Cardsphere Picks: Ravnica Allegiance

Ted Rodney • January 14, 2019

We fell out of the practice of making quick picks for each new set that drops, so we're picking it back up again. Each time we do this the Cardsphere staff will make picks for cards they are most interested in, and invite some of our moderators, sponsored creators, and community members to do the same. We don't lay out any criteria, so these are not necessarily the best cards in the set -- just the ones most appealing to each of us.

Efren's Picks


Teysa Karlov

My favorite character in all of Magic and my first ever EDH commander finally got a new card that I can build a new commander deck around. It pained me how lame Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts was in GTC, so much so that it isn't even in the 99 in my beloved Teysa, Orzhov Scion aristocrats EDH build. This one has got my juices flowing and solidifies for me that although I may stray at times, my blood definitely runs white and black.

Persistent Petitioners

Last year Ted browbeat me into trying Pauper and I loved it so much that I went completely ham and built a pauper battlebox entirely on Cardsphere, which that has since swelled to 15 decks from the original 8. Of all the archetypes in my box there is not one mill deck, and when this card was spoiled it became immediately obvious that in the not too distant future there will be many, many copies of Persistent Petitioners in deck 16.

Growth Spiral

The art of Magic the Gathering is one of my favorite aspects of the game and Seb McKinnon is one of the best out there, consistently delivering work that is as striking as it is disturbing. What I love so much about Growth Spiral is that the art is distinctly Seb, but is also such a far departure from the macabre nature of his typical MTG pieces. It's vibrant and colorful without encroaching on whimsy and it probably my favorite art in RNA.

Michael's Picks


Skewer the Critics

I play Modern exclusively outside the occasional draft or prerelease, so I'm most interested in cards that slot into existing archetypes, or promise to open up a new deck. The card parachutes into Burn fairly easily.


I think this one has the potential to end up being the engine for some kind of janky Living End brew. Time to get working, Rogue Deckbuilder and Saffron Olive.

Incubation // Incongruity

Dig 5 for a creature is great for creature-based combo decks.

Ted's Picks


Skewer the Critics

Obvious pick, sure. It's another pseudo Lightning Bolt to consider for burn decks in all formats, and I'm sure it will see play in Pauper burn at least. I've been running Punisher Burn on Arena and will start the RNA upgrades with a few of these.

Mass Manipulation

Not only do I love the super creepy art for this card, but it's inspiring me to do some EDH brewing for the first time in a while. I think I'm going to go for a creatureless build that's all control and stealing other players' resources. Might even sneak in Eyes Everywhere too, because jank is life.

Priest of Forgotten Gods

This card just screams insane value for aristocrats players. Let's say you sac two Doomed Dissenters, here's what you get:

  • Upgrade both your 1/1s to 2/2s
  • Shock your opponents
  • Edict your opponents
  • Draw a card
  • Ramp BB

Pretty busted, IMO.

Bodey's Picks

Matt Bodensteiner is a longtime community member, one of our moderators, and provides frequent quality assurance time on a volunteer basis. He finds the bugs no one else does, and stops them from getting into production.



The clear all-star of the set. Casting spells for free is one of the most powerful things you can do in any format, and getting to fireball something and ignore timing restrictions on a spell is just asking to be busted. While I'm not sure what my own personal applications will be yet, I am excited to see what types of tricks and strategies other players come up with.

Rix Maadi Reveler

The second coming of Bedlam Reveler? Not quite, but I still like the flexibility this mini-Reveler provides. A 2/2 for two with a rummage can help smooth out land drops or setup a card in the graveyard early, while drawing three cards in the later phases of the game can really let you keep the pedal to the metal. Enabling the spectacle cost on demand could be the biggest hurdle, but I'm looking forward to testing this is many of the red-based strategies I like to play in Modern and Standard.

Smothering Tithe

"Are you gonna pay 2 for that?" Rhystic Study players are already well-versed in asking this question, but I think Smothering Tithe is going to be asking the new most annoying question at EDH tables. Smothering Tithe is an excellent card for base white EDH decks that are lacking the ramp that green or black might otherwise provide. While treasures are only one time use, you'll find yourself generating 2-4 treasures per turn cycle at minimum, and any additional draw effects from your opponents (e.g. wheels, Howling Mines, etc.) are going to generate absurd amounts of mana, allowing you to keep up or even run away with your mono-white or red-white decks.


Even before we offered Alby a sponsorship, he was hard at work spreading the good word, producing videos to tell his Cardsphere story. A fantastic player and community member, it only made sense to take our relationship to the next level, so to speak. He's even got a bot named after him on!


Tower Defense

So... Bant Walls is actually about to be a real deck in standard. This may seem like a joke, but the deck got a lot of needed pieces from Ravnica Allegiance. All you need is a few cheap creatures with Defender and either Arcades, the Strategist or High Alert and suddenly Tower Defense becomes one of the deadliest pump spells in Magic's history!

Kaya's Wrath

It's been a while since we've had a 4 mana wrath in standard that didn't come with some kind of condition like Ritual of Soot or Languish. Now, we not only have one back in standard, but it also comes with some upside in the form of life gain if you happen to lose a few of your own creatures to the wrath. The casting cost may seem like a restriction, but remember that we're playing in a shockland checkland standard right now.

Bankrupt in Blood

2 mana to draw 3 cards. Enough said. Similar to Cathartic Reunion, it definitely isn't the kind of card that you can just slip into every deck, but the decks that end up playing it will be able to turn that additional cost into an upside instead of a downside.