A new Magic set means there's a brave new world to explore. And with that brave new world, a new limited format. And with a new limited format it's time for you (yes, you!) to rate the dinosaurs and pirates of Ixalan for limited. If you haven't had your chance, you can contribute right now by following the links to rate the cards here.
Already, the limited playing community has submitted over 40,000 individual card reviews for the community set review, and when that many Magic players compare notes, you know there's bound to be some disagreement. As an example let's look at the least disagreeable common in the set, Tishana's Wayfinder:
As you can see, even for a fairly straightforward common, some limited players value this Merfolk higher than others. Overall, there's a strong consensus though that Tishana's Wayfinder is an above curve common, a C+.
But what about when there's nothing like a consensus? What about those commons and uncommons that the community can't agree on? We'll look at the 8 most controversial commons and uncommons in Ixalan. I'll start by summarizing the community view, then offer my take...
...which, given these cards, is guaranteed to be controversial.
8. Vicious Conquistador (Community Grade D+)
What the community thinks: Vicious Conquistador is a pretty uninspiring 1/2 for one mana, but he does a fine impression of a 2/2 for one mana on an empty board, and can provide a teeny tiny amount of reach in a pinch.
The question is whether Vicious Conquistador can find a home in an aggro deck and whether that deck is any good.
What I think: Raid ain't triggering itself...
...hmm. I said "raid ain't triggering itself."
C'mon Ixalan! Work with me here!
Ahem. That's better. Anyways, I think there might be a solid aggressive raid deck, and Vicious Conquistador will be a solid but replaceable player.
7. Wanted Scoundrels (Community Grade C+)
What the community thinks: Like Vicious Conquistador, Wanted Scoundrels is another aggressive black card in want of a home. This one is an under costed beater with a bad habit of exploding into Lotus Petals if your opponent can deal with it.
The downside here is very real, since in an aggressive deck you don't want to be dealing with early 4+ drops if you opponent does have a cheap removal spell. The upside is your opponent is facing a big beater super early, and unlike other two drops Wanted Scoundrels doesn't lose value late in the game - those Treasure tokens do less for your opponent late in the game, and a 4/3 is no less huge.
What I think: First, I'd like to take a moment to appreciate Volkan Baga's art. I love the wanted poster in the background.
As for the card, I for one am looking forward to assembling a motley crew to run my opponent over with.
6. Unclaimed Territory (Community Grade C-)
What the community thinks: Is splashing creatures going to be a thing in Ixalan? Maybe with pirates spanning the full Grixis spectrum and dinosaurs going full Naya? Certainly you are going to be very interested in finding some Unclaimed Territory if you happen to open one of these bad boys:
So while this land might find some usefulness in supporting the three color tribes, how good is that?
What I think: It doesn't take much upside for me to consider taking a land. I'll probably speculate on my first Unclaimed Territory over a replaceable common if I'm in either dinosaurs or pirate tribal.
5. Spell Pierce (Community Grade D+)
What the community thinks: Spell Pierce is an amazing card - in constructed. But a card that's routinely making appearances in Vintage tournaments can't be bad right?
Community disagrees, and most rate this as at best a D range card.
What I think: I like Negate in most limited decks. A cheap way to interact with opponent's removal and non-creature bombs usually is worth a slot in the main.
However, unlike eternal formats, where tight mana makes it easy to force an opponent into a position to foil their plans with a cheap counter spell, spell pierce is going to lose value too quickly in limited.
Either it's not going to find enough targets, or even when it does, your opponent may be able to just pay for the spell. For me, the fact that you may find matches where spell pierce finds a place saves this from F land, but just barely.
4. Trove of Temptation (Community Grade C-)
What the community thinks: Trove of Temptation can force an opponent to attack me, which in limited is sort of the least inspiring line of text I can imagine.
The community isn't super high on Trove of Temptation, with an overall below average grade, but some players think, between forcing the occasional awkward attack and providing an endless stream of treasure, this might be a hidden gem.
What I think: In limited this seems like if I take turn four off, my opponent is going to have no trouble finding attacks that make Trove of Temptations first ability a blank, and it's second ability is only good on curve.
However, in some matches, for instance against control decks, I'm going to take maniacal glee in watching my opponent's early defensive creatures running headlong into the jaws of my waiting dinosaurs, so I know I'm going to have some good memories of Trove of Temptation by the end of this format, but I'm pretty sure it's not a good card.
3. Favorable Winds (Community Grade C)
What the community thinks: Favorable winds is a build around me card, and like all build arounds the question is how high is the ceiling and how well supported is the deck it enables in Ixalan?
Will favorable winds be a key card in a flyers archetype? Or barely playable filler.
What I think: I don't see a place for Favorable Winds in limited. The problem isn't the deck it enables: the flyers archetype is as old as limited.
The problem is how high the ceiling is.
The skies deck's game plan and it's game plan isn't to go wide with flyers. It's game plan is to gum up the ground and poke through with flyers, and adding an occasional point of power and toughness to your flyers doesn't seem like it fits with the game plan.
2. Deeproot Waters (Community Grade C-)
What the community thinks: Deeproot Waters is a build around me card, and like all...
I'm getting deja vu.
Ok "Favorable Winds" discussion take two: how good are getting free 1/1 hexproof merfolks going to be?
What I think: I'm having trouble seeing the payoff for going wide with merfolk in the UG deck, especially at common or uncommon. And unlike some previous iterations of this effect, that might give 1/1 flyers, it takes many more 1/1 hexproof creatures popping out of the water before I'm happy having spent a card to get them.
1. Raiders' Wake (Community Grade C-)
What the community thinks: Another black aggressive card, huh? Is it time to premier the first ever "most controversial archetype" award?
Last time Raid showed up in limited, during Khans block, it turned out to be trivial to trigger. If that's still the case in Ixalan, an aggressive deck curving into Raiders' Wake could spell trouble for opponents who find themselves on the back foot.
Facing down the prospect of 2 "hasty" damage and a lost card, now and for every turn that you have semi decent attacks is going to be daunting to overcome. However, Raiders' Wake downside is downright gruesome - it can literally be a blank card.
Is the risk worth it?
What I think: I like the support that a UB janky aggro raid deck gets in Ixalan. Raider's Wake seems like another fine addition to the deck's toolbox.
So that's it, the 8 most controversial common and uncommons in Ixalan. What cards am I wrong about? Where is the community misjudging the cards? Do you have a better read on the environment? Let us know: rate the cards yourself.