Hello Planeswalkers! My name is Oblivion, and I'll be your helpful guide throughout as we explore cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan I think have a good shot at being played in Commander.
My Pick from Black: Souls of the Lost
Starting off with one of my favorite Black cards in LCI, we have Souls of the Lost. Why is this card so good?
- It has an incredibly inexpensive mana cost () for a creature that can get very large, very quickly.
- The additional cost to cast of discarding a card or sacrificing a permanent allows us to pitch permanent cards for our descend total.
The argument could be made that this creature is just a "worse" Tarmogoyf, but it can get far bigger off of permanents in your graveyard than Goyf can with a limited number of card types. We also have great synergy with permanent cards that trigger in your graveyard as well, like Mephitic Draught. All in all, I believe Souls of the Lost to be a great addition to any graveyard recursion/mill strategy. I do wish it had flying, though...
My Pick from White: Dauntless Dismantler
My pick for White has seen the rounds on social media and forums regarding the set, and I have incredibly high hopes for it in commander play - Dauntless Dismantler. I'm going to be honest with you all - I don't see ANY downside to this card.
- A mana cost allows us to get it into play early, even potentially on turn one.
- Artifacts for our opponents are entering tapped, but not ours!
- Paying and sacrificing it destroys each artifact with mana value X, a powerful ability that can be done at instant speed and has the potential to stop wins in their tracks.
- A toughness of 4 keeps us safe from dead on board Orcish Bowmaster pings.
For a self-proclaimed stax-obsessed heathen like myself, this card is a dream.
My Pick from Red: Poetic Ingenuity
My Red pick, Poetic Ingenuity, gives dinosaur fans an incredible advantage - make dinosaurs when you cast an artifact spell, and make treasures for how many dinosaurs you attack with. While the token creation only triggers once per turn, there are various ways that can spell danger to your opponents.
- Playing a card like Encroaching Mycosynth makes all of your nonland permanents on the battlefield, spells, and cards that aren't on the battlefield artifacts, so no matter what we are casting we are makin' a dino.
- Maskwood Nexus would make all of our creatures dinosaurs, even when they're in our library. We can also use its ability to make a shapeshifter token that is also a dinosaur.
- Displaced Dinosaurs makes all of our historic spells 7/7 dinosaurs... so if all of our spells are artifacts (which are all historic)...
- Sprinkle in some doubling effects like Parallel Lives or Doubling Season, and we now are making 2 3/1 dinosaurs from Poetic Ingenuity...
- And with Palani's Hatcher, all of our dinosaurs have haste, giving us lots of treasures to cast more dinosaurs, rinse, and repeat.
My Pick from Green: Poison Dart Frog
"Three words, say it, and I'm yours."
"Poison... dart... frog."
Poison Dart Frog has everything - mana OF ANY COLOR, reach, can give itself deathtouch, costs , AND it's a common. No notes. He's the best guy around.
My Pick from Blue: The Enigma Jewel
Blue has received multiple good cards in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. In fact, researching for this article has frankly made it hard to choose. Something that has caught my eye as being potentially dangerous (but very fun) is The Enigma Jewel // Locus of Enlightenment.
While the front side seems mid-tier as an artifact that enters the battlefield tapped and only taps for two colorless mana for ability activation, it's the backside that rings alarm bells in my head. For , you exile The Enigma Jewel and four OR MORE non lands with activated abilities. Then it comes back to the battlefield transformed Cinderella style as Locus of Enlightenment.
Locus of Enlightment has EACH activated ability of the exiled cards used to craft it. You can activate each of those abilities only once each turn, BUT if the ability is not a mana ability, copy it. The first thing that comes to mind here is DOUBLE Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy activations. With a deck that makes an inordinate amount of mana, the craft cost doesn't seem worrying. Having an outlet to "do the thing" twice is crazy. The same could be said for Thrasios, Triton Hero activations as well. While I am not a Kinnan authority (and frankly, not a great pilot of the deck), I see this card potentially having a place. There are likely many other use cases, but I always go back to that beautiful bonder prodigy from Ikoria.
My Colorless Pick: Tarrian's Soulcleaver
Similar to Blue, Colorless received a lot of wins in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Chimil, the Inner Sun saw a lot of buzz on social media. While this card is pretty dang great, I think there's another colorless artifact that is being slept on: Tarrian's Soulcleaver. For to cast and to equip, this equipment artifact grants the creature it is equipped to vigilance. This is a great feature, but not the star of the show. The real greatness lies in the rest of the text.
"Whenever another artifact or creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on equipped creature."
At first glance, it doesn't appear powerful, but don't be deceived!
- The text does not specify Nontoken, so all of your treasures, clues, maps, and any creature tokens will trigger the ability.
- Creatures are seeing significantly more non-exile removal in an Orcish Bowmasters meta that thrives on pinging off problematic creatures.
- With the bargain mechanic from Wilds of Eldraine as well as some of the additional costs seen on The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, creatures and artifacts can easily see the graveyard much more.
- Slap this bad boy on your commander and wipe out your opponents!
While there are many amazing cards printed for various formats in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, these cards are the ones I have selected as having the potential to see the most play in the Commander format. I am looking forward to seeing how these cards perform over time. The real question is, did my choices hit the mark?