I would like to start off by saying that Ixalan has disappointed me so far. The first impressions I’m getting is just underwhelming, and I still haven’t determined whether that’s because I set the bar too high, or because it’s in all honesty just plain bad. As of this writing, exactly eight mythics have been spoiled: these can be broken down into one Planeswalker, three legendary creatures, and four miscellaneous others. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that there are at least seven more mythics coming our way, and hopefully at least one of them will be more impressive than what we have right now.
Jace, Cunning Castaway
Again, hopefully, the cards we haven’t seen will be more impressive; or, more specifically, I hope Vraska doesn’t end up being as terrible as this Jace is. Personally, I hate Jace from a story perspective, but a lot of that billows out onto the cards as well. I doubt that Wizards will ever run out of ways to use Jace, but I feel like it’s time to take a break from this blue walker. If we saw less of him, he could come back as a stronger card. Strength is one thing this card is lacking. The plus relies on a big if. You don’t get any benefits unless you make a connection with your opponent. You can be swinging away, but if your opponent has enough blockers to just trade creatures, then you gain nothing other than the loyalty counter from activating it. There isn’t a situation where I’d want to pay three mana just for the 2/2 Illusion, and the ultimate just brings us more ‘if’s. If this card were to find its way into EDH, it would be in Superfriends exclusively for the infinite token combo it gets with Doubling Season. One combo isn’t enough to make waves in EDH. In the coming months, it may find a home in Standard, but it isn’t anywhere near being the new EDH staple.
Admiral Beckett Brass
I’m absolutely torn with this card right now. I want to love it so much, but I’m not quite there yet. When Ixalan is done and we’re off to the next plane, I’m sure there will be a lovely deck waiting for it to helm, but right now it’s a pirate without a treasure trove of useful cards to stand beside. He’s a Grixis 3/3 for four, which is already a good start, and then he has a creature subtype specific anthem to him. This screams themed deck, and I cannot wait to start seeing these to start showing up to my FNM. The triggered ability amuses me, but I don’t think it’ll be relevant too often due to Unblockable being a traditionally Merfolk ability, and considering we have Pirates and Merfolk in the same set, it’ll probably go to the Merfolk. I do believe it’ll be funny when it does happen; I just don’t count on it being often. My only problem with him is that virtually all Pirates will be coming from Ixalan, which means the card pool to choose from will be very narrow. I hope players won’t mind being forced to use mediocre commons and uncommons in a format where ‘good stuff’ is a type of deck.
Gishath, Sun’s Avatar
There is not a card that has let me down more than this one. We’ve heard of Dinosaurs for months now, and it was obvious that they’d fall into part of the Naya spectrum, so I was ready for some serious beat down dinos. This is the exact card that makes me think ‘maybe I set my expectations too high because a lot of people seem to be fawning over this, but I can’t bring myself to even want to build it. An eight drop for a 7/6 with three keywords is very impressive, yes, I understand that, but the problem is that it costs eight. Think of the triggered ability; this is an aggressive card, it wants to come out swinging, but it’s not going to come out until late game. Your opponents will see it coming from a mile away; they know that as soon as turn eight comes, you’ll be dropping that beast to put your deck into action. Why would you run Gishath if you’re not running dino-tribal? There’s absolutely no chance that they’re not sitting on a counterspell or a kill spell. Considering Carnage Tyrant another mythic Dinosaur that has both ‘can’t be countered’ and Hexproof, it’s an absolute shame that those abilities didn’t go to Gishath. I’d trade Vigilance and Haste for even a little bit of protection any day.
Tishana, Voice of Thunder
Of the three Legendaries we’ve seen so far Tishana has my vote for most potential. Prime Speaker Zegana is already a powerful commander that focuses on having something big, now we have a version that likes to go wide. A friend of mine is in the process of foiling out his Prime Speaker Zegana, so my opinion might be swayed a bit, but I definitely think Tishana will be a solid Commander. What gives her a leg up over Gishath is that she doesn’t need to hit the field at a specific moment in gameplay, and she doesn’t need to stay there to be effective. In the wake of a board wipe, even if you wait for two turns and draw only two or three cards, it wouldn’t be the end of the world for you. The more the merrier though: drawing closer to or beyond ten cards could be devastating to your opponents. While she may not be the most impressive when compared to all of the potential commanders in Magic’s history, I do expect to see her played a few times.
There’s nothing much to say here other than this card is terrible. Discarding at random is never pleasant and is only ‘okay’ when you don’t care about a single card in your hand, and if you don’t care about a single card in your hand, then why are you playing any of them? There stands the argument that there are decks built to abuse the graveyard, or that there are cards that rely on discarding, but there are better ways to do it than this. Discarding without a choice of what goes is a dangerous game to play. Beyond just that, does it matter if you get the shared card types anyways? Casting this card on turn 4 and netting the two +1/+1 counters isn’t going to be a game ender. Save yourself some time and keep this out of your deck, you’ll be replacing it if you try it anyways.
Star of Extinction
Let’s break this one down: Day of Judgment costs four mana, Stone Rain costs three mana, so Star of Extinction costs seven mana. Do I think this card is good? No. Do I want to run it? Yes. Will I run it? No. This card is funny in a flavorful way, and I think I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t printed. It’s not fantastic, but it’s leagues and bounds above Rowdy Crew (which I don’t think would even cost a quarter at rare level). The first effect is alright, by turn seven you could be knocking out a Shrine to Nyxthos, Thespian Stage, or an Alchemist’s Refuge, but I usually frown upon land destruction. Land destruction for seven would give me a decent laugh at least. There’s not much else to say here other than players who run Stuffy Doll or other damage-matters cards will like it.
I love janky cards, and this card gets me excited for Ixalan. Things to note: the creature cards don’t have to be from your own graveyard; the card does not exile itself; the phrase ‘up to’ means there doesn’t have to be a full five targets; anything you don’t choose goes to the graveyard to be picked again later. I am absolutely hyped for this card. I know some people may find it unimpressive, but I think this will be fun to play. If you do decide to run this card, there will always be a use for it. Worst comes to worst you’re reanimating either one big baddie because your opponents tried to sway you from picking it, or you’re reanimating four creatures to go wide. The card’s drawback comes in the mana cost, but for the effect, you’re getting it’s not too much of an issue.
Well, if it isn’t the card we mentioned earlier. Carnage Tyrant has all the protection in the world but is otherwise fairly vanilla. If Dinosaur Tribal is going to be a deck, expect to see this in every single one. It’s certainly not a game winner, but it’s still a solid card. A 7/6 isn’t something to scoff at, but this card falls into the trap of ‘could I be running something better’. I feel like if this card is put into a deck that runs green, there’s a lot of things that could simply fill the slot better. Not every card can be perfect, but I at least feel like this card is deserving of the mythic title (unlike another rowdy bunch we’ve already talked about…).
So far Ixalan has yet to impress me, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the set can’t change my mind. There are at least seven more mythics coming, and I’m excited to see them. One thing that I really want to see is another Legendary Creature for each tribe. Considering the fact that we have yet to see a multicolored Legendary Vampire, I expect one to be spoiled soon enough. One thing I do expect to see is one more absolutely terrible mythic, and one that’s absolutely insane. We still have almost three weeks until release, which is plenty of time for Ixalan to sway me!