Up to this point, it’s clear that The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has had a massive impact on Constructed gameplay. With how impactful Wilds of Eldraine was as a whole, it seemed unlikely that many cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan would deliver in a similar manner. After all, Up the Beanstalk was deemed a banworthy card as just an uncommon. As it turns out, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has made similar massive metagame shifts from Standard down to Modern.
Of course, no mechanic was more impactful than Discover, at least in Pioneer. This easily abusable mechanic resulted in Geological Appraiser getting banned less than a month after its release. What’s interesting, though, is that similar to Wilds of Eldraine, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has a multitude of elite Constructed cards for Standard, Pioneer, and Modern. Cards like Deep-Cavern Bat in Standard, Bitter Triumph in Pioneer, and Tishana’s Tidebinder in Modern have all helped shift each format’s metagames in specific ways.
Still, it’s not always the case that a card, especially one that largely flew under the radar during spoiler season, delivers in all three of these formats. Inti, Seneschal of the Sun fits this bill and seems to be garnering more attention as of late. Inti is a very underrated two-drop that is solid in aggressive, midrange, and combo strategies alike. Unlike many two-drops, whether you draw Inti early or late in the game, the card is solid at any point on the curve. In this sense, the card is highly versatile and is starting to see play in a ton of different strategies. Today, we’re going to take a deep dive and go over exactly what makes this legend so special.
As a two-drop that has the ability to buff your attacking Creatures and give them Trample, it’s not too surprising that Inti is a solid option for aggressive decks. Decks like Boros aggro in Standard, for instance, make great use of Inti as an aggressive card. Assuming you get to untap with Inti, it’s very common to simply attack with some Creatures, discard an extra Land or other unnecessary card, and put a +1/+1 counter on one of your bigger attackers with the intention of playing whatever card you exile.
This alone is a solid play pattern. However, even in Boros aggro, there are a couple nice pieces of synergy here. First, getting to put +1/+1 counters on Warden of the Inner Sky helps get you closer to the threshold necessary to give it Flying and Vigilance. Perhaps Inti’s most important role in this deck, though, is to help maximize Regal Bunnicorn. Regal Bunnicorn is bound to be quite large in a deck with tons of cheap Creatures and Gleeful Demolition. Getting to give Regal Bunnicorn Trample can help end the game in Creature board stalls.
Inti in Midrange Shells
As good as Inti can be at adding to your clock, where the card really shines is with its second ability. In typical aggressive decks, triggering Inti’s second ability usually requires discarding a card to Inti’s first ability when you attack. This adds pressure to the board and provides some card selection but doesn’t actually pull you ahead on cards. The thing is, Inti’s second ability triggers whenever you discard a card, which doesn’t have to be done with Inti’s first ability.
The unbanning of Smuggler’s Copter really helped make Inti shine brighter in Pioneer. Some Rakdos midrange lists in Pioneer have adopted this cool combination of cards. With Copter in play, you simply play Inti, Crew Copter, and attack. This will trigger Copter’s ability to loot. By looting, Inti will now trigger and allow you to exile the top card of your library and play it until the end of the turn. You could still choose to use Inti’s first ability to discard a card and give Copter +1/+1 and Trample too, of course, but either way, you are starting to generate card advantage.
Rakdos midrange decks naturally have a lot more ways to loot or rummage cards away, adding further synergy with Inti. Chapter II of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker will trigger Inti, as will using the Blood token produced by Bloodtithe Harvester. Notably, Inti allows you to play cards until your next end step, meaning if you crack a Blood token on your opponent’s end step, you will still get to play the card you exile during your turn with all of your mana available.
Inti in Combo Shells
As you can see, Inti is a solid two-drop for midrange decks that naturally discard cards. For some combo strategies, though, discarding cards is extremely important. With the addition of Copter and Inti in Pioneer, some players have moved away from the traditional Abzan Greasefang, Okiba Boss builds to Mardu Greasefang shells. Mardu Greasefang uses Copter, Bloodtithe Harvester and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker just like Rakdos midrange, while even adding Voldaren Epicure into the mix.
The difference is that, in this deck, the goal is to discard Vehicles like Parhelion II to set up Greasefang. Inti allows you to generate tons of value in the process, all while digging for copies of Greasefang to lead the charge. If Inti goes unchecked, this deck can easily win by curving out even without ever finding Parhelion II.
Yesterday, we went over a deck that goes even deeper on the discard theme with the goal of abusing Inti even further. This deck is none other than Jeskai Ascendancy in Modern. The goal of the deck is to use Jeskai Ascendancy in conjunction with Emry, Lurker of the Loch and either Mishra’s Bauble or two copies of Mox Amber[/tooltip] to generate infinite mana, infinitely large attackers, and churn through your library.
As shown in the tweet above, with Jeskai Ascendancy and [tooltips]Rona, Herald of Invasion available, Inti is bound to provide a slew of extra cards for you to play over time. This immense value helps you beat graveyard hate that can be quite disruptive to your combo.
Inti’s potential to generate absurd amounts of card advantage has even led players to brew unique strategies around it. Take the various Seismic Assault lists above. Seismic Assault, much like Jeskai Ascendancy, has largely fallen short in Modern over the years. With Assault and Inti on the battlefield together, though, things start to get out of hand.
Every Land you discard now comes with the bonus of being able to play cards from the top of your library. This can help you dig for copies of Life from the Loam or Slogurk, the Overslime to get your engine rolling.
The reality is, there’s plenty of room to improvise with Inti. It’s unusual for a cheap Creature to have this much versatility. It’ll be cool to see how players continue to maximize the powerful legend in the coming weeks.