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Wrapping Up Lost Caverns of Ixalan

This week I want to take a look at more Lost Caverns of Ixalan. We now have the full set, so let's look at a few interesting cards.

Bonehoard Dracosaur

Bonehoard Dracosaur is a super interesting creature. It falls into the "dies to Doom Blade" category that we all joke about but generally holds powerful creatures like this back.

However, Bonehoard Dracosaur is incredibly powerful. It's the kind of five-drop where it's hard to lose after you untap with it in play. It creates creatures and mana in the form of treasures, and it also draws two cards a turn.

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when and if a card like this will see play because the format's texture matters. If there are a lot of low-removal linear decks that don't interact with creatures much, Dracosaur will be a must-play card. However, we already have creatures like Raffine and Sheoldred, so I think the format will be heavily creature-focused, which will knock Dracosaur down a peg or two.

I expect to see Bonehoard make its way into decks immediately because of how much raw power it has, and it may be paired with a card like Skrelv or other ways to protect it because it's that powerful. Despite this, I am skeptical of all creatures that don't provide immediate value when they enter the battlefield.

The TLDR is Bonehard Dracosaur is too powerful to not see play at least initially, but I don't expect it to be an omnipresent staple.

Get Lost

Get Lost is a nice new white removal tool that has potential to see play in multiple formats. It's two mana and versatile, but it has quite the downside. Two map tokens are a lot, especially in a world where we have mechanics that let us use random tokens to great effect, such as the newly added crafting.

I'm low on Get Lost. I think it will feel and play out like Fateful Absence and will see about as much play. Generally, it's a huge downside for your opponent to have two opportunities to explore against heavy-creature decks, so you'll want this postboard against a deck that has creatures like Baneslayer Angel and no other creatures. Get Lost will cleanly answer that kind of sideboard card while providing almost no additional value to that style of deck, as it will be tough for them to utilize the map tokens to full effect.

Get Lost is a much better card in an aggressive deck that can punish the opponent for spending time and mana on the map tokens in a short game.

I don't think we'll see tons of copies of Get Lost in main decks, but it's a solid, versatile sideboard card that will find its way into players' 75s.

Molten Collapse

I'm not a big Dreadbore fanatic, but Molten Collapse is the real deal. While it's easier to descend in a format with fetch lands, it's not a huge challenge in any format.

Molten Collapse is a strict upgrade to Dreadbore, a card that's played in small numbers in decks like Rakdos Midrange in Pioneer. Molten Collapse looks like an excellent option for a deck like Rakdos Sacrifice, allowing the deck to have a hard removal spell that can also kill problematic permanents like an opponent's Witch's Oven.

Molten Collapse will always be solid and has a potentially back-breaking upside, which will make it playable in basically every format in some numbers. The older the format, the more likely you're going to find a card you want to kill that costs 1 mana or less in addition to a planeswalker or creature.

While I'm not going to rush to buy four copies of Molten Collapse, it's the kind of card I want to own at least two of because of how high the upside is when triggering descend, and it's mana efficient enough to be seen across all formats. It's likely going to be played in some numbers for years to come.

Vito, Fanatic of Aclazotz

Borrowing a bit of design space from Omnath, Vito Fanatic of Aclazotz looks fun to try and get to work, but ultimately I doubt it will see much competitive play.

The ideal deck for Vito would be a deck like Mardu Sacrifice, similar to what Autumn Burchett played at the last Pioneer PT since it would synergize well with Cat Oven and treasures. Tons of cards have been printed that are extremely good when you have Cat Oven going, for instance, Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin, and these cards are all to win more. If I wanted to add a four-drop to that deck, I'd want it to do something when I'm not all set up already.

Vito has an issue that the first and second triggers aren't that meaningful, so you need to be able to go all the way to the third trigger or Vito is lackluster. With Omnath, not only do you draw a card upfront, the first and second triggers are the most important, and the third is extra value that you don't need to go out of your way to get.

Inti, Seneschal of the Sun

Inti, Seneschal of the Sun is a powerful two-drop in a low-curve aggressive deck. While it can give you immediate value when cast on two if it follows a one-drop, that value is not always appealing. Discarding a card to give a +1+1 counter isn't that exciting when you can't utilize the exiled card you'd also get from it.

For this reason, this card lines up much better in a low-curve lean deck that has tons of one-drops. It's better suited as a card you play on turn three after you've developed your mana and creatures some, and you're immediately able to attack and exile a card, which could either be a land to play for the turn or potentially a one-drop to cast with your third land.

Inti is the type of creature that demands an answer since it's generating board presence every turn similar to a Luminarch Aspirant. Inti, however, isn't going to put this lean, low-curve, aggro deck on the map. While it may be a playable support card, it won't be good in decks with a higher curve where you're discarding a card only to exile an uncastable spell, which will set you back some.

I'm not buying Inti for now, but if Madness were to come back soon, Inti would be an interesting card to look to as an enabler.

Bitter Triumph

Bitter Triumph is a solid card that will see play in all formats.

Despite having the same issue as Infernal Grasp in paying life repeatedly, Bitter Triumph negates this issue by allowing you to discard a card instead, and it's a solid outlet for certain decks that will happily discard a card. You could see it in all formats due to its mana efficiency.

Bitter Triumph is solid all the way around and is a surefire addition to cubes everywhere.

Geological Appraiser

Bloodbraid Elf at home. Geological Appraiser is an interesting case study of how cards that were once dominant in Standard can still be effective in the more powerful environment we have today if downgraded a little.

Geological Appraiser looked better when you could hit a Fable of the Mirror Breaker with Discover, but it's still a powerful card that provides you with an immediate board presence when it enters the battlefield. It will see play in heavy red decks looking for a threat that provides value.

One issue with Discover is that it can be countered and you will not get the free spell as you would with Bloodbraid Elf, which was one of the big factors in Bloodbraid's success in a World of Jace the Mind Sculptors.

As of today, I think Geological Appraiser could find a home in grindy, red, midrange Standard decks, but it's likely not powerful enough outside of Standard.

One upside to the appraiser is that you can add a bunch of removal to your midrange deck, and if you cast it and don't have a target you can bank that removal in your hand for later. For this reason, Bloodbraid Elf was a much better cast when the opponent had permanents. Geological Appraiser isn't strictly worse than Bloodbraid, but it is meaningfully worse in a stronger environment.

Geological Appraiser is worth testing, perhaps in a Rakdos Midrange style of deck, but I'm not sold that it's a staple like Bloodbraid Elf used to be.

This will wrap up the cards I reviewed that looked interesting. Overall, this set looks fairly deep and interesting, and it will be a lot of fun to explore. Limited looks like it might be incredibly fun if the balance is there. All the set's mechanics are remastered versions of older mechanics that will make it more intuitive to play with than completely new mechanics. I'm most excited to play with Bonehoard Dracosaur, as it seems so powerful, and I'm eager to see if it has a place anywhere outside of Limited where it will absolutely ruin games.

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