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 Gates Ablaze banned.


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

Gate ColossusGatebreaker RamArchway AngelGuild SummitCircuitous Route

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.


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

Teferi, Time RavelerLiliana, Dreadhorde GeneralNissa, Who Shakes the WorldSarkhan the MasterlessNicol Bolas, Dragon-God

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 Wilderness Reclamation + Expansion//Explosion is still going to be a thing. There’s also Command the Dreadhorde, Thousand-Year Storm and Bolas’s Citadel. 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:

Gruul SpellbreakerPelt CollectorGrowth-Chamber GuardianZhur-Taa GoblinKrenko, Tin Street Kingpin
Legion WarbossSkarrgan HellkiteGutterbonesGod-Eternal RhonasJudith, the Scourge Diva
Spawn of MayhemRisk FactorNullhide FeroxNeheb, Dreadhorde ChampionDreadhorde Butcher

We can work with this.

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 Risk Factor are both problematic. Giving you extra cards is not going to be that big deal if they know you aren’t going to draw Lightning Strikes.

Why no Experimental Frenzy or Light up the Stage? 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 Runaway Steam-Kin is not going to be as strong.

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.

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