Ixalan Set Reviews

Limited:

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts, and Lands

Limited:

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts, and Lands

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Previous Dominaria Set Reviews

Limited:

White | Blue | Black | Red

Let’s take a look at the grading scale, with the usual caveat that what I write about the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade.

Ratings Scale

Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte. The Scarab God.
5.0: The best of the best. (Glorybringer. The Scorpion God. The Locust God.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Archfiend of Ifnir. Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. God-Pharaoh’s Gift.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Sunset Pyramid. Angler Drake. Sand Strangler.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Open Fire. Ambuscade. Gravedigger.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Desert of the Mindful. Oasis Ritualist. Oketra’s Avenger.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Unsummon. Puncturing Blow. Naga Vitalist.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Tah-Crop Skirmisher. Harrier Naga. Counterveiling Winds.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Moaning Wall. Khenra Eternal. Without Weakness.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Defiant Khenra. Disposal Mummy. Djeru’s Renunciation.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Forsake the Worldly. Chandra’s Defeat.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Solemnity. Luxa River Shrine. One with Nothing.)

Adventurous Impulse

Limited: 2.0

I like this card, and will run one-two in any deck that has sufficient green sources (ideally nine or so). It smooths out your draws, makes your deck a little more consistent, and does so by reducing the odds of getting mana screwed (by getting lands) while not flooding you in the late game. My first impulse is to have 14+ creatures, though you could get adventurous and run a few less if you feel lucky.

Ancient Animus

Limited: 3.0

Pounce hit pretty low in Ixalan, but a big part of that was how small Merfolk were and how Dinosaurs wanted a removal spell that worked before you played your big Dinos. There are enough solid creatures that aren’t too expensive here that this looks like it’ll be pretty good, and being Savage Stomp when you target a legendary creature is a real upside.

Arbor Armament

Limited: 1.5

It isn’t a reach to say that this is a decent combat trick that you’ll play about half the time. The bonus is a little small, though it will shine in some matchups.

Baloth Gorger

Limited: 3.5

Every green deck will be happy to gorge itself on these. A 4/4 for 4 that is a 7/7 in the late game is really powerful, and this stands head and shoulders above almost every other common creature when it comes to stats. It even stacks well, as the 4-drop slot has a lot of room, so unlike other finishers you will be happy with multiples.

Broken Bond

Limited: 0.5

This looks like a sideboard card to me, but I am starting to wonder if maindecking one artifact/enchantment removal card could be right. I won’t start off doing that, so this still gets a sideboard rating, but keep an eye on the format—it could be a smart move. The explore ability on this is a nice bit of text, though on balance this is worse than just Naturalize since you won’t usually kill anything early enough in the game for that part to matter.

Corrosive Ooze

Limited: 1.5

Bears aren’t looking great to me here, and this ability oozes with sideboard potential more than anything else. Run this if you need the body, but don’t prioritize it.

Elfhame Druid

Limited: 3.5

I really like cheap acceleration, and counting for double on kicker cards is a very powerful ability. The kicker cards are also pretty much all great on their own, so you aren’t even paying deckbuilding costs, as both halves of this combination stand by themselves.

Fungal Plots

Limited: 3.5

If you have a creature-heavy deck, the plot will really thicken, and it will make it nearly impossible for your opponent to kill you on the ground. Even against flyers, this lets you cash in Saprolings for new cards and a little breathing room, making this a self-fueling engine. This does take some work to maximize, but is well worth it.

Gaea’s Blessing

Limited: 0.5

This is a sweet card (and a dominant Constructed card, if you can believe that), but it doesn’t really do anything. It’s graveyard hate if you care about that, and it does replace itself, but it does not have my blessing.

Gaea’s Protector

Limited: 1.0

I’m low on 4/2s for 4, as they trade down way too easily. In fact, the name “Protector” is just a lie, so Gaea should fire this on the spot. I’ve also found the “must be blocked” text to be less powerful than it looks, as the opponent can still choose what to block with, or block with multiples, so you aren’t getting a huge advantage. I’d stay away from this.

Gift of Growth

Limited: 2.0

I like pump spells with a little flexibility, and this has it. It wins at combat early for 2 mana, wins a more lopsided combat later for 4 mana, and untaps the creature for some nice ambushes in either case.

Grow from the Ashes

Limited: 1.5

I was a little too down on this in the LR review, and it’s grown on me since. I know that format speeds are tricky to guess, but I do think this one is slow, so double-ramping for 5 mana can be really explosive. Also, the lands entering untapped is relevant, though that won’t come up super often.

Grunn, the Lonely King

Limited: 3.0

If somehow you don’t have a Colossal Dreadmaw in your pool, you might as well pick up Grunn. This will beat for a ton of damage and is incredibly large in the very late game, but it’s also just another 6-drop that matches up poorly against bounce/removal.

Kamahl’s Druidic Vow

Limited: 1.0 // 2.5

This is hard to cast for multiple reasons, and even when you do cast it, you might end up with a mediocre assortment of monsters. It is a finisher, and it can be powerful, but you want to cast it for 7+ mana to really get going, and that makes it a very inflexible card.

Krosan Druid

Limited: 2.0

I suspect Krosan Druid will end up being a little better than it looks (though it’s still largely filler). Gaining 10 life is just so much, and if you can hit eight mana this will do a great job stabilizing. I really want to make a deck that recurs these, and think that they can be great in a deck that needs this effect. That said, a 2/3 for 3 isn’t great, and most green decks won’t be overjoyed to play this.

Llanowar Elves

Limited: 3.5

The difference between a 1-drop and a 2-drop accelerator is dramatic, as a bunch of new Standard players are soon to find out. Curving Elves into any 3-drop into Baloth Gorger is very hard to beat, and this is the best green common as a result. I’m excited to play with Elves, though being on the draw against this card just feels hopeless.

Llanowar Envoy

Limited: 2.0

In a 2-color deck, this is a glorified Warpath Ghoul, but it does enable some nice splashes. I can imagine casting plenty of Eviscerates and Shivan Fires off of Llanowar Envoy, so keep that in mind when you see this in the pack. I also like it a lot in Sealed, where splashes will be more common.

Llanowar Scout

Limited: 1.0

The quality of the Llanowars is dropping dramatically—I almost don’t want to see what the next one is. This is just too small and doesn’t actually add mana, so you end up down a card in most games.

Mammoth Spider

Limited: 3.0

Now here is a show-stopper. I don’t think you’ll want tons of Mammoth Spiders because they don’t really pressure the opponent, but having one or two as air defense looks strong. They stop even kicked Academy Drakes, and are big enough not to be removed easily.

Marwyn, the Nurturer

Limited: 2.0

Marwyn looks decent to me, even if you don’t end up with a ton of Elves. She’s passable by herself, and it takes just one Elf to make her a very strong card. With two good common Elves (and a bad one), and an uncommon Elf, that doesn’t seem completely unrealistic.

The Mending of Dominaria

Limited: 3.0

I like this as a green card draw engine. It draws you two creatures (with selection) and puts 1-2 lands into play at the end of it. That’s a fine deal for 5 mana, and the delay doesn’t matter much either, since you have both creatures by the time you are in a position to cast them. This is slow, but you do want some high end, and this is a good way to take care of that need.

Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar

Limited: 4.5

Ahhh, this is why Colossal Dreadmaw isn’t in the set (though I’ll believe that when I see it). Multani is a house—it comes in as a 6/6 minimum and will grow, but that’s not what makes it so dangerous. The ability to regrow Multani is the kicker, figuratively, as it shuts off a lot of the cards that would normally answer this. Add reach to the mix and you have a card I’m happy to first-pick.

Nature’s Spiral

Limited: 1.0

You need a very permanent-dense deck before this becomes appealing, with Sagas being the main reason this does more than just bring back a creature.

Pierce the Sky

Limited: 0.5

In a shocking twist, this is a sideboard card.

Primordial Wurm

Limited: 1.5

OK, I am starting to believe that Colossal Dreadmaw isn’t coming back (cue Primordial Wurm ripping off its mask and being Dreadmaw all along). This is a fine finisher, though I’d prefer to just run Baloth Gorgers in this slot if possible.

Saproling Migration

Limited: 3.0

I like both modes on this, and it gets even better once you’re combining it with Saproling synergies. This is playable even without them, so don’t expect to pick any up late.

Song of Freyalise

Limited: 2.5 // 3.5

In a deck full of creatures, this will have some high points, and there’s definitely power here. It is situational, so don’t forget the times when you have two creatures out, you play this, and they kill one, making this an expensive +1/+1. It also wants you to have a mix of cheap and expensive creatures, which seems doable enough. I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up a tick or two higher, even if it matches up poorly against removal. It does seem awesome in Saproling decks, as they are ready to sing you the song of their people.

Spore Swarm

Limited: 3.0

Saproling Ambush! This will do good work in any green deck, which seems to be a trend among Saproling cards. Paradoxically, it makes that deck harder to build, as all the pieces are going to be snapped up by people who are not in the deck. In any case, three 1/1s for 4 mana is a good deal, and making this instant speed gives it a little bump too.

Sporecrown Thallid

Limited: 2.5 // 3.5

In the average green deck, this is a bear that works with a couple other cards, which isn’t bad. In a dedicated Fungus deck, it might be one of your best cards, and those two modes seem pretty win-win to me.

Steel Leaf Champion

Limited: 4.0

This can steal games early and is still a formidable creature late, which is where I like the triple-colored cards to be. Llanowar Elves into this is an early front-runner for the biggest groan test of the set, and I would be happy taking this early (partially because green is a good main color and does a good job generating lots of green mana).

Sylvan Awakening

Limited: 1.5 // 3.5

Sylvan Awakening is tricky. It can be pretty rude at 8+ mana, but is lackluster before then, putting it in massive finisher territory. Some decks are going to love this card, as it does get the opponent dead if you’ve done a good job ramping and getting to the late game. Other decks aren’t going to want it at all, because they are interested in curving out and playing efficient cards (fools). It does have some defensive applications too, but that seems pretty bad, as you are just throwing a card away at that point.

Territorial Allosaurus

Limited: 4.5

Well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise. I guess Ixalan doesn’t have a Dinosaur monopoly, and they let a really good one slip out. This has huge stats and a great ability, making it a fantastic card. Do be careful—if you kick this, it has to fight, so the opponent bouncing their only creature with this on the stack could be devastating.

Thorn Elemental

Limited: 2.0

I like this a little more than the Primordial Wurm because it will get damage through unless stopped by removal. I am seeing a lot of options for finishers here, which collectively reduces the value of each—it doesn’t matter that much which 6+ mana cards you have, as long as you have enough (1-2 in most decks).

Untamed Kavu

Limited: 3.5

This is a titan among 2-drops, and a card I will highly prioritize. You are going to want to kick this 80% of the time, but having the option is upside. I also really like vigilance and trample on a 5/5, which is why I’m so high on the card.

Verdant Force

Limited: 1.5 // 3.5

Most decks can’t reliably cast 8-drops, but in a deck geared towards doing it, this is amazing. It floods the board very quickly and is monstrous itself, making it one of the better ways to close out the game.

Wild Onslaught

Limited: 2.0

I’d want to focus my deck on tokens to maximize this, though it’s a fine way to spend 4 or 8 mana in a normal deck too. Neither mode is very efficient, but the effect is powerful and getting to choose between the modes is worth something. There are a lot of green +1/+1 effects in this set, so make sure to play with that in mind when facing green mages.

Yavimaya Sapherd

Limited: 3.0

Sapherd is tilting—I’m going to want to call it shepherd and that’s incorrect, leading to a lot of tongue-twisting. The card is good though, as it makes a good amount of stats and has relevant creature types too. Once again, these Saproling cards are playable in any deck.

Top 5 Green Commons

5. Yavimaya Sapherd
4. Saproling Migration
3. Ancient Animus
2. Baloth Gorger
1. Llanowar Elves

Green really made out like a bandit here—the top five commons are all very good, and the top two are premium. I could go either way on Migration vs. Sapherd, as that’s mostly a curve consideration, but I’m happy regardless. Green looks geared toward ramp, but an aggressive 4/4 for 4 and Llanowar Elves makes me think it can curve out nicely too (with the Saproling deck looking quite solid as well). I like the depth and options in green, and expect it to be a strong option in this format.