War of the Guild Leaders.. Who will be the greatest?

Arran Sahota| 11th January 2019

With the new set just around the corner, I think it’s time we took a good look at these new guild leaders that will be appearing in Ravnica Allegiance to see if they are going to be leading their guild to victory or tripping at the starting line.
We have already had Guilds of Ravnica showcase Selesnya, Boros, Golgari, Izzet and Dimir as the main five colour combinations and now we are going to be looking at the other five; Orzhov, Simic, Rakdos, Gruul and Azorius.

So where will these cards rank, and what will they add to their guild? Let’s start by looking at their abilities, what they actually do, and then most importantly, see if they’re playable in Standard or even the Modern format.

Dovin, Grand Arbiter is a three-mana Planeswalker who is in Azorius. Fitting with the colours of a traditional control planeswalker, he doesn’t necessarily fit the usual gameplay.

This Dovin is slightly different with his +1 being whenever a creature you control deals damage to a player (not planeswalker) you put a counter on him, cool idea but not all that strong. -1 gives him the must-have Planeswalker ability of a way to protect himself, but also gain a bit of life, that seems pretty alright. Now, Dovin’s -7 doesn’t win you the game, so is it worth putting all this time into him? Short answer, not really. You get to look at ten cards and pick three but that doesn’t seem that good when you have spent all that time ticking him up.
Dovin, Grand Arbiter probably won’t see much standard play as he doesn’t fit anywhere, maybe if a U/W fliers deck appears Dovin could squeeze in there.
Modern play is very unlikely, maybe a slight chance to see him in a U/W spirit shell but then again probably not…

Kaya, Orzhov Usurper is a three-mana Planeswalker in Orzhov. Her +1 lets you exile up to two target cards from a single graveyard, a bit of graveyard hate in your mainboard and then you also get to gain two life if one creature was exiled this way, a grind-y playstyle here. -1 is a removal ability which has the limitations of only having it cost one or less; maybe you could strip mine them instead. Her -5 feels strong if you’re able to get there as Kaya’s tick up is exiling cards, so there needs to be cards to exile, but this could still be a good game ender.
This would be amazing to see in Standard but would have to fit into a type of grind-y playstyle and having your games go on for a while. As jump-start came out in Guilds of Ravnica this could be a main board hate for it, and this could also hit Arclight Phoenix decks. Though this doesn’t stop Crackling Drakes power as that Drake gets plus to is power for instants and sorceries in exile and graveyard.
This would cool in a type of Abzan deck in Modern which can grind games out, could keep your game one against Dredge maybe and help you close the game out. This would be awesome to see though. Let me know if you’re gonna make it work!!

Domri, Chaos Bringer is a four-mana Planeswalker in Gruul and has some rather different abilities as it features the new mechanic “Riot”. Riot is a mechanic that you see on R/G cards that say “This creature enters the battlefield with your choice of a +1/+1 counter or haste.”

His +1 gives you a bit of ramp by giving you mana in either Green or Red and then giving a creature Riot so letting it attack with haste or making it bigger. The -3 lets you look at four cards and then take two creatures from them, just helping you refill your hand. Then the ultimate sits at -8; this is a win con, making one 4/4 red and green Beast creature token with trample at the end step. Notably, I want to say that this four-mana planeswalker has five loyalty instead of four loyalty for four mana. Also notable, he has no way to protect himself by either having removal or making a blocker for himself, so maybe only playable when your board is hefty with blockers.
Standard will most likely see him in a G/R monsters shell with big dinos or maybe a Naya set up as there are some big white dinos too.
Modern I could see this in Zoo maybe for a game two against control, it has card draw with -3 and also a way to make your creatures bigger or give them haste for that essential speed.

Rakdos, the Showstopper is a 6/6 flying trample for 6 mana in Rakdos and looks pretty good. This is a hopeful board wipe effect which could work well in a control set-up or a deck full of Demons, Devils and Imps. This one card could change the tide of the battlefield with the craziness of his ability being able to hopefully wipe their board and keep yours is a risk worth taking.
Standard this hits right in with the Rakdos midrange type of deck and this will be a powerhouse and could work alongside “Doom Whisper”.
Modern is kind of the same as standard but maybe more of a control deck instead of midrange, or if someone is feeling brave to homebrew a crazy Demon, Devil and Imp deck that would be amazing.

Prime Speaker Vannifar is a four-mana Elf Ooze Wizard in Simic and I thought they banned birthing pod!? If you’re a newer player and haven’t been playing long this card is very similar to a card called Birthing Pod which is now banned in Modern. Prime Speaker Vannifar seems like a more tamer version of Birthing Pod and a lot more balanced.
Vannifar is amazing, making some form of toolbox deck when you have loads of one-of creatures which will help you answer what is on the board.
Standard there will have to be some crazy brew with this card but maybe the card select in is too small?
Modern this could see some play but then again I am not sure how it will fit in as it feels to be too much mana for modern.

There are very different cards, some seem more powerful than others but you never know which ones might take over standard or modern. What are your thoughts? which ones do you guys think will be the strongest leader?

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