When we last left the story of Magic the Gathering, at the end of the Amkhet sets, the Gatewatch was in a most dire situation. The Planeswalking dragon, Nicol Bolas had sprung a trap of planar proportions and flung the defeated heroes, maybe a bit of a strong word for Lilliana, across the multiverse.
The first location to be explored in the wake of this event is the Plane of Ixalan where a memoryless Jace wakes up to a plane of adventure and conquest! The first of set of the block has a heavy tribal theme as Vampire conquistadors search for a lost Merfolk city guarded by Dinosaurs all the while roving bands of Pirates plunder treasure from all involved.
With the increase in dinosaur creatures present and a planeswalker designed to synergise with them you may want to take a look through the Oracle and see what old cards have had the dinosaur creature type added on. With a new focus you’ll be sure to find a new keyword on these cold blooded giants in, which triggers whenever the creature with the keyword takes damage and survives.
Meanwhile where thar be pirates thar be treasure! The pirates bring with them the ability to create artifact treasure permanents that can be used to either provide one mana of any colour by being sacrificed or to Revel in your Riches and your victory in doing so! In order to claim this bounty the pirates bring with them the Raid mechanic, which requires them to have attacked in the turn to gain a benefit when played.
Meanwhile an ongoing battle is waged between the conquering vampires and local populace. The vampires have a definite white/black flavor this time around, with all the life gain and loss shenanigans that come with that. While the defending humans and merfolk take the place of the elves of any magic set seeing green splashes with ramp scattered between their creatures and cards. For both factions the new keyword Explore provides a basic scry like ability where revealing lands from the top of your deck adds them to your hand but any other discovery can buff your creature for +1/+1 and possibly get unwanted cards off the top of your library.
Making a return from previous sets you’ll also find vehicles and dual sided cards, the latter of which have some amazing treasure map themed art on their flip side for this set. You’ll also find a pair of new Planeswalkers joining the team this set and the aforementioned Jace making yet another appearance in one of his more interesting iterations as well. With Ixalan the planeswalker rules have seen a bit of a switch up as now you’ll find they’ve all become legendary! This doesn’t do too much to change how the older planeswalkers interact with themselves, but the new Jace bucks that trend by spawning non legendary versions of himself on hitting his most expensive ability.
All in all Ixalan looks to be a flavorsome set with some great updates and additions to popular tribes used in the past. If high adventure in “magical South America” sounds like your thing why not give Ixalan a try? Find it at the Nexus and get to sailing the high seas!
Features include: Knowledge of all things geeky. “Over 9000!” achievement points in World of Warcraft. Groantastic Puns. Marking out for canadian heels.
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