There's been a lot of wondering going on lately in the Magic spoiler and rumor community - specifically, wondering about Dragon's Maze. The heretofore mysterious third set in the Return to Ravnica block is to contain all ten guilds, which is overwhelming no matter how you slice it. One question that has been on everyone's mind is about how prereleases for Dragon's Maze will work. Since the "select a guild" feature was built in to both Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash's prereleases and was insanely popular, how could that possibly be accomplished in a small set with ten guilds rather than a large one with five?
Well, the mystery's been solved. Tonight's magicthegathering.com Arcana has Monty Ashley telling us precisely what to expect in the spring. And yes, it involves ten different guild packs.
Yes, indeed, you get to select your allegiance from any one of the ten guilds when you walk into a Dragon's Maze prerelease. And, apparently, the guild packs are "built to support two different guilds" this time around. Does this mean that two-guild alliances are going to be a theme of the set? Well, maybe, but that could also simply mean that Dragon's Maze Limited is going to encourage playing with a Return to Ravnica guild plus a Gatecrash one simultaneously as a way of diversifying the environment. This information will nonetheless add a lot of fuel to that particular speculative fire.
Gone are the five prerelease cards per set, too. For Dragon's Maze it's back to the traditional system - just one card, and you can't use it in deck construction at the prerelease. In return, it's probably going to be a mythic rather than a rare this time to compensate.
Perhaps the most shocking development, one that affects more than just the prerelease - indeed the whole set: Dragon's Maze won't have basic lands as the final card in booster packs. Instead, it gets nonbasics in that slot: Either a guildgate (printed with the Dragon's Maze expansion symbol!), a shockland (their respective Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash versions), or the mythic rare land in this set, perhaps one to represent the Maze itself.
There also appears to be a meta-mini-tournament of sorts going on at the prereleases as well, in the vein of the unfairly maligned Unlock the Helvault from Avacyn Restored. This time, players are assigned teams based on their chosen guild, and the first guild to complete all the parts of the "Implicit Maze" (another story hint - maybe this is the true name of Niv-Mizzet's greatest invention) gets special prizes. What these challenges will entail remains to be seen, but the possibilities and the mystery have me very excited indeed.