think she's that good. The clause that prevents you from casting noncreature spells is more problematic than one would think, even within a purely aggro deck. And there are other ways to double your mana for five, though admittedly none of them comes with a 5/5 body attached. It's also worth noting that Nikya being legendary, you won't be able to abuse her mana duplication more than once.


Cleric: +7

   

  

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 New Tribal Total: 380, online: 355

 Related Tribes: Human, Spirit, Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: A conspicuous amount of new Clerics, but of little consequence. There's a couple afterlife creatures (Allegiance's Clerics mostly hail from the Orzhov Syndicate), and some poor man's versions of famous cards. For instance, Pitiless Pontiff is just a worse Cartel Aristocrat; Impassioned Orator is not going to break any new ground in the Soul Sisters archetype; and Forbidding Spirit is Ghostly Prison on legs, but just for one turn. Even the Guildmage doesn't look too efficient, though I've been known to dislike most of the new batch of Guildmages from this third trip to Ravnica.

 The only rare here is Priest of Forgotten Gods, who triggers a crazy long chain of events by just tapping herself: you sacrifice two creatures, add two black mana and draw a card, and a number of other players of your choice each sacrifice one creature and lose two life. It's interesting to note that you can also be one of the players subjected to the second series of effects, so you end up sacrificing a total of three creatures (while losing life as well). Don't ask me why you should do that, but you can. Also don't ask me if this is a good Cleric, because I can't really tell. I'm veering toward, "Anything that asks for a double sacrifice is probably not very effective very often". But at least she's inexpensive to cast and doesn't require mana to activate, so you can perform your whole sacrificial ritual with ease.


Construct: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 121, online: 120

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Well, Gate.dek finds perhaps its main attraction in this hard-to-chump 8/8 Construct that can drop for cheap and comes back from the graveyard (if at the cost of losing a draw). I personally don't think it'll be worth the inherent slowness of a tapland-heavy deck, but it'd sure make for a different type of build, at least for Standard.


Crab: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 25, online: 24

 Related Tribes: Crocodile, Elf, Fish, Octopus, Turtle, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Welcome in the Simic Hall of the Freaks! This time around the blue-green guild's biomantic subtype mix has been wild, and Crab is smack dab in the middle of it. Because when you're building some horrifying hybrid, pincers are always a good complement. So these four Crabs all come with adapt, the Simic mechanic directly descended from Theros block's monstrosity, but with the difference that adapt doesn't check if it's been used before, it only checks if there's +1/+1 counters on the creature, so if you manage to move those counters elsewhere or spend them somehow, you can do it again.

 The common Crab (mix) creatures are just basic demonstrations of adapt like Skitter Eel, or convoluted ones like Scuttlegator, which is basically a 9/9 vanilla for 14 mana. The uncommon Sharktocrab (yeah, these names are something else; can you imagine a very serious elf bio-engineer who points at their creation and says, "We're gonna name this one... the Sharktocrab!") has a decent body/cost ratio, and a useful Frost Titan-esque trigger when it adapts. The rare Growth-Chamber Guardian is, unsurprusingly, the most accomplished, because it's a bear that turns into a 4/4 for three, and when it does, it searches for another copy of itself, in a way that reminds a bit of the classic Llanowar Sentinel (this is in fact the instance of Crab's genetic material combined with an Elf's). To put all the four Sentinels onto the battlefield at once, you'd have to spend a total of nine mana; with the Guardian is much more (five mana apiece), but you also get 4/4s rather than 2/3s, and the first drop is actually cheaper. Plus, you can choose another route entirely, go to the Gruuls and use cards that provide riot, like Rhythm of the Wild; in that case, you'll get a bunch of 3/3s, but the search trigger is free, so you'll only end up spending eight mana for the whole lot!


Crocodile: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 21, online: 20

 Related Tribes: Crab, Turtle

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Simic Crocodile blend is underwhelming, and the guildless black one is vanilla, so nothing much to talk about here. Except the latter's flavor text offers us a little parable about the true King of the Sewers, so there's that.


Demon: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 100, online: 97

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The Ravnica set including the Rakdos Cult was always bound to have a few Demons in it, and here we are. In fact, we outright celebrate the 100th member of the tribe, which is, if we go by collector's number, also the most effective of this newborn trio, namely Spawn of Mayhem. The Rakdos mechanic, spectacle, mostly means you can pay less for stuff if you damaged the opponent in the same turn, and the payoff here is a 4/4 flying trampler for just three mana. Fulfilling spectacle is generally not that difficult, except maybe in a Demon tribal deck on turn 3, but the Spawn's regular cost is still low enough, and he'll start dealing one extra damage to each player every upkeep (and then he'll start growing when you'll start dying, because he's evil), which is actually useful, since it enables further spectacle spells even before the combat phase.

 There's a second mythic Demon in the form of Rakdos himself, at his third incarnation and still naturally a Guild Leader (the moment they kill him off, will they have to change the guild's name?). The comma-free Rakdos the Defiler was hardly playable, Rakdos, Lord of Riots could have been but never really found a home anywhere, and now the flamboyantly-named Rakdos, the Showstopper... just damn flips coins, which is never a good way to encourage players to run your card. At the end of the day, he's a Titan-mana finisher that swings for six in the air, and that's fine, but the extra reason to play him is that he might kill a few creatures if you're lucky? Which includes your creatures, by the way, because, you know, Rakdos is reckless. The aspect I found more interesting in that text is that it links the Imp tribe to the Demon tribe, I believe for the first time (the only previous hint was in the name of Dissension's Demon's Jester, which was printed concurrently to the first Rakdos Demon card).


Devil: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 22, online: 21

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: This Footlight Fiend is a good one-drop to chump, possibly trade, or maybe trade because you chumped, or you can just spare yourself some damage and kill that annoying Birds of Paradise, or maybe you involve it in some infinite sacrifice/infinite recursion combo. Solid addition to the still growing Devil tribe.


Dragon: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 191, online: 189

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Let's say hello to the new member of the Dragon subset of five-mana hasty fliers with added value. Skarrgan Hellkite can choose if being a 5/5 like Thundermaw Hellkite, but without haste, or a 4/4 with haste like Stormbreath Dragon, but without protection. And of course its last ability is nowhere near Glorybringer's, especially since it's so mana intensive and to even be able to activate it, you'll need to forgo haste (unless you're running Rhythm of the Wild). So, it's kind of the poorest member of its club, but it's still a member of that club, which means we're probably going to see a lot of this guy during his Standard tenure.


Drake: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 83, online: 82

 Related Tribes: Salamander

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: All right, Drake can't always get new members like Enigma Drake and Crackling Drake (in fact, it almost never does). These two have zero Constructed potential, though they both seem solid picks in Limited.


Druid: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 171, online: 167

 Related Tribes: Centaur, Elf

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Of course Nykya of the Old Ways is also a Druid, seeing that she deals in mana, but the mana producer that raises attention here is definitely Incubation Druid, which at first appears as one of those generally disregarded two-drop mana dudes, but she's more explosive than that. Her strength doesn't even rely on being able to turn into a 3/5 later, although that's also a good thing for a mana dork (cfr. Werebear or Drover of the Mighty in Dinosaur decks). The main point is, in order to triplicate her mana output and untap with six available mana on turn 3, you just have to land a +1/+1 counter on her somehow. There are plenty of ways to do that, from the old Simic mechanic graft (most notably through the land Llanowar Reborn), to current techniques like the oft-mentioned Rhythm of the Wild, though in this case you have to move the ramp a bit further along the curve. But I'm confident Incubation Druid ramp will be a thing in Standard, at least.

 Also, what the hell is she doing with those cocooned bodies? I don't think I wanna know.


Dryad: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 39, online: 37

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Saruli Caretaker is the creature version of Springleaf Drum. The advantage is getting an early blocker, but the mana production is far from efficient, unless you plan to use it for instant-speed spells in the opponent's turn, which seems somewhat unlikely. Still, it's not the worst one-drop ever, but Dryad in particular got a few strong ones in recent years, like Dryad Militant and Gnarlwood Dryad, or even the risky Old-Growth Dryads, not to mention the always relevant Dryad Arbor.


Elemental: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 394, online: 387

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: No new green Elementals, so it's all a song of ice and fire here. The former is represented by Chillbringer, which is just a common Frost Titan (bad) impression. The red ones try to be more creative, though none of them really says "playable". Like, in what deck exactly would you run Amplifire? One where the chances of it getting a huge body turn after turn are maximized? But then, what's its role there? It's not particularly cheap, and it's very at risk of just being a 2/2 for 4. Smelt-Ward Ignus incorporates a miniature Act of Treason for power 3 or less; you even have access to it right away because it doesn't require tapping the Ignus, but a one-off conditional control is not such a crucial tool to justify the presence in your deck of a 2/1 for 2. And Rumbling Ruin is trying to capitalize on your +1/+1 counters to engineer a lethal alpha strike, but it costs way too much, is very likely to not do anything at all, and doesn't even come in the most favorable colors.


Elephant: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 52, online: 51

 Related Tribes: Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Well, this is decent in Limited, let's leave it at that.


Elf: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 366, online: 353

 Related Tribes: Crab, Druid, Lizard, Ooze, Scout, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Elves get a new ramp instrument in Incubation Druid, though she's probably going to be seen more often outside Elf builds, since they certainly don't need help with ramping. They also get the new Llanowar Sentinel in Growth-Chamber Guardian and, more crucially for the tribe, a Mystic Snake equivalent in Frilled Mystic, which is slightly harder to cast than the Snake (though double green will prove mostly irrelevant in the decks that will run her) in exchange for a non-negligible increase in power.

 By the way, look at all those secondary subtypes! With just 5 new members, Elf has almost as much cross-pollination as Human.

 But I'm burying the lede here, as Elf is giving us the best creature in the set, not to mention the new Simic Leader: the magnificent Prime Speaker Vannifar. And she's the best because she's Birthing Pod on legs! Woot! She does cost a bit more than the Pod in average (no Phyrexian mana), and of course she's more frail from game 1 already (although she's bolt-proof at least), but being a creature also means she's easier to untap. She's already getting all Johnnies excited, and the long chain of transformations she can do in Modern in a single turn will make you dizzy. Look at this:

  1. Tap Vannifar, turn any two-drop into Bounding Krasis, untap Vannifar.
  2. Tap Vannifar, turn the Krasis into Breaching Hippocamp, untap Vannifar.
  3. Tap Vannifar, turn the Hippocamp into Zealous Conscripts, untap Vannifar.
  4. Tap Vannifar, turn the Conscripts into Woodland Bellower, fetch another Krasis, untap Vannifar.
  5. Tap Vannifar, turn the Krasis into Restoration Angel, blink the Bellower, fetch a third Krasis, untap Vannifar.
  6. Tap Vannifar, turn the Angel into Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, go infinite with the surviving Krasis.

 Pod is back in business, baby!


Faerie: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 75, online: 72

 Related Tribes: Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Common Faerie that could, I guess, surprise-block Vendilion Clique and survive? Not terrible, but nothing to remember.


Fish: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 33, online: 28

 Related Tribes: Crab, Octopus

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The Fish parts of the Simic Combine's marine life amalgams aren't the best parts, they're just there to add more adapt creatures.


Frog: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 25, online: 24

 Related Tribes: Lizard, Snake, Troll, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The Simic also dabble in reptile/amphibian mixtures, so here's some Frogs combined with Lizards, Snakes and, uh, Trolls. Not much to write home about, though, except for Galloping Lizrog, which, other than proving Mark Rosewater's involvement in the creative process, is a way to remove counters from adapt creatures in order to adapt them again. It's also potentially a finishing move if you can give it haste, like, once again, through Rhythm of the Wild, which will also protect your endgame from the other type of counters. Frog, besides these, only includes two other creatures able to handle +1/+1 counters, both coming from past Simic experimentations: Plaxcaster Frogling from Dissension and Crocanura from Gatecrash, therefore graft and evolve, respectively. Probably not enough to build with Galloping Lizrog in-tribe, but Frog lovers are allowed to dream.


Giant: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 145, online: 139

 Related Tribes: Knight, Shaman, Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The "protector" cycle of four-drops with all-colored casting cost split between the two colors of their guild was much better the first time it showed up in Guilds of Ravnica. In Allegiance, the best one is Frilled Mystic, though Sunder Shaman, the Gruul representative and a Giant, is not too far behind, as an above-the-curve beater that can't be gang-blocked and also occasionally destroys an artifact or enchantment. Totally unappealing in a Giant deck, however.

 The other new additions for the tribe are an unremarkable common that comes in the company of a Human pet, and an uncommon that tries to do big things, but being an uncommon, it ends up asking too much mana for them.


Goblin: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 328, online: 315

 Related Tribes: Berserker, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Not a good showing for Goblins. Zhur-Taa Goblin is an okay two-drop in Standard, as riot makes him either a 3/3 or a 2/2 with haste; but the competition in the larger eternal formats is too high, except maybe in a Kaleidoscope Goblin deck. Tin Street Dodger is a one-drop with haste, so that's good for him; his ability is not going to be too relevant in early turns, when all the spare mana is probably devoted to board development, but it's still a welcome option for late. The rest of this batch is pretty terrible.


Griffin: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 42, online: 41

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: A Griffin entirely designed for Limited. Not a new thing.


Homunculus: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 17, online: 16

 Related Tribes: Mutant

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I had wished for something better in the Homunculus area, because it's not a tribe you can expect to be featured in every set, and only the Simic's mad science justifies their presence here. Aeromunculus is a not terribly costed adapt creature with flying, but that's just the extent of its capabilities. Dovin's Automaton is remarkable only for being a Dovin's Planeswalker Deck exclusive card. Also, if it's mechanical, shouldn't it be just a Construct? I feel like I'm asking this very question every single time they print mechanical constructs and call them whatever they want, which happens constantly.


Hound: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 69, online: 65

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This Hound with strangely realistic art (taken from a weird angle) is a canine take on Benevolent Bodyguard or Dauntless Bodyguard. Compared to the latter, it can save a creature that dropped afterwards too, but it requires mana, and in the meantime it can't attack. Could be maybe useful in conjunction with something you absolutely need to protect, like the prodigious Prime Speaker Vannifar. Even if being indestructible doesn't guarantee survival, even in Standard.


Human: +34

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 2185, online: 2002

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Cleric, Knight, Lizard, Rogue, Shaman, Soldier, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: Three of the Guild Champions are Human, so enjoy all these new options, Human players. The one creature that references the tribe in its text is Hero of Precinct One, who's able to create more Humans if you cast multicolored spells. She's a white weenie bear and the token creation doesn't have additional costs, so the design is favorable; it remains to be seen if there'll be a deck somewhere that wants to run tons of multicolored cards and a white two-drop just to make a novel Young Pyromancer impression, maybe with the added value of "Humans matter" cards.


Hydra: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 40, online: 40

 Related Tribes: Beast, Jellyfish

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: I don't care if it looks like a Jellyfish and for some reason it's been given the Beast type too: Hydroid Krasis is a Hydra. It has the casting cost of a Hydra, and associated bonuses of the sort Hydras sometimes provide. If it's different from other Hydras, it's because it's a blue Hydra, the first of its kind besides Progenitus. Putting together green's iconic monster with blue, we get a trampler that also flies, and a casting trigger (a la Eldrazi, so even if the creature gets countered, the trigger still resolves) that gains you life but also draws you cards. Of course this is a ramp payoff of the most refined. You can't just drop it for X=1, netting nothing, and then growing the Hydroid later via Kalonian Hydra. It's also not advisable to use any odd amount of X, since the trigger is rounded down. With an average amount of 4, which involves a six-mana dump, we'll get two life, which is pretty underwhelming, and two cards, which on the contrary might be a good deal for a 4/4 flying finisher. It's what Consecrated Sphinx gives you during the first (opponent's) turn, but with Hydroid is much more of a guarantee, even if they counter or kill our Hydra on the spot. And having access to larger quantities of mana, you can cast Hydroid for, say, ten mana, obtaining four life and four cards and being left with an impressive 8/8 flying trampler on the board. So it's definitely ramp deck material, but one that could make a case for itself in pretty much every single one of them, possibly even colorless ones like Tron and Post.


Imp: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 36, online: 34

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Are the conditional graveyard hate and the little bit of lifegain enough to make this common Imp noteworthy despite its cost? The answer, I'm afraid, is no.


Insect: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 162, online: 158

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: A black flash flier that gives a temporary power boost to another flier. Not particularly memorable, if fairly playable in Limited. It made me wonder, though, how frequent is flash in black, since it's not a mechanic I would associate with the color, and yet I've been seeing it recently, most notably with Dire Fleet Poisoner. It turns out there are only six other monoblack creatures sporting the keyword, half of which have been printed in the past 16 months. So maybe it's a new trend? Has the mechanical color pie been reworked a little bit? It also turns out that, yes, it has been: flash is now secondary in black. And now you know.


Jellyfish: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 9, online: 9

 Related Tribes: Beast, Hydra

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: We talked about Hydroid Krasis extensively already, but let's not forget that it's also a Jellyfish (being indeed a "krasis", Simic lingo for a patchwork of creatures), which automatically makes it the best Jellyfish ever printed, give or take the seminal case of Man-o'-War. It's also the only green Jellyfish or, to be fair, the only non-monoblue Jellyfish. So I'm thinking Jellyfish ramp, with this as a payoff and the others only there to buy time, which is something Man-o'-War, Gomazoa and Guard Gomazoa are adept at.


Knight: +4

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 252, online: 239

 Related Tribes: Giant, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Half of these Knights perfectly encapsulates the kind of issues that typically arise when uncommon cards try to do more than their rarity level can afford. For instance, Knight of the Last Breath could easily be a mythic if its casting cost was 4. And Azorius Skyguard's static ability would be great, but not on a 3/3 for six mana. Ah, uncommon fillers, when will you learn?


Lizard: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 51, online: 47

 Related Tribes: Elf, Frog, Human, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Unlike Frog, Lizard does traffic a little bit in +1/+1 counters, so Galloping Lizrog might find some support when surrounded by members of its second tribe. Some hopeful Johnny out there might try to concoct a little something with Bloodspore Thrinax.

 Sauroform Hybrid looks like he's wearing a rubber suit, and is a reasonably costed but overall pretty irrelevant adapt bear.

 And I'm convinced they established Frilled Mystic's creature types only to be able to say "Lizard Wizard!" (It's the first of its kind, would you believe it?)


Merfolk: +4

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 207, online: 204

 Related Tribes: Mutant, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The advent of the superlative Prime Speaker Vannifar as guildmaster caused good old Zegana to lose her previous position and be demoted to play second fiddle to the beautiful Ooze. Prime Speaker Zegana was essentially a six-mana drawing spell cum finisher that capitalized on the presence of a large powered creature already on the battlefield, so she was pretty situational: she could be amazing at times, totally underwhelming at others, with a constant risk of being win more (she's a minor staple in Commander, though). Zegana, Utopian Speaker (that's her political party, the Utopian movement; Vannifar is an Adaptionist) has a more stable cost/body ratio, but is only able to draw one card. But she also grants trample to all the creatures in your team with a +1/+1 counter on them, and later turns into a 8/8 trampler herself, so she has decent mid-game and a strong late game, and her build-around requirements are easy to meet, starting from any deck that employs the +1/+1 counter-friendly Merfolk from Ixalan block. The new Zegana shows a minor degree of variance compared to her previous incarnation; she's more consistent but less exciting.

 The other rare is Benthic Biomancer, which is a one-drop that can loot once on turn two while also becoming bigger. He seems okay, but I'm not sure he was worthy a rare slot. He can repeat his whole routine if you put another counter on him, or move away the one he got, like maybe with Combine Guildmage, I guess. But it remains just looting, not straight card advantage.


Mutant: +4

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 47, online: 47

 Related Tribes: Homunculus, Merfolk, Rogue, Vedalken, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Now, Mutant is definitely a tribe that traffics in +1/+1 counters. In fact, it was the main representative of both the previous Simic mechanics, graft and evolve, both of which involve such counters. Some of those older Mutants also have activated abilities whose cost Biomancer's Familiar could reduce, although the first mechanic that comes to mind in this case is level up, but the possibilities here are truly endless. In fact, the Familiar is definitely a fine creature, capable of affecting everything it's surrounded with, much in the same way as Winding Constrictor, if to less explosive results, because the mana cost is never reduced to zero so the abuse is somewhat limited. Of course it's especially designed to work with adapt creatures, because its second ability is able to turn that mechanic from one-off into repeatable. You can look at its fellow Mutants from Allegiance and see how, with Biomancer's Familiar around, Aeromunculus becomes a flier that can grow every turn for two mana, while Benthic Biomancer (which might well be the Familiar's master) is now a looter that keeps getting bigger turn after turn for just one mana, and doesn't even need to tap to activate his looting.

 Skatewing Spy is the latest in a series of creatures that grant a static ability to their team provided everybody is wearing one or more +1/+1 counters. Khans of Tarkir block had several of these, all linked to the Outlast mechanic, of which Abzan Falconer does the same as Skatewing Spy for one less mana. In blue, Sapphire Drake from Gatecrash was a more expensive version. Ravnica Allegiance has three of these creatures, and the other two, Zegana, Utopian Speaker and Trollbred Guardian, give both trample and seem more appealing than the Spy.


Octopus: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 7, online: 7

 Related Tribes: Crab, Fish

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Behold the seventh Octopus! Which is also a mythic! To be fair, among its five previous members there had already been a mythic Octopus somehow: the gargantuan Lorthos, the Tidemaker. The non-Legendary Mesmerizing Benthid is more manageable, and essentially reads as a 4/5 hexproof for five mana. Or better, a 4/5 that you have to spend three spot removals against to get rid of it. But honestly, not being evasive and not having any other combat ability, it doesn't really feel mythic-worthy; but it's probably more correct to look at it as three creatures for five mana, which is a good deal and important if you can do something with this miniature army, or recur the Benthid to create more of those annoying chump-blockers. It's also a valuable addition to Illusion decks, where its tokens will pump Krovikan Mist and get pumped by Lord of the Unreal.

 But wait, how could I forget the uncanny Sharktocrab! (It's the one that clears the seven Octopi threshold, technically). Man, I want a comic book series titled The Many Adventures of Sharktocrab. To be fair, it's a decent creature, and even approaches goodness with an active Biomancer's Familiar making it perform the Frost Titan routine for just two mana, while getting larger and larger. Nobody messes with the Sharktocrab!


Ogre: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 85, online: 80

 Related Tribes: Berserker, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: The Ogres are bruisers, thugs, muscles. This much is true. Just look at their artwork up there, they're all smashing things and/or striking blows (except for Undercity Scavenger, who's just eating filth). Gruul Spellbreaker is the most efficient beater here; in fact, he's a pretty great three-drop, either a 3/3 hasty trampler or a 4/4 trampler, with partial hexproof and a very valuable built-in resistance to Settle the Wreckage and other instant tricks that target the attacking player (Diabolic Edict, for instance). It will see play, and should certainly become a fixture in Ogre decks.


Ooze: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 27, online: 26

 Related Tribes: Elf, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Oh yeah, the glorious Prime Speaker Vannifar is also an Ooze. Apparently, her Simic researches into scientific madness mutated her body into protoplasmic ooze that gives her pseudopods and a translucent skin like a Jellyfish (there was no room for a fourth creature type, I guess). She can absorb oxygen through her skin and doesn't need to sleep. She considers herself a superior life form, and truly is. I mean, I would find her gorgeous even if she looked like a mix between a Rat and an Ogre, that's just how much I love Birthing Pod!

 But it's not all: there's a second mythic Ooze! And it's great, too! This is really too much for a small tribe that only allowed for one other mythic before, The Mimeoplasm. Biogenic Ooze is a veritable Ooze lord, too, as it puts a +1/+1 counter on every Ooze you control starting from the end of the turn it drops, plus it comes equipped with an Ooze companion token, and can generate more of those at four mana apiece. It's a one-card-army with applications that go beyond tribal strategies. Five mana for two creatures that instantly become 3/3s (unless Biogenic Ooze gets removed before the next end step kicks in) is already high midrange value, but then the board presence can spiral out of control fast.

 What these two new additions mean for an Ooze tribal deck is the achievement of a team with no dead weight anymore. We can field them alongside Scavenging Ooze, Predator Ooze and Acidic Slime, and we'll have a Pod-like basis for Vannifar to experiment with. Necrotic Ooze can be good, too, as a possible endgame.


Rhino: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 31, online: 31

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Enraged Ceratok is honest; a 4/4 for 4 with a nice combat ability that makes trading with it a bit harder, chump-blocking impossible. Honest, but still probably just a Limited pick and nothing more, even within Rhino decks. Midrange is a very competitive space.


Rogue: +12

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 243, online: 228

 Related Tribes: Faerie, Goblin, Human, Mutant, Vedalken, Viashino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: A ton of new Rogues, but nothing past uncommon rarity. They hail from Orzhov, Rakdos or Gruul, so we see instances of afterlife, riot and spectacle, but nothing noteworthy. Orzhov Enforcer is serviceable, as a two-drop deathtoucher with afterlife is bound to replace herself after she inevitably trades. Rakdos Firewheeler is part of the "protectors" cycle, but is not much better than, say, Flametongue Kavu; in fact, for that much more problematic casting cost, it just gets one point of toughness more (which is mostly irrelevant since it's still in bolt range), and two damage to the opponent's dome, but the damage to the targeted creature is much smaller, so the removal value is worse.


Salamander: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 10, online: 10

 Related Tribes: Drake

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: This is a one-drop 1/1 flier that can turn into a 5/5 at some point; in the right deck (i.e. the Izzet "instants and sorceries matter", (Delver of Secret)/Young Pyromancer kind of build), that point can even come sooner rather than later. So it's not bad, but it becomes exceptional as a Salamander, since there's so few of them and no rare at all, so they get what they can. I don't understand why there has to be a Salamander tribe, anyway. The attempted zoological accuracy of this fantasy game never ceases to amaze and annoy me.


Scout: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 134, online: 128

 Related Tribes: Elf

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: The current policy of R&D is to avoid searching the entire library too often, to save time during tournaments (of course they made an exception for the dazzling Prime Speaker Vannifar). So for the time being we're stuck with average effects that just look at the first few cards at the top. This Scout would make a decent Adventurous Impulse impression if the searched card ended up in your hand, but just as a topdeck manipulator it's pretty terrible.


Shade: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 29, online: 27

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Shade must rank among the most boring tribes in the game. There are 29 creatures with this subtype now, and all of them have a pumping ability in the form "pay some mana, get some boost" (except for Ihsan's Shade, but he's been made part of the tribe just because of his name; old cards, you know). This said, lifelink on a pumpable one-drop commands some modicum of attention. Too bad the 3-for-1 pumping is awfully overcosted as a consequence.


Shaman: +11

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 372, online: 367

 Related Tribes: Goblin, Giant, Human, Viashino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: RNA Shamans come mostly in red. Rakdos Champion Judith, the Scourge Diva is a Maleficent cosplayer (the circus/stage show aspect of the Rakdos lore is getting out of hand) that provides aggression and tactical damage. But she's not just an excellent Goblin booster, although she's also exactly that, due to the quantity of power-hungry little gobbos you're already happily sending to their death in the average Goblin game (there's a convoluted five-card infinite combo in Standard involving her, Skirk Prospector, Squee, the Immortal, Goblin Warchief and Runaway Steam-Kin). The key here is the fact that previous "death triggers matter" card like Blood Artist could only direct their damage (or loss of life) to the opponent's face, whereas Judith pings any target. She's a three-drop that, in the correct aggro deck, potentially generates five damage just for reaching the battlefield: two by immediately boosting your one-drop and your two-drop, and another three if the opponent sweeps the board right after, as they should. She's also a rare legend that doesn't mind multiple copies of herself, because the second one leaving the battlefield as a state-based effect will trigger both of them for two damage distributed at will. Truly a consummate diva.

 Also in Rakdos, Rix Maadi Reveler is nicely adaptable to the stage of the game you bring him in, as he can be either a two-drop bear that provides rummaging (the opposite of looting: discard, then draw) or, if you can enable spectacle, a more robust draw in the classic Wheel of Fortune or The Flame of Keld mold. Similarly, Immolation Shaman starts as incidental damage provider for aggro, but his activation gives him a late game value if needed, which might justify his more defensive-oriented body. Fireblade Artist is kind of interesting too, since a two-drop 2/2 with haste is a solid inclusion in any aggro deck, and then he can add some extra damage in the upkeep, either in the turn you're trying to seal the deal, or to take advantage of some death trigger, maybe under Judith's feverish leadership. Granted, the upkeep used as the only window to activate an ability is never ideal, but you can look at it as a mere bonus, since the Artist will be doing his beatdown job already.

 For the rest, there's a couple Guildmages doing their things more or less efficiently (let's say "less"; I really don't like activations that require mana). Gruul Beastmaster is a more expensive Wild Beastmaster that somehow only affects one creature, but has riot (I won't even compare it to Cultivator of Blades). And Sunder Shaman, as noted above, is fine.


Sheep: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 3, online: 3

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: It finally happened, the dream has turned into reality! I present you... Sheep tribal! Let's just quickly remind ourselves of the other two Sheep that, with the side complement of a couple changelings, will now be able to compose a proper Tribal Wars list. In fact, let's put all three of them side by side in chronological order, from the rusty mechanical ram from Mirrodin, through the god-favored one from Theros, to the Gate-loving one from Ravnica (no ewes here, Sheep is a very patriarchal tribe).

  

 The thing is, they're not even that bad (well, the last two at least). But they have wonderfully nothing in common.

  • They don't share colors.
  • They don't share mechanics.
  • The first is an artifact, the second an enchantment, the third neither.
  • The first looks for Equipment, the second expects to be accompanied by lifegain and/or a Doran, the Siege Tower effect, the third just wants a Gate-filled land base.

 They curve well from CMC 2 to CMC 4, though. So, good brewing! Remember, nothing says fantasy battle like fielding an army of livestock animals. Baa!


Skeleton: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 49, online: 47

 Related Tribes: Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Skeleton is not new to creatures capable of returning to the battlefield: Reassembling Skeleton does it unconditionally for the same cost; same as Tenacious Dead, but only if you have open mana to spend upon its death. They're both 1/1s, though, while Gutterbones has double the power, and drops on turn one, something that Reassembling Skeleton can't do. Spectacle as a condition is not too hard to fulfill, putting it on par with cards like Bloodsoaked Champion. I'd say Reassembling Skeleton is still better if you need guaranteed recursion for combo purposes, otherwise Gutterbones is faster and more effective on the board.


Snake: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 78, online: 70

 Related Tribes: Frog

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Okay, going from Coiling Oracle and Patagia Viper to this, it's safe to say Snake fell out of favor with the Simic Combine since Dissension times.


Soldier: +7

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 637, online: 579

 Related Tribes: Elephant, Giant, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Amidst the filler, the two Soldiers that most distinguish themselves are Tithe Taker, a solid two-drop that replaces itself with afterlife and makes harder for the opponent to take advantage of instant-speed spells and abilities, and Guild Champion sui generis Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. Jace's personal assistant was previously featured as a card with the completely disregarded midrange detainer Lavinia of the Tenth (protection from red was cool, but probably not so relevant on a ground-based 4/4 that hits the battlefield when the Goblin assault already killed you). Her newest incarnation, following Isperia's assassination at the hands of Vraska and Dovin's takeover of the Azorius Senate, qualifies more as a high-profile hoser, and seems tailored to find a home in Hatebears or Death & Taxes builds. She's a fairly manageable two-drop 2/2, in the same vein as cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Gaddock Teeg, but unlike these two, she's not symmetrical, she stops two things from happening at the opponent's side only: spells being cast without spending mana, and noncreature spells being cast with the help of nonland sources or mana multiplicators or just any land that taps for more than one mana. It's a exceptionally wide range of hatred for the good Lavinia, covering major strategies across all formats such as Tron, Post, Elves and any other ramp; usually Storm, which relies on the boost of rituals to cast (Past in Flame) before hitting five lands; Living End and all cascade triggers; of course Manaless Dredge with Dread Return; most of the early-turn zero-cost spells like Force of Will; of course everything that costs zero, so  bye bye Moxen of any sort; and so on and so forth. She affects more cards the more we move backwards through the eternal formats, all the way to stopping Black Lotus-fueled explosive starts in Vintage, where Shop might well just be forced to concede to her on sight. Lavinia seems pretty angry at how things are going on Ravnica, but also pretty much anywhere in the multiverse.


Sphinx: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 51, online: 51

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Two quirky uncommon Sphinges, a "protector" that's slightly harder to kill than it should, and an "all-color" colorless creature whose hexproof ability gets increasingly less effective at every new set (and Transguild Courier remains the go-to guy for color enabling purposes, just because it's almost half the cost).

 And then there's Sphinx of Foresight, which is pretty much revolutionary, given that it affects something that's rarely a concern of card texts: the mulligan. With this Sphinx in your opening seven, you can keep a problematic hand knowing you'll get the chance to fix it with a pre-game scry 3. The cost? Probably running four copies of a good, not great creature. On the battlefield, Sphinx of Foresight is solid, I'd say on par with Conundrum Sphinx (actually, he plays well with Conundrum, though not as well as Sphinx of Jwar Isle). Free scry every turn is a nice ability to have. It remains to be seen which deck will afford to run a set of not particularly board-affecting midrange blue fliers.


Spirit: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 448, online: 441

 Related Tribes: Cat, Cleric

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The "protector" Basilica Bell-Haunt seems a little undercooked for its cost, and I really don't see the point of trying and recurring Forbidding Spirit if you can play Ghostly Prison instead. The only Spirit that I like here is Pestilent Spirit, because the idea of giving deathtouch to your spells is novel. Of course it asks to be played in a red build (it's designed to be easy to splash), where cards like Electrickery turn into delightful one-sided sweeps and pingers like Cunning Sparkmage into relentless killers.


Thrull: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 24, online: 23

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Total filler time for Thrull: just two bloated, overcosted specimens. Another missed opportunity for a tribe you can't include often in regular sets.


Troll: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 29, online: 28

 Related Tribes: Frog, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: A 5/5 for 5 that can become a 7/7 trampler the following turn is not terrible. To give trample to all your team of counter-enhanced creatures, Zegana, Utopian Speaker is probably better if you run blue.


Turtle: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 14, online: 12

 Related Tribes: Crab, Crocodile

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Look, Turtle is a tiny tribe, and still this ting ranks among the worse of them. At least the others are able to attack without spending 14 mana first! For a vanilla 6/6! C'mon!


Vampire: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 221, online: 217

 Related Tribes: Cleric

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Vampires get a new mythic. The Haunt of Hightower is a new take on Vulturous Zombie that doesn't require green, adds lifelink to its abilities, and enables itself by forcing discard at each attack. I'd say the slighly higher casting cost is warranted, but I'm not sure it's a better finisher than, say, Grave Titan (we know the Titans are always the paradigm for six-mana creatures). It's in the category "you have to deal with this NOW!", that's for sure.

 The rest of the bloodsucking bunch has little to say. Vindictive Vampire is too expensive for that effect to make sense in Constructed, Pitiless Pontiff is, as mentioned, a bad imitation of Cartel Aristocrat, and Bloodmist Infiltrator is a decent sacrifice outlet, in that he at least doesn't ask for mana to produce the effect, but you can only sac one creature per turn during the combat phase, so it's far from ideal. Plus, he's constantly one ping away from the graveyard and generally terrible when your sacrifice fodder is not around.


Vedalken: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 59, online: 59

 Related Tribes: Mutant, Rogue, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Vedalken is graced with a Detention Sphere on legs in the form of the appropriately named Deputy of Detention. I think it'll be one of those creatures that will show up a lot in any kind of build because it totally blows cards like Fiend Hunter and Banisher Priest out of the water. Thank the gods they didn't make it a Human.

 The other Vedalkens are all small potatoes. Gateway Sneak is an Ophidian for Gate decks. Gyre Engineer is one of those typical deals where a mana dork is allowed to tap for two mana because it's a three-drop (I believe Fyndhorn Elder originated this, back in Ice Age). I doubt the tribe with Grand Architect would care, though.


Viashino: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 41, online: 41

 Related Tribes: Rogue, Shaman, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Immolation Shaman could be a good tool for burn decks, and compared to the similar Burning-Tree Shaman, the Viashino is nicely asymmetrical faster drop with a stronger late game, at the cost of being less impactful early on (also, it doesn't affect planeswalkers). Dagger Caster has the same ETB trigger of Goblin Chainwhirler (except for sparing, once again, the planeswalkers), but look at what difference makes being a three-drop with first strike and more power; the difference between twisting an entire meta and being destined to obscurity. Viashino tribal decks could find some use for it, though; the ability remains useful.


Wall: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 124, online: 103

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: A two-drop Wall that mills four cards as an ETB effect. Being in blue, I assume it's meant to enable Izzet strategies like jump-start and Arclight Phoenix. I don't think it will prove too popular, though. At the end of the day, it's just your basic wall.


Warrior: +14

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 678, online: 661

 Related Tribes: Crab, Elf, Frog, Goblin, Merfolk, Human, Lizard, Ogre, Skeleton, Troll, Viashino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: With this large batch, Warrior surpassed Wizard in total members and is now the second largest tribe in the game after Human. I guess it's due to Rakdos and especially Gruul, but there's a couple decent Warriors that are Simic-aligned, too: Growth-Chamber Guardian and Trollbred Guardian. It's Gruul that gets the best one, though, with the aggressive three-drop Ogre trampler with haste or a 4/4 body, and protection from Settle the Wreckage and Diabolic Edict.

 The two-powered recursive one-drop Gutterbones could also have a place in Warrior tribal, though it's a tribe that has rarely reasons to venture into black; Hero of Precinct One is a notable card, but it's chiefly meant to go in Human builds, especially the 4-color and 5-color Human decks brought forth by the printing of Unclaimed Territory and running many multicolored cards like Mantis Rider, Meddling Mage and Reflector Mage.


Wizard: +9

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 675, online: 657

 Related Tribes: Elf, Human, Lizard, Merfolk, Mutant, Ooze, Vedalken

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Wizards are a strong presence on Ravnica. They get the role players Deputy of Detention and Frilled Mystic (the latter is probably not too relevant to their tribe, though); the adapt-fueled looting of Benthic Biomancer, the midrange "+1/+1 counters matter" strategies of Zegana, Utopian Speaker, and assorted Guildmages.

 But of course everything else is obscured by the transcendent, unparalleled greatness of the flawless Prime Speaker Vannifar.


Wurm: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 88, online: 83

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: People went on record praising this Wurm as a curve-topper. For a Titan CMC, half of which is colored, you get a 5/6, or a 4/5 with haste, and you can kill either a smaller creature or a problematic land. I guess it's versatile, and if you forgo the surprise attack you can get rid of any creature that isn't extremely large. But it's not really a finisher, or anything you could compare with Inferno Titan or Primeval Titan; I, for one, see it mostly as something that will exhaust its lifespan in Standard. But maybe I'm wrong and it's indeed a good silver bullet in a Natural Order package, to get rid of some crucial land while putting a significant body onto the battlefield.


Zombie: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 412, online: 405

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Ravnica Allegiance includes a lonely Zombie with an ability that reminds of flanking. In fact, I believe they just didn't want to bring back flanking for one card, seeing as it's not an evergreen keyword, if not even a discontinued one (the last time it was seen was in Time Spiral block some 12 years ago). Anyway, this is just a little guy that the opponent might have some trouble blocking. Take it or leave it.


SUMMARY

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 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


BEST IN SHOW
(click on them to go to their main tribe)

  

  

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GUILD LEADERS
(click on the non-planeswalkers to go to their main tribe)

  

 

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GUILD CHAMPIONS
(click on them to go to their main tribe)

  

 

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GUILD PROTECTORS
(click on them to go to their main tribe)

  

 

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GUILDMAGES
(click on them to go to their main tribe)

  

 

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KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS

3 Comments

Pteramander is seeing legacy by ThyShuffler at Tue, 01/29/2019 - 22:26
ThyShuffler's picture

Pteramander is seeing legacy play.

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/legacy-ur-65573#paper

yeah Pteramander is really by JXClaytor at Wed, 01/30/2019 - 00:05
JXClaytor's picture

yeah Pteramander is really good, in multiple formats, and I think we just let a poorly worded statement come out. These are written with an eye towards tribal wars, and it probably is unplayable in the tribal format.

Actually, I wrote that it is by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/01/2019 - 07:59
Kumagoro42's picture

Actually, I wrote that it is exceptional as a Salamander, and great elsewhere. It's playable in every format, in Standard it's in the Monoblue Tempo deck which is at least tier-2 in the meta. In Modern, it could show up in Izzet Phoenix.

I believe ThyShuffler meant to reinforce what I wrote, not contrast it.