Let’s take a stroll through the streets of Ravnica, one of the most popular planes in all of Magic: The Gathering. An entirely urban setting, Ravnica is both city and world: it’s one gigantic urban environment which spans an entire plane. Ravnica is a manmade plane of brick and mortar, covered in city halls and marketplaces, towering spires and churches, and dark alleyways and slums. Naturally, if you want to thrive (or survive) in such a world, you need some street smarts.
With its awesome (Eastern Europe-inspired) architectural artwork and characterful guilds, it’s no wonder Ravnica has become known as one of Magic: The Gathering’s top planes, and been visited in three different MTG blocks. In 2018, with the book Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica, it also became a DnD setting.
In this guide, we’ll take you on a tour of the Ravnica setting. Whether you’re an MTG player keen to find out more about one of Magic’s best-loved planes, or a D&D fan looking to incorporate Ravnica into a campaign, allow us to be your Ravnica city map.
For most citizens of Ravnica, daily life revolves around the machinations of the Ravnica guilds, 10 highly disparate factions that run the plane. The guilds of Ravnica are the plane’s main movers and shakers, responsible for every key job in the city from law enforcement to garbage collection. For the most part, they have an uneasy peace with one another – but conflict often bubbles to the surface.
Each of the Ravnica guilds has mastered two colours of mana. They’re so well-known that in the MTG community, the guild names have become shorthand for the colour. Instead of Red-Green, most players will just say Gruul. There’s no point talking about Ravnica unless you know the guilds – they’re the most fleshed out element of the setting. So let’s have a look at the MTG guilds, one by one.
The Azorius Senate is Ravnica’s White/Blue guild and also its government, judges, and lawmakers. It sees itself as upholding the law and preventing the city from sliding into chaos, though at its worst it is stifling, or else overly bureaucratic and ineffective.
In the events leading up to the War of the Spark (under the influence of Dovin Baan, a pawn of Nicol Bolas) the guild went full minority report, arresting people for future crimes and increasing their surveillance powers. Since Dovin was ousted, the human Lavinia controls Azorius.
The Orzhov Syndicate is Ravnica’s White/Black guild. Simultaneously a church and a bank, members of this guild know the business of business. With influence in Ravnica wherever money changes hands, Orzhov is somewhere between a corporation, a religion, and a crime gang every bit as unscrupulous of those found on New Capenna.
Steeped in hierarchy and tradition, many recruits join Orzhov in the hopes of gaining money and power, and establishing themselves as part of the Orzhov aristocracy, who prolong their own lives through magical means and then come back and continue their business in undeath. The Orzhov syndicate used to be run by a council of ghosts, until the planeswalker Kaya killed them and took over.
The Boros Legion is the White/Red guild on Ravnica. Both police force and army (that always ends well) the guild enforces the laws which Azorius makes. Boros is led by angels, under Aurelius, but is also full of a proud and fierce force of goblins, humans, and minotaurs.
The Selesnya Conclave is Ravnica’s White/Green guild. Basically they’re a bunch of hippies, spending a lot of time hanging out in and nurturing their gardens (the closest thing Ravnica has to nature) espousing the virtues of peace and love.
While pleasant for the most part, Selsenya is a little bit cult-like. Its members are always trying to spread its message and convert others to their cause. Great therapists though. The Selesnya are led by Trostani, a being that’s actually three dryads acting as one.
The Blue/Black guild on Ravnica is House Dimir. A shadowy and mysterious organisation that keeps most of its actions secret, if you want someone spied on, stolen from, or assassinated, Dimir is the guild you turn to. If you can find it that is.
For a long time, Dimir’s very existence was not known to the general public of Ravnica, and it still operates in utmost secrecy whenever possible. It is led by the shapeshifter Lazav. Or is it? Hey, that’s our next guild!
The Izzet League is Ravnica’s Blue/Red guild, responsible for the city’s electronics and machines. Home to some of the plane’s brightest minds, Izzet guild members look for ways to improve life on Ravnica through experiment and invention, mixing science and magic in their quest for knowledge.
Though they have keen intellects, many of the scientists of Izzet also have short attention spans, so their efforts often lead to electrocution and explosions. When an Izzet wizard says “watch this!” it’s prudent to take a step back. Izzet is led by the planeswalker Ral Zarek.
The Simic Combine is the plane’s Blue/Green guild. Charged with protecting Ravnica’s nature and creatures as its urban sprawl covered the plane, this guild is more interested in improving, evolving, and mutating the natural world.
The only kind of science on Ravnica is the mad variety, but whereas Izzet is all about equations and holding long pieces of metal in thunderstorms, Simic is brains in jars and Shark-octopus hybrids. Basically, Simic is to biology, what Izzet is to physics.
Ravnica’s Red/Black guild is the Cult of Rakdos. A bunch of hedonistic sadists, Rakdos puts on grand shows where the audience is literally captive, and the knife throwers never miss. They worship the demon Rakdos and give it their all in every performance in the hopes of impressing him.
While they apparently have a role as caterers and labourers, it’s hard to see how Rakdos is as useful to Ravnica as many of the other guilds. Ostensibly you could say they’re the main entertainers of the plane, but most people don’t go to the circus to get stabbed. Perhaps that’s just how Ravnicans do! (Or perhaps only the most sadistic parts of the guild show up on MTG cards, and there are more normal Rakdos clubs and parties going on elsewhere.)
Ravnica’s Red/Green guild is the Gruul Clans. Their tale is a sad one. Charged with being a check on civilisation and protecting the few remaining natural spots on Ravnica, Gruul ultimately failed in its task, and the last remaining wild places were torn down. Now the only nature on Ravnica is that which is carefully cultivated by Selesnya.
This has left the Gruul Clans with a bone to pick with pretty much everyone on Ravnica. They now exist as a group of scattered clans with only the aim of causing rebellious chaos, looting and smashing. They await the prophesied End-Raze, when the boar god Ilharg will trample the city to ruin.
The Golgari Swarm is the Black/Green guild on Ravnica. It performs the unglamorous role of waste and corpse disposal, and also provides dubious food from its ‘rot farms’ to the poor and needy (hopefully this isn’t a soylent green scenario).
Golgari is led by the gorgon planeswalker Vraska, but it has had plenty of shifts in leadership over time (as the leaders keep assassinating one another). The guild is full of undead and insects, and is said to act more like a hivemind serving one purpose than an organisation full of jostling individuals.
The Ravnica guildpact is a magical treaty which ensures each of the plane’s guilds works together and obeys some basic principles, otherwise supernatural consequences may follow. It was originally a spell, but after this was broken through a loophole, a new Living Guildpact was devised. This was originally the planeswalker Jace Beleren, but is now the dragon Niv-Mizzet.
There have been nine Ravnica MTG sets in total, across two blocks and three expansions. Here is the full list of Ravnica sets:
- Ravnica: City of Guilds
- Return to Ravnica
- Dragon’s Maze
- Guilds of Ravnica
- Ravnica Allegience
- War of the Spark