With only three days of spoilers remaining, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has given us an awful lot of great MTG cards already. There have been oodles of awesome art, incredible Jurassic Park cards, and plenty of devastating MTG spoilers to drool over. Already, this is more than enough to make The Lost Caverns of Ixalan a set worth remembering, however, there’s even more in store.
Keeping the tail end of spoiler season interesting, recently, a number of surprisingly cheap spells have been previewed. Boasting incredible value at a miraculously low cost, these cards have a great deal of promise. Thanks to this, it seems that The Lost Caverns of Ixalan should provide at least a few formats with a welcome shakeup.
“The Ancient One
Legendary Creature – Spirit God
Descent 8 – This can’t attack or block if you have less than 8 permanent cards in your graveyard.
2UB: Draw a card, then discard a card. When you do, target player mills equal to that card’s mana value.”u/c001357
While they’re currently only spoiled in Japanese, you don’t need to read the latest Ixalan god to know that it’s explosive. Instead, all you need to do is look at the casting cost and stats at either end of the card. No matter the catch, it’s pretty hard not to get excited about an 8/8 for only two mana.
Unfortunately, as you can see in the translation above, there is quite a catch to The Ancient One’s incredible stats. Unless you have eight or more permanent cards in your graveyard, they’re effectively useless. While this is obviously quite the catch, thankfully, it’s not an insurmountable feat.
Thanks to cards like Stitcher’s Supplier, filling the graveyard is a surprisingly easy feat. After playing and killing this iconic creature, all you’d need is one more card in the yard for a turn two 8/8. Since The Ancient One doesn’t have Haste, you’ve even got an extra turn to get things going!
In formats like Commander, Historic, Pioneer, and Modern, getting The Ancient One going should be surprisingly easy. Within Standard, however, there aren’t nearly as many compelling self-mill options. Currently, one of the best bets is Cruel Somnophage coupled with the adventure spell Can’t Wake Up. Unfortunately, however, this Adventure does cost two mana, meaning The Ancient One will have to wait its turn.
Obviously, and unfortunately, this is quite the downside compared to Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger’s Escape cost. That being said, however, The Ancient One shouldn’t just be dismissed, as they’re incredible later on. As if that wasn’t enough, its mill ability is undeniably potent too.
Caves, Not Caverns
In case you’ve been living under a rock, rather than inside of them, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has a lot of Caves. A brand new subtype on lands, Ixalan has ten of these cards, so far, most of which aren’t great honestly. Primarily just offering a Discover 4 effect, the majority of these cards are nothing more than common Draft chaff.
Thankfully, there are a few exceptions to this rather boring rule, thanks to cards like Echoing Deeps. Capable of becoming a copy of any land in your graveyard, this unique cave certainly has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, should you use this copy ability, the land will enter tapped, however, it’s always an optional colorless mana source at least.
While the copy abilities tap effect is rather disappointing, Echoing Deeps still has a lot of potential. Should you need to replace a Wasteland, or anything that has been Wasteland-ed for that matter, Echoing Deeps has you covered. Most of the time, however, you’ll likely want to target the ever-useful Urza’s Saga.
Thankfully, while Echoing Deeps does have a lot of potential, there is another cave worth getting somewhat excited about. Capable of accelerating the abilities of land you control, Sunken Citadel has a very specific use case. Whether used within a land-based deck or just for activating Field of Ruin, Sunken Citadel’s ramp will always be nice.
Ultimately, while The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has established the new Caves sub-type, it’s unclear how much it will be used. Potentially, it could be a new version of Gates, which becomes more and more synergistic as time goes on. Alternatively, we could be seeing Desert 2.0, which is left sorely lacking support.
White Weenie Is Back
Returning to the trend of low-cost and high-value creatures, it appears that White Weenie is coming back thanks to Ixalan. That is the hope, at least, following the recent reveal of three surprisingly cheap white cards. As you would expect for White Weenie, most of these cards each want you to have a bunch of creatures in play.
Kicking things off with the one we can read, Guardian of the Great Door is a 2 mana 4/4. While obviously nowhere near The Ancient One, this card is still tremendously powerful, however, there is a catch. By requiring you to tap four other artifacts, creatures, or lands, you’ll likely never curve out properly.
Despite this major drawback, Guardian of the Great Door is still a great early to mid-game threat. After all, a 4/4 body with flying is a great way to put pressure on your opponent. Since we’ve not mentioned it yet, this feat will also be achieved by Resplendent Angel.
Not only is Resplendent Angel an incredible $30 reprint from Core Set 2019, but they’re also seriously strong. Synergizing with lifegain decks, this card can create a decidedly deadly wall of angels. Provided that you have enough consistent life gain, that is.
“Warden of the Inner Sky
Creature – Human Soldier
As long as there are three or more counters on Warden of the Inner Sky, it has flying and vigilance.
Tap three untapped artifacts and/or creatures you control: Put a +1/+1 counter on Warden of the Inner Sky, then scry 1. Activate only as a sorcery.”u/AvalancheMaster
Last but not least on the White Weenie front, we also have Warden of the Inner Sky. Currently only spoiled in Japanese, this card is another high-value bomb with the catch of needing other creatures.
On their own, Warden of the Inner Sky isn’t much to write home about, however, that can quickly change. By tapping enough artifacts or creatures, Warden of the Inner Sky has the potential for greatness. Activate this effect three times and this humble Soldier becomes one hell of a threat. So much so, in fact, that White Weenie undoubtedly has some serious weapons!
Spoiler Season Is Almost Over
For better or worse, while we’ve seen plenty more great cards recently, spoiler season is almost over. Officially, spoilers, or previews as Wizards likes to call them, will end later this week on the 2nd of November. Following this, MTG players won’t have to wait long for the set to release, as that’s scheduled for November 17th.
Hopefully, once this date rolls around, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan will provide multiple formats with an invigorating shakeup. From the looks of the White Weenie cards, Standard is definitely in for one, and Alchemy too. Alongside this, Commander is also due to get plenty of new and exciting gems, which should be a delight to play with.