Hello everyone, I'm Jon Corpora, Managing Editor for Magic.TCGplayer.com, and our whole office is foaming at the mouth for Ixalan. Luckily, our friends over at LoadingReadyRun just had their official Pre-Prerelease. If you missed all the amazing action, it's well worth your time to take a look:
After devouring the whole thing like a hungry dinosaur, I've got my top ten takeaways to share with you. Let's go!
I'll start with an obvious one. Vraska, Relic Seeker is a house. She can protect herself while adding loyalty or she can go after threats, even on back to back turns if you really need it. Out of the Planeswalkers we saw in this event, she was clearly the best.
Jace, Cunning Castaway, however, did not perform quite as well. In a world full of fliers, tramplers, and even Lightning Strike, there were too many ways to get in a quick hit that knocks him out. The fact that he has to go down to one loyalty to make an Illusion Token leaves him incredibly vulnerable.
For the most part, two color decks ruled the day. While the bigger tribes, pirates and dinosaurs, do cover three colors, most of the players focused on just two with maybe a small splash.
If you feel that a two color deck just limits your options too much, you're in luck, because a bunch of cards make treasure tokens, which can enable some off-the-wall four and five color builds, if that's more your speed. Treasure seems to do a good job both fixing your colors and providing small bursts of ramp.
And what's the best way to make use of that ramp? Dinosaurs. Giant, flipping, dinosaurs. The big boys were out in force and did a pretty great job of stomping all over most of the smaller creatures out there. Charging Monstrosaur, for example, hit hard and fast and left many opponents reeling.
Smashing things wasn't the only trick the dinosaurs knew. Carefully managing enrage triggers was another way to get sweet value out of these massive lizards. Sun-Crowned Hunters, a common, gives you a "free" Lava Spike whenever it takes damage.
But why wait for your opponent to deal damage to your dinosaur when you can just do it yourself? Dual Shot is an inconspicuous little reprint that has big implications in this set. It's great for clearing away pesky 1/1 Vampire Tokens, and, in a pinch you can trigger enrage on two of your own dinosaurs. It's a flexible common that is easy to cast and offers a lot of value in the right deck.
Tribal synergies don't show up a lot in sealed format, like at the prerelease. Since you're at the mercy of what's in your pool, you often end up just jamming your best cards into your deck. This makes it hard for a tribe like Vampires to really shine, since you need some that gain life to fuel the others that require life as a payment for abilities.
The Merfolk of Ixalan suffered from a similar problem, but made better companions to pirates. Elusive merfolk, like River Sneak, could set up pirate raids.
The biggest take away from the Ixalan Pre-prerelease? Removal is still king. Being able to take your opponent's pieces off the board has value both on offense and defense. They can't hurt you if they have no creatures, and they can't stop you from hurting them if they have no creatures. The best card for the task is probably Walk the Plank. It doesn't deal damage, so you don't have to worry about any enrage triggers from a creature on the way out. It won't nab merfolk but most of them are small anyway, and the double black casting cost isn't a huge problem when you have access to treasure tokens.
So there ya go. Load up on removal spells, saddle up your dinosaurs, and get ready for Ixalan prerelease this weekend at your favorite local gaming store. If you liked this video make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel because we're here all week with new stuff and you don't want to miss that, right? Right? Right.