Today, I would like to talk about Ixalan Limited and more particularly about some special rares and mythic cards. Rares and Mythic are generally the most difficult cards to evaluate in a limited format. It is because of 2 points:
For both of these reasons, at the begin of the format, I strongly recommend you to try as much as possible rares. After 50 drafts, you will know all common and uncommon and will be able to evaluate them. But you will never try some rares and mythic and maybe open it at the ProTour and be in trouble.
Let’s talk about some Ixalan cards as example.
At Grand Prix Shizuoka 2017(Autumn), I was the vampire player and we opened 2 《Bishop of Rebirth》 on day 2. When you read the card, you are feeling it is a spoiler that you want to open in any sealed or booster draft. In reality the card is much worse that you can expect. I played both during the Grand Prix and I would prefer 2 《Shining Aerosaur》 or 2 《Anointed Deacon》 instead. Explications:
It is not a 《Sun Titan》. If the card looks like a small 《Sun Titan》, it is a very different power level card. First to say, 《Sun Titan》 has an enters the battlefield trigger, that make it great even if your opponent has a removal for it and impact the board directly the turn you play it.
If you play 《Bishop of Rebirth》 and your opponent 《Unfriendly Fire》 it, you would not take any card or board advantage. The card is a 3/4 without evasion ability that is not great for 5 mana card. Without a combat trick like 《Skulduggery》 or 《Vampire's Zeal》 it is not that easy to make a good attack with it.
Also, in Ixalan there is lot of 5 mana spell, and to be honest, 《Bishop of Rebirth》 is not better than most of the common and uncommon you can get and play instead.
5 CC White Common and Uncommon: :
If you play WB Vampire:
Of course, the card is not bad, but far from insane as 《Vona, Butcher of Magan》 can be. In draft, I would absolutely not mind about passing it and take 《Territorial Hammerskull》 or 《Pious Interdiction》 over it. But take care, most of people don’t have the same advice and could take it as a signal that white is an open color.
This card looks like a total mythic crap like we usually have in every set. In reality 《Axis of Mortality》 has a great potential if you know how to play it.
If you are planning this, it’s important to not attack your opponent because every damage you will deal is basically life you will not win later. But the most important thing to know is the right time to play it. It is not like, I have 6 mana and nothing else to do, so I play it. You have to hide it from your opponent. It is because your opponent will attack you and increase the consequences of this card.
The goal is to play 《Axis of Mortality》 at the last turn when your opponent doesn’t have a lethal attack. This include a potential burn or bonus attack spell. At this moment, your opponent will choose to not attack. This card basically can change life total every turn, but you will probably use it only once. Here again, you should choose the right moment to do it. If you choose to swap the life total, your opponent will be able to attack again so it is important to use 《Axis of Mortality》 effect the turn you choose to attack and not before. With this process, the game will be longer and both player will stack permanents into play, but you will have a big life total advantage. Flying, unblockable creatures will finish the game for you.
Also, there are cards which can work perfectly with 《Axis of Mortality》. It is card which gives you the possibility to pay life. You can pay life then swap life total with your opponent and easily finish the game.
It pretty easy to know if this card is great or not, we just have to count how many cards in Ixalan are affected by his ability. In Ixalan, there are many creatures with an “Explore” or a “Raid” trigger, add to this other enters the battlefield effect. After game one, you will know if your opponent is playing a lot of “enters the battlefield” creatures. Here is the list of every card affected by 《Tocatli Honor Guard》 in each color.
Mythic and Rare: 1
Mythic and Rare: 1
Mythic and Rare: 2
Mythic and Rare: 3
Mythic and Rare: 2
Mythic and Rare: 3
As you can see there are some creatures which could be more affected by 《Tocatli Honor Guard》 than others.
It is not the same, if you don’t have a 《Deadeye Quartermaster》’s trigger or a《Skymarch Bloodletter》’s trigger. You have to know how bad is for your deck to play it. But there is good chance it will be bad for your opponent.
Note that the card is working well with 《Storm Sculptor》 and cancel an effect which could be a disadvantage.
Obviously the strong point of 《Overflowing Insight》 is card advantage. If you untap in good condition the turn after it, there is high chance for you to win the game. But let’s talk about the weak points and the way to deal with it.
It’s a sorcery, it cost 7 mana and It doesn’t affect the game the turn you are playing it.
It means that you have to pass your turn to play it. And it could cost you the game to do it in bad conditions. A card like 《Sphinx's Revelation》 is solving these problems by itself. As an instant, you can choose during your opponent turn to not cast it and play something else instead. Also, the card gives you some life points which compensate the tempo you lost.
When you are planning to cast 《Overflowing Insight》, you should prepare the field before. The best way to do it is to play cards which impact the board and:
– Accelerate mana production in the same time.
Even if the mana acceleration is not going to cast an early 《Overflowing Insight》, it will give you additional mana to be able to cast a spell you draw with it and it can make the difference. For that, card which produces 《Treasure》 is the best.
– Increase your life total.
Gaining life will help you to prevent the damage you will lose during the turn you can’t interact with your opponent.
– Can be play during your opponent turn just before 《Overflowing Insight》.
If you played only sorcery, you can’t interact with the creatures your opponent plays the turn before. It is more effective to interact with your opponent just before playing 《Overflowing Insight》it decreases the tempo lost.
I hope after reading this article you want to draft Ixalan and try these cards and have fun and success with.
Thank you for reading,