August 29, 2017

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Daily Dose of Ixalan – Walking the plank with Legendary Planeswalkers

Welcome all to the start of the Daily Dose of Ixalan, where we've been flooded with previews to start the Ixalan preview season. Usually there are very few cards that we can talk about at first, but due to some leaks from over a month ago Wizards of the Coast has decided to give us some nice clear pictures of those cards and provide full details for them all.

Since so many cards have been put up for preview, instead of just going through them all at once, I'll talk about some new cards each day so that I can spend more detail on them instead of glossing them over. There are so many directions to go with today’s article, including talking about the fact that there will be Pirates and Dinosaurs in the same set, or the return of Merfolk. Today though, I’m going to be talking about a new rule change and a card that will help you take advantage of it.

Before I talk about the rule change, let me show you the card that this new rule applies to. Here's Jace, Cunning Castaway.


If you look at the card type for this Jace, you'll see one extra word that hasn't been previously seen on Planeswalkers, Legendary.

Gone is the “Planeswalker Rule”, where if you had one “Jace” Planeswalker, like Jace, Unraveler of Secrets, you couldn't have any other "Jace" Planeswalkers on the battlefield, like Jace, the Mind Sculptor. With this rule change, Planeswalkers now are Legendary cards like all other Legendary cards, meaning that you're only limited to one card of the same name on the battlefield at the same time.

I think this is a great rule change. At times the old Planeswalker Rule limited deck building when you had to choose between two Planeswalkers with the same type. When Ixalan comes into Standard and four sets rotate out, this rule change won’t have much of an impact, since there's currently only one Planeswalker who will have two cards in Standard, Nissa (I am not counting the very much unplayable Planeswalker Deck exclusive card). This means that if you wanted you could have Nissa, Vital Force and Nissa, Steward of Elements on the battlefield at the same time.

Now that we have this exciting new Planeswalker rule, let’s break down the new Jace, Cunning Castaway.

+1: “Whenever one of more creatures you control deal combat damage to a player this turn, draw a card, then discard a card.” – This is a great ability to gain some card advantage. True, you won’t be getting card advantage every time you use this ability, but with the right deck you can make sure you maximize the number of times that you get to draw.

-2: “Create a 2/2 blue Illusion creature token with: “When this creature becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice it.” – This ability checks off the second requirement to having a great Planeswalker, which is the ability to protect themselves. The “drawback” on this card is almost non-existent, since either the spell they're casting would have killed the creature anyways, or they're wasting a removal spell killing a 2/2 creature. Unlike most Illusions, you only have to sacrifice it if targeted with a spell, not an ability.

-5: “Create two tokens that are copies of Jace, Cunning Castaway, except they’re not legendary.” – Excuse me, I can have two more copies of this wonderful card? Yes, please. This ability is one of the advantages of having the new rule change, as it allows you to have multiples of the same Planeswalker on the battlefield since they're non-legendary. You will also be able to use a Planeswalker ability on each of the two new Planeswalkers right away, giving you more value.

There are two cards that will still be in Standard come October that would work well with Jace, Cunning Castaway. First is Anointed Procession. Not only can you get two creatures by using Jace's -2 ability, but if you can activate his ultimate you get four copies of Jace, Cunning Castaway on the battlefield at the same time!

Another card that is going to work very well with this new card is Heart of Kiran. If you can play Heart of Kiran on turn two, followed up by Jace, Cunning Castaway on turn three, you'll be in great shape. This will allow you to crew the Vehicle with Jace, then activate his +1 ability and attack with Heart of Kiran, turning it into a combination of Heart of Kiran and Smuggler’s Copter.

So, there you have it, the start of the Ixalan preview season. There's still lots to talk about this week and I look forward to going over some of the new cards, mechanics, and delve deeper into Pirates and Dinosaurs! Thanks for everyone who has supported the Daily Dose in the past, and welcome to all those just starting on your Daily Dose adventure.