10 Best (and 10 worst) Rivals of Ixalan Cards According to the Magic Community

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It’s always a challenge to evaluate cards. Sometimes a card that seems powerful may not be as practical as you might think and end up dead in your hand. Other cards — especially commons and uncommon — can be easily overlooked but in practice turn the tide in your favor.

Turning to the Magic the Gathering community at large to get a consensus on card values can give you a bit of a better feel for what could be good and what could be bad. They aren’t always right, mind you, and some treasures can slip through the cracks while others can be overvalued. Still, it can be interesting to see, at a glance, what people think of certain cards. You can check the full list at https://www.mtgcommunityreview.com/ but here are the best and worst as rated by the community and some thoughts as to why these cards might be good or bad.

Note — these cards were reviewed in the context of the set itself and Magic as a game and are not necessarily reviewed with the limited format in mind — so some cards may work much better in other formats like standard, commander or casual and some cards may have reviewed higher if we were looking solely in the context of the limited environment.

Worst – #10 – Dark Inquiry

For three mana you can get rid of a potential threat down the road. Late game though, this could easily be a dead card.

Best – #10 – Twilight Prophet

A 2/4 flyer for 4 mana is pretty playbale in limited but if you can pull off the Ascend ability this card suddenly becomes very powerful and potentially game ending — netting you cards, gaining you life and costing your opponent life in the process. If you are playing Vampires you should be able to get Ascend to trigger near the end of the game, netting you a victory if they cannot answer him or win quickly. If you are far behind, Twilight Prophet will not win you the game. It can, however, help you break through a stalemate.

Worst – #9 – Naturalize

It’s naturalize. Sideboard at best.

Best – #9 – Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca

A solid card all around if you are invested heavily in a menfolk theme but maybe not so much if you’ve only drafted a couple of merfolk. Merfolk tend to lean towards being aggressive, however, so keep that in mind. You may not have enough merfolk to tap or may not want to leave them behind when aggression is the better option.

Worst – #8 – Blazing Hope

This card needs you to be in trouble before it’s playable.

Best – #8 – Profane Procession

I’m honestly not sure how this card go rated so highly. The investment of 8 mana in order to exile a single creature seems like a lot but it may end up being worth it in the end. It’s too much of an investment for standard. It may be playable in limited. It could do quite well in other casual formats.

Worst – #7 – Induced Amnesia

The first dud rare. There’s simply better card draw and this card could play to your opponent’s favor while spending your mana to do so.

Best – #7 – Angrath, the Flame-Chained

A minotaur planeswalker seems pretty great and Angrath’s abilities are fairly strong for limited. He can’t protect himself though which really hurts him and his casting cost gains him only 4 starting loyalty. With large, impactful dinosaurs abound though, his -3 could swing things heavily in your favor. His status as a planeswalker likely gets him stronger reviews than what he actually deserves.

Worst – #6 – Gruesome Fate

I’m not sure why this is ranked so poorly but it can easily be a dud and when it is good, it’s probably a “win more” card.

Best – #6 – Erali, Primal Storm

Getting to cast cards from your opponents deck for free seems pretty good even if you hit land every second swing. But you will hit land and there may be plenty of times when you just don’t pull anything good or of consequence from your opponent. Still, a 6/6 is pretty big and difficult to deal with. In multiplayer formats like Commander, however, this guy can gain you a ton of value very quickly.

Worst – #5 – Awakened Amalgam

It could be decent I guess but by turn four you probably just have a 4/4 at best. In limited, this card is trash.

Best – #5 – Ravenous Chupacabra

Nekrataal is back — this time with a bit more toughness, a lot less conditions on the removal but without the first strike. Four mana to destroy any creature is pretty solid in limited. It’s even better when there’s a body attached. Proof that the best cards aren’t always the rares and mythics.

Worst – #4 – Shatter

It’s shatter. There are really not a lot of targets for this in limited and certainly better options to deal with them.

Best – #4 – Trapjaw Tirant

Exile effects are always useful and the fact that you can use Trapjaw Tyrant’s exile effect repeatedly makes him that much more valuable. Sure, you need to enrage him in order to trigger the exile effect but that shouldn’t be too hard. He’s got a fairly big body too — more than capable of eating small vampires, pirates and merfolk while casting out their bigger friends.

Worst – #3 – Blood Sun

You do get to draw a card with this but the ability — especially in limited — will seldom have any impact on the board. Maybe in commander if your group uses a lot of lands with non-mana abilities you want to quash but even that seems rare. Blood Moon thi isn’t.

Best – #3 – Azor, the Lawbrigner

Azor will keep your hand full of cards and keep your life total high provided he can attack. His ability is essentially a Sphynx’s Revelation that you can use on each attack. The fact he can prevent your opponent from casting instant and sorcery spells during their next turn helps protect him and at 6 mana for a 6/6 flyer, he can get in and hit hard when he does swing. Even if you never get to really capitalize on his ability he’s still a huge threat. In mana heavy formats like Commander, however, you’re much more likely to be able to fill your hand and top off your life.

Worst – #2 – Brass’s Bounty

Spending seven mana to create on average the same amount of mana you spent. It will be a dead card for a significant portion of the game and if you are playing this on turn seven you have some really big problems.

Best – #2 – Rekindling Phoenix

Phoenixes are usually a bit of a pain in limited specifically because you can get so much value out of them. They are tough to kill and this one is no exception — being able to return for free and attack every turn provided the elemental it leaves behind survives. It’s extremely cost efficient even if it were just a 4/3 flyer and the ability to keep it alive can make it a huge pain for your opponent. If you get this guy in your sealed or draft pool, play him.

Worst – #1 – Sphinx’s Decree

Without knowing what’s in your opponent’s hand, you may be paying two mana for absolutely nothing. You get no card draw from this either. There’s no reason to play this card and certainly no reason why this should have been printed at rare.

Best – #1 – Tetzimoc, Primal Death

This big beast makes a huge impact when he hits the table. Even in your opening hand he can have an impact on the board by marking your opponent’s creatures for their inevitable demise. Once you get enough mana to cast him you should be able to clear the board of your opponent’s most troublesome creatures. With so many ways to ramp into or discount the cost of your dinosaur you should be able to ramp into him easily but you may also want to hold off on him until you can capitalize on his ability and completely cripple your opponent. Deathtouch almost seems like overkill. This guy is a huge threat in limited and will likely see a lot of play in other formats.

Keep in mind these cards were reviewed by the community and the community has been wrong before. Some cards have had a bigger impact than expected while others have fallen by the wayside. Keep a look out for the top 10 to see how things play out over the coming weeks.

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Greg Grondin
Gregory Grondin is a full time Systems Analyst working for Mariner Innovations. He also works as a weight loss consultant for Weight Watchers and is part owner of Heroes' Beacon. You can follow his web comic series at http://www.spacepawdyssey.com

Greg is a fan of gaming and comics in general and an avid collector of Transformers figures.