Ixalan Decks

Spoiler time is here again! And it’s time to delve into a flavorful treat that focuses on tribes, explorations, and evokes the Lost World pulp feel that was popularized around a century ago.

We have a number of decks below that are inspired by various cards and mechanics from Ixalan. All of them are designed for casual play, including, but not limited to, multiplayer.

Let’s look at some fun decks inspired by cards we’ve already had spoiled!

Ripjaw Raptor and Ranging Raptors

Who wants to draw cards?

Who wants to fetch out lands?

One of my Budget Commander projects was to use Prodigal Sorcerer and other Blue creatures that tap to deal a damage to something to hit Fungusaur to grow it, or to trigger damage-dealing abilities with stuff like Saber Ants or Hornet Nest. It was a fun budget deck. Check it out here!

The deck was called Prodigal Dinosaurs

And then Ixalan debuts with actual Dinosaurs, like of in the oeuvre of Fungusaur, with abilities that trigger when damage is dealt. How can I not connect those dots and build a new 60-card take on Prodigal Dinosaurs?

I also added in a single copy of Pirate Ship as another invocation of the plane of Ixalan. Fun!

Prodigal Dinosaurs, Take 2 — Casual | Abe Sargent

You can see the various effects here. My favorite is Acorn Catapult, which both nets you a 1/1 Squirrel token as well as gets the damage-based trigger. You can see some cards in there to push the concept around if you want to, and there’s Basilisk Collar and Charisma which love getting put in a Prodigal Sorcerer of Thornwind Faeries or Zuran Spellcaster.

And there you have it!

So what’s next?

Marauding Looter

One of the things I like about Marauding Looter is its size. Unlike a lot of similar Looting effects that rely on attacking, it’s pretty beefy. A 4/3 for 4 mana is no joke, and it slides into a lot of shells quite ably. Let’s see if we can’t make a quick little home for it really quickly.

This deck is using a number of “Slip In” cards to get some quick hits and triggers. We have Marchesa’s Smuggler here to get something to slip by a ready defense as well as hasting and hitting someone for an extra trigger. Note that the Looter doesn’t have to have attacked this turn. You could have attacked with a Wharf Infiltrator or Cephalid Constable instead.

Given our large number of looting and discarding effects, I ran some madness cards. I love Stromkirk Occultist, even outside of madness builds, and it’s one of my personal favorite Red cards in the last two years. Here it works perfectly as a hit-trigger as well as a madness discard. You can see the value of Avacyn’s Judgment, Welcome to the Fold, and Violent Eruption as pushing the board around.

And there we go!

Sanguine Sacrament

Consider Sanguine Sacrament. Want lots of life?

It’s a good card, right? It does some good stuff, right? It’s an instant trick that’ll gain some life, and then head to the bottom of your library for more life gaining. Gaining double X life is fun, because the first multiplier is already built in, and that is always the most important part about doubling things. The first are always weaker compared to later.

Are you familiar with Rhox Faithmender?

Rhox Faithmender

Exactly! It also doubles your life gained. So if you cast Sanguine Sacrament for five mana total, and gain 3 life, it’s doubled by the Sacrament to 6, and then by this to 12. Drop this on turn four, and get 12 life the next turn. And that’s the worst-case scenario, right?

Do you recall Alhammarret’s Archive?

Alhammarret's Archive

It’s okay if you do not remember it. But again, doubling life gain is good. And then we have one more! Don’t forget Boon Reflection as well!

Boon Reflection

Now that is a lot of life. Just two Reflections/Archives/Rhox dudes out when you Sanguine Sacrament for 7 total mana, or 5 initial life is . . . 

10 life from Sacrament
20 Life from 1st doubling
40 life from the 2nd doubling

And by that point, you are getting crazy amounts of life!

And there we are!

Arcane Adaptation

Note that unlike Xenograft, this costs just three mana and works on cards in places other than the battlefield for you. Also, note that like Conspiracy, this only works for you.


As you can see, Arcane Adaptation is basically a cheaper Blue Conspiracy, which helps for things like Ashes of the Fallen combos over Xenograft.

Ashes of the Fallen

Which was useful in very specific purposes, such as Spirits and soulcraft ability or Elementals in a Horde of Notions deck. We didn’t have this ability before in Blue, so only Ashes of the Fallen or splashing Black worked.

Note, that before you think Arcane Adaptation is going to lead to an era of Sliver wackiness, it’s not. There is already a better one.


Now sure, this works on Slivers in graveyards, libraries, etc, but most Sliver decks don’t have too many effects where that mattered anyway.

But it’s still a useful card to play around with. Take, just as one quick example, Vedalken Aethermage.

Vedalken Aethermage

Want to Wizard up a deck after Inalla, Archmage Ritualist and her fellow Wizards hit the street? Great! Make them all Wizards, and you can Wizardcycle the Aethermage here to tutor up the best Wizard from your deck right now!

You can see where this is going, right? Arcane Adaptation plays into a cool space for Blue to exploit.

Here’s one fun example:

Call to the Kindred

Arcanely Adapting Kindred — Casual | Abe Sargent

This deck wants to drop some early creatures and then toss out the Adaptation naming Kraken. Now when you enchant something safe, like a Fog Bank, with the Call to the Kindred, you have a good chance of finding and dropping, for free, the Tromokratis, Isleback Spawn, Deep-Sea Kraken, or Shipbreaker Kraken. Swing away my friends, swing away.

Note the really awesome Whelming Wave, which bounces all creatures that aren’t Leviathans, Serpents, Octopuses or Kraken. Who’s a Kraken? I also have Scroll Rack to add the right stuff on your library to help ensure going off. Synergy awaits. You can also see some scry or the Depths here as well.

If you like that idea of playing free stuff, you add in Green for either Descendants' Path or Lead-Crowned Elder . . . 

Descendants' Path
Leaf-Crowned Elder

And here’s another AA combo:

Rooftop Storm

Storming on the Zombies — Casual | Abe Sargent

Cephalid Sage is ideal here, as a way to ditch lands from your hand and keep on going. I am basically loading the deck with a bunch of creatures that draw you cards on arrival, so you can drop many creatures and thus possess enough beef to win. I am still running the Banks and Gomazoa to try and keep alive long enough to not-die. You can also use a lot of these cards, such as Mulldrifter, earlier as intended. I didn’t want to lock my deck down with a bunch of cards I couldn’t win with, so every card here is good, in case the Storm is taken down. For that reason I am running Vizier of Many Faces, to help keep you alive or to provide another Mulldrifter, Fog Bank, or Sphinx of Uthuun as needed, with Embalming fun times as well. Should I toss in Havengul Runebinder? Sure! Even if the Adaptation is taken out, you can still get Zombies with value.

All of your creatures are free to cast! Note that these are cast triggers, so I was thinking about the Eldrazi leaders here as well if you wanted to get really nasty.

I prefer the cleverness of the first over the obvious-ness of the second, and if I were playing this in real life, that’s the route I’d go. But get ready for Arcane Adaptation dominance.

And there we are! Five decks inspired by four cards from Ixalan. Ready for the fun journey? Dinosaurs? Pirates? Let’s get this thing going!

Ixalan is now available for Preorder! Pick up sealed product and singles as they're posted!