Third time’s a charm. Let’s get cracking and open some boosters.
Glorifier of Dusk is a sizable body in Ixalan Limited, and sizable evasive finishers are few and far between in this format. Glorifier may be a Vampire, but that’s just an added bonus as it’s a great 5-drop in every white deck. Its ability to gain vigilance isn’t for nothing as it may cost 2 life, but it can effectively gain back much more, holding off two or three creatures in combat.
Honorable Mention: Vanquish the Weak
Goring Ceratops and Bellowing Aegisaur are powerful cards, but at 6 and 7 mana I want more. I’m going to pass, and stick with a quality instant-speed removal spell in Vanquish the Weak. Vanquish the Weak actually takes down both the 6-drop and 7-drop Dinosaurs in this pack, showing you just how effective this simple 3-mana common removal spell can be.
Shapers of Nature is one of the best uncommons in the set. It’s a gold card, which takes away from its first pick value, and while it’s certainly splashable, it’s at its best when cast on curve on turn 3, making combat a nightmare for your opponent.
Shapers is one of the best ways to sink your excess mana in this format, and while I’m a fan of staying flexible like I said in the past, the power level is just so much higher than most other cards that I’m willing to gamble early and try to cut off U/G Merfolk.
Honorable Mention: Kitesail Freebooter
Freebooter will usually take a card from your opponent on turn 2, and with all of the Auras and equipment that work well with it, I’m a fan of taking this quality 2-drop.
I’m a huge fan of Raging Swordtooth, but as the format develops, I’m more concerned with keeping a low mana curve and staying open than maximizing power level, and while Shapers of Nature gives you the right amount of power to sacrifice flexibility, Raging Swordtooth is just shy of that to take it over Kitesail Freebooter. This is a close pick however, and it really comes down to how much you’re willing to sacrifice for the more powerful 5-drop.
Air Elemental is a solid 5-drop evasive threat that I’ll happily play in all of my blue decks. While I’d prefer start drafting cards at the bottom of my curve, I’m not going to pass on premium creatures to do so. There’s only one other card I’d consider in the same league in this pack, and that’s…
Honorable Mention: Vineshaper Mystic
Vineshaper Mystic is a premium creature in a Merfolk deck, but can also make its way into a deck without a ton of Merfolk as its floor is a 2/4 for 3 mana, and if that can pump up a Deeproot Warrior on its way in now and then, it might be good enough to make the cut in other decks.
Fathom Fleet Captain is a premium 2-drop Pirate that is also a mana sink. Its evasive ability makes it difficult to block and it will almost always generate two cards worth of value when it gets even a single attack off alongside another Pirate. If it gets more attacks off untouched, the snowball effect of a 2-mana 2/2 menace every single turn will surely send your opponent overboard.
Fathom Fleet Captain does incentivize you to focus on Pirates, but Pirates are in two other colors, so it’s not like taking a Vampire or Merfolk tribal card that will narrow you down to focusing on only two colors. I’m happy to start a Draft with Fathom Fleet Captain.
Honorable Mention: Savage Stomp
While I just talked Shapers of Nature up and I do think it’s the most powerful card here if you’re specifically a U/G deck, but Savage Stomp is such a powerful card in any green deck that I think it’s worth sticking to a single color rather than branching out into a second with your first pick.
Savage Stomp provides a huge tempo swing when paired with a Dinosaur, killing most creatures for a single mana while also giving your creature a reasonable stat bonus. Savage Stomp is one of the best removal spells in the format, in a color that desperately needs a good removal spell.
Charging Monstrosaur is the best uncommon in Ixalan Draft. This card was great in a format where you had to draft Wastes (yeah I’m talking about you, Reality Smasher) to be able to cast it, and in Ixalan, you just get to play it with lands you get out of the land box. A 5/5 trample for 5 mana is already a solid card—give it haste and it’s outrageous. There are not many rares I’d take over Charging Monstrosaur, and there’s definitely no 3-color rare I’m going to take over it.
Honorable Mention: Ixalan’s Binding
Ixalan’s Binding is an upgrade to Pious Interdiction as it gives you the flexibility to take noncreature cards like Vehicles and the occasional pesky planeswalker. On top of that, you’re drafting three packs of the same set here, and you’ll run into multiple copies of the same card. When Ixalan’s Binding creates a 2-for-1, it’s just an absurdly powerful card, and when it doesn’t it’s just a good card. I can live with good.
Some people may want to go down with the ship and start the Draft off with an Admiral Beckett Brass, but committing to even two colors and splashing her off of Treasure just isn’t worth it, especially when you have some high quality uncommons to choose from in a pack like this.
How’d I do?