Today we take a look at the history of Ravnica’s guild of biologists and people with a god-complex, the Simic Combine. This guild is my overall favorite out of the ten, especially since they have taken on a whole “deep sea” theme in this new block. The Combine is also the guild that has changed the most since the original Ravnica block. Everything from their leadership to their overall philosophy have changed. So with that, let’s see how the Combine have evolved since we left them in the first block.
The Simic Combine was founded under the parun Momir Vig, an elf. (Observant readers might remember me mentioning in the Boros lore-bit.) As a guild consisting of elves, humans, vedalken, faeries, and many others, the Combine was created with one goal in mind: preserve the health of all Ravnicans through studying medicine, biomancy, and life itself. They also have the secondary task of preserving the ecosystems of Ravnica in response to the rapid urbanization of the plane. Over time though Momir Vig began to feel dissatisfied with the mundane task the Combine had set before it. He still wished to fulfill these goals, but Momir decided to spice things up by expanding the original task to include “improving” all life on Ravnica rather than just keeping it alive and well.
To help accomplish the now expanded to-do list of the Simic Combine, Momir Vig created a new bio-magical invention called “Cytoplasts.” Cytoplasts were small masses of living tissue that appeared as blue-green globules. They conveyed genetic information to and from any life-form they came into physical contact with. Examples of the capabilities of Cytoplasts include being able to transfer strength to a weaker being or intelligence to…an idiot (I tried to put that in nicer terms, really I did) (No he didn’t -Ronnie). With the exception of Simic guild members and those needing prosthetics, denizens of Ravnica were not particularly thrilled at the idea of being “improved upon” and had no real desire to undergo the surgery for the procedure. Not taking “no” for an answer, Momir Vig then created a new type of cytoplasm that only needed to come into contact with a host in order to bond with it, which meant he could improve the citizens without needing their consent.
Of course, what are mad scientists without their pet projects? I don’t really have an answer for that but it does lead in to Momir Vig’s secret project, Experiment Kraj. Experiment, or Project, Kraj was a collection of various cytoplasts that Momir Vig, and Svogthir, parun of the Golgari and financer of Simic projects such as Kraj, would use to wipe out the population of Ravnica. While Experiment Kraj was powerful in it’s own right, it required someone to direct it’s rampage. Just as Kraj was let loose upon Ravnica, Momir Vig was killed by the spirit of Agrus Kos (remember him?) possessing the body of Savra (Jarad’s sister) which Svogthir was using until Kos had overpowered him. Without any real direction, Experiment Kraj went on a rampage and absorbed every cytoplast in the city, increasing it’s own strength and crippling everyone that had augmented themselves with them. After that, Kraj had grown so large that the whole of the Simic’s guild hall, Novijen, had become it’s head. After defeating one of the nephilim, Rakdos confronted Kraj, and after clashing, Kraj absorbed Rakdos’s body and put the demon into a coma. However this action proved to be too much for Kraj to handle and its body was rendered motionless. Kraj was later discovered and dismembered by the Quietmen of Selesnya.
After the elimination of Kraj by the last resort army of the Selesnya Conclave, the Simics were not in the greatest of shape. Both their Parun and guildhall were destroyed and they had lost considerable favor among the general public (not that the average citizen of Ravnica didn’t have a good reason to mistrust the Simic, what with the giant rampaging ooze and whatnot). After some time had passed on Ravnica, massive sinkholes known as Zonots began to emerge on the surface, revealing the subterranean oceans, and the merfolk of Ravnica with them. These Zonots would later become new locations for Simic projects and a new guildhall, and the merfolk would help the Simics rebuild under the rule of Zegana and the other speakers of the zonots.
The biggest change to the Simic Combine after Zegana took over was the change in philosophy for the guild. They manage to practice an odd combination two ideas called “the Holdfast Principle” and “The Upwelling”. The Holdfast principle is the idea that members of the Simic combine should not stray too far from nature and become “adrift” (kind of like a certain some-elf from the first block maybe?). To counterbalance the potential isolationism of the Holdfast Principle, the other half of Simic Philosophy, “The Upwelling”, is how the Combine not only branches out to each of it’s members and assist with their projects, but to reach out to everyone else on Ravnica and maintain their influence on society.
Guild ranks within the Combine also changed after the discovery of the Zonots. Members are organized into project teams called Clades. Each Clade consists of a wide array of members that all have their special role within the group and all work toward the common goal of the specific Clade. Usually one Clade will remain confined in a single Zonot, but they are all free to expand to more as some of the larger groups already occupy at least two. Some project goals of the different Clades include: researching defense and protection for both exoskeletons of creatures and Zonot Walls, researching creature movement and ways to improve it as well as movement of guild resources, concealment and keeping guild activity secret from other guilds, and many others.
So overall, the Simic Combine have become much more focused on improving and maintaining the natural ecosystems of Ravnica than they had under the leadership of Momir Vig. The rediscovery of the oceans and merfolk were just the thing to reinvigorate a guild that had collapsed under the weight of their deranged leader’s pet rampaging ooze. So now we all wait and see what will happen when the Dragon’s Maze will be revealed. My first guess at allies that are most likely from a lore perspective for the Combine are the Golgari since they’ve worked with them before, or the Selesnya since they both have the common nature theme. Either way, it’ll be exciting to see where Simic goes from here.
This has been Lore-Bits: Simic Edition. As always if there is a person, place, event, or thing you would like to see discussed in Lore-Bits, send a tweet to @vobpodcast or @RhoxNews or leave a comment below.