Hey guys and welcome to another Modern Musings, this week we are going to go over the last batch of spoilers that I think is relevent for modern, then rank what I think are the best cards for modern from Ixalan. Since we now have the full spoiler, we can now look at the set as a whole without guessing or speculating on what’s to come. Most of the spoilers since last week were common and uncommons, most of which are fairly low power level, so there are just a few cards to go over before we get into my top 5.
First up we have Field of Ruin. At first glance this card looks very similar to Ghost Quarter until you realize that both players get to search for a basic land and put it into play. The obvious downside to this card is that unlike Ghost Quarter this costs 2 mana, which is mitigated a little by the fact you don’t lose a land out of it. The issues that I see with this card are two-fold; first, it is most likely going to eat your turn when you activate it since it effectively costs 3 mana (with the tap from the Field itself). Technically it gives a mana back since the land you get to search for comes into play untapped, but most of the time that 1 mana isn’t going to unlock your turn until later in the game. Second, it can’t distrupt turn 3 tron on the draw or early Eldrazi Temple shenanigans. So I don’t see this card replacing Ghost Quarter anytime soon, but I can definitely see it playing the role of a 5th or 6th ghost quarter in certain decks (like hatebears or G/W excavator), and could actually be better in Emeria decks. All in all, if a deck needed more ghost quarters, then this card will probably slot into that deck, otherwise, ghost quarter is still a little better.
So I guess the vampires in this set are kind of the Spanish conquistadors? Explored stuff, sucked the life-blood from the native populations they came across, and searched for treasure? Historically, seems like a pretty accurate analogy. Anyway, this card is a bit niche, but is worth mentioning for B/W tokens. Not only does this card do everything that tokens wants to do, (make a token early, then make lots of tokens later) the tokens it produces have lifelink, which is big game for a deck that runs Bitterblossom in addition to fetchlands and shocklands. Now most B/W tokens decks do address this problem with both Sorin, Solemn Visitor and Vault of the Archangel. However both of those solutions are 4+ mana, and while they gain a lot more life, the deck feels like it needs a bit holdover to get to that point. It’s also notable that the grind potential is rather high, which helps in matchups like Jund and Junk.
Finally, though I don’t necessarily think this card will be good, it’s worth mentioning as any land that taps for 3 coloured mana is pretty insane. In modern, surmounting the front side of the card is fairly easy as there are many creatures that cost one mana that have evasion. The problem is that the earliest that this can come online is turn 3, which if you’re going for a lot of mana by turn 3, then going for Tron is probably just better. Still, there might be some advantage to having all that coloured mana that Tron can’t provide. Plus now having a Lotus Vale in modern is kind of sweet and gives people a card to brew around.
Top 5 Cards of Ixalan
Ixalan looks to be a pretty exciting set for modern with a lot of powerful and interesting brew-around-me cards running about. The following is the list of cards that I think will have the greatest potential in modern.
I think that Opt is a solid choice for decks that want to play at instant speed. The card works very well with Snapcaster Mage and allows you to dig 2 cards down for a single mana. Serum Visions is still better in many respects since it can set up your next turn, but Opt helps you keep mana up for counters or a removal spell. At the very least, I think that we’ll see a lot of people experiment with this card in various control shells.
While this card isn’t particularly exciting, it does seem likely that it will be an automatic include in many multicolored tribal decks, like humans and slivers. Other than that there really isn’t much to say about the card, it simply provides better mana-fixing to 3-5 color tribal decks.
I think that the various token decks will love this card as it can shore up some of their sketchier matchups, so it seems very likely it will be seeing play in those decks.
While Field of Ruin has its share of issues, it is still a solid include in at least three decks (G/W excavator, emeria, and hatebears).
My number 1 pick for Ixalan is Growing Rites of Itlimoc // Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun. I think the front side of this card is good, the back side of course being absolutely insane. It potentially opens a lot of avenues for having just absolutely busted plays and could open the way for elf combo to rule the format once again.
With spoiler season ending, Ixalan looks to be an exciting set for both modern and standard and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the cards and start brewing. That’s all for this week but join me next week as we do exactly that and try to break some planeswalkers with the new rule in effect.