The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is a set filled with wonder and imagination. The Ixalan plane showcases exotic beauty, and the gorgeous artwork displayed on some of the cards enhances this focus. It’s no surprise that players are hyped for the return to the Ixalan plane. The nostalgic emphasis of unique Creature types and distinct civilizations makes Ixalan one of MTG’s most beloved planes.
Yesterday, a huge influx of spoilers was revealed. From huge Dinosaurs linked to the MTG Jurassic World crossover to unique token tripling effects from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan main set, we got a ton of new information. Well, with the release of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan less than a month away, the spoilers don’t seem to be slowing down, and we’ve got some really cool cards to share with you.
Unique Discard Payoff
Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal is a really cool card. It may be from the main set, but it sure has Commander written all over it. For five mana, you get a big Flier with Lifelink and a few neat abilities. First, it forces your opponents to discard cards whenever it attacks. If they can’t, you draw cards instead. Getting to affect each opponent in a multiplayer game adds a lot of extra power to this card. What’s also nice is that your opponents can’t just discard excess Lands without you getting a small bonus.
This card is also extremely difficult to outright kill. When it dies, you return it to the battlefield transformed as a Land that taps for black mana, but with the added ability of being able to transform back into Alcatotz, so long as a player has one or fewer cards in hand. This card is legendary, so it can certainly make a cool Commander, but in decks built around forcing opponents to discard cards, such as in a Tergrid, God of Fright Commander deck, the card can really shine.
The bonus of getting a Bat token when an opponent discards a Land card doesn’t care what effect forced your opponents to discard. As a result, using cards like Wheel of Fortune can result in a massive bat army on your side of the board. Aclazotz is awesome, and we’re just getting started.
Living Death on a Stick?
Bringer of the Last Gift may be rather expensive, but its effect can be game-breaking. When Bringer enters the battlefield, so long as you cast it, you essentially get a very similar effect as Living Death. The main difference is that you are also left with a 6/6 Flier on board. Obviously, this effect is quite powerful, but having to spend eight mana for it can be a bit of a tall order.
Luckily, there are actually ways to get around having to spend that much mana. For example, if you can transform Invasion of Amonkhet and have a copy of Bringer of the Last Gift in your graveyard, you can have the flip side of Invasion enter as a copy of Bringer of the Last Gift. Because the back sides of Battles specifically get cast when the Battle transforms, you will still get the powerful enters-the-battlefield ability from Bringer. Bringer simply checks that it was cast when it enters the battlefield. As a result, you can bypass having to spend eight mana for the card and still utilize its powerful ability.
Another Five-Mana Red Dragon
Bonehoard Dracosaur is a very powerful card. As a Dragon that specifically costs 3RR, it’s hard not to compare it to the likes of Thundermaw Hellkite or Glorybringer. However, there are some major differences. Unlike these other elite Dragons, Bonehoard Dracosaur does not have Haste, and the strength of the card requires you to untap with it. In this sense, Dracosaur is significantly worse against removal spells like Go for the Throat.
Similar to Baneslayer Angel, though, it’s easy to pull extremely far ahead if you do get to untap with it, and the ability stapled to Dracosaur is certainly a doozy. Getting to exile multiple cards from the top of your library on your upkeep and play them is already excellent card advantage. Coming with a combination of Treasure tokens and 3/1 Dinosaur tokens as well puts this card’s power level through the roof. That being said, the potential for your expensive haymaker to trade down on mana with a two-mana removal spell and not stabilize the board in any meaningful way likely makes it much tougher for it to see lots of competitive play.
The Ultimate Gnome
Not every card is designed to see consistent competitive play, and Threefold Thunderhulk definitely fits in a more casual environment. Regardless, you get a lot for seven mana, and there are plenty of ways to build around the card in Commander. At minimum, you get a 3/3 and three 1/1s when Thunderhulk enters the battlefield. Interestingly, though, because Thunderhulk’s ability to make a number of Gnome tokens equal to its power is a triggered ability, finding ways to raise Thunderhulk’s power in response or have it enter with additional counters can be quite effective.
For instance, this card works well with Arcbound Ravager, since you can move a bunch of counters from Ravager to it and get a bunch of extra Gnome tokens in the process. Perhaps the coolest interaction is with Doubling Season. Thunderhulk will enter with six counters instead of three. Then, you will end up generating 12 Gnome tokens instead of six with Thunderhulk’s triggered ability.
Unlike some of the other cards spoiled thus far, Sanguine Evangelist does have a shot to see some competitive play. For three mana, you get three power across two bodies right away, one of which has Flying. Whenever Sanguine Evangelist attacks, your other Creatures get a buff, making your wide board of Creatures that much scarier. In conjunction with cards like Resolute Reinforcements, your opponent will feel pressured to kill the Evangelist before things get out of hand.
The problem is, once they do, you’ll be left with yet another Flier. This is simply a lot for a three-mana card. It isn’t a Human or Soldier, so it doesn’t quite synergize with the most popular white-based Creature decks in current Standard. However, there are a handful of powerful Vampires in Standard already, such as Markov Baron and Bloodtithe Harvester. Maybe a Mardu Vampires shell will become more dominant with Evangelist in the mix. After all, there will likely be more Vampire support spoiled over time. Whether you are looking to play Constructed, Commander, or Limited, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan seems pretty appealing across the board.