Insider: Rivals of Ixalan Sleeper Picks

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We are finally rid of Energy (and Ramunap Red)! Plus Rivals of Ixalan is out. Woot!

All things considered this is all pretty big news for Standard. I've officially decided that I'm a big fan of the first three weeks of a new Standard format and then I slide into apathy. I've also decided that a lot of people tend to share a similar trajectory when it comes to Standard. All of the excitement, brewing, speculating, and good stuff happens in the first three weeks and then it gets boring and we all go back to playing Modern or Legacy.

It's week one and we're in love. There is palpable excitement to get ahold of those new cards and play with them. Anything can happen. Three weeks from now the flaws will appear. The cracks in the facade will show through. But, for now everybody is stoked.

For speculators it is important that people are stoked because it means they want to buy, sell, and trade cards because they have cards on the brain. We should use the opportunity to get some work done and build our collections.

Today, I'm going to talk about cards that I think are the best value in Rivals of Ixalan. These are the cards that I'm looking to pick up (or have already picked up) out of the gate.

One important thing to always keep in mind about a new release is that in week one 90% of the cards are priced at the highest price they will ever be. It's hard to pick winners out of the gate because the demand is high and thus the price is high. Honestly, the best thing you can do with the new singles you open is typically to trade away as many as possible for safer, more stable singles.

However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Today, I'm going to talk about the cards that I think have potential and/or are underpriced at the moment.


As far as mythic rares were concerned, nothing was really calling to me. Most of the mythics felt like they were priced as though they had already hit and are destined to drop when they don't.

Of all the mythics the one that I thought had the most potential was Twilight Prophet.

It doesn't have a crazy price tag, which means it actually has the potential to go up or at least maintain value (more than can be said for most mythics on opening weekend). It could be a really nice Commander staple as it damages all opponents and there is the potential to manipulate the top card of your library.

In Standard, I think Twilight Prophet has potential as a finisher in a midrange or controlling deck that is going to make the game go long. 2/4 flying is decent at holding off attackers (especially in a deck that can play a lot of removal to take out larger threats). In the late game it draws cards, gains life, deals damage, and is evasive. It is a lot packed into a four-drop creature, but the key will be reaching ascend. I think getting the city's blessing is reasonably easy to do in Standard.

Of all the mythics, this was the one that most called out to me as a card that has been overlooked and undervalued. Onto the rares...


Probably just a bulk rare. However, the card has some really neat applications especially in Commander or casual that could give it some added value. For one, it combos with the "hunted" cycle from Ravnica block.

Obviously, this isn't going to be Constructed-worthy but not all value comes from Constructed. Somebody will steal a Marit Lage token with this and it will be epic. It isn't out of the question that Crafty Cutpurse could be a real sideboard card against a Standard tokens deck either.

I don't think the card is crap, which is more credit than anybody else has given it.

Next on the list of cards nobody likes, Induced Amnesia has that prerequisite amount of durdle going on where most people just assume it does nothing. We're discarding cards and drawing the same number of cards for three mana. Who cares?

An important element of the card is that if Induced Amnesia goes to the graveyard, the player gets those cards back and doesn't actually have to discard. So, it could potentially be a useful draw spell, provided a player was willing to jump through the hoop of having a sacrifice outlet.

I'm not saying the card is pure gas, but if a player searched hard enough there might be an engine there somewhere. Hatching Plans is a card. Crack the Earth? Things get a little crazy. Who knows?

I know Magic has changed over the years, but I refuse to accept this is not a good card. Demonic Tutor Wish is a very powerful effect.

I would literally play this in every Commander deck that allowed me to use a sideboard. The effect is so powerful. I could even see this being played in Vintage or Legacy combo decks. A tutor that can access the sideboard is no joke. It's a huge option.

Foils of this will get expensive.

Another card that I'd be willing to wager is a lot better than it looks. First of all, the card gives you a token on each player's upkeep which means it will be very easy to achieve ascend. Assuming that our token deck can ascend, the card makes a 3/3 every turn. Not bad. It also randomly pumps all Saproling tokens.

It's actually a really powerful card. I wouldn't be surprised if it was secretly Constructed-playable in a token deck. Don't forget, Rampaging Ferocidon was banned which makes that type of strategy even better. I love threats that create traction and this one certainly does that.

When a card is completely unbetaable in Limited it's typically an indication that it could be decent as a constructed card. Tetzimoc passes the first criteria. A giant monster that Plague Winds an opponent's team is messed up. I don't care how you slice it, no midrange deck is going to enjoy that!

Don't forget, this could also just be a control finisher.

Most of my picks have been bulk cards that could be real cards. I like these kinds of picks because, as I've already pointed out, presale prices are set as though the card had already hit! If the card is actually something it stays the same and if not it will quickly plummet. A card has to be pretty darn good to gain value now.

I actually think that Warkite Marauder could be a special card. Obviously, context is everything. Will the card find a home in a deck? Nobody knows.

With that being said, this card is straight-up busted in half. Two mana for a 2/1 flier with a relevant creature type is great. The fact that it just casts Ovinize every time it attacks? Wow.

First of all, in an aggressive deck this card makes blocking a nightmare. It's evasive, so it is hard to block already, but is great at clearing the ground for the rest of your forces. Also, Warkite's ability removes all abilities from the creature it targets, so it can essentially make it so a flying blocker won't be able to block.

And that's just the beginning. Imagine that you have a pinger in play. Or, imagine that your deck can easily kill one-toughness creatures for value like with Skulduggery. I can't guarantee the card will have a deck and be an all-star, but I can tell you that it's powerful and aggressively costed for what it does. I would not be surprised if the card was very good in Constructed.

Welcoming Rivals

Well, those are my sleeper picks... Enjoy the next three weeks of our new Standard and make some awesome trades!

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