Ixalan Review – White Cards

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Hi everyone.  Welcome to the first article in my series of reviews of the cards in the upcoming Ixalan expansion.  Today we’ll be taking a look at all of the White cards.  In this article, I will discuss these cards as they relate to Standard play.  My system uses number ratings ranging from 0 – 5 to gauge how well I think the cards will perform Standard play.  I will offer some pros and cons for these cards and give my thoughts and rating on the card for Standard play.  Please keep in mind that these ratings are based on my opinion only and may differ from your opinion.  (If you have a different opinion, please sound off in the Comments section below and let me know your thoughts.)

How My Rating System Works

5.0:  Format All-Star.  This card is a total Bomb card.  For those that aren’t familiar with this term, it basically means this card will win you the game if left unchecked for a turn or two.  These cards tend to be hard to defend against and can turn a game around in a hurry.  Some cards that are bombs in limited may only be a mediocre card in constructed play.  This card will see a lot of play in top tier tournament decks or will be the lynchpin of a top tier deck.

4.0:  Above Average Card.  This card is great.  It can be played in multiple decks and will have an impact on the game every time.  These cards can change a game quickly, get you back in the game, or shift the tempo of the game.  These cards are usually vulnerable to some type of removal (or are a removal spell themselves), but they make up the majority of cards found in major tournament decks.  This card will be a good support card in a top tier tournament deck.

3.0:  Average Card.  These are generally good cards, and many of them will be the majority of cards found in a tribal deck.  Cards in this category are usually similar to other (higher-ranked) cards but cost 1 mana more or have a drawback in some manner.  In Limited play, these are the majority of your deck.  This card will likely be in a fair number of top tier tournament decks and will generally be interchangeable with other similarly-rated cards.

2.0:  Niche Card.  These cards serve are very narrow function and are usually meant for your sideboard.  They could be removal spells that only remove 1 type of card, or cards with mediocre stats that have an ability that helps against opponents playing a certain color or strategy.  In Limited play, these cards are put in your deck if you have no other options and need the card to reach your 40-card minimum deck size.  For Constructed play, you will rarely play this card unless it’s from your sideboard or you want to be “cute”.  This card will only be seen in select decks that are usually trying to play around with a specific ability or in tribal decks.

1.0:  Will Rarely See Play.  The worst of the worst.  These cards are rarely played (if they’re played at all).  These cards generally have bad stats, cost too much mana, or have basically no impact on the game when they’re played.  Overall stay away from this card if possible.  This card will likely not see any tournament play.

And now, on to the cards…

 

Adanto Vanguard

Adanto Vanguard

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card has a lot of potential to be a good piece of removal, as long as you have a way to buff it up and have plenty of life to spare.  I could see situations where this could be good, but you’ll definitely have to work for it.

 

Ashes of the Abhorrent

Ashes of the Abhorrent

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  There aren’t a whole ton of spells that can be cast from or have abilities that can be activated from the graveyard, but this card will be a great sideboard card to use against them.  Sorry Scrapheap Scrounger, but your days are numbered.  And the incidental lifegain is great for Vampire and Crested Sunmare decks.

 

Axis of Mortality

Axis of Mortality

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While this may be good in Commander, I just don’t see it finding a place in Standard.  It reminds me a bit of Tree of Perdition, and that card simply wasn’t a contender.

 

Bellowing Aegisaur

Bellowing Aegisaur

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a card I can get behind.  It blocks very well, which buffs your whole team.  Also, the combo it has with Walking Ballista means that your entire team can become huge in no time.  The real limiting factor is the 6 mana cost this card has, which might not be too much of a problem in this Standard format.

 

Bishop of Rebirth

Bishop of Rebirth

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The ability to bring creatures back from the dead is no joke, so I like this mini-Sun Titan a lot.  And even though this can only get back creatures (instead of any permanent with CMC 3), this card is likely to be played quite a bit.  It requires a bit of consideration when building your deck, but it’s worth it.

 

Bishop’s Soldier

Bishop’s Soldier

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s another card well-suited to be in a Vampire or Crested Sunmare deck.  It’s stats are good for it’s cost, and the lifelink is a nice ability.

 

Bright Reprisal

Bright Reprisal

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This removal card is meant for Limited play, as it’s too narrow and too expensive to see any play in Standard.

 

Demystify

Demystify

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a nice reprint, but it’s a little too narrow to see much play unless it’s from the sideboard.  In that event, it’s a well-costed answer to an opponent’ troubling enchantment.

 

Duskborne Skymarcher

Duskborne Skymarcher

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Infantry Veteran was a card I played from time to time, and it was okay if slightly underwhelming.  This card is similar, but much more narrow and costs you 1 mana each time you use it.  It’s not likely to see any Standard play.

 

Emissary of Sunrise

Emissary of Sunrise

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  So a 2/1 with first strike for 3 mana isn’t that great, but a 3/2 with first strike for 3 mana seems pretty good.  I’m betting that exploring will end up being much better than it looks on paper, so I think this card will be a nice addition to Standard and should see some play.

 

Encampment Keeper

Encampment Keeper

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card gets outclassed pretty quickly, but there are enough X/1 creatures in Standard that this has a little potential to see play.  And, if you get to 8 mana, the bump this can provide to the rest of your team could be just what you need to pull out a victory.  I wouldn’t count on that happening a lot, but it will be nice that 5% of the time that it does.

 

Glorifier of Dusk

Glorifier of Dusk

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While a 4/4 for 5 mana isn’t a great return on your investment, the abilities this card can provide make Glorifier of Dusk a decent card to include in a Standard deck.

 

Goring Ceratops

Goring Ceratops

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While I’m giving this 3 stars, I do have some reservations about this card.  Mainly, the fact that this only has a 3 toughness.  Since there’s a ton of cards that deal 3 damage to creatures, hopefully your opponent has used all of theirs on your earlier creatures so this can live long enough to give your whole team double strike.  It also costs 7 mana, which can be tough to achieve.

 

Imperial Aerosaur

Imperial Aerosaur

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s another decent creature that suffers from only having 3 toughness in a format with a lot of 3-damage spells.  At least it provides a bonus when it enters the battlefield.

 

Imperial Lancer

Imperial Lancer

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  If this manages to see play, I expect it will be in a dedicated dinosaur deck.  There, it will be adequate, but nothing special.  Unless you have a way to buff it’s power.  In that case, it could be good.

 

Inspiring Cleric

Inspiring Cleric

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I suppose in a Vampire deck, this could see some play, but normally a 3/2 for 3 mana isn’t what you want in Standard.  The incidental lifegain is nice for those Vampire effects and Crested Sunmare, though.

 

Ixalan’s Binding

Ixalan’s Binding

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I expect this card will see a bit of play.  It’s better than Cast Out, but I’d probably run a mixture of both in my deck so I can Cast Out my opponent’s Ixalan’s Binding which has targeted my own copy of Ixalan’s Binding.

 

Kinjalli’s Caller

Kinjalli’s Caller

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  So, when you combine this card with Oketra’s Monument, all of your white dinosaurs cost 2 less generic mana.  Seems like the starting place for a new deck archetype to me.  In fact, this works pretty well with Hazoret’s Monument and Rhonas’s Monument too.  Let the brewing begin!

 

Kinjalli’s Sunwing

Kinjalli’s Sunwing

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I’ve seen the crippling effect Authority of the Consuls can have on Ramunap Red decks, so having another card with the ability to make my opponent’s creatures enter tapped seems good to me.  It does suffer from only having a 3 toughness, but I still think this will see quite a bit of play.

 

Legion Conquistador

Legion Conquistador

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  So, I could see playing this in conjunction with Oketra’s Monument in order to flood the board with small creatures.  The only problem is that I have a board full of 2/2 and 1/1 creatures.  Needs a way to buff up all of your creatures, and I have a feeling adding Decoction Module and Fabrication Module to this deck would make things a bit too slow.

 

Legion’s Judgment

Legion’s Judgment

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card is far from perfect, but I can see this getting a decent amount of play, especially from the sideboard.  Of course, it would be better if this were an instant, but then it would cost more than 3 mana.

 

Looming Altisaur

Looming Altisaur

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This dinosaur is best friends with Belligerent Brontodon, but outside of a deck with both of them in it, I wouldn’t look for this guy to make much of a splash in Standard.

 

Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle

Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The fact that you never have to attack with this guy in order to get a Vampire token is what makes him worthwhile.  All of the reward with none of the risk.  He’ll definitely help enable those new Vampire decks to be able to spend their life points to gain interesting abilities that will help lead to your doom.

 

Paladin of the Bloodstained

Paladin of the Bloodstained

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The nice part of this card is that you get 4 points of power spread across 2 creatures for 4 mana.  The bad part is that each of those creatures has such low toughness that they practically die to anything.  And there are an awfully lot of sweeper cards from the Amonkhet block.

 

Pious Interdiction

Pious Interdiction

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I’m doubtful that this will see any Standard play, but if it does it will almost certainly be in a deck looking for lifegain.

 

Priest of the Wakening Sun

Priest of the Wakening Sun

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Don’t take my low score for this card to mean that I don’t like it.  On the contrary, I can see all kinds of ways to abuse the lifegain you can repeatedly get with this card.  But the measly 1 toughness means that it’ll be tough keeping this alive long enough to actually gain much life.

 

Pterodon Knight

Pterodon Knight

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  In a tribal Dinosaur deck, this knight has a home.  Otherwise, it’s likely to be homeless in Standard.

 

Queen’s Commission

Queen’s Commission

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While it’s a bit pricey, if you have a way to boost the stats on your team, creating these 2 tokens could be nice.  It’s likely that it only sees play in tribal Vampire decks, though.

 

Rallying Roar

Rallying Roar

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  It’s tough to imagine a scenario where you’ve attacked with your creatures and they survived combat so that you can play this in order to surprise your opponent.  I don’t see this getting any plan in Standard.

 

Raptor Companion

Raptor Companion

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Hey, look.  A low-CMC dinosaur.  While a 3/1 for 2 mana isn’t great, this is a nice way to get an early dinosaur in play for those cards that trigger from having one on the battlefield.

 

Ritual of Rejuvenation

Ritual of Rejuvenation

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I have a feeling this will see more play than you’d think it would.  The gaining 4 life is okay, but for me the real draw is being able to draw a card by using only white mana.

 

Sanguine Sacrament

Sanguine Sacrament

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The amount of mana needed to gain any substantial amount of life is what makes this a bad card.  If you want a better return on your investment, play Oketra’s Last Mercy (but don’t, because that card’s not good either).

 

Settle the Wreckage

Settle the Wreckage

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s another card that’s not good, but I can see a situation where casting it isn’t a total disaster.  ‘Wrath to Exile’ feels like it could be good, but generally giving your opponent ‘free’ lands from their deck that they can use to cast more powerful cards with is a bad thing.  And, you’re making it more likely that they’ll draw those powerful spells since you’ve removed lands from their deck leaving them with more chances to draw the gas they need.  The only time I could see playing this is if your opponent attacks with all of their creatures in order to deal lethal damage to you and you could reduce their life to 0 next turn if you attack.

 

Sheltering Light

Sheltering Light

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This isn’t the kind of card that most people will like, but I happen to like it quite a bit.  There’s a lot of 3-damage spells in the format, and this can protect an important creature of yours from being taken out of action.  I also like this in conjunction with Crested Sunmare as a means of protecting your token maker.

 

Shining Aerosaur

Shining Aerosaur

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  There’s nothing fancy to see here, but this could get some love in the tribal Dinosaur decks.

 

Skyblade of the Legion

Skyblade of the Legion

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is another card that screams ‘meh’ to me, but could see play in a tribal Vampire deck.  It could serve as a decent blocker early on, but the low power it has means that most of the threats it blocks will keep coming back in the future.

 

Slash of Talons

Slash of Talons

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While the cost of this card is great, the effect seems a little too low for it to see any play in Standard.  Especially once you get to the late game.

 

Steadfast Armasaur

Steadfast Armasaur

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This dinosaur has a pretty neat ability.  In order for an opponent’s creature to be completely immune to dying when it blocks or becomes blocked by this card, it would need to have a 5 toughness.  That makes Steadfast Armasaur a very effective blocker indeed.

 

Sunrise Seeker

Sunrise Seeker

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Even though I really like the explore mechanic, I wouldn’t look for this card to see much play.  If you happen to hit a land when exploring, it’s a real feel-bad moment for you after paying 5 mana for your 3/3 vigilant creature.

 

Territorial Hammerskull

Territorial Hammerskull

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  In an aggressive deck, I really like this card.  It does get a little outclassed the longer the game goes, but the first few turns he’s out can be difficult for your opponent when it comes to blocking.

 

Tocatli Honor Guard

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  There’s a lot of enter the battlefield abilities, and this soldier nullifies them all.  This will most certainly see a lot of play and will probably become a staple in Standard.  It suffers from the 3 toughness problem that many creatures suffer from, but that won’t stop this card from seeing play.

 

Vampire’s Zeal

Vampire’s Zeal

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Combat tricks aren’t usually a big part of Standard.  This has just enough fringe-playability to see some use in tribal Vampire decks, but I don’t think it’ll see play anywhere else.

 

Wakening Sun’s Avatar

Wakening Sun’s Avatar

Rating:  5.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is truly a dinosaur to write home about.  While it may cost 8 mana to cast, against any non-dinosaur decks once you play it, it’s likely to be game over within a turn or two.

 

Legion’s Landing / Adanto, the First Fort

Legion’s LandingAdanto, the First Fort

Rating:  4.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I think this card will definitely see a lot of play.  For 1 mana, you get a 1/1 with lifelink.  That’s a great return already, but imagine having a hand where you have a couple of these.  Since they’re legendary you can only have 1 in play, so this is a lot like Oath of Nissa was.  You’ll keep playing them in order to get the effect.  Then, once you can attack with 3 creatures, you are able to create a steady stream of 1/1 Vampires for 4 mana each turn.

 

Wrap-Up

And those are my thoughts on the White cards in Ixalan.  What do you think of my assessment?  Let me know by leaving a comment, or by contacting me on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg) or by emailing me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.

And be sure to come back tomorrow for part two of my Standard review of Ixalan.  I’ll be taking a look at the Blue cards and I hope you’ll join me.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes

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Mike Likes

Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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