Yes, yes, I know. Hour of Devastation hasn’t even been out a week, and yet here I am getting all hyped about an expansion we barely now about (apart from those of you who couldn’t resist checking out the leak a few weeks ago). I hear you saying, ‘you should focus on the defeat of the Gatewatch and the rise of Bolas, instead of looking ahead to the next set’. Well to you good sir or madam, I have three words. Pirates and Dinosaurs. If that doesn’t get your inner geek screaming with joy, then I don’t know what will.
Although we may only have nuggets of information on this new and exciting plane, that hasn’t stopped those Vorthos among us from jumping aboard the theory train. So, before we get embroiled the what appears to be Nicol Bolas’ ultimate victory, I wanted to take a moment to give you my predictions for what the world of Ixalan will hold. Please note, I will not be addressing any of the spoilers that have been going around the web at the moment, as these kinds of leaks will remove any mystery Ixalan may hide. Instead these musing will focus on what we have told by WoTC themselves, as well as my own wish list of things I think would be interesting to see come from the plane. So, without further ado lets delve right in to the jungle.
1: Vraska may not be a Villain
The last time we saw Vraska, this Gorgon Planeswalker was not on the best of term with Magics poster child Jace. Ok, that may be an understatement as she wanted to bend the living guildpact to the her will. Despite her plans involving Jace, the end of their confrontation ended with the Mind Mage exposing her dealing to the leaders of all Ravnica’s guilds. Since then, we haven’t heard much of dear old Vraska. Until now that is. It appears that Vraska will be either joining, or leading a band of Pirates in search of hidden treasures in the depths of Ixalan’s jungles. The question is, will she be the Villain of the block? If Jace or any other member of the Gatewatch play a leading role in the story we might see them come to blows with this powerful Gorgon. But that may not be the case. Since Vraska appears to be front and centre of all the images we have currently seen, it may be the case that she might take on a more anti-hero role in the story. Perhaps she is willing to go to any lengths to find and obtain whatever treasure lays at the heart of Orazca, even if that means teaming up with some individuals she has previously been on the wrong side of. I don’t think she will join up with the Gatewatch, and can even see her betraying them as the story develops. But perhaps we will see an enemy of my enemy relationship develop, which could lead to some interesting interactions during the story.
2: It’s a Trap!
Tell me, have you ever heard of an ancient treasure that was just left out in the open for the taking? No, yeah me nether. Every single story of treasure in pop culture and literature always have deadly traps to protect it from greedy treasure hunters or bumbling archaeologist’s eager to line their own pockets. Well, why should the treasures of Ixalan be any different? The original trap cards where very popular when they debuted in Zendikar and Worldwake, and some traps such as Mindbreak Trap and Ravenous Trap have seen contructed play in many sideboards. It has been seven years since we saw these Instants in the Standard format, and I think they are overdue for a comeback. What better way to reintroduce this subtype of card than in a plane hiding valuable treasures. Not only would this lead to some great card designs, but could inspire the overarching story of Ixalan. Imagine Jace or Chandra trying to pull off an Indiana Jones (fedora and all) trying to swap a bag of sand for a golden idle, only for it to trigger a rolling boulder of death to chase them down. Not only would that be cool to read about, but I can just imagine how the card would look too.
3: Dino Jockeys
Let me ask you a question. What is the coolest thing you could ride to work on? A Grizzly Bear? No way. A Griffon? Come on. A Dragon? Close, but no cigar. The correct answer is of course, a Dinosaur. Don’t agree with me? Well first off, what is wrong with you? Secondly, it doesn’t matter what you think as it appears the design team at WoTC does agree with me. If you go ahead and look at the post announcing all of the up and coming products we have to look forward to, you may have noticed one interesting line on the Ixalan product page. Quote, “For centuries, the untamed jungles of Ixalan have hidden a coveted secret: Orazca, the city of gold. But no secret can remain undiscovered, and no treasure can be taken uncontested. Unfurl your sails, saddle up a dinosaur, and battle your rivals as you embark on a journey to claim the plane’s greatest fortune for yourself!”. SADDLE UP A DINOSAUR! Not only does this prove my point, but it could lead to some interestingly designed cards. What if there were some creature cards with the Dinosaur subtype, that you could combine with your other creature to form a cavalry style attacker. Your vanilla 2/2 human might not seem like a very big threat, but give him a T-Rex to ride into battle, and he could be doing more than a bit of damage to your opponent’s life total. May it will be a cross between Bestow and the Vehicle mechanic, or even a Bloodrush style ability. Who knows what form it could take. WoTC might just do it the easy way, and have creature cards with the subtype Dinosaur Knight, but I hope they go all out and give us something outrageous. I mean if you are going to do dinosaurs, you might as well go all out.
And there you are, some of my spoiler free predictions for what we might have to look forward to in the Ixalan block. But what do you want to see from a plane of Pirates, Dinosaurs and Aztec inspired goodness? Get in touch and let us now your thoughts on this up and coming plane. Now if you will excuse me, I need to look through the Hour of Devastation product list for some juice cards to pimp out my Temur Standard deck. So until next time, Good Luck and Have Fun.