Most Controversial Rares and Mythics of Ixalan

22 Sep 2017

Ixalan's prerelease is upon us, and it's time to play some limited with the new set. In preparation the limited playing community has been scouring the set, looking for hidden treasures and limited staples. Already the community has submitted a record 55,000 individual card reviews for the community set review. If you haven't had your chance, you can contribute right now by following the links to rate the cards here. It's an awesome tool to compare predictions with other limited players about how Ixalan's limited format is going to shake out.


Sometimes we agree. For instance we agree that a certain gorgon planeswalker makes a seriously awesome pirate:



And that other cards are clearly a gift for our standard playing brethren, but aren't going to be doing much in limited:


But while we may have similar opinions about these particular cards, there are plenty of other cards in Ixalan that are already causing controversy. Weird, expensive or particularly niche cards that we just aren't sure about. This is the list of the 8 most controversial cards in Ixalan. For each card, I'll start by summarizing the community view, then offer my take...


...which, given these cards, is guaranteed to be controversial.


8. Star of Extinction (Community Grade C+)​​


What the community thinks: I've doubled checked and, sadly, Stuffy Doll is not in the set.

That said, Star of Extinction has the potential to let you win games that no other card in the set will. That alone is tempting, but the big question is how castable are seven mana cards in this format?


What I think: Flavor rating: A+. Card rating - ehh... not quite. I begin most formats assuming that seven mana is going to be a hard ask for your limited decks. I'll still favor Star of Extinction's irreplaceable effect over replaceable filler, but not by much.


If Ixalan turns out to be slower than average I would expect the power of Star of Extinction to push it up into the B range.


Verdict: C+


7. Primal Amulet (Community Grade C-)


What the community thinks: Primal Amulet helps turbo charge a "spells" archetype, first by making your spells cheaper, and then by you the ability to double the rest of your spells for the rest of the game.

If you do discover the Primal Wellspring, getting double duty out of all your spells will result in one thoroughly outclassed opponent.


What I think: Primal Amulet is an expensive but powerful support spell for an archetype that doesn't seem to exist in Ixalan.


Traditionally blue/red is the spells deck, but that space has been taken up by pirates leaving primal amulet seemingly stranded.


Verdict: F


6. Revel in Riches (Community Grade C-)


What the community thinks: Revel in Riches does provide a interesting sub game for your opponent - if you can kill ten of their creatures (or get treasure by other means) you win the game.


That said Revel doesn't do much to help you, as a five mana do (almost) nothing enchantment. But the ability to turn the game on it's head has some players intrigued by the potential of Revel in Riches.


What I think: I don't think Revel in Riches is unplayable. I think if you end up in with a control deck with lot's of creatures that are good at trading and lot's of removal, Revel in Riches is going to be an awesome and hilarious win condition.


Additionaly, there is going to be a match between two grindy BW vampire decks, where both players are making tokens and gaining oodles of life where Revel in Riches is going to break the game wide open.


So in either of those scenarios, give Revel in Riches a second look. Overall, however, I think Revel in Riches is too niche to prioritize.


...and of course I'll be drafting this often, just to make sure I'm right.


Verdict: D-


5. Sword-Point Diplomacy (Community Grade C-)


​​What the community thinks: Nothing causes controversy like a good "punisher" card. For instance, this card might go down in the controversial card hall of fame:

Even as Hour of Devastation limited was coming to an end we were still debating exactly how good Torment of Scarabs was.


Sword-Point Diplomacy asks a similar question - how painful do the choices have to be for your opponent before the card is worth it?


What I think: Torment of Scarabs was surprisingly good at grinding down opponents turn after turn. Sword-Point diplomacy is more reliant on the rest of your deck to apply enough pressure to make the life loss matter.


In a deck that can make Sword-Point Diplomacy's life loss matter, it may be worth playing. But that's not exactly a ringing endorsement.


Verdict: D


4. Shapers' Sanctuary (Community Grade C)


What the community thinks: Psuedo protection for all your creatures at the low, low cost of one mana, Shaper's Sanctuary has some people very interested, although overall the community rates Shaper's Sanctuary a very replacable "C".


What I think: Shapers' Sanctuary seems like the kind of card I think will find a home as a sideboard answer, but just never does. As a sideboard card that may never actually earn it's keep, it's hard to prioritize in draft, and I can't imagine starting it in the main.


Verdict: D


3. Overflowing Insight (Community Grade C)


What the community thinks: How do you rate a card that for seven mana guarantees you a win if you untap afterward? That is very close to the actual text of Overflowing Insight, as any opponent who can't immediately close the game once you resolve this is going to be in deep trouble.


That said, a hard to cast seven mana spell brings plenty of liability.


What I think: If you are in the right kind of deck, Overflowing Insight is a solid finisher, but one that I'm not going out of my way to prioritize.


Verdict: C


2. Dowsing Dagger (Community Grade C+)


What the community thinks: If you hack your way through your opponents defenses you are rewarded with this:

Lost Vale is undeniably powerful, but a big dose of extra mana is something you'll want relatively early in a game of limited and to do that you'll either need to chew through the chump blockers your dagger produced or equip this to a cheap creature with evasion.


So is it worth it?


What I think: I don't like the Dowsing Dagger part of this package, as it does too little for too much mana, plus it has a drawback. The backside is great, but it feels like Dowsing Dagger is going to give a savvy opponent too many choices for you to exploit discovering the Lost Vale.


Verdict: D


1. Sunbird's Invocation (Community Grade C)


What the community thinks: Sunbird's Invocation is the classic expensive and clunky, yet powerful spell that seems to always make the most controversial list.


At six mana and with no immediate effect it certainly hits the expensive and clunky criteria, and the ability for it to double up your spells for the rest of the game is extremely potent.


So, as always, the question here is risk vs reward.


What I think: This card is reminiscent of it's expensive but powerful cousin on the most controversial list, Overflowing Insight. Both cards have a similar effect. If you cast a spell after resolving Sunbird's Invocation it is hard to imagine losing, and knowing that I have access to Sunbird's Invocation certainly draws me toward a certain kind of deck, one that can stabilize the board and is looking to go longer than my opponent.


Overall, I'm a little more high on Sunbird's Invocation. The difference between six and seven mana can be a huge jump in limited. Because of that I'm tempted enough by the Sunbird's power to prioritize it early in draft.


Verdict: B-


Sailing On

Those were the most controversial cards from the Ixalan community set review. So who was right, how good are these cards actually going to be in Ixalan? Now that the prerelease is on, did you discover a broken Primal Amulet deck? Find out that Star of Extinction is too slow? Tell us by rating the cards.

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