Ixalan – Magic: The Gathering Card Set Impressions

Now that we have those double-faced cards out of the way, let’s get to some cards that I actually like. First up is the selection of new planeswalker cards.

Here we have the brand new planeswalker, Huatli. I’m not sure how I feel about this card. For five mana it just doesn’t seem to do all that much. Creating a 3/3 dinosaur with trample for “free” is decent, but the gaining life seem pretty mediocre. Her ultimate ability could be a game changer if you can get her loyalty high enough. I’d definitely try her out in my dinosaur deck, but I don’t hold out much hope of this being the next big planeswalker.

Oh look, it’s Jace again and apparently he’s lost on Ixalan. It seems like no matter what’s going on Jace will pop up somewhere in each block and usually he’s doing something interesting, but I’m not a fan of this card. His ultimate seems a little too “cute” for my tastes, but I’m sure someone will find a way to break it. Until then, I’m going to steer clear of this one.

Vraska is also back for the first time since Return to Ravnica and is probably my favorite planeswalker in the set. Creating a 2/2 token with menace as a plus ability seems fantastic. She can also protect herself from the opposition while creating a Treasure token. It’s also interesting that she can use her -3 ability twice without needing to add counters to her loyalty, which seems pretty great. Her ultimate on paper seems good, but I’m less impressed with it than the other abilities. It’s really a bummer that she costs six mana and, while possibly splashable, she’s a color combination that doesn’t seem so great when looking at the other cards in the set.

They are clearly pushing the tribal theme in this set and here are a few cards that can help with that. Pillar of Origins and Unclaimed Territory both seem like cards I’d definitely try out in just about any tribal deck I built. Vanquisher’s Banner is powerful, but, at five mana, it might be a little too slow to make a huge impact.

I’m not sure how Settle the Wreckage will fare in standard, but it seems like it could be decent in other formats. The fact that it’s an instant and exiles creatures is huge. The biggest downside is that the creatures need to be attacking, which may not allow you to get as much value as you’d like. In older formats there are plenty of decks that run very few basic lands, so the downside of giving your opponent basic lands doesn’t seem all that bad.

This card may be great or it may be terrible, but I’d throw it in a deck or two because I love to draw me some cards and if I can make my opponents spells even a small bit worse I’m all for it.

Four mana is a lot for a removal spell, especially in formats like Modern and Legacy, but there’s no denying that this is a powerful card. The fact that it hits a creature or a planeswalker is what makes it so great. There aren’t a lot of cards that just outright eliminate planeswalkers and even fewer that allow you to do it at instant speed.

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