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September 5, 2017

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Daily Dose of Ixalan – I’m a poet, and I didn’t know it

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Ixalan. Today I’ll be looking at some more awesome new cards that we’ll be seeing soon. From what I’ve seen so far, Ixalan is shaping up to be an interesting set. There don’t seem to be too many cards that are extremely powerful by themselves in a vacuum, but I do believe that there are plenty of cards that can be strong if decks are built around them. Let’s look at some new cards from Ixalan and you can decide whether they’re standalone cards, or build around cards.

Since I talked about Dinosaurs last week, it seems fitting that I’m talking about a new Planeswalker that loves Dinosaurs today. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a consistent stream of Gatewatch Planeswalkers (Jace, Gideon, Chandra, Liliana, Nissa), but now it’s time for new Planeswalkers to emerge. Welcome to the fold, Huatli, Warrior Poet.

huatliwarriorpoet

It’s nice to see a new face on the block in Ixalan. This Boros Planeswalker comes in at five mana, with a relatively low starting loyalty of three. Let’s break it down to see what it brings to the table.

[+2]: You gain life equal to the greatest power among creatures you control. – If you’re playing Huatli, Warrior Poet, you should have some large creatures in your deck. This will allow the larger creatures to protect her, while she gains you life at the same time. There are times where you’ll play this card onto an empty battlefield, but moving it up to five loyalty is still a possibility. If there’s an empty battlefield though, you’ll want her next ability more.

[0]: Create a 3/3 green Dinosaur creature token with trample. – Even though this is a two-colour Planeswalker, her abilities are built like she’s Naya. The white is in the life gain, the red is in the last ability, and the green is in creating a sweet 3/3 green Dinosaur with trample. Garruk has been the only other Planeswalker (In three different iterations) to create a 3/3 creature. This ability should not be overlooked and is quite powerful by itself.

[-X]: Huatli, Warrior Poet deals X damage divided as you choose among any number of target creatures. Creatures dealt damage this way can’t block this turn. – This ability is great due to how versatile it is. First off, you can build up Huatli’s power or use it right away. The first ability will ensure that you can deal five to seven damage within the first few turns if needed. Plus, if you want, you can deal one damage to as many potential blockers as you can and remove the possibility of being blocked instead of killing creatures outright. This could be a game ending ability if you have a large enough force on the battlefield.

Standalone or Build Around? – I think that Huatli, Warrior Poet is powerful enough by herself that she can be used in any deck using red and white, but would be maximized in a deck built around large creatures (i.e. Dinosaurs) that would allow you to gain a lot of life off her first ability.

Reanimation spells always have a place in Magic, but finding playable ones can be difficult due to their high casting cost most of the time. Ixalan brings us another such reanimation spell, but will it be powerful enough to see play in Standard? Let’s look at Boneyard Parley.

boneyardparley

Card designs like the one on Boneyard Parley make me lean towards this being a Limited all-star rather than a Standard mainstay. Most times when you play this card you’re either going to get two great creatures, or three not-so-great creatures. There are times in the late game where the graveyards will be stocked with a ton of great creatures and you’ll be guaranteed three of them, but hang your hat on getting two creatures out of this spell. It’s nice that your opponent divides the five cards and you choose which pile to take. That will allow for a few more times where your opponent will make a mistake and give you more value out of the card.

Standalone or Build Around? – I think that Boneyard Parley is a build around card. I don’t think you can rely on your opponent having powerful creatures to take from their graveyard, so you would need to build your deck to maximize its value.

Lastly, I want to talk about two spells from Ixalan that will help you use all that extra mana you have lying around in the late stages of a game. Here are Sanguine Sacrament and Entrancing Melody.

entrancingmelodysanguinesacrament1

Both of these spells reward you for waiting to play them until later in the game. It goes without saying that the more you can spend on X, the more options you have with these cards. Sanguine Sacrament is weak when X is less than four, but can be used if you’re really strapped for life, or if you have nothing better to do with your mana. Entrancing Melody has a little more versatility to it. Let’s break it down based on how much mana you can spend on the spell.

X = 1 – At three mana Threads of Disloyalty allows you to take control of a creature with casting cost two or less. Unless desperate, there won’t be many times you will be casting this for X = 1.

X = 2 – At four mana, you’re looking at comparisons to the base spell of Welcome to the Fold. Spending turn four to move one of their two-drop creatures from their side of the battlefield to your side of the battlefield could be quite the tempo move.

X = 3 or more – You are looking at comparisons to cards like Exert Influence and Confiscation Coup. I think this is where Entrancing Melody starts to shine. There are plenty of powerful creatures in Standard that have a casting cost of three that I wouldn’t mind having on my side of the battlefield.

Standalone or Build Around? – I believe that Sanguine Sacrament and Entrancing Melody are cards that you would only put in a Control deck. These cards by themselves might be good as a one of in any deck, but we will have to see how the Standard metagame turns out once Ixalan comes out.

As you can see there are still some standalone powerful cards in the set, but most of them can be made better if they are put in the right deck. Are there any new cards from Ixalan that you want to build a deck around? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks again for joining me on the Daily Dose of Ixalan, and I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow as together we explore what Ixalan has in store for us!