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Commander Review: Rivals of Ixalan Part 2 (Green, Colorless, Multicolor)

We continue our Rivals of Ixalan Commander review with Part 2! Check out Part 1 if you missed it, where we talk about the new White, Blue, Black, and Red cards. Alright, now for the rest of the cards!




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Cacophodon is an unassuming Dinosaur that actually is one of the deadliest dinos out there due to its combo potential. The most popular combo talked about so far involves Cacophodon + Pyrohemia + a card that keeps Cacophodon alive, such as Darksteel Plate. This combo lets you ping with Pyrohemia, untap a permanent that taps for R with Cacophodon, and repeat the process a bunch of times. If you have the highest life total at the table then you can just burn everyone out with Pyrohemia, otherwise you need another card like Bellowing Aegisaur (make it indestructible) to make your creatures huge or something else. Either way, this is a great inclusion in the Enrage / Dinosaur Tribal archetypes.

Have another sweet combo with Cacophodon? Let me know in the comments section!


Cherished Hatchling

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Cherished Hatchling requires some conditions to be met: you need Dinosaurs in your hand, mana available to cast them, and creatures to fight them. But when those conditions are met, Cherished Hatchling can lead to blowouts, killing opposing creatures, triggering enrage, all that fun stuff. It won't always work out, but when it does, this card is fantastic.


Deeproot Elite

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Deeproot Elite is exactly the type of card UG Merfolk Tribal wants: this deck is both Tokens and +1/+1 counters, and this card promotes both those themes. You can either distribute those counters evenly or beef up one hexproof threat, your choice. Lots of value here for 2 cmc!


Enter the Unknown

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Enter the Unknown is a cool twist on Explore: actually, if the top card of your library is a land, then Enter the Unknown does the exact same thing as Explore for half the mana cost, which is pretty sweet! The downside is that you need to target a creature you control to cast Enter the Unknown and the entire spell fizzles if the target isn't valid, such as being killed in response. It's a heightened risk vs. reward but definitely worth it, especially in +1/+1 Counter decks.


Forerunner of the Heralds

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Like all the forerunners, Forerunner of the Heralds is an excellent addition to its tribe since tutors are amazing in a 99-card singleton format. I will say that despite being good, it's comparatively the weakest of the cycle, since the Merfolk ETB trigger doesn't have as great an impact as the others potentially do. Still great, still an auto-include in UG Merfolk Tribal.


Ghalta, Primal Hunger

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I usually gloss over big dumb beaters, but Ghalta, Primal Hunger stands out as one of the best we've ever seen. In a format nicknamed "Battlecruiser Magic," it's trivial to cast Ghalta for a mere GG, and a 12/12 trampler towers over even our traditionally big creatures. Pretty much any Stompy deck will love this; I imagine Xenagos, God of Revels can cast any 5+ power creature, which turns into a 10+ power creature thanks to Xenagos, and then you can cast Ghalta for GG post-combat, which itself swings as a 24/24 trampler thanks to Xenagos. Ridiculous! It's of course also a Dinosaur, so this is an auto-include in Gishath, Sun's Avatar.

The sheer size of Ghalta and the fact that it has a huge cmc that you will often pay only a fraction of leads to so many fun interactions: draw 12 cards off Greater Good, dig 12 cards deep with Sunbird's Invocation, heck you could make Ghalta your commander and go nuts with Food Chain if you want to! A very powerful and interesting card.


Jadelight Ranger

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Jadelight Ranger is a sweet double explore on a stick, which is great not only in UG Merfolk decks that are all about +1/+1 counters but also Blink decks like Roon of the Hidden Realm as well. Nothing fancy, just solid value at 3 cmc.


Overgrown Armasaur

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Overgrown Armasaur is a sweet token generator if you have a deck built around consistently and repeatedly triggering enrage. The only problem with this card is that the best enrage triggers often deal 1 damage to all creatures, like Pyrohemia, which means bye-bye saprolings in most cases. It can still be good in the right deck, however.


Path of Discovery

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Path of Discovery offers a lot of value to both Tokens / Go Wide strategies as well as +1/+1 Counter decks . Its most obvious home is UG Merfolk Tribal which is combines both Token and +1/+1 Counter themes together, but I can see it in other decks that care about one or both themes as well, like Atraxa, Praetors' Voice



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Polyraptor is a card begging to have combos built around it, which is why Wizards slapped on that staggering 8cmc on to it. Pair it up with Gruul Ragebeast and all your opponent's creatures die while you have tons of raptors leftover. Or make infinite raptors and kill all opponents when paired with Aether Flash and a burn outlet like Impact Tremors. Or Pyrohemia and Cryptolith Rite. So many ways!

So yeah, the card is super expensive but it ends games a whole bunch of ways. Play it in a dedicated Enrage deck as your finisher.


Tendershoot Dryad

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Verdant Force just got a major upgrade! Tendershoot Dryad is sweet, generating a huge amount of 1/1's that can act as chump blockers, Skullclamp fodder, help you ascend, and eventually turn into finishers. Everything about this card is good! Token decks like Rhys the Redeemed will love it, and I'm sure the dozens of Saproling Tribal players will love this new best card in their deck!


Thrashing Brontodon

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Thrashing Brontodon isn't a great Caustic Caterpillar, but it's okay with surprisingly good Power/Toughness, and it's a Dinosaur that isn't at a high cmc. Good enough for Gishath, Sun's Avatar.


Wayward Swordtooth

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Exploration is sweet. Azusa, Lost but Seeking is sweet. Wayward Swordtooth is also sweet! We've got a 5/5 Dinosaur that lets you play extra lands and once you ascend it can start participating in combat too. Even when it's not attacking or blocking it can help by fighting with Ulvenwald Tracker or making Ghalta, Primal Hunger cost less. This is a solid inclusion in Dinosaur Tribal!


World Shaper

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World Shaper is a terrific card for both decks that like self-mill and/or do sweet things with lands: Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, The Gitrog Monster, Titania, Protector of Argus will all love this new card.



Azor's Gateway // Sanctum of the Sun

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Oh man, that flip! Dump all that mana into your preferred X spell, like Comet Storm, and you just win. The tricky part is flipping the thing, of course. It won't be easy, especially since all your opponents will be gunning for you the most after you cast Azor's Gateway. Paradox Engine certainly helps, as is true with any permanent that wants to untap. The deck that will love it the most is probably Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, for similar reasons. Even played straight this is an okay-ish looting effect. I'm eager to see just how difficult it is to actually flip it!


Captain's Hook

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Captain's Hook is a sweet inclusion in Admiral Beckett Brass: steal a creature, equip it with the Hook so it's now a Pirate with evasion, and use it to steal other creatures. Or Threaten a creature, equip it with a Hook and swing, then unattach the Hook so it dies before you have to give the creature back.


Golden Guardian // Gold-Forge Garrison

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Golden Guardian is a sweet inclusion in Stompy decks, most notably Dinosaur Tribal decks full of enrage dinos. It's easy enough to find a big enough creature to kill/flip this for that sweet land side, plus if it triggers Polyraptor's enrage while flipping then all the better.


Silent Gravestone

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Silent Gravestone is another sweet piece of graveyard hate that can be slotted into any deck. It fits well with the other top graveyard hate artifacts, Grafdigger's Cage, Relic of Progenitus, and Tormod's Crypt. Each one is better suited for different situations. Pick one based on what deck you're running and what your playgroup runs!


The Immortal Sun

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What a strange hodgepodge of abilities! First and foremost, The Immortal Sun is interesting anti-Superfriends tech, so it will excel most if your playgroup has at least one of those decks playing regularly. Outside of that, it seems you want The Immortal Sun in a Go Wide style deck to make the most of the +1/+1 anthem, with the card draw and spell discount being good no matter what. 

If you're not playing against Superfriends, is The Immortal Sun a worthwhile card? Yes, certainly, but it's not a fantastic card unless you're taking full advantage of all aspects of it. You're drawing extra cards at the speed of a 3 cmc Phyrexian Arena and I've already had my rant on that card; you're saving mana on spells but you need to cast 2+ spells a turn for it to be on par with a 3 cmc Worn Powerstone, and the +1/+1 anthem is equal to a 2 cmc Glorious Anthem. Combined, yes it's worth a 6 cmc artifact, but shutting off planeswalkers on top of all that is what makes it exceptional in that particular matchup.



Angrath, Minotaur Pirate

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Overcosted and we have better options in Red/Black. Pass.


Angrath, the Flame-Chained

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Now this is better. The +1 is comparable to Skull Rend considering this is a repeatable planeswalker effect at the same cmc and works wonderfully to enable Rakdos, Lord of Riots decks. The -3 Threaten with upside is solid too. Finally, the -8 can end games. I think this card is a solid inclusion in Group Pain decks like Mogis, God of Slaughter and also to fuel Rakdos, Lord of Riots.


Atzocan Seer

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At 2 cmc Atzocan Seer would've been a slam-dunk in Dinosaur Tribal. At 3 cmc it's still quite good, offering much-needed ramp early and can be sac'd in a pinch to get back a Dinosaur when you need it or in response to removal. Good card!


Azor, the Lawbringer

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Azor, the Lawbringer brings back the glory days of Sphinx's Revelation Standard to Commander in the form of sweet legendary. The ETB trigger is a sweet way to muck up your opponent's plans and put them behind, and it only gets better when you add blink effects like Brago, King Eternal. Of course, if you need to refill your hand while gaining some life, attacking with you 6/6 flyer lets you dump your mana to do so. The card draw is great and repeatable, if a bit slow. Overall though, that's a lot of value you're getting for 6 cmc!

I see Azor, the Lawbringer as a solid commander, either Control goodstuff, Sphinx Tribal, or even a Blink deck. Or I can see Azor go in the 99 of a Blink deck like Brago, King Eternal.


Dire Fleet Neckbreaker

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Dire Fleet Neckbreaker is a pretty sweet Pirate Lord, letting you trade up with bigger blockers. It's a shame that Pirates aren't very good at generating tokens to Go Wide and take full advantage of this anthem, or are even that good in Commander. Moving on!


Elendra, the Dusk Rose

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Edgar Markov approves of this big Vampire army generator! Elenda, the Dusk Rose also promotes a Sacrifice theme and Lifegain theme, so Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim lists will enjoy her as well. You can run her as her commander, but then you need to let her go to the graveyard to benefit from her death trigger, which loses out on the benefit of your commander being able to go back to the command zone. I think she's far better in the 99 for this reason.


Hadana's Climb

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The perfect flipland for +1/+1 Counter decks! The flip requirement is easy, and you can get the benefit of its flip side on the same turn you cast it which is very nice. UG Merfolk Tribal decks with +1/+1 Counter themes will like it, as will other decks like Ezuri, Claw of Progress.


Huatli, Radiant Champion

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Huatli, Radiant Champion is a sweet support card for Token decks. Sure, it doesn't do anything if you don't have any creatures, but a decent board state lets her ultimate the next turn she's cast and that emblem is very good! It seems quite easy to do in the right deck. Her -1 can pack a wallop as well. Any WG Token deck, like Rhys the Redeemed, should seriously consider trying her out.


Journey to Eternity // Atzal, Cave of Eternity

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In a Sacrifice deck, all you need to do is pay 3 cmc to put this on some sacrifice fodder, kill it with Skullclamp / Ashnod's Altar / whatever, and it flips into a Command Tower that also can put creatures from your graveyard directly into play? Are you seeing this, Meren of Clan Nel Toth players? Yeah, looks good to me!


Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca

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As much as I love Tishana, Voice of Thunder, Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca has now emerged as the "official" UG Merfolk Tribal commander, if only because his abilities specifically work with Merfolk while Tishana is more flexible. At only 3 cmc, Kumena is going to be a consistent presence on the battlefield, and his assortment of abilities promote both the Token and +1/+1 Counter strategies that Ixalan's Merfolk work towards. I'm sure there have to be infinite combos with his ability to tap Merfolk to draw cards, but I can't think of any off the top of my head. Played straight, however, Kumena does a bunch of things fairly well and should be fun leading the Merfolk Tribe.

Now unofficially, is Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca better than Tishana, Voice of Thunder, Merfolk Tribal or no? I still think Tishana is better regardless, because drawing a buttload of cards as an ETB trigger is amazing, but we'll see what sweet interactions people come up with Kumena.


Legion Lieutenant

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Of the new tribal lords in Rivals of Ixalan, Legion Lieutenant is the best for Commander because it works so well in Edgar Markov, providing yet another Vampire Lord for the deck and this time at 2 cmc, a spot on the mana curve that Vampire Tribal wants to fill. It's the perfect fit for the deck.


Merfolk Mistbinder

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Merfolk Mistbinder is a fine Merfolk Lord. It's not as good as previous ones like Lord of Atlantis, but hey, UG Merfolk Tribal like to Go Wide and this helps with that admirably.


Path of Mettle // Metzali, Tower of Triumph

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Dinosaurs / Enrage get their own flipland! Path of Mettle pings creatures, including enrage beasts like Ranging Raptors, and then easily flips into a kickass Command Tower that can act as a sweet attack deterrant. It's basically like a super Boros Aggro Rampant Growth. I dig it!


Profane Procession // Tomb of the Dusk Rose

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Profane Procession costs a ton of mana to flip, but the activated ability is actually quite good: 5 mana to exile creatures at instant speed? That's expensive, but the ability is still powerful. And then when it flips you get a Command Tower that can plop those exiled creatures into play at instant speed! Very nice! 

I see Profane Procession doing its best in Control decks that can generate a ton of mana. The most obvious inclusion would be Daxos the Returned, since it's an enchantment and those decks typically want to generate a ton of mana so Daxos can poop out an army of creature tokens. It's a generally good card though so it can show up anywhere.


Protean Raider

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Protean Raider is a 3 cmc Clone for aggressive decks. Basically any deck that can consistently activate raid should run this. Clones are sweet!


Raging Regisaur

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4/4 for 4cmc Dinosaur that triggers enrage (Ripjaw Raptors) every time it attacks. Yep, that's a good Dinosaur lord!


Siegehorn Ceratops

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Siegehorn Ceratops is a dumb beater that grows into a big dumb beater. The thing I like about it, however, is that it's a 2 cmc Dinosaur, a rarity in our limited card pool. It does its job well when placed in an Enrage deck. Solid early curve threat for Gishath, Sun's Avatar.


Storm the Vault // Vault of Catlacan

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Of all the fliplands, Storm the Vault is easily up there in the top 3. In a dedicated Artifact deck like Breya, Etherium Shaper, you can easily flip the enchantment the turn you cast it, and then you've got Vintage-restricted Tolarian Academy in play that can tap like a Command Tower too just in case. Outside of Artifact decks, Storm the Vault is still a worthy inclusion in aggressive creature-centric decks like Marchesa, the Black Rose or Pirate Tribal, where the ramp can still prove valuable even if it doesn't reach the insanity of Artifact decks.

The one thing keeping Storm the Vault from being completely busted is that thankfully it can only flip at the end of turn, so you can't make full use of its ramp until the turn after you play it. Even with this restriction, however, this enchantment is really good, and I don't look forward to seeing Breya, Etherium Shaper decks everywhere jamming a copy of this to do even more degenerate things.


Zacama, Primal Calamity

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From the makers of The Ur-Dragon, we bring you Timmy's wet dream, Zacama, Primal Calamity! This three-headed dino is huge in every way: 9/9 vigilance, reach, trample, ETB trigger, and three abilities at 9 cmc! Lots of good stuff here, but is it good or great?

Commander is known as the battlecruiser format, but even then, 9 mana is a lot. When I'm hardcasting a 9cmc spell I want it to either win me the game or swing things greatly in my favor. Zacama, Primal Calamity doesn't exactly fit that criteria, but it should make a splash whenever cast. Most times you cast it you'll untap and immediately use its green ability to Naturalize three threatening artifact/enchantments, since in Commander there's no shortage of those to blow up. Or you can kill pretty much any creature, or you can gain some life. Plus you've got a 9/9 vigilance / reach / trample on the battlefield; all good things!

If you get to untap your lands with Zacama around, you'll be getting some sweet value with its abilities even if it bites the dust shortly after. The problem here is instant speed removal: Zacama + Doom Blade before you untap your lands = sad times, though at least your lands untap and you can cast other things. This is unlike, say, Terastodon, where even if your opponent Doom Blades it before the ETB trigger resolves, you're still blowing up three permanents.

Despite the risk, Zacama, Primal Calamity is still in my opinion an amazing Dinosaur, one of the best in fact. It's huge, splashy, and does a lot of work all by itself. Each turn it sticks around means more and more value for you. I would absolutely jam it into my Dinosaur Tribal list as part of the 99 under Gishath, Sun's Avatar.


That's All, Folks!

Hope you enjoyed Part 2 of the Rivals of Ixalan Commander review! Now that you've heard my opinion of the cards, I want to hear what you think about them! What cards do you like the most and which decks will you be testing them out in? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

We continue our Rivals of Ixalan review with some Commander Spotlights on the tribes of Ixalan, starting with my favorite, Dinosaur Tribal! Let's see how these terrible lizards fare in Commander now that we have a complete pool of cards to work with!

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