Rivals of Ixalan Quick Picks

Ted Rodney • January 11, 2018

We thought we'd start a series where the Cardsphere team each pick their three favorite cards from new Standard sets. We all have different playstyles and favorite formats, so it should be a good mix. We're going to keep it short and sweet, because there's so many articles like this before a set drops.



(from the Modern perspective)
Blood Sun


A card that unfair decks can play to hose fair decks? A combo piece for amulet? A cantrip? I don't know what to think. Is this card going to push fetches out of midrange and control decks?

Merfolk Mistbinder


Yet another 2 cmc merfolk lord? What could go wrong?

Dire Fleet Daredevil


Although not a Snapcaster Mage by any stretch of the imagination, I'm ready to accept that I may have underestimated this one. Did MaRo always say Snapcaster was supposed to be red?


Dire Fleet Daredevil


I enjoy casting my opponents' own spells against them. Hopefully there will be something worth casting, though.

Dire Fleet Poisoner


At first I did not notice the "attacking" stipulation of this card and thought I could use it strictly defensively. Regardless, I still pick it. Flash has been a favorite of mine since I played Andrew Shrout's GW Aggro list as my first standard deck.

And I don't like clogged boards, so let's clean it up a bit with two deathtouchers.

Daring Buccaneer


I am going to go all in on Pirates here. I don't know why. I have never really played tribal decks and I don't know if this tribe is good. But Daring Buccaneer is a 2/2 for 1 mana. It's a pirates life for me.


Tetzimoc, Primal Death


I dig this for EDH. Black doesn't always get great political cards, but that's how I would run this Elder Dino. If you're on Reanimator, countering the card does nothing as far going off with the removal. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Crafty Cutpurse


First of all: He's upside down. I'd play this card just for that, even if it didn't yield the anguished, strangled frustration of my opponents getting robbed. It's all just too funny.

Tilonalli's Crown


For limited, I really like that this is not only an enrage enabler with an upside, but in a pinch you can use it as removal to kill off something tiny or finish off a big defender. I feel like this is one of those cards I never actually get to play because I ignore it for pick 5 and then it doesn't actually wheel.

Might also throw it into a few pauper decks.


Azor, The Lawbringer


Sphinx's Revelation on a stick takes me back to one of the first decks I ever made back in Return to Ravnica block. It was a super janky, barely efficient, and really fun Master Biomancer/Prime Speaker Zegana deck where gaining X life and drawing X cards was one of my favorite ways for the deck to save itself from true mediocrity. I always reveled in holding Sphinx's Revelation for late game, played during an opponent’s turn (preferably when he or she was hitting me for lethal), and long enough for me to have Reliquary Tower on the board so I'd gain massive life and draw enough cards that even through dumb luck I would hit some way to win the game. With the greater converted mana cost of Azor, I don’t know if this will find a standard home right away outside of maybe being cheated out or reanimated in some God-Pharaoh's Gift decks, but I’m hoping someone will find a way to make it work.



Shortly after I posted one of my “Cardsphere Haul” videos, where I open my incoming Cardsphere trades, I received a DM on twitter from my friend Frank. After removing profanity and good-natured mockery, the DM went something like, “DUDE what do you actually COLLECT?” Frank's a disciplined and methodical trader, who has specific collecting goals and strategies. I, on the other hand, just collect anything I happen to like at any particular moment. Sometimes I get trades that are cards which are put into maybeboards are never touched again until they’re traded away. Sometimes my trades are unique promos or alters I had never before seen, but HAD to have the moment I laid eyes on them. Occasionally, my trades are for speculation which are made in hopes of gaining financial value. In the case of Negate, and many other of my trades, I just love the art, and I’ll be looking to grab a full grip of these in foil on Cardsphere for no other reason than they will look shiny and neat.

Storm the Vault


Being an EDH junkie, each revelation of a new flip land in both Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan received the same reaction from me, which went something like: “OOO, I need that for EDH!”

The novelty in flipping over an enchantment or artifact to reveal a better version of a reserve list card (in this case, Tolarian Academy) is without a doubt my favorite part of the Ixalan block. In case you’re reading this and have more questions about my intentions with this card, the answer is “yes.” Yes, I will be putting this card in my Breya, Etherium Shaper deck. Yes, I will be considered the biggest prick at the table. And yes, I will bask in every profane word, half eaten pretzel, and wadded up score sheet that is thrown my way.