Previous Guilds of Ravnica Reviews
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Boros | Dimir | Golgari | Izzet | Selesnya | Artifacts, Lands, and Guild Ranking
Before I introduce the grading scale, I offer the usual caveat—the grades don’t tell the whole story, and what I write about each card provides context.
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Radiant Flames. Shambling Vent.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat. Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Anticipate. Transgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living Guildpact. Naturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)
Assassin’s Trophy is already showing up in every format where it’s legal, and in sizable numbers. This is a staple removal spell, and covers a ton of bases at very low cost, especially in older formats. The drawback is more pronounced in Standard, but even there it’s too efficient not to be a premium removal spell, and it’s going to have a hugely positive impact across the board. It just kills everything, including lands, and giving the opponent a basic land is well worth that degree of safety and efficiency. It won’t warp any format, particularly Standard, because at its core it is still just a removal spell—and one that comes with card disadvantage at that—but the breadth of play that it’s going to see qualifies it as a multi-format all-star.
Charnel Troll takes a little work to keep going, but I’m willing to do some work for a 3-mana beater that attacks as a 5/5 or greater (and keeps growing from there). Golgari midrange gets a lot of creatures into its bin naturally, and this will gladly take advantage of that. Stats do matter, and trample means that this doesn’t get easily blanked by opposing chump blockers.
Glowspore Shaman is the poster child for “card with just enough synergy to get across the finish line.” It’s below the bar for Constructed on its own merits, but enabling graveyard shenanigans is a real thing, and this can find you a third land if you’re hard up for mana. That’s enough to see play, and this helps Golgari decks do their thing.
It won’t be hard for this to find a home, as it’s got a great ability and is beefy enough to count as a real card while in play. The casting cost isn’t the easiest in the world, but there’s enough fixing that even 3-color decks can play this reliably. You probably don’t want to jam 4 of these all that often, but as a one- or two-of they can be a very effective way to get some juice in the late game. The combo with The Eldest Reborn is especially savage, and getting these back with Find // Finality is pretty sick too.
Siege-Bug Commander is a sweet way to finish off games, and I find it especially neat that Izoni has a sick ETB ability and still matters while in play. Golgari decks are going to get a lot of fuel from Izoni, and this is a valid way to stabilize against aggro or pressuring control.
The Memorial to Folly/Molderhulk loop is really cute, and in a deck with a lot of self-mill, not that hard to put together. Molderhulk shines once it costs 3 or 4 mana, and it’s doable to get there by the middle of the game. Cost reduction mechanics are traditionally among the most powerful, and a potential 6/6 for 2 mana that brings back a land is pretty sweet. I’m curious what the more creative uses of Molderhulk are, and I expect this to show up a decent amount.
This is no Doom Whisperer, but it does dodge a ton of removal, and if it survives improves your draws substantially. That’s enough for me to take a look at it, and I could easily see this being the top end of a Golgari deck (that either already has four Whisperer or wants to dodge specific removal spells).
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Even if this is the third-best Vraska card (behind her Contempt and the Relic Seeker), this is still a powerful planeswalker that can help a grindy Golgari deck win games. If the threats line up such that the -3 reliably kills things, and you have either fodder to sacrifice or a reason to put cards in the bin, this is worth a couple slots. That’s a lot that needs to break Vraska’s way, but she will see a moderate amount of play.
Find // Finality
This is a very cool Wrath effect. Both halves incentivize playing creatures, so it’s a sweeper that goes in creature-heavy decks, and makes you care about the stats of your creatures (because you want at least one to survive Finality). That’s a really cool design, and a powerful set of abilities. Playing this mostly as a 2-for-1 is a fine plan, and there are decks that will use this as a sweeper only in emergencies. On the other side, there are decks that are more split, and really lean on the sweeper part of the card. I’m a fan, and suspect this will define Standard card choices.
Status // Statue
Not being able to hit planeswalkers basically dooms this, as the combat trick part of the card is largely irrelevant. If we somehow ended up in a Standard format without many planeswalkers, this could make a resurgence, though it’s unfortunate that Walking Ballista isn’t around to take advantage of the combo with Status.
Top 3 Golgari Cards
Wow. Not only did Golgari get the most impactful card in the entire set, it got a ton of awesome Standard juice as well. Golgari Midrange is looking really good, and there are a ton of different ways to build it to boot.