With only two weeks of 2018 behind us and with a new set coming out, I have resolved to start doing my own set reviews for the first time. I had never taken the time to review the cards myself and was always one to “learn on the job” when it comes to learning new cards, but it’s a new year – the traditional time to start putting new (good) habits into place.
My approach to this set review will be mostly writing down my thoughts on the individual cards and ultimately giving a grade out of 5.0 (Yes, this is going to be quite a lengthy post but you can ctrl+f any specific card you want some insight on). Since these are my first impressions, I don’t expect anyone to take these ratings to be the truth – not even me – but ideally it will be a good starting point to figuring out the set. See below for my rough grading scale:
5.0: Bomb rare. Will swing the game closer to your favor even if you’re behind. Gains you major advantage when played and not easy to deal with.
4.5: Very good rare but can be dealt with/played around and might not be able to catch you up from behind.
4.0: Solid rare, great uncommon. Increases the overall power level of your deck with its good card quality.
3.5: Solid uncommons and great commons. Typically good removal/slightly above average creatures
3.0: Solid playable commons. Typically your good 2-drops or conditional removal
2.5: Cards (usually commons) that are playable but has average card quality
2.0: Cards (usually commons) that are slightly worse than you want them to be and you typically end up playing for curve reasons
1.5: Cards (usually commons) that are not really cost-effective but might serve a specific purpose (i.e. a wall that blocks so you can go into the late game).
1.0: Cards (usually commons) that are not cost-effective or difficult to cast
0.5: Sideboard cards and sometimes the last pick draft card
0.0: Always the last pick draft card
And off we go!
Baffling End – 3.5
This won’t take care of the bigger threats, but it is so cheap and almost permanent unless someone is running a mainboard Naturalize effect. A great situation would be getting a smaller creature that your opponent suited up with an enchantment.
Bishop of Binding – 4.0
I feel like this card is so strong but I am also concerned about it only being a 1/1. That being said, besides dying to a Skulduggery or ping effects, it seems powerful enough with the potential to swing games.
Blazing Hope – 1.5
It is technically a removal spell, but I just feel like the conditions on this card is a little too high, even for removal. You can deal with one threat that is threatening your low life total, but what about the other ones? The upside is that it is only one mana though. I hope that my initial impression ends up being incorrect though, but this is where I have it for now.
Cleansing Ray – 0.5
This is a great sideobard card and I can maybe even see people mainboarding it in Sealed (the same type of people who would mainboard Crushing Canopy in Sealed). I personally am not a fan of putting cards like this in the mainboard but I wouldn’t fault anyone for doing so since there are a lot of enchantments in Ixalan block.
Divine Verdict – 3.0
While this removal is conditional and people might play around it when you don’t play anything and pass on turn 4 with white mana up, the verdict is that it’s a still a pretty solid card.
Everdawn Champion – 3.5
This card is going to be so annoying to play against, I am already upset thinking about it. Good thing it isn’t super threatening as a 2/2 and there should be plenty of removal that can deal with it, but face a deck that can give this creature some more power/toughness and you can’t find your removal spells and you’ll understand why I’m upset.
Exultant Skymarcher – 2.5
A fair price to pay for a 2/3 flier and bonus: it’s also a vampire.
Famished Paladin – 3.0
In a vampire deck with lots of lifelink, this card doesn’t have any downside. I don’t see it having too much downside in a R/W aggro list either though. You can either attack for 3 and get in aggressively and maybe get to attack with it again down the road after a Pious Interdiction. Or it can be a very annoying turn 2 road block for your opponent.
Forerunner of the Legion – 3.0
I think this is a solid card in a vampire deck, finds that bomb vampire card you opened and gives you a little bit of upside at a decent power/toughness and mana cost ratio. It is also fun to imagine a deck with multiple copies of this and Legion Conquistador.
Imperial Ceratops – 2.5
I feel like this card is a little below average for an uncommon but it’s definitely playable.
Legion Conquistador – 2.5
I love that they reprinted this for Rivals. Now you still get 3 packs to pick up as many Legion Conquistadors as you can.
Luminous Bonds – 3.0
One mana cheaper than Pious Interdiction but without the life-gain upside. I’ll still take it.
Majestic Heliopterus – 3.5
If you couldn’t pick up a Cobbled Wings for your Dinosaur deck, this card will help you out in that front. However if you need help from behind, this might not be the card you hope to draw.
Martyr of Dusk – 3.0
I love these kinds of 2-drop creatures – creatures that no one is happy to trade off a real card for.
Moment of Triumph – 3.0
While I think Vampire’s Zeal is slightly better, this card is not too far behind it. One mana tricks dominated in Ixalan Limited and Rivals is not looking much different.
Paladin of Atonement – 3.0
I’m not sure this is the kind of rare you open and want to first pick most of the time. Losing life is kind of a tough scenario to set up in Limited (unless you have lots of Glorifier of Dusk type cards), especially if your opponent sees this on your side of the battlefield. However, it does make it tougher for your opponent to attack you unless they are okay with your Paladin gaining a counter.
Pride of Conquerors – 3.5
I think this is a card to watch out for – not just in B/W Vampires but any white deck. It’s cheap enough that it can be used as a combat trick if needed and a strong finisher when ahead.
Radiant Destiny – 4.0
An anthem effect for only 3 mana is pretty exciting. You don’t even need the city’s blessing for this card to be worth it.
Raptor Companion – 2.0
Assuming not much has changed, I still expect this card to be the go-to card to fill out the 2 drop slot. I tend to sideboard out this card when playing against a vampire deck.
Sanguine Glorifier – 3.0
This is basically 4 mana for 4 points worth of power/toughness. If you’re really struggling to find another Vampire then a 3/3 for 4 mana isn’t too bad either.
Skymarcher Aspirant – 3.0
This is a cool card to have in your deck because it’s likely to have flying if you draw this later in the game. If you have it in your opening hand, it is solid too. However, this card on its own will not likely be game breaking.
Slaughter the Strong – 4.0
This is a brutal card to have at your disposal because you can plan the right scenario to play it. While this card will have its moments, there will also be some situations where it will not be as strong as you would like.
Snubhorn Sentry – 1.5
It’s definitely not the kind of card you’re happy to play, but hey, it helps you block early if you need it to and isn’t totally dead in the late game.
Sphinx’s Decree – 0.0
I just wouldn’t play this in limited…
Squire’s Devotion – 3.0
While +1/+1 isn’t a huge swing, granting something lifelink usually is. And it also comes with a bonus 1/1 Vampire!
Sun Sentinel – 2.0
This card doesn’t even belong to any Ixalan tribes… but it will fill out that curve for you.
Sun-Crested Pterodon – 2.0
You can play this and it won’t be terrible, but it also won’t be great.
Temple Altisaur – 4.0
The “Save a kill spell to deal with this guy” Dinosaur that also lets just enough damage through to trigger enrage is pretty sweet.
Trapjaw Tyrant – 4.5
Well this card isn’t unbeatable, since it will return your stuff if you ever get it off the battlefield, but it’s not going to be fun to play against.
Zetalpa, Primal Dawn – 4.0
While I love cards like this, it will definitely hurt when you finally get to play it, and your opponent brushes it off with Luminous Bonds.
Admiral’s Order – 2.0
The Raid part of this card doesn’t add too much to the card, making it effectively still Cancel, but maybe you get to pay one mana once to get an instant your opponent tries to play.
Aquatic Incursion – 3.0
Paying 4 mana for 2 1/1 Merfolk is a little higher than I like to pay, but the upside of giving a Merfolk unblockable can definitely be a useful mana sink.
Crafty Cutpurse – 3.0
This is not an easy card to evaluate but I think in general it will be around a 3.0, give or take. It can never be too terrible and if you manage to take your opponent’s 3/3 dinosaur token, then it’s great upside. However, I’m not sure it’s one of those rares that you’ll always first pick either.
Crashing Tide – 2.5
Solid card that replaces itself but nothing spectacular.
Curious Obsession – 2.5
What a curious card. I do think it can be pretty good, although it is bad when you are behind.
Deadeye Rig-Hauler – 2.5
Oh yes, the after-combat bounce-a-creature. Will be good if you’re trying to get rid of an Aura and can generate some tempo advantages.
Expel from Orazca – 3.5
Speaking of tempo, this card is all about that. I am a little stuck on giving it a 3.0 or 3.5 but since there are so many Auras in this set, I think it deserves the upgrade.
Flood of Recollection – 1.5
I am usually not a fan of these effects, but it can function as an additional removal spell if you’ve already used one earlier or maybe you want that second Entrancing Melody.
Hornswoggle – 2.5
Basically another Cancel effect, but this time, you get a treasure which is kind of a great upside. You can potentially play that 5 drop on turn 4 and get rid of your opponent’s creature, which is why I like it a little more than the rare Cancel of this set.
Induced Amnesia – 1.0
This card just doesn’t really impress me that much… I can see maybe dumping a weak hand and hopefully get a better one, but that doesn’t even seem great.
Kitesail Corsair – 3.0
Just your solid 2 drop with upside. This guy gets around those pesky 1/1 Vampire tokens as well.
Kumena’s Awakening – 4.0
You really want the city’s blessing with this card, but once you have it, 2 new cards a turn should really solidify the game into your favor. This might not be able to catch you up if you are behind though.
Mist-Cloaked Herald – 1.5
I know Ixalan is all about those 1/1’s for one mana but I still wouldn’t take this super highly unless you’re in that specific strategy.
Negate – 0.5
Mostly a sideboard card in my opinion. But it can hit a lot of annoying cards, especially if you see a lot of removal or enchantments from your opponent.
Nezahal, Primal Tide – 4.5
Well, my fear of the depths of the ocean just got worse. It’s going to be very hard to get rid of this card if your opponent is careful about hoarding cards in their hand. I mean, with this on the battlefield, do you even really need those cards in your hand?
Release to the Wind – 3.5
This isn’t a rare I would be excited to open or first pick, but it is a decent card that has a lot of flexibility.
River Darter – 2.0
Not your first choice 3-drop Merfolk, but it’ll do to fill out your curve.
Riverwise Augur – 3.5
This card is extremely interesting and I feel like it’s powerful (seeing 3 cards deeper into your deck must be good, right?) but I can also see that I could be potentially overvaluing it.
Sailor of Means – 3.0
I know Sailor of Means seems kind of like an average card, but I think it’s slightly better than that. Being able to potentially use 5 mana on turn 4 is huge upside and even if you don’t use it, it can help towards gaining the city’s blessing.
Sea Legs – 2.5
I like this trick because it’s cheap and flexible.
Seafloor Oracle – 4.0
Definitely a solid card to open that will make you want to try drafting Merfolk.
Secrets of the Golden City – 2.0
While it’s better than Pirate’s Prize, I don’t know if Ixalan is the right Limited environment for a card like this since it tends to be more aggressive.
Silvergill Adept – 3.5
When you get this out on turn 2, it’s going to feel pretty unfair to your opponent.
Siren Reaver – 3.5
This is just a solid uncommon priced at the costs you’re willing to pay.
Slippery Scoundrel – 3.0
While the upside of having the city’s blessing is great, it is still something to play on turn 3 if you need it to be.
Soul of the Rapids – 1.5
I mean, sometimes you are missing that top-end curve…. On a more serious note, I know some people are higher on this card than I am because of its similarities to Jade Guardian. However, it is a lot worse than Jade Guardian and I tend to look at cards based on their floor and not their ceiling.
Spire Winder – 2.5
When you get the city’s blessing, it’s worth it, but I think it will usually be a 2/3 flying for 4 mana and that’s okay.
Sworn Guardian – 2.0
There’s always one of these… but hey, it’s a 2-drop Merfolk so you might end up playing it if you need to.
Timestream Navigator – 3.5
I don’t think I would consider this card a bomb in Ixalan limited because it’s kind of slow and being a 1/1 is quite vulnerable, but I think it is worth playing if you happen to pick one up.
Warkite Marauder – 4.0
A solid rare to have in your deck.
Waterknot – 3.0
Basically a blue Luminous Bonds so I’ll take it.
Arterial Flow – 2.5
If I learned anything from Gerard Fabiano, it’s that he loves these type of cards. This is probably one of the better kind of these cards I’ve seen though and gaining life is not irrelevant for a vampire deck.
Canal Monitor – 2.0
I’m starting to run out of things to say about cards like these… you don’t really want them, but you’ll play them.
Champion of Dusk – 4.5
Opening this card will strongly pull me into drafting vampires. I feel like X can easily be at least 3 a lot of the time and that is being conservative.
Dark Inquiry – 1.0
The best this card can hope for is a one-for-one and that is not even guaranteed…
Dead Man’s Chest – 3.5
I think this is an above average card because the effect can be game changing but there is some set up and the cards you get are random so the result will not always be what you want or expect.
Dinosaur Hunter – 2.5
This is a good 2-drop when you’re playing against dinosaurs, but since the effect isn’t consistent, I don’t think it deserves the 3.0.
Dire Fleet Poisoner – 4.0
This will be tougher to play around since it’s a rare, but if your opponent is attacking in with a Pirate into your bigger creatures and it doesn’t make sense, try to keep this on your radar.
Dusk Charger – 2.5
A decent card that gets better in the late game so it evens out to average to me.
Dusk Legion Zealot – 2.5
This card reminds me of Elvish Visionary and can definitely provide a bonus to cards such as, Champion of Dusk or Paladin of Atonement.
Fathom Fleet Boarder – 3.0
A 3/3 for 3 usually deserves a 3.0.
Forerunner of the Coalition – 3.0
Similar to the white forerunner, it will fetch a rare out of your deck and give you a little bonus while being a decently costed creature.
Golden Demise – 3.5
Even though it is a sorcery, I still think this is a solid uncommon and can really swing games in your favor. Some decks just won’t be able to recover after you cast one of these.
Grasping Scoundrel – 2.0
If Ixalan has taught me anything, it’s that this card is more playable than I would normally assume.
Gruesome Fate – 0.5
If you have lots of creatures, why don’t you just kill your opponent with them rather than play this card… I can potentially see bringing it in against board stall matchups if you really need to push those last points of damage through, but I’m reaching when I say that.
Impale – 3.5
Sweet and to the point. The type of common removal spell you might pick over some rares.
Mastermind’s Acquisition – 1.0
I am not a huge fan of cards like these, but I can see people playing it in Sealed if they have a really good bomb to search for.
Mausoleum Harpy – 3.5
Since this is more of a late game costed card anyway, you will likely have the city’s blessing when you play it. Even if you have to fire it off early, the creature stats are still decent.
Moment of Craving – 3.0
This is a great trick and I don’t know about you but combat tricks that lower power/toughness are always more frustrating to fall for than combat tricks that increase power/toughness for me.
Oathsworn Vampire – 3.5
I am a huge sucker for creatures that can be returned from the graveyard to the battlefield and this one is even a 2-drop.
Pitiless Plunderer – 2.5
Your creature’s death will give you treasure but unless you’re intending to follow the Treasure Map or Revel in Riches, the treasure usually won’t be doing too much once you get to certain point in the game.
Ravenous Chupacabra – 4.0
This is probably my favorite uncommon of the set and it is a very good one. Remember when Sand Strangler was first-pickable in Hour of Devastation? Well, this Chupacabra is easily first-pickable as well.
Reaver Ambush – 3.0
This is basically a slightly upgrade Vanquish the Weak but I’ll take it.
Recover – 1.5
This is not a terrible card, but it’s not a great one either. I am usually not a fan of these cards because there is set up involved and doesn’t immediately impact the board.
Sadistic Skymarcher – 3.5
This card on turn 3 feels almost unfair.
Tetzimoc, Primal Death – 5.0
Even though your opponent will see Tetzimoc coming from you revealing it, it is extremely difficult to play around his ability. If they don’t have a counterspell, Tetzimoc gets to live up to its name.
Tomb Robber – 4.0
If you explore and hit a land you don’t want, you can discard it to explore again. Basically every explorer’s dream.
Twilight Prophet – 4.5
You should hold out until you get the city’s blessing (which is pretty doable in a vampire deck), because this card is more than worth it. Probably the best reward for having the city’s blessing in this set.
Vampire Revenant – 1.5
Sigh… don’t tell me you’re having curve/playable issues again…
Vona’s Hunger – 4.0
Having your opponent sacrifice a creature at instant speed is useful, but you also get to wipe half their board (albeit the weaker half) if you hold out for the city’s blessing.
Voracious Vampire – 2.5
Just a solid playable 3 drop for any vampire deck.
Blood Sun – 0.5
There is some fringe case where you bring this in against Legion’s Landing or something, but this is not a card for Limited.
Bombard – 3.0
Even though it can only hit creatures, 3 mana for 4 damage is a pretty sweet deal in Limited.
Brass’s Bounty – 0.0
You are really going deep if you play this and I’m sure it will be awesome, but generally, I would avoid trying to do too much.
Brazen Freebooter – 2.5
While I’m excited about being able to ramp from 3 mana to 5 mana, 4 mana to 6 mana is a lot less exciting and this card is just average.
Buccaneer’s Bravado – 2.5
A nice flexible trick and would be rated a bit higher if it cost 1 mana instead of 2.
Charging Tuskodon – 3.5
This is a great uncommon and good top end finisher for a R/W agro deck.
Daring Buccaneer – 3.0
A 2/2 for one mana is good, but 3 mana for a 2/2 isn’t the worst case either.
Dire Fleet Daredevil – 4.0
You can run this creature out on turn 2 and it will be pretty strong, but if you can save it for later in the game to snag an opponent’s removal spell from their graveyard, that’s even better.
Etali, Primal Storm – 4.5
If having a 6/6 on turn 6 isn’t enough for you, how about some card advantage as well?
Fanatical Firebrand – 1.5
This card isn’t great, but it can definitely be annoying. Once it’s done getting in hasty damage, it will sit back and wait for an opportune time to be sacrificed.
Forerunner of the Empire – 3.5
Out of all the forerunners we’re seen so far, I think this one is more powerful than the others. Dealing one damage to every creature has a huge effect on the board when there are 1/1 vampires and enrage abilities running around.
Form of the Dinosaur – 1.0
I’ve always wanted to be a Dinosaur, but this card has a lot of liability. Basically it’s nice to be a dinosaur when there are lots of smaller creatures around, but when you’re up against other big dinosaurs, it’s not going to be ideal battling them. I think it can be good in certain situations, but I probably wouldn’t first pick this rare.
Frilled Deathspitter – 2.5
Just your average playable dino.
Goblin Trailblazer – 2.5
A 2/1 won’t be very menacing after the first few turns but it’s just a decent 2-drop to have.
Mutiny – 2.0
This will get rid of your opponent’s smaller creature for the low price of one mana but it does require some set up.
Needletooth Raptor – 3.5
This is a feisty little dinosaur and if you can rile up this raptor somehow, you get a huge payoff.
Orazca Raptor – 2.5
It’s a Grazing Whiptail without reach but I’ll still take it.
Pirate’s Pillage – 1.5
Not a terrible card, but it’s not really what I want to be doing in this set personally.
Reckless Rage – 3.5
One mana that kills a creature and potentially triggers an enrage ability for you. Very cost effective and can result in some blowouts.
Rekindling Phoenix – 4.5
4 mana for a 4/3 flier is a great deal and if it ever hits the graveyard somehow, your opponent needs to find another way to kill a creature (albeit a small one) unless they want to deal with the Phoenix again.
See Red – 3.5
This is going to get in a lot of damage early and great for any red aggro deck.
Shake the Foundations – 3.0
At worst, this card replaces itself, and at best you can kill lots of vampires and trigger your enrage abilities.
Shatter – 0.5
A classic sideboard card.
Silverclad Ferocidons – 2.5
While these dinosaurs are pretty beefy, they cost a lot to cast and getting your opponent to sacrifice a couple of lands isn’t enticing enough to justify the cost either.
Stampeding Horncrest – 2.5
It’s not a bad top end for an aggro dinosaur deck but it’s still pretty average.
Storm Fleet Swashbuckler – 3.0
A nice 2 drop 2/2 creature that becomes effectively a 4/2 creature in the late game.
Sun-Collared Raptor – 2.5
This card is not a great blocker early (and hopefully you won’t be blocking too much if you’re playing it) but it has a decent mana sink so it won’t be useless if you draw it later in the game.
Swab Goblin – 2.5
This is the definition of an average card.
Swaggering Corsair – 3.0
Not only does this card have my favorite flavor text of this set, it’s also a solid common.
Tilonalli’s Crown – 2.5
This isn’t the best aura but it grants a lot of power and ideally triggers a good enrage ability.
Tilonalli’s Summoner – 3.5
This is a great mana sink in the late game for a red aggro deck.
Aggressive Urge – 2.5
Can trip combat trick. Say that five times fast.
Cacophodon – 3.0
The enrage trigger can give it pseudo-vigilance or you can untap a land to generate a small mana advantage.
Cherished Hatchling – 3.5
At worst this card is a 2 mana 2/1, but if you get a good Pounce to happen, that’s a great bonus.
Colossal Dreadmaw – 3.0
Still a solid common, still colossal and somehow, just as mana efficient as some of the Elder Dinosaurs.
Crested Herdcaller – 3.5
When you pay 5 mana for a total of 6 power/toughness, it is a huge advantage. Also, this is my favorite card art in Rivals.
Deeproot Elite – 4.0
This is a solid rare in a merfolk deck and getting to choose which merfolk gets the counter can help diversity your threats.
Enter the Unknown – 3.0
I really like this card but it is kind of hard to grade. It’s very cheap, helps you ramp a little bit, and you also get to explore. There’s really no downside, but it does take up a slot in your deck and I’m not sure where it falls in a draft pick.
Forerunner of the Heralds – 3.0
Another solid Forerunner. I feel like if you see these forerunners passed around a draft table, they might be a strong signal that a certain archetype is open.
Ghalta, Primal Hunger – 4.5
If your green dinosaur deck has a couple of Orazca Frillbacks, you can have a 12/12 as soon as turn 5. That’s a total of 20 power on the board on turn 5! Then again, a 12/12 will be sizable almost every turn of the game, so whenever you get around to it, it will still be quite strong.
Giltgrove Stalker – 2.5
This can get in some early damage but it is a pretty average 2-drop.
Hardy Veteran – 3.0
This is an interesting 2-drop and I think it’s slightly above average compared to other 2-drop creatures as 2 mana for a 2/4 is fairly cheap.
Hunt the Weak – 3.0
A more expensive Savage Stomp, but still a decent removal spell for green decks.
Jade Bearer – 1.5
This card is trying to do the bare minimum to make your merfolk deck.
Jadecraft Artisan – 2.5
I would say this is an average card and you would probably hope to find something slightly better.
Jadelight Ranger – 4.0
A card that lets you explore twice makes for a solid rare.
Jungleborn Pioneer – 3.0
As usual, 3 mana for a total of 3 power/toughness is above average and now your merfolk army just got a little bit bigger.
Knight of the Stampede – 2.0
This card is slightly below average and making your dinosaurs a bit cheaper after turn 4 isn’t anything too exciting.
Naturalize – 0.5
This is a sideboard card, but I think it might be maindeckable in Sealed since there are so many enchantments in this block.
Orazca Frillback – 2.5
Basically Frenzied Raptor’s green dinosaur cousin.
Overgrown Armasaur – 3.0
This is a solid 5-drop with a good enrage ability.
Path of Discovery – 3.0
You usually don’t want to take a turn off to set up this card, but in Sealed I can see it being very useful. I don’t think it is a strong first pick in draft though.
Plummet – 0.5
They’re just bringing back all the classic sideboard cards for this set.
Polyraptor – 4.5
At 8 mana, you don’t really want a 5/5, but if you have something that can easily enrage it, well then now you have 2 5/5s that makes 5/5s and that starts to get out of hand quickly.
Strength of the Pack – 3.5
Sort of an overrun ability and sort of not at the same time. While you don’t get to trample over your opponent’s creatures, you do get a permanent +2/+2 which isn’t a bad trade off.
Swift Warden – 3.5
A trick and a 3/3 for 3 mana all wrapped up in one neat merfolk package makes a solid uncommon.
Tendershoot Dryad – 4.0
This is a solid rare and definitely demands an answer from your opponent.
Thrashing Brontodon – 3.5
While this isn’t as big as the Ancient Brontodon, it is nicely costed and even has extra utility.
Thunderherd Migration – 3.0
Great ramp and fixing card, but not every deck is looking for this kind of effect.
Wayward Swordtooth – 4.0
This card feels like a solid rare to me. Basically, it’s an enchantment that lets you play additional lands each turn while also being a pretty effective creature for fight spells, and once you get the city’s blessing, it can attack right away.
World Shaper – 2.5
This is an interesting card but I don’t see its ability being very relevant in limited.
Angrath, the Flame-Chained – 4.5
A Planeswalker is always tough to deal with in Limited and while Angrath can’t really protect himself, he has very relevant abilities for a B/R deck to take advantage of.
Atzocan Seer – 3.5
What a great card for any G/W or Naya dinosaurs deck. Getting back a dinosaur also makes this mana creature less of a dead draw in the late game.
Azor, the Lawbringer – 5.0
If you ever land Azor, unless your opponent has very specific answers, it will be very hard to stop you from getting a chance to activate its second ability which should gain you a huge advantage.
Deadeye Brawler – 3.5
Even if you don’t have the city’s blessing, this card is still very good as a 2/4 Deathtouch creature.
Dire Fleet Neckbreaker – 3.5
The best part about this card is that you don’t need to attack with it to get the bonus.
Elenda, the Dusk Rose – 4.5
While Elenda is fragile, she also has a huge upside and not much of a downside. With her on the board, you can attack with your 1/1 vampires freely knowing Elenda will grow if they die and eventually replace those 1/1 vampires herself if she dies.
Hadana’s Climb/Winged Temple of Orazca – 4.5
This is a solid rare in a merfolk deck. You can flip it as soon as it comes into play if one of your creatures already has two +1/+1 counters on it and its flipped side can end games very quickly.
Huatli, Radiant Champion – 4.0
This Huatli is kind of a downgrade from the one in Ixalan since she can’t protect herself and requires you to have an established boardstate to be effective. However, a Planeswalker is still a strong asset in Limited so I am still giving her a high grade.
Journey to Eternity/Atzal, Cave of Eternity – 4.5
Getting to return any creature from your graveyard to the battlefield for 5 mana seems insane. You can even do this at instant speed!
Jungle Creeper – 3.5
While this card is strong on its own, being B/G doesn’t give it a home all that often in this block and I’m tempted to give it a lower grade because of it.
Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca – 4.5
While the abilities are very strong, it does require you to have somewhat of a board presence to utilize them. However, once you hit the sweet spot of 3 untapped Merfolk to draw a card, you should easily be able to overwhelm your opponent.
Legion Lieutenant – 3.5
A very straightforward card that any vampire deck would be happy to have.
Merfolk Mistbinder – 3.5
Basically the Merfolk version of the card above.
Path of Mettle/Metzali, Tower of Triumph – 4.0
Probably the weaker of the Legendary enchantments as it isn’t as easy to flip and the flipped side isn’t as powerful as either.
Profane Procession/Tomb of the Dusk Rose – 5.0
This card seems almost unbeatable. It is basically 3 removals in one card and then you get to cast the creatures you removed for free… While it is pretty slow and costs a lot of mana, I think it can help you get ahead when you’re behind.
Protean Raider – 4.0
For the low price of 3 mana and attacking with a creature this turn, you can have any creature on the battlefield that you want.
Raging Regisaur – 3.5
A 4/4 for 4 mana is very good and getting to trigger enrage/kill a creature/ping your opponent makes it a huge threat.
Relentless Raptor – 3.0
Attacking/blocking each combat is a big liability especially when it has vigilance. It will still be very good for a R/W deck but I don’t see this raptor staying alive for long.
Resplendent Griffin – 3.5
Even without the city’s blessing, it is still a decent card and once you get the blessing, it becomes a big threat.
Siegehorn Ceratops – 4.0
A solid rare but definitely not unbeatable. You’ll want to find ways to enrage it without having it die and luckily there are plenty of combat tricks in G/W to get it going.
Storm Fleet Sprinter – 3.5
Haste and unblockable will make this a very fast clock.
Storm the Vault/Vault of Catlacan – 0.5
Nothing about this card excites me for Limited unfortunately, but there are some fringe decks that rely heavily on treasures to win so I’m not going to count it completely out.
Zacama, Primal Calamity – 4.5
The only reason this card isn’t a 5.0 is because it costs 9 mana to cast, but that’s really the only downside… once you get it into play, there is a 99% chance (okay, maybe not true) you win the game.
Awakened Amalgam – 0.5
I hope if you do play this card that you see all your dreams come true, but usually in Limited, you don’t want to dream that big.
Azor’s Gateway/Sanctum of the Sun – 4.5
If you are playing this card, the goal is to not let it transform so you can keep looting through your deck.
Captain’s Hook – 4.0
If you thought Pirate’s Cutlass was good, this Hook is definitely on par. It is best on disposable 1/1 creatures.
Gleaming Barrier – 1.0
I don’t think you want to play these unless you were really struggling for 2 drops.
Golden Guardian – 4.5
This is a strange card but it’s actually not too hard to transform, but you want to avoid losing a creature in the process. Being able to make 4/4 Golems for 4 mana every turn afterwards though might be worth it.
Orazca Relic – 1.0
A colorless mana rock that isn’t completely dead in the late game isn’t bad, but it’s not what I would be looking to do in Ixalan Block limited.
Silent Gravestone – 0.5
I guess you can play this to get to ascend faster?
Strider Harness – 2.0
Not a bad equipment to have, but it’s not as exciting as the other common equipment in the block.
The Immortal Sun – 4.5
A great way to get ahead in board stall games or when you’re slightly behind.
Traveler’s Amulet – 2.5
Never exciting but also never bad when you need fixing. Also can help you ascend when you don’t need to find a land with it right away.
Arch of Orazca – 3.5
This is a slow card but it does give you a payoff eventually.
Evolving Wilds – 2.5
I would play this in a 2 color deck although that is a hotly debated topic and I would not look to actively take it in draft.
Forsaken Sanctuary/Foul Orchard/Highland Lake/Stone Quarry/Woodland Stream – 3.0
Mana fixing is always nice even if it’s a little slower.
Averaging out all the numbers, at first impression it looks like:
- Green has the best common creatures, followed by Red
- White has the best commons in general, followed by Red
- Black and Green have the best rares/mythic rares (does not include Multi-colored cards)
- Red has the worst rares/mythic rares
Thank you for taking the time to go through my first set review! If you have any comments about how you would have rated a card differently or any feedback, I would love to hear from you. Have a great pre-release and I’m excited to go back to this in a couple months and see how my impressions have changed!