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MTG: Dig a Little Deeper! First Impressions of Limited in Lost Caverns of Ixalan

3 Minute Read
Nov 11 2023
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I played in Limited so you don’t have to — but you really should. Here are my first impressions from Lost Caverns of Ixalan!

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan prerelease window is upon us and what a set it is! Rampaging Dinosaurs, conquesting Vampires, and a few Gnomes all clash for the fate of the plane. Buried deep under the surface are secrets of extraordinary power and it’s up to you to decide who wins! The Limited environment in the set is phenomenal, with tons of ways to get the most out of your pulls. No color feels left behind and, whatever style you like, you’ll find something that can do it here. But what keywords should you be hunting for in pick-and-pass? Are the Caves worth it? While I can’t answer all your questions I can give you some free advice about the winning strategies I saw during my experience.

Descend is King (But Be Careful)

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When I entered the tournament, I expected the descend mechanic to be left in the dust. After all, with only 40 cards in your deck, what’s the likelihood you’ll have a fat graveyard? As it turns out, quite high. There’s so much sacrifice in Ixalan you’ll be able to fill your ‘yard in almost no time and get the most out of your descend pieces. Special shout out to Join the Dead, which is a quick creature killer that gets even nastier if you have a fat graveyard. But be warned, traveler! Map, Treasure, and other tokens that blow themselves out do NOT count as descending, so if you want to get the most out of your sacrifices you’ll have to use the real deal.

Vampires Go Nuts

Vampires are the king of Ixalan Limited without a doubt. While the Dinosaurs are the big bosses (and will definitely find their stride in Draft and Constructed) the low-to-the-ground, keyword soup of the Vampires puts them a bit ahead. They can fly, they might have deathtouch or lifelink, and they let you throw things into the blender for descend triggers. If you happen to get one of the legendary gents, you’re building Orzhov. I don’t make the rules.

Get Crafty

Crafting is another mechanic that I thought would suffer in Limited. However, throwing your stuff into a blender to make a bigger blender is a surprisingly easy ask. Of special note: since you’re exiling cards, you won’t get the descend trigger. However, since they exile themselves and come back, any of your cards that care about ETB get to trigger off of them. Plus, crafting an unassuming artifact into a face-smashing creature is always fun to do.

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Did you get any spicy pulls?

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Author: Clint Lienau
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