Table of Contents
- The Lost Caverns of Ixalan (LCI) Limited Guides
- Akal Pakal, First Among Equals
- Ancestral Reminiscence
- Brackish Blunder
- Braided Net
- Chart a Course
- Cogwork Wrestler
- Confounding Riddle
- Council of Echoes
- Deeproot Pilgrimage
- Didact Echo
- Eaten by Piranhas
- Frilled Cave-Wurm
- Hermitic Nautilus
- Hurl into History
- Inverted Iceberg
- Kitesail Larcenist
- Lodestone Needle
- Malcolm, Alluring Scoundrel
- Marauding Brinefang
- Merfolk Cave-Diver
- Oaken Siren
- Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch
- Orazca Puzzle-Door
- Out of Air
- Pirate Hat
- Relic’s Roar
- River Herald Scout
- Sage of Days
- Shipwreck Sentry
- Sinuous Benthisaur
- Song of Stupefaction
- Spyglass Siren
- Staunch Crewmate
- Subterranean Schooner
- The Enigma Jewel
- The Everflowing Well
- Tishana’s Tidebinder
- Unlucky Drop
- Waterlogged Hulk
- Waterwind Scout
- Waylaying Pirates
- Zoetic Glyph
- 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)
Akal Pakal, First Among Equals
In the immortal words of Sir Mix-a-Lot “I like big butts and I cannot lie”. This certainly helps to keep everything on the ground distracted as a huge blocker.
In the meantime, it’s filling your hand and graveyard every turn that an artifact hits play on your side. In this set, that’s pretty easy to come by so this will be a card advantage machine. You can even double dip by flashing something like Cogwork Wrestler in during your opponent’s turn.
More like Akal Pakal, First Among Picks, am I right?
Sift was much better when there wasn’t a ton of value packed into every other card. The discarding a card isn’t as big of a drawback here since it helps trigger descend. It also potentially lets you get a bit more value out of pitching something that you’re going to use to craft.
Well, I did my best to talk it up. Four mana at sorcery speed to not affect the board needs a bit more upside than this. I can’t see myself ever playing more than one of these in a deck.
There is a list of things that make me really want to play bounce spells in a format. The existence of cheap tempo decks, +1+1 counters, and cards that take an extra investment are some great examples. This set has all of that going on between explore and craft.
Getting a map token when you hit a tapped creature just rewards people for playing correctly. I guess you could say that is preventing them from making a classic blunder.
It’s a Tumble Magnet that turns into a card draw spell that puts itself back in your deck to run the whole show back again. That’s a great way to help control the early game while getting an actual payoff for it instead of it sitting around as a dead card afterwards.
Chart a Course
Two mana for two cards is a helluva bargain and having to attack to do it is a very, very small ask in limited. Even if you have to discard one, there are plenty of things in this set that reward you for tossing a permanent into the graveyard.
Dropping this wrestler to eat a 1/1 Gnome while winning another combat from the -2-0 is going to be like cracking your opponent with a steel chair. It’s not always going to line up that perfectly and this is the only instant for one blue (besides Relic's Roar which I don’t think will see much play) so it will be something they have in mind. Even if you just win a combat with it leaving behind a creature, that is a solid deal for one mana.
I might seem really high on this, but Supreme Will was a very good card and this feels like a pretty big upgrade. It’s very difficult to play around this because you can hold it up and if they don’t play anything worth countering you just use the other part as an Impulse that dumps the rest of the cards in your yard. That seems amazing with descend and craft wanting you to stack your graveyard.
Council of Echoes
You shouldn’t have too much of a problem having Descend 4 by the time you can play this. An oversize flying Man-o’-War can definitely act as a finisher if you need one.
This is a build around that needs a decent number of merfolk to really pop off. If you manage to curve Cenote Scout into this, then you are going to bury them in sea people pretty quickly. It has a pretty high ceiling, but in a lot of cases, it’s going to be a pilgrimage not worth taking.
The problem is that you really need it and a merfolk (preferably multiple) early to have a big effect on the game. There also aren’t any Merfolk Looter in the set that would let you tap to make a guy every turn. You can’t play this if you don’t have at least a school of fishy folk floating around.
Would this really be too powerful without the Descend requirement? This just feels like it costs one mana too much or should have had flying with no strings attached. It’s not like getting to four permanents in the graveyard is hard, I just don’t see the need to add the extra hoop to jump through.
Eaten by Piranhas
I do love the flavor of this turning the creature into a 1/1 skeleton. There are lots of ways to use this as a pseudo removal spell like blocking with a 1/1 and then dropping this on it post combat. It’s a playable card, it just takes a bit of extra work.
This is as close as we’re getting to a vanilla creature these days. A 4/5 for four would be just fine on its own, but having an additional requirement to get there is leaving me unimpressed.
The threat of activation is interesting on this because it will usually end up trading off if you do it. That makes the threat kind of empty because you’d have to use your mana to break even on cards. I’m pretty sure I will be calling my opponent on that every time they attack.
It’s still a huge butt for cheap that can deal some decent damage in the right situation.
Hurl into History
This can cause some pretty massive swings in a game by countering their bomb and dropping something into play. If it ends up being an expensive Dismiss, that’s not as impressive, but still an acceptable outcome.
The big downside here is that it can only hit artifacts or creatures. Five mana is an awful lot to strand if they are successfully playing around it.
We’re not quite dealing with Frost Titan here because it’s doesn’t lock it down for the next turn. It does let you untap itself after attacking for some pseudo-vigilance action. Still, this is a common so what were you really expecting.
The front side replaces itself while dropping a card in your yard to go nicely with some descend synergies. As long as you end up with an artifact somewhere along the way you can turn this into one frosty boi size extra-large.
This feels like a really messed up magic card. Turning their best artifact or creature into a treasure while being a decently statted, warded up flyer is a whole lot for three mana. Be prepared for this larcenist to steal some games.
While they can kill this to get their thing back, they have to have the answer that actually removes it from play.
I’m not really feeling the front side of this, but it can be useful for temporarily shutting something down. The backside of getting to explore every turn is pretty good and makes up for the card disadvantage of stunning something.
Malcolm, Alluring Scoundrel
I can see why Malcolm is so alluring, I’m going to want to slam this every chance I get. This grade may seem a little high, but this on turn two can straight up dominate the game if unanswered. I’ve never seen anyone complain about having a two mana, two power flash flyer and this gets to loot whenever you connect.
While getting four attacks in with this seems like it might not happen often, when it does you just get to play whatever you pitch for free. Good thing there isn’t proliferate in this set or it would get nutty.
While I’m generally fine playing any of these landcyclers, this just doesn’t do much besides be a massive body. I wanted to give it a 2.0, but I feel like I’ll end up cutting this from more decks than not.
If you have a bunch of ways to explore than this can get you across the finish line. It’s not limited to once a turn so you can crack in for a decent amount sometimes.
Vigilance on an evasive mana dork is pretty sweet since it lets you crack in and still use the mana. While I’m not thrilled that the mana is limited to artifacts, there are enough running around that the mana coming from a flyer is still really good.
Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch
A flyer with great stats that lets you double dip on instants is already a great card. Getting to come back a few turns after they kill it is straight up demoralizing. I don’t feel like I have to go any deeper on this. You’ll take it and you’ll like it.
I feel like this card falls into the weird space where it would be too good at one mana, but is pretty mid at total of two mana even if it can be in installments. It does a lot more than it looks like though because it replaces itself with card selection while potentially dropping two permanents into the graveyard.
Out of Air
A hard to cast Essence Scatter at two mana that can hit anything at four. That sounds good in theory, but I’d rather just have straight up Essence Scatter than have to hold up the double blue. A four-mana counter with nothing else thrown in is just bad these days.
Anyone who has seen me stream knows about my love for strange hats so it deeply saddens me to give it this grade. This is too expensive if I have to pay full retail so it’s ability to make my deck is really going to hinge on the number of pirates I have in my crew.
I miss the days of Suit Up and Majestic Metamorphosis where we drew a card for these types of spells. Instead, we’re back to the Serpentine Ambush days. This does only cost one mana, but only leaves it with three toughness so it’s not going to outright win a lot of combats.
It is a cool way to turn your Map Token into a dinosaur though so it gets some bonus points for that.
River Herald Scout
This is another one where you don’t control which mode you get, but I’m fine with either version early in the game. A 2/3 with card selection or a 1/2 that drew a card (even if it can only be land) would both make the cut at two mana.
Sage of Days
The old 3/2 for three rears it’s ugly head again. You end up trading down a lot so it really takes some good value to make it worth it. If you’re playing a descent deck then this can help by dropping some cards in the yard, but you don’t want to be playing this in the average draft deck.
The cheaper flashback effect makes this really nice if you dump it into your graveyard off of some self-mill. The front end is a bit over what I want to pay, but still fine depending on what I am copying.
This sentry was keeping an eye out for our usual 3/3 for two blue creature with defender. Needing an artifact to hit play to attack isn’t asking much of you so this won’t be a shipwreck when you play it.
If you don’t have any caves then you should leave this back in the Mesozoic era. It has a pretty decent ceiling if it turns into a draw two, but it’s another one you should pick up late after you have enough caves to support it.
Song of Stupefaction
I am a sucker for these types of cards and the mill two can be such a benefit on top of shutting something down. Per usual, you want some evasive creatures to attack around instead of into their negative ten power brick wall.
This feels like one of those cards that will be underestimated by the casual crowd and really hyped by the spikes of the world. Two relevant game pieces for one mana is a deal I can’t refuse. I’ll be taking these highly.
Hopefully my crew is stacked with these guys. There are a ton of artifacts and a decent number of pirates in this set so this should be hitting pretty consistently. If you get multiples it can even chain itself.
It takes a lot to make a vehicle seem like a bomb. Well, this comes down cheap, hits hard, and grows your crew. That seems like an insane deal at two mana.
I’d make an “It’s a schooner” reference, but I think there’s a whole generation that hasn’t seen Mallrats.
The Enigma Jewel
I’m not going to go through the multitude of reasons you shouldn’t be playing this. When you hear someone say “It’s a Sol Ring”, just nod your head and move on. They clearly have some problems and are looking to start a fight.
The Everflowing Well
It took a few reads of this for me to sell myself on it. Eventually I settled on a Divination with a mill two is just solid in a descend deck. That’s pretty much all you need out of it with the back just being a bonus if you get there.
A flash 3/2 for three is not up to the standards of the type of cards I want to be playing. Maybe you get to catch them with an activated or triggered ability, but it’s probably not worth holding this up like you would a counter spell.
We get this type of card almost every set and it keeps falling into the filler category. It’s a big downside anytime a card lets your opponent make the choice. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of decks where this ends up as card twenty-three, but I doubt I’ll ever end up playing a second copy.
Milling yourself for one every turn isn’t nothing, but it sure can feel like it. Getting a mediocre vehicle out of it at the end isn’t really worth it either. Only play this if you are going hard on descend.
I did some scouting and a Wind Drake with a map token sounds like a pretty sick card to me.
Turning one of your cheap artifacts into a massive attacker with pseudo haste is a great rate at three mana. The downside of getting two for one’d is minimized by this discovering when it leaves play.
Blue has some great cheap flyers, merfolk, and pirates to develop an early board. Some of the more expensive commons fall into the too clunky category (excluding Inverted Iceberg which is just fine) so you’ll be better off supplementing that part of your curve from other colors.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow for my limited review of the black 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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