With a brand-new cold and a brand-new baby, I have returned with a brand-new article. The Arena Open is this weekend, and I wanted to share what I currently think the best commons of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan are, and provide a little context to my thought process.
Oltec Cloud Guard is unassuming until you see it in action. A Snapping Drake actually seems pretty decent in this set, as flyers seem to go relatively unchallenged in combat. The 1/1 Gnome token that parachutes in (I assume) enables some great synergies within white as well.
Petrify is a classic example of white Aura removal. There are some sacrifice synergies about, including exiling your petrified target via the craft mechanic. It still proves to be a cheap, efficient piece of removal that can take out creatures or problematic artifacts.
Miner’s Guidewing is very annoying. Sure, it can peck away at an opponent, but it can easily become a real threat via Equipment or +1/+1 counters. More often than not, this card will deal a few points of damage, chump block, and explore on the way out – which is a pretty good deal for one mana.
While the explore synergies of Waterwind Scout are lacking, Map tokens are real overperformers. There are plenty of things to do, as well as triggers to activate with said artifact token – but you can sometimes just turn this into a 3/3 flyer.
Oaken Siren is a bit unassuming at first glance, but it has a few small things going for it that add up to a strong card. With plenty of worthwhile artifacts and activated abilities in blue, this taps for mana fairly often. It’s also both an artifact and a Pirate, both highly relevant to Izzet and Azorius.
It’s always interesting to see the relative power of any given blue bounce spell fluctuate based on the Limited environment, regardless of the card’s power in a vacuum. Brackish Blunder may not be one of the better blue bounce spells in recent Limited, but thanks to blue’s flying threats and tempo potential, this Blunder brings the thunder.
Join the Dead is premium black removal that should be able to Dismember any threat. It’s a cool design; instead of just getting a Murder reprint, you will have to jump through some hoops to cleanly kill large threats in the late-game.
While Edict effects can be awkward from time to time, when Tithing Blade hits a good creature and crafts, it packs a pretty big punch for one card. I’ll be happy to play this in most decks, but wise enough to sideboard it out against decks where the front side will be unreliable.
First off, the art on Deathcap Marionette is amazing, and does a great job of illustrating what the card does. Second, while black seems one of the format’s weaker colors, there are still lots of cool synergies to unearth, and this Fungus will blaze the trail.
Goblin Tomb Raider gives me some serious Goblin Blast-Runner vibes, and I’m here for it. It’s a tricky card during Draft, because you want to pick it highly, but it can be unplayable in some red decks without the artifact support. Having said that, when put in a proper Izzet or Boros deck, Goblin Tomb Raider can lead to some extremely aggressive starts.
Etali’s Favor is a tricky card to decipher at first glance, but it replaces itself with a guaranteed nonland that can be cast for free. Obviously this can be susceptible to instant-speed removal, but you want to be playing this in aggressive decks where your opponent won’t have the opportunity to fizzle the Favor.
Good old Abrade. It kills most early-game creatures, plus a plethora of problematic artifacts. Likely to be the most contested red common; you probably won’t see too many that you don’t open.
Green absolutely needs Staggering Size to sneak out wins this set. While green is a bit awkward with early-game threats that typically pair well with Run Amok, it has plenty of big Dinosaurs that would love to trample chump blockers.
Poison Dart Frog is a mana creature with reach that can threaten deathtouch. This all-around solid design provides some cool gameplay decisions. I don’t think mana creatures are amazing for this set’s two-color decks, but I’m certain this card will be great in the three- to five-color decks that I haven’t tried yet!
Armored Kincaller may be a bit surprising to see, but it plays a vital role in green decks. With green’s main weak point being the early-game, gaining life and putting down a sizeable threat is the best three-drop to shore it up.
If I don’t see you in the Open…
Lose and Learn, Gobble Gobble!