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I'll admit, I was initially skeptical of Ixalan, but the previews continue to make me happy. None of the tribes really appeal to me, but thankfully there are some incredible reprints coming:
Slice in Twain is another reprint, but one that's far less exciting. I mean, I'll probably put it in my sideboard at some point, but I'm not excited about it.
Duress is a card I've wanted access to for a while and would have gone a long way toward Aetherworks Marvel not taking over. Even if it's giving you a tool to fight midrange and control, Duress is going to put in some work in the coming months (assuming those decks exist). Granted, the midrange decks might be more creature-centric than usual thanks to the powerful Dinosaurs rampaging around.
While similar to Duress, I imagine Spell Pierce is going to be seen far less. It goes dead sooner and there used to be fewer decks that could use a Spell Pierce than a Duress. Maybe that changes with Pirates and Merfolk, but we'll see. Both of those archetypes could end up utilizing Spell Pierce alongside other tempo tools like Unsummon.
Opt is the card I'm least sure about how often it will show up and where. Obviously it could slot into control decks, but I don't know how much better it is than playing the Hieroglyphic Illuminations they were already playing in those spots. Time has shown us how powerful filtering cantrips can be, though, and this time shouldn't be any different. It's probably correct to play some amount of both.
The real question is whether it's correct to play Opt in something like U/G Merfolk, because I know that people are going to default to it. If the Merfolk decks end up incorporating Deeproot Champion, then Opt certainly has a place, but if they end up resembling Modern Merfolk lists, Opt won't cut it.
My biggest concern is that, despite previous cantrips (Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain) being incredibly powerful, people are going to overreact to having a legal cantrip and always try to start their decks with four copies, even though it might not be correct. Cantrips are great for filtering through your deck at a small cost, but there's a time and a place. Seeing which decks end up using Opt effectively is going to be interesting. I look forward to learning more about how cantrips can and should slot into various decks.
Other than exciting reprints, Ixalan has four tribes that all look to be well-supported, and we're not even halfway through the set yet! So far, the Vampires look weak, Pirates look enticing but maybe a little weak, and the Merfolk seem like they all tell you to do different things. Meanwhile, the Dinosaurs are straightforward, and they look awesome.
The real hero of Ixalan is going to be Ripjaw Raptor.
Midrange green decks have historically needed some sort of bridge between their early-game and their late-game. Previous iterations, Courser of Kruphix and Tireless Tracker, have far exceeded expectations. They were effectively green Divinations that also happened to add to your battlefield presence. If your draw was land-light or land-heavy, it didn't matter; either way, Courser and Tracker were going to help smooth your draws out.
Ripjaw Raptor is going to serve the same purpose, except it's going to be better than those other two cards.
Here are some combos:
Ripjaw Raptor is going to draw you a card or two per game on average, but most of the work is going to be done by yourself. If you're facing down an opposing Ripjaw Raptor, you're going to do everything in your power to not trigger the enrage ability. I did a cursory search for additional things that pinged creatures, but mostly came up short. Dynavolt Tower was the closest thing to reasonable, but even that seems sketchy.
Having a 4/5 body is huge too. There are many popular cards that deal four damage, and having it naturally ignore some of the most commonly played removal is a wonderful trait. Not only that, but four power tends to kill people very quickly. Is your opponent going to want to chump block this thing? I'm guessing not, but neither option is appealing.
It's also worth noting that Ripjaw Raptor doesn't need any sort of combo to be powerful. The text on the card does that by itself. However, if you find yourself in a late-game situation with a Walking Ballista, I guarantee you won't be disappointed. If you wanted to, you could even try to cycle your own damage-based removal spells on it.
Let's look at some decklists.