Friday, May 12, 2017

Tea and Mana, A Magic The Gathering Tea Fusion, Part Two: Enemy Colored Guilds

I love Ravnica, the city-wide plane inspired by Slavic folklore/culture where everything is neatly sorted into Guilds just works so well for me. If I could planeswalk, chances are it would be very high on the list of places I would settle down...that or Innistrad, but Innistrad is a whole level of chaos, especially after the whole Emrakul thing. I thought about doing all the Guilds in one post, but quickly realized that would be a ridiculous post...so enemy colors first...why? Because those are some of my favorites! (Also as tempting as it would be to pair them entirely with Slavic teas I am so not doing that...though that would be fun, but no) Pay no mind to the Living Guild Pact in the photos, Jace likes to think he is relevant, but he is just pretty.

White-Black Orzhov Syndicate

Ready for some creepy ghost-mafia goodness? I love the Orzhov, but man are they terrible, in my opinion mixing some of the worst of both Black and White. True they are fantastic repositories of tradition and have great dealings with the dead, but they hoard their knowledge and manipulate from beyond the grave. One of their mechanics, Extort is a very flavorful example of how they suck the life out of those who seek assistance from them to extend their own ghostly existence. For their tea I needed something with crazy longevity, a steep price that makes your wallet weep and tempts you to make fell bargains indebting yourself to anyone to get this tea, and of course something old. I decided a nice aged Shou, one of the ones that cost a fortune (thinking one of those bricks from the 90s that cost several hundreds) granted all my shou is on the cheap-ish end, so I guess I am not truly worthy of the Gift of Orzhova. (Fine by me, I don't like those guys)

Blue-Red Izzet League

Probably the most fun of the Guilds, at least flavor-text wise, the crazed mad scientists who have an uncanny love for lightning (looking at you Ral Zarek) and who have possibly the best/worst boss in all of history. Niv-Mizzet! Niv-Mizzet is ridiculously arrogant, even by dragon standards, and I admit a bit reason why I love this Guild and would be very torn between joining it and my other favorite (which we will get to soon) is largely in part to that dragon. As a Guild that mixes the blue hunger and pursuit of knowledge with the red intensity and single-mindedness, I feel a great kinship with these artificers, inventors, and knowledge seekers. With a Guild like this you need something intense, loaded with a metric ton of caffeine (for those all night projects) and with enough variation in taste and nuances that the drinker will never get bored...so I picked Red Jade! It also has the added benefit of being a tea that is finicky and needing attention while brewing, and an Izzet member needs that or they get sucked up into some other project, forgetting their tea.

Green-Black Golgari Swarm

This is Necromancy done right! The guild of celebrating life from death, recycling dead things into perfectly usable (though probably smell) fungus covered zombies. The whole reason I love the idea of Necromancy is how anti-waste it is, and on a place that is also a giant city, you need good uses for dead things. Plus I love their mechanics of Dredge and Scavenge, so much graveyard shenanigan, as it should be! Yes, if I was a citizen of Ravnica I would wander into the undercity and join the Golgari, maybe be a Deathrite Shaman, just like my dream. I love you Golgari, your synergy of life and death really is quite beautiful. The absolute perfect tea for this is Fu Zhuan, the tea that's whole deal is golden flowers...aka...colonies of mold and bacteria that have been specially cultivated in this tea. Granted, I personally despise this tea (or at least all of it I have tried) but I do admit the fungal growth on it truly fascinates me. The tea in the photos is from an ancient teabag that I had no intention of drinking (not even sure why I had it) that immediately went to the graveyard, I sadly? lacked any of the showy golden flowers.

Blue-Green Simic Combine

What do you get when you combine Green's desire to preserve life and Blue's desire to understand it, you get the Simic! They are an odd bunch, in charge of Ravnica's health and well-being, they are fantastic doctors but also really like perfecting life through mutations and biomancy. The thing about Simic I like the most is their peculiar history, the original Simic Combine were wiped out after that whole fiasco with Project Kraj (thanks, Svogthir) this of course left a bit of a power gap. At this time merfolk came out of the paved over ocean and were all like 'holy crap we thought you had all wiped yourselves out ages ago' and the people on Ravnica sad much the same to them, so the merfolk took over as the new Simic, I am sure bringing a lot of bizarre fish mutant snacks to the food trade. I wanted a tea that blended specialized breeding of cultivars and farming, and strong ocean flare, so the oh so umami taste of Gyokuro immediately came to mind. Plus it pairs well with Simic Slaw, so that is always nice.

White-Red Boros Legion

I have mixed feelings on the Boros Legion, on the one hand, they are justice seeking cops who stop at nothing to bring peace to Ravnica (quite the feat) on the other they are self-righteous crusaders led by an Angel who has no problems using a flaming sword to smite the unworthy. I promise my distrust of the Boros Legion has nothing to do with my mostly Black alignment. One thing I say in their favor is they feel very cohesive and could fool me into thinking that White and Red are not enemy colors since righteous fury just works on a fundamental level. And of course, there is part of me that greatly admires the heroic justice bringers that smite evil, as long as the thing they are smiting is without a doubt evil. I actually had to call on Ben's expertise on this one, he just gets Boros more than I do (what with being a lot more White aligned than me, as he is Blue-Red-White) he suggested a tea that combines harmony with intensity, the halfway point between a white tea and a red, so I thought, Kenyan White Rhino, which is very much a combo of those two teas. I could easily imagine Auralia, The War Leader sipping this tea, relaxed while smiting.

Next installment will talk about allied colors, which I admit will be a bit more of a challenge for me since they are probably my least favorite of the guilds.

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