Exclusive: Magic: The Gathering - Rise of the Golgari Swarm

An exclusive first look at some of the new Golgari-themed cards (and beautiful art) arriving in the Guilds of Ravnica Magic: The Gathering expansion.

Magic: The Gathering is heading back to one of the most beloved planes of all time, and anticipation couldn't be higher. Ravnica is the sort of place where magic literally happens - it has been the site of some of the most intriguing moments and alliances in Magic's history, and has spawned iconic characters like Vraska the Gorgon and Niv Mizzet, the Firemind. It's a plane full of mystery and political machinations, but it's also the home of ten different guilds that players can't help but identify with, with Wizards of the Coast going so far as to produce Buzzfeed-style quizzes for those wondering which group they'd be a strong fit with.

Heading into Guilds of Ravnica, then, there's a lot of buzz regarding the five guilds that will feature heavily in that set's narrative and card design. One of those guilds is the Golgari, who are currently led by Vraska. As a guild, they're about as bizarre as they come - while other groups are making powerplays behind the scenes, the Golgari are a band of necromantic misfits who are just looking for equal treatment. They identify with the Black and Green parts of Magic's color pie, meaning they are a marriage between ideologies of life and death. Basically, they're a complicated bunch, but that nuance leaves a lot of room for card designers looking to explore what the guild can offer.

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For those excited to see what Golgari have to offer players in the upcoming set release, we've got two common card previews that should help illustrate what players can expect. Common cards typically offer a lot of insight into a specific group's set design, since they have to fit with the theme but can't be too powerful. That usually means they serve as good indicators of the base power level of their color combination, as well as any deep themes.

Pitiless Gorgon Exclusive Preview

Without further adieu, world, meet Pitiless Gorgon:

Pitiless Gorgon is a 3 mana creature that is brutally efficient and simple. For 3 mana - including 2 hybridized mana symbols that let players use either green or black mana to cast it - you'll get a 2/2 creature with deathtouch. It's the kind of card that could end up being a signpost common in limited, and in the right Standard formats, could be a sideboard player, although that might be a bit of a stretch given the current power level of Standard right now.

More importantly, the flavor text on Pitiless Gorgon indicates that the Golgari are done being looked down upon, and that the uprising of the Swarm might be a key narrative element in Guilds of Ravnica. We'll have to wait and see, but until then, take a closer look at just how beautiful this card art really is, courtesy of Alex Konstad.

Pitless Gorgon by Alex Konstad - New Magic: The Gathering Golgari Cards

Vigorspore Wurm Exclusive Preview

Then, check out our second card, Vigorspore Wurm!

Vigorspore Wurm is prime example of a common that showcases what a new keyword can do at low rarities. Undergrowth is the new mechanic for the Golgari this time around, and Vigorspore Wurm can offer some serious late-game swings by giving a creature a power boost as well as vigilance, breaking up complicated board states in limited. Then, once Vigorspore Wurm is already in play, it also makes blocking difficult, as the 6/4 body will likely force an opponent to trade a decent creature for it instead of chumping with some lower power creatures in double-or-triple blocks.

Vigorspore Wurm might not offer some more flavor text to go off of, but the art offers us a clue, so let's take a closer look:

Vigorspore Wurm by Jason Felix - New Magic: The Gathering Golgari Cards

Jason Felix's design showcases a wurm attacking in what appears to be a sewer, which could indicate that the Golgari uprising might force other guilds to retaliate and enter into their territory - not exactly an envious place to be, if Vigorspore Wurm is any indication.

In addition, we've also got a look at how some of the Golgari guild members are being designed in terms of concept art. Feast your eyes on a look at the beginnings of some of the Golgari Elves on Ravnica, featuring a very DIY, earthy aesthetic! The Golgari certainly seem to have evolved since the last time we saw them, and their close relationship with death and decay hasn't made them any less fascinating to observe.

Golgari Shaman
Golgari Warrior

Fans looking to pick up some of the new Golgari cards won't have to wait much longer. Guilds of Ravnica will have its pre-release weekend on Sept. 29-30th worldwide, and the set will then launch on October 5, shaking up the Standard format with shock lands, guilds, and a bunch of exciting new keywords!

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