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What-If Ravnica, Part 2: The Toval Union, an Alternate Red-White Guild

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Recently, I began a long thought experiment with a hypothetical, possible red-green Ravnica guild called the Brangok Corsairs, and explained myself thusly:

Ravnica is an immensely well-regarded plane, and most of its fans love it because of the guild system, allowing each of the ten two-color combinations to get relatively equal representation, its own identity, and a new keyword. And the ten guilds do capture the essence of what their colors are about, philosophically and mechanically - or at least part of it. Individual colors are deep enough that their philosophical essences can't be pinned down in one word, of course, and so are the intersections of two colors. And it becomes problematic when players think that all two-color cards, concepts, or factions need to fall in line with the appropriate Ravnica guild's beliefs.

So, as a thought experiment, and partly as speculation for the future of multicolor sets and perhaps even Ravnica itself, I will propose versions of Ravnica guilds that might have existed if R&D had chosen to focus on different aspects of the colors that make them up.

Because this guild wound up being genuinely interesting, I decided to try again, borrowing a friend's concept for a red-white guild.

Red and white have a lot to share, for enemy colors: They're both into small creatures, combat tricks and mechanics like first strike, and are the most likely to believe battle is justified. This is both good and bad when making a faction that combines them, because it's easy to fall into the simplistic snare of all righteous anger, all the time. The Boros had quite good flavor in the original Ravnica block but got frankly shafted mechanically, having gotten the most unlovable guild keyword of all time, radiance. This "hit everything of one color" indiscriminate keyword frankly did not make much sense for the flavor of the Boros - who at the time were largely sympathetic, workaday cops fighting to contain their natural violent vigilante streak, and who even were cunning detectives - or even for the mechanical framework of Ravnica.

By Return to Ravnica block, their keyword was frankly awesome - battalion did a good and rewarding job of showing how Boros regular troops work together, with support from their superiors. However, their flavor had become more stereotypical for story reasons: When Aurelia took over the guild, her fanaticism caused her to make it into basically a perpetual paramilitary crusade, and the characters lost something in terms of likability. The Boros individual who got the most time in the spotlight (Tajic, who, like Agrus Kos from the previous Ravnica block, was a dark-skinned beat cop gifted with a form of invincibility and in way over his head in plots) was still sympathetic, but his compatriots came off as one-dimensional.

So what if instead of war-makers, the most working-class guild were industrial, embodying both the high-minded ideals and lax safety procedures of the Soviet Union? This is MTGSalvation user CrustaceanCrusader's delightfully offbeat Toval Union.

The working-class muscle of Ravnica, the Toval Union own, manage, and staff many of the city's larger industrial precincts, and produce much of the city's raw materials. Because of their near absolute stranglehold on production, the Toval Union are able to broker professional agreements with many other guilds, and outsiders often decry the guild for having too much influence. They perhaps paradoxically believe in the strength of the collective and the significance of personal roles within it, each member of the Union relishing the chance to do their part to strengthen the whole. Despite this, members of the Union enjoy lives of considerable personal freedom, their needs provided for entirely by the group.

In war, the Toval Union employs fragile and readily replaceable constructs known as Autonik supported by combat engineers and heavier ogre enforcers or draught dromads. This translates into gameplay with the mechanic automate, which creates a steady stream of expendable artifact tokens to throw at your enemies.

The Toval Union is currently led by Kazovat, a powerful Ogre foundry-mage. His practical business policies have maneuvered the Union into a financial position nearly rivaling Orzhova itself. There are some, however, who suspect Kazovat is nothing more than the political puppet of more shrewd leaders, and that his policies are not entirely as benevolent as they appear.

My production. My revolution. My guild.

Kazovat, Grand Director 1RRWW

Legendary Creature - Ogre Artificer (Mythic)

At the beginning of your upkeep, automate 3. (Put three 1/1 colorless Construct artifact creature tokens with haste onto the battlefield. Sacrifice those tokens at the beginning of the next end step.)

1RW, Sacrifice an artifact: Kazovat, Grand Director deals 2 damage to target creature or player and you gain 2 life.

"A cult of personality may raise you higher than the wings of any angel."

4/4

Velkrovna Guildmage RW

Creature - Human Shaman (Uncommon)

RW: Target creature gains haste and first strike until end of turn.

2RW: The next 2 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn is dealt to another target creature instead.

2/2

Ember Stoker {R/W}{R/W}

Creature - Human Warrior (Common)

At the beginning of your upkeep, automate 1. (Put a 1/1 colorless Construct artifact creature token with haste onto the battlefield. Sacrifice that token at the beginning of the next end step.)

1/1

Breakers' Bloc RW

Instant (Rare)

As an additional cost to cast Breakers' Bloc, sacrifice an artifact.

Destroy target permanent.

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