Last updated on February 13, 2024

Ral Zarek - Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Ral Zarek | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Dragon's Maze, the bookend expansion of the Return to Ravnica block, is one of the most mechanically intensive sets in MTG's history.

Most of its mechanics had already been seen in the preceding expansions, but while Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash concerned themselves each with half of Ravnica's guilds, Dragon's Maze deals with all 10 of them and their related mechanics.

It even introduces a new mechanic of its own!

Cramming so much stuff in a single set may have been a bit too much, but on the other hand, that makes Dragon's Maze one very varied set.

Let's find out what it has to offer!

Dragon's Maze Basic Information

Maze's End - Illustration by Cliff Childs

Maze's End | Illustration by Cliff Childs

Dragon's Maze: Set Details

Set SymbolDragon's Maze Set Symbol
Set CodeDGM
HashtagN/A
Number of Cards156
Rarities70 Common, 40 Uncommon, 35 Rare, 11 Mythic
MechanicsFuse, guild mechanics from Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash

Dragon's Maze: Important Dates

EventDate
Set ReleaseMay 2013
Available on Draftsim's draft simulatorNo

About the Set

Dragon's Maze (DGM), released in May 2013, is the third expansion in the Return to Ravnica block. DGM was a small set (just 156 cards) while the previous two sets in the block, Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash, were large expansions of more than 250 cards each.

The whole block revolves around (and as its name implies, returns to) the 10 guilds from the Ravnica plane, with a heavy emphasis on multicolor cards and mechanics.

Return to Ravnica had focused on five of Ravnica's guilds (the Azorius Senate, the Golgari Swarm, the Izzet League, the Cult of Rakdos, and the Selesnya Conclave) while Gatecrash dealt with the other five (the Boros Legion, House Dimir, the Simic Combine, the Gruul Clans, and the Orzhov Syndicate). Even though Dragon's Maze is a smaller set, it covers all 10 guilds.

DGM boosters have an interesting quirk: They can contain shock lands from either Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash. You can open a Dragon's Maze pack and find a Hallowed Fountain with an RTR set symbol or a Sacred Foundry with the GTC symbol. While technically speaking Dragon's Maze has no shock lands, you can still find shock lands in its boosters.

Dragon's Maze Storyline

The storyline of the Return to Ravnica block revolves around the implicit maze, a lattice of leylines that is discovered in Ravnica after the Guildpact is destroyed.

Ral Zarek

Following Jace Beleren's notes and Niv-Mizzet‘s instructions, Ral Zarek, who debuts in DGM, finds the maze. The maze's path traverses all 10 guild gates; the guilds suspect that great power lies at the end of it, so they agree on a challenge. One maze-runner per guild tries to navigate the maze, and whoever solves it first takes it all.

Dragon's Maze Mechanics

Dragon's Maze has a lot of mechanics. Like most third sets in a block, DGM tries to build and expand upon the previous two – in this case, by including all 10 of the guild-related mechanics seen in Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash. And it also introduces a new spin on split cards.

In retrospect, the combination of a small set and so many mechanics may have been a mistake: There are just two cards per mechanic in DGM, and as Magic's head designer Mark Rosewater notes the players left feeling that a lot of things were absent.

Overload

Cards with overload allow you to pay a premium to change their text by replacing every instance of “target” with “each”. For example with Dragonshift you can turn one of your creatures into a dragon if you pay the normal cost, or all your creatures if you pay the overload premium.

Dragon's Maze has two overload cards (Dragonshift and Weapon Surge) and neither is too eventful in Constructed formats, but if you've ever played Commander you may have heard of Cyclonic Rift, which introduced the overload mechanic in Return to Ravnica.

A handful of new overload cards were later introduced in Modern Horizons 1 and Modern Horizons 2.

Unleash

A Rakdos trick, unleash lets you add a +1/+1 counter on a creature as it enters the battlefield, though that creature can’t block as long as it has a counter on itself.

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch Rakdos Drake

Save for one creature in the Unstable Un-set, this mechanic never returned.

Detain

An Azorius specialty, detain prevents permanents from attacking, blocking, or using activated abilities until your next turn.

Lavinia of the Tenth Azorius Justiciar

The mechanic wasn’t too popular and was never allowed to leave the Return to Ravnica block.

Populate

Populate creates a token that’s a copy of a creature token you control. Although the two populate cards in DGM are white, the mechanic is associated with Selesnya.

Scion of Vitu-Ghazi Wake the Reflections

Populate was marginally more popular than detain or unleash, and about a dozen populate cards have been printed in later expansions (usually in Commander products).

Scavenge

Reuse and recycling being a Golgari specialty, scavenge lets you exile a creature from your graveyard and buff another creature with as many +1/+1 counters as the exiled creature's power.

Varolz, the Scar-Striped Thrashing Mossdog

There are only two scavenge creatures in DGM:

Outside of the Return to Ravnica block, only four other cards were printed with this mechanic.

Evolve

Simic loves making big things bigger, and your creatures with evolve get a +1/+1 counter whenever you play a bigger creature.

Battering Krasis Renegade Krasis

About four other cards with evolve were printed after Dragon's Maze.

Bloodrush

Gruul smash! Bloodrush is an ability word that lets you discard a card to buff one of your attackers.

Pyrewild Shaman Rubblebelt Maaka

Bloodrush is confined to Gatecrash and Dragon's Maze and was never re-used (sadly, in my opinion, because I think it's really cool).

Battalion

Boros's battalions love battle formations, and this ability word provides a buff when the battalion creature attacks alongside two others.

Tajic, Blade of the Legion Boros Mastiff

Yet another not-too-successful mechanic, battalion was only seen in two cards outside this block.

Extort

Extort makes use of one of the multi-color mechanics reintroduced in this block: hybrid mana. Extort highlights Orzhov's penchant for payments: As long as you have an extort permanent in play, you may pay whenever you cast a spell, and if you do, you leech 1 life from each opponent.

Tithe Drinker Pontiff of Blight

Cipher

Dimir is all about gaining an edge whenever possible, and cipher gives your creature a saboteur effect (that's to say, an effect when they deal combat damage to a player) allowing you to cast the cipher card again, for free.

Trait Doctoring Hidden Strings

Fuse

Fuse was introduced in Dragon's Maze. It appears on a type of card that made a return in the set: split cards. Split cards are basically two-into-one cards: two spells printed on the same card, both on the front face.

Normally you can only choose to cast one of the spells, but fuse allows you to cast both sides from your hand (only from your hand, though; if the card isn’t in your hand you can only cast one half). If you cast both halves you have to pay the cost of both, of course.

Split cards are fairly common; fuse, on the other hand, is on just one other card outside of Dragon's Maze.

Dragon's Maze Card Gallery

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Multicolor

Fuse Cards

Colorless

Lands

Notable Cards

All Dragon's Maze cards are legal in Modern, Pioneer, and the Eternal tabletop formats: Legacy, Vintage, and Commander.

Shock Lands

Technically speaking, Dragon's Maze has no shock lands.

Dragon's Maze booster packs do contain them, though. A bit like the Special Guests we've seen in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, even if you can find these guests in packs, they don't technically belong to the set and are printed with a different logo.

Having said that, shock lands are definitely the most notable cards you can find in a DGM booster!

Putrefy

Putrefy

Extremely popular in Commander, Putrefy is a solid wide-spectrum bye-bye effect that you can play at instant speed.

Notion Thief

Notion Thief

Why draw your own cards, when you can draw you foe's?

One of the best rogues in MTG, Notion Thief sees quite a bit of success in competitive EDH.

Wear / Tear

Wear //Tear - Illustration by Ryan Pancoast

Wear // Tear is the strongest of the split/fuse cards; it's quite popular in Commander and is a useful tool in Modern sideboards.

The Guildgates

Simic Guildgate

Gate-focused decks are playable in Pauper and Pioneer, and they’re very cheap (although of course not the most efficient) way to build a multicolor mana base.

Master of Cruelties

Master of Cruelties

With a little bit of help, Master of Cruelties can become an alternate win condition – this demon just needs some evasion and some other source of damage to kill your foe off.

This is Dragon's Maze most expensive card and you can find it for less than $5, which illustrates this set's rather modest success when it comes to high-power cards.

Debt to the Deathless

Debt to the Deathless

A solid addition to lifegain decks, Debt to the Deathless scales with the number of players at the table and therefore makes for a nice consideration in EDH decks.

Progenitor Mimic

Progenitor Mimic

Well, what do you know: a Simic mimic! Once upon a time Progenitor Mimic was a powerhouse in EDH, but those times are long gone. It's still a fairly potent copy effect, if your deck is in need of one.

Available Products

Draft Booster Boxes

Dragon's Maze Booster Box

Dragon's Maze was sold in 16-card boosters, along with six preconstructed decks.

Booster packs from this set don't contain basic lands, but they can contain a shock land from either Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash – these shock lands aren’t technically part of the set (they have the RTR or GTC logo), but you can use them in Dragon's Maze drafts.

Sale
MTG Magic: the Gathering Dragon's Maze Booster Box (36 packs)
  • Officially Licensed
  • Featuring Magic: The Gathering
  • Sealed Box
  • 36 Booster Packs per Box
  • Ages 13+

Strength of Selesnya Event Deck

Strength of Selesnya Event Deck

The Strength of Selesnya Event Deck was aimed at experienced players. It's a mostly white-green deck with a black splash, making extensive use of creature tokens. Event decks would be discontinued after Battle for Zendikar.

Intro Decks

Dragon's Maze Set of Intro Packs

Dragon's Maze featured five themed intro decks tailored for new MTG players. Intro packs were replaced by Planeswalker decks in Kaladesh, which in turn were replaced by Commander precons after Zendikar Rising. They included the following:

  • Azorius Authority
  • Orzhov Power
  • Rakdos Revelry
  • Gruul Siege
  • Simic Domination
M:TG Dragon's Maze Set of 5 Intro Packs
  • MTG Dragon's Maze Set of 5 Intro Packs
  • MTG Dragon's Maze Set of 5 Intro Packs
  • MTG Dragon's Maze Set of 5 Intro Packs
  • MTG Dragon's Maze Set of 5 Intro Packs
  • MTG Dragon's Maze Set of 5 Intro Packs

I was able to find quite a few Dragon's Maze products after a quick search on eBay, from booster packs to preconstructed decks, but I seriously doubt they are worth it. DGM cards tend to be fairly cheap, so I doubt the estimated value per pack is there from the prices I've seen.

My advice here would be to just buy singles from online stores or trade with other players.

Wrap Up

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius - Illustration by Todd Lockwood

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius | Illustration by Todd Lockwood

And that would be the end of this maze!

All in all, Dragon's Maze seems to have been a fairly uneventful expansion: None of its cards have been too impactful and its one unique mechanic (fuse) has seen nearly no use outside of this set. But a handful of its cards are fairly popular, and there's something to be said about the willingness of MTG designers to cram all the guilds in just one set.

I hope you've enjoyed this particular labyrinth, and if you have comments or suggestions on which sets, new or old, you'd like us to tackle next, do stop by for a chat at the Draftsim Discord.

Until next time!

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