Rivals of Ixalan Review – White Cards

raise-your-standards

Hi everyone. Welcome to the first article in my series of reviews of the cards in the upcoming Rivals of 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…

 

Baffling End

Baffling End

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a great card to side board in against the mono-red decks and against Pirate decks, but it’s a little limited against other archetypes.  However, while it can be great in the early game, chances are that this won’t be useful in the late stages of most games.

 

Bishop of Binding

Bishop of Binding

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts: There’s a couple of things I really don’t like about this card.  The first is that it is only a 1/1 when it’s not attacking, so it’s pretty easy to kill.  The second is that it’s dependant the creatures your opponent has in play.  In Limited play, this card could be pretty good, but it’s not powerful enough to see much play in Standard.

 

Blazing Hope

Blazing Hope

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While it costs 1 white mana and exiles an opponent’s creature, that’s as close to Path to Exile as this gets.  There is no game where I would want to have this in my deck since it requires me to have a low enough life to play it as well as having it in hand.  Playing this would mean I am already behind in the match, which is not where I want to be.

 

Cleansing Ray

Cleansing Ray

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  We already have Demystify in Standard, so the second clause on this card isn’t the reason this card could see play.  But as a sideboard card that can destroy any vampire, this card has a small amount of merit.

 

Divine Verdict

Divine Verdict

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  While it’s pretty expensive to play, the fact that this card is good against creatures of all sizes or mana costs means it could see some fringe play.

 

Everdawn Champion

Everdawn Champion

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s a blocker that survives any combat they encounter, provided there are no spells cast that damage this card.  If this had any sort of tribal synergy I would rate this a little higher, but sadly it doesn’t.

 

Exultant Skymarcher

Exultant Skymarcher

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a pretty unexciting flyer for your tribal Vampire deck.  I don’t expect to see this played anywhere else.

 

Famished Paladin

Famished Paladin

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Having played a B/W Vampire deck in Standard, I understand how trivial it can be to gain life, so I could see this card becoming a staple in Vampire decks.

 

Forerunner of the Legion

Forerunner of the Legion

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Being able to tutor up any Vampire you need is pretty powerful, even if it goes to the top of your library and not to your hand.  I can certainly see running a couple of copies of this card in my Vampire tribal deck.  It’s also pretty nice that this works well with other creatures, not just Vampires.

 

Imperial Ceratops

Imperial Ceratops

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  We already have a Dinosaur with the same Enrage ability in Ravenous Daggertooth that doesn’t see much play, so I’m not expecting much for this card.  If someone manages to create a G/W Dinosaur deck that tries to abuse Belligerent Brontodon, then this card might see some play.

 

Legion Conquistador

Legion Conquistador

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Here’s the first of a few reprints directly from Ixalan.  Legion Conquistador sees some light play in Vampire tribal decks, but that’s all, and I don’t see that changing.

 

Luminous Bonds

Luminous Bonds

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Look, an overcosted Pacifism.  There are better options than this card in Standard.

 

Majestic Heliopterus

Majestic Heliopterus

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  I love the thought of playing this in a Dinosaur tribal deck, giving flying to some random large Dinosaur you have.  For real flavor, use a sacrifice outlet on that Dinosaur once it attacks to symbolize the heart attack it will suffer from being picked up and flown around.

 

Martyr of Dusk

Martyr of Dusk

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The 2-Drop slot was a little weak in the past for Vampire tribal decks, so this card could fill in that gap nicely.  Getting the Vampire token when this card dies is a nice ability that makes your opponent use removal cards that exile creatures on this card if they don’t want you getting the token.  And who really wants to use an exiling card on a 2/1?

 

Moment of Triumph

Moment of Triumph

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is a nice combat trick, especially for Vampire tribal decks.  That’s where I would expect this to be played.

 

Paladin of Atonement

Paladin of Atonement

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  If you’re at least close to proximity on the battlefield, this card is a great way to stop your opponent from attacking.  Plus, with the numerous ways Vampires have to spend your life points, it’s easier than you think to lose life, which gives me hope that this could see play.

 

Pride of Conquerors

Pride of Conquerors

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This card isn’t bad for token decks that are going wide, and it’s even better if you have the City’s Blessing.  I don’t expect to see a combat trick like this see a lot of play in Standard, but this has potential.

 

Radiant Destiny

Radiant Destiny

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Once Anointed Procession rotates out of Standard, this card has more of a chance to find a home.  There’s a chance that it will see some play alongside it, but I think I’d rather be able to swarm my opponent with lots of tokens rather than simply making fewer tokens that are beefier.

 

Raptor Companion

Raptor Companion

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This is another reprint from Ixalan for limited play.  It already doesn’t see Standard play, and there’s nothing I’ve seen that makes me think that will change.

 

Sanguine Glorifier

Sanguine Glorifier

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  The 4-Drop slot for the Vampire tribal deck is awfully crowded, and this card doesn’t seem strong enough for it to push anything else out of that spot.

 

Skymarcher Aspirant

Skymarcher Aspirant

Rating:  3.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A Savannah Lions with the potential to have flying seems pretty good.  This is a good 1-Drop Vampire creature, even if getting the City’s Blessing could be difficult.

 

Slaughter the Strong

Slaughter the Strong

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This seems like a good card to play against a Dinosaur tribal deck especially.  I think it could be tough to cast this if you’re looking to gain an unfair advantage, but I expect some shenanigans will be tried.  I want to see someone cast this and then cast some Instant spells targeting their opponent’s creatures to push their power above 4 so that they’ll be able to choose none of their creatures.

 

Snubhorn Sentry

Snubhorn Sentry

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  Getting a 3/3 in the late game isn’t quite the bomb that I’m looking for.  And the current U/W Control decks have been opting to play 0 creatures (or a couple of Torrential Gearhulks at best).  I don’t think this has a home in Standard.

 

Sphinx’s Decree

Sphinx’s Decree

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  If you’re playing against a straightforward deck that plays a ton of permanents but relatively no non-permanent spells, this card is a blank in your deck.  But against control decks or decks that have a ton of combat tricks, this card is amazing.  It’s very situational, but I think it will see a bit of play, especially in sideboards.

 

Squire’s Devotion

Squire’s Devotion

Rating:  2.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  In the B/W Vampire deck I play, some of the Vampires in the deck don’t have lifelink, which I find a bit annoying.  This card corrects that issue for me, while creating a Vampire token to boot.  It’s not amazing, but I think it’ll see a little bit of play.

 

Sun Sentinel

Sun Sentinel

Rating:  1.0 ()

Overall Thoughts:  A Grizzly Bears with vigilance.  While it’s not bad, I don’t think this has a home in Standard.

 

Sun-Crested Pterodon

Sun-Crested Pterodon

Rating:  1.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  In a Dinosaur tribal deck, this card could see a little bit of play.  That’s likely the only place it will see play though.

 

Temple Altisaur

Temple Altisaur

Rating:  3.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  If you have any amount of Dinosaurs in play when this creature enters the battlefield, you can feel pretty confidant that they are safe.  They mostly become indestructible creatures for as long as this creature sticks around.  This creature will quickly become a target for any removal your opponent has, though, so hopefully you can get a second copy into play ASAP.

 

Trapjaw Tyrant

Trapjaw Tyrant

Rating:  4.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  As long as you can avoid any type of removal, this card is amazing.  It takes care of any creature your opponent has that it can target, regardless of its size.  Plus, it comes with a 5/5 body that will put a beating on your opponent when you’re able to attack with it.

 

Zetalpa, Primal Dawn

Zetalpa, Primal Dawn

Rating:  2.5 ()

Overall Thoughts:  This creature really speaks to the Timmy in me.  It has so many keywords and is so large, that I can’t wait to try this out.  However, unless some sort of ramp deck springs up (which could be possible considering some of the other cards in the set), this card is likely to be best suited for casual play.

 

Wrapping Up

Thank you for joining me today for my thoughts on the White cards in Rivals of Ixalan.  I’d love to know your thoughts.  Let me know by leaving a comment below, or contact me on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com.  And be sure to join me tomorrow when I’ll take a look at the Blue cards.  I’ll see you then!

Mike Likes

 

Comments

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

Comments are closed.