R&D puts together two Duel Decks products each year - the first, in the spring, is planeswalker-versus-planeswalker featuring 'walkers from the previous year, and the second, in the summer, is faction-versus-faction having to do with the upcoming fall set. The last Duel Decks to be released was, of course, the Theros-centric Heroes vs. Monsters, so it was due time we heard about the Return to Ravnica-block-related planeswalker faceoff. And according to Trick Jarrett's announcement on the mothership today, one of the planeswalkers featured is an old hand at Duel Decks - March 2014 will see Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska released.
The teaser blurb runs as follows:
The history of Ravnica has long been shaped by the struggle for supremacy among its ten feuding guilds. A tenuous peace keeps the power of the guilds in balance, but they would need little excuse to reignite the smoldering coals of a conflict that could engulf Ravnica’s world-spanning city.
Jace Beleren, a mind mage who has adopted Ravnica as his home, has seen to it that the delicate peace holds. He has become the Living Guildpact, the embodiment of the guilds’ agreement to share power, and he works tirelessly to preserve that peace.
The deadly gorgon Vraska, a Planeswalker who was born on Ravnica, is an assassin for hire who follows her own arcane moral code. She is a master of her trade, killing her marks and then disappearing into the tunnels of Ravnica’s vast undercity. Though she works mostly with the Golgari guild, she is bound by no permanent allegiance.
In the wrong hands, Vraska’s skills could destabilize an entire world. With a few key assassinations, suspicions would lead to accusations, and accusations could lead to war. Jace, the caretaker of Ravnica’s peace, refuses to let that happen.
Given their respective colors, personal histories, and abilities, it seems likely that Jace's deck will be full of counterspells and mill, similarly but not quite the same as his in Duel Decks: Jace vs. Chandra. After all, Jace, Architect of Thought plays markedly differently from Jace Beleren, and there are now a ton of Return to Ravnica cards to work with in deckbuilding, a block which had strong mill subthemes in blue. Vraska the Unseen, meanwhile, likely will hearken back to the black-green midrange Rock decks of yore and today, using brutal targeted removal like Abrupt Decay as well as mass removal like Pernicious Deed to clear the way for her player-killing Assassin tokens.
The product was put together by the efforts of developers Chris Millar and Sam Stoddard, and will contain no preview cards for upcoming sets. It'll be available on March 14 for an MSRP of $19.99, in both English and Japanese, and the discussion hashtag is #MTGJVV.
Think you'll be picking this Duel Decks product up? Let me know in the comments.