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Guildpact

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Guildpact is a Magic: The Gathering set, second in the Ravnica Block. Guildpact was released on February 3, 2006.

Guilds

Of the ten guilds that rule the city of Ravnica, three are the sole focus of this second set in the block. The previous expansion, Ravnica: City of Guilds, focused on four of these guilds. Dissension brought it to a close by introducing the last three guilds. Each guild corresponds to a different two-color combination.

The three guilds featured in Guildpact are:

The Orzhov Syndicate (white/black): While masquerading as a religion, the Orzhov are actually Mafia-like business people. With no economic transaction that isn't directly or indirectly under their control, they are directed by the Ghost Council of Orzhova, composed entirely of the spirits of former Orzhov Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Teysa, Orzhov Scion, is the champion of the guild, also playing a major part in the book series.

The Izzet League (blue/red): Like mad scientists, the Izzet are responsible for almost all of the beneficial technologies and magics that keep Ravnica running. Unfortunately, their impulsive and reckless research principles mean that just as many have failed experiments with explosive results. Their guild leader is an extremely intelligent but temperamental and egotistic dragon wizard named Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. The champions of The Izzet League are a husband-wife pair of wizards named Tibor and lumia.

The Gruul Clans (red/green): The Gruul Clans were originally the Guild of Savage Nature, appointed to speak for and protect the people who lived in the harsh natural environments of Ravnica. As the city expanded over nature, the other nine Guilds (specifically the other Green-oriented Guilds) began appointing themselves as nature's defenders. Eventually phased out entirely by the rest of the Guilds, The Gruul fractured into a myriad of different clans, all bent on destroying civilization. Some do it for revenge, others simply because they like to smash stuff. The biggest clan is ruled by the cyclops Borborygmos. Despite not being affiliated with any of the clans, the members view Ulasht, the hate seed, as their champion as it represents all they stand for.

Mechanics

Haunt (white/black): Creatures, instants and sorceries may have the Keyword 'Haunt'. When a creature or spell with Haunt is put into a graveyard, it is removed from the game Haunting a creature in play. Creature spells with the Haunt ability typically have "come into play" effects that are repeated when the Haunted creature dies.

Bloodthirst (red/green): Creatures with Bloodthirst gain a boost to their power and toughness, if an opponent took damage before the creature came into play. For example, a 2/3 creature with Bloodthirst 3 would come into play as a 5/6, provided that one opponent was dealt damage that turn.

Replicate (blue/red): Spells with Replicate allow a given cost to be paid any number of times, and the spell is copied that many times. Each copy can have a new target.

Guildpact also includes Magic's first and (so far) only four-colored creatures, the Nephilim.

Design

Ravnica was conceived following the success of Invasion. Invasion, released in 2000, emphasized interactions between the colors, and it was one of Magic's most popular releases ever. Magic's lead designer, Mark Rosewater, wanted to expand on the multicolor theme in a new way. Therefore, the design of Ravnica is based around four guilds, meaning cards in which those pairs of colors work in concert. Guildpact continues this pattern with the three guilds listed above.

Novel

When a man retires, the last thing he wants to become is the sheriff of some backwater town on the outskirts, of the biggest city in the world. But when an old mining town suddenly becomes the site of a new wave of destruction, Kos has no choice but to shine his badge, strap on his pendrik and get to dishing out justice frontier style.

This is the second installment of the Ravnica Cycle, written by Cory J. Herndon and published by Wizards of the Coast. Like it’s predecessor, Ravnica: City of Guilds, this novel stars Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran and his business partner/friend Pivlic, as well as several new characters, in a rousing adventure full of intrigue and mayhem. With their new friend Teysa Karlov, baroness of the frontier zone named Utvara, the two begin to unravel an Izzet secret that delves deeper than many of them wanted to ever go, all the while searching for the missing messenger of the Zomaj Hauc, Izzet Guild upper manager and lead engineer of the Cauldron, a powerplant supplying energy to all of the Utvara region.

Crix the goblin finds herself in the hands of the indigenous peoples of Utvara while Baroness Teysa and her minions attempt to gain control of the region that has now become hers to own. But Crix finds that the plains around Utvara are mysterious, full of bizarre creatures that trace back to the ancient days of Ravnica, as well as a race of people who wear fungus on their backs to protect themselves from a spore that got thrown up into the air after the Izzet Guild attempted to “reclaim” the Utvaran region for the previous owner, Teysa’s uncle and prodigal father. But as Crix stays out in the spores, strange occurrences with the natives lead her to believe that something against the natural order is occurring, and that the answer can only be found within her master, Zomaj Hauc himself.

Crix manages to manipulate the natives into helping her get to the cauldron, partially to deliver the message she had been sent to deliver and partially to get to the bottom of this deadly mystery. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the courier, Agrus Kos and Pivlic have also become aware of the strange behaviors of the natives and begin an expedition to rescue the intrepid Izzet. However, as they work forward toward their goal, both the human and the imp find that it is not as easy of a task as it originally appeared, especially not when the Nephilim, those ancient creatures Crix encounters, become more rampant in this area of the frontier. Since Kidnapping is a crime, Kos is propelled forward, but unfortunately for him, his path leads straight to the gates of the Cauldron, and on the eve of yet another attempt at ruining Ravnica.

Back in Utvara, things seem to be simple and reclaiming the once lost territory is becoming a task that Teysa Karlov has turned into a lucrative business venture. But as business is getting better, Teysa begins to discover a mystery and a magic that has been plaguing her for most of her life. And the lies and deceptions strike directly into the heart of the woman who is beginning to get too old be able to deal with it. Be that as it may, the Guildmaster, the first Baroness of the Orzhov guild, meets her enemies face to face and proves that royal blood does make a difference.

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