Over ten thousand years ago, a war tore across the plane of Ravnica. Ten armies battled for control of the plane, a conflict born of Order vs Chaos. It only ended with the creation of a magical contract of immense power known as the Guildpact was signed by the leaders of each of the ten guilds—ancient beings known as paruns—all of whom became the guildmasters of Ravnica. The Guildpact was created to ensure that the guilds would play specific roles within the infrastructure of Ravnica, allowing the city to grow and expand. Over the millennia, each guild gained mastery over the two colors of mana which shaped and molded it. This unique mana pair allowed the guilds to seek their own identities and destinies while remaining within the confines of the magically binding Guildpact. For 10,000 years, the city grew and flourished under this structure as the guilds evolved into unique and powerful forces.
But then, upon the Decamillennial Celebration, the Guildpact was broken, the ancient balance was shattered, and Ravnica was thrown into chaos.
After the Guildpact was broken, Teysa Karlov drafted a new, non-magical accord between the guilds that was supposed to ensure cooperation and stability for Ravnica. This proved to be rather naïve. It didn’t take long for the wealthy power-mongers to begin seizing control of Ravnica. The Boros deteriorated into being little more than bodyguards and security details for the highest bidders, usually Orzhov families—some of whom did their business without the permission of the Obzedat. The Gruul welcomed the burgeoning chaos and preyed on the weak without the magical shackles of the Guildpact, allowing them to rage deep into civilized turf and pillage from the fat of society. Guilds like Selesnya, who relied on converts to populate their ranks, dwindled as Ravnicans at large began to distrust the guilds and the populace rose up against them for their part in keeping them oppressed. The Izzet seemed scattered without their leader.
But ten-thousand-year-old habits are hard to break. It took time but the populace’s distrust for the guilds faded and slowly they returned.
Old guild loyalties that never truly died out began to coalesce and new guildmasters emerged to take the lead, attempting to bring their guilds back to full strength. Rumblings from the hellpit within Rix Maadi sent the Rakdos scampering back to the guildhall to await their demon lord. The merfolk zonots were discovered and a new Simic guild with a new identity, as preservers of Ravnica’s natural places, emerged. The Boros began to align under the powerful leadership of the angel Aurelia, who promised that crime would most certainly be punished under the fist of Boros. The Azorius were called on to restore the rule of law and to keep other guilds in check, and Isperia created the lawmages to enforce law through Azorius magic that compels compliance. The Orzhov approached the cynical doubts of the Ravnican citizen with a new tack—the restoration of faith—building ornate cathedrals and gathering places filled with lavish artworks and rituals. Perhaps taking a cue from the Orzhov, the Selesnya engaged in their own peaceful struggle for legitimacy in the wake of the Guildpact’s destruction and chose to create beauty among the stark buildings, with places to illuminate the wonders of nature and inspire contemplation—hopefully on the blessings of Mat’selesnya—for all of Ravnica. With all this going on, the Dimir quietly and methodically coalesced into a full-fledged guild again, fueled financially by ’the continued need for guilds to keep an eye on one another and to know every move made by their rivals.