The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, while incredibly powerful, looks pretty complex. Three new mechanics graced our presence, and each have their own share of complexities. While Descend isn’t too complex on its own, there are multiple different variants of it that are kind of different abilities. Discover, while complicated, is simplified a lot for Magic players in the know since the mechanic is very similar to the infamous Cascade. That said, if you’re not familiar with Cascade, Discover is hardly straightforward. MTG Craft, while straightforward on its own, has additional effects that can make things rather complex.
Fortunately, we’re here to help shore up any confusion you may have with the new MTG mechanics from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Here, we will explore what the Craft mechanic does and how to use it.
MTG Craft, on its own, is not complicated. Craft generally appears on artifact cards and has two requirements. You need to pay a mana cost while the artifact is in play, and you need to exile some number of cards from various places, generally your battlefield or your graveyard. Once these conditions are met, you can exile the artifact with Craft and return it to the battlefield flipped.
Spring-Loaded Sawblades are the simplest application of the Craft mechanic we’ve seen so far. After you use the ETB effect that the Sawblades offer, you can pay four mana and exile this card plus another artifact you control or in your grave to turn this into a makeshift Vehicle. Notably, you can only Craft at sorcery speed.
MTG Craft’s More Complex Applications
Cards with Craft host a lot of commonalities. You need to pay a mana cost and Craft with the specifications mentioned on the card. For Throne of the Grim Captain, for example, you need to Craft with a Dinosaur, a Merfolk, a Pirate and a Vampire. The Throne’s static ability of milling two cards helps achieve this difficult feat.
That said, the flip side of this card requires you to keep track of what you exiled with the Craft trigger. While flipping Throne of the Grim Captain is difficult, you do get rewarded with something very difficult to deal with. The Grim Captain, in addition to having some terrifying keywords, can return a creature used to Craft it onto the tapped and attacking whenever it attacks. This requires you to keep track of what you exiled, and can offer additional synergies.
The Enigma Jewel, our first look at the Craft Mechanic, may also be the most complex one. This Legendary Artifact requires a massive mana cost and four different nonland cards with activated abilities (or more) to Craft the Locus of Enlightenment. The Locus gains all the activated abilities of the Crafted cards, being able to activate those abilities once each turn. This isn’t too interesting considering that you already had those activated abilities on cards. The real payoff, instead, is the ability to copy any activated ability that isn’t a mana ability. They don’t even have to be a part of the Locus of Enlightenment. They can be on anything.
That said, like The Grim Captain, the Locus of Enlightenment requires the player to keep track of what cards were used alongside The Enigma Jewel’s Craft ability since the Locus of Enlightenment gains those abilities. We have not seen a ton of Craft cards yet, but this seems to be a continuing trend.
As a note with MTG Craft cards that care about what they exile: if you exile a token, it won’t be counted towards cards Crafted after the requirements are met. If the token matches what is needed to Craft, you can use it. Tokens don’t stick around in exile, however, meaning that if your Crafted token had an activated ability, you cannot use it for the Locus of Enlightenment.
That’s All for Now!
This is, at the time of writing, everything that we know about the MTG Craft mechanic. Aside from paying a mana value, exiling some cards on board or in your graveyard, and occasionally having to keep track of what was exiled, that’s all there really is to this new MTG mechanic.
This, however, is not the only new MTG mechanic coming out in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. If you want to read about the multiple variants of the Descend or Descended mechanic, you can do so here.
Otherwise, if you want to read more about MTG Craft, Wizards of the Coast’s article can be found here.