MTG Arena Ravnica Allegiance Guide: Outsmart Other Players With These Tips!

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New and improved: this set expands on the setting of Guilds of Ravnica.

Ravnica Allegiance premiered this week in Magic: the Gathering Arena, introducing many exciting new cards. However, the new cards come with new mechanics and a changing meta-game, which can be intimidating at first. Here’s a quick run-down on the five new mechanics of Ravnica Allegiance, as well as some other important features.

10. Spectacle

Cheap entertainment: Some Spectacle cards let you cast the spell for cheaper than its mana cost. 

The Cult of Rakdos is a combination performance troupe and murder cult, so they know the importance of putting on a show. With the Spectacle mechanic, if you have damaged your opponent this turn, you can play a card for its spectacle cost rather than its regular mana cost. Sometimes this just lets you get the card out for cheaper, but some cards trigger extra effects for paying the spectacle cost.

Spectacle Tips:

  • Spectacle gives you a mana advantage over your opponent, either by making your cards cheaper or giving you more bang for your buck.
  • Any amount of damage will do, so no need to waste high cost spells just to damage your opponent for a spectacle.
  • Cards with special blocking rules like flying, menace, or unblockable can easily bypass your opponent’s creatures to deal damage and combo with spectacle.

9. Afterlife


Selling your soul: With the Orzhov, debts continue even after death, and the spirits of the dead still have a job to do.

The Orzhov Syndicate is a powerful church/criminal organization with a specialization in necromancy. Some Orzhov creatures have the Afterlife mechanic, which creates a number of black 1/1 Spirit tokens with flying. This opens you up for plenty of combos.

Afterlife Tips:

  • Combine afterlife cards with cards that require you sacrifice creatures to trigger abilities. You can sacrifice afterlife creatures without losing valuable blockers/attackers.
  • Combine afterlife cards with cards that have abilities that trigger when creatures under your control die.
  • Afterlife produces creatures with flying, which is useful for damaging opponents directly or defending against enemy creatures with flying
  • Afterlife only triggers if the creature goes to the graveyard, so opponents that deal with threats by exiling or enchanting them can avoid triggering the effect.

8. Adapt


Life, uhh, finds a way: The Simic exert their magic over nature, making their creations stronger than before.

The Simic combine knows the power of evolution, but they also know evolution sometimes needs a little push. For a cost, a creature with adapt lets you add a number of +1/+1 counters to that creature if it does not already have any +1/+1 counters. This lets you play creatures for cheap that scale as the game goes on.

Adapt Tips:

  • If you can remove the +1/+1 counters from a creature with adapt, such as by transferring them to another creature, you can adapt again.
  • Adapt combines well with other cards that make cards with +1/+1 counters on them more powerful, giving them abilities such as unblockable or flying.
  • If making a deck based around +1/+1 counters, avoid using cards that give creatures +1/+1 counters as they enter the battlefield, because this will make it impossible for them to adapt.
  • Since +1/+1 counters don’t persist when your creatures leave the battlefield for any reason, adapt creatures are vulnerable to being returned to your hand or deck.

7. Riot


Sting like a bee: Riot lets your creatures hit hard or fast.

The Gruul Clans value strength and speed, and the riot ability lets you choose between the two. When a creature with riot enters the battlefield, can either give the creature haste, allowing it to attack the turn it is summoned, or a +1/+1 counter.

Riot Tips:

  • Riot cards give more versatility, and can be used in an aggro or midrange deck.
  • Which effect you choose can depend on whether long-term or short-term damage is more important, which has to do with a variety of variables, including what creatures are in play and what removal spells your opponent has in their deck.
  • Some cards let you choose a riot effect twice. Remember, haste doesn’t stack with itself, since you can’t attack sooner than right away!

6. Addendum


To everything there is a season: Addendum cards can give extra effects if you cast them at the right time.

The Azorius Senate stands for law and order, and everything has a time and a place. The addendum ability triggers and extra effect if a card is played during the main phase of your turn. It is found mostly on instants that can be played at any time, making you choose between versatility and value.

Addendum Tips:

  • Some addendum cards specify that the addendum effect happens instead of the base effect, so read carefully. You don’t want to get the bonus effect only to realize you missed the entire reason you played the card.
  • Sometimes the base effect is more valuable when played on an enemy’s turn or during your combat phase. Make sure the addendum effect is worth the reduction in versatility.

5. Gates


Guild business: Ravnica Allegiance adds more cards that depend on the number of Gates in play.

As with the previous Ravnica series, gates play an important role. Gates are a type of land that can create mana of multiple colors (including some that can create mana with of any color), and have the keyword Gate. In addition, some spells have effects that depend on the number of gates you control.

Gate Tips:

  • Gates enter the battlefield tapped, so make sure you balance your deck with basic lands so that you are never stuck waiting for the next turn to have mana.
  • The versatility of gates makes them important for two-color decks, and essential for three-color decks.
  • There is no guarantee that you will draw the gates you put in your deck, so if you make a deck with cards that depend on your number of gates, also add cards that let you find lands in your deck.

4. Electrodominance


Branching lightning: Electrodominance lets you get value by doing multiple things at once.

Now that we’ve covered the important mechanics, let’s cover a few cards that might be important as well (of course, with an ever-shifting meta, this might change). The first effect of Electrodominance already makes it a good card, as it fills a niche for a late-game removal spell, admittedly for a slightly higher cost than other cards of its type. However, its second effect allows you to play a free card, almost doubling its value and making it a much more versatile card.

Electrodominance Tips:

  • Unlike some cards that deal x damage, Electrodominance is instant speed. This gives it more versatility as a removal spell, and also allows you to play cards from your hand at times when they cannot normally be played.
  • Although it has obvious late-game potential, you can also play it early- or mid-game as a cheap removal to gain a mana advantage over an opponent.
  • It fits well into decks with high mana cost creatures in them, such as red-green decks.

3. Wilderness Reclamation


Return to nature: Wilderness Reclamation lets you do what you want on your turn and still have untapped land to respond to threats.

Wilderness Reclamation is a powerful enchantment that essentially doubles your mana every turn, if you know how to use it. The enchantment untaps all your land at the end of your turn, leaving a full board of mana free for your instant-speed cards on your opponent’s turn. This allows you to deal with threats as well as taking your turn fully.

Wilderness Reclamation Tips:

  • Although it might be tempting to stack your deck with expensive instants, you want to make sure it is still playable if you don’t draw Wilderness Reclamation.
  • Adding other useful instant speed cards, such as enchantments or creatures with flash, to your deck can maximize this card’s utility.
  • When playing against a deck built around this card, make sure you have removal cards for enchantments to severely hamper your opponent’s ability to deal with your spells.

2. Senate Guildmage

Law and order: Senate Guildmage lets you gain health, or cycle through cards you don't need for ones you do.

It’s just an all around decent card. It’s a 2/2 for two mana, and it has two cheap abilities. Granted, you have to tap the card to use the abilities, but gaining life or drawing cards for cheap is always good.

Senate Guildmage Tips:

  • Use Senate Guildmage’s cheap abilities to get all the value from the mana you have available if you have any untapped land that you do not plan on using.
  • The second ability not only lets you draw, but also lets you control what is in your graveyard, which can lead to powerful combos with other cards.

1. Galloping Lizrog


Hungry Hungry Lizrog: This card can become a huge threat just by feeding off of your other creature's +1/+1 counters.

This card is more a card you build around than a card that can slot easily into any deck, but when you do build around it, it is powerful. In the right deck, it can range from either an average creature for its cost to an extraordinary monster. Plus, it has trample, which combined with a potentially high power and toughness can devastate an opponent.

Galloping Lizrog Tips:

  • It might not always be the right choice to remove +1/+1 counters from your creatures, but putting them on Galloping Lizrog has a better exchange rate than leaving them.
  • Galloping Lizrog combos well with cards with adapt, since they can adapt again to replenish their counters after they are removed.
  • It combos especially well with cards with adapt that trigger an effect when they adapt, since you get the opportunity to trigger an effect that would normally only happen once.

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Patrick lives in the fields of Central California, spending his free time reading lore and brewing mana potions. He works as a scribe and jester while attending college.
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