Hello Basement Dwellers (so I’m copying Derek–he can sue me).  My name is Michael (Mike) Crawford, and I have recently been made a Basement Blogger.

Mostly my blog will focus on deck-building and deck evaluation; depending on my mood I may cover some aspects of Limited and competitive play.  This will include Block, Standard, Modern, and Legacy.  I will go over everything from my processes as a deck-builder to discussing interesting decklists from various forums (okay, I’m probably just going to look at StarCityGames, ChannelFireball, and Wizards).

Today I have chosen to write about Return to Ravnica Limited.  This is because nobody cares about Constructed until the rotation.

This weekend, as most of you know, was the Return to Ravnica Pre-Release.  While I haven’t played with all of the mechanics yet, I have seen them all in action.  For those of you who don’t remember, RtR’s mechanics are: Detain, Overload, Populate, Scavenge, and Unleash; http://mtg-realm.blogspot.com/2012/09/return-to-ravnica-mechanics.html

Remember, this article is from a LIMITED perspective, not a constructed one.


I think Detain is awesome.  Sometimes just taking away your opponent’s best blocker for a turn is enough to get through the last point of damage.  BUT Detain is an ability that stacks really well.  The more Detain spells you have, the better.  The more Detain spells you use, the further your opponent is behind.


We’ve had this mechanic before.  It used to be called “Kicker.”  I have always liked scaling spells–the more you put in, the more you get out.  The problem with some Overload spells is that the non-kicked side of the card is rather…well…useless.  However, some Overload spells are reasonable at either cost *or* even reasonable on the first side and bonkers when it’s kicked.  Also, if you plan on Overloading your opponent a bunch, assume these spells have the Overload mana cost for deck construction purposes.


Is BONKERS!  Everything, spell or ability, that populates is a two-for-one if you have a token in play.  The one thing that makes this mechanic fair is the necessity for two types of cards: the token makers AND the populate cards.  Unless you get a decent mix of them, your deck might be a little clunky.


Meh.  While the uncommons and rares with Scavenge are pretty decent, the commons are a bit underwhelming due to prohibitive mana costs.  I would recommend AGAINST building a Scavenge deck in Limited.  Golgari is strong due to its efficient creatures and removal; if you Scavenge once or twice in a game, it’ll be a nice bonus.


In the seven rounds of Limited I played last night, I was never all that afraid of an Unleashed creature.  The Red-Black color combination does what it has done for just under 20 years: kill, attack, burn.  These three actions are still powerful in conjunction.  If you were to try to build a dedicated Unleash deck, I would try to cap off your creature mana curve at 4  and blitz your opponent until Turn 7–then shoot them in the face with burn.

I could always be wrong about my evaluations.  But, we’ll see as the format develops.

Thanks for your time (maybe I will be able to better figure out this program by next time),

Michael Franklin Crawford