MagicCon Las Vegas is finally here, and with it, there are a lot of announcements to be had. Much like the case at GenCon, a preview panel at MagicCon Las Vegas is giving us an early look at many upcoming MTG sets and products. One of the sets with the most hype, Lost Caverns of Ixalan, is only a couple of months away, and we are already getting a glimpse of what this excellent set has to offer.
Lost Caverns of Ixalan provides a nice throwback to the Ixalan plane. This set was widely beloved and filled with wonderous Creatures like Dinosaurs and intriguing mechanics such as Treasure creation. The preview panel has revealed a bunch of spoilers already, many of which have references to well-known characters from MTG’s past. Today, we are going to take a look at these fresh new cards in all their glory.
The Future of Ixalan
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan re-utilizes a ton of previously established characters in bold new ways. One of the biggest examples of that is with Huatli, Poet of Unity. Huatli, once a Planeswalker, is now an extraordinary legendary Creature that can transform into a powerful Saga. The idea is that Huatli, who survived a major battle, is actually writing her own Saga, depicted by the back of her card. This is super cool, and mechanically, it isn’t too far-fetched, having seen some of the Phyrexian Praetors from March of the Machine, such as Elesh Norn be able to transform into Sagas as well.
While The Skullspore Nexus is a unique card in its own right, it’s hard to look at it and not think it is reminiscent of The Great Henge from Throne of Eldraine. Much like the Great Henge, The Skullspore Nexus is expensive, but costs X less to cast, where X is the greatest power among Creatures you control. Rather than rewarding you when your Creatures enter the battlefield, this new card rewards you when your Creatures die. The card can be strong against decks with lots of removal, but it likely won’t have the same game-warping effect that The Great Henge did.
Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might is reminiscent of the Enchantments that could transform into Lands with cool activated abilities, such as Vance’s Blasting Cannons. In Ojer Axonil’s case, you get a Legendary Creature that transforms into Temple of Power when it dies. Both parts of the card reward you for dealing non-combat damage to your opponents. Unlike with Vance’s Blasting Cannons, though, the activated ability of Temple of Power is designed to allow you the card to transform back into Ojer Axonil, which is a neat twist on previous designs.
Recurring Creature Types
Unsurprisingly, Pirates are back, and Breeches, Eager Pillager is a cool Pirate payoff. As a three-mana three-power Pirate with First Strike, this card is decent on rate as it is. It allows you to either make a Treasure token, make a Creature unable to block, or exile the top card of your library and play it until the end of your turn whenever a Pirate attacks, including itself. These abilities can only be chosen once each, but getting to attack with three Pirates and use all three is still strong.
Finally, Ghalta is back and better than ever! Just like Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant is a 12/12 with Trample. Instead of having a cost reduction, this new Ghalta has an extremely epic enters-the-battlefield effect that’s perfect for Commander. When you play Ghalta, you can put any number of Creatures from your hand onto the battlefield! This lets you go completely all-in on big Creatures in Commander, which is awesome.
Beyond referencing and reworking previous designs, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan also features some awesome reprints. In the main set, it looks like Standard and Pioneer typal decks are getting an enormous upgrade. We’ve seen Unclaimed Territory back in original Ixalan, but now we are getting Cavern of Souls. Cavern of Souls, just like Unclaimed Territory, lets you add one mana of any color to help cast Creatures of a specific type. The difference is that Cavern of Souls also makes that Creature uncounterable. Given how prevalent Counterspells like Make Disappear are in Standard and Pioneer, this is a major reprint.
Also, despite its numerous reprints Cavern of Souls is still over $40 in its cheapest form, according to TCGplayer market price. This not only makes Cavern of Souls an extremely powerful new addition to Standard and Pioneer, but it will almost certainly be one of the chase mythics of the set.
Outside of the traditional versions of Cavern of Souls, there will also be a handful of Cosmium Neon Ink Treatments! The goal of these variants is to be representative of the colors that helped inspire the set. Traditional versions of Cavern of Souls already go for a decent chunk of money, and these could theoretically go for a lot more.
Beyond just the main set of the Lost Caverns of Ixalan, this set is also featuring a group of “Treasure Trove” box toppers. These box toppers are designed to be special reprint Artifacts, as the name “Treasure Trove” implies. These box toppers are meant to appear along with the regular contents of a set booster box, as a variation of the Buy-a-Box promos that have been done for many years.
Importantly, these box toppers, despite being associated with the Lost Caverns of Ixalan, will not have their format legalities changed. As a result, Coercive Portal will, in fact, not be Standard legal. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is bringing us a ton of cool new designs as well as reprints with refreshing artwork and treatments. If you were a fan of the original Ixalan block, this set should be right up your alley.