New Horizons - The Lost Caverns of Ixalan and Jurassic World
What’s New, Ixalan?
As our final set to wrap up the year,
This release serves as a palate cleanser, offering a departure from kindred creature-focused themes and instead embracing an action-adventure narrative, with 291 cards to explore the hollow world.
Welcome to…Universes Beyond
In addition, this set also features more cards from outside the Magic: the Gathering IP, with
Jurassic World adds a fun, thematic element, and works much better as a booster insert than a fully-fledged set. However, there are several issues with the release that suggest it was hastily assembled.
For instance, there's a discrepancy between the premium and borderless versions of cards.
A real shining star from this set is
|Welcome to . . .
|Swooping Pteranodon (Borderless)
|Permission Denied (Borderless)
Vampires, Merfolk, Pirates... and Gods?
Returning to The Lost Caverns, let’s focus on the array of creatures. The same factions are still present from the first Ixalan sets, but now accompanied by an additional cycle of Gods that seamlessly fit the set’s theme. These mono-colored Gods transform into lands upon death and transform back once certain conditions are met. While not inherently explosive or game-breaking, each of the Gods complements a certain distinct playstyle, rewarding players who lean into them.
Leading this notion is
On the other hand, we have
|Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation
|Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might
Caves are a new land type introduced in the set to further emphasize a journey through the underground. While these won’t spark much financial consideration, one out of the eighteen stands out slightly -
Objectively, it’s a build-around card rather than a seamless addition to any constructed deck. Averaging just shy of $8 ahead of release, this card's fate may resemble that of
The other seventeen Caves include some light interaction between them, forming a small draft subtype strategy. But this is where the value of Caves starts and finishes - as specifically created limited cards that may appeal to niche enthusiasts outside of the draft/sealed environment.
Modern Caves and Caverns
The real news surrounds previously printed cards mentioning Caves, like
Adding to the booster fun is the return of the Neon Ink treatment first featured in
|Cavern of Souls
|Cavern of Souls
|Cavern of Souls
|Cavern of Souls (0410c) (Borderless)
X Marks the Spot
Our return to Ixalan brings both familiar concepts and a brief adventure without strings attached. While it’s premature to speculate on its impact on Standard, besides Cavern of Souls being legal for the foreseeable future, some cards show potential for breaking through into eternal formats.
From my own experience and speculation, both this and the previous set will fade into memory sooner rather than later, along with the ideas and mechanics that were introduced in them. For now, let's observe how the journey to the middle of the plane influences the metagame.
Join me in the next installment of New Horizons, where kindred competition continues in
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Matt Grzechnik started playing Magic with the release of Dragon's Maze. Since then he has tried and experimented with all of the formats before discovering his love for EDH and Pauper. Piloting the same Jund deck for the last 10 years, he now tries to both understand and break Sealed as a format.