THE MANA DORK – Ixalan FAQ!
Ixalan is here! Dinosaurs, pirates, vampires, merfolk, strong narrow answers, excellent graveyard hate, Opt in Modern, “Gaea’s Cradle” in Modern—it’s everything we want!
(… you have no idea how hard it was not to just submit 800 words of roaring and stomping around for this article… )
Now, for the past few sets, what I’ve done is run down the mechanics and a couple of suggested synergies for Sealed play, to help prep you for the Pre-Releases.
But there’s lots of places online that do that better than I ever could—you’ve got Luis Scott-Vargas’s Limited reviews for ChannelFireball (white, blue, black, red, green, gold/artifacts/lands), you’ve got the usual prep articles put up by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and _____________, and so much more.
So instead, what I’m going to do is answer some questions in advance. We’re going to do an Ixalan FAQ here on the Mana Dork, and hopefully save you some precious time.
So! To the Ixalan FAQ!
Admiral Beckett Brass—Note than when her second ability triggers, all it cares about is that Admiral Beckett Brass is on the battlefield during your end step and that, at some point, an opponent took combat damage from at least three different Pirate creatures. So you can cast the Admiral during your second main phase and get the trigger—even if the other three Pirates are dead.
Arguel’s Blood Fast—The transformation is a “may” ability. You can keep the Greed/Erebos effect around if you want. And frankly, I would. Two mana and two life for a card at instant speed? Yes, please!
Bellowing Aegisaur (Ravenous Daggertooth, Sun-Crowned Hunters)—Because of the way triggered abilities work, anything that would cause a Dinosaur to die or you to lose the game as a result of combat damage will happen before these abilities could save you. It’s ironic, really. These Dinosaurs can’t save each other, or themselves. My prequel memes fail me, I guess. [Editor’s side note, with two Bellowing Aegisaurs and a Walking Balista you do have an infinite combo in your hands ;)]
Bloodcrazed Paladin—Since tokens do go to the graveyard before they vanish, this guy will count tokens that died this turn along with non-token creatures still in the yard. Don’t miss out on those extra few counters!
Conqueror’s Galleon // Conqueror’s Foothold—Two things about this bad boy. First, if it dies in combat, it won’t transform. Second, it transforms the same way the planeswalkers did in Magic Origins—by exiling itself and then returning transformed. This means it comes back untapped. Govern your Foothold accordingly.
Deadeye Plunderers—Remember that damage stays marked on a creature until end of turn. If you block with these scallywags and then sacrifice Treasure tokens for mana, their toughness goes down—and they might die!
Fathom Fleet Captain—It’s a triggered ability, not an activated ability. Because of the way triggered abilities work, you can only do this once per combat (as awesome as it would be to just summon as many Pirates as you have mana!).
Hostage Taker—FUNCTIONAL ERRATA—The printed card looks like it can infinitely flicker itself. However, it has received functional errata. The first sentence now reads: When Hostage Taker enters the battlefield, exile another target creature or artifact until Hostage Taker leaves the battlefield.
Kitesail Freebooter—Note that if this is destroyed or exiled before its ETB ability resolves, the opponent will reveal their hand, but exile nothing.
Makeshift Munitions—No, you can’t sacrifice a Treasure to pay for both the mana cost AND the “Sacrifice an artifact or creature” cost. I know, it’s a pain. I sure wanted to.
Rowdy Crew—I see it all the time with Brainstorm, so I’m going to call it out here on the Ixalan FAQ, too: you can’t cast an instant-speed spell you draw off of Rowdy Crew before you have to discard. The drawing and the discarding are all part of the same ability, and nothing can happen in between (as much as we might want it to).
Shapers’ Sanctuary—FYI, because of how the stack works, if you draw a counterspell thanks to the Sanctuary’s ability and the thing targeting your creature is a spell (for example, Walk the Plank), you can counter it with your counterspell before it hits your creature!
Spell Swindle—Most of the time, when we look at a spell with X in the cost, X is considered to be 0. But when a card with an X-cost is on the stack, X is whatever the opponent paid for it. So Spell Swindle will count the X-value of the spell on the stack, along with its CMC, when you’re figuring out how many Treasure tokens you get.
Tilonalli’s Skinshifter—Because of how triggered abilities and declaring attacks work, Tilonalli’s Skinshifter won’t copy another creature in time to copy its attack trigger as well. Among other things, this means that unfortunately, you can’t instantly mill an opponent by swinging with both Tilonalli’s Skinshifter and Fleet Swallower. (But man, that would be sweet. Remind me to build a deck with Fleet Swallower and Fraying Sanity… )
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Hope you enjoyed the Ixalan FAQ and are ready for release weekend! We have drafts on Friday at noon & 3:30 pm, on Saturday at noon & 4:00 pm, and on Sunday at 2:00 pm! We also have Sealed going on Friday at 6:30 pm!
… but remember, there’s still events happening even if you aren’t interested in Pirates vs. Dinosaurs Magic action! This Saturday is our Legendary Game Night and Sunday is the Netrunner Monthly!
See you at the store!
Jesse Mackenzie is a regular STOMP ROAR STOMP STOMP BITE GNASH STOMP. STOMP ROAR ROOOOAAAAARRRRRRRR STOMP STOMP STOMP his column about all things Magic!