Ixalan EDH Review — Red

Yes, that’s right everyone, a double dose of my writing prowess here! In addition to my regularly scheduled article we get to run down some hot new toys coming out with Ixalan. I won’t dilly dally too much here, since red is what we all know is the worst color in Commander. There are some pretty fun cards in the set though, so let’s get into it!


Angrath’s Marauders

Angrath's Marauders
So Dictate of the Twin Gods is already a known card and is played in a whopping 5,500+ decks. So there’s definitely a market for the card. Paying two mana extra to put it on a 4/4 makes it a pretty steep cost though. Playing it at the top end of some deck that wants the effect isn’t necessarily a bad idea though. Saskia the Unyielding or Heartless Hidetsugu decks that like having bodies with effects will certainly welcome this new addition.

Burning Sun’s Avatar

Burning Sun's Avatar
A bad Inferno Titan isn’t really something I’m too interested in. Wizards of the Coast has gotten into this habit of giving each block its own “fixed” titan cycle, like the gearhulk cycle from Kaladesh, and here’s our entry for Ixalan. Burning Sun’s Avatar only hitting its ability when it enters the battlefield really shows us how spoiled we were with the original cycle. The new dinosaur decks that will spawn once this set comes out will play this, but I’m not sure of too many other decks that want this beyond that.

Captain Lannery Storm

Captain Lannery Storm
Quite the swashbuckler we have here. This seems about on par power level wise with Pia Nalaar, making tokens that ramp you happens to be a pretty handy ability for mono-red. I’m not really expecting too many Captain Lannery Storm decks to pop up when you have Admiral Beckett Brass in the same set doing the same pirate theme you probably would play anyways only you get more colors. I really like Miss Lannery though, any deck that wants a hasty creature that can pay for itself in a few turns is pretty nice.

Captivating Crew

Captivating Crew
Act of Treason has about 287,587,238,758,920,109,598 variants and there is always Zealous Conscripts that gets played in over 7,500 decks reporting to EDHREC. A conscripts variant that can be busted with Paradox Engine and doesn’t have to be flickered or tapped seems dangerous. Expect to see PLENTY of Captivating Crew appearing in your area soon. They’ll be coming for your booty for sure.

Charging Monstrosaur

Charing Monstrosaur
Charging Monstrosaur isn’t a great card really, but it’s a 5/5 dino beater with trample and haste. Reality Smasher gets played in over 1,000 decks, and this has a a much easier casting cost not requiring colorless mana. Seemed worth mentioning at least…

Dinosaur Stampede

Dinosaur Stampede
Another card that I only mention because there are a bunch of dinosaur decks that will love a Trumpet Blast with upside. My fellow writer Dana Roach likes this card a lot, and my deck I wrote on this week about Boros weenies would play the heck out out an anthem combat trick too.

Lightning-Rig Crew

Lightning-Rig Crew
Wizards has shown us they have the audacity to make a Pirate creature type that can’t actually crew any vehicles…what the heckin’ heck. Flavor fail indeed. The card itself is fine if your pirate deck wants a pinger, but I thought it was odd that the pirates are all about being one of the crew but can’t actually contribute to the rest of the crew.

Makeshift Munitions

Makeshift Munitions
Makeshift Munitions is going to ruin some games of Limited. It won’t ever replace Goblin Bombardment in any of the 8,000+ decks since you have to pay for each activation but redundancy is never a bad thing in a singleton format either. Being able to sacrifice artifacts as well as creatures means your ammo shouldn’t ever run out for this. I think it’ll be a nice add for many decks.

Otepec Huntmaster

Otepec Huntmaster
Dinosaur. Tribal. If people are desperate enough to play Dragonlord’s Servant when they have several other options for ramp then their dino-counterparts will probably do the same.

Rampaging Ferocidon

Rampaging Ferocidon
Have you ever wanted to give your Splinter Twin playing friend a big fat middle finger? Or that guy that loves playing go-wide tokens?(me for example?) This seems like a fine hoser then. Rampaging Ferocidon isn’t going to make lots of unfair decks play very fair. Red hatebears are always a fun curveball and this isn’t too much different in my book.

Rowdy Crew

Rowdy Crew
How this card ended up mythic is beyond me. Unless this is just going to wreck Limited events, this just doesn’t feel mythic. Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded has his creature counterpart in discarding all your answers. I guess if you play stuff like Burning Inquiry this isn’t…terrible? This is more for the 60 and 40-card format players than for us.

Star of Extinction

Star of Extinction
Now Star of Exinction on the other hand, is freaking awesome. The flavor is on point and the effect is awesome. Have you ever wanted to have the big boy pants at the table with Stuffy Doll? Perhaps Boros Reckoner a homie? Blow this spicy number and be Bruce Willis to their Little Foot.

Sun-Crowned Hunters

Sun-Crowned Hunters
In the format where you have on color Anger of the Gods and Pyroclasm effects, this will probably show up a fair amount. It probably won’t be crazy game-breaking good, but it’ll be annoying for sure.

Sunbird’s Invocation

Sunbird's Invocation
Sunbird’s Invocation to me should have been the red mythic alongside Star of Extinction. Giving all your spells a Kaladesh Expertise spell cycle/cascade effect is awesome. It works great with X-spells, so get your Banefires ready and sleeved again! If this was supposed to be Ixalan’s crappy token phoenix then this certainly would be among the best, but that’s not really saying much. This card is wicked fun.

Tilonalli’s Skinshifter

Tilonalli's Skinshifter
At first I wasn’t really sure what I felt about Tilonalli’s Skinshifter. It needs another creature attacking to be anything cool, but there are some cool effects people will come up with for this card. I’m kind of bummed that it says “nonlegendary,” on its copy ability though, because I would LOVE to steal someone’s Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or commander, copy it and then sacrifice their copy. But we can’t all get what we want. That’s the difference between wanting and getting I suppose. We’ll just have to play Makeshift Munitions and pay for the sacrifice effect then…

Trove of Temptation

Trove of Temptation
This card seems bad. Like, real bad. Why you would want to anti-Goad opponents for a small payoff of a single Treasure token each turn? Yeah, I don’t get it…

Vance’s Blasting Cannons / Spitfire Bastion

Vance's Blasting Cannons
Of course red gets the shaft in the flip-land cycle. Outpost Siege minus the versatility is what this guy is on its face. That by itself isn’t bad, but 4-mana to not have an option kinda hurts. When this does flip (which may not be that often, honestly) what do we get?!?! An Open Fire on a stick. Shivan Gorge gets more than zero play though, but this is just so much work to get the payoff here though. And even then, this payoff is nothing compared to the rest of the cards in the cycle. The hoops are similar to Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh and history shows us how much of a pain that can be too. On a scale of 1-10, I give this a solid “blah.”

And there we have it! I skipped over some of the other dedicated tribal stuff like the pirate and dinosaur specific type cards, because those all seem a little too obvious. Let me know what you guys think of the new set. I know red has a tendency to get the shaft, or just suck sometimes but this set doesn’t have some interesting options for sure. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Comments

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Selesnya, Naya, Temur, Ink-Treader...whatever you want to call it. Matt knows a good creature-combo deck when he sees it. He is the only EDHREC writer that was sad to see Leovold go. Outside of EDH plays Legacy and Modern and got his first career Pro Point at GP Louisville. Matt lives with his wife and two dogs, but no cats because cats are terrible.