Magic’s Lost Caverns of Ixalan set is a return to the dinosaur-hunted jungles of Ixalan, but it’s also a return to a theme Magic has played with before: the underworld. As lead designer Mark Rosewater mentioned in his Making Magic column, the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms dungeon cards presented one angle on underground exploration in card form, but The Lost Caverns of Ixalan tackles another, one with more focus on “resource acquisition.” and building/upgrading items.” To say the quiet part out loud: it’s loosely inspired by Minecraft.
That means there’s a Diamond Pick-Axe card and a new ability called Craft, which lets you transform artifacts into more powerful cards. There’s no “Mine” mechanic, but there is Descend, which triggers various effects when you discard to the graveyard, and Discover, which allows you to flip cards from your deck into exile until you find something with a set mana value that you then cast or put down. in your hand. The Explore mechanic from the original Ixalan set also returns, allowing you to draw a card and, if it’s a land, play it immediately, which is very thematic.
That’s all nice to evoke a survival crafting game where you wander around looking for things to upgrade your gear, but that’s not all there is to The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. There’s also a story about rival factions racing toward the core of Ixalan: Mesoamerican explorers riding tame dinosaurs, revolutionary pirates searching for treasure, vampire conquerors trying to awaken a bat god, and the fungal parasitic zombies of the Mycotyrant. Also, are there also newts and cats? It’s a colorful mix. There is a lot going on underground.
By playing the pirate-themed Commander deck called Ahoy Mateys, I amassed a thematically appropriate hoard of treasure tokens that I could trade for mana (at one point I had 14 of them stored away) and was able to make like Captain Barbossa and bring in my crew of return. the dead. That didn’t help when an opponent with the dinosaur-themed Veloci-RAMP-tor deck did as the name suggests and ramped up to the point where he dropped a 4/8 with indestructible (Zetalpa, Primal Dawn) followed by a 9. /9 far beyond the fighting capacity of my crew (Zacama, Primal Calamity). Well, someday I’ll win a game of Commander.
If you like dinosaurs, this set’s display crossover is with the Jurassic World series. This means that, as with the Transformers crossover in The Brother’s War, there is a chance for a Jurassic World card to appear in certain physical booster packs (collector boosters and collector boosters). Yes, this means that Jeff Goldblum and Samuel L. Jackson now appear in Magic: The Gathering. I love them both.
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan launched digitally in Magic: The Gathering Arena on November 14 and will be available in tabletop Magic on November 17.
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