Return to Ravnica has been pretty cool so far, I think there is consensus on that. The familiar sights and sounds and smells (yes, smells.). A set can never recapture the essence of what made Ravnica, Ravnica, but I think they're doing a darn good job trying.
The design sensability this time around isn't "Gold matters", its "Ravnica matters".
Many of the designs play off of familiar city tropes, or build off of the identities of the guilds rather than simply being powerful or interesting 2-color gold cards, and I think that RtR is better off for it, plus it helps to distinguish itself from Ravnica classic.
One way they're accomplishing this is to give each Guild an all new mechanic for each Guild. Last time the mechanics were built around color synergies, this time each one is tailor made to that Guild.
While these new mechanics are, scientifically speaking, totes bitching, I saw an interesting opportunity raised in one of Making Magic's mailbag articles. In it, Mark was asked that if each guild received a returning mechanic instead what would it be.
This is the list we're working with:
Izzet-Splice onto instant
Selesnya-Affinity for Creatures
Naturally, I took this as a challenge.
I hosted a contest on the Magic forums this week, and I came up with some more designs on my own.
Splice has a lot of opportunities in that it isn't restricted by things such as particular strategy or focus. All you need is an instant.
This lends itself like combat tricks:
Powerful utility effects
Weird "what will you do with me" effects
And poweerful splashy rares
What sort of things would you like to Splice onto Instant?