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Looking at Ixalan in an Unexcited Manner.

Written by Joshua Claytor on . Posted in Commander, Competitive Magic, Modern, Pauper, Standard

Looking at Ixalan in an Unexcited Manner.

Joshua Claytor

Joshua is the current content manager of Legitmtg.com and Puremtgo.com.

I’m having a lot of trouble getting excited for Ixalan and I have no idea why that is. I love Merfolk and with their triumphant return I should be super excited to cast fish in Standard again. I just don’t care. The leak might have had something to do with that, as WotC was unable to do its normal hype cycle for the set, so instead of seeing flashy rares and mythics, we were spoiled on day one with the official release of the already spoiled cards, which is fine, Wizards made the absolute best out of an incredibly bad situation, and I think it was the correct one, it just took a lot of wind out of my personal sails.

Which I guess is topical.

I’m browsing the image gallery for the set, which you can find here and I am struggling to get excited. That’s on me of course, my experiences are not going to mirror a majority of the Magic playing community. I’m still playing a lot of Magic Online, while everyone is excited about the impending beta of Arena, so it’s not like I’m looking at these cards as an outside observer. I’m seeing them, trying to figure out where they might go in Standard, Modern, Pauper and Commander and I am just apathetic about the whole ordeal.

Is it because Standard is really good right now? I don’t think so, Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch have both been Standard since my son was born, so it’s time for them to go finally. Modern and Pauper are fine, not really in need of huge shakeups, so it can’t be that. 1v1 has issues that are not in my control, but it’s otherwise fun still. The set looks good, but is not filled with exciting reprints of in demand cards like Iconic Masters, and as a player that plays more Modern and 1v1 than anything else that might have something to do with it, but the hype on Iconic Masters faded over the weekend as the whole set was spoiled and we now wait a few weeks for it to be released.

Iconic Masters, after seeing the set list is really terribly named set though. I expected so many more “iconic” things, and was kind of let down over it when all was said and done. Abzan Falconer is in no way an iconic card.

With that said though, there are cards in Ixalan that I do find neat, and did want to talk about them briefly. Except I can’t really do that. Right now I’m only really kinda excited about Kopala, Warden of Waves. A lot of people have said this will replace Kira, Great Glass-Spinner in Merfolk, but I’m not entirely sure of that. I think Kopala is a nice card that can work well with Kira but it is not necessarily an upgrade in my mind. I mean Kira flies still, and does counter things instead of taxing an opponent’s spells. What Kira does not do is take advantage of the Merfolk buffs that Lord of Atlantis, Merrow Reejerey or Master of the Pearl Trident provide whereas Kopala will. Is that a huge deal breaker? I’m not entirely sure, as the synergy may push Kopala in to the main, but I for sure think that testing it would be a worthwhile expenditure of time.

I think the easiest starting point would be to just slot Kopala in the Kira or Vendilion Clique and going from there, and when I start testing this in Modern I am going to take this recent 6-0 deck and do exactly that.

Just looking at this list from Stevedacahil on MTGO makes me think it would be super easy to push out Kira and bring Kopala in.

Kopala is about the end of my hype for this set, but I can see good things coming for Standard (and Modern) for a couple of reprints. Opt is one such reprint that I am happy to see and I do believe it will impact Modern. Zach wrote about it in Fairies on Monday. He did a great job with it, and you should check it out here! Spell Pierce and Duress are both great reprints that will see a ton of play in the new Standard. Lightning Strike will also see a ton of play. No one seems to care about Slice in Twain though and that is sad.  The check lands are back and I reckon that is fine too.

Revel in Riches is the kind of card that I should be incredibly excited about, but collecting treasures to me is not as exciting to me as giving an opponent a pact, or playing a gigantic pile of Magic cards. I’m sure that a deck will exist to take advantage of Revel in Riches, but I’m not the player to find it. I could be though. This seems like the kind of card that I would try to build around anyways. Ten treasures does not seem like an unreachable number, and heck Maze’s End made use of all ten guildgates. Maybe a Revel in Riches Fog deck?

Actually I am pretty sure that is not the correct direction for the deck to be in. Probably a Black based control deck. That’s where I think I would start off at.  That’s probably wrong too.

The Double-Face legendary lands I guess are pretty cool too, but I’m just looking at them and seeing a version of quests from Zendikar.  Conqueror’s Galleon is a neat vehicle that transforms into something reminiscent of a Staff of Domination or Trading Post and could slowly take over the game.  Thaumatic Compass is a Journeyer’s Kite (return to Kamigawa confirmed) with a Maze of Ith stapled on to it.

I think something is wrong with me though.  Normally during this time of year I would be hyped about what is coming, and while I’m not looking forlornly over a barren wasteland of what Standard is about to turn in to, I’m not zipping around like a kid in a candy store over the possibilities of what is to come. Hopefully actually getting a chance to play with the cards for Ixalan will fix that but for now it’s just a waiting game.

What are you looking forward to out of the new set?  Do you feel the same way as I do?  Let us know in the comments section and thanks for stopping by Legitmtg.com!

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