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Set Review: Rivals of Ixalan

I hope you enjoy reading my notes for recent sets. I am a terrible Limited player. My focus is on Johnny fun deckbuilding. I am not a competitive player. It is very hard to review cards in a vacuum, and when I look back at my previous reviews, I have been laughably wrong about busted cards like Aetherworks Marvel (I stated it required too much setting up... what was I thinking?!). Enjoy!
Rivals of Ixalan: White
Baffling End: That's a reasonable downside unless you have a deck full of flickering. If you DO have a lot of flickering, then the downside can be taken care of with some other creature or enchantment that does not also give your opponent a token. I originally missread this card. It exiles for good, and that is just awesome. I would just need to take out the token somehow.
Bishop of Binding: It comes in late, you will not want to attack with it, and is purely defensive. If your opponent has some gigantice threat that you can temporarily exiled, it will be great. Now, you can make this card the beneficiary of the +X/+X boost, and that's good. It's better in a White/Black deck, and that makes sense since those are the colors of Vampires in the Ixalan block. I like it.
Blazing Hope: Interesting, and aggresively costed. It will be great in the late game.
Cleansing Ray: Demistify with one more mana and a sorcery instead of an instant. Meant for Limited.
Divine Verdict: Meant for Limited at such a high cost. The better instants for this effect are costed at one less mana.
Everdawn Champion: Really good. I want to enchant it or buff it in other ways (with an emblem, or counters). It can still die to target destruction, but in a creature-heavy Standard, it will do well.
Exultant Skymarcher: Good for getting that flyers count up in Limited.
Famished Paladin: Only good in a lifegain deck. I would give it Vigilance somehow.
Forerunner of the Legion: This is awesome. It can only get better in the future. Three years from now there can be some new busted Vampire and this card can tutor for it. Will there be a Vampire deck in Modern now that can be good, even if it is not torunament-level? There are 189 Vampires in Magic excluding this set. We just got a Commander Vampire deck, and that's the best home for this card right now. Maybe someday we will have a Griselbrand-level Vampire. I don't think we have one now for Modern, Legacy, or Vintage.
Imperial Ceratops:This should be a common. Life gain is useless in most circumstances.
Legion Conquistador:Ixalan reprint. Hangs out with Squadron Hawk.
Luminous Bonds: Pacifism at one more mana. I can't wait for the battlecruiser era of Magic to be over.
Majestic Helipterus: By the time this can come in, you should have another Dinosaur on the battlefield and you can make that extra Dinosaur a flyer.
Martyr of Dusk: Solid in Limited, where you will really need that extra creature once this gets killed.
Moment of Triumph: Limited battle trick.
Paladin of Atonement: Great effect. You can ping yourself for one life every turn, and this thing will get huge. The lifegain bonus fits the in-block strategy for Vampires and is only a nice way to recovery life lost boosting it. It reads great. Goes well with Dusk Legion Zealot.
Pride of Conquerors: Ascend has to be one of the most oversold bad abilities in Magic. "ten or more permanents" means you have to be a really strong board presence. Your opponent's job is to keep you to as small a number of permanents as possible in every game you will ever play. I can't see Ascend being useful outside of Standard. This card should have been a common. Most of the time (as in like more than 90 percent of the time) you will not have ten or more permanents on the field, and if you do, your opponent sucks. Ascend can be useful if you are playing mono-blue control, that I give it.
Radiant Destiny: If you can go back and count the number of permanents you have had in every game you have ever played, you are probably going to average seven or eight by turn 5. I still want to build an Ascend deck, just because, but it does not want me to play it like Devotion did. If I forget the Ascend part, it's a good emblem in a tribal deck.
Raptor Companion: Aggressive in Limited.
Sanguine Glorifier: Nice counter bonus in Limited.
Skymarcher Aspirant: It will almost never fly, as in like 99.99 percent will not fly. If it was Indestructible, or Hexproof, maybe.
Slaughter the Strong: That's really strong. I want to play it in a creatureless discard deck (The Rack comes to mind). I would have a few creatures that could draw me cards, like Dark Confidant.
Snubhorn Sentry: Useless in all formats. Reminds me of One with Nothing. Maybe I am being too harsh, but 99 percent of the time this is a 0/3 wall that can't fly.
Sphinx's Decree: Interesting. If I am running a creature-heavy deck, this is how I can protect myself for a whole turn. I like it.
Squire's Devotion: Versatile in Limited. It comes it in mid to late game, and I would put it on something already strong, like a 3/3 or 4/4 flyer.
Sun Sentinel: Solid. I will take a vanilla square bear with Vigilance all day.
Sun-Crested Pterodon: Vigilance is surprisingly useful, especially in Limited. It could have more power, but I would pick it in Limited.
Temple Altisaur: Prevent damage is found on a lot of the underpowered Legacy creatures of old. In that case, it's usually 'prevent the next 1 damage.' This is much better since the most damage you will take is 1. It's also repeatable, as in you can apply it to all of your Dinosaurs. I could see that hlping a lot in combat. You are playing this effect mid to late game, and that's the only drawback. Also, it has no evasion. It reads like an interesting junk rare.
Trapjaw Tyrant: That's a really strong Enrage clause. I love the way Wizards has copied Hearthstone. Enrage in Hearthstone is a ton of fun. I would hit this thing for one out of my own deck and that way I don't have to wait for my opponent to hit it. It does not have evasion. It's rare that has been upshifted to Mythic Rare because battlecruiser.
Zetalpa, Primal Dawn: Compare with Baneslayer Angel [3WW 5/5 Flying, first strike, lifelink, protection from Demons and from Dragons] We have come down a lot in power level during the battlecruiser years.

 

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