I'm back from my month-long hiatus just in time to share with you my financial predictions for Ixalan. The set looks powerful for Standard and Commander and also has a few cards for Modern. Dinosaurs and Pirates in particular are poised to become legitimate tribal strategies in Standard. As with any financial speculation, there is risk. The advice in this article is to help you make informed decisions about what cards to invest in. I offer plenty of strategy tips, financial tips, as well as the highly sought after sleeper pick tip. And of course not just the tip – also jokes and puns!
She can't be touched by targeted removal spells, she lives through Hour of Devastation, she gets all the Dinosaur tribal bonuses, including cost reduction, she tramples over chump blockers, and the thing that I believe will have the biggest impact on her demand is that she is non-legendary, which means deck lists will be much more likely to show up with the full four copies of this mythic rare. I'm buying!
Between this and Fell Flagship pumping the tribe, Pirates may be the new Merfolk! Err, wait, maybe Merfolk is the new Merfolk? It is certainly odd the Pirates feel more like Merfolk than the Merfolk of the set do, but here we are. I suspect Admiral Beckett will see enough play to merit buying low.
Mirror Universe ain't what it used to be. Cool for multiplayer, but not playable elsewhere.
In a strategy that incidentally self-mills, kills opposing creatures, and/or discards, I can see this being viable. Also great in multiplayer, but unlikely to be a 4x in a top tier Standard strategy though.
There are enough ways to ramp this out that I think it will be good.
Not a bad card, but pretty easy to deal with. Novel enough design that I could be wrong about it.
Good with Dream Halls, but can't see it being played over Pull from Tomorrow anywhere else.
Get out your Pox charts, because we're doing fractions! This likely kills the opponent by itself in three hits, which is quite good for a five-drops. It's also especially good against control decks where the life loss is essentially not symmetrical. Not too keen on $5 though.
If it weren't for Hazoret the Fervent, this would be the best four-drop in red aggro. As is, I think it's only good in a deck that can utilize the graveyard. The fact that it replaces itself card-wise makes it a reasonable value play in a midrange deck.
Hour of Devastation will be the more reliable sweeper, but if you need to wipe out all the Dinosaurs and/or Nicol Bolas, this may be the card for the job. Also, this is fun with Boros Reckoner.
She has a ton of loyalty and can protect herself with a blocker or by destroying a vehicle or a creature. She can also ultimate two turns after she is cast, which almost certainly wins the game. Unlicensed Disintegration works well with the treasures and at finishing off the opponent after an ultimate. Sell at $15, but certainly playable.
Not a bad card, but I can't imagine ever playing this over Glorybringer.
Geez, this card is powerful. It attacks well, it blocks well, it's great in races, its tap ability is extremely useful, and all its abilities synergize well together. The biggest downside is that it only has four toughness and leaves no value behind if immediately killed. It's also multicolor and legendary.
This doesn't feel like a 4x, but it is definitely strong enough to see play in some amount in a tribal Dinosaur deck.
Commander, sure. Standard? Doubtful.
Slow to get going without additional help, but useful for setting up and a gamebreaker in midrange and control matchups. The second copy is useful too because you can transform the first and then play the second one and leave it as an enchantment. This feels like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.
Good in control mirrors, but difficult to transform in the matchups where you want the Diamond Valley effect since you have to go down to exactly 1-5 before your turn starts. If I'm misreading the card and you can pay life with the ability on the stack, then this card is better than I think it is.
A fairly innocuous card that won't be dominating the format or anything but may nevertheless find its way into a tribal Vampire deck. One mana is a low investment and the upside is fairly high for a one-mana spell. Its power level is somewhere between Sacred Cat and Kytheon, Hero of Akros.
Like the others in the cycle, this is strong in slower matchups but at four mana, maybe too slow against aggro decks. Not buying at $3 though.
This seems really good in an Elf deck, but it may be too much of a "win more" card since it's only really great when you have a bunch of creatures on board. A bit slow and clunky, but in the right matchups or in decks that can reliably rebuild an army of creatures, this could be good. I'm not touching this at $15, but I do think the card is good and will have a big Commander appeal in addition to whatever Standard/Modern appeal it may garner.
A pretty strong follow-up to a first turn Kinjalli's Caller, even though it is unlikely to get the bonus on the turn it is played. It competes for space in the Dinosaur deck with a few other powerful three-drops though.
Very solid if left unchecked, but leaves no value if killed immediately. And it's fairly easy to kill.
Solid answer to a sweeper in a vampire deck as long as the sweeper doesn't exile the creatures.
You'd have to be a real fish to put this in your deck.
Valiant effort to once again make Browbeat playable, but I'm still not buying. If it's viable at all, it's in an aggro deck that can capitalize on the life loss.
Hammer of Bogardan! I want this card to be good, but I suspect it's only ok without Thawing Glaciers to set up the recursion. Still a fine rate and a reasonable mana dump in the mid-to-late game.
Strong if you get to untap with it, but highly doubtful to compete with existing red four-drops.
Fairly strong rate and seems excellent against red decks. Will likely make it into tribal Dinosaurs. Selling at $9.50 though.
Path to Exile is great because it's able to kill nearly any creature and often trades up in mana. This card will likely be bad even on turn one as Rampant Growth is a more powerful opening than Wild Nacatl. My estimation is unplayable as long as people play basic lands in their decks.
The rate on this card is good and I expect it to be the reason to play vampires. The question is whether vampires will be great, which I'm estimating they will only be medium.
It's like Sphinx's Revelation but instead of drawing cards you gain more life. Unfortunately the card draw is the part that makes Sphinx's Revelation good. This card is unplayable.
This could be really good in Blue-Black Control alongside Marionette Master. Five mana counters are generally pretty bad, but when it's part of a two-card (potentially) lethal combo, the bar lowers just enough. Tezzeret the Schemer is also legal, which works great with Marionette Master in more ways than one.
As long as you curve out with vampires, this is basically
Hellrider Brutal Hordechief. Oh, nevermind.
A good sideboard card in red aggro decks and likely good enough to make it into the Dinosaur tribal deck. The body is fragile but the rate is good, especially against a deck with life gain.
I love inexpensive bullet sideboard cards like this that you can play for a low cost prior to playing all your creatures. Then each time opponent plays a removal spell you two-for-one them. It only has to work once to pay for itself. Where was this card when Walking Ballista first got printed? I'm buying… but not at $3.
I take this to be the best of the three-drop Dinosaurs. Flying with a very useful ability all for a reasonable cost. This is probably very good in mirror matches where staying a turn ahead could equate to loads of extra damage, especially when we account for haste on both sides.
Could be a thing with treasures and such, but I suspect there is not a sufficient critical mass of playable cards that produce artifact tokens for this card to have Standard appeal.
The rate is reasonable enough to likely fit into the Pirate tribal deck. Legendary makes her likely a two-of rather than a potential four-of though, which cuts into her value considerably. Otherwise she might be the next Goblin Rabblemaster.
I suspect that seven mana is a little much for this effect. Too slow against the decks where you really want the life gain and not relevant enough against the decks you don't.
I'm glad this card exists and it will likely make it into my deck at one point, but I don't know that there is enough payoff for it in Standard right now. Works well with Greenbelt Rampager, Exemplar of Strength and Old-Growth Dryads, but all those cards together in the same deck sounds awful.
Likely the only Modern-playable Merfolk in the set, but it's a good one that will likely be a two-of in Modern Merfolk. If you combine this with Shapers' Sanctuary, point removal spells become quite mediocre against you.
At minimum it's a solid sideboard card against graveyard decks. It likely makes it into the tribal Pirate deck though too since it works great with Duress and Fatal Push. Deathrite Shaman basically got nerfed in six different ways and is still playable.
With mana accelerants, this can end up doing a fairly reasonable Glorybringer impression. If given haste by Otepec Huntmaster or Regisaur Alpha, we're talking about an immediate three damage to a creature and nine to the opponent!
If it could target any land I'd call it excellent. As is, I'm calling it unplayable.
It's possible this is the right card to combat Ramunap Red decks. I suspect more ramp spells or removal spells would be better against aggro decks, but if you want to hedge, this card can also be an expensive tutor spell against non-aggro decks.
Great for stealing tokens, Death's Shadows, Tarmogoyfs, and other undercosted Modern staples. I think this is one of the best cards in the set for Modern. Maybe too slow for Standard as long as Dinosaurs are a thing, though treasures may change that.
I think this will be a staple in the Pirate tribal deck and unplayable everywhere else. The real question is ARRRRRR they going to be good?
At seven mana, this card is too stinky even for the poop deck.
Once upon a time Quirion Dryad was playable. Those days are long, long gone.
A somewhat reasonable graveyard hate card that can help enable Crested Sunmare, but nowhere close to as good as Rest in Peace, so unplayable outside of Standard.
A solid finisher in a deck that can place +1/+1 counters on its creatures, but I'm not holding my breath on the underwater tribe being good enough.
This card is actually very good. It replaces itself immediately, has reasonable base stats, gets pumped by all the Pirate tribal bonuses, can immediately crew a vehicle, and triggers every subsequent turn. Definitely one of the big reasons to play Pirate tribal and maybe good enough in Mardu Vehicles too.
What is with all these six-mana enchantments that do nothing the turn they are cast?
Maybe the fourth best green four-drop in Standard?
Really powerful when it works, but if the opponent plays around it, it can really Backfire and you'll wish you just played a wrath effect instead.
Reasonable game breaker in a matchup between two decks that each establish a big board presence without trading off resources. If the Pirate mirror is such a matchup, I can see treasures rendering this card playable. Otherwise I'd keep this one on the sidelines.
Versatile but expensive removal spell. It's worse than Cast Out and Unlicensed Disintegration, but I could see playing a couple of these main to hedge against too many cheap removal spells that are bad against control decks, perhaps with the other two copies in the sideboard. It's fine to buy or sell on this one.
This feels like it could be a combo piece, but I'm not sure with what. For aggro I think it's generally too high variance to compete with the other red three-drops of the format.
Easily the worse of the seven-drop Dinosaurs, but not the least colorful. Also, shouldn't a triceratops have triple strike?
Maybe for a casual deck, but not for Standard.
This is a very powerful Pirate. Great on offense or defense, can crew vehicles while tapping blockers or simply tap potential attackers.
Unlikely to make the cut in the Pirate deck unless the other two-drops somehow don't pan out.
Glorybringer is very likely better outside of Dinosaur tribal, but in the Dinosaur deck this is a premier five-drop. The fact that it's non-legendary means they get better in multiples since the first one grants the second one haste. It's likely a four-of in The Land Before Time. $7.50 is just way too much for a non-mythic rare.
This is a really powerful ability, turning a Faceless Butcher into Control Magic on a stick. This card is more powerful than Gonti, Lord of Luxury and fits into the Pirate tribal deck.
This card looks great with explore cards, but the creatures with that keyword seem pretty lackluster to me. Maybe I'm underestimating the explore mechanic.
It's basically a Gilded Lotus that you have to work hard for, but in a deck with flying creatures and big mana spells I can see it being playable. If you can hook it up to a Kinjalli's Sunwing on turn four and swing in the air for four damage, you immediately get back three of that four mana spent. Then the following turn you're all set to cast your giant seven and eight mana Dinosaurs! As a vegan gardener, I can get behind giving the opponent plants.
Seems excellent in the Pirate tribal deck.
This could be the Thawing Glaciers that Repeating Barrage is looking for, but my guess is it's too slow.
I rate this card exactly a 2 out of 10, and just so we're clear, it would be a 1 out of 10 if not for the sake of this joke.
Definitely an interesting card with all the cheap card draw available in Standard. The payoff looks pretty high too. Go to work, all you Izzet mages!
This is actually a very reasonably priced card draw spell. Not sure what decks will actually want it, but I'm happy to have this in my deck against midrange and control strategies.
Pithing Needle with a sneak peek? Deal! It might not be Modern playable, given the existence of Phyrexian Revoker, but I'm happy to at least have this in my sideboard in Standard.
Seems good for any tribal commander deck, but likely too slow and pricey for Standard.
These lands are going to be excellent, especially since the cycling lands count as basic land types. Allied two-color decks have good mana and three color decks will also utilize these to good effect. And the new Rootbound Crag with the Dinosaur has great work!
- The cycle of enchantments that turn into legendary lands all seem playable to good.
- Many of the transform cards in general seem really good.
- Dinosaurs and Pirates look great, Vampires look decent, and Merfolk look bad (sorry Corbin, but at least you get Kopala, Warden of Waves).
- Blue-Black Tezzeret with Marionette Master and Spell Swindle looks good.
- The lands look great with cycle lands since the cycle lands count as the basic land types.
- My three sleeper picks are: Kinjalli's Sunwing, Spell Swindle, and Search for Azcanta.