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Last week’s post can be found here.
Hey Gamers. When I was a kid, I loved dinosaurs more than almost anything. I loved the complicated names and strange outlets of evolution, like frills and sales and weird forehead structures straight out of early Star Trek.
These days the dinosaur content is pretty realistic and/or graphic, and while I still consume some of it, it’s no longer like an Allosaurus tearing into a goat haunch. I did have a Dinosaur Commander deck for a while, and it was okay, but it never wowed me. It was like Dragons, but with worse creatures, no real type support, and a distinct lack of flying.
The current Commander options aren’t terribly inspiring, as they either do ‘Rawr Dinosaurs’ like Gishath, Sun’s Avatar or the Ghaltas, or ‘I can do this without any help, thanks,’ like Etali, Primal Storm or most of of the other mono-coloured ones. Maybe Ixalan will give us a break?
Hot Take #1 – Ixalan Brings More Dinos, but Doesn’t Solve Their Identity Crisis.
While what I want is some unique, outside-the-box approach to unifying Dinosaurs as a creature type in Magic, what I expect to get is some power/toughness buffs, more 3/3 token makers, more random enrage across all colours, and a Legend that lets you draw a card when a dino does combat damage.
Oh and plenty of name dinos that need no other help, like the recently spoiled Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant which can put Dinos into play, but doesn’t have to, and since there are wayyyyy better creatures to put into play than any of the Dinosaurs…. Well that.
Prove me wrong, Wizards!
Hot Take #2 – Lands on the Backside of Legendary Creatures is Dangerous
On the back, luckily requiring a transformation, is a land. I think lands on the backside of Legendaries is something Commander might have some issues with. The lands are likely to be powerful. Temple of Power above is powerful in the sense that it’s red ramp, and saves Ojer from permanent death. It makes Ojer’s death exploitable. But it can’t just be played like a land from the Command Zone, which could be bad.
Why’s that bad? Well it could mean that land turn 1 every game. Some of those decks could run no other lands. Which could mean turn 1 storm kills, turn 1 belcher kills, and turn 1 oops all spells kills.
Plus lands are tough to interact with. Destroying lands is a feelbad, and not that easy to do. Plus the cards that do it best are extremely expensive, like Strip Mine and Wasteland. Not exactly what we need to have be staples.
I expect Legends with lands on the back with no play restrictions to appear in Modern Horizons 3 and break stuff like crazy.
Hot Take #3 – Jurassic World’s Humans Will Outnumber the Dinos
We’ve already seen what is sure to be the first of many cards featuring the face of Jeff Goldblum. Not a terrible thing, I guess, but tough to see coming even five years ago.
The thing about those movies is that the Dinos aren’t really that interesting. In Magic terms, they’d be vanilla or french vanilla creatures, meaning having no abilities, or basic abilities only, like trample and flying. Colossal Dreadmaw would kill it in a Jurassic Franchise movie, but it’s a meme card in Magic.
Power creep has taken us into a weird realm where a lot of the Dinos are going to have to be better than actual Godzillas like Godzilla, King of the Monsters or else they’ll barely register.
The other side of this is that Wizards prints the heck out of Legendaries these days, and to fill up that quota, we’re likely going to need to go deep on the human cast of the movies. Get ready for Commander decks headed by a Chris Pratt, or even Wayne Knight as Dennis Nedry.
Bonus hot take: 2/2 for Ian Malcolm is hilarious. It should be 0/1 or 1/1. I bet we get some absolutely stupid numbers on Human Legends in this set.
Hot Take #4 – A Mystery Will be Resolved… With Another Mystery
Last time we were on Ixalan, Jace, Cunning Castaway lost his memory and made some non-legendary clones of himself. Then Vraska, Relic Seeker, a pirate Vraska, showed up and they met up and Jace regained his memory.
Jace and Vraska have a romance thing, even though she’s a Gorgon. And I’m pretty sure she’s dead after being compleated and being killed. Anyway, they did some secret shenanigans in the heart of Ixalan, that we were supposed to think were all about the War of the Spark.
The hot take here is that we’ll get teased that there was more to that stuff than we thought, and Vraska might be alive, and Jace was a copy, and possibly Jace might have been Emrakul this whole time, going all the way back to Eldritch Moon. Well maybe just Vraska being alive, and some Jace memory/clone stuff.
The teaser will take us into next year’s mystery season, beginning with the Ravnica Haunted House, where Vraska is probably held prisoner. She’s a Gorgon. I’m hoping they try and stash her in a Hall of Mirrors.
Hot Take #5 – We Will See at Least One Exciting Type Support Card
Enter the sleeper hit of last Ixalan: Vanquisher’s Banner. It’s not cheap now, but it was before players figured out it was grease to the wheels of your Creature Type Commander decks. Ixalan was big on types, notably Dinosaurs, (white) Vampires, (green/blue) Merfolk, and Humans I guess.
Changelings are an awesome way to have Type support, but they don’t really appear on Ixalan. Or haven’t. This World Tree planar bridge thing makes anything appear anywhere, so maybe.
But it’s likely we’ll have more of the ‘Choose a creature type…’ variety, ideally on artifacts and lands so they can be played in a wide variety of decks. Wizards might do more type-specific, especially in the Commander products, but for the main set, I predict at least one really standout support card.
Ixalan will be here before we all know it! Out of all the releases this year, and maybe last year too, this is the one that feels the most to me like Magic, and I’m really looking forward to it. Eldraine is still just too much Shrek 2.
Happy Dinosaurs to one and all! Here’s more Arena codes!
Thanks for reading!