News Brief: Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, Best-of-One, the End of ORCs, Alex Bertoncini’s Lifetime Ban, and Prague

It only took until the second week of the 2019, but we have our first week with almost too many stories to count! Let’s dive right in!

Ravnica Allegiance

The full card list for Ravnica Allegiance was released last Friday. The set will release on January 25th, 2019, with prerelease events taking place January 19th and 20th. Even though the full spoiler was the headliner, there was plenty of other news related to Ravnica Allegiance. We also got a look at all the tokens and emblems for the latest set. The Planeswalker Decks for the set were revealed, including their special Standard-legal planeswalkers: Dovin, Architect of Law and Domri, City Smasher.

Prerelease kits and the Planeswalker Decks for Ravnica Allegiance have something special: Arena codes. If you play a Ravnica Allegiance prerelease at a Wizards Play Network store, you will receive a redemption code for a traditional Draft that can be redeemed starting January 17th (Ravnica Allegiance releases on the platform on January 18th). The Planeswalker Decks will also contain redemption codes, allowing you to receive a copy of the deck in MTG Arena.

Ravnica Allegiance will also feature a Mythic Edition. The roster of planeswalkers this time around are: Karn, Scion of Urza, Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, Sorin Markov, Jaya Ballard, Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, Dack Fayden, Domri, Chaos Bringer, and Kaya, Orzhov Usurper. The press release for the product acknowledges the issues with the release of Guilds of Ravnica Mythic Edition. That release saw the Hasbro Toy Store crash and some orders go unfulfilled. In an attempt to make the process smoother, the product will be available through Hasbro’s eBay store. This allows Mythic Edition to be available internationally. The special product will go on sale at noon Pacific Time on January 24th and sell for $249.99. There will be a limit of two per customer.

Magic Online is also getting in on the Ravnica Allegiance action. Prerelease events will begin on January 17th, with regular Drafts starting on January 18th. The announcement also hinted that a change to the Play Lobby is coming and that all Treasure Chest Prize Boosters will not feature at least 5 Play Points. Additionally, when prestige avatars appear in Treasure Chests, they will be in addition to the three slots and not take up a prize slot.

War of the Spark

Ravnica Allegiance hasn’t even hit the scene officially yet and we already know the name of the next set. War of the Spark will release in April 2019. Taking place on Ravnica, we know the set will not be themed around the guilds and signals the end of the current Nicol Bolas centered Gatewatch arc. Also coming in April 2019, the return of Challenger Decks:

Judge Exemplar Foils

The next set of Judge Exemplar rewards have been revealed. These are awarded to Judges who have been recognized by their peers. This round of premium foils are alternate art copies of Rhystic Study and Food Chain.


On MTG Arena, the most popular way to play involves best-of-one matches. This is different from how Magic has traditionally been played with best-of-three. In February, Wizards is offering the option to stores to host Quick Drafts at Friday Night Magic. The discussion around best-of-one prompted Aaron Forsythe, Senior Design Director, to tweet the following:

No More ORCs

It appears that ORCs—community members who were contracted by Wizards of the Coast through a third party to provide customer support—are no more. While details are vague, it appears that the contract was not renewed and that many of these positions are being outsourced.

Lifetime Ban for Alex Bertoncini

Alex Bertoncini has been banned for life. Bertoncini had a number of high profile disqualifications and suspensions on his record. While he has been playing on the Grand Prix circuit as of late and has appeared to try to make amends for his past behavior, he has received a lifetime ban from the DCI. The impetus for this update has not been made public at this time.

Grand Prix Prague

The second, and final, Ultimate Masters Grand Prix took place this past weekend in Prague. 2,500 players were vying for the title, making it the third largest tournament to be held in Europe. At the end of the day it was Platinum Pro Pascal Vieren who took down the title. Before the Top 8, Vieren had said that his new goal was to be one of the Top 32 players in the world and earn a spot in the Magic Pro League. His win in Prague is the first step on the path.

Speaking of the Magic Pro League, MPL member Rei Sato was disqualified on Day 1 of Grand Prix Prague for playing a land in the middle of combat. An investigation by the MPL is underway.

Looking Forward

Next week the world gets its first chance to try out Ravnica Allegiance during the prerelease. Then the set hits the shelves for real and gets the spotlight at the Limited Grand Prix at MagicFest New Jersey.


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