Taking A Swipe At Rivals Of Ixalan: Part 3!

Taking a Swipe gets some new bachelors! These VS Series boys are opening up Tinder to rate some high profile spells from Magic’s newest set! What’s not to Super Like?

Todd Tentatively Swipes Right:
Blood Sun is one of those cards that you think might be good on
paper, but you won’t actually know just how good it is until you try it. My
guess is that Blood Sun will be a fine replacement for Blood Moon once it
gets banned in Modern, and will see very little play in Standard. With that
said, I think the design is cool, drawing a card is sweet, and locking down
weirdo lands is definitely a plus. Since Wizards of the Coast refuses to
reprint Stone Rain, we don’t have a lot of options to interact with lands,
and a card that can do that is worth having around.

Ross Swipes Left:
After reading Blood Sun’s profile I did some investigating (read: Facebook
stalking) and I found out that it’s close friends with the Urza Tron
triplets. I can’t swipe right on anyone who is friends with those jerks.
Tron is the enemy and I will give them no quarter. Except Ghost Quarter.
I’ll give them as many of those as I’m legally allowed.

Blood Sun looks to me like a worse version of Blood Moon except in Modern
Tron decks, so I don’t look forward to seeing it on the battlefield because
it probably means I’m about to get Ugin-ed into the stone age.

Todd Swipes Right:
We’ve seen this song and dance before. We get it. Play a creature of the
same type, get a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of tribal synergy. I
like it when all the cards in a deck work together to accomplish the
overall goal of mangling your opponent. Tribal decks do a very good job of
that by flooding the battlefield with creatures, and Deeproot Elite is a
fine payoff card to have in that scenario.

Ross Swipes Left:
When I saw Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca and Merfolk Mistbinder, I was
optimistic at the possibility of a viable Merfolk deck in Standard, which
would be the only viable Merfolk deck in Magic’s history. As uninspired as
the tribe is, no one should be kept down forever, and this deck would
certainly be more interesting than Silvergill Adept, Spreading Seas, and a
pile of Pack Rats.

Deeproot Elite is essentially another Pack Rat-style Merfolk, but not as
powerful as an actual lord since it’s timing sensitive. It’s a fine card,
but I wanted Merfolk to get away from that style, so I’m not in for this

Todd Swipes Left:

This card does not belong in a Mono-Red deck in Standard. This card does
not belong in any sort of red deck, ever. This card should not have seen
print because it is bad, but also really weird and confusing. It’s
Snapcaster Mage, but only for your opponent’s stuff. I mean, the appeal is
there. Like, OMG what if I get to copy my opponent’s Ancestral Recall in
Vintage! Well, that means they’ve already cast Ancestral Recall and you’ve
probably already lost by that point.

This card is all talk and no walk.

Ross Swipes Right:
This isn’t Snapcaster Mage, but there’s a lot of space between Snapcaster
Mage and solid Constructed card so don’t get caught up in the comparison
and appreciate the Pirate for what it is.

Not having much control over which cards you’ll be able to target since
it’s dependent on my opponent’s deck prevents me from going all-in on it
and adding four copies to my decks, but when it works it’s a very powerful
card. I like that the threat of it may give my opponent pause about how
they sequence their spells. In the worst case scenario, it’s a 2/1 with
first strike against a creature-centric deck, which isn’t a bad place to

This card should be fun, but I don’t think for a second that I’m bringing
it home to meet my parents. Things aren’t going to get that serious.

Todd Swipes Left:

No. Just no. Look, your stats are cool, your abilities are flashy, and you
talk a pretty big game, but what are you actually doing? I mean seriously,
what are you doing here? You should be out auditioning for the
cast of the next terrible Pirates of the Caribbean movie. And can you please stop trying to hand me a drink?

Ross Super Likes:
I may live to regret this, in which case I’ll awkwardly play off the super
like as a misclick, but this card has been on my mind for the last few days
after I’d initially overlooked it. I mean, what’s not to like? She’s a
snappy dresser with a unique flair. (Opening message: “Awesome hat! Where
did you get it?”) That means she’s self-confident. She has a badass job
that you know has led to a lot of sweet stories so the conversation will be
interesting. And she helps out her comrades so you know she’s

Pirates are definitely looking to be aggressive, and part of being
aggressive is being able to get through blockers efficiently. Aggro decks
can’t play too many removal spells because they need to have a certain
threat density, so stapling a pseudo-removal spell to a solid body that
will remain relevant itself as the game goes on is an excellent way to
shoehorn some interaction into your tribal aggro deck.

Todd Swipes Right:
Probably not good enough for Standard, but this card definitely checks all
my boxes. A large creature? Check. Has a cool name? Check. Its ability does
something awesome? Check. I loved Combustible Gearhulk too, and it ended up
letting me down, so now I just don’t know what to think. My heart says “buy
them all so that no one else can have it,” but my wallet says “just buy
doughnuts instead.”

Ross Swipes Right:
I know, I know. It’s a six mana card without any immediate value and
there’s a huge age difference, but maybe we can bond over a mutual love of
M*A*S*H or The Dick Van Dyke Show.

I’m probably going to regret this one, but I think that’s more due to
Dinosaurs being the weakest tribe for Constructed than Etali, Primal Storm
being a bad card. Dino decks clearly want to be ramping into big creatures,
but going big enough to top the midrange decks makes you vulnerable to
Approach of the Second Sun (nothing goes over the top of “you win the
game”), and playing in the midrange means relying on mana creatures so you
maintain threat density. Mana creatures are very weak in Standard right now
because there’s plenty of good, cheap removal around for them. Servant of
the Conduit is the only exception because it leaves behind two energy in
the exchange and was supported by a deck that had a curve that didn’t rely
on it living at all, whereas Dinosaurs won’t have three- and four-drops of
nearly as high quality.

That said, Etali, Primal Storm is really sweet, and giving it haste with
Otepec Huntmaster and Regisaur Alpha can lead to some huge swings. Most
Constructed decks are around 40 percent lands so you’re drawing a little
over a card on average, but casting it immediately is a huge tempo gain, so
any time you hit two spells should put you way ahead on both tempo and card

That upside is enough for me to go out on a low-key coffee date with no

Todd Swipes Left:
Unlike Form of the Dragon before it, Form of the Dinosaur doesn’t reset
your life total every turn, doesn’t prevent opposing creatures from
attacking you, and can’t actually kill the opponent. I expected more from a
card that only costs one less mana. But don’t get me wrong. I love the feel
of this card, but I just think it missed the mark. With a little tweaking,
I think it could have been great, but instead we got an over-worked dud.

Designing cards can be insanely difficult. Coming up with new ideas, or
rehashing old ones, is not that simple. You need to hit the flavor mark, be
balanced for tournament play, and have an appeal to the casual crowd.
Unfortunately, Form of the Dinosaur only hits one of those three marks for

Ross Swipes Left:
I was pretty close to swiping right on this for similar reasons as Etali,
Primal Storm, but ultimately I think Form of the Dinosaur falls short. Not
restricting your opponent’s ability and forcing you to fight a creature if
able leaves you incredibly vulnerable unless you pair it with a lot of life
gain, and I don’t see a deck like that coming together.
The ugly truth is that this is a six mana permanent with little tangible
impact on the game until you untap with it.

Swipes Right:

I’m not really an “outdoor” kind of guy. I don’t like “the sun.” I don’t
like “to walk.” In fact, you could say that I really like to sit indoors
and play video games, in the comfortable house that I’ve worked hard to
acquire. I like air conditioning, food that I cooked or bought from a store
near my house, and again, playing video games.

But Jadelight Ranger could change all that. Exploring, twice, is tough
work, but it’s something I’d be happy to do with Jadelight Ranger by my
side. And if you think that’s cool, did you know she has

a pet snake


Ross Super Likes:
Another woman with unique style. You’re definitely going to go hiking on
the first date, but that’s not a bad thing. I could use the fresh air and
exercise, unlike a movie or a concert, hiking offers ample opportunity to
converse and get to know each other, and you get to enjoy some sweet views
at the end. If things go well, you can grab a bite to eat or a drink
afterward and keep the date going.

Solid rate with built-in card advantage makes this one a clear winner to
me. More detailed thoughts on where it fits in Standard can be found in








Todd Swipes Left:

“But Todd, this card is great with Sakura-Tribe Elder and other nonsense in
Modern!” Well, random person online that I made up in my head, I would like
to introduce you to my good friend removal and killing you on the third turn.

Could this card be sweet? Yeah, but that doesn’t make it good enough to be
tournament playable. Auras that only target your own creatures better be
damn good on their own, because you’re taking a huge risk in trying to suit
one of your creatures up with this gaudy pair of black jeans. And yes, the
jeans are from Hot Topic and have all sorts of chains and hooks on them.

Ross Swipes Left:
This card is powerful when it works, but it’s extremely high maintenance.
I’m not looking for a card that needs an entire deck built around it in
order to get it to reciprocate. There needs to be something there to let me
know it will still be there for me when I’m not at my best and that’s just
not here.

Also, it sounds like a description of marriage from a jaded middle-aged man
at his friend’s bachelor party on a bad sitcom. I may have an unhealthy
love of bad sitcoms, but that can’t be a good sign.

Todd Super Likes:
Yeah this card floods my basement.

Ross Swipes Right:
Even though I’m not high on Merfolk overall, this one gets a right swipe
because it pushes Merfolk in a different, more interesting direction.
There’s some tension between attacking and gaining value against more
controlling decks, leading to interesting decisions as opposed to curving
out and turning sideways. Also, if you’re playing another creature deck
where the battlefield builds, Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca is going to take
over the game and lead its tribe to victory. Gavony Township is a powerful
effect in combat-centric matchups.

There is a glaring red flag here though, and that’s Kumena’s job. I’m not
comfortable with him being a tyrant, but maybe my gentle influence can lead
to a more egalitarian society in Orazca.

Todd Swipes Right:
The design behind all these “lords” for each tribe seems a little generic
(and a little lazy, tbh). But Merfolk needs more cards like this if it’s
going to be competitive in Standard, so here we are. But don’t pass up a
year or two with Merfolk Mistbinder just because it looks and acts just
like a few other cards in the same set. You’ll have a good time, but you
won’t be having a great time.

Ross Swipes Left:
Another lord? Really? I’ve been on that date before. I 0-3 dropped a league
and I have no interest in repeating the experience. Maybe this sees play
and maybe it doesn’t, but I’m not going to be sleeving it up.

Todd Swipes Right:
I wrote a little about Nezahal, Primal Tide already, but I just don’t think
I can do it justice. Will this card be the new finisher for all control
strategies moving forward? Doubtful. Approach of the Second Sun does it a
little bit better. But, in a control mirror, Nezahal, Primal Tide will be
the only thing that matters. And the only real trump to it is running your
opponent out of cards (which is difficult, since killing it usually allows
them to draw a card), or to play one yourself.

Ross Swipes Left:
This was another close one. It has a long profile, and there are parts of
it that I like, mostly the drawing cards and resilience to removal. But not
having any form of evasion makes actually ending the game with it a tough
task, or at least a tougher task than it is for some other options.

Also, as a seven mana sorcery, I want it to be effective when I’ve fallen
behind, and that’s when it’s going to be hardest to protect it. Generally,
if your control deck is answering your opponent’s threats at parity and
drawing some cards, you’re in great shape and you don’t need to lean on
your win condition to do any heavy lifting. But when you’re low on
resources and tap out for this, there’s a strong chance you won’t be able
to keep this around against a removal spell or two, especially Ravenous
Chupacabra. Also, it can be trumped by any manner of deathtouch or evasion
creatures, so there’s no guarantee it stabilizes the battlefield.

I see this as a sideboard card for control mirrors and not much more, and
control decks aren’t my thing.

Translation: If things get serious with Nezahal, I’m going to have to move
to the beach, and I don’t like the beach. Seagulls poop on you; the wind
whips sand in your face, which is the only place it hasn’t already invaded,
and I’m constantly afraid of people stealing my stuff. And don’t even get
me started about the cost of flood insurance.