Table of Contents
- The Lost Caverns of Ixalan (LCI) Limited Guides
- Buried Treasure
- Careening Mine Cart
- Cartographer’s Companion
- Chimil, the Inner Sun
- Compass Gnome
- Contested Game Ball
- Digsite Conservator
- Disruptor Wanderglyph
- Hoverstone Pilgrim
- Hunter’s Blowgun
- Matzalantli, the Great Door
- Roaming Throne
- Runaway Boulder
- Scampering Surveyor
- Sorcerous Spyglass
- Sunbird Standard
- Swashbuckler’s Whip
- Tarrian’s Soulcleaver
- The Millennium Calendar
- Threefold Thunderhulk
- Throne of the Grim Captain
- Treasure Map
- Captivating Cave
- Cavern of Souls
- Cavernous Maw
- Echoing Deeps
- Forgotten Monument
- Hidden Lands (Hidden Cataract, Hidden Courtyard, Hidden Necropolis, Hidden Nursery, Hidden Volcano)
- Pit of Offerings
- Promising Vein
- Restless Anchorage
- Restless Prairie
- Restless Reef
- Restless Ridgeline
- Restless Vents
- Sunken Citadel
- Volatile Fault
- Wrap Up
Hey everyone! It’s new set time and I know you are all excited to read about all the crazy shenanigans we’re about to get into in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. I’m ready to start spelunking down into this to figure out what my exploration uncovers.
Per usual, I’ll be grading the entire set for the purpose of limited as well as writing about a million other articles about it. With all that, you’ll be well prepared to crush some serious dreams.
Here’s the usual grading scale:
- 5.0: Disgustingly powerful and basically unbeatable. Either answer it the turn it comes down or just pack up your cards. (Gruff Triplets, Virtue of Persistence, The Eternal Wanderer)
- 4.5: Incredible bomb that still gives your opponent a slim chance. (Virtue of Loyalty, Imodane's Recruiter, Realm-Scorcher Hellkite)
- 4.0: Great rare or the absolute best uncommons and removal. (Faunsbane Troll, Gumdrop Poisoner, Talion's Messenger)
- 3.5: Great role filler or removal that you never cut. (Candy Grapple, Hearth Elemental, Torch the Tower)
- 3.0: Good playable that I’m basically never cutting. (Shrouded Shepherd, Spellscorn Coven, Sharae of Numbing Depths)
- 2.5: Decent playable and the bar I hope nearly every card in my deck to reach. (Evolving Wilds, Archon's Glory, Flick a Coin)
- 2.0: Mediocre filler that normally is your 20-23rd card(s). (Mintstrosity, Ice Out, Grabby Giant)
- 1.5: Replaceable, overall bad filler. Could also be decent sideboard cards. (Titanic Growth, Scarecrow Guide, Territorial Witchstalker)
- 1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Dark Tutelage, Kindled Heroism, Impact Tremors)
- 0.5: Very unhappy to main deck this, but maybe it has fringe sideboard applications. Cards that “could” be situationally decent, but bad in most situations. (Smothering Tithe, Rhystic Study, Mana Flare)
- 0.0: Unplayable in every possible situation. They rarely print cards this bad these days. (Hew the Entwood, One with Nothing)
I’m not a huge fan of paying two mana for a treasure, but it does give you a single shot of ramp and fixing if need be. I envision this card more as being free value when you sell-mill it while being kinda sad if you do draw it. At least it’s at least an easy way to trigger descend.
Careening Mine Cart
This is a decent little treasure maker as long as you can convince one of your lackeys to hop in the cart to take Mr Toads Wild Ride into enemy territory. I’m pretty hesitant when it comes to playing vehicles, but running one of these should be fine.
At least you can say you are hanging with your gnomies when you play this. I like that you get two game pieces for three mana, but you do need to spend another one to crack that map. It’s nice to have the versatility to do it to another creature because this wouldn’t be the best target for it.
Chimil, the Inner Sun
Triggering on end step is really nice because it means you’ll almost always get something out of it even if they have the artifact removal spell (yeah, yeah Abrade can get you). While discover is a very random mechanic based off what it hits, getting to play a real card for free every turn on top of what you’re normally doing is going to completely bury your opponent.
These little guys always get a bad rap, but I’ve found them to be a decent one off when I am trying to splash and have a lack of two drops.
Contested Game Ball
This would be great if it didn’t have that part where they can steal it. You’re basically hoping your opponent doesn’t have a way to deal combat damage to you. This is limited, unless you are snowballing on them hard, they will find a way.
Graveyard hate is going to be really good against some decks in this format. Even if you’re in a matchup that it’s not relevant, this is still a 2/1 that can die into a discover four. It doesn’t really care how you get there, whether you’re sacrificing it to wreck their yard or just trading in combat.
I know I was just talking up graveyard hate, but Digsite Conservator offers it as more of an extra feature while it’s Disruptor Wanderglyphs whole thing. You even have to attack to do it so it’s far from guaranteed. At least it’s not just a Hill Giant.
I can see this being really annoying in some matchups, but are you really planning on paying five mana for a two-power flyer that doesn’t give you anything else besides a big ol butt and some pricy graveyard hate. Maybe you’ll want one of these in your self-mill deck to keep recurring your best cards after you empty your library.
The deathtouch and reach combo makes this decent on either offense or defense. I would really like this if it equipped for one mana, but I will still play this in a deck with double strikers or other things can combo well with cheap equipment.
Matzalantli, the Great Door
This is a good sideboard card for long control mirrors while being pretty bad against any aggressive deck. It is a free looter once you get past the three-mana required to get in the door.
I really don’t see many situations where I would want to flip this. Giving up my looter for a big mana boost the next turn seems like I would need a big mana sink to consider doing it. Maybe when my deck is running short on cards.
Ward two on a generic 4/4 is a good rate considering that it doesn’t require any colored mana. It actually feels like you’re almost a mana ahead there.
The second part is really going to depend on the rest of your deck, but it’s nice even if you just name the type of what you’re going to play the next turn. An extra trigger of Chupacabra Echo feels pretty sick.
I’m not looking forward to the number of times I have to put this in my deck because I didn’t see any other removal. At least I get to make an Indiana Jones reference every time. Maybe I can yell that this type of card belongs in a museum.
It’s really expensive, but sometimes you have no other way to deal with a dinosaur. Cycling helps it hit that card twenty-three zone.
I actually like this one because it can be fixing or even get you a cave that you can pop off for discover. You can only play so many four drops in a deck, but this should still be up for consideration.
Bottom of the barrel sideboard card that isn’t even really worth it.
A Manalith needs something decent going on to be playable these days. Turning into a 2/2 or 3/3 for five mana isn’t quite what I was hoping for.
This is Schrodinger’s equipment, both cheap and expensive at the same time. Reach is certainly not worth it, turning into a pricy tapper has some uses, and really late it turns into card advantage. That’s doing a lot, but not really doing anything at the same time.
You’re three mana into getting this on a creature and all you get out of it is vigilance. It’s not like descend because it only triggers on ones leaving the battlefield, but this will trigger off of tokens.
If you’re in the sacrifice deck, this can get downright nutty. In most other decks that’s going to be pretty mediocre.
The Millennium Calendar
Remember when people were worried about the world crashing when everything rolled over to the new millennium? Trust me it was a thing. There was a big build up and then nothing actually happened. That’s exactly what this is going to do almost every time.
I’m sure this is cool for a getting an achievement or something though.
This does cost seven mana, but it adds a ton to the battlefield and demands an answer before it floods the board with even more little dudes. There aren’t many clean ways to answer this outside of a counterspell. In other words, Hulk smash!
Throne of the Grim Captain
This is certainly a controversial card with some people calling it unplayable and some people thinking it’s busted. Milling yourself for two every single turn is far from a total blank if you’re in a dedicated descend deck. It’s actually really good in that setup.
While flipping it seems like some insane fever dream, it’s possible to have all four creature types in just Dimir. If you pull it off, it is pretty much going to win the game. Just make sure to pick them all up.
Back when this first came out, it was both constructed playable and a limited bomb. It’s a lot easier to get value out of your cards these days so it’s more of a card you’re really happy to have rather than a windmill slam.
I don’t want to run more than one of these, but I don’t mind having one as a way to enable a splash. The extra mana is too big of a cost to rely on this as fixing for your main colors. Being able to drop a couple counters on something is a nice little bonus later on.
Cavern of Souls
The counter portion is very rarely going to come up in this format, but it’s not a complete nothing. The reason I’m willing to play this card is that it is fixing if I am in a dedicated creature type deck such as dinosaurs.
The problem with that is that you should pick it up really late as one of the few people at the table who want it. On Arena people grab mythics for their collection and in real life people are going to slam it because it’s worth a decent amount so you just won’t ever get to draft it properly.
They really did this dirty with the “other caves” portion. Needing a total of four caves to get a manland is rough. It doesn’t even do any other tricks, it’s just a 3/3.
If there isn’t a land in a graveyard to copy, then this is just a colorless cave. I feel like most of you will echo my opinion that it’s fine to pass this along.
You have to play a colorless land to make your other caves turn into pain lands. I’d rather just play a colored source for “fixing” instead.
Hidden Lands (Hidden Cataract, Hidden Courtyard, Hidden Necropolis, Hidden Nursery, Hidden Volcano)
I’m just going to toss these all together because while there are minor differences in pick orders, they have about the same value.
Coming into play tapped to eventually turn into a real card is a fine price to pay as long as you don’t over do it on them. Having two tapped lands in your deck should be fine. More than that and you’re going to fall too far behind.
Pit of Offerings
This is fine to board in against a graveyard-based deck that is playing the same colors as you are. Outside of that, this is an offer that I can refuse.
We just saw this card in Lord of the Rings with Shire Terrace and it was pretty close to unplayable there. The upside of being able to tap it for colorless isn’t worth having to pay a mana to search up the land.
All of the manlands are going to be great. Fixing your mana with the upside of flapping on over later on is huge. Getting a map token when this attacks is a sweet little bonus.
I wish there was a good protection spell in this set so that every time they tried to kill this I could say “No Touchy!” If you don’t get that reference, you should rectify that ASAP.
While it would be nice if this pumped itself, a group pump can still do some serious damage.
Milling four cards is going to be useful either as fueling your descend cards or potentially milling someone out that has been doing the same thing.
It’s also a 4/4 deathtouch shark. How can you go wrong with adding Jaws to your team.
The attached ability is going to play best if you have something evasive or a big trampler. It’s a great way to up the pressure with this adding five power to an attack.
I don’t like this one quite as much as I do all of the others. I have nothing against the rummage ability, that is actually pretty good. A 2/3 menace is just a lot harder to get to survive an attack unless you pick your spots.
In a lot of ways (minus the thinning and putting a permanent in the yard) this will play like an Evolving Wilds. The second ability might seem irrelevant, but it does help you pop off the hidden lands a bit cheaper.
There is a possibility that you board this in against manlands, but in most cases going down a land while they get to replace theirs is too big of a cost. A treasure isn’t a good enough payoff to be doing that. If it was a Field of Ruin variant, we might be having a slightly different discussion.
The artifacts are providing the same type of slightly overcosted filler cards that we get every set. If you’re looking to pay six mana for a limited removal spell, then Runaway Boulder will ensure you don’t miss out. The lands are a very mixed bag with all of the man lands being great, the discover caves being fine, and a lot of other caves that are trying to bait people into throwing away their draft.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow to wrap up my limited review of the Multicolor cards of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Until then, stay classy people!
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.
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