Pack 1 Pick 1: Rivals Of Ixalan Limited!

Ari Lax and Todd Anderson have invited Drafting Digest’s Ryan Saxe over to Premium for a little draft contest! Check out their pick orders on some packs and vote who picked it best!

  1. 1. Bombard

  2. 2. Kitesail Corsair

  3. 3. Raging Regisaur

Okay, Ryan Saxe is probably right about Kitesail Corsair, but I’m still
taking a top tier removal spell over it in Bombard. Talk to me again in a
week and maybe I’ll change my mind.

Both mono-color cards have a flexibility advantage over Raging Regisaur,
but that might be the most powerful card in the pack. Tilonalli’s Summoner
is a similar finisher but lacks the immediate blocking impact, and Hunt the
Weak is largely only great in decks that would rather have Raging Regisaur.

  1. 1. Legion Lieutenant

  2. 2. Kitesail Corsair

  3. 3. Tilonalli’s Summoner

Well this is a pack! I’m not unhappy first-picking over 50% of the cards in
this pack, but starting on Legion Lieutenant makes the most sense to me.
While it’s a gold card, it’s easily splashed in U/W, which usually has a
fair amount of Vampires anyways. And if you end up W/B, it may be the best
card in your deck. Additionally, given the depth of the pack, it’s not
crazy to expect either Legion Conquistador or Dusk Legion Zealot to wheel.

After this, I view Kitesail Corsair, Tilonalli’s Summoner, and Raging
Regisaur as pretty close. But not only is blue the best color, fliers are
extremely important in this format. Top it off with the fact that the
Corsair is the only blue card in the pack such that we can cut blue and get
rewarded in pack 2, and I think it takes the number-two slot.

Finally, while I do think Raging Regisaur is a better card than Tilonalli’s
Summoner, Summoner can still take over the game and only asks one-color of
you. So I think the little Shaman sneaks into the last slot here.

  1. 1. Bombard

  2. 2. Raging Regisaur

  3. 3. Legion Conquistador

This pack has some pretty nice cards in it, but my gut tells me to go with
the removal spell. Bombard is a great first pick here. There aren’t any
other good red cards in the pack, which could signal to the next person
that red won’t be very open. In addition to that, even if red isn’t one of
your primary colors, it is an easy splash.

Raging Regisaur has impressed me so far. Not only is the body solid for the
cost, but the ability can be relevant at sniping small fliers, which
traditionally give G/R decks a tough time. I could see an argument for
taking Raging Regisaur first pick, as it seems very good, but it commits
you to two colors right off the bat. I’m a big fan of “staying open” in
Draft for as long as possible so that you have enough time to read what’s
coming to you.

Legion Conquistador is not a slam dunk by any means, but I like having
three or four of them in my decks so I’m willing to take them higher than

  1. 1. Tendershoot Dryad

  2. 2. Ravenous Chupacabra

  3. 3. Waterknot

Tendershoot Dryad is similar in power level to Ravenous Chupacabra, but
even if it is a bit worse, it is super splashable. If I take it, I am going
to have an unbeatable rare in my deck 90% of the time via Evolving Wilds,
Traveler’s Amulet, or dual lands.

I don’t actually think Waterknot is the third most powerful card in the
pack, but I can’t justify taking a different black card over Ravenous
Chupacabra. If you had a moral objection to basic Swamps and mythic rares,
you could at least cobble together some terrible argument to take the blue

  1. 1. Tendershoot Dryad

  2. 2. Ravenous Chupacabra

  3. 3. Golden Demise

Are these packs real? All three options above, in my opinion, are bombs.
Tendershoot Dryad is a splashable card that wins the game entirely by
itself. Ravenous Chupacabra would be amazing in any format, but it’s even
better than you would expect because there are an abundance of ways to
reuse the ability and the 2/2 body trades with pretty much everything.

This brings me to why I have Golden Demise as a bomb in this format. The
fact of the matter is, a lot of creatures have two toughness. If you look
at a game state in Rivals of Ixalan, it’s not uncommon that if
either player casts Golden Demise, they win the game. The only reason why
this card doesn’t stand above the other two, is that both Tendershoot Dryad
and Ravenous Chupacabra aren’t as narrow (even if Golden Demise isn’t
actually as narrow as it looks) and still have a high-correlation with
ending the game.

  1. 1. Tendershoot Dryad

  2. 2. Ravenous Chupacabra

  3. 3. Forerunner of the Empire

I still don’t know if it’s right to take Tendershoot Dryad over Ravenous
Chupacabra, but Tendershoot Dryad is one of the few cards in the set that
constantly push you toward the city’s blessing. Plus, it can singlehandedly
win the game on its own. I’m old enough to remember playing with Verdant
Force, and while Tendershoot Dryad isn’t quite the same thing, it’s pretty

When I first looked at the pack, I thought that Ravenous Chupacabra was a
slam dunk, and I would be insanely happy to see this card still in the pack
after the first pick. Much like my good buddy PSully, I hate the design of
the card, but I’m not gonna let it go to waste.

I’m still not sure how much I like the “tutor” creatures for the tribes,
but I do love dealing a bunch of damage to small dorks that can fly over
your big green monsters. Dinosaurs inherently cost more than the other
tribes, and cheap fliers will be your demise without ways to take them out.
Forerunner of the Empire, while expensive for the body, will allow you to
curve into a sweet five-drop that helps buy you some time, which is exactly
what you need with a bunch of expensive dinos in your deck.

  1. 1. Sadistic Skymarcher

  2. 2. Forerunner of the Legion

  3. 3. Evolving Wilds

This pack is not great. Both Vampires payoffs are okay, but I’m more likely
to cast Sadistic Skyrunner as a four-drop outside of W/B than I am to want
Forerunner of the Legion in those cases.

If you wanted to just figure it out later, Evolving Wilds is the pick. The
gap isn’t quite as big as Waterknot last pack, but this definitely falls
into, “I would never do this, but you in theory could” territory. As
evidenced last pack, there are good splashable cards in this format, and
there are double color requirements, like Exultant Skymarcher and Impale,
so Evolving Wilds will always add some value to your deck.

  1. 1. Forerunner of the Legion

  2. 2. Sadistic Skymarcher

  3. 3. Leave the draft and go to lunch

Forerunner of the Legion and Sadistic Skymarcher are both solid ways to
start off a draft. I’ve been impressed by the uncommon cycle of
Forerunners. If you end up in Vampires, it’ll always get your best card,
and the +1/+1 ability is very much relevant, especially when you have some
lifelinkers running around. Additionally, there are enough vampires at
common in white that the card can still make the cut outside of W/B.
Overall, the Forerunner is better in Vampires; outside of Vampires,
Sadistic Skymarcher takes a similar power level hit as the Forerunner of
the Legion.

And uh, I guess if you force me to take another card out of this pack to
start my draft, well, I’d rather just go take my lunch break…

  1. 1. Evolving Wilds

  2. 2. Forerunner of the Legion

  3. 3. Sadistic Skymarcher

This pack is really bad. Evolving Wilds isn’t even that good in
this format, but it doesn’t commit you to anything and helps you fix your
mana if you end up being a three or more color deck. And if this pack is
any indication, your draft is likely to be a train wreck. Just take the
land and move on.

  1. 1. Kitesail Corsair

  2. 2. Skymarcher Aspirant

  3. 3. Squire’s Devotion

Okay fine, Ryan. You win this time. This pack is pretty mediocre, so
Kitesail Corsair it is. The next best card is also basically Kitesail
Corsair that takes longer to fly, and then after that we have a solid aura.

This is also the kind of pack where if anything somewhat exciting wheels,
you have a real signal. My eye is on Dusk Legion Zealot for Vampires.

  1. 1. Kitesail Corsair

  2. 2. Squire’s Devotion

  3. 3. Skymarcher Aspirant

By now it should be no surprise to you that I’m high on this little blue
flying Pirate. It’s great, and I’m always happy to start off a draft with
Kitesail Corsair. I think it very well may be the best common.

Squire’s Devotion has impressed me. Lifelink is a brutal mechanic in
Limited, and the card can completely take over the game. Juxtaposing with
Mark of the Vampire, the fact that this card both costs less and makes a
1/1 lifelinker mitigates the risk. This means that you can play Squire’s
Devotion early without crossing your fingers, but it’s also still great
late. And the two permanents have been relevant for ascend to boot.

Skymarcher Aspirant is an example of a card that scales well with the game.
If played early, it’s quite the efficient beater, and then once you get the
city’s blessing, a flier is exactly what you’ll need to keep pushing
through damage. I’ve been quite happy with this card, but I don’t think it
edges out Squire’s Devotion.

  1. 1. Stampeding Horncrest

  2. 2. Kitesail Corsair

  3. 3. Overgrown Armasaur

This is another very bad pack without many options. As an opening pack, I
would rather take a mulligan, but it is what it is. It is important that
you have the skills required to salvage drafts from a bad situation. And
while most of the pack is not very good, that means you get one of the best
cards out of it, and everyone else is picking up the trash. So take your
large, undercosted creature and hope the rest of the draft goes well.

Kitesail Corsair is a card that I think should be pretty high up on
people’s list of commons for the Pirate deck. Turning on raid with ease is
a pretty big deal, and I don’t think you’d want to do too much blocking
with this creature in the first place. If I’ve learned anything from this
format, it’s that blocking is overrated. Just keep attacking, and make sure
you draft creatures that want to attack. And that you can capitalize on
those attacks.