Daily Dose of Ixalan – Anger Management w/Dinosaurs
Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Ixalan, where today I’ll be talking about a new mechanic from Ixalan that has everyone in a huff. Okay, not really, but it has made for some angry Dinosaurs.
New mechanics are always fun to me because they get my creative juices flowing. I start to think about what interactions can happen between that mechanic and other cards from the set. Then I start to think about all the other cards in Standard and how they will interact with the new mechanic. So let's look at a couple of new cards from Ixalan, then I’ll delve into their interaction with other cards in the Standard format.
The new mechanic in Ixalan is Enrage! Enrage is a mechanic placed on creatures that states that every time said creature is damaged (any damage) they trigger an ability. Let’s look at our first card with Enrage, Bellowing Aegisaur.
If you look at the starting stats of this card they aren’t too impressive. If you take into consideration the fact that it can grow to a 4/6 or 5/7 after a short time, this card gets a little bit better. If you have Bellowing Aegisaur on the battlefield you can take advantage of Enrage in a couple of ways. If you see that your opponent is going to have to chump block, or block with, say, a 2/4 creature, it will force your opponent into a tough decision. Prevent the damage by blocking and make your creature larger for future attacks, or just take the three damage. These decision points in Magic are what make the game great.
The next card from Ixalan I want to highlight is the mighty Ripjaw Raptor.
To start off with, you get a 4/5 creature for four mana. That’s pretty strong by itself. Being four mana also makes it one of the lower casting cost Dinosaurs in the set, which is important if there's ever a Dinosaur tribal deck that gets built. Being able to play cards on curve starting at three or four mana is important so that you don’t miss out on building your battlefield with creatures. Card draw and, more importantly, card advantage is key to the game of Magic. Barring a straight-out creature removal spell, this card will replace itself if killed during combat. If your opponent is forced to chump block this 4/5 creature, then the real card advantage starts to begin.
Now that we've seen some of the new cards from Ixalan with Enrage and what the ability does, I’m going to talk about some of the best cards in Standard that will allow you to take advantage of this mechanic over and above combat damage.
Sweltering Suns – This red sweeper will not only clear out the battlefield of any pesky smaller creatures, it will trigger Enrage on your big Dinosaurs as well.
Shock or Abrade – Any direct damage spell can be used to trigger your Enrage creatures in a pinch. If used on Ripjaw Raptor it's like you're cycling the card for its mana cost. One of the best spells for this is Chandra’s Pyrohelix.
Cartouche of Strength – This, or any other cards that cause your creature to fight, will allow you to trigger Enrage.
Huatli, Warrior Poet – Her -X ability can be used to trigger Enrage on one of your creatures if you need to draw a card or make your creature bigger.
Heaven // Earth – Another sweeper that can be used to clear out smaller creatures and trigger Enrage on your Dinosaurs.
Fireforger’s Puzzleknot – You can use this artifact to trigger Enrage twice if needed.
Rush of Vitality – This, and any other cards that give your creature Indestructible, will ensure that you get to trigger Enrage while keeping your creature on the battlefield.
Samut, the Tested – Another Planeswalker with an ability that's great for targeting your own creatures with Enrage. It will allow you to hit multiple creatures with Enrage if you have them.
Walking Ballista – Removing one counter at a time to deal one damage over and over to an Enrage creature will allow you to trigger it as many times as you have counters on the Walking Ballista.
So, are you filled with the rage of a Dinosaur and ready to take on all challengers at the Ixalan prerelease? I think that Enrage can be abused with the right set of cards in a deck. Ripjaw Raptor is my early leader for favourite card in the set, and it makes me want to hum the Jurassic Park theme song every time I see it. Thanks again for joining me on the Daily Dose of Ixalan, and I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow as I dig deeper into the new set.