Rivals of Ixalan
|Rivals of Ixalan|
|Orazca / Upper half of a steering wheel|
|Ben Hayes (lead)|
|Same as design|
|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|
|196 + 9|
|Ixalan block sets|
|Ixalan||Rivals of Ixalan||(none)|
|Magic: The Gathering chronology|
|Unstable||Rivals of Ixalan||Masters 25|
- 1 Set details
- 2 Themes and mechanics
- 3 Cycles
- 4 Mirrored pairs
- 5 Reprinted cards
- 6 Card comparisons
- 7 Preconstructed decks
- 8 Notable cards
- 9 References
Set details[edit | edit source]
Rivals of Ixalan is the last regular small expansion to be released. 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. 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.
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.
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. The boosters feature artwork from TBA, Angrath, the Flame-Chained, TBA, Frilled Deathspitter, and TBA. The set doesn't feature a Masterpiece Series.
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. 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]
Promotional Cards[edit | edit source]
- Magic Open House: Full-art foil Silvergill Adept 
- Prerelease: a stamped card that can be any rare or mythic rare from the set.
- Draft Weekend Launch promo: Brass's Bounty
- Standard Showdown: foil land with art by Rebecca Guay
- Magic League: foil Evolving Wilds
- Store Championship: full-art foil Ghalta, Primal Hunger 
- Buy-a-Box: Captain's Hook
- FNM promos:
- 1/1 Merfolk token with Hexproof — Treasure (River Heralds flavored)
- City's Blessing marker — 0/1 Red Elemental 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"
- 2/2 Illusion token with "When this creature becomes target of a spell, sacrifice it." — 1/1 Saproling token
Tokens, emblems and markers[edit | edit source]
- 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
- 1/1 Elemental creature token, for Tilonalli's Summoner
- 1/1 Saproling creature token, for Overgrown Armasaur and Tendershoot Dryad
- 4/4 Golem artifact creature token, for Gold-Forge Garrison
- Emblem for Huatli, Radiant Champion
- City's blessing marker
The following tokens printed in Ixalan are also used for cards in Rivals of Ixalan:
- 1/1 Vampire creature token with lifelink, for Elenda, the Dusk Rose, Martyr of Dusk and Squire's Devotion
- 1/1 Merfolk creature token with hexproof, for Aquatic Incursion and Jungleborn Pioneer
- 3/3 Dinosaur creature token with trample, for Baffling End and Crested Herdcaller
- Treasure artifact token, for Hornswoggle, Sailor of Means, Pitiless Plunderer, Brass's Bounty, Brazen Freebooter, Pirate's Pillage, Storm the Vault, and Gleaming Barrier
Themes and mechanics[edit | edit source]
There is only one new named mechanic:
- Ascend — If you control ten or more permanents, you get the city's blessing for the rest of the game.
- 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.
- Elder dinosaurs: Five rare elder dinosaurs, one of each color — Zetalpa, Primal Dawn (), Nezahal, Primal Tide (), Tetzimoc, Primal Death (), Etali, Primal Storm (), Ghalta, Primal Hunger ().
- Zacama, Primal Calamity is thematically related to the cycle.
- Legendary transforming enemy color enchantments: Five rare legendary enchantments in enemy color pairs that transform into legendary lands whenever a condition is met. Each of these lands tap for one mana of any color and have other powerful abilities — Profane Procession // Tomb of the Dusk Rose (), Journey to Eternity // Atzal, Cave of Eternity (), Hadana's Climb // Winged Temple of Orazca (), Storm the Vault // Vault of Catlacan (), and Path of Mettle // Metzali, Tower of Triumph ().
- Two-colored draft archetypes: Ten uncommon cards which each represent a two-colored draft archetype — Resplendent Griffin (, ascend), Deadeye Brawler (, ascend), Dire Fleet Neckbreaker (, pirates), Raging Regisaur (, enrage), Atzocan Seer (, ramp), Legion Lieutenant (, vampires), Jungle Creeper (, recursion), Merfolk Mistbinder (, merfolk), Storm Fleet Sprinter (, pirates), and Relentless Raptor (, aggro).
- Forerunners: Four uncommon creatures, one for each major tribe. Each has an enters the battlefield ability that tutors a creature of the respective type to the top of your library, and a triggered ability whenever a creature of that type enters the battlefield under your control — Forerunner of the Legion (, vampires), Forerunner of the Coalition (, pirates), Forerunner of the Empire (, dinosaurs), and Forerunner of the Heralds (, merfolk).
- Tribal revealers: Four uncommon spells that are undercosted but require the caster to reveal a card of a given tribe's creature type from their hand, or to pay some amount of colorless mana as an additional cost — Silvergill Adept (, merfolk; reprinted from Lorwyn), Sadistic Skymarcher (, vampires), Daring Buccaneer (, pirates), and Thunderherd Migration (, dinosaurs).
- Enemy color taplands: Five uncommon dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped. This cycle was originally printed in Shadows over Innistrad — Forsaken Sanctuary (), Foul Orchard (), Woodland Stream (), Highland Lake (), and Stone Quarry ().
Mirrored pairs[edit | edit source]
Rivals of Ixalan has three mirrored pairs.
- Uncommon lords: Two uncommon lords, each of which is 2/2 for two mana of the tribe's colors and gives other creatures of that tribe that you control +1/+1 — Legion Lieutenant ( vampires) and Merfolk Mistbinder ( merfolk).
- Control of the city: Two rare noncreature spells with ascend that each represent a villainous figure in the story gaining momentary control over Orazca — Kumena's Awakening and Vona's Hunger.
- Vampire combat tricks: Two common instants that give a creature +2/+2 or -2/-2 respectively, and gain you 2 life — Moment of Triumph and Moment of Craving.
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. They all have the same art as in the first set.
- Colossal Dreadmaw (new flavor text)
- Legion Conquistador (identical)
- Raptor Companion (new flavor text)
- Sailor of Means (new flavor text)
Other reprints[edit | edit source]
- Aggressive Urge, first printed in Invasion, last seen in 10th Edition.
- Divine Verdict, first printed in Magic 2010, last seen in Welcome Deck 2017.
- Evolving Wilds, first printed in Rise of the Eldrazi, last seen in Iconic Masters.
- Hunt the Weak, first printed in Magic 2014, last seen in Iconic Masters.
- Naturalize, first printed in Onslaught, last seen in Dragons of Tarkir.
- Negate, first printed in Morningtide, last seen in Aether Revolt.
- Plummet, first printed in Archenemy, last seen in Conspiracy: Take the Crown.
- Recover, first printed in Invasion, last seen in Modern Masters 2017.
- Shatter, first printed in Alpha, last seen in Khans of Tarkir.
- Silvergill Adept, first printed in Lorwyn.
- Strider Harness, first printed in Scars of Mirrodin, last seen in Oath of the Gatewatch.
- Traveler's Amulet, first printed in Innistrad, last seen in Hour of Devastation.
- The five enemy colored dual taplands, first printed in Shadows over Innistrad, last seen in Commander 2017.
Functional reprints[edit | edit source]
- Exultant Skymarcher is a functional reprint of Chapel Geist (Innistrad), save for creature subtype.
- Mist-Cloaked Sentinel is a functional reprint of Triton Shorestalker (Journey into Nyx), save for creature type.
- Orazca Frillback is a functional reprint of Alpine Grizzly (Khans of Tarkir), save for creature type.
- Orazca Raptor is a functional reprint of Highland Giant (Portal), save for creature type.
- Sun Sentinel is a functional reprint of Huatli's Snubhorn (Ixalan), save for creature type.
- Sworn Guardian is a functional reprint of Maritime Guard (Magic 2011), save for creature type.
- Vampire Revenant is a functional reprint of Carrion Screecher (Hour of Devastation), save for creature type.
- Waterknot is a functional reprint of Claustrophobia (Innistrad).
Card comparisons[edit | edit source]
Preconstructed decks[edit | edit source]
Rivals of Ixalan features two planeswalker decks:
|Planeswalker deck name||Colors included||Planeswalker|
|Vraska||W||B||Vraska, Scheming Gorgon|
|Angrath||B||R||Angrath, Minotaur Pirate|
Notable cards[edit | edit source]
- Azor, the Lawbringer is following the format of the Guildleaders of Ravnica with the double of each colored mana in the mana cost.
- Huatli, Radiant Champion is the second planeswalker card for Huatli in this block, having changed from to .
- Blood Sun was inspired by Blood Moon.
- Form of the Dinosaur was inspired by Form of the Dragon.
- The Immortal Sun mirrors the storyline by neutralizing planeswalkers.
References[edit | edit source]
- Product information
- Wizards of the Coast. (June 14, 2017.) “25th Anniversary Announcement Day”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. (January 5, 2018.) “Rivals of Ixalan Release Notes”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (2017 June 12.) “Metamorphosis 2.0”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen. (December 11, 2017.) “Rivals of Ixalan Promos, Packaging, and More!”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. ( January 1, 2018.) “The Arrival of Rivals”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen. ( November 27, 2017.) “Exploring Ixalan by Exploring Our World — Again”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Gavin Verhey. (January 8, 2018.) “Rivals of Ixalan" Prerelease Primer”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen. (October 30, 2017.) “Ixalan Store Championship Goodies!”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen. (January 4, 2018.) “The Tokens of Rivals of Ixalan”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Ben Hayes. (January 2, 2018.) “Designing Rivals of Ixalan”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Matt Tabak. (January 1, 2018.) “Rivals of Ixalan Mechanics”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (January 8, 2018.) “A Rivals Like No Other”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (January 05, 2018.) "Why are there so many commons from IXL reprinted in RIX?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Melissa DeTora. (January 19, 2018.) “Designing Rivals of Ixalan Planeswalkers”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (January 15, 2018.) “A Rivals Like No Other, Part 2”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.