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January 1, 2018

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Daily Dose of Rivals of Ixalan – Early Returns

Welcome all to the first Daily Dose of Rivals of Ixalan! If some of you aren’t familiar of this article series, I highlight and analyze some of the cards coming out for the latest Magic set release. The official preview season starts off this week, so what better way than to start off by talking about some of the early preview cards we have seen so far. Early preview cards usually come to the community in one of two ways. Either they get spoiled through some outside source or they come naturally as intended. I’m glad to see that the previews we have seen so far have come naturally and we are able to all enjoy them at the pace in which they were intended.

Now let’s get into those preview cards! The first card I want to talk about is a card that some of you might have received when playing in your local Ixalan Store Championship tournament last week. Here is Ghalta, Primal Hunger.

ghaltaprimalhunger

Is that a 12/12 Trample dinosaur for 12 mana I see? Yes, it is! This is a card that will get your deckbuilding juices flowing. Immediately I want to find a way to get this out as quickly as possible. Green doesn’t have any trouble getting creatures on the battlefield, but how can we most take advantage of this mana reduction. Here is a scenario that involves two creatures from Ixalan.

Turn 1 – Play forest, cast Commune with the Dinosaurs. Use it to get either a land you need, Ripjaw Raptor or Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Current power = 0.
Turn 2 – Play land, cast Drover of the Mighty – Current power = 1.
Turn 3 – Play land, tap Drover of the Mighty for mana, cast Ripjaw Raptor. – Current power = 7.
Turn 4 – Play land, tap Drover of the Mighty for mana, cast Ghalta, Primal Hunger. – Current power – 19.

You read that right, 19 power on the battlefield on turn 4. I do realize that this is a scenario that won’t come up very often, but you can see there is an opportunity to get heavy mana cost reduction quite quickly. There are other Dinosaurs from Ixalan that can help in getting Ghalta, Primal Hunger out sooner rather than later. Regisaur Alpha will put 8 power onto the battlefield, reducing the mana cost to only 4. Carnage Tyrant will bring it down from 12 mana to 6 mana just with itself on the battlefield.

The next card I want to look at is a returning mechanic from Ixalan, cards that transform into powerful lands. Let’s take look at Storm the Vault.

stormthevault
vaultofcatlacan

This is another transform card, like those seen in Ixalan, where you have the chance to transform it into a Legendary Land like one of the great lands of the past. In this case, that land is Tolarian Academy. There are a couple of interesting points to watch out for when using Storm the Vault. First off, even if you damage the opponent with multiple creatures during one combat, you will still only receive one Treasure. Another interesting part of the card is that it will transform into Vault of Catlacan during your end step if you have any 5 or more artifacts and not just Treasure tokens. This makes it easier to transform than if it were only Treasure tokens needed. Lastly, transforming Storm the Vault is not a “may’ ability, so you will have to transform it once you’ve acquired 5 or more artifacts.

Once it does transform, it will guarantee you at minimum 5 mana from it. As soon as it transforms, you will be able to use it to cast cards like Torrential Gearhulk, Spell Swindle, and Pull from Tomorrow. You can even use the mana to create a very large Walking Ballista as well.

Having Pirates in Ixalan has led to some great Limited decks, but we haven’t seen much of Pirates in Standard decks. This could change thanks to a new card from Rivals of Ixalan. Here is Captain’s Hook.

captainshook2

The initial comparison for this card is Pirate’s Cutlass from Ixalan. Both equipment cost three mana to cast. Captain’s Hook costs 1 less mana to equip, but cannot be moved to another creature without your original equipped creature being sacrificed. Pirate’s Cutlass will attach straight onto a Pirate if you have one on the battlefield and provides 1 extra toughness to the creature. The main advantage to using Captain’s Hook is that it will give the equipped creature evasion in the form of menace.

Another great use for the card is when you can steal an opponent’s creature for a turn. This can be achieved through cards like Captivating Crew, Hijack, Kari Zev’s Expertise and Wrangle. You can than equip those creatures with Captain’s Hook to not only gain extra combat damage, but also guarantee that you can kill their creature at anytime by moving Captain’s Hook over to another creature[/c].

Well there are some early previews to start off the Rivals of Ixalan preview season. Which card is your favourite? Join me over the next couple of weeks as I continue to break down and preview some of the exciting new cards from Rivals of Ixalan. Leave me a comment on which cards you would like to see analyzed, or which cards you would like to build a deck around. Thanks again for reading and I’ll see you tomorrow!