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September 12, 2017

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Daily Dose of Ixalan – Vraska the Seen

Welcome all to another Daily Dose of Ixalan, where today I’m going to be looking at some big new cards coming to Ixalan.

There are a lot of new mechanics and types of creatures that are fun to write about when a new set comes out. Today there’s no theme or logic behind reviewing these cards, other than their sheer power. I made some articles on Pirates and Vampires already, but sometimes later in the preview season more cards come out that I want to make sure I can highlight and give their well earned rewards. So, jump on the Ixalan bandwagon with me and let’s go for a ride!

The first card I want to talk about today is a hate card that could easily find its place in an aggressive Red deck like Ramunap Red. Here’s Rampaging Ferocidon.

rampagingferocidon

This creature has three relevant abilities. The first is Menace. You get a 3/3 Menace creature for three mana. This makes it hard for your opponent to block, and allows you to get more damage through. The ability is crucial if you’re playing a very aggressive deck like the current Ramunap Red deck in Standard.

Second, there aren’t many cards in the game that make it so that you can’t gain life. This means that if you can deal 20 damage with this on the battlefield, you will win the game. You won’t have to get any extra damage because your opponent has gained life through a spell or creature with lifelink. Lastly, it continues to deal even more damage when it’s not attacking. This incidental damage will add up and make the game end just that little bit quicker for your opponent.

The next card I want to look at is a Vampire who’s ready to decimate your battlefield. Enjoy this sneak peek at Vona, Butcher of Megan.

vonabutcherofmagan

To put this card into perspective, there have only ever been two other creatures printed that have Flying, Vigilance, and have a power and toughness of four or better. Those two creatures are Felidar Sovereign (six mana), and Sphinx of the Steel Wind (eight mana). So at five mana you’re getting a good deal on this creature. Just being able to gain life while both attacking and blocking is valuable.

Now, let me talk about Vona’s second ability. Being able to destroy a nonland permanent is a powerful ability. Paying seven life to do so, I’m not so sure about. I do understand that you could be gaining four life, or even more, by attacking with Vona, Butcher of Megan, but that’s still a lot of life to pay to get rid of one permanent. You also can’t use this ability during your opponent’s turn, which is unfortunate. I’m not convinced that this will see use because of the high ability cost.

Back in Kaladesh, we were introduced to Vehicles and everyone rejoiced. Well, Vehicles are back in Ixalan! Here’s a ship all your Pirates will want to crew. Welcome the new card, Fell Flagship.

fellflagship

This is a nice Vehicle that almost acts as a second Pirate lord. It has a Crew cost of three, but since it bumps up all your Pirates’ power by one, you’ll often only need a Pirate with an initial power of two to crew it. A 3/3 creature isn’t the largest of creatures, and it doesn’t have any evasion, which means it might not hit your opponent very often. If you can get through and damage your opponent though, it will start to gain you card advantage by making them discard a card. I believe that this will see play as a one or two of in Pirate decks to give it that extra damage to all its creatures.

Now, I couldn’t just leave you today without talking about the card based on this article’s namesake. Ixalan sees the return of Vraska in the form of Vraska, Relic Seeker.

vraskarelicseeker

Six mana is a high casting cost for a Planeswalker, but it does come jam packed with three powerful abilities and six starting loyalty. Like Vraska the Unseen, this is a black and green Planeswalker. As I’ll talk about in a second, WotC has done well by giving us a black Planeswalker ability, followed by a black and green one, and finishing with a green ability. Let’s break down what Vraska, Relic Seeker’s abilities can offer us.

[+2]: Create a 2/2 black Pirate creature token with menace. – Creating a creature with a +2 ability is very rare. It has never been seen on a Standard legal Planeswalker before (Nahiri, the Lithomancer and Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury). Bumping it up to eight loyalty on turn one will make Vraska, Relic Seeker hard to kill, especially since you’re creating a creature that can protect itself.

[-3]: Destroy target artifact, creature, or enchantment. Create a colourless treasure artifact token with “T, Sacrifice this artifact. Add one mana of any colour to your mana pool.” – At -3, this is perfectly costed for this card as it allows you to use this ability two turns in a row if needed. Not only is there no restriction to what type of artifact, creature, or enchantment you can destroy (Nahiri, the Harbinger), but you also get a free resource off it as well.

[-10]: Target player’s life total becomes 1. – If you can protect her, this ultimate ability can be used as early as two turns after you cast it. If you do get to activate this ability, there’s a good chance that you’re going to win the game.

I believe that Vraska, Relic Seeker has a chance to see some Standard play. It has some very powerful abilities, and an ultimate that can win the game on the spot. It’s able to protect itself in multiple ways and gain you resource advantage along the way.

So there you have it folks, four more amazing cards from Ixalan that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose today, and be sure to join me again tomorrow as I talk about the return of Double-Faced Cards in Ixalan!