Top 4 Most Powerful MTG Cards From The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

A Black Tarmogoyf? In my Standard format!?

We’ve had access to the Lost Caverns of Ixalan cards for about a week. That’s not enough time to “solve” formats or to explore everything that might be out there. But it’s certainly enough to get a glimpse at what tools our boldest and most creative deckbuilders are most interested in.

Today I’m going to highlight the top most powerful cards from Ixalan so far, for play in a variety of competitive constructed formats.

Honorable Mentions

Cavern of Souls (0269)

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Cavern of Souls (0269) - The Lost Caverns of Ixalan - Magic: The Gathering

Let’s start with an honorable mention section, and specifically with Cavern of Souls. There’s little doubt that the introduction of Cavern of Souls into Standard and Pioneer will be among the greatest impacts of the new set. On the other hand, this is a reprint of a land, so it doesn’t feel quite right to put it on a list of most exciting new cards.

Suffice to say that Cavern of Souls is a guaranteed all-star that will level up typal creature decks, and will force some decks to adapt, especially those heavy on permission spells, like Pioneer Spirits and U/W Control.

Restless Anchorage
Restless Prairie (Borderless)
Restless Reef

Next, we complete the cycle of “Restless” two-color creature lands. These are good at what they do and are guaranteed to see play in decks of their respective color combinations. Some will wind up as one- or two-ofs, like Restless Fortress in the three-color Esper Midrange manabase. Others might wind up as four-of that put their color combination over the top in competitive constructed, which was the case for Restless Cottage in Golgari Midrange.

Restless Ridgeline (Borderless)
Restless Vents
Restless Cottage (Borderless)

I’ll just say that I’m a lifelong believer in creature-lands, and that these always always play out better in practice than they look on paper. You might think, “I don’t want to play a tapped land because it will ruin my ability to curve out!” But when you actually sit down and play scrappy games where things go long and you start flooding out, you’re going to be thrilled to look down and find a Restless Land on your battlefield.

Deep-Cavern Bat

Promo Pack: The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Deep-Cavern Bat - Promo Pack: The Lost Caverns of Ixalan - Magic: The Gathering

Finally, I’ll highlight Deep-Cavern Bat, which is an upgrade to existing useful cards like Mesmeric Fiend and Kitesail Freebooter. In particular, Freebooter was printed in the original Ixalan and saw a healthy amount of constructed play. With lifelink and the ability to take creatures out of the opponent’s hand, it’s amazing how much stronger the Bat is!

#4 Inti, Seneschal of the Sun

Inti, Seneschal of the Sun

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Inti, Seneschal of the Sun - The Lost Caverns of Ixalan - Magic: The Gathering

Inti, Seneschal of the Sun is a beatdown player’s dream. The first time it attacks, it threatens three damage and only gets bigger from there. In addition, you can use it to smooth your draws and find more action for keeping your foot on the gas pedal, in the same way that Smuggler’s Copter or Raffine, Scheming Seer could in their respective archetypes.

(This is not the last time I’ll reference Smuggler’s Copter, by the way).

Smuggler's Copter
Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival
Play with Fire

Even better, Inti need not even attack himself to trigger. If you like, you can play a one-drop, then cast Inti on turn two, attack, and add a counter to your creature. You’re likely to miss out on the value of playing the exiled card if you do. That said, in a low-curve deck, I could easily see making this play on turn three or turn four, hoping to hit a land or a cheap play.

Inti has a natural synergy with Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival, which will undoubtedly make a great pairing in Pioneer and Standard. Alternatively, I predict that Inti will slot naturally and favorably into Standard Mono-Red. My tip is to play Inti in decks with low mana curves. (It’s no fun to reveal a six-drop that you can’t cast). Be aggressive in looting away lands, and always make sure to trigger it before making your land drop for the turn.

#3 Souls of the Lost

Souls of the Lost

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Souls of the Lost - The Lost Caverns of Ixalan - Magic: The Gathering

Souls of the Lost is the new Tarmogoyf, and I’ve already been on the receiving end of Souls as large as 11/12 pretty early in the game. There’s not a ton to highlight about this card besides huge stats, but I’m hoping numbers that high will be enough to convince you!

The other aspect of Souls of the Lost is being an inexpensive and high-quality discard outlet. Looking to enable madness? Souls can do it. Discard Parhelion II for your Greasefang, Okiba Boss? Souls can do it. Brewing up a Reanimator deck or Grixis Arclight Phoenix? This is a card that might interest you. And in any of those cases, you might find yourself “accidentally” winning games with your Plan B of simply attacking with a massive two-mana creature.

#2 Subterranean Schooner

Subterranean Schooner

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Subterranean Schooner - The Lost Caverns of Ixalan - Magic: The Gathering

I’m hearing Subterranean Schooner being called the new Smuggler’s Copter. (Smuggler’s Copter was banned in Standard, and is currently banned in Pioneer for power-level reasons). I’m still reserving judgment, but I must admit there are a lot of similarities.

Both are two-mana, three-power vehicles with low crew costs. Both smooth your draws, help you make your land drops, and help you find more action when you need it. Schooner even has a fourth point of toughness, helping it survive effects like Lightning Bolt, Fiery Impulse, and Cut Down. Plus, it can add +1/+1 counters to the creatures crewing it, so even if the opponent can trade off against the Schooner, they’re going to face an even bigger problem with the creatures that had been exploring turn after turn.

#1 Molten Collapse

Molten Collapse (Borderless)

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Molten Collapse (Borderless) - The Lost Caverns of Ixalan - Magic: The Gathering

As many great options as there are, I have to give the number one spot to Molten Collapse. For one thing, this is the card that I’ve personally been playing with the most. For another, this is going to be a multi-format all-star, and actually scales in power level with the format you’re playing!

Okay, in Standard, Molten Collapse will be pretty similar to Dreadbore. There won’t be a lot of must-kill cheap, non-creature permanents, and you won’t have Fetch Lands to make descending effortless. The good news is that Dreadbore is a highly useful card that saw a lot of play when it was in Standard, and even splashed into Pioneer, Modern, and Legacy! Plus, there will certainly be the odd time when you get to tag a Treasure, Blood, or Map token as a bonus on top of whatever main target you’re going after.

As you get into older formats, the potential to kill unique, problematic permanents, or to score two-for-one blowouts becomes very real. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of non-creature cards you can kill with Molten Collapse.

Colossus Hammer
Pithing Needle
The Ozolith

Pioneer: Witch’s Oven; Pithing Needle.

Modern: Utopia Sprawl; Colossus Hammer; The Ozolith; Amulet of Vigor; Aether Vial; anything someone searches up with Urza’s Saga.

Legacy: Chalice of the Void; Carpet of Flowers; Exploration; Chrome Mox; Mox Diamond; Mox Opal.

Vintage: Mox Pearl; Mox Emerald; Mox Sapphire; Mox Ruby; Mox Jet; Mana Crypt; Manifold Key.

Commander: Sol Ring; Mystic Remora; Skullclamp; Wild Growth.

That’s what I’ve got for you at this early stage. Whatever your format of choice, Lost Caverns of Ixalan almost certainly has some useful cards to offer.