Pre-release for the Ixalan has passed and with it new cards to be explored. I am here to talk about some of the cards to look out for when playing the limited format be it Seal or Draft. I am going to look into useful uncommon and commons from bombs to combat tricks that should be included in your 40 card deck. As most rares and mythics are automatically included unless they are off color or so bad that you would leave them aside, I wont delve into them at all. Let’s not delay anymore and talk about some of the anticipated commons and uncommon in Ixalan.
We are stomping out with the big and powerful Thundering Spineback, which is not only a great tempo/control finisher, but also great in a Dinosaur aggro deck being a Dinosaur Lord.
To be able to create dinosaur tokens is a boon as it is a late game mana sink, where mana resources are plentiful but cards in hand get less and less. This card is a great uncommon and a great addition to your 40 card deck if you are planning to go green.
At a hefty 5/5 for seven mana, the creature stat is a bit steep for the mana costs,but the ability makes up for it.
The next uncommon card is a great finisher that would fit perfectly in an aggro or tempo shell. Being able to tap all creatures of the opponent means that your creatures are able to attack through without hindrance, bearing in mind certain Combat tricks.
The flaw of the card is that, being blue and requiring two blue mana costs, is a little steep as blue is not known to be aggressive. Still, I would not mind splashing heavily into blue as the big tempo swing the card could potentially bring is tremendous.
Playing this card on the right time will surely bring a timely victory for you.
Talking about combat tricks, the best uncommon combat trick to me is Bright Reprisal. This card that targets attacking creatures replaces itself, as you get to draw a card when the card resolves. This is one of the best two-for-one cards as you destroy their biggest threat without losing a card.
The 5 mana cost is a little steep to leave open and easier for your opponent to read, but if the opponent does not see it coming, it will be a big blow out. The problem with the card is that you won’t be able to develop your board leaving 5 mana open, and the card only removes attacking creatures. This may be time that you would rather destroy a utility creature or a big creature the opponent left for blocking.
Overall, however, it is still a good card in a control deck.
The next card is the definition of a power creep. This card costs 5 mana, is a 5/5 and it has haste and trample. Nothing beats the outright value of this card in terms of strength and power.
Dropping this on curve would pose a problem for your opponent as the monstrous dinosaur attacks the turn it is dropped. What more, chump blocking this guy would not be great as trample damage still goes through.
Other than being a big beat stick which is what it does best, the card doesn’t do much on its own. Still, top decking this card in any situation would be a blessing.
Grim Captain’s Call
The last uncommon that is in my radar is the Grim Captain’s Call as, in theory, this card would be able to let you draw at least three cards for only three mana. Pirates and Vampires already share the black color and splashing another color like green for merfolks or some dinosaurs would mean that you would be able to return at least three creatures back to your hand.
The only problem is that, the theoretical situation I just presented to you would not be often and sometimes, you might end up only being able to return one card. Still, Ixalan being a set full of Pirates, Merfolks, Vampires and Dinosaurs, I am sure this card will provide you more than you may expect.
The first common that I would recommend is the Legion Conquistador which, as a common, you would be able to find and pick up quite often. The card replaces itself with itself while developing your board.
The only problem is that the card is small at 2/2 for three mana and doesn’t do anything else. To make this card viable, it could act as a steady stream of bodies to carry that equipment and other cards that could support this card.
Other than that, it would more likely be a steady stream of chump blockers most of the time, which isn’t great but isn’t that bad either.
The next card that we’ll be looking into is the reprint card, Opt. This card gives you some form of deck manipulation in being able to Scry 1 and then draw a card. We also know and have seen how good Preordain is as a card, being able to Scry 2 and then draw a card.
This card trades the ability to Scry 2 (and only Scry 1) but makes it at instant speed. In other words, in a control or tempo deck, you would be able to leave mana open and if the opponent does not do anything too impactful for you to response, you would be able to play this and shape your hand better.
It is still a good card in other situations where you might want to find a specific answer, and this card lets you dig 2 cards deep to find that card.
The third common we will be talking about is, in my humble opinion, one of the best Kill Spells in the set. Contract Killing outright destroys a creature and gives you two Treasures to boot. The Treasures can immediately be cashed in for another two mana spells or creatures, making this card a common Murder or it can be saved for the next turn to ramp up a seven or eight mana Card.
The 5 mana can be costly, but drawing a removal spell at anytime late game is still a boon. The Treasure could also provide certain advantages and synergy with some of the Pirate cards.
The red common that I would recommend is the Sun-Crowned Hunters, which is a 6 mana cost monstrosity with a 5/4 body. Although it has a small body for its 6 mana costs, the enrage ability to deal a whopping 3 damage to your opponent whenever this card is damaged makes up for it.
Your opponent won’t be able to chump block this card as they would still take a hefty 3 damage, and if they don’t block, they would take 5 damage which is a chunk of their life. Even when there is a trade, and Sun-Crowned Hunters dies, the opponent still takes that 3 damage.
What makes it more interesting is that there are other cards in the set like Rile and Dual Shot that could turn it into Lava Spikes.
The last common that I will look into is the green common Pounce. Not often do we get removals in green, and what more, an instant removal like Pounce. Although the removal is in the form of the fight mechanic, being instant, the card still has a lot of potential.
Having a big creature on the board means you can attack freely and be able to Pounce and opponent’s creature later on during their turn. Even better, block a smaller creature and pounce another creature, effectively halting your opponent’s attack.
It is not without its drawback as a pump spell on the creature you are Pouncing would be a disaster for you. This card has its risk, at the same time, its reward.
Those are some of the many cards I would recommend when putting together your deck and doing battle with your opponents this coming pre-release. Still, don’t take my word for it and try out different cards in the set, as the set is full of wonders and its own mysteries to explore.