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THE LAST ONE! Today we got ourselves Green and everything else under The Immortal Sun! So, get yourself ready! BUT FIRST!
I will not be reviewing cards that I believe will not see play in Standard. For example, cards like Divine Verdict and Imperial Ceratops will be omitted since they are just Limited cards and me saying, “This is just a Limited card” repeatedly gets old rather fast. Don’t worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.
Keep in mind I’m rating all these cards for Standard playability. I will also mention Modern applications if I believe the card has any.
RATING — Explanation — Standard Examples
0 — Will never see play in Standard. (0 ratings are not listed).
1 — Unlikely to see play. (Dubious Challenge)
5 — Standard all-star. When building a deck, you keep this card in mind. If you’re playing this color you have this card in your main deck or at the very least, in your sideboard. (The Scarab God, Hazoret the Fervent, Chandra, Torch of Defiance)
|3 — This card is going to be a staple in the Merfolk deck. It's like a Merfolk lord early on; and, when it dies, it will still leave an impact on your other Merfolk.|
|3 — I did not get on the hype train for Carnage Tyrant, I thought the card was fine, but I had no idea why it was so pricey when it first came out. Ghalta, on the other hand, I really like. She can come down as early as turn four or five and she threatens to end the game extremely fast. Especially if you're curving here from Regisaur Alpha. The best part about Ghalta is that you don't even need to play here in a dinosaur deck, just good in your midrange Green deck if you have large creatures.|
|2.5 — Another 1-drop that Merfolk can play if they decide to. Merfolk has access to twelve 1-drop creatures and a bunch of other good Merfolk cards making it the clear best tribe out of Rivals of Ixalan. I would expect Merfolk to be a Tier one deck. Especially after the banning of Rogue Refiner.|
|3.5 — Jadelight Ranger doesn't completely fill the hole that was left when Rogue Refiner got banned, but it's not insanely far off. Jadelight Ranger is an excellent card in many decks, Merfolk and otherwise. This Merfolk is great alongside Winding Constrictor, Liliana, Death's Majesty, and is just a card you should consider if you're playing Green.|
|3 — I'm a huge fan of Jungleborn Pioneer because it curves so well after you play Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca or Deeproot Elite. This should be a staple in the Merfolk decks.|
|2 — Nothing fancy, we've seen this card plenty of times and it will continue to see tons of Sideboard play. Naturalize is a welcome addition to any Standard environment.|
|1.5 — You're going to feel silly playing this card when your opponent plays Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Hazoret the Fervent, Ravenous Chupacabra, or Refurbish. Don't do it to yourself!|
|2 — Another solid Sideboard card if you need to kill an annoying creature with flying like Glorybringer.|
|2 — Everybody, get in here! A cute combo with Forerunner of the Empire that can give you a total of eight of raptors if my math is right. You'll have to skip one trigger when you get your third Polyraptor token onto the battlefield. If you want to get silly you can throw in Heroic Intervention to get as mana Polyraptors and enrage triggers as you like. Clever girl indeed!|
|2 — Merfolk are going to want to be as aggressive as possible. I'd max fully on Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca before even entertaining the idea of playing a Swift Warden. Even then I'd rather play Jungleborn Pioneer and Jadelight Ranger. I don't want to hold mana up for a possible removal spell. I'd rather just put all my Merfolk on the battlefield and protect them with countermagic or an Unsummon.|
|2 — Listen, I understand this thing makes tokens on every upkeep. But have you seen its booty? It's very small and a Shock or Magma Spray can kill it. I don't know about you but I don't want my 5-drop dying to a one cost removal spell. Even worse is if your opponent kills it and then reanimates it with The Scarab God . . . Yikes! It’s no Whisperwood Elemental but I’m sure Dominaria will have Saporlings. I’d keep an eye on this card. I do like it out of the Sideboard.|
|2.5 — Welcome back Qasali Pridemage, have you been working out? While I don't expect this card to replace Qasali Pridemage or Reclamation Sage in Modern, it's a very good card to have in Standard. I like it more than Appetite for the Unnatural, especially if I can recur it with The Scarab God or Liliana, Death's Majesty.|
|2.5 — This isn't as good as you want it to be. You'll need to run thirteen dinosaurs for it to be consistently a Rampant Growth. I'd rather just run Drover of the Mighty or Otepec Huntmaster because the games you do have to cast this for 3 mana it's really going to suck. Especially since you could've just been casting Spring // Mind instead.|
|2 — A thre mana 5/5! Except it's a 5/5 when it's not very relevant. By the time you have the City's Blessing Wayward Swordtooth's body is no longer impressive. If you want a dinosaur to ramp in your deck, I highly recommend Ranging Raptors over Wayward Swordtooth.|
|2 — Splendid Reclamation in creature form. If you're really wanting the Splendid Reclamation affect You're going to want to control it and you can't really with World Shaper. I don't expect this Merfolk to be making much of a splash in Standard.|
Top 3 Green Cards
Jadelight, while not as good as Rogue Refiner, will fill its spot in some decks. Ghalta is going to smash plenty of people in the face and Deeproot Elite is a great card for Merfolk. Green continues to have some of the best cards in Standard.
TO THE RAINBOW!
|2 — Angrath reminds me a lot of Liliana Vess. Overall, I think he’s better since he can protect himself with his minus ability. Traditional isn’t the best color combination for a planeswalker or even grindy cards. The Scorpion God is an excellent grindy card but sees no play. Angrath is good enough to fit into a midrange or some sort of control shell, the hard part is just finding that deck.|
|2 — A mana creature that costs three isn’t exciting at all, especially since they come down so late and are susceptible to removal. Perfect example is Weaver of Currents. Atzocan Seer is a little different though since you can counter your opponent’s removal spell to regrow a dinosaur. This results in you gaining card advantage and that’s why I think there is hope for Atzocan Seer. Just need to find the right dino deck for our human druid friend!|
|2.5 — HE BRINGS DA LAW! Sphinx's Revelation on a creature? Don’t mind if I do, even if it is at Sorcery Speed. You’ll just need to activate the ability one or two times to win the game. He competes with Torrential Gearhulk, but I still believe Azor will see definitely play in Standard. Torrential Gearhulk doesn’t slot in to in the Cycle deck or even Approach decks. Azor does and he can even just be played in a Bant midrange deck.|
|2 — I overlooked this creature at first but she’s pretty good in a tokens shell or just out of the Sideboard as a life gain creature. If you’re in the colors she’s a nice addition to Regal Caracal. If you’re playing a token strategy, Elenda can be good there as well.|
|2 — We’re movin’ on up to east side! At least Hadana Banana is. Hadana's Climb is easy enough to flip in Merfolk, and it’s a card that deck should keep in mind. It’s great in attrition matchups or matchups where the ground is cloaked (tokens.) A couple activations of this think will easily end the game.|
|2 — Speaking of tokens, Huatli is here to draw your entire deck if you’re playing tokens. Huatli can easily ultimate the turn after she comes into play in Abzan tokens. I expect that is where she’ll first see play. Bant tokens is where I’d like to see her. A deck where her plus ability can give a Slither Blade or Mist-Cloaked Herald +5/+5 to end the game while other tokens can protect Huatli and you.|
|2 — I love this card so much, so so much. The only problem is The Scarab God just does want this wants to do but so much better. The Scarab God doesn’t even have to flip and can reanimate things from any graveyard at instant speed. I want to play this in a Sultai deck but I feel like I’m doing myself a disservice if I play it over The Scarab God. Especially since we have no effortless way to flip in Standard outside of Walking Ballista, which doesn’t play well with Journey to Eternity.|
|3.5 — This card is great, and every Merfolk deck should be playing 3-4 of him. I honestly would just jam four because he does everything you want and the first one will most likely just die. Kumena is such a unique lord, he does so much more than just give your team +1/+1. He lets you draw cards, gives creatures unblockable, and grows all your Merfolk. MVP!|
|1.5 — Vampire lord is vampire lord. It’s ranked lower than Merfolk Mistbinder because Vampires are nowhere near as strong as Merfolk.|
|2.5 — While it doesn’t give your other Merfolk, Islandwalk like Merfolk lords of the past did, it doesn’t need to. It’s still good enough and Merfolk will jam the full playset of Mistbinders in their decks.|
|2 — Keep on rockin’! Path of Mettle is here, and you can rock out with your . . . Socks out! Path of Mettle is an excellent card against token strategies. It’s also a very cheap flip card, look at Search for Azcanta. A Boros deck should emerge from this card if we have enough creatures with the keywords it needs.|
|2 — A super slow card but it’s powerful. I would play at least one of these in the Sideboard of my control or midrange deck if I was in . Exiling Gods at instant speed is where I want to be in life, especially since I can bring them back at instant speed later.|
|2 — Some people are getting hyped about this card, but I don’t see it. This is no Phantasmal Image or Phyrexian Metamorph. Is the draw that you can just play it as a 2/2 for three and it’s a pirate? No thank you.|
|2 — Boros hype! Path of Mettle hype! Dinosaur hype! If you haven’t noticed, I’m a fan of the Raptor. It’s not a Watchwolf but it’s close enough, and in some scenarios, it can be better.|
|1 — Not a Watchwolf. How is a dinosaur smaller than a wolf? Probably because the wolves from an awesome plane like Ravinica. Having to play your 2-drop and then needing to deal exactly one damage? I mean are you going to waste your turn three sacrificing your Walking Ballista to grow this creature and pray your opponent doesn’t have a Shock or Fatal Push? The payoff isn’t worth it. Just play Longtusk Cub instead.|
|2 — This card is powerful. The best mana sink for it is probably Whir of Invention or Pull from Tomorrow in Standard. As far as Modern or older formats go, Tolarian Academy is banned for a reason. I’m sure this will be in some sweet artifact deck!|
|2 — Zacamaya mama! Ramp decks haven’t had anything to ramp into for awhile, no they do. Zacama isn’t as oppressive as Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger but that’s all right. She brings a ton to the party. Another way to to play Zacama is alongside Liliana, Death's Majesty and just reanimate this Naya Dinosaur. I’m for sure going to build decks around Zacama, I’ve had a ramp itch ever sense we’ve lost Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.|
Top 3 Multicolored
If you weren’t convinced that Merfolk is a deck, you should be now. While I do think Zacama is playable in Standard, you must build around it and it’s not as easy as just jamming Azor and winning the game. Don’t worry, I’m still going to build around Zacama.
Finally the colorless cards and a land!
Artifacts & Lands
|1.5 — "The fools have done it." What have they done? I'm not exactly sure, ask Tishana. Probably play this card in Standard.|
|3 — I see so many people saying this card is unplayable in Standard. I understand Abrade is a card but you know Treasure Map already sees play right? Even with Abrade in the format. Looting is better than scrying and when this thing transforms, you're in for a real treat! Azor's Gateway will see play in Standard.|
|2 — I'm still a believer that the only playable tribe is Merfolk and possibly dinosaurs in Standard and Captain's Hook isn't the card that'll put Pirates on the (treasure) map.|
|2 — When this thing transforms into Gold-Forge Garrison you get a Sol land that adds any one color and it can make 4/4 golems. That's value, the problem is going to be flipping it. The best way to flip it early is to have it fight a deathtouch creature. You are two for oneing yourself if you do that. That also means you have to have both those creatures on the Battlefield. The only place I can think off where I'd want this is maybe a big Red deck where you can make your Golden Guardian fight Hazoret? Even then you already have Hazoret out, do you really need to flip this? A powerful card but it's just so awkward to play and hard to transform.|
|2.5 — This card is worth like twelve mana and plays well with The Locust God. If you can untap with this card, you're going to bury your opponent in everything. Just watch out for Abrade!|
|2 — I like this as an option for a ramp deck. The ability to just cycle it late game and gain some life is very appealing. Mind Stone is a very good card, and while this isn't as powerful as Mind Stone it's still good in the right deck.|
|2.5 — Tell The Scarab God to be quiet. No spells for Torrential Gearhulk. And no playing with artifacts in your house, no Refurbish allowed! A solid sideboard card, one that will see plenty of play.|
|2.5 — This is almost guaranteed to see play in any Hour of Promise deck. It would've been a lot better with Eldrazi a couple of sets ago but it will still be play in big mana decks or probably even two color control decks.|
Top 3 Artifact/Land
And that’s everything under the sun! BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Now that everything is done, let’s look at a top 10 list.
Top Ten cards of Rivals of Ixalan
Honorable mention goes to Tetzimoc, Primal Death. This is my top ten for Rivals of Ixalan, final answer Alex, lock it in! It’s going to be fun to go back after Dominaria comes out and see how right/wrong I was. Well folks, it’s been fun, but that’s all I got. Now I’m ready to start brewing with all these cards. For those of you that stuck through the entire thing, thank you, you the real MVPS. Make sure to tune in next week for some brews. I got some sweet ones running around in my head.
As always, thanks for reading,
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