Hello everyone! This weekend is Grand Prix DC, and I am fully in testing mode. However, I actually wanted to look further than that for my article, as so much has been written about Jeskai Gift that I don’t feel I could add much. Without further adieu, let’s dive into some standout cards for Standard from Ixalan!
While Jace may not seem super powerful at first sight, I think he has a shot to do well. When my friends and I first looked at this card, we were doubtful about its power level. I think Jace’s +1 is very good, so I tried to convince them, and pretty soon we found a great home. U/W Monument is a deck that could be changed to survive the upcoming rotation, and produces many creatures very quickly. As soon as you start guaranteeing a loot every single turn (thanks to having more creatures than the opponent), Jace goes from decent to a very solid and reliable source of card advantage. Finding the right cards you need in any moment and pitching cards such as Dusk // Dawn is very powerful. Jace also makes a body in case you need to add to your board, and his ultimate is very powerful, putting multiple planeswalkers into play. I have very high hopes for this card going into Standard.
Aside from having a gorgeous promo version, this card seems very strong. With rotation, we are losing Grasp of Darkness, and while Walk the Plank loses a lot of points for not being an instant, it being able to kill creatures with more than 4 toughness is very relevant. While a Merfolk deck may pop up with the coming set, I still think the versatility of Walk the Plank will send many creatures into the dark waters below.
I won’t hesitate a bit in saying this card is very good. In creature mirrors, Bishop should be an insane turn 5 play, as returning a 3 drop once is great, and once you so it twice or thrice, you are so far ahead that this card starts to feel insane. Bishop is also great against control decks if you can manage to bait their removal first. I think this card has a home in U/W Monument as well, because most creatures that deck runs cost 3 or less. Returning a few creatures can bring you from a disadvantaged position to a very positive one in no time.
I think this card has potential, but I’m not sure how many waves it will make. It certainly has potential, and I would love to see it in a control deck going forward. I think Entrancing Melody could be an interesting alternate win condition in a deck such as U/W Approach. While that deck already has Approach of the Second Sun, Melody could double as a removal spell and a win condition, which seems perfect for what that deck is looking for. All of this could be overshadowed by its interaction with Snapcaster Mage in Modern, which people have already started discussion on the Twittersphere.
About that possible Merfolk deck… If there does end up being a Merfolk deck, I believe this card will be an essential part of it. We already know that +1/+1 counters are Merfolk’s key theme in Ixalan, so having this card give all your Merfolk creatures unblockable could lead to some super quick kills in the right deck. It is also important to note that it gives itself unblockable if it gets a counter, which could make for a very powerful card should the surrounding pieces fall into place.
If this Merfolk deck does end up happening, Kopala, Warden of Waves will also be a crucial piece. 2 mana is a huge price to pay for a control deck, and Kopala makes it so hard for your opponents to interact with your board outside of sweepers. I think this card has potential in Modern, maybe as a 1 of, but it seems like a worse Kira, Great Glass-Spinner. Kopala definitely has potential, and I look forward to it making waves in Standard.
Talk about anti-control! This creature does it all. It’s big, it dodges counterspells, and it isn’t vulnerable to removal spells. I think Carnage Tyrant could be a great sideboard option for any green deck, as it puts a very fast clock on the opponent and forces them to find a Fumigate or enough creatures to block it very quickly. Carnage Tyrant could even end up maindeckable in a Green midrange deck if control ends up being a large part of the metagame.
Fathom Fleet Captain seems very strong at first glance. As a 2/1 with menace, it is already a reasonable 2-drop. Adding a powerful mana sink makes this card very strong as soon as you get to the midgame. If we see some more powerful pirates for the early game, a Pirate tribal deck may pop up, in which this card would be absolutely insane.
Gishath’s effect is insanely powerful. I think there is a possibility for a Naya midrange deck to pop up that utilizes this creature’s power to the max. Hitting one dinosaur is great, (and awesome!) and the possibility of hitting 2 or more with one swing is almost impossible for any deck to come back from. Out of all the cards in this article, Gishath, Sun’s Avatar is the one I hope will be played the most. My only dream for this coming set is to hit 3+ Dinosaurs in one swing, to be honest.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this article and it helped you get hype for Ixalan! Personally, I am so excited for the set, and even though Hour of Devastation has brought us one of the best Standard formats I remember, Ixalan has Dinosaurs and Pirates! How could you not be excited! I hope that my playset of Cathartic Reunion ends doing good things for me this weekend, and I manage to reanimate 3 or 4 Angel of Invention every game. Good luck in your next Magic adventure, and see you next week!
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