At long last, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan’s spoiler season has finally kicked off! This would perhaps be a more celebrated occasion if MTG players weren’t bombarded by huge announcements over the past few days, but the brisk pace that Magic is moving has many excited and others unable to keep up.
Fortunately, we’re here to help keep you up-to-date with all the newest and craziest cards releasing in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan! From Dinosaurs to Treasures, this underground spelunking set has a lot to offer! If the return of a fixed version of one of the most dominant mechanics in all of Modern isn’t a sign of that, I don’t know what is.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some new cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, including a new Planeswalker all the way from Strixhaven!
Quintorius Kand is the new Planeswalker appearing in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. As was revealed as a part of Wilds of Eldraine, there will only be one Planeswalker per Standard set for the time-being, and Quintorius is our Planeswalker for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.
Quintorius, quite honestly, looks very powerful. Any Planeswalker that can create a relevant board presence as an uptick is strong. Simply creating an army of 3/2’s until Quintorius is dealt with is enough of a reason to explore this Planeswalker in a format like Standard.
Quintorius, however, also introduces one of the new mechanics: Discover. While we talk at-length about Discover in our article covering new mechanics, you can basically think of Discover as a new Cascade that cares about the numerical Discover value instead of the Cascading creature’s mana value. In other words, Discover allows you to exile cards off the top of your library until you hit a card with a mana value equal to the Discover value or less. You can either choose to cast that card from Exile or put it in your hand. If you cast it, since Quintorius has a triggered ability that cares about it, you get to deal two to each of your opponents and gain two. The Discover 4 ability allows Quintorius to immediately cast another spell, ensuring that this card creates some relevant value if you think it won’t survive the turn. We’ll talk more about this later in this article, as well as in the mechanic article.
Quintorius’s last ability is fine. You need some setup to make it work but, in theory, you can create an insurmountable amount of advantage in the right context. Expect Quintorius to be an absolute nightmare in the Limited format.
A Wiff of Tripling Season
In the progressive world of power creep, running into something like this felt like an inevitability. It’s no secret that, due to the popularity of Commander, doubling effects, whether triggering an ability an additional time, or creating double of a token or counter, are incredibly popular. Commander games go long, and cards that don’t create immediate value, but create a ton of value over the course of a few turns, are popular.
This may be the first time we have ever had a token tripling effect in MTG. Ojer Taq is pretty straightforward in this manner, creating three times the number of any tokens that would otherwise be created.
This new God design also shows a new way of representing immortality in a gameplay sense. When Ojer Taq would die, it returns to play as a tapped Temple of Civilization. If you satisfy the requirements of the land, the Temple can flip back into Ojer Taq. Not only is Ojer Taq, ability-wise, a strict upgrade to Anointed Procession, it can also be surprisingly difficult to kill.
Of course, Ojer Taq is a rather expensive spell, more so than the Procession, and exiling Ojer Taq remains a surefire way to get rid of it, so this isn’t a strict upgrade in every sense of the word. Unlike Doubling Season, while Ojer Taq can triple tokens where Doubling Season doubles it, Ojer Taq does not affect counters, so we won’t need to worry about Planeswalkers entering the battlefield with triple counters on them… yet.
Vito looks to be a fantastic addition to the Vampire Demon themed Commander deck releasing in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Vito rewards you for sacrificing permanents in a similar fashion that Omnath, Locus of Creation rewards you for playing lands.
For the first three times the ability resolves, Vito offers three different rewards. The first one is nothing to write home about, but the second and third perks are rather powerful. In a dedicated sacrificial shell, Vito can create an army of creatures and close the door on your opponent surprisingly quick. Considering that sacrifice is a popular Pioneer archetype, and a shell for a sacrifice strategy involving the Oni-Cult Anvil existing in Standard, Vito should see some experimentation at minimum in competitive formats.
A New Flicker Tool
Abuelo is pretty straightforward, but effective. This 2/2 flier has a bit of protection and can flicker your own artifacts and creatures for three mana. A relevant body combined with a potential value tool and some protection can be pretty deadly in the right hands.
Looting and Casting Free Spells
Malcolm, the cEDH all-star, gets a Standard legal variant in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, and it looks spooky. Not only can Malcolm come in at instant speed, but if left alone for a little too long, this card will start creating an absurd amount of value. In addition to helping sculpt your hand, after building up four Chorus counters from successfully dealing combat damage to a player, Malcolm will start casting cards discarded with his ability for free. This is not an ability that demands you trade four Chorus Counters for a free spell. This is an ability that uses four Chorus Counters as a baseline. Every spell that Malcolm discards can be cast for free once he gains his fourth Chorus Counter.
The potential of this card, for that reason, feels insane. Its tough to know, however, whether Malcolm will actually end up being good or not, just that it could be very powerful. The combination of Flash, a cheap mana value and evasion makes its ability truly deadly, and the Standard Esper Legends archetype looks like a natural home for it.
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If you were doubting Discover as the second coming of Cascade, the explainer text on these cards pretty much puts the discussion to rest. Geological Appraiser feels like a slightly watered down, but Standard legal, Bloodbraid Elf. Hit the Mother Lode looks the kind of gimmicky thing that will only see Commander play. While you can use this to try and cheat out a spell with a higher mana value, there are much more reliable ways to achieve this. Notably, Cascade is a spell that triggers on cast while Discover is an ETB effect, which is a big downturn on the Discover’s power in comparison.
Saheeli looks like a rather interesting creature that could have a bunch of different applications. Having the ability to create a copy of a creature, as we’ve seen from Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, can be incredibly powerful. That said, Saheeli is really easy to remove and does need to work in conjunction with other cards to create value. Outside of that, she is just a vanilla 2/2 with a prohibitive mana value. What Saheeli can accomplish is largely going to be related to what she plays alongside and if that amount of temporary pressure is fast enough for the format. Saheeli, the Sun’s Brilliance is, regardless, an incredibly interesting Commander option.
The Mycotyrant introduces one of the new mechanics coming with The Lost Caverns of Ixalan: Descend. There are two variants of this mechanic with the one present on The Mycotyrant referring to an act of Decending. This occurs whenever a permanent card is put into your graveyard.
Descend can also appear with a numerical value. This version of Descend represents a requirement that, if met, will grant an additional perk on the card with the effect.
It appears that the new cycle of tapped Manlands that released alongside Wilds of Eldraine may be completed in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. The allied color pairings appear to be making their presence known, while the enemy colors were released in Wilds of Eldraine. Restless Prairie looks like an interesting card for creature decks trying to go wide in the Standard format.
The Everflowing Well looks like a fantastic value engine that lends itself to Commander. Not only does this card function as an upgraded Divination, but The Everflowing Well, should its requirements be satisfied, turns into a powerful value tool that can turn mana dorks, or something of the like, into ramped payoffs.
Souls of the Lost showcases the new Fathomless Descent keyword which cares about the total number of permanents in your graveyard. While Souls of the Lost can scale much faster than other Tarmogoyf-esque creatures, it does come at the cost of sacrificing a permanent and discarding a card, which is incredibly heavy.
A Card that Missed Original Ixalan Debuts
Cenote Scout was actually an MTG card that was supposed to be in the original Ixalan block but did not end up making the cut. This one-mana Explorer did, however, make it into The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.
Ironically, we just wrote about this card gaining a ton of value a few weeks ago. Gishath, Sun’s Avatar is the best Dinosaur Commander out there right now. Since Dinos got some support in the MTG Doctor Who crossover and in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, there was a lot of interest in building Commander decks around Gishath. Fortunately, instead of paying $40+ prices for the card, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is offering a reprint of Gishath, which should help make it more accessible.
Growing Rites of Itlimoc, a powerful Commander card from the original Ixalan block, is also returning in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan! This card is incredibly powerful in creature-based decks.
One perk with Discover not caring about the initial card’s mana value is that you can attach Discover effects to cards without mana values, allowing this new Limited Land cycle of Caves to have Discover abilities attached to them. If you’re flooding out, you can turn these lands into spells!
Cave lands, in general, are a part of a larger theme in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. There will be other nonland cards in the set that care about interacting with Cave Lands, so be sure to value these highly if you’re planning on using Cave synergies in your Limited deck.
This Isn’t Everything!
Notably, while this covers almost everything we saw in the debut stream for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan spoiler season, it’s not everything. the new Craft mechanic, in particular, is rather complex, but has some strong cards involved. If you want to see those, check out our mechanic article explaining all of the new mechanics in full. This includes a new Map token and a new counter that we did not look at here.
Additionally, the face cards for the four Ixalan Commander decks have been revealed! We take a look at those here.
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan looks surprisingly complex, but the new cards also look potentially powerful. Its impressive to see new designs that can potentially make waves in even old formats. Take a look at Up the Beanstalk from the last Standard set and how that’s impacted multiple formats, for example.
Either way, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan looks like a wild ride.