The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is the next premier set scheduled to be released. The release date is on November 17, 2023, and there’s a ton to look forward to. After all, Ixalan is one of MTG’s most beloved planes. With an emphasis on specific Creature types, including massive Dinosaurs, this return to Ixalan is certainly nostalgic.
Unsurprisingly, though, there is plenty of new content within The Lost Caverns of Ixalan set, including a bunch of new mechanics. One of these new mechanics is known as MTG Descend. This mechanic, interestingly, is split into a few different categories. To understand how this new mechanic works on different cards, it’s important to take a look at these small differences one by one.
What Is MTG Descend?
Descended is a keyword that cares about permanent cards being put into your graveyard. Unlike with Revolt, which checks if a permanent left the battlefield, Descending occurs no matter where the permanent card enters the graveyard from. This means that permanent cards entering the graveyard from your library, such as via milling, or entering from your hand, such as via discarding cards, works just as well.
By definition, permanent cards are cards that could be on the battlefield. This includes Creatures, Artifacts, Enchantments, Lands, Planeswalkers, and Battles. Every time one of these card types enters your graveyard from anywhere, you Descend. Some cards, like The Mycotyrant, check for each time you Descend during your turn. Notably, if multiple permanent cards enter the graveyard at the same time, such as by a board wipe like Wrath of God, you still get to count each of those permanent cards towards the number of Fungus Creature tokens you create.
Other cards, though, will simply provide a benefit as long as you Descended this turn. In that case, whether one permanent card or a dozen permanent cards enter the graveyard, the effect will remain the same. Importantly, it doesn’t matter if the permanent card that was put into your leaves for any reason, perhaps via a Reanimation effect, you still Descended regardless.
MTG Descend 4, Descend 8
Cards with Descend 4 or 8 also care about permanent cards being in your graveyard. In this case, though, all that matters is whether 4 or 8 permanent cards are in your graveyard at any given time. For example, Didact Echo has Descend 4. Didact Echo gets a bonus (in this case, it has Flying) as long as 4 or more permanent cards are in your graveyard.
Cards like Didact Echo continuously check how many permanent cards are in your graveyard to determine whether the bonus remains. So be careful if your opponent may have ways to alter the number of permanent cards in your graveyard!
Finally, we have Fathomless Descent. Fathomless Descent, rather than caring about a specific number of permanent cards being in your graveyard, simply provides an effect that changes when permanent cards are added to or removed from your graveyard. Song of Stupefaction, for instance, gives a permanent -X/-0, where X is the number of permanent cards in your graveyard. Presumably, the bigger you can make X, the better.
As X changes, the effect of the card changes, which is different than how Descend 4 or Descend 8 work. All of these abilities are closely connected, though. As long as you can keep track of permanent cards being put into your graveyard, these abilities shouldn’t be too difficult to grasp over time.
To read more about MTG Descend, check out Wizards of the Coast’s article here.