Today marks the first day of spoiler season for the newest MTG set Rivals of Ixalan. This set is interesting because it will be the first set that will be added to MTG Arena after the initial development of the platform. A lot of very cool cards have been spoiled so far, so let’s get right to it.
The Uncommon Lords
These lords remind me a lot of the uncommon lord cycle from Dark Ascension. Unlike their Dark Ascension counterparts these lords come in at a measly two CMC. However, that lowered mana cost does come at the price of fewer cool abilities. So far only the Vampire and Merfolk lords have been spoiled, but I fully expect a Dinosaur and Pirate counterpart to be revealed in the coming days. These lords probably don’t have enough power to have a place in faster formats like Modern, but they could make the cut in some standard decks.
Form of the Drag…er Dinosaur
This is obviously a callback to the unique card, Form of the Dragon that has a similar theme of turning the player into a creature with some interesting side effects. Form of the Dinosaur doesn’t seem to have the same potential for shenanigans that Form of the Dragon does though for a few reasons. First, your life is only set to 15 when Form of the Dinosaur enters the battlefield. This could be good for regaining life once you are in the single digits, but Form of the Dragon continually resets your life total to 5 every turn, allowing for some interesting interactions with cards like Phyrexian Unlife for example. Second, the fight mechanic on Form of the Dinosaur is not optional. If your opponent drops an Emrakul on the field you are forced to smash for face right into her noodly appendages.
The Immortal Sun
The Immortal Sun is a story element card that flavorfully works the theme of the plane of Ixalan into gameplay. The story goes that a powerful sphinx planeswalker, Azor, from the plane of Ravnica and founder of the Azorious guild ended up on Ixalan and decided that he didn’t want any other planeswalkers to be able to spread information about the existence of this plane to the multiverse. Azor created The Immortal Sun by imbuing it with his planeswalker spark, thus trapping himself and any other planeswalkers that arrived on the plane after the sun’s creation. This card is obviously very powerful and will need to be dealt with quickly once it hits the battlefield before it takes over the game. I also expect a legendary Azor creature card to be spoiled for this set in the near future.
I find Kumena to be an interesting card. The thing that stands out to me is that he doesn’t do anything by himself. He is just a 2/4 for 3 mana when alone. If you have another Merfolk to tap, you can make him unblockable for 2 damage and there are more abilities if you have 3 and 5 Merfolk to tap down for his abilities, but if you already have an army of Merfolk, why are you not swinging with them already to win the game? This feels like a “win more” type of card that could see fringe play.
Huatli Version 3.0
Is this the fastest there has been a planeswalker introduced and had three different versions printed? This is a great planeswalker for token players! Her +1 ability can put her into ultimate territory after only 1 activation which is pretty crazy. Granted, she does not protect herself when she hits the board, but if you are playing tokens then you should already have an army of minions that can chump block for her for days. Her -1 ability gives you the power that token decks sometimes lack to make a big push into your opponents board that they can’t ignore. Finally, her ultimate gives you an engine to make sure your deck can go the distance while you churn out all those lovely tokens.