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Ranking the 'Return to Ravnica' intro pack decks: Which one is the best?

This weekend on September 29-30, 2012 you have the chance to get your hands on Wizards of the Coast's upcoming expert "Magic: The Gathering" expansion set "Return to Ravnica" before it hits store shelves October 5, 2012. But first you'll need to choose a guild, because at the tournament you'll receive a special guild pack (I recommend registering ahead to reserve your preference). At the "Return to Ravnica" prerelease you'll also be able to get your hands on the five new "Return to Ravnica" intro packs. But which one is the best?

Return to Ravnica intro packs
Wizards of the Coast

Related: "Return to Ravnica" card lists
White, Blue, Black, Red, Green, Azorius, Izzet, Golgari, Rakdos, Selesnya, Hybrid, Artifact, and Land.

Like the "M13" intro packs ("Mob Rule," "Sole Domination," "Depths of Power," "Path to Victory," and "Wild Rush"), each of the new "Return to Ravnica" intro packs comes with a how to play insert, tip guide, and two unopened "Return to Ravnica" booster packs for an MSRP of $14.99.

Deciding which "Return to Ravnica" intro pack is the best for you depends on your play style. Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses, and all five require significant upgrades to make them more competitive.

"Izzet Ingenuity"
If you enjoyed the "Izzet Deck" from "Duel Decks: Izzet vs Golgari" then "Izzet Ingenuity" might be your top pick. "Izzet Ingenuity" centers around casting powerful spells and reaping the rewards from creatures that'll give you a bonus when you do. Goblin Electromancer will let you play large instant and sorcery cards a turn sooner (or multiple cheap cards in one turn) while Blistercoil Weird and Guttersnipe will give you benefits. It includes a foil Hypersonic Dragon and a Mizzium Mortars.

"Rakdos Raid"
"Rakdos Raid" takes advantage of fast and powerful creatures with Unleash, a new mechanic from "Return to Ravnica" that makes your threats stronger for a price - not being able to block. That's alright though, because it's all or nothing with "Rakdos Raid" and your opponent will be trying in vain to slow down this fast and aggressive deck. Early threats like Rakdos Cackler and Rakdos Shred-Freak can pave the way for a massive Cryptborn Horror while Tormented Soul slowly eats away at their life total, one point at a time. It includes a foil Carnival Hellsteed and a Cryptborn Horror.

"Golgari Growth"
If you enjoyed playing with the Golgari Deck from "Duel Decks: Izzet vs Golgari," then you'll have have a blast with "Golgari Growth." The "Golgari Growth" intro pack takes advantage of Scavenge, a new mechanic from "Return to Ravnica" that lets you turn dead creatures in your graveyard into +1/+1 counters. Creatures with Scavenge like Slitherhead and Dreg Mangler are powerful in their own right, but can transform the other creatures into abnormally large threats - which can then be sacrificed to Korozda Guildmage for a bonus effect. It includes a foil Corpsejack Menace and a Wild Beastmaster.

"Selesnya Surge"
The "Selesnya Surge" intro pack revolves around abusing Populate, a new mechanic from "Return to Ravnica" that lets you copy any creature token you control. You'll have to first have some creature tokens in order to copy them - which is why there's multiple Seller of Songbirds and Call of the Conclave. Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage can help you create creature tokens and also populate. It includes a foil Grove of the Guardian and a Wayfaring Temple.

"Azorius Advance"
In "Azorius Advance" you'll lead the game with quick card advantage creatures like Stealer of Secrets and abuse cards that feature the Detain mechanic while you soar ahead with flyers and gain tempo. You'll buy time with life gain cards like Tablet of the Guilds while you load up on bounce spells such as Dramatic Rescue to further slow enemy threats. The whole time your creatures will pecking away at the opponent's life total. It includes a foil Archon of the Triumvirate and a Righteous Authority.

So which of the "Return to Ravnica" intro pack is the best?

For this "Magic" player it comes down to "Selesnya Surge," however that's because I'll be a Golgari player at the prerelease to pick up several alternate art Corpsejack Menace. Otherwise I'd pick "Golgari Growth."

Which "Return to Ravnica" intro pack will you get?

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