Sketching Decks for the Ravnica Constructed

There’s a new event that started today on Magic Arena. The rules: You need to build a deck with cards from the three latest Ravnica sets with [card]Gates Ablaze[/card] banned.

Gates

If [card]Gates Ablaze[/card] is banned, one might expect Gates to be a very strong deck.

[draft]Gate Colossus
Gatebreaker Ram
Archway Angel
Guild Summit
Circuitous Route[/draft]

This feels like potentially a very strong deck, but at the same time, do I want to play it? Not really. However, in order to brew a deck for an unestablished format, you still need to have an idea what you might face.

For a time, there were quite a few Gates decks on Arena, so people will have a pretty strong deck at the ready. Sure, they can’t play a key card in it, but most of the deck exists already, so they are going to try it. People are prone to find easy answers.

Planeswalkers

Sigh. The scourge of Standard. Well, actually, at least we won’t be seeing [card]Teferi, Hero of Dominaria[/card]. That’s a win. Of sorts. That doesn’t mean the other planeswalkers wouldn’t see plenty of play.

[draft]Teferi, Time Raveler
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Sarkhan the Masterless
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God[/draft]

There’s plenty more, but I think these are the key ones. Or at least the top 5. There’s Chandra, Tamiyo, Vraska, Ral, Davriel, Narset and two Domri’s you shouldn’t discount.

Big Spell and Storm

Temur might not be easy with the lands available, but [card]Wilderness Reclamation[/card] + [card]Expansion//Explosion[/card] is still going to be a thing. There’s also [card]Command the Dreadhorde[/card], [card]Thousand-Year Storm[/card] and [card]Bolas’s Citadel[/card]. At least. There might be more I just don’t recall right now. What’re the Selesnya ones called?

Okay, Okay, I’ll Just Aggro Them Out

Exactly what I was thinking. This is a common stance to take. Don’t want to try to beat every possible weird idea they might have? Just be super fast. Now, I’m not sure it’s completely within the realm of possibility in this format, as there isn’t much in the way of burn and many key cards from various aggro decks currently in Standard are from sets outside of this particular format.

Let’s see what we do have:

[draft]Gruul Spellbreaker
Pelt Collector
Growth-Chamber Guardian
Zhur-Taa Goblin
Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin
Legion Warboss
Skarrgan Hellkite
Gutterbones
God-Eternal Rhonas
Judith, the Scourge Diva
Spawn of Mayhem
Risk Factor
Nullhide Ferox
Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion
Dreadhorde Butcher[/draft]

We can work with this.

[deck title=RDW]
[creatures]
4 Burning Prophet
4 Runaway Steam-Kin
2 Krenko, Tin-Street Kingpin
4 Legion Warboss
2 Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion
2 Skarrgan Hellkite
[/creatures]
[spells]
2 Jaya’s Greeting
3 Lava Coil
4 Skewer the Critics
3 Risk Factor
[/spells]
[planeswalkers]
4 Chandra, Fire Artisan
2 Sarkhan the Masterless
[/planeswalkers]
[lands]
24 Mountain
[/lands]
[/deck]

Again, not that much in the way of burn, which means that there isn’t that much reach, which is often the strength of playing monored. There is some, but fliers and [card]Risk Factor[/card] are both problematic. Giving you extra cards is not going to be that big deal if they know you aren’t going to draw [card]Lightning Strike[/card]s.

Why no [card]Experimental Frenzy[/card] or [card]Light up the Stage[/card]? I don’t think they would do that much here. Each is better in a deck with plenty of low drops, which we don’t exactly have here. This does also mean that [card]Runaway Steam-Kin[/card] is not going to be as strong.

[deck title=Gruul]
[creatures]
4 Pelt Collector
4 Zhur-Taa Goblin
4 Growth-Chamber Guardian
4 Paradise Druid
4 Gruul Spellbreaker
4 Nullhide Ferox
2 Skarrgan Hellkite
[/creatures]
[spells]
4 Skewer the Critics
[/spells]
[planeswalkers]
3 Domri, Anarch of Bolas
1 Chandra, Fire Artisan
2 Sarkhan, the Masterless
[/planeswalkers]
[lands]
4 Gruul Guildgate
4 Stomping Ground
10 Forest
6 Mountain
[/lands]
[/deck]

The manabase is quite awkward. We could help this with extra mana dorks, but that would leave us with less actual action, so I’m not that willing to do it.

[deck title=Rakdos]
[creatures]
4 Gutterbones
4 Dreadhorde Butcher
4 Fireblade Artisan
4 Blade Juggler
4 Judith, the Scourge Diva
2 Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion
4 Spawn of Mayhem
[/creatures]
[spells]
4 Skewer the Critics
4 Dead Weight
3 Risk Factor
[/spells]
[lands]
4 Rakdos Guildgate
4 Blood Crypt
6 Mountain
9 Swamp
[/lands]
[/deck]

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