Rivals of Ixalan

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Rivals of Ixalan
RIX logo.png
Set symbol
Symbol description
Orazca / Upper half of a steering wheel
Design team
Ben Hayes (lead)
Melissa DeTora
Mark Gottlieb
Alexis Janson
Glenn Jones
Shawn Main
Cynthia Sheppard
Eli Shiffrin
Yoni Skolnik
Development team
Same as design
Art Director
Cynthia Sheppard
Release date
January 19, 2018
Themes and mechanics
Tribal, Double-faced cards, Treasure tokens, City's Blessing
Keywords and/or ability words
Transform, Ascend, Enrage, Explore, Raid
Set size
196 + 9
Expansion code
Development codename
Ixalan block sets
Ixalan Rivals of Ixalan (none)
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Unstable Rivals of Ixalan Masters 25

Rivals of Ixalan is the 77th Magic expansion, and the second in the Ixalan block. It was released on January 19, 2018, and is a small expansion.[2][3]

Set details[edit | edit source]

Rivals of Ixalan is the last regular small expansion to be released.[4] The set contains 196 cards (5 basic lands, 70 common, 60 uncommon, 48 rare, and 13 mythic rare) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. Some of the rares are Double-faced cards which were printed on a separate print sheet. Nine additional cards are found in the set's planeswalker decks (2 mythic planeswalkers, 2 rares, 2 uncommons, 2 commons, and 1 common dual land). These are numbered #197/196 to #205/196.[5] With the exception of the Elder Dinosaur cycle, all the tribes are staying in their same colors from Ixalan.

As the design of this set fell between the abandonment of the Two-Block Paradigm, but before the introduction Three-and-One Model, Rivals of Ixalan had a combined Vision/Set Design team instead of separate Design and Development teams. Notably, head designer Mark Rosewater wasn't part of the team.[6]

Storyline[edit | edit source]

Stake your claim. Dominate the opposition. Rule the city.

The legendary city of Orazca has been found, but it will not be claimed without a fight. The winner will wield the greatest power of the plane.

The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in Ixalan are: Flood of Recollection, Induced Amnesia, and Mastermind's Acquisition. This is the first set to only have three spotlight cards. These feature a Planeswalker symbol icon as a watermark in their text boxes. The icon has no effect on game play.[3]

Marketing[edit | edit source]

Rivals of Ixalan is sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), two planeswalker decks and the Rivals of Ixalan bundle.[5] The boosters feature artwork from TBA, Angrath, the Flame-Chained, TBA, Frilled Deathspitter, and TBA. The set doesn't feature a Masterpiece Series.[4]

As part of the preview season, Wizards of the Coast again distributed trackable game pieces to stores, fans, volunteers, and some well-known community folk. As game pieces travelled from from geochache to geocache, the distances they travelled influenced the release of preview cards.[7] By tracking Dinosaurs, Merfolk, Vampires, and Pirates individually, accompanied by votes on social media, it will be decided who controls the golden city at the end of the Rivals of Ixalan story.

Events[edit | edit source]

  • Prerelease Events took place on January 13, 2018.[8]
  • Magic Online Launch: January 15, 2018.

Promotional Cards[edit | edit source]

City's Blessing.png

Tokens, emblems and markers[edit | edit source]

Ixalan features six tokens and markers.[10]

  1. {R} 0/1 Elemental creature token with "At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice this creature and return target card named Rekindling Phoenix from your graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste until end of turn." for Rekindling Phoenix
  2. {R} 1/1 Elemental creature token, for Tilonalli's Summoner
  3. {G} 1/1 Saproling creature token, for Overgrown Armasaur and Tendershoot Dryad
  4. {C} 4/4 Golem artifact creature token, for Gold-Forge Garrison
  5. Emblem for Huatli, Radiant Champion
  6. City's blessing marker

The following tokens printed in Ixalan are also used for cards in Rivals of Ixalan:

Themes and mechanics[edit | edit source]

Transform and double-faced cards are carried over from Ixalan. The front side of some of them is multicolored. The backside is still a legendary land.

Enrage, explore and raid also return and the tribal component was expanded upon.[6][11]

There is only one new named mechanic[12]:

  • Ascend — If you control ten or more permanents, you get the city's blessing for the rest of the game.[6][11]
    • If you have the city's blessing, you gain a significant advantage depending on the spell you played.
    • A special marker may be used to indicate the city's blessing on the battlefield. This is not a token or emblem, merely a representation of a game state.
    • Both permanents and spells can have ascend. If a spell has ascend, you get the city's blessing as part of the spell's resolution if you control ten or more permanents. If a permanent has ascend, you get the city's blessing immediately once you control ten or more permanents: this is a special action that doesn't use the stack and cannot be responded to.

Card types[edit | edit source]

  • Return of the Elder subtype with the Elder Dinosaurs, the first Elders that aren't Dragons.

Cycles[edit | edit source]

Rivals of Ixalan has six cycles, including one double cycle. Two of these cycles are partial due to uneven color distribution among tribes.

Mirrored pairs[edit | edit source]

Rivals of Ixalan has three mirrored pairs.

Reprinted cards[edit | edit source]

As a first, this small set features four common reprints that were also printed in the large set. This was done because R&D had realized that they didn't want to make "second best" versions of those cards.[14] They all have the same art as in the first set.

Other reprints[edit | edit source]

Functional reprints[edit | edit source]

Card comparisons[edit | edit source]

Preconstructed decks[edit | edit source]

Rivals of Ixalan features two planeswalker decks:

Planeswalker deck name Colors included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Vraska W B Vraska, Scheming Gorgon
Angrath B R Angrath, Minotaur Pirate

Notable cards[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Product information
  2. Wizards of the Coast. (June 14, 2017.) “25th Anniversary Announcement Day”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b Wizards of the Coast. (January 5, 2018.) “Rivals of Ixalan Release Notes”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b Mark Rosewater. (2017 June 12.) “Metamorphosis 2.0”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b c Blake Rasmussen. (December 11, 2017.) “Rivals of Ixalan Promos, Packaging, and More!”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b c Mark Rosewater. ( January 1, 2018.) “The Arrival of Rivals”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Blake Rasmussen. ( November 27, 2017.) “Exploring Ixalan by Exploring Our World — Again”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Gavin Verhey. (January 8, 2018.) “Rivals of Ixalan" Prerelease Primer”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Blake Rasmussen. (October 30, 2017.) “Ixalan Store Championship Goodies!”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Blake Rasmussen. (January 4, 2018.) “The Tokens of Rivals of Ixalan”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. a b Ben Hayes. (January 2, 2018.) “Designing Rivals of Ixalan”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Matt Tabak. (January 1, 2018.) “Rivals of Ixalan Mechanics”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b c Mark Rosewater. (January 8, 2018.) “A Rivals Like No Other”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Mark Rosewater. (January 05, 2018.) "Why are there so many commons from IXL reprinted in RIX?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  15. Melissa DeTora. (January 19, 2018.) “Designing Rivals of Ixalan Planeswalkers”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Mark Rosewater. (January 15, 2018.) “A Rivals Like No Other, Part 2”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.