Danger Room Renovation

It’s been a while since my last Danger Room/Battle Box update article. In fact, it has been even longer than usual. Requests for an updated Danger Room list are by far the most popular messages I receive via social media and so I’m happy to finally get this article out there.

As many people have pointed out, I didn’t do a review for Guilds of Ravnica. Today’s update will feature the full block, Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance, as well as some pretty substantial changes to the overall construction of the my stack.

But, first…

What the Heck is a Danger Room?

The Danger Room is my Battle Box list that I update and publish here on CFB.

Battle Box is a popular community format similar to Cube, except you don’t need to draft it (although you can!). You and a friend can simply sit down and start playing Magic with zero preparation other than owning a Battle Box.

Each player starts with 10 lands “in reserve.” One of each basic and one of each Allied Guildgate:

Once per turn, during your main phase, you can play a land from your reserve onto the battlefield as though it were in your hand. Essentially, both players have equal access to perfect mana and make their first ten land drops in a row for free.

Aside from never being mana screwed, players never get mana flooded since they draw cards from a shared deck that is all creatures, artifacts, and spells.

No flood. No screw. Just Magic.

It was a concept I came up with back in 2011 to get my roommate (who was a retired magician) to play Magic with me. He didn’t want to build or learn Constructed decks and we didn’t have enough people to draft. So I came up with this and it turns out it’s great.

There’s no right or wrong way to play. Play with the cards you enjoy. Make house rules. Try new cards. The great thing is that how you build your stack will facilitate very different kinds of games. So make the games what you and your friends enjoy! I won’t be offended if you change my list. In fact, I encourage it!

You don’t even need to start with a fancy list like mine. You can simply start with a pile of Draft cast offs that you add and subtract from. It would be a great way to learn the commons of Guilds of Ravnica or kill time between rounds.

Laptop Confessional

I haven’t played much Danger Room since Rivals of Ixalan, which is a fact I’m sad to admit but excited to rectify.

It’s a combination of circumstances: Several of my favorite opponents have moved away. I also moved. I spend more time playing Magic on Twitch than I do in paper form.

I’m still a Battle Box fan, but when I have been Battle Boxing it has been with my Old School Danger Room. Most of my favorite opponents are Vintage or 1995 fans and so we’ve been defaulting to that list:

The great thing about an Old School Battle Box is that it doesn’t need to be updated with each new release! It’s locked and loaded.

Last but not least, updating the Danger Room is a ton of work and mine was in a state of disarray. I had been doing updates online but hadn’t tracked down all of the cards for my physical stack. I had also borrowed cards from the Danger Room and put them into the Old School Battle Box. It needed to be completely overhauled, laid out, and reassembled. It was a mess.

I’m pleased to announce that Danger Room is finally back in working order and ready for games. I do have a bunch of proxies that I’m looking forward to finding foil versions of at #MTGNJ this weekend. I’m planning to bring my stack, and hopefully get in some quality games on Friday or Sunday at Newark Airport.

I’d like to thank the Danger Room fans who kindly requested updates over the past few months. It was a lot of work and caters to a niche audience but I enjoyed working on my stack for the article and look forward to playing a lot more Danger Room in the coming weeks!

The whole situation and process is a good reminder about how great it feels to tackle a big, looming project rather than procrastinate. I didn’t even realize how much I missed playing my Danger Room until I got into the thick of cutting and adding cards again.

Why didn’t I just do this months ago!?

A More Spacious, More Dangerous Room

Aside from the general malaise of letting my Danger Room fall into a state of disrepair and being unmotivated to put in the elbow grease, there was another important reason why I didn’t do an update for Guilds of Ravnica

I decided to make some significant changes to the construction and constitution of the Danger Room this time around. Since I first started doing updates years ago I have made very few changes to the overall number of cards or the ratios. I’m a firm believer of the adage “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

30 Artifacts
70 of each Mono-Color (350 total)
10 of each Guild (100 total)
3 of each Shard // Wedge (30 total)

=511 Total Cards

This exact map has served me well for years. If I wanted to add a mono-green card, I cut a mono-green card, etc.

I’ve made some changes…

30 Artifacts (same)
75 of each Mono-Color (375 total)
15 of each Guild (150 total)
3 of each Shard / Wedge (30 total)

=586 Total Cards

I’ve added a whopping 75 cards, which adds about 15% size to the stack. It’s not huge, but it is a significant change. The area where this change will be most felt is that the number of 2-color gold spells increased by a full third from 100 to 150.

In essence, multicolored spells went from being about a quarter of the stack to being very close to a third of the total stack.

Why Did I Do This?

I came up with the concept for the format and built my first version of the Danger Room back in 2011. So just a shade under a decade ago. There was no grand design behind the makeup of the stack. I didn’t base it on the geometry of the pyramids. Nicol Bolas didn’t appear to me in a dream and reveal the sacred numbers. It was trial and error.

I cut and added cards until it felt like a nice mix and reasonably balanced ratio of mono- and multicolored spells.

There have been dozens of new sets since then. Tens of thousands of new cards. It had simply gotten to the point where there are more cards that I’d like to have in my stack than there were available slots and so I decided to open things up.

In particular, there are far more great multicolored sets now than there were when I initially designed my concept. When I first decided on 10 of each guild it was a struggle to find 10 playable Orzhov, Rakdos, Boros, or Gruul cards! Now there are well over 20 enticing choices for each!

I believe there are now enough quality gold cards that it makes sense to extend each guild from 10 to 15 cards.

Also, the gold cards are great. Having more of them actually brings a nice balance to the stack and they’re less restrictive on mana production than cards that require two of the same color of mana to cast. It is easier to cast a card that costs 1BW than a card that costs 1BB.

It’s likely a change that has been necessary for a while now, but a new Ravnica block has basically forced the issue. I’ve been planning to change the ratios, which was a major reason I didn’t do a Ravnica review. I didn’t want to add five cards to each guild when only half of the guilds were featured in the first set!

With that being said, let’s check out the goodies that the third Ravnica block has brought!

Artifacts (30)

I will likely up the count to 35 artifacts next time around since nonartifact spells dramatically increased their market share in my stack. The only addition I’ve made since the latest Ravnica block is Sphinx of the Guildpact, which looks to be an impressive specimen.


Artifacts (30)

Basilisk Collar
Bloodforged Battle-Axe
Conqueror’s Flail
Crystal Shard
Engineered Explosives
Etched Oracle
Filigree Familiar
Fleetwheel Cruiser
Fountain of Renewal
Hangarback Walker
Icy Manipulator
Lightning Greaves
Loxodon Warhammer
Mask of Memory
Nihil Spellbomb
Peace Strider
Perilous Vault
Pierce Strider
Power Matrix
Runechanter’s Pike
Scrapheap Scrounger
Serrated Arrows
Smuggler’s Copter
Sphinx of the Guildpact
Trip Noose
Walking Ballista
Sylvok Lifestaff

Mono-Color Spells – 375 (+25)

As discussed in the earlier section I’ve added cards to the stack. In most cases, I was able to add five cards to each color, but in some cases I fleshed out the slots with some extra older cards. Some mono-colors aren’t very deep in Ravnica, which isn’t that uncommon for a multicolor set.

White – (75) +5

White has some solid additions. Venerated Loxodon finally adds a convoke card that lives up to the mechanic that appears in two sets! I’m also excited about afterlife cards in general.


Adanto Vanguard
Adorned Pouncer
Aerial Responder
Akroma’s Vengeance
Angel of Finality
Angel of Sanctions
Austere Command
Azorius Herald
Belfry Spirit
Blade Splicer
Cleansing Nova
Cloudgoat Ranger
Collective Effort
Commander Eesha
Dauntless Bodyguard
Dawn Charm
Day of Judgment
Declaration in Stone
Dragon Hunter
End Hostilities
Exalted Angel
Final Judgment
Geist-Honored Monk
Glorious Anthem
Glory-Bound Initiate
Hallowed Burial
Hero of Precinct One
Hidden Dragonslayer
Imposing Sovereign
Inspiring Cleric
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Karmic Guide
Kinjalli’s Sunwing
Kirtar’s Wrath
Knight of Dawn
Lingering Souls
Mardu Woe-Reaper
Martyr of Dusk
Ministrant of Obligation
Moment of Triumph
Momentary Blink
Mother of Runes
Phyrexian Rebirth
Regal Caracal
Remorseful Cleric
Restoration Angel
Righteous Confluence
Sacred Cat
Scout’s Warning
Selfless Spirit
Selfless Squire
Shrieking Grotesque
Skymarcher Aspirant
Soldier of the Pantheon
Soulfire Grand Master
Spear of Heliod
Spectral Lynx
Sunscape Battlemage
Suture Priest
Swords to Plowshares
Thraben Inspector
Tithe Taker
Trueheart Duelist
Valorous Stance
Venerated Loxodon
Wall of Omens
Wing Shards
Wrath of God

Blue – (75) +5

Blue cards have been pretty uninspiring for Battle Box lately. I added zero cards from Battlebond + Core Set 2019 and only two from both Ravnica sets.
I feel like blue is having a bit of an identity crisis in the sense that the cards just don’t seem very fun or interesting. With that being said, I get to add a worse Miscalculation and a ridiculous monster. If that isn’t the story of blue card design for the past year I don’t know what is!


Aeon Chronicler
Allied Strategies
Ancestral Vision
Angler Drake
Blue Elemental Blast
Bonded Fetch
Careful Consideration
Cephalid Sage
Champion of Wits
Chart a Course
Circular Logic
Control Magic
Deep Analysis
Delver of Secrets
Dream Eater
Dungeon Geists
Evasive Action
Fact or Fiction
False Summoning
Harbinger of the Tides
Jace’s Phantasm
Jolting Merfolk
Looter il-Kor
Lu Xun, Scholar General
Merfolk Looter
Mystic Archaeologist
Nimble Obstructionist
Neutralizing Blast
One With the Wind
Phantasmal Image
Power Sink
Remove Soul
Riddlemaster Sphinx
Secrets of the Golden City
Serendib Efreet
Slippery Scoundrel
Snapcaster Mage
Steal Artifact
Stolen Identity
Stratus Dancer
Sun Ce, Young Conquerer
Talrand’s Invocation
Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Warkite Marauder
Whirler Rogue

Black – (75) +5

A bunch of efficient, cheap monsters! These are the kinds of cards that really make the Battle Box fun since they are nice draws early or late in the game. There is nothing worse than drawing a bunch of expensive cards and losing to a fast draw.

With an expanded deck, I felt it was important to prioritize adding cheap spells and shaving expensive ones where I could.


Bane of the Living
Big Game Hunter
Bloodsoaked Champion
Bone Shredder
Cast Down
Chainer’s Edict
Coffin Queen
Collective Brutality
Consuming Vapors
Crypt Angel
Dakmor Lancer
Dance of the Dead
Dark Banishing
Dark Hatchling
Doom Blade
Drana, Liberator of Malakir
Dread Wanderer
Dusk Legion Zealot
Entomber Exarch
Fatal Push
Flesh Carver
Ghastly Demise
Go for the Throat
Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Gurmag Angler
Inner Demon
Inquisition of Kozilek
Keening Banshee
Knight of Infamy
Knight of Malice
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Lay Bare the Heart
Lifebane Zombie
Midnight Reaper
Moment of Craving
Murderous Cut
Never // Return
Noxious Gearhulk
Night’s Whisper
Orzhov Enforcer
Pestilent Spirit
Phyrexian Gargantua
Phyrexian Rager
Plague Mare
Ravenous Chupacabra
Rend Flesh
Ritual of the Machine
Sever the Bloodline
Skeletal Vampire
Sudden Death
The Eldest Reborn
Tragic Slip
Transgress the Mind
Unburial Rites
Undying Evil
Vampire Nighthawk
Withered Wretch
Wretched Confluence

Red – (75) +5

I’ve said it before, but it seems like red is getting the most interesting Battle Box cards for several reviews in a row. Obviously, burn is good but the overall flavor of the color has improved significantly. I enjoy playing red decks in Standard because they have interesting cards, plays, and decisions to make.


Abbot of Keral Keep
Ahn-Crop Crasher
Arc Lightning
Barbed Lightning
Beetleback Chief
Brute Force
Burst Lightning
Chain Lightning
Collective Defiance
Conquering Manticore
Cunning Sparkmage
Deem Worthy
Desolation Giant
Dire Fleet Daredevil
Dualcaster Mage
Earthshaker Khenra
Faithless Looting
Feldon of the Third Path
Fiery Confluence
Fight with Fire
Fire Imp
Flames of the Firebrand
Flame Slash
Flametongue Kavu
Fledgling Dragon
Forked Bolt
Frenzied Fugue
Goblin Dark-Dwellers
Goblin Trailblazer
Grim Lavamancer
Hordeling Outburst
Hound of Griselbrand
Hungry Flames
Incendiary Flow
Kird Ape
Krenko, Mob Boss
Lava Coil
Legion Warboss
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Strike
Mindclaw Shaman
Pardic Arsonist
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Pia Nalaar
Pillar of Flame
Punishing Fire
Rampaging Ferocidon
Red Elemental Blast
Resounding Thunder
Rix Maadi Reveler
Searing Spear
Shower of Coals
Siege-Gang Commander
Skewer the Critics
Slice and Dice
Smoldering Werewolf
Temur Battle Rage
Thunderbreak Regent
Thunderscape Battlemage
Tribal Flames
Vulshok Sorcerer
Warfire Javelineer
Young Pyromancer
Zurgo Bellstriker

Green – (75) +5

People who know my stack will note that I have an affinity for Spider and Ooze cards. I’m generally distrustful of both in real life, but I really enjoy the flavor of the cards!

The new Ravnica sets have brought us one of each! Both feel like they will be extremely powerful spells in the stack. In particular, the Biogenic Ooze feels like an army-in-a-can, a.k.a. “monster blood.” It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!


Ana Battlemage
Arborback Stomper
Autumn’s Veil
Basking Rootwalla
Benefactor’s Draught
Biogenic Ooze
Blossoming Defense
Call of the Herd
Caller of the Claw
Deathmist Raptor
Deathgorge Scavenger
Den Protector
Earl of Squirrel
Elvish Visionary
Eternal Witness
Flinthoof Boar
Forgotten Ancient
Gaea’s Might
Genesis Hydra
Giant Growth
Hatchery Spider
Hooded Hydra
Imperious Perfect
Jungleborn Pioneer
Kessig Prowler
Kraul Harpooner
Loaming Shaman
Master of the Wild Hunt
Mitotic Slime
Moment’s Peace
Mouth // Feed
Noose Constrictor
Obstinate Baloth
Ohran Viper
Patagia Viper
Pelakka Wurm
Pelt Collector
Phantom Centaur
Polukranos, World Eater
Predator’s Strike
Qasali Slingers
Ranger’s Guile
Reclamation Sage
Resilient Khenra
Ridgescale Tusker
Ripjaw Raptor
River Boa
Scavenging Ooze
Seed Guardian
Skyshroud Elite
Skyshroud War Beast
Somberwald Stag
Spider Spawning
Stingerfling Spider
Sunblade Elf
Tendershoot Dryad
Thorn Lieutenant
Thornscape Apprentice
Thornscape Battlemage
Thrashing Brontodon
Untamed Kavu
Wall of Blossoms
Wild Mongrel
Wild Nacatl
Withstand Death
Wolfir Avenger

Multicolor 2-Color Guild Spells – 150 (+50)

Each color is expanded by 33% and 5 cards from the past four sets. That is clearly a disproportionately large chunk of the 2-color spells, which I will amend for the next go-around.

I wanted to give the new cards a chance before defaulting to tried-and-true older cards. Selesnya in particular has a treasure trove of great options. I’d love to hear how my fellow Battle Boxers would use the extra five available spots in my Danger Room for each guild.

Azorius (U/W) – (15) +5

The Azorius cards don’t blow my doors off but I think there are at least a few solid additions that will stick around for the long haul. In particular, Deputy of Detention is a nice answer to tokens and Senate Guildmage feels like a great 2-drop.


Azorius Guildmage
Depose // Deploy
Deputy of Detention
Dovin’s Acuity
Hindering Light
Ojutai’s Command
Ordered Migration
Reflector Mage
Senate Guildmage
Spell Queller
Sphinx’s Insight
Supreme Verdict
Wall of Denial

Boros (R/W) – (15)

Boros was the most impressive guild for Danger Room. As you can see, I actually added six cards! Boros was one of the weaker guilds in terms of quality playables but it has really picked up the slack in Ravnica Allegiance.


Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
Basandra, Battle Seraph
Boros Challenger
Boros Charm
Boros Guildmage
Boros Reckoner
Bull Cerodon
Deafening Clarion
Foundry Champion
Heroic Reinforcements
Integrity // Intervention
Justice Strike
Lightning Helix
Tajic, Legion’s Edge
Warleader’s Helix

Dimir (U/B) – (15)

I don’t typically allow library manipulation such as Brainstorm or scry in my Danger Room on principle since you can technically play from the same stack. With that being said, most people usually just play from two separate stacks. I’ve decided to include surveil since to exclude it would mean skipping all of the new Dimir cards. I’ll see how I like it and report back next time.


Baleful Strix
Connive // Concoct
Dragonlord Silumgar
Far // Away
Hostage Taker
Lazav, the Multifarious
Psychic Symbiont
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Soul Manipulation
Spite // Malice
Thief of Sanity
Thought Erasure
Woodlot Crawler

Golgari (B/G) – 15

I wasn’t blown away by the Golgari cards. Undergrowth is a build-around mechanic that you can’t control in a shared deck game. Obviously, most undergrowth cards are bad until much later in the game. You know what else is much better later in the game? Cards with CMC 5+.

It’s a mechanic that doesn’t translate well to this particular format. With that being said, there are a few nice grindy gems.


Abrupt Decay
Baloth Null
Consume Strength
Find // Finality
Golgari Findbroker
Golgari Guildmage
Izoni, Thousand-Eyed
Lotleth Troll
Maelstrom Pulse
Obelisk Spider
Pernicious Deed
Slimefoot, the Stowaway
Status // Statue

Gruul (R/G) – 15

Gruul was the last color where I felt I was struggling to have a slam dunk top 10. Ravnica Allegiance really provided ten super high quality Danger Room staples.

I love Cindervines as a Disenchant that has a total other use! Super cool.


Assault // Battery
Bloodbraid Elf
Collision // Colossus
Dragonlair Spider
Fires of Yavimaya
Ghor-Clan Rampager
Ground Assault
Gruul Spellbreaker
Huntmaster of the Fells
Raging Regisaur
Rhythm of the Wild
Thrash // Threat
Wort, the Raidmother
Zhur-Taa Goblin

Izzet (U/R) – 15

I thought the Izzet cards were boring. Niv-Mizzet isn’t something I want in here, nor is Expansion // Explosion. It isn’t that they aren’t super powerful spells, but more that I don’t think they are fun to play against or facilitate interesting games of Magic.

I like Ionize as a flavorful counter/burn card. Crackling Drake might be too much, but I’m willing to give it a try.


Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
Beacon Bolt
Crackling Drake
Dack’s Duplicate
Etherium-Horn Sorcerer
Fire // Ice
Izzet Charm
Prophetic Prism
Storm Fleet Sprinter
Turn // Burn

Orzhov (B/W) – 15

Orzhov is my favorite guild from the new Ravnica sets. I love grindy cards and grindy is the name of the game when it comes to Orzhov. I also love life gain, which many of these cards incidentally have attached. Consecrate // Consume is an Orzhov card. I also love the graveyard hate!


Basilica Bell-Haunt
Blind Hunter
Consecrate // Consume
Death Grasp
Elenda, The Dusk Rose
Ghost Council of Orzhova
Imperious Oligarch
Karlov of the Ghost Council
Kaya’s Wrath
Orzhov Pontiff
Seraph of the Scales
Sin Collector
Zealous Persecution

Rakdos (R/B) – 15

Rakdos might be the weakest guild for Danger Room play. I felt like I was scraping the barrel to find cards that would be a good fit. Obviously, Judith, the Scourge Diva feels very playable. I doubt Fireblade Artist will survive long in here.


Bituminous Blast
Carnival // Carnage
Claim // Fame
Cut // Ribbons
Fireblade Artist
Judith, the Scourge Diva
Kolaghan’s Command
Murderous Redcap
Olivia, Mobilized for War
Rakdos Charm
Rakdos Firewheeler
Unlicensed Disintegration

Selesnya (W/G) – 15

Outside of Knight of Autumn I’m not sure any of the other three cards are safe. The cards will really have to impress me to stave off being replaced with the many, many amazing older G/W options.

With that being said, I could see any of these cards feeling great to play with! G/W cards tend to be well made for Danger Room play. Assure // Assemble has great flavor. Trostoni is an army-in-a-can.


Advent of the Wurm
Assure // Assemble
Dromoka’s Command
Elderwood Scion
Emmara, Soul of the Accord
Enlisted Wurm
Kitchen Finks
Knight of Autumn
Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon Smiter
Mystic Enforcer
Selesnya Charm
Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy
Trostani Discordant
Voice of Resurgence

Simic (U/G) – 15

I wasn’t impressed with Simic for Danger Room play. Many of the cards are specifically built to synergize with other adapt cards. Obviously, my Danger Room is not adapt themed, which makes these cards feel fairly useless. Beyond that I’m stoked about Hydroid Krasis, which is clearly insanely great. Frilled Mystic is sweet. I really like Applied Biomancy as a unique combat trick.


Aether Mutation
Applied Biomancy
Ethereal Ambush
Frilled Mystic
Horizon Chimera
Hydroid Krasis
Icefeather Aven
Incubation // Incongruity
Jungle Barrier
Mystic Snake
Plaxcaster Frogling
River Hoopoe
Shardless Agent
Simic Charm
Zegana, Utopian Speaker

Multicolor, Shards, Wedges, and 5-Color – 31

I didn’t add any new cards for the three color shards/wedges. Feel free to skip to the conclusion.

Abzan (G/W/B) – 3

Abzan Charm
Anafenza, the Foremost
Doran, the Siege Tower

Bant (W/U/G) – 3

Arcades, the Strategist
Bant Charm
Rubinia Soulsinger

Esper (U/W/B) – 3

Dromar’s Charm
Punish Ignorance
Trial // Error

Grixis (U/R/B) – 3

Dark Intimations
Gwendlyn Di Corci
Slave of Bolas

Jeskai (U/W/R) – 3

Lightning Angel
Mantis Rider
Sage of the Inward Eye

Jund (R/B/G) – 3

Darigaaz’s Charm
Jund Charm
Sprouting Thrinax

Mardu (B/W/R) – 3

Crackling Doom
Mardu Charm
Ponyback Brigade

Naya (R/W/G) – 3

Fiery Justice
Marath, Will of the Wild
Woolly Thoctar

Sultai (B/U/G) – 3

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Sultai Charm
The Mimeoplasm

Temur (R/U/G) – 3

Savage Knuckleblade
Temur Ascendancy
Temur Charm

Five-Color – 1

Fusion Elemental


So, there you have it! Today’s article is for the Battle Box fanatics out there. I know I took a set off and so I wanted to give you guys an in-depth look at my stack and my process. Ravnica 3 was a block where it made a lot of sense to consider big changes and I’m in favor of trying out new things as long as it makes sense to try.

If you are not a Battle Box fan and have stuck it out to the end with me… there is something fascinating about looking at really sweet lists of cards and I hope I’ve inspired you to think about putting together your own Battle Box full of the cards you and your friends love to play.

Battle Box is a space where you can build a format around the cards your group enjoys casting. “Is this card fun?” is the major contributing factor behind whether a card stays in or gets kicked out.

Top 10 Most Exciting Ravnica Block Danger Room Cards

10. Venerated Loxodon
9. Biogenic Ooze
8. Collision // Colossus
7. Lava Coil
6. Imperious Oligarch
5. Thought Erasure
4. Hydroid Krasis
3. Consecrate // Consume
2. Judith, The Scourge Diva
1. Knight of Autumn

Were there any I missed that you particularly enjoy? What do you think of expanding the Room? I’m always down to discuss my card choices in the comments below and excited to take recommendations for inclusion as well!

Only a Danger Room fan knows that Urborg Volcano is the scariest card in Magic.

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