Top 17 Ixalan Cards To Play in Standard (So Far)

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With 55 cards officially spoiled this Monday (August 28, 2017), we have a lot to think about for the new Standard environment. On September 28, Battle of Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, and Eldritch Moon will all rotate. This will leave us with Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, Hour of Devastation, and Ixalan, which will become Standard on September 29th. As the old cards rotate out, what new decks will arise? In no particular order, here are 17 cards from Ixalan you should consider for the new Standard format:

  1. Kopala, Warden of Waves

    The last Standard I remember with Merfolk tribal being a thing was Lorywn in 2007. Are we going to see another Merfolk tribal deck 10 years later in Standard? Maybe. Kopala is a very strong tribal lord. Making your opponent pay an additional 2 mana to destroy any of your Merfolk can buy a lot of time. A 3 mana Murder can't be cast until turn 5. As is always the case with tribal cards, this is either going to be amazing or useless in Standard. It all depends on how many playable Merfolk WOTC gives us. They made Zombies a Tier 1 deck in this Standard. Now that Zombies is rotating, will Merfolk take their place?

  2. Sorcerous Spyglass

    Many of us have been begging for Pithing Needle to be reprinted for years. Spyglass finally gives us a way in every color deck to deal with planeswalkers. For the addition of 1 mana, we get to see the opponent's hand, which seems like a fair trade for the additional cost over Pithing Needle. In a few cases, this could potentially be maindecked if enough decks run cards with activated abilities, because you can see all their cards (and know what activated abilities you can prevent).

  3. Carnage Tyrant

    Wow, talk about a beating! Gaea's Revenge was an absolute destroyer of control decks back in the day, and I expect Carnage Tyrant to follow in its footsteps. Carnage Tyrant is about as pushed as a 6 drop green creature can get. Can't be countered, trample, and hexproof, mean this card is going to deal damage. Ramp decks are going to love this card, and so is any form of green deck that can hit 6 mana. I don't know about you, but I'm not feeling good about control decks when green has access to both Bristling Hydra and Carnage Tyrant. Destroy all effects like Fumigate and Bontu's Last Reckoning are the only good answer to these cards. "Still the correct maneuver is usually to deploy the giant, implacable death lizard." Indeed.

  4. Gishath, Sun's Avatar

    Naya gets a big upgrade from Godsire. Seriously. Assuming your opponent doesn't have an instant kill for this card in hand, you are likely going to dish 7 damage, get another decent threat from your deck, and have at least two blockers (vigilance) during your opponent's turn. This card makes Dinosaur Ramp something seriously worth considering. Ulamog Ramp will die post rotation, but perhaps Dinosaur ramp will replace it.

  5. Priest of the Wakening Sun

    This might be an important early game part of the Naya ramp deck. If you have a big unplayable dinosaur in your hand, this gains you 2 life for turn. That basically negates a 2 power creature on your opponent's side of the field. Then, on turn 5+ you can fetch any dinosaur you need at instant speed. Not bad for one white mana. Late game this is an ok draw, as you can spend 5 mana to get a Gishath.

  6. Vraska's Contempt

    Wow, now this is a real removal spell! The problem with Planeswalker removal cards like Never // Return is that they are sorcery speed. Getting an Instant Planeswalker and Creature removal card is a big deal at 4 mana. The life gain is a nice bonus that can help you survive against aggro decks long enough to stabilize. I would consider this one of the best black removal options in the new Standard, and you are going to want to run at least 2 in any control based or midrange deck. This is definitely a substantial upgrade from Never // Return, not just because it is instant speed, but because it also exiles the card. With Grasp of Darkness rotating, this is a must have to beat God cards and Planeswalker.

  7. Jace, Cunning Castaway

    It's a good idea to keep an open mind for 3 mana Planeswalkers. Especially a Jace. Many were underwhelmed when Liliana, The Last Hope was initially spoiled. -2/-1 doesn't kill a lot after all. But it turns out Liliana's small creature hosing combined with a game winning ultimate made her a great card.

    Making 2/2 tokens is usually reserved for 4 mana planeswalkers, so Jace is ahead of the curve in that regard. Looting multiple cards doesn't seem too bad either. Will Jace see Standard play or not? It's hard to say for sure, but I wouldn't count out any 3 mana planeswalker that can make 2/2 creature tokens.

  8. Captain Lannery Storm

    Captain Lannery Storm is the Pia Nalaar of Ixalan. She is a decent value card that I expect to see play in red decks. She may be a nice consideration for red/X decks that have strong 5-6 CMC drops that you need to accelerate into, but even with a low curve deck she can present good tempo value. Keep in mind, Treasure artifact tokens create any color mana. The ability to sacrifice them anytime make them useful to revolt mechanic cards like Fatal Push.

  9. Ruin Raider

    Dark Confidant this is not, but Ruin Rader can provide a reasonable amount of card advantage on a stick. Ruin Raider combo's well with cards that are harder to block, such as flyers or creatures with menace. Ruin Raider combined with Glint-Sleeve Siphoner seems like a lot of card advantage ready to be exploited. Just try not to kill yourself with life loss.

  10. Hostage Taker

    Wow! For one more mana, Hostage Taker is a serious upgrade to Fairgrounds Warden. Not only does it hit artifacts, you can cast the exiled card, which means your opponent will never get it back! Hostage Taker reminds me a lot of Sower of Temptation. Although you don't get to take control of an opponent's creature right away, another untap step and it is yours! If they kill Hostage Taker after you cast the exiled card, you get to keep it anyway.

  11. Star of Extinction

    White has Fumigate, Black has Bontu's Last Reckoning, Red had Hour of Devastation. Now Red also gets Star of Extinction. 5 Damage from HOD isn't enough to kill some threats, like a Verdurous Gearhulk or a pumped Bristling Hydra. Star of Extinction gives Red decks something that definitely kills all planeswalkers and almost all creatures. The fact that this can't kill Hazoret or Rhonas is a real downside over Hour of Devastation. The deck that plays this is also probably going to be a ramp deck, which likely prefers sending out a big Dinosaur instead of destroying everything. I'm not expecting this to see much standard play, but it isn't out of the question.

  12. Old-Growth Dryads

    A lightning bolt on a stick for one green is extremely powerful. Ramping up your opponent a land on turn one is a huge downside though. It's hard to say whether this card will have a turn, but it can deliver some serious beats. As the game goes on, the ramp effect becomes less and less relevant, so you are only spending one mana for a formidable 3/3.

    In formats like Modern, this is going to be a great beatstick card against decks that run few to no basics. In Standard, this might see some play. Against aggressive low curve decks, the additional mana may be less relevant than a 3/3 body on turn 1. Think Goblin Guide.

  13. River's Rebuke

    Blue finally gets a great removal spell! While Crush of Tentacles has Surge potential to create an 8/8, River's Rebuke does a fine job of returning all nonland permanents of TARGET PLAYER. I can imagine a Turn 4 creature, Turn 5 creature, Turn 6 River's Rebuke being a huge KO against an opponent. In a Standard with Indestructible creatures, hexproof Bristling Hydras and Carnage Tyrants, River's Rebuke might be the tempo removal card that gets the job done best.

  14. Tocatli Honor Guard

    Torpor Orb just got a new best friend! Tocatli is a silver bullet SB card against various strategies, such as G/B counters (Walking Ballista is dead on arrival, Rishkar and Gearhulk don't provide counters, etc...). It also stops energy decks such as R/G Pummeler and Temur Energy. Without ETB energy effects, they lose a lot of effectiveness. Tocatli doesn't have to be used purely for defensive SB purposes. She can also be used aggressively to prevent undesirable ETB triggers of your own creatures. For example, a Tacatli in play makes your Old-Growth Dryads a one green mana creature for 3/3 without any downside.

  15. Ripjaw Raptor

    A 4/5 for 4 is already a fair deal mana wise. Green doesn't get a lot of good card advantage and Ripjaw can provide that. If this creature becomes blocked, you are likely going to draw a card. Likewise, against a deck trying to kill with this with red removal, you are likely going to draw a card as well. This card is also good on defense, making opponents afraid to attack, lest your draw too many cards. There are some useful tricks you can run with this card as well, because it draws on any damage dealt. For example, play Sweltering Suns to clear the board and you draw a card because Ripjaw was dealt 3 damage. 

  16. Shapers' Sanctuary

    Shaper's Sanctuary seems like a great piece of SB tech against control. Everytime they destroy one of your creatures, you get to draw a card. That card advantage is bound to add up until a creature eventually sticks. For 1 green mana, this is a great turn one play vs decks with lots of removal. Having two of these out is just brutal. Anytime they kill a creature, you draw 2 cards! That's practically a Skullclamp.

  17. Burning Sun's Avatar

    Last, but not least, we have Burning Sun's Avatar. This Dinosaur is no Inferno Titan, but the Titan's would be overpowered in today's Standard anyway. Killing a 3 toughness creature and dealing 3 damage to an opponent, while also having a 6/6 beatstick seems like a great play at 6 mana to me. Carnage Tyrant seems like the better turn 6 play against control and midrange decks, while Burning Sun's Avatar is the Dinosaur you want against aggro and low curve decks, since it helps you stabilize by destroying a creature.

    That's it! Which cards from Ixalan are you looking to playing in the new Standard? Leave us a comment below!