Here at District Three we have already selected our Tribute, and it is me. Well, no not really. But I couldn’t help throw in the quite obvious puns to be made given the spoiler I am going to talk about today. It comes from, what I can only assume is, one of the Pre-Release Promo cards for the Born of the Gods expansion of the Theros Block. The card I’m going to look at uses a new mechanic titled Tribute. Now can you see the pun? Three Kings Loot, District 3, Tribute, Hunger Games. Got it? Good! Now that that ugliness is behind us I can focus on the card.
Nessian Wilds Ravager is a creature filled with flavor and has so much going on. First off it is a Hydra which is flavor enough for me to be included in the set. Where Monsters of Myth, especially Greek or Roman, are concerned it is one of the most dangerous creatures to face off against and is used in adventure movies from the modern Percy Jackson to the classic Willow. But that’s not all that it has going for it. Let’s break it down a bit more.
First off it is a six cmc creature, at four colorless and two green, that gives you a 6/6 body. Already it has passed the Limited Vanilla Test. But it comes with a built in Pit Fight, if your opponent chooses to let it. That’s right, because of the new Tribute mechanic you put an opponent on the spot and force them to make a decision. The Tribute mechanic as it reads is:
That in and of itself isn’t very powerful, because right off any opponent you choose is going to say no. I mean what opponent would want to say “yes, please, have 6 free +1/+1 counters”? None that I know of. Subtle side note, note the choice of words “an opponent of your choice”. I like how this is worded and makes me think that they are considering multiplayer formats, like Commander and Two-Headed Giant, more seriously. Now, back to the card. Your opponent isn’t going to just hand you those without a good reason. And this is the reason:
So, if your opponent doesn’t pay the Tribute you get to have it fight another creature. Depending upon the board state that could be a very devastating thing for them, but then again so could staring down a 12/12 creature. If this is a taste of things to come in the Born of the Gods set, I can say that I am liking it. It isn’t exactly a control ability but it can easily put your opponent into a position that makes them uncomfortable. Side note, it says “may” meaning that you don’t have to make it fight even if your opponent doesn’t pay the Tribute.
Now this card is reminiscent of a card from Gatecrash that sadly didn’t see any real play, and that was the Gruul Ragebeast. This could be because of the multicolour requirements which makes it more restrictive, or the fact that you didn’t get a choice in whether it fought or not. And because of those two factors alone I can see the Ravager having a better chance at seeing any level of Constructed play over the Ragebeast.
Did I mention that it’s a Hydra? I think that part is awesome! In keeping with the lore of a Hydra doubling it’s heads when one is cut off, and that if your opponent doesn’t pay Tribute that it will grow to twice it’s size. And another flavor point to be made is making Tribute to Gods and Monsters is a very common theme when you are dealing with Monsters and Heroes of Legend and Myth.
I personally think that this is one of the more powerful cards that was spoiled this weekend and if these truly are the Pre-Release cards for Born of the Gods I am most likely going to be picking it for that night’s battles. If not for the mechanics, then for the flavour.
This is Gerald Knight, reporting in from Kings Loot District 3.