Dinos and Merfolk and Pirates, Oh My! (Also Vampires)
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan expansion is heading our way this November. Or we’re all going there. Maybe we’re meeting halfway?
In any case, we and the caverns will be at the same place at the same time and that means only one thing—more creature typal decks! Granted, the set seems to not be typal-focused like our last visit, but there will be more support for these existing factions.
Today we’ll be looking at the four main creature types of Ixalan: Dinosaur, Merfolk, Pirate, and Vampire. I’ve selected a card for each type that I think would be easy to overlook or underappreciate when it comes time for you to go spelunking and put together the 99 for your Commander decks.
The pool of Dinosaur cards is quite shallow—which is a good thing, because most of their arms are too tiny to paddle. Are we sure the dinosaurs didn’t die out because they wandered into the deep end of the pool and drowned? All at the same time? And the pool was the ocean?
In any case, there aren’t too many Dinosaur cards you might miss during deck construction, but Runic Armasaur is a nifty little guy that has the potential to draw you lots of cards. It comes down early, has a nice dino-booty for early blocking, and might make your opponents second-guess activating their abilities. He does a lot for three mana and it would be a shame to not give him a chance to shine. Just put some floaties on his arms to keep him safe.
Trust me on this one, this card is a Merfolk. I know it doesn’t look like one, but my mer-dar is never wrong. It got a creature type errata in the Oracle text, so disregard the fact that no printings of the card say Merfolk on it. And boy does this do something spicy. Repeatedly borrowing your opponents’ creatures at instant speed? In this economy? Please and thank you.
It/He/She/They (it’s hard to tell—there are two figures but the card name is singular) can cause some mad chaos so long as you have unwanted cards in hand and four mana. Use your opponents’ creatures to block, attack, or as sacrifice fodder. You can even use it to steal a creature attacking you to remove it from combat. The fun is endless!
Admittedly, this pick isn’t particularly exciting. This card was exclusively printed in
It may not be all spectacle, but it does good, honest work and is available for cheap. His parents must be so proud.
This guy just keeps getting promoted. First, he was just a legend (when that was a creature type). Then he became a legendary Vampire. Now he’s a Phyrexian Vampire Noble. What’s next? A jellyfish god? A unicorn mutant? A ninja whale?
At least for now, he slots into a Vampire deck to buff up all your black creatures... and your opponents’ black creatures. Sure, that might backfire, but life’s more fun if you take risks. At least he shrinks or kills nonblack creatures, doing a bad impersonation of
That’s all for this edition of Hidden Gems. Hopefully you can pick these cards up for super cheap before everyone focuses on these types when Ixalan rolls back around. Don’t forget to check out our Premium Membership for more market insights and entertainment.
Check out these other articles:
10 Commander Masters Reprints I’m Watching by Jason Alt
The Big Things - Everything is Priced In by Harvey McGuinness
History, Restapled - In Full Swing by Steve Heisler
Adam started playing Magic on his 14th birthday, when Judgment just released and the game's first Gorgon was born (It's a girl!). Since then, he's delved deep into Commander, written for television and film, and learned how to drive. He's published two YA Fantasy novels, Rainbringer and The Broken Pantheon. His favorite card is Repay In Kind, which is really all you need to know.