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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: Green
Aggressive Urge: Useful battle trick It draws a card, and that is always good.
Cacophodon: Not one of the best Enrage triggers. It effectively gains you Vigilance once for one of your creatures.
Cherished Hatchling: This is not Yugioh, and that means that if this creature dies in combat, you can Flash in more Dinosaurs, but combat has already been decided (combat in Magic happens once, while in Yugioh it is decided individually for each creature as it attacks). The enters-the-battlefield clause is awesome though because you can Flash DInosaurs in while damage is still on your opponent's creatures. I hope I am right about this.
Colossal Dreadmaw: Fair and useful. Most of the time, it will be better than all Ascend cards in this set.
Crested Herdcaller: This is pretty good. It reminds me of Vital Splicer (3G 1/1 Creature — Human Artificer When Vital Splicer enters the battlefield, create a 3/3 colorless Golem artifact creature token. 1: Regenerate target Golem you control.) It costs one more mana... yeah, that's the battlecruiser tax.
Deeproot Elite: That's pretty good. As long as its on the board, every time you cast a Merfolk, you get a counter of one of them....I will take it. If it was in blue, it would be absurd because it could go into a mono-blue Merfolk deck. As it is, it will probably only be great in Standard, and it is great.
Enter the Unknown: I love it. Explore needs an enabler, and this is exactly that enabler. Oh, and you can drop an extra land: awesome.
Forerunner of the Hearlds: Part of the tribal tutor/booster cycle. They are all great. It would be a much better card if it was a blue Merfolk, of course. Still, I will take the whole cycle.
Ghalta, Primal Hunger: I am biased, I love Green. I am even more biased. I love Green Johnny creatures....or is it Timmy creatures? Anyways, this is really a fun card. It is not 'number of creatures you control,' which is lame. In Green, you can have some big critters by turn 5, and if you have a 5/5 and a 3/3 on the board, this card will only cost 2GG... nice. It's not like Ascend, it can happen often enough, especially in Green.
Giltgrove Stalker: Reasonable in the early game in Limited.
Hardy Veteran: Reasonable as a defenisve card in LImited.
Hunt the Weak: Welcome, old friend.
Jade Bearer: Pretty good. It's square already (1 drop 1/1), and the counter is a nice bonus.
Jadecraft Artidan: I could see it as a cool trick in Limited.
Jadelight Ranger: Double explore should be pretty good. The explore deck almost worked in Ixalan. It should be much better with cards like this one.
Jungleborn Pioneer: It's all-right. A 3/3 creature minus the token would work better in some situations. All token makers are good for Ascend, though.
Knight of the Stampede: Pretty good for a common. It complements Kinjalli's Caller (W 0/3 Creature — Human Cleric Dinosaur spells you cast cost 1 less to cast.)
Naturalize: No way! Finally! It's a little too late for ten sets without a core set... last set. Oh, well, finally! Yeah, the flavor text for this card should be 'Better late than never.'
Orazca Frillback: For the Limited creature count when you need more Dinosaurs.
Overgrown Armasaur: I love Enrage. The trick is to create more than one token, and if you do, you got more than a square creature (5 drop 5/5).
Path of Discovery: Another solid enabler for the explore deck. It's not going to push it into torunament territory, yet it will make it a lot more fun to play.
Plummet: Required tool for every set.
Plyraptor: That's insane Timmy stuff there. It's unplayable, of course, but the fun of playing it that one time will more than make up for that reality. If only Quicksilver Amulet (4 Artifact 4, Tap: You may put a creature card from your hand onto the battlefield.) was in Standard!
Strength of the Pack: A great finisher in a mono-Green ramp deck. In the great tradition of Overrun (2GGG Sorcery Creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.) but it boosts one less counter, does not give Trample, and it costs one more mana.
Swift Warden: That's solid. It can protect a Merfolk in trouble once, just as long as you have the mana ready.
Tendershoot Dryad: Comes in a little too late to be a major force, yet it comes late enough that you could even hit the Ascend threshold. The tokens will help a lot. This has to be the one exception so far of a creature that by itself can get you to the Ascend limit. It's in Green, which means that you can cast it before turn 5, especially in the older formats. It makes me want to make a Saproling token deck in Modern. Yeah... this is a fun challenge: to make a Saproling deck with this card as a late game lord with Ascend.
Thrashing Brontodon: This is a great common.It's already reasonable as a vanilla creature, it's a Dinosaur, and for all of one mana, you can use it as a Disenchant on a stick!
Thunderherd Migration: Great ramp card. The DInosaur deck is already good, and this can make it better.
Wayward Swordtooth: Another Ascend good card... nice. Never mind that it can attack or block with Ascnd. It comes in early enough in Green and it allows you to drop an extra land each turn. That's really good without Ascend, and the additional lands will get you to Ascend. OK, I get it, there are some cards in this set that by themselves can get you to Ascend, and then the other Ascend cards can be in that deck.
World Shaper: If it is loading the graveyard, I want to be in Black as well. Maybe the next sets will have some good reanimator cards, and this card would be perfect for that. It also goes well with Ramunap Excavator (2G 2/3 Creature — Naga Cleric You may play land cards from your graveyard.), which is easily my favorite creature since Khans of Tarkir.

 

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