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Top Ten Cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander


Hello awesome kitchen table MTG fans! Today I am looking at my favorite new cards that debuted in the Commander set for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan! This will have all casual play like multiplayer, Peasant, Type Four, Five Color, Highlander and some format you might have heard of before called Commander. Today will be my only look at this set! We'll knock out five Honorable Mentions, not my normal three.

Ready for my list?

Honorable Mention #1. (#15 Overall) - Arm-Mounted Anchor AND Paleontologist's Pick-Axe // Dinosaur Headdress

Arm-Mounted Anchor
Paleontologist's Pick-Axe

Let's start with two equipment that have similar concepts. The Anchor costs three, equips for two usually, then the equipped dorks get power and toughness boosts of +2 and them menace in evasion. Then you have a combat damage trigger which works with that evasion to draw two and discard two for card flow purposes unless you discard a Pirate, it's great outside of Pirate decks since looting for two is great in graveyard synergetic decks. The Pick-Axe costs one less, equips for one less too, and then the dork gets an attack trigger to draw and discard a free attack-based Loot here too. Then you can craft with dorks with five mana to turn this into the Headdress to auto equip on arrival, equip for two, and then you can Clone an exile crafter. Nice duo of card looting flow that also do other things too!

Honorable Mention #2. (#14. Overall) - Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher

Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher

Welcome to our first legendary dork to lead your Commander deck! This five-drop Orzhov flyer just has a 2/2 body, but she's worth it! Whenever any player sacrifices a dork, gain a life and put a +1/+1 counter here, all working well with popular deck archetypes. And then you have the attack trigger to bring something back relative to her base power of two and then as she grows, you get better and an attack trigger normally weakens your player since they can be blocked, but with flying? You can attack the open player. Note that like Sun Titan she can recur lands. She can also lead a recursion deck too to bring back the good stuff. Then she can also just lead an equipment deck or auras or Voltron for all of it. Carmen is so good everywhere!

Honorable Mention #3. (#13. Overall) - Xolatoyac, the Smiling Flood

Xolatoyac, the Smiling Flood

From an enemy Commander that fits into a ton of shells to another that doesn't, check out this six drop Simic colored on curve 6/6 Commander eligible dork! This has two abilities. When it ETBs or attacks, you can toss a flood counter on any land and It becomes an Island too, not as a replacement. Yours or a foe's. Then on your end step you untap anything you control with a counter on it, so that's a good reason to toss it on your stuff or other counters too like +1/+1 counters. Our own Stephen built around him here as a leader of an Islandwalk and +1/+1 counter deck. So, this just is a fun leader, not as synergetic as Carmen above, more expensive sure, but I think you'll enjoy this deck more. Since both want to attack to trigger, might I suggest Whispersilk Cloak or Rogue's Passage to swing and survive? You can also blink Xolatoyac, since it is an ETB ability and then you're in Blue the color of blink stuff.

Honorable Mention #4. (#12. Overall) - Charismatic Conqueror

Charismatic Conqueror

This two-drop 2/2 vigilance Bear is next! When an artifact or critter ETBs on your foe's side untapped, you'll get a free 1/1 Vampire with lifelink unless they tap it. Nasty Hate Bear there! Most would prefer their dorks and mana rocks to ETB untapped, so you'll get a free dork instead. Or else you can swing past them. Then this drops on the second turn and then will last as long until killed by a foe, and if you went first, then Arcane Signets and Mind Stones are getting tapped or you get a free 1/1 and then on the third turn you get Manalith, and then don't forget this is dorks too, so everything from Reclamation Sage to Sakura-Tribe Elder to Mulldrifter will ETB tapped for blocking purposes unless you get a free Vampire. This thing is just so good!

Honorable Mention #5. (#11. Overall) - The Indomitable

The Indomitable

This four-drop mono-Blue artifact is my final Honorable Mention before the Top Ten starts! It's a vehicle with trample, a big 6/6 size and crew 3. Then when your creatures deal combat damage to a foe, you draw that card! That's like a Coastal Piracy in artifact form instead like Bident of Thassa but with different extra abilities this time to suit up swing. And then you can cast this from your graveyard for four mana if you have at least the tapped Vees or Pirates.

Free recursion is great, but you don't need to build around it, just toss it into any Blue deck with creatures entering the red zone. Since you can swing with this too with ETB non-haste stuff, this should replace your Coastal Piracy stuff in some decks if you need the space, but I like them all in the same boat. Literally and figuratively. Next? Let's stick to legendary stuff for our third card in a row!

#10. Wayta, Trainer Prodigy

Wayta, Trainer Prodigy

Introduced in the first go-round of Ixalan was the damage trigger ability of enrage. Enrage was in the three Dinosaur colors of Naya. Enter Wayta, who will double you damage triggers like enrage or Fungusaur. Then she has a hasted 1/5 body for just three mana with the ability to tap with three and then have her fight one of yours with another dork, and if you fight yours, it's just one mana to fight. You can tap a Pinger, shoot an enraged Dinosaur, and then get two triggers, so she is awesome for Pinger into Enrage archetypes. She'll be so fun to build around for your decks!

#9. Contest of Claws

Contest of Claws

Our first non-permanent is this mono-Green two-cost sorcery! A target you control deals damage to another dork so it's a power based pseudo-fighting spell. Did you deal extra damage? Great! Discover X equal to that excess! That's nasty as free card draw or free cast on just two mana. It's very powerful since this is around what fight and pseudo-fight spells cost anyway, but you get so much more with this removal spell!! I wish I had added it to my Kutzil Commander brew.

#8. March of the Canonized

March of the Canonized

From our first sorcery to our first enchantment! And last one too, sorry fans of the 14th most-popular archetype. This makes 1/1 White lifelink dorks of the Vampire persuasion when it ETBs where that is the X mana to spend, so it's real mana sink. That alone is great in Vampire or token decks. Then you've got the upkeep trigger to make a free 4/3 Vampire and Demon with flying token dork if you have enough devotion. So that likes devotion decks too! Love this thing loads in all of the places.

#7. Scion of Calamity

Scion of Calamity

Hello awesome Dinosaur fans! Wow do I have something fun for you today with this five-drop 5/5 in Green! This has two cool abilities. The first is that it has the keyword myriad so when you swing at one foe, you swing at them all, so it scales up in multiplayer. Then it has a combat damage trigger to destroy an artifact or enchantment that foe controls! That means this can really Naturalize a few things each time you swing with it! But note there is no evasion here like trample. It can be chump blocked all day long. Insert sad face here. If you are in a multiplayer format like Commander and are tossing in Indrik Stomphowler or Conclave Naturalists, why not toss this in instead?

#6. Elenda's Hierophant

Elenda's Hierophant

This three-drop 1/1 flyer is the final card before the Top Five! This has two triggers. The first is a life gain one to toss a +1/+1 counter here on a flyer with evasion, that's awesome compared to Ajani's Pridemate. Then when this dies? Make free 1/1 dorks equal to its power, so base one. So this is clearly designed for one deck archetype, Life Gain, which is the third biggest archetype ever played, and it makes sense in +1/+1 counter decks that have the occasional lifelink dork or Commander or something that gains you life here and there like Akoum Refuge, and then if you have a Selesnya colored power matters build this would help there with things like Anthem effects. This is pretty strong!

#5. Admiral Brass, Unsinkable

Admiral Brass, Unsinkable

This Grixis five-drop 3/3 Human Pirate-matters Commander is my first card in the top ten! We'll have three Commander eligible dorks in a row! She has two abilities. The first is an ETB one, she mills you four. She's in Blue for blinkage and Black for recursion to mill multiple times. Then at the beginning of your combat you can return, for free, a Pirate from your graveyard to the battlefield but you'll put a finality counter on it so if it would die, it gets exiled. Then it gets haste and becomes a 4/4 beater. The self mill works with her built in reanimation! Note that her finality counter will come off if the Pirate heads elsewhere than to your graveyard like to your hand or blinking there too. Love this Commander loads! Pirates are a Top 20 Type at 17. I suspect that'll grow with her and the other stuff here in this set.

#4. Francisco, Fowl Marauder

Francisco, Fowl Marauder

Now let's turn to one Pirate matters Commander with Black in its color identity to another! This two-drop 0/1 flying Bird Pirate cannot block, and then when you deal combat damage to a foe with a Pirate, you explore here once for all of the damage dealt, and then that's just once per combat step unless you have one with double strike or at least two dorks one with first strike and one without.

Then as this explores you'll draw lands or toss +1/+1 counters on this to grow it over time, and did you note the word missing here? Yup, it's, "Other"! This will trigger itself. If you have a one-drop Pirate cast turn one, drop this turn two pre-combat and trigger it on the second turn! But here is why it's here, see that final word? Yup, this has partner!

#3. Pantlaza, Sun-Favored

Pantlaza, Sun-Favored

Starting in the first Ixalan Dinosaurs became a beloved and supported creature type! They are 10th in the Top Ten Ratings! This plays into that love with a five-drop Naya 4/4 with an ETB ability for her or other Dinosaurs. Once per turn you can get a free discover equal to its toughness. That's just so nasty! Sure, just once per turn, I get the brake, but that's still an amazing option. This leads a Commander deck from the set we are reviewing too, by the by. I adore this power so much in a Dinosaur deck, and who knows how high this bad Dino and the two other Naya Dino leaders in LCI could push this tribe. Generally, after a dork debuts with this sort of push, the numbers increase. Stephen built around this with a companion here. This is my top scoring Commander eligible dork in this set!

#2. Ripples of Potential

Ripples of Potential

Our highest-scoring spell, Blue card, and penultimate scoring card is this two-cost instant! You proliferate! Then you choose any number of things you tossed counters on, and then they phase out this turn. This is awesome in a few decks and ways! First, you can proliferate at instant speed in a deck that cares about counters like +1/+1 counters matter like a combat trick. Or you can proliferate and then give your planeswalkers a loyalty counter EOT and then use their ultimate people weren't expecting for another turn. Or you can use this defensively as an answer to removal either mass or targeted, chump blocking, or others. Since it phases out, it can save you from exiling removal like Farewell. It's pretty flexible and fun to play around!

#1. Altar of the Wretched // Wretched Bonemass

Altar of the Wretched

I love this transforming mono-Black artifact! Let's look at why! First, it's a three cost, with an ETB ability so you can drop it on the third turn. Then you can sacrifice a nontoken you control to draw cards equal to its power and mill that many too. Nasty card draw from decks that have the right fodder to sacrifice to draw a ton of cards or mill some stuff in sacrifice matters or mill decks which, as mentioned above, are very strong. Since this is an ETB ability, you can get it again with recursion and blink effects. You can drop this on turn three, sacrifice a two-drop artifact dork for two cards and two mills, sac it to Goblin Welder to swap for something you just milled or what you sacrificed, and then swap the sacrificed or milled card on turn four for this to keep.

Then you can spend three to recur it from your graveyard to your hand, awesome in just the front side, before crafting with four mana! Then after crafting, you get the X/X Skeleton Horror with power/toughness equal to the power of what was crafted. So that would win out of nowhere when combined with the milling. For example, imagine you sacrificed a few nasty cheap artifacts and dorks that have disadvantages like Phyrexian Dreadnaught or Rotting Regisaur. Draw a hand of stuff, mill massively, then craft at least 40 power and attack once to win the game! Then if what you crafted had evergreen keywords, this gets them too. From a win con to sacrifice and card draw fodder, this is just so good in all of the places! Ready fun to be launched?

And there are my Top Cards from the LCI Commander decks! I hope you enjoyed my deep dive!

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