As cards rise in power level, they move up in rarity. As they move lower in rarity, they either cost more or do less. This is a pretty standard concept across all Magic sets, but that doesn’t mean we can’t scrounge up some fun cards from the un/common sections of Ixalan! With the multi-creature type focus of Ixalan, each one is vying for your attention, so fun cards are interspersed amongst each color, type, and rarity. The question is, how many are there really? The prerequisites for being on this list is that there be some form of utility; that the card has the potential to do something.
This card rides that fine balance of fun and good. If your opponent relies on keeping their commander out, this can be amazing shut down. It forces them to dig for removal, and can absolutely rain on their parade. Ixalan’s Binding does what normal exile effects don’t: it stops their commander from returning to the battlefield. If you drop an Oblivion Ring on their commander, they can just put it in the command zone and recast it the next turn. In that case, you only stopped them for one turn. With Ixalan’s Binding, if the removal isn’t sitting in their hand already, their end game is put on pause until they can find it. Of course, the power level diminishes when faced against decks that don’t prioritize getting their commander out. In that case, it’s just an Oblivion Ring that costs one more. It’s still removal, and it still does its job.
As mentioned previously, not every un/common can have a game-breaking effect. Navigator’s Ruin, for example, is just a fun mill version of a poke. Four cards are fairly insignificant in EDH (1/25th of a deck), but it can add up. Since it is pretty weak, most players won’t toss removal at it, and will most likely just let it sit unless they drop a mass-enchantment removal spell. You have to swing to get the effect and it happens at the end of your turn, but that doesn’t stop it from being at least decent. It’s just amusing to play with, much like Altar of the Brood. Both get you the effect of pissing off a few players while removing some cards along the way; this is just the uncommon version of it. A good contrast between them is that Altar of the Brood scales based on how many players are in the game, while Navigator’s Ruin always does a set four. The good thing about this is that you can toss the four wherever you want; a key part of Navigator’s Ruin is that the opponent getting milled doesn’t have to be the one you attacked. Sure, this might mean two players are going to throw something at you in revenge, but who cares? This is what casual EDH is all about.
Never save mana for its ability, but if your deck always seems to have some to spare, then this card might be a tiny help. Even if you can only scrounge up three mana for one trigger, when someone else board wipes, you have the ability sacrifice something to get two Treasures. Not the biggest rewards in the world, but it brings you one step closer to casting something huge, to metalcraft, to being able to draw a card. Again, one of the worst cards on this list, but it still serves a purpose.
The good: it taps all creatures one opponent controls; the bad: it’s worse than Sleep; the ugly: it’s repeatable with Deadeye Navigator. All in all, it just has a good effect and is potentially repeatable. There’s really not much else to say about it. It relies on having a board state that wants to swing out at an opponent, or at least benefits from hitting your opponent. In all honesty, Sleep is a better card, isn’t that expensive to purchase already, and is at the same rarity. I wouldn’t suggest running Tempest Caller, but it’s still alright.
You can probably tell, but Tempest Caller really scraped the bottom of the barrel. Ixalan’s un/commons didn’t add very much EDH, and I’m honestly a little disappointed. The only real ‘honorable mention’ here is Walk the Plank, which runs at sorcery speed. I understand that it hits virtually every creature, but what kills its usefulness is the fact that it doesn’t run at instant speed. Almost every two drop removal spell is better than it, and I’d even rather run a Murder over Walk the Plank. Ixalan had its share of ups and downs through its rare and mythic lists, but the un/commons was an absolute let down. This finally wraps up all of Ixalan’s cards, and unfortunately, that end is on a pretty sour note.