Know Yourself: The Plunders of Ixalan!


Hello everyone, and welcome to this very exciting edition of know yourself! While i certainly am no warrior poet, today, I will be letting loose all of my brewing potential to bring you fresh, new, interesting deck lists straight from my wierd and brew-filled brain. I always get so excited about the new cards in the set, I get brewing almost immediately. I think of what cards are good, bad, great, build arounds, updates, you name it. This is by far the most exciting time in magic for someone like me, just getting their hands on all the new powerful cards makes me giddy. So strap in, and get ready for some potential decks for you in future standard!

Now here I would update my previous standard decklist, but I have been pretty set on playing pummeler for the past standard season. It was everything I wanted: proactive, powerful, and good against the combo and midrange decks that outpower you in the late game. If you would like to see that list, you can read about it here.

But, honestly, you replace your game trail with rootbound crag and replace your tireless tracker in the sideboard. That’s really all that changes to that particular deck. I expect the deck to stay just as good, so if you have the deck, I would advise as to keeping it in your library for the next year it’s legal. So, how about instead, I just do four brand new decklists with Ixalan cards?

Well, I sure like the idea.

A quick disclaimer, I don’t profess these are the best versions of these decks, just what I have found to be effective so far in my testing.


Ixalan deck #1 = U/G Merfolk



Creatures (24)

4x Merfolk Branchwalker

4x Metallic Mimic

4x Kumena’s Speaker

3x Kopala, Warden of Waves

3x Waker of the Wilds

2x Verdurous Gearhulk

2x Deeproot Champion

2x Shapers of Nature

Spells (13)

2x Chart a Course

2x Nissa, Steward of Elements

4x Blossoming Defense

2x Spell pierce

3x Unsummon

Land (23)

2x Woodland Stream

4x Botanical sanctum

9x Forest

8x Island

Sideboard suggestions

Kicking off with my favorite tribe, I feel that this deck is quite good, despite its strange appearance. Efficient creatures paired with good card advantage between chart a course and Nissa, along with Nissa putting cards like Kopala into play for free makes this deck quite potent, especially with tempo cards like spell pierce and unsummon pumping up our deeproot champion.

Combine this with flood protection with waker of the wilds and a good lord in mimic, and the deck really comes together. I’m unsure if herald’s unblockable is what you want, so I’m still testing with this as a one of in the sideboard. I know it is pricy, but I stand by the assertion of gearhulk. This deck just needs a good five drop to push through the last wave of damage, especially with no hard removal, and Gearhulk is in the colors and fits the themes. I would stick with this mainboard at least for going forward, but tweak the sideboard to what you face in your local store.

Looking over all the cards, it may be possible that you want a card like Shaper Apprentice, or perhaps more deeproot champion, but only time will tell.


Ixalan deck #2 – B/R pirates 



Creatures (21)

4x Deadeye Tracker

4x Dire Fleet Captain

2x Dire Fleet Ravager

4x Fathom Fleet Captain

3x Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

4x Ruin Raider

Spells (13)

2x Fatal Push

4x Lightning Strike

2x Vraska’s Contempt

3x Walk the plank

4x Fell Flagship

Lands (24)

4x Canyon Slough

4x Dragonskull Summit

8x Mountain

8x Swamp

Sideboard suggestions

The next and final tribal deck on this article is the pirates. YAR! This be the swarthiest set of crew ye’ll evar see in the vast sea. Thar powerful swards n’ synerrrrgy make for a potent punch.

In all seriousness, this deck follows the basic mantra of most midrange decks: play powerful removal, efficient creatures, and have the last threat standing through sheer power. The dire fleet captain and fathom fleet captain pair nicely, along with the ruin raider allowing you to fuel extra card draw with a post combat casting, and the life recuperation from vraska’s contempt is more relevant for this deck than initially thought at first.

It is also my firm belief as well that deadeye tracker is one of the best cards in the set and people are sleeping on it’s potency. The one mana 1/1 is not amazing, but the card advantage and grave hate certainly aren’t anything to scoff at later on in the game, which makes him safe to run in multiples.

So if ye be a bilgewater’ filled swashbuckler, this be the deck far you!


Ixalan deck #3 – mono black aggro



Creatures (27)

4x Bone Picker

4x Deadeye Tracker

4x Dread Wanderer

4x Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

4x Scrapheap Scrounger

4x Vicious Conquistador

3x Wanted Scoundrels

Spells (11)

4x Never / Return

3x Walk the Plank

4x fatal push

Lands (22)

4x Aether Hub

18x Swamp

Sideboard suggestions


For our aggro aficionados, I bring you this wonderful gem of a mono black aggro deck. It has all the tools out of ixalan that a good aggressive deck really needs: mana sinks in the form of never/return, deadeye tracker, and scrapheap scrounger, card advantage with Glint sleeve siphoner, and a cohesive game plan.

Night Market Lookout gets an upgrade through the inclusion of vile conquistador, and the deck also receives a good removal tool in walk the plank. The deck is straightforward enough for anyone new to magic as a whole to pick up and play, but complex enough for a seasoned veteran to cut through the competition with good sequencing.

It is also relatively cheap, especially if you already have some of the cards from standard. From what I’ve been seeing, this updated version of Caleb Scherer’s original list has the tools to tango in new standard.

A word of warning though: Wanted scoundrels is very, very bad to have killed and I’m not really sure it belongs here. But, I still find the four power justifiable to try it for now. It may end up getting cut later. Only time will tell. and more testing.

Ixalan deck #4 – R/W hatebears?

Creatures (25)

4x Aven Mindcensor

3x Bishop of Rebirth

4x Glory-Bound Initiate

4x Harsh Mentor

4x Kinjalli’s Sunwing

2x Rampaging Ferocidon

4x Tocatli Honor Guard

Spells (12)

4x Abrade

4x Magma Spray

4x Gideon of the Trials

Lands (23)

4x Aether Hub

4x Inspiring Vantage

5x Mountain

9x Plains

1x Field of Ruin

Sideboard suggestions

My grand brew, of all things, is a R/W hatebears deck! I absolutely adore this deck. It has solid sideboard options, a delightful gameplan, and proactive, powerful cards.

Tocatli honor guard, Kinjalli’s Sunwing, Gideon of the trials, and rampaging Ferocidon make sure that your opponent knows that we really don’t like them playing creatures with cool abilities. We set up these creatures to punish them early and often. Along with this, Magma spray and abrade serve double duty as punishing hate cards for recursive creatures and artifacts.

Harsh mentor and Aven mindcensor cause opponents to think about playing tutor effects and cards like evolving wilds, and punish them for activating any and all non-mana abilities.

And finally, The all star. Bishop of Rebirth reanimates any and all of your important creatures, including sideboard options like inspiring cleric, and makes the deck have the potency to grind into the late with one or two bishops generating 2-3 cards worth of creatures on their own, especially if they’re your more potent fliers.

A word on the 5 slot. If you play against more controlling and grindy decks, I recommend the bishop. But if your opponents want to make it a race, I would recommend slotting in Glorybringer in the main in order to keep up the tempo, especially against other aggro decks.





but maybe you don’t like aggro decks? maybe you wanna play a combo deck?? how about you combo your opponents out… with TREASURE!


Ixalan deck #5 – U/B Riches Combo


4x Contraband Kingpin

4x Sailor of Means

4x Ruthless Knave

4x Direfleet Hoarder

2x Quicksmith Spy

1x Marionette Master


2x Revel in Riches

1x Spell Swindle

3x Battle at the Bridge

4x Fatal push

2x Reverse Engineer

2x Heartless Pillage

2x Mark of the Drowned

1x Contract Killing

Lands (24)

4x Fetid Pool

4x Drowned Catacomb

8x island

8x Swamp

Sideboard suggestions


If you like combo decks, look no further! Amassing 10 treasures is not difficult in this game, and with cards like reverse engineer to refill you hand and battle at the bridge combined with contraband kingpin to buy time, this deck is sure to come out of left field and leave all of your opponents looking like penniless whelps. This deck is definitely for the rogue brewer of the group, so only pick up this deck if you really wanna pull something grand off.



For my final decklist, I would just like to offer an update to the ever popular B/G midrange deck focusing on the explore mechanic a bit more. Did I mention that I think Deadeye Tracker is really good card?


G/B counters (energy version)

Creatures (25)

2x Deadeye Tracker

4x Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

4x Longtusk Cub

3x Ripjaw Raptor

2x Rishkar, Peema Renegade

2x Verdurous Gearhulk

4x Walking Ballista

4x Winding Constrictor

Spells (11)

4x Attune with Aether

2x Never / Return

4x Fatal Push

1x Vraska, Relic Seeker

Land (24)

4x Aether Hub

4x Blooming Marsh

9x Forest

7x Swamp

Sideboard suggestions


I profess to be no expert on this deck, but Ripjaw Raptor and Walking ballista seem absolutely disgusting together as an engine, and the same energy pack with verdurous gearhulks hanging over the top of the deck feels just as great as ever. If you have this deck, get your raptors and keep doing your thing. It’s just as good as it was, and possibly better. Maybe we want bristling Hydra, but I really am not sure. This is probably the one deck list I feel the least confident on, so we’ll just have to wait and see where the collective  player base takes this deck.


So what did you think? Any of these decks interest you? Planning on something similar? Let me know what you think in the comments!

See you next week!

-Forrest W



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