After pouring through 388 decklists, talking to players, setting our coverage gnomes to research mode, and throwing up the Metagame symbol to call in all of the collective knowledge of Return to Ravnica Block Constructed we could find, we'd like to think we have a pretty good handle on the metagame.
With Dragon's Maze in the mix now, the Block Constructed metagame that has existed on Magic Online for months has been shaken up and had its feet put above the flames of Pro Tour testing. We put together a list of the top five Dragon's Maze cards to watch out for this weekend. Some may dominate enough to carry players to a crown, while others may fall flat on their face, but each one of these cards will, in some way, define the metagame here this weekend.
One of the biggest reasons for Orzhov-based decks, especially Esper, representing as much of the field as they are is the Blood Baron of Vizkopa, the lifelinking , doubly- protected mythic vampire that has been called up as one of the finishers of choice for Esper (White-Blue-Black), Borzhov (White-Black-Red) and Junk (White-Black-Green). Thanks to lifelink, the Baron is capable of completely shutting down aggressive decks as soon as it lands. Its protection from black and white and its 4 toughness make it nearly impossible to kill outside of Mizzium Mortars and Supreme Verdict, cards which, subsequently, became a little more valued by players this month.
The only thing holding the Baron back is that it is competing with some other pretty insane finishers in those decks, notably Ætherling and Obzedat, Ghost Council. Ætherling is seeing almost universal play, but is mostly there to fight other control and midrange decks.
Basically, if you're playing Temple Gardens, you're playing Advent of the Wurm somewhere in your 75. With so many Supreme Verdicts running around, Advent of the Wurm punishes control decks who have to tap out on turn four. But, conversely, aggressive decks who attack into four open mana are just asking to get ambushed by a nearly unbeatable Wurm. It slices, it dices, and it populates too.
Advent is also pretty often joined by another Dragon's Maze card to watch, Voice of Resurgence, which, like it's big brother Advent of the Wurm, makes life difficult for both control and aggressive decks. Put both of them together, and it gives Selesnya decks tons of power for very little cost.
The Golgari maze runner is a bit of a dark horse this weekend, but he seems to be the primary reason Golgari decks are bothering to get up in the morning. Extremely resilient and capable of piling up counters in a hurry, Varolz and Lotleth Troll make for a one-two punch that cause regenerating headaches for decks of all shapes and sizes. The Troll's ability to pitch creatures that Varolz can then scavenge make these two Golgari-flavored beaters the Gilbert and Sullivan of Return to Ravnica Block Constructed. Varolz, the Scar-Striped is probably the longest of shots on this list, but he will give decks fits all weekend long.
Having already made its presence felt in Standard, it's no surprise to see the collector of sins making waves in Block Constructed as well. Whether stripping away Sphinx's Revelation against Esper (or heck, for Esper) or clearing out removal to land a Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Sin Collector's utility is undeniable.
Last, but certainly not least, we come to my favorite card on the list,
Thawing GlaciersMaze's End. The card is so good on its own that the ChannelFireball team was testing decks with proxies of Maze's End that had a text box that simply read "Tap: Value." And Maze's End certainly offers value by bringing a Thawing Glaciers effect to Return to Ravnica Block Constructed. Even players who can't trigger the "you win" clause are playing this updated nonbasic land.
But what really makes it special is serving as both mana fixing AND as a win condition to truly dedicated control decks. Without strong land destruction in the format, Maze's End is a reliable, uncounterable, practically indestructible—albeit, slow—win condition that doesn't require any non-land slots. That means players are free to fill up the rest of their deck with removal, card draw, and any number of ways to control the game, all without having to play finishers like Blood Baron of Vizkopa or Ætherling. And because Maze's End fixes mana as well, they're free to play and splash extra colors, giving them more options and more ways to address a wild and varied metagame.
Which of these five cards will stand up to the rigors of the Pro Tour? Will another Dragon's Maze spell step up and steal the spotlight? Follow along all weekend as Dragon's Maze's newest offerings steal the spotlight!