Ixalan – Magic: The Gathering Card Set Impressions

Let’s kick things off with the aforementioned dinosaurs. I’m not sure what kind of impact dinos will have on constructed formats, but if I were still playing IRL I’d be building a Naya dinosaur deck to take to Friday Night Magic for sure. There are just too many dope cards not to. I used to think I was more into being pro and playing the best decks, but I’ve realized in my heart I just want to do cool things with stupidly powerful cards and dinosaurs seem perfect for this. The first card I’m going to highlight is the legendary monstrosity known as Gishath.

This guy may cost eight mana, but if you cast him and he sticks, he’s sure to do some serious damage. A 7/6 creature with trample, vigilance, and haste is pretty powerful, but this guy can let you put up to seven more dinosaurs right onto the battlefield with each attack. It seems like the kind of card that’s going to lock up a game you’re already ahead in rather than being one that wins it outright, but it’s still one I’d definitely run at the top of my curve in a dinosaur deck.

This next set of Avatar creatures I’m a little less keen on. I think Wakening Sun’s Avatar is the best of the bunch because wrath effects are always powerful and unlike Gishath this one seems far more likely to win you games that you’re behind in. Burning Sun’s Avatar seems fine, but in a world where Inferno Titan exists it’s hard to get too excited about it. Verdant Sun’s Avatar seems like a sideboard card at best and is honestly one of my least favorite dinosaurs in the set.

Enrage is a brand new mechanic specific to Ixalan‘s dinosaurs and essentially triggers an ability whenever a creature with it is damaged. Putting +1/+1 counters on all of your creatures, putting lands onto the battlefield, and drawing cards thanks to Enrage are all pretty powerful abilities and shouldn’t be all that hard to trigger.

You might initially think about attacking or blocking as ways to trigger Enrage, but Wizards has created some other nifty cards to help you out. Some of the above cards are a great way to trigger Enrage without ever entering combat. This mechanic has the deck builder in me excited to brew up a dinosaur deck that revolves around it.

Your dinosaur deck may actually want to recruit some humans as well. The cards above help you cast and find your dinosaurs. The fact that I can run a total eight cheap creatures that make my dinosaurs cheaper to cast seems like a no brainer. Priest of the Wakening Sun seems like something I’d have a harder time finding a spot for, but it still seems decent. The cards below are humans that get some sort of benefit from teaming with dinosaurs and while this could be interesting in limited formats, I’m not sure I’d want many of them in my constructed deck, especially if I’m running a card like Gishath.

Carnage Tyrant might be my favorite card in the set. It’s just seems so hard to deal with and if you can somehow get it into play early with ramp spells or the help of your humans it could end a game quickly and with little resistance.

Here are some of my other favorite dinosaurs.

That does it for my thoughts on the dinosaurs of Ixalan, but if they don’t seem like something you’d want to play or play against you could always just send them to their extinction!

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