Exciting Rares in Ixalan

Exciting Rares in Ixalan

Some cards in Ixalan are just too fun to pass up.

Exciting Rares in Ixalan

I was absolutely correct in hoping that Ixalan would be able to impress me; I’ve been absolutely blown out of the waters by some of the rares in the upcoming set. This article is going to focus more on the fun side of things instead of the strictly good, so don’t expect to see the poor-man’s Gaia’s Cradle on here. While some of these cards are in fact good, I’m specifically looking for things that are fun. Wizards has a good habit of making good and fun archetypes collide!

Sunbird’s Invocation

This card had me grinning before I even started to think of ways to abuse it. Wizards are very careful about wording cards that let you cast things for free, but I think that being an Enchantment that costs 6 saved this. With removal being a staple for the format, (generally) three other players to worry about, and enough mana to scrap the rest of your turn for non-green decks, this card definitely makes up for it in power. When running this alongside another color:

Green: If you’re running green, more likely than not you’re already running big creatures, so there’s almost no harm in running this card. Ramp may or may not nab you another ramp spell or removal, but hard casting Kozilek can probably dig deep enough to grab a second finisher.

Blue: Casting a counter spell will shift your deck a bit; be prepared to work a little more on-the-fly than usual. Since the ability is a ‘may’, you can dump everything to the bottom. Do remember that this trigger will clear the stack before everything else on it; if you really want to counter something, you can grab one using this ability and your opponents will be forced to counter both of your counters if they want their spell to clear.

Black: This color is a bit more wonky; decks generally use black as either a removal toolkit or for finishers like Sheoldred. Depending on what the rest of your shell looks like, you’ll have to judge for yourself whether this will help or hinder you.

White: Unfortunately, White gets the short end of the stick. Because White likes to stay in the CMC five or less range, you won’t be getting a real bang for your buck out of this. Casting a five drop will get you a five-or-less, which isn’t terrible, but could also end in a whiff more often than not.

Please do remember that this is a cast trigger, so even if your spell is countered, you still get the trigger. This card will leave grins on the lips of whoever is playing it, and groans on everyone else’s.

Search for Azcanta/Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin

Do I think this card is flawless? No. Do I think it’s playable? Yes! It’s pseudo-scry for two mana, which is fantastic. I really appreciate the fact that as Delirium moves out, more graveyard-centric cards are able to move in, with this being one of them. It’s a very sensibly costed, with the drawback being you lose the card to the graveyard instead of the bottom of your deck, but still offers it every turn until you ultimately flip it. The backside continues the theme of sensibly costed. Pay three, filter, get a card. I think the beauty of the card comes in how ‘meh’ it is. Veteran players will look at this and think that it’s alright and pass it by, but newer players will love it. If you’re building a new player a beginner EDH deck, this would be a beautiful card to give them. It teaches them about the difference between what to put in the graveyard and what not to, and how important filtering is. For that reason alone, it’s really hard to hate the card. Not only that, but the rare symbol is in the middle of the card, which looks like the perfect place for it. At the time of writing, the red flip enchantment hasn’t been spoiled yet, and I’m very excited to see it.

Revel in Riches

This card is just plain funny, and very exciting. Mechanized Production was cute, Approach of the Second Sun was interesting, and this card gives me a very good feeling that we’re going to see a ‘you win the game’ card every block from here on out. I hope that this assumption is correct, because this right here is what makes me want to play EDH. At the moment, I only have one deck to use, and that deck is Approach of the Second Sun. In my personal opinion, which is one from someone who plays Approach of the Second Sun competitively, I think Mechanized Production/Revel in Riches/Hellkite Tyrant could become an insanely viable deck. There is so much support for this already; Mycosynth Lattice, March of the Machines, etc. It’s very hard for me to pass up this card. Grixis token duplication is something I’m very, very interested in building in the coming months.

Settle the Wreckage

This is a card that makes me think ‘this is so terrible, I have to play it’. It’s so hard to say this card is good, but I want to try it and see it in action. Because it says ‘player’, you can target yourself, which can lead to some interesting arguments about it. Some may say giving your opponents more lands is too risky while also say nuking your own field to get lands is equally bad. The problem with these arguments is that you’re the one who gets to decide how much you’re committing. You get to choose when to demolish your opponent’s field in favor of the lands, and you also get to decide how many creatures you want to remove off your own side of the field when you’re using it on yourself. It’s the pickiest Path to Exile we’ll ever see. It’s just really hard for me to judge this right now, but I already know it’s going to lead to something funny in the future. All I know at the moment is that I’d probably want an exile effect for the original Eldrazi Titans, and this card gives them their effects before it can even clear the stack.

Primal Amulet/Primal Wellspring

While Search for Azcanta was for new players, this card is definitely looking to be broken open by experienced players. Right off the bat, the number of charge counters is just the right number to make it feel like there will be an equal number of games where it either flips or gets destroyed. I already know for a fact that as soon as I get my hands on one, it’s going into my Approach deck (Note: It’s not for Approach itself, but for cards like Expropriate and Diabolic Revelation to help me get the chance to cast it). Casting something twice is usually a good thing, and casting things cheaper is never a bad thing. At this moment, I have yet to come up with a good way to absolutely break this card (Copying Time Stretch for no extra cost is amazing, but not completely broken), but I’m sure it’ll come to me eventually. Copying a Howl of the Horde with a Raid trigger into something cheat like Glimpse the Unthinkable would be absolutely hilarious, especially if you throw Strionic Resonator into the mix to copy the Primal Wellspring trigger (The end result of these four cards would be Strionic doubling Primal Wellspring, giving you three Howls, giving you six copies of Glimpse plus the original, milling 70 for 7 mana). Having this happen is outlandish and improbable, but we’re talking fun, not logistics!

Hostage Taker

While Primal Amulet doesn’t bring a combo to mind for me, this one certainly does. It always feels good to make a combo better, and this does it perfectly. Great Whale and Deadeye Navigator is already a powerful combo, but tossing in this card makes it even better. Personally, I use Duplicant with Whale/Deadeye to board wipe, but Hostage Taker makes it a permanent steal! On the surface, this card is just plain funny. It’s an Oblivion Ring with a little Psychic Intrusion tossed in, which is amazing on its own, but it also has a combo to slide right into! I already know I’m going to hate seeing this card in EDH, but it’s just like Sunbird’s Invocation; as bad as it feels to get your stuff stolen, it’s just as fun to steal it yourself.

I hope everything that did make it on the list sees play in a few decks, even if it’s just for newer players like in the case of Search for Azcanta. I’m not seeing a lot of hype for these cards, even though Sunbird’s Invocation and Primal Amulet are playable cards. Right now 138 of the 279 cards have been spoiled, which means we’re exactly half way to the end of spoilers. Unfortunately, with 13 of the mythics spoiled, we won’t be seeing more than a handful more of them, but I do hope to get a chance to put the light on some more fun cards for EDH instead of just the strong ones. Prerelease is right around the corner, and I can’t wait to start cracking packs! Until then, I’ll just be happy knowing Ixalan is looking pretty good.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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7 Reasons Why Literature Is So Important

"Literature Is One Of The Most Interesting And Significant Expressions Of Humanity." -P. T. Barnum

Today, there are too many people who believe that literature is simply not important or underestimate its abilities to stand the test of time and give us great knowledge. There is a stigma in society that implies one who is more inclined toward science and math will somehow be more successful in life, and that one who is more passionate toward literature and other art forms will be destined to a life of low-paying jobs and unsatisfying careers. Somewhere along the line, the world has come to think that literature is insignificant. To me, however, literature serves as a gateway to learning of the past and expanding my knowledge and understanding of the world. Here are just a few reasons why literature is important.

1. Expanding horizons

First and foremost, literature opens our eyes and makes us see more than just what the front door shows. It helps us realize the wide world outside, surrounding us. With this, we begin to learn, ask questions, and build our intuitions and instincts. We expand our minds.

2. Building critical thinking skills

Many of us learn what critical thinking is in our language arts classes. When we read, we learn to look between the lines. We are taught to find symbols, make connections, find themes, learn about characters. Reading expands these skills, and we begin to look at a sentence with a larger sense of detail and depth and realize the importance of hidden meanings so that we may come to a conclusion.

3. A leap into the past

History and literature are entwined with each other. History is not just about power struggles, wars, names, and dates. It is about people who are products of their time, with their own lives. Today the world is nothing like it was in the 15th century; people have changed largely. Without literature, we would not know about our past, our families, the people who came before and walked on the same ground as us.

4. Appreciation for other cultures and beliefs

Reading about history, anthropology, or religious studies provides a method of learning about cultures and beliefs other than our own. It allows you to understand and experience these other systems of living and other worlds. We get a view of the inside looking out, a personal view and insight into the minds and reasoning of someone else. We can learn, understand, and appreciate it.

5. Better writing skills

When you open a book, when your eyes read the words and you take in its contents, do you ask yourself: How did this person imagine and write this? Well, many of those authors, poets, or playwrights used literature to expand their writing.

6. Addressing humanity

All literature, whether it be poems, essays, novels, or short stories, helps us address human nature and conditions which affect all people. These may be the need for growth, doubts and fears of success and failure, the need for friends and family, the goodness of compassion and empathy, trust, or the realization of imperfection. We learn that imperfection is not always bad and that normal can be boring. We learn that life must be lived to the fullest. We need literature in order to connect with our own humanity.

Literature is important and necessary. It provides growth, strengthens our minds and gives us the ability to think outside the box.

Cover Image Credit: google.com/images

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I Made Emma Chamberlain's Mediocre Vegan Cookies, And They're Pretty Incredible

Emma and her vegan cookies have made their way into my heart, and are here to stay.


One day, I went down the black hole that is 'YouTube at 3 am' and discovered my favorite social media influencer of all time: Emma Chamberlain. I started binge watching her videos every night for about a week, where I came across her "Cooking With Emma" series. I decided that I wanted to give her vegan antics a go for myself.

I've never cooked or baked anything with the intention of it being vegan, so not only is that new territory for me, but I've never even eaten a vegan cookie. The only reason I'm doing this is because Emma did, and she is aesthetic goals.

To start the journey of vegan baking, I took to Pinterest, just like Emma, and found this recipe to use. Although the video that inspired all of this used a gluten free recipe, I opted for only vegan, because I'm allergic to most of the ingredients that make things gluten-free.

In true Emma style, I used a whisk to combine the wet ingredients together, making sure to use her special technique.

Then, I did the same thing with the dry ingredients.

After that, I dumped everything together and combined all of the ingredients.

Once they were combined, I chopped up a vegan chocolate bar, because Emma and I like chocolate chunk cookies, not chocolate chip, there's a difference.

Now that everything is combined, I made balls of dough and stuck it on a pan, and baked them while I binged more Emma, because what else would I be doing in my spare time?

The recipe said to make the balls a lot smaller, but we aren't perfect, so I made them gigantic. In my head, I thought the worst thing that could happen was it turn into one big cookie, but that's a whole other video you need to watch.

I took them out of the oven, and they were brown on the top, but still a little doughy. At this point I was tired of waiting and eager to eat them, so I disappointingly set them aside to cool, which only lasted a minute or so before I snagged one up to try.

The taste was definitely one I've never associated with cookies, and came to the conclusion that if I decided to go vegan, it would be doable with these cookies and Emma Chamberlain by my side.

Emma inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, which is a reoccurring theme throughout her channel, and I'm happy to be apart of it. She taught me that even if mediocre cookies is all you have, eat them with pride because you made them yourself.

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