Soon it's going to be time to invite your friends over and have an Ixa-LAN party!
Any shrewd Magic player is looking for the next breakout card. This isn't the stock market; it's the preview season Magic Market.
I Shaun McLaren, Expert of Finances, will be your guide. I'm here to give you the tips and tricks necessary to thrive in a competitive preview season. Move over, Chas Andres! I'm here to give you the steamiest, the craziest, the loudest tips about Ixalan. I'll tell you which cards are hot and which cards are not, what's worth sleeving and what's worth donating to the new players' pile after your Prerelease finishes.
Just when I had sunk a bunch of shares in Open Fire, it becomes obsolete! The market is crashing! I can't take this rollercoaster of emotions! It seemed like the Lightning Bolt economy would never turn around, but here we are. We can project Lightning Bolt to be reprinted by Q3 2018.
Especially good in Ramunap Red, since it can go face.
Verdict: Buy! (And then toss at your opponent's face.)
Jace has always been the flagship face of Magic, but never before has he been so flagship, now that he's actually on a ship with flags.
Jace has traditionally been a big player and blue-chip planeswalker, but times have changed. Jace stocks have taken a massive hit since Jace, the Living Guildpact irreparably damaged the once-illustrious Jace brand.
Back up a minute as I try to understand what's happening to Jace based on my limited knowledge of Magic lore and storylines. Why is Jace on a boat and assuming his new role as Captain Ziggy Stardust? Well, I'm not sure, but the only explanation I can think of is that Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh caused Jace to suffer a Jace's Defeat and Jace bumped his head and got amnesia and did what you do when you get amnesia, which is become a Pirate.
You only loot once no matter how many creatures you hit your opponent with? That seems like an unnecessary drawback on an already mediocre ability. Looting just isn't that great in the first place, and when you have to attack, leaving your planeswalker defenseless to get the benefit, the proposition gets even worse.
I think Jace, Cunning Castaway belongs in (or at least has a chance of fitting into) a really specific archetype, and this ability pretty much sums up what that archetype should be: tempo beats. I think it also sums up why I don't like this card, because I don't like the archetype. Who knows, though, maybe Merfolk and some sort of Mono-Blue Devotion deck are back on the menu.
This is a pretty poor middle ability. Spending three mana for a 2/2 Illusion and a planeswalker on one loyalty just doesn't seem like a good deal in many situations. Jace's subpar middle ability isn't just making this a bear market, he's making it a Phantasmal Bear market!
Playing Jace and immediately using his -2 is like being the little pig who built his house out of straw, because if your opponent so much as breathes, let alone huffs and puffs, they'll blow your battlefield position out.
It does make me wish for a simpler time when Electrolyze was legal to punish such shenanigans.
At least give the Illusion flying! Evasion would be perfect for the loot ability. It seems like Jace could've had some very minor tweaks to be upgraded, so maybe he's much better than he looks, but sometimes a weak card is just a weak card.
I think this ultimate is actually pretty good for the low price of a mere five loyalty.
What's better than one mediocre planeswalker? Two mediocre planeswalkers! Just plus for two turns and then copy Jace, Cunning Castaway and then plus those for two turns and then copy those and...
Jace goes absolutely mental with Doubling Season, giving you an arbitrarily large number of Jaces and an arbitrarily large number of Illusions. Excuse me, double that arbitrarily large number of Illusions, thanks to Doubling Season.
Doubling Season was already a solid holding for meme planeswalker decks, and that position only got better.
Adding another Jace to the already hyperinflated Jace market? I'm gonna be lucky to trade a Jace, the Mind Sculptor for a loaf of bread at this rate!
Stop forcing Jaces on us. We don't want them anymore! At least there's little chance of the prices of all these Jaces to explode in a speculative bubble, since no one wants them. If I wanted my planeswalker investments to bubble, I'd have invested in Kiora, the Crashing Wave.
Verdict: Sell all your Jaces! SELL THE IXALAN STORYLINE! SELL SELL SELL!
New planeswalker, who dis? Huatli? I've never heard of you or anyone like you before , ["La" means "fire." "Vos" means "big."--Ed.] and Huatli sounds like a repressed sneeze.
So Huatli is supposed to be a cheap Garruk knock-off that uses Dinosaurs instead of Beasts? I can't wait for their romantic storyline.
Garruk, Primal Hunter at least had the decency to increase his loyalty when he gives you a 3/3. The whole planeswalker sector is on the decline.
I've got a poem for you, Huatli, Warrior Poet:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Lifegain is bad,
And Huatli is too.
Look at that, I'm a poet and I wasn't even aware of it.
This ability is solid, but Huatli starts with a pretty low loyalty and it's hard to increase Huatli's loyalty without taking a turn off doing pretty much nothing. Creating a Dinosaur every turn is all well and good, but she will likely remain fragile for pretty much the entire time you control her.
This third ability is versatile and can help deliver a killing blow, but as straight removal it's not very good. How much play did Samut, the Tested see? You probably already forgot Samut, the Tested was even a card, that's how much. Huatli actually has a useful ability and Samut didn't, but Huatli also costs one more mana.
Huatli's abilities also don't really synergize well together either. Why bother making Dinosaurs with trample if your opponent's creatures can't block anyway?
Listen, Huatli, I like you, I do. You're interesting and make Dinosaurs, but I'm skeptical you have the raw power necessary to give me a solid return on investment.
Verdict: Pass on the Initial Planeswalker Offering, wait to buy if there's a deck for it, and then invest cautiously.
I think people are massively undervaluing this card, and it's one of my favorites, and possibly one of the best, previewed so far.
The big comparison point and argument against it is how good Cast Out is. Ixalan's Binding isn't instant speed and can't be cycled, which makes it much lower on the versatility scale, but I think its upside is massive.
Attaching a Cranial Extraction effect to a removal spell, one that can hit any nonland permanent, is not an effect we've really seen before. Well, we have, almost exactly, in Exclusion Ritual, but it cost six mana, which shows you how valuable this effect might be if that was the original price for it.
If Ixalan's Binding is left unchecked, it's even much better than a Cranial Extraction, since your opponent can draw more dead copies of the card you exiled that they can't cast.
Gideon's Intervention is similar, but terrible against planeswalkers, whereas Ixalan's Binding is an excellent answer to planeswalkers. It's good against legendary permanents in general, since your opponent can't have more than one on the battlefield, and then when you remove it with Ixalan's Binding, they can't cast any that were already stranded in their hand.
Verdict: Buy and hold! Don't cycle your shares of Cast Out either, since they can go in the same decks and might be better in the new Standard.
Ya-ha-har! Now we be talking!
If you've come to parley, you've to the right place.
Boneyard Parley only returns creatures, but other than that, the ball's in your court. You get to choose which pile o' bones you return, and you can even return your opponent's creatures. It could be used in grindy mirrors, or as a dedicated reanimator spell, albeit an expensive one.
Verdict: Grave Fact or Fiction is cool. Buy.
Interesting. Most people are way too afraid of random effects. Don't you know that chaos is a ladder? I think drawing three and discarding two is straight-up better than just drawing a card, especially when graveyard benefits are involved.
If we're looking at Rowdy Crew being a 5/5 approximately 20% of the time as a guess off the top of my head, that's not bad, since a 5/5 for four mana that draws you a card is some incredible value, and just as a 3/3 it ain't bad.
Verdict: Might look like a chaff mythic to some, but could end up being something. Risky pick of the day!
Kills Gods, kills planeswalkers, instant speed, gains life.
Nice solid removal that's going to pay dividends like an Utter End.
Verdict: Buy a little and add to your portfolio of decent four-drop removal spells that exile.
Dodges Hour of Devastation and beats Torrential Gearhulk in a fistfight.
Kind of unkillable. Kind of unstoppable. Kind of unbelievable.
It all depends on how the metagame shakes out, since this seems like a great answer to control decks or for the top-end of midrange mirrors.
Verdict: Sell! Buy! Sell! Buy? Sell! Good card, though.
Finally, a great answer to Aetherworks Marvel that we've all been waiting for.
I think it's time to gently begin offloading your Aetherworks Marvel stocks, since this could finally be the card that keeps the deck in check.
Aetherworks Marvel was banned?
Four months ago?!
My portfolio! I'm ruined!