The 600 – A Review of Ravnica Allegiance Predictions

(Gatebreaker Ram | Art by Even Amundsen)

Reviewing the Review

Hello, and welcome to The 600, the article series where we guess whether new commanders will earn above or below 600 EDHREC decks after exactly one year among the players. Today we’ll be reviewing my picks for Ravnica Allegiance, which I’ll always remember as that set I couldn’t ever spell correctly. (Allegience? Alligiance? Alligience? Couldn’t we just name it Ravnica Pals, or something?)

Anyway, January 5, 2020 marked the one-year birthday of Ravnica Allegiance, so all of the following stats are pulled from that day. We’ll review where I went wrong, where I went right, and why. If you’d like to read last year’s article you may do so here—but no worries if not: I’ll mention my picks and thoughts along the way.

The Easy Overs

We’ll start on a high note:

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 1,822

No surprises here. In fact, I picked Teysa to be my Can’t-Miss-Pick of the set. Here’s some analysis from last year’s article:

Teysa Karlov is incredibly versatile, which is a common theme among many popular commanders. The first line of text supports an aristocrats-style deck (not unlike her pal, Judith), while her other ability supports either a swarm or go-big-with-tokens strategy. There’s also the option to do a little of both, or maybe even a token-based lifegain deck. Teysa can go in several directions, all of them good.

After Teysa, there was only one other Over in this set—and I didn’t get it. To quote The Dude, this is a bummer, man.

The Easy Unders

Let’s start with a fish who’s a motivational speaker. Check that: Utopian speaker.

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 73

Despite resembling a gungan gearing up for Halloween, Zegana checked in with a paltry 73 decks. I must say, I started pretty high on her.

Zegana’s back, this time underwater. She’s also cheaper to cast, less mana-intensive, and potentially offers a bonus to your entire team. Is all that enough to get her over the 600 mark?

The answer: nah.

While Zegana, Utopian Speaker offers some novel functionality, she’s ultimately just another Simic +1/+1 counter commander in a field of other commanders who can do that strategy better…

Next up, this thing:

My prediction: Under

Final Deck count: 176

Evidently unrelated to the Hightowers of Hightower, this skeleton-vampire-bat dude knows its fashion well, as noted in last year’s article:

[The Haunt of High Tower] is promising, not least of all because of its sweet scarf. Steve Tyler must be so jelly right now.

Hard as it may be to believe, I threw in some actual analysis, too.

The last line of rules text is really what’s got me intrigued, though. It doesn’t just trigger when stuff hits the bin from the hand. It’s from anywhere. That open-endedness is an important element of many popular commanders.

The Haunt received help later in the year with Throne of Eldraine, a set featuring fairly strong discard and mill themes; just check out all the Syr Konrad, the Grims and Rankle, Master of Pranks in Haunt decks.

However, the Haunt wasn’t the only mono-black option printed in 2019. There was one in Modern Horizons

And another from Commander 2019

Haven’t seen a father-son duo like this since Mike and Kyle Shanahan (by the way, my condolences, Niners fans).

Our final entry on this list…

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 300

I had high hopes for this dude.

Players love tribal. They especially love tinkering with tribes that haven’t gotten a lot of love. The newest version of Rakdos approaches this topic in a cool way. Basically, if you’re a member of his circus and/or a denizen of hell, he won’t kill you.

And I gotta say, his Arena animation was sick. Of course, there’s no EDH on Arena, so that matters little. I think I summed up the issue with Rakdos pretty well last year:

Most players don’t like randomness. Remember when Okaun, Eye of Chaos and Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom came out, and people were talking about how coin flipping was finally a legitimate EDH archetype? They’ve only got 179 decks on EDHREC, even after being out for over six months.

If we liked randomness, we’d be playing some other game. Dungeon Dice Monsters, maybe?

The Head Scratchers

Now onto arguably the biggest shocker of the set:

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 267

In the pantheon of famous Judiths, I thought the Scourge Diva would rank somewhere between Judge Judy and Judy Garland. Instead, she was about as culturally relevant to 2019 as Judy Jetson. What went wrong?

Honestly, I’m still baffled. I don’t think anything in my initial evaluation proved incorrect.

Judith, the Scourge Diva offers the best sacrifice effect we’ve ever seen on a Rakdos commander. Cards like this can usually only target players or plansewalkers. Judith targets anything.

My working theory is that other commanders entered the format around the same time and sucked up much of Judy’s share of the market. She’s mainly an aristocrats commander, and just check out some of the aristocrats commanders that appeared within her year:

This next one is head-scratching not because of how few decks it earned, but how many.

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 503

For the record, I got the pick right. But I still don’t understand how it got all the way to 500. Here’s my initial take on the card:

Lavinia is likely too annoying to see significant play.

If I was feeling pithy I might’ve stopped there. But there was more!

You may laugh, but check out the Hatebear theme. It has only 359 decks at the time of writing this article. To me, that suggests a style players don’t want to play with or against. Sorry, Lavinia. You have a cool name and cool artwork, but I think you’ll be better off elsewhere.

I stand by this assessment. I guess people enjoy You-Can’t-Do-That Tribal more than I realized.

Anyway, I was hot on my picks until the Elf Ooze Wizard:

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 479

I’m still surprised this one didn’t make it to 600, though it did get close. Birthing Pod on a stick seems like a decent pitch for any commander, especially in Simic.

However, I wonder if I overestimated the overlap between EDH and Modern players. Pod was a Modern deck after all, so maybe its EDH equivalent didn’t resonate with enough players in our format.

Furthermore, I suspect my initial reservations about Vannifar proved true:

Some players report that toolbox commanders sound more fun than they actually play. Though they appear to be “right answer, right time” commanders, some say they tend to play out more as “get the same answer, every time” commanders instead.

The Big Bummer

And finally we come to it.

I’ve got nothing against Nikya—or any centaur, for that matter (except that Firenze guy, because his name’s too hard to pronounce). It’s just that last time I checked on her, she was still below 600. I even noted it in the conclusion of my Guilds of Ravnica review article:

Fortunately for my job security, things are looking up for my Ravnica Allegiance picks (so long as Nikya holds at 503). Do me a favor and don’t build that deck, eh?

I thought we had a deal, people!

Nah, just kidding. I get it. Nikya’s extremely powerful, despite her “you can’t cast noncreature spells” bit, which I thought would be a much bigger deal. Plus, we’ve received a recent slew of powerful big-mana beaters, including the following:

Dinos, dragons, and hydras. Not quite Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, but EDH players will take it.


Correct Picks (5):

Incorrect Picks (3):

My Ravnica Allegiance Correct Prediction Percentage: 63%

My Overall Correct Prediction Percentage: 61%

So we get a solid five out of eight correct. How did my picks stack up with yours? Lemme know!

Kyle Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife and their two cats. His current favorite card is Zaxara, the Exemplary. Kyle can be found on Twitter @mindofkyleam.