Carletta reminds students they are part of a community here at Rensselaer
On Wednesday May 1 at 8 pm, I attended the candlelight vigil to honor the memory of Michael Dickinson ’14. I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to his family as this must be an unbearable loss.
It’s times like these where our strength as a community is tested. This is a tragic loss for RPI and it really saddens me to see our student body lose a member. I had the privilege of attending the vigil last Wednesday, and it was nice to see the different assortment of people there to honor Michael’s memory. At the vigil, his mother spoke about her son and the great memories she had of him explaining his wonderful experiences with the Delta Phi Fraternity, Navy ROTC, and the friends he made at RPI. She also spoke of his loving and caring demeanor to the students, faculty, and staff assembled. The ceremony was very moving and allowed everyone there to collectively mourn the loss of one of our own. Michael was an RPI student, and he will live on in our memories of him.
Events such as these are not easily forgotten, nor should they be. One thing to take away from this is that we, as a community, must rely on each other. Whether we know one another or not is irrelevant, as we are all indissolubly linked to each other through RPI. This bond, formed between all of us as students, faculty, and staff, makes us strong as a community and provides the fortitude necessary to withstand the toughest of hardships in our lives. Always remember that there are people on this campus who are willing and able to assist you in times of need.
This is my last Top Hat of the semester. I just want to say that I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to write these articles, since it is a perfect window to talk to the student body about issues that would otherwise be difficult to communicate.
Congratulations to the seniors and graduate students who will soon be leaving us to join the world beyond RPI’s doors. I hope all of you are successful in your endeavors, and I am confident that your conduct and deportment will represent RPI in the best manner. For those students that are returning, I’ll see you in August, and I hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer. As always, if you have any questions, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sileo offers congratulations to Rensselaer athletics and discusses finals week
Hello RPI, and congratulations on making it through the 2012-2013 year! It is my pleasure to introduce you to the members of next year’s Rensselaer Union Executive Board. On Thursday evening, the Student Senate confirmed the appointments of eleven representatives, including the new Senate-Executive Board liaison, Frank Abissi ’13, per the Grand Marshal’s appointment. As for the rest of the Board: graduate student Nimit Dhulekar is now the Graduate Class Representative, Matt Kosman ’14 is the Class of 2014 representative, Erica Hutchins ’15 will serve as the Class of 2015 Representative, and Joyce Liu ’16 will be serving as the Class of 2016 Representative. Confirmed as the five Club/Intercollegiate Athletics Representatives are: Erin Amarello ’15, Gabriel Kurtzman-Gonzalez ’16, Kirk Bittner ’15, Andrew Lynch ’13, and Ramneik Bathla ’15. Finally, one of the two Member-at-Large positions will be filled by Eric Ray ’13.
These eleven appointments leave four spots open on the E-Board. The Undergraduate Council and Graduate Council Representatives have been approved as Paul Blejwas ’16 and graduate student Chaz Goodwine, respectively. The Class of 2017 representative and second member-at-large position have yet to be filled because they are reserved for the incoming freshmen. These spots will be filled shortly in the beginning of the fall semester. I want to thank everyone who submitted applications to be on the E-Board. I had a very tough time choosing such a small number of Representatives from the incredibly talented pool of applicants that I had this year. I am very excited with the potential of all those who will be serving on the Executive Board next year and I look forward to a very productive year. I encourage all students to get involved in one of the diverse Executive Board committees we will have next year. These groups focus on specific aspects of services and programs we provide here under the Union, and are always looking for new members to get involved. If you are interested in learning more, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
I would like to highlight the recent achievements of Union clubs and athletic teams. This past weekend, our athletic teams did extraordinarily well. Men’s track won the state meet, and women’s track placed third at the state meet. RPI women’s lacrosse came first in the Liberty League, as did RPI Softball. If you see anyone from any of these teams, please make sure to congratulate them on a season well played, and wish those who are still playing the best of luck!
This past weekend was also very busy with Rensselaer Music Association’s spring concert in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Sheer Idiocy’s comedy show in Mother’s Wine Emporium, and many more events. Remember that there is never a dull weekend here at RPI, with the more than two hundred active clubs and organizations we have.
Finally, I would like to advertise the End of Semester Bash, which is essentially a calendar of all the events that will be occurring in the next few days. If you are ever feeling stressed and would like to attend a fun event, this calendar is the place to look! Calendars can be found in the Union or in many places around campus. If you have any questions or would like a copy of the calendar, you can also reach out to me.
I wish everyone the best of luck with their finals and final projects; I can’t say that enough, as I understand what you’re going through! I hope everyone has a great summer, and I look forward to seeing you all in the fall. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Competition winners receive $90,000 to fund sustainable projects, programs
From April 18–19, members of RPI’s chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World attended the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Sustainability Design Expo in Washington, D.C. They were there to compete in the EPA’s P3: People, Prosperity, and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability.
Held at the National Mall, the competition was the second phase of the P3 competition. The project which ESW presented during Phase 1 involved their orphanage container, which they installed in Haiti last year. The team was one of 40 winners of the first phase and was awarded with $15,000 to fund its project. Phase 2, however, may have as many as five winners or as few as just one winner, due to the national budget sequester. The teams that win this phase of the competition will receive $90,000.
Team member Eric Arntzen ’13 explained that the team’s next project involves helping the locals in Haiti convert containers into orphanages. This way, the locals in question could take containers from locations such as Port-au-Prince, rather than requiring pre-converted containers be shipped from the U.S. Arntzen said that this would cut costs and help keep the process sustainable. Arntzen added, though, that ESW would probably still convert a few more containers for the Haitians during the learning period. The team also hopes to develop a water well with a solar pump for the locals. According to Arntzen, they currently have to walk over one mile to draw water from a river. “There’s no filtration or anything,” he said.
Arntzen and Andrew Chung ’13 said that it was exciting to be at the competition because several groups were working on projects that they could incorporate into theirs. Some teams, for example, had projects regarding water wells and solar pumps—an issue which the ESW members had not quite sorted out at the time. As a result, Chung explained that it would not be a huge problem if the team did not receive the $90,000. He said they received a significant amount of positive feedback. Arntzen added that individuals that visited their booth offered to get the team members in contact with individuals who could help out. “Making those connections was an important part of [the Expo],” he said.
Chung explained that a number of famous people were at the Expo. These included Major General Kendall Cox and Acting Administrator of the EPA Bob Perciasepe. Chung added that it seemed as though certain teams were on a list for these individuals to visit, as the well known guests only visited a number of the booths.
There were also four judges who visited each booth. However, Chung explained that the four split into two groups, so the ESW team presented its project twice. Each presentation was 30 minutes long. The team spent the first half giving its presentation, and the other half served as a question and answer period. “They asked us tough questions, but it made us think about the future of the project,” said Arntzen. Both Chung and Arntzen added that, because of interest in the team’s project and the Haitian music they decided to play at their booth, “there was absolutely no downtime.”
The award recipients have not yet been chosen, but the EPA is expected to release the results soon. For more information on RPI’s chapter of ESW, visit http://esw.union.rpi.edu/ or view their Facebook page at https://facebook.com/ESWRPI/. For more information about the P3 competition or the Expo, visit http://epa.gov/ncer/p3/ or http://epa.gov/ncer/p3/nsde/index.html, respectively. Or, contact the currently ESW president at email@example.com.
Each year, The Poly names a member of the RPI community as the Poly Person of the Year. We look for someone who strives to implement positive change in the community, both around campus and in Troy, someone who gives back of their time and energy. Examples of recent Persons of the Year are Anasha Cummings ’12 and men’s hockey coach Seth Appert. Though the final decision on who is named as the Person of the Year is up to the Poly staff, we encourage everyone to send in nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org until Friday, May 3. Is there someone you think is deserving of being named Poly Person of the Year? Let us know!
In 2011, The Poly chose Appert as its Person of the Year. Not only has he transformed a struggling team into a force to be reckoned with during his tenure as head coach, he has also endeavored to increase the team’s impact off the ice. His policy has been to recruit with an eye toward character as well as talent. For the first half of the 2011 season, the team’s average GPA was an impressive 3.48, and many team members were involved in community service efforts, such as the Children’s Hospital Albany Medical Center Radiothon.
Cummings was the Poly Person of the Year for 2012. He was chosen for his many efforts around campus and in Troy to bring the communities closer together and his involvement in many sustainability initiatives. Cummings was instrumental in the founding of the RPI Farmers’ Market, was president of EcoLogic, and was chair of the Student Sustainability Task Force. He campaigned to get RPI students to register to vote in Troy and be involved in deciding issues that affect all of us. In short, Cummings exemplified what we look for in our Person of the Year nomination.
People like Appert and Cummings are an example and inspiration to us all. Their involvement in the RPI community, in Troy, and in the surrounding area has helped to build a better Institute and better relations. This year, we will name another Poly Person of the Year—one who has had a similar impact to these two. If you know someone who you think deserves this honor, nominate him or her! Send a short blurb to email@example.com. Look for the 2013 Person of the Year in next week’s issue!
In the interim week before the start of the big summer movie season, one can often find it difficult to choose a movie to watch. Such was the case with myself, and in an effort to put together a review for this week, I decided to go a different route than the traditional movie theater run I usually do. Instead of the admittedly pricey Regal Cinemas excursion, I wound up staying in to watch a direct-to-video movie. Now, direct-to-video movies are usually a gold mine of hilarious B-list options with terrible acting, writing, etc. Basically, they’re usually just quick cash-ins, often on existing franchises, but always of a lower quality than their forebears. While the notion of reviewing one of these amusing, relatively poor excuses for films was enticing, I wanted to do something even more impressive, while staying true to my own interests. And that is the story of how I stumbled upon Lego Batman: The Movie — DC Super Heroes Unite. Try to say that ten times, am I right? For simplicity’s sake, we’ll refer to it as just Lego Batman for the duration of this review.
Lego Batman has a very Batman-like plot, which is great because that means Telltale Studios had a good grasp on the source material despite the cutesy Lego animation medium they utilized. The plot centers on the arch nemeses of Batman and Superman, The Joker and Lex Luthor, respectively. Luthor is currently campaigning for the United States presidency, but is consistently down in the polls compared to his co-candidates. He also manages to lose Gotham City’s Person of the Year competition to a Lego-supermodel-toting Bruce Wayne. With these failures eating away at the otherwise extremely successful Luthor, he looks to a new way to achieving his goal of becoming president. That’s how The Joker comes in; Luthor wants to use a modified version of The Joker’s laughing gas to brainwash the citizens of the country to support him in his candidacy. To do this, he breaks The Joker out of Arkham Asylum, and the two wind up generating a path of destruction in their wake. While Batman is initially averse to the idea of getting assistance in sorting the villains, he soon realizes that he may have bit off more than he could chew in his efforts to bring them both to justice.
Despite all odds, Lego Batman was a surprisingly entertaining movie. Probably the main thing that attributed to my enjoyment of it was the visuals. In high definition, the movie looked great. Now, you might be thinking that using blocky Lego characters and structures might be detrimental, but the colorful visual style combined with the slick-looking (literally and figuratively) character models made the whole movie very eye-catching. The art style used in the film also added a lot to the visuals; I particularly enjoyed Gotham City at night, as it reminded me of the gorgeous art utilized in the recent Batman: Arkham games. Finally, the cinematography in the movie was also surprisingly excellent, with strong camera panning work that allowed one to fully take in the scope of the visuals. Meanwhile, the music was also decidedly epic and filmic in its scope, but it wasn’t entirely notable, overall. If anything, this movie is a visual treat, and if you’re into sharp-looking animation, it is definitely worth a look.
The voice cast in Lego Batman was also surprisingly competent, with particularly strong performances coming from the actors who played The Joker and Superman. The Joker’s voice acting seemed heavily inspired by the brilliant work by Mark Hamill on Batman: The Animated Series and the recent Arkham games, and the movie’s more comedic take on The Joker’s antics was a perfect canvas on which the actor was able to bring the character to life. Meanwhile, Superman was portrayed in a “boy scout” capacity, and the voice actor’s hammy delivery of Superman’s camp-filled dialogue was both amusing and true to Telltale’s take on the character. The rest of the voice acting was solid, with Batman’s stoic character conveyed with aplomb.
The writing in the film is ultimately its biggest stumbling point. Although it isn’t bad per se, it is undeniably family-oriented and a far more campy take on the DC Universe in general. Depending on perspective, that’s not a real knock against the film. Sure, there was some very groan-inducing dialogue, but it was all in line with the film’s overall tone, and as such I didn’t hold it against the rest of the movie. Probably my favorite aspect of the writing, however, was making Robin the butt of all the jokes. Robin was most definitely the film’s primary source of comic relief, and children will absolutely love his antics. To be fair, I loved his antics. The writers made Robin out to be very incompetent, with Batman spending much of the movie either chastising him or rolling his eyes at him and leaving him behind every time there was a lead to follow up on. I’ve never been a huge fan of Robin (Tim Drake being the primary exception), so I was highly amused by his overall … derpy behavior. And yes, derpy is really the best way to describe it. Beyond this, though, the film was able to shoehorn some basic character development for Batman, wherein at the end of the film he finally admitted to needing assistance, and that was when the Justice League swooped in out of nowhere. There were some themes of friendship in there, somewhere, too, but I don’t really think that’s worth getting into.
Overall, Lego Batman was a far more entertaining diversion than I ever imagined it could be. It helped that I had someone watching with me, bemoaning the film’s ridiculousness at every turn. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that I did really enjoy the movie’s animation and visual style, along with its solid respect of the Batman and DC Universe mythos. The campier take on the characters could have been done without … but then again, I didn’t go into this expecting The Dark Knight or anything. So, if you’re as bored as I was and are looking for something to do…well, honestly you’d probably be better off doing something other than this. Maybe go watch Iron Man 3 next weekend?
Senate implements new discussion manager
On Thursday, April 25, the Student Senate held its first general body meeting under the 148th Grand Marshal, Charles Carletta ’14. The new senators approved Carletta’s appointments for senatorial positions, voted to recognize Carl Westerdahl, and discussed a proposed amendment to the Senate’s current GPA requirements.
The Senate first voted on whether to approve Frank Abissi ’14 as parliamentarian of the Senate. Abissi served as parliamentarian under former GM Kevin Dai ’14 and explained that he had developed a “digital discussion manager” to increase meeting efficiency. The manager was designed to determine the success or failure of votes and keep track of the queue of speakers. When asked by Kyle Keraga ’15 about his plans for the position, Abissi said he would help senators learn basic parliamentary procedure—based on Robert’s Rules of Order—during the first few meetings. He also stated that parliamentarian keeps order during meetings, determines the outcome of votes, and advises the meeting’s chair on parliamentary matters, answering a question about the matter from Michael Han ’16. The vote to appoint Abissi passed unanimously, 18-0-0.
Carletta appointed Jabari White ’14 for secretary of the Senate. White said that he had experience as secretary for his fraternity, Sigma Chi. He also served as secretary for Greek Spectrum. Senators then voted to unanimously approve of Carletta’s appointment, 18-0-0.
Greg Niguidula ’15 was appointed to be vice chair of the Senate, as well as chair of the Rules and Elections Committee. Discussion first focused on the position of vice chair. Niguidula said that he had experience working with the Senate Communications Group and the Finance, Facilities, and Administration Committee. He had also sat in on committee meetings for every committee except the Academic Affairs Committee. Niguidula also explained that he planned to have the Senate attend student government conferences, and he emphasized the importance of maintaining Senate projects. When asked by Shoshana Rubenstein ’16, he stated that he would address the issue of attendance by talking independently with committee chairs. On the issue of joint committees, introduced by Carletta and President of the Union Gretchen Sileo ’14, Niguidula said he was responsible for the senators in joint committees, but that the Rensselaer Union Executive Board members would be under the charge of the PU. He was quick to add, though, that he would help out in any way necessary. Niguidula was voted in as vice chair, 17-0-1.
When discussion turned to appointing Niguidula as R&E chair, he explained that the situation was unusual, but that “there’s no real time conflict.” Abissi asked if Niguidula was considering transitioning to electronic voting. Niguidula admitted that he was not knowledgeable about the technical side of the issue brought up by Keraga, but that he felt electronic voting would increase voter turnout. He also said he may introduce a policy that required election candidates to attend an information session before campaigning; this would, theoretically, decrease the number of yearly rule violations. This would not, though, prevent write-in candidates from being elected, easing the concerns of graduate student Robert Chase. Director of the Union Joe Cassidy asked about who would be in charge of elections if a GM were removed from office. In such a situation, the vice chair would run meetings and the Judicial Board would maintain fairness when deciding who would serve as the next GM. Abissi added that, in that situation, the R&E vice chair would replace R&E chair. Niguidula received the Senate’s support, 16-0-2.
Han was appointed to be treasurer by Carletta. He explained that he had experience with getting money from various resources to fund activities, but that he had not served as a treasurer of any sort before. Niguidula, the previous treasurer, added that he would “show him the ropes.” Han was voted in as treasurer, 17-0-1.
Keraga was appointed chair of the Student Life Committee. He mentioned that he had worked with the SLC during the previous year. He was officially appointed by the members of the Senate, 17-0-1.
The Senate decided to recognize and honor Westerdahl, a former Dean of Students and director of Alumni and Community Relations. They decided to send the motion to recognize Westerdahl, signed by each of the senators, in a frame to his wife. The precedent had already been made; Richard Hart was the most recent individual to be recognized as such. A roll call vote was taken, but it was passed unanimously, 18-0-0.
The final motion of the meeting focused on the motion regarding GPA requirements, which was passed on March 4. The proposed amendment would add that appeals could be made to the Rules and Elections Committee. If the appeal were to pass, the appealing student would be be allowed onto the Senate. Appeals could be made in the case of extenuating circumstances or if the student in question showed grade improvements. Keraga asked if there was a process that would be followed if the appeal is denied. Niguidula said that the Judicial Board “would have little influence.” Abissi added that there was nothing that could be done if the appeal was denied.
Donna Li ’16 then brought up the situation during which a position was filled while a senator was still appealing his or her case. To address this, Keraga suggested that appeals would only be able to be made within the first two weeks after the removal. However, Niguidula, Han, Rubenstein, and William Toth ’13 felt this was unnecessary. As a result, Keraga withdrew his proposed amendment. This portion of the full amendment was not discussed further during the meeting.
Graduate student Michael Caiola moved to change the GPA requirement from 2.5 to 3.0, feeling that a 2.5 was too low a threshold. Chase agreed with Caiola and felt that “the Senate does not have to represent every single grade range.” Niguidula agreed that 2.5 was rather low, but he stated that “grades are not always a good indication of leadership or value to the Senate.” Han also felt that senators should be held to a higher standard, but that a 3.0 was too prohibitive. Rubenstein said that the Senate represents the entire student body, not just those with a 3.0 or higher. Josh Plitnick ’14 added that the Institute average was “somewhere between a 2.5 and 3.0.” Keraga added perspective, saying that the reason behind a 2.5 was to prevent any issues with freshmen or transfer students, who may have issues adjusting to RPI life. Gary Crivo ’15 felt it was not democratic to cut out approximately half of the student body. Sileo added that a 3.0 may discriminate against certain majors, due to varying major GPA averages. On the other hand, Chase stated that “you do not have to be a senator to help with the Senate.” Graduate student Peter Muller added that the appeals process mentioned earlier allowed for a higher GPA requirement.
Niguidula pushed to change to 3.0 amendment to a 2.8. Initially, the vote failed. Discussion continued. During this time, Max Doyle ’15 and Marcus Flowers ’16 mentioned that the Senate was “not exactly a coveted position.” Carletta then informed the Senate that there had been an issue with the new discussion manager, and that the 2.8 change did pass. This essentially ended the discussion, and the GPA change went to a vote. Carletta broke the tied vote by killing the amendment. The original amendment then went to a vote, which failed 11-7-0.
Senate general body meetings are held weekly and are open to all students. The Senate is currently determining when to hold these meetings, but the next will be held at 7 pm on Thursday, May 2 in RU 3202. For more information, e-mail Carletta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commence the purging of your room! It is almost the end of the semester, and, with that, almost time to move out of your lodgings, be it an apartment or a room in a residence hall. Thus, I recommend cleaning out your room while you have the chance before finals. This weekend is the perfect time to clean it from top to bottom to prepare for moving out; that way, when you have to pack, you’ll have less things to sort through and have less dirt to clean.
Take it from me, as someone who has to travel across the country every semester to go home for breaks. Cleaning your room before finals is a big help. That way, I get rid of all the junk that has been accumulating for the past year and have less to clean when I am finished with finals and in a time crunch to pack and clean to move out.
While I’m on the topic, I might as well give you some tips on what you should try to do to prepare for the moving out or packing up for the summer or going to an internship.
Tip #1: Try to clean your room or apartment to about 80 percent cleanliness at least a week before finals. Why? Other than what I have talked about above, you actually feel better living and studying in a clean environment. So when you have to cram for finals, you won’t have the urge to clean because it is so dirty and you can’t stand it anymore.
Tip #2: Before the whole hectic mess that is disguised as finals, bring out your suitcase and start putting things in it that you know you don’t want at school anymore and want to bring home. Packing a little each day goes a long way; it makes it easier to pack everything up to put into storage.
Tip #3: Acquire boxes wherever you can, lots of them. Snag those boxes that are in the recycling bin that people dump after they unbox what they bought. Those will be handy when you want to pack up later. This tip is more for throughout the year versus for end of the year, since not a lot of people will be buying things from Amazon or the like at the end of the year.
Tip #4: Consolidate, sell, recycle, or give away. This applies to everything. Consolidate all your homework, notes, class handouts, and exams; scan all the papers and keep a digital file of them; donate them to Alpha Phi Omega; or pass them along to someone who may have need of them next semester. Do a good thing and help someone out. Sell your old textbooks; you don’t need them anymore, right? Why clutter your new place with useless books? And hey, you’ll get some cash out of it to spend on something else. See if you can recycle anything that you don’t need before throwing it away; it doesn’t hurt to stop adding to the landfills. Give away anything you don’t want anymore if it is still useable. Don’t waste anything! You can donate all the freebie t-shirts you get from events to someone in need!
I hope these tips will help you, fellow reader, in decreasing the stress associated with moving out at the end of the year. Starting early will give you a head start and when you are sick and tired of studying, take a break and do more packing (since the suitcase is pulled out from storage already and waiting to be filled). One last suggestion, though—start pulling out all those boxes and suitcases this weekend. Next week when study days hit, you won’t want to do any of that. You’ll need to study, and when finals start, you’ll be swamped and have pushed the whole packing and cleaning until after finals when you only have one day before you need to vacate your dorm room.
This past weekend saw pre-release events for the new Magic: The Gathering set, Dragon’s Maze. The conclusion to the most recent block (started last fall with Return to Ravnica), Dragon’s Maze features all 10 of the guilds of the plane of Ravnica attempting to navigate their way through—you guessed it—a gigantic maze. Each led by a champion, the guilds form and break alliances in a rapidly changing political atmosphere as each struggles to acquire the secret within for its own benefit.
Where the block’s previous sets, Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash, focused on five of Ravnica’s 10 guilds, Dragon’s Maze includes all of them, and with a smaller number of total cards to do it with. That being said, I think Wizards of the Coast pulled it off admirably. Each guild has only a few cards to explore its ability and theme, but the cards they do have are flavorful and interesting, for the most part.
As for the guild champions themselves, I was impressed by most of them. The white/blue Azorius have Lavinia of the Tenth, a lawmage of the highest caliber, who has protection from red and detains your opponent’s nonland permanents when she comes into play, making them useless until your next turn. The white/black Orzhov have Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts, who destroys creatures that damage you and raises their spirits to fight for you. The red/white Boros have Tajic, Blade of the Legion, an indestructible warrior who becomes extremely powerful when attacking with at least two other creatures. The green/white Selesnya have Emmara Tandris (the only disappointing champion, in my opinion), who prevents damage to creature tokens you control but has a high mana cost. The blue/black Dimir have Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker, who makes your opponent put cards from their deck into their graveyard until they hit four lands every time he hits them. The red/blue Izzet have Melek, Izzet Paragon, a legendary Weird who lets you play instants and sorceries from the top of your deck and copy them. The blue/gree Simic have Vorel of the Hull Clade, a warrior-turned-merfolk, who can double the amount of counters (for instance, +1/+1 counters) on creatures, lands, and artifacts. The black/red Rakdos have Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch, who has haste and gives haste to your creatures with +1/+1 counters on them. The green/black Golgari have Varolz, the Scar-Striped, a troll who lets you use the creatures in your graveyard to power up the ones who have in play by exiling them to put +1/+1 counters on your creatures in play. Last but not least, the red/green Gruul have Ruric Thar, the Unbowed, who must attack every turn and deals six damage to any player every time they play a non-creature spell. These 10 champions run the maze in competition with each other for the betterment of their guilds.
One interesting thing in Dragon’s Maze that has not been done before is that the basic land card usually found in every pack has been replaced with a non-basic land. Players can find one of the Guildgates, lands that make two different colors of mana but come into play tapped; one of the so-called “shock lands,” which are like the Guildgates except can come into play untapped by paying two life, and which have basic land types; or the new mythic rare land Maze’s End, which can search out Guildgates from your deck, and lets you win the game if you control all ten.
All in all, Dragon’s Maze is a cool and flavorful set, bringing a satisfying conclusion to the revisiting of Ravnica. I love multicolor-themed blocks, and this one has been no exception. If you have the time, I highly encourage you to attend one of the launch parties for the set this Friday, May 3.