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9.18.2017

Ixalan B/W Tokens

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

On Friday, concluding the official preview season, the full Ixalan card image gallery went live over on the mothersite.  Since Friday, we here at MTG Realm, like many other gamers, we sequestered ourselves and went to the drawing board to create and develop ideas for standard constructed decklists.  At the beginning of previous standard seasons, we would attempt to update an existing 'tried and true' decklist, but with 4 of the 8 Magic: the Gathering sets rotating out of standard, there was perhaps only two or so good lists not adversely affected.  One suggestion is to build one of the 4 Ixalan tribes, but it appears that only Dinosaurs and Pirates presented strong enough options, with Merfolk and Vampires seeming weak, at least until improved support for those tribes are available in the next set, Rivals of Ixalan.


Early on in the previews, we were rather keen on Orzhov Black / White Vampires but were soon dissuaded from pursuing this.  One of favourite decks of all time was a Black and White Token strategy during the original Innistrad block with Intangible Virtue (Creature tokens you control get +1/+1 and have vigilance) at its heart.  When Aether Revolt was released we attempted to mimic a black white token list again, with Hidden Stockpile and similar synergies and again with Amonkhet's Anointed Procession.


In Ixalan, we are now presented with another opportunity to attempt a similar strategy with the combination of Legion's Landing and Call to the Feast.  With Anointed Procession and Hidden Stockpile still in standard constructed, is it enough to make this a serious consideration ?  There is no good anthem effect available at this time, so perhaps a gain and drain scheme but having something as as epic as Cartel Aristocrat and Blood Artist at this time is looking slim.  Perhaps we can hope for flooding the board early with tokens and dropping the opponent's life to critical before they land an incredibly large dinosaur.


Anywhoos, the above card images serve as a core to the yet to be developed list which might not get off the drawing board -
• Sacred Cat
 Anointer Priest
 Angel of Invention
 Servo Exhibition
 Hidden Stockpile 
 Start // Finish
 Anointed Procession
 Legion's Landing
 Call to the Feast
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9.14.2017

Ixalan Map

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Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Since first reading the J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit at a young and impressionable age, I have had a liking for any fantasy novel which supplied a map.  Tolkien's map of Middle-earth was referred to countless times as the book was read and re-read.  While some world-builder's may hold the opinion that this sort of thing detracts from the story or restricts the reader's imagination, I have always found that a little cartography improves one's vision.

Wizards of the Coast, although great map-makers on their Dungeons and Dragons side of the office wall, does not seem to approve of this on the Magic: the Gathering side.  It was indeed a surprise that with the next set, Ixalan, that they are doing a slow-roll preview with a map of Ixalan.  This perhaps was something the narrative team could not escape given the presence of Pirates, the search for treasure and a mythical lost city.

Although the full reveal of the Ixalan Map (linked right here) is another week or two out from being fully revealed, MTG Realm has come across an image posted by Jim on Tumblr.  More for our personal reference than you the reader - sorry to say, the full map and place names floated out from the Magic Story series are posted below.  It is my intention to update details as things progress.


Ixalan Map - Click to Embiggen


Ixalan has at least two large continents that are separated by the sea. Further north, travelers meet only unmelting ice.  For some reason, Planeswalkers can enter Ixalan, but can't leave.  


KNOWN LOCATIONS

Ixalan, the western continent which bears the same name as the plane. Covered in vast jungles and rivers. It is home to large dinosaurs, that some of the natives managed to domesticate, and numerous secrets hidden within the forests.

THE SUN EMPIRE
• Sun Coast, the eastern coast.
• Pachatupa, capital city
• Tocatli, palace of Emperor Apatzec Intli III
• The Temple of the Burning Sun

Other Cities / Places

 • Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun
 • Lost Temple of Aclazotz, the bat-god
• Quetzatl
• Atzocan
• Pecatli
• Otopec
• Pachutupa
• Quetzatl

STORMWRECK SEA
• Spitfire Bastion - a bastion created by Captain Ripley Vance in an active volcano (dang!)
• High and Dry - floating city base of the Brazen Coalition
  • "Useless Island" - Jace the Castaway lands here



QUEEN'S BAY
• Miraldanor, the island stronghold of the Legion of Dusk
• Andanto, the first and strongest fort of the vampires
• Conquerer's Foothold
• Fort Leor
• Fort Dúrran

JUNGLE REGION
Lost cities Ancient ruins from the Sun Empire's heyday can now be found, overgrown and half-buried, in the depths of the jungle.
• Incalaquiampa
• The Deeproot Tree

MOUNTAIN REGION
• Lost Valley
• Orazca, the lost city of gold.
• Temple of Aclazotz
• Primal Wellspring, sacred springs infused with magical power.



INNER SEA
Hidden coves hold pirate treasures stowed by captains long forgotten.
•Treasure Cove
• Azcanta
• Tonalixco
 • Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin


TORREZON
Torrezon is the name of the eastern continent. Ruled by an alliance between a powerful church and an iron-fisted monarch. 

Vampires dominate the continent after a series of wars with other realms. Refugees and exiles from the defeated nations fled to the sea and established the Brazen Coalition.
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9.13.2017

Ixalan Xocolātl

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Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Happy indeed as today marks the second Ixalan story posted to the mothersite.  We suggest that before you look at today's Magic: the Gathering Ixalan previews, pop on over (linked right here) and read the story "A Question of Confidence' by the R&D Narrative Team.  This may have been initially titled 'The Third Aspect of the Sun' however.

The teaser for the story today - Huatli is a Warrior-Poet of the Sun Empire. Her talent in combat and creativity know no bounds, but when faced with a frightening encounter and an even more astounding vision, she must overcome discomfort to live up to expectation.

Nothing further on this, but we will share this image of the Sun Empire's Emperor Apatzec shown being rather cross with the quality of a cup of Xocolātl.  This Aztec Chocolate beverage is the ancestor of today's Hot Coco, but had a set of cajones (chilies) and the bitter tears of a Toronto Maple Leafs fan 


Anywhoos - 

Blake offered up an anticipated post of Ixalan tokens - and yes we're impressed with the great art again, and the clever linking of specific 'Treasure' token art to each tribe.  

Also of interest, Dan Barrett (@danisx0) WotC's Euro community staffer posted a FaceBook live stream as to what to expect for this weekend's Magic Open House event.  Our local gaming store, OMG! Games here in Barrie, is planning a great event to introduce new players to Magic: the Gathering.

Here is is quick round-up of all the new Ixalan previews out so far today.  


Brazen Buccaneers
Desperate Castaways
Dire Fleet Hoarder
Field of Ruin

Kinjalli's Caller
Lightning-Rig Crew
Raiders' Wake
Rigging Runner

Ruthless Knave
Skulduggery
Tilonalli's Knight

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9.12.2017

Ixalan Tribal

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

There are a number of new (and one previously spoiled / now officially confirmed) Ixalan cards out today.  Before we get into into it, here is a brief summary of all the new Magic: the Gathering cards to be released into the wild at month's end.

Adanto Vanguard
Captivating Crew
Charging Monstrosaur
Dire Fleet Ravager (confirmed)
Imperial Lancer
Makeshift Munitions
River Sneak
Vicious Conquistador

Righto, if you've been following the MTG Realm blog for a good stretch, you will most likely know we have a thingy for Tribal.  This fondness may be a function of just when we came into the game - Lorwyn - a block which most definitively tribal in nature.  

We also do not count ourselves among good standard deck-builders and we admit that often we take an easy path by choosing a tribal 'Lord'.  Specifically a card which provides an advantage to playing with the same creature type.  Often this is basically a simple buff to power and toughness.

In the upcoming set Ixalan there are the four following 'tribes' - 
• Pirates (blue-black-red)
• Dinosaurs (red-green-white)
• Vampires (white-black)
• Merfolk (green-blue)

To date with just over half of the Ixalan set now revealed, there only appears to be two conventional 'Lords' as well as a handful of other cards lending some synergy to a creature type.  The following Ixalan tribes have a conventional Lord -

Dinosaurs - Thundering Spineback - Other Dinosaurs you control get +1/+1.

Pirates - Admiral Beckett Brass - Other Pirates you control get +1/+1.

Not to fear however.  Should you wander down the tribal path in the new standard constructed format, you will be very well served in securing copies of the following cards - 

Arcane Adaptation - All will be one.  This enchantment is a great equalizer.

Pillar of Origins - Mana rock to play any colour for the chosen creature type.

Vanquisher's Banner - Buff's P/T as will as given you a card draw - damn good.

Unclaimed Territory - same as the pillar, but in Land form.



We are certainly excited about taking tribal for a spin in this set and are hoping for additional support cards forthcoming this week.  We suggest that you may wish to Sam Stoddard's article today on the mothersite 'Developing a Tribal Set' to receive a better appreciation of some of the tricky and strategic work that Wizards of the Coast does to make tribal work in balanced and engaging game environment.

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9.11.2017

Ixalan Spoilers Monday

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Unfortunately, not so happy for some, either recovering from Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, or marking the 16th Anniversary of the tragic terror attack.  Enough of that for now though as you are here for Magic: the Gathering news, spoilers, etc.  Anywhoos, since brevity is the soul of wit, let me wear briefs.


There is still some much Magic: the Gathering material to go through from the recent HASCON 2017 event.  One big piece of news is that they were drafting Iconic Masters over the weekend, and OH MY, does this look fun.  For the full list of all Iconic Masters cards coming out in November, pop on over to this link for the Iconic Masters Card Image Gallery.


Also of note, at HASCON 2017, the folks at Ultra PRO Gaming previewed a very lovely looking 'Relic Tokens', soon to be perhaps our favourite MTG gaming accessory.  The product release date is yet unknownm, but here is some info on this -
• 15 Collectible tokens in the set
• Dual dials to track Token Power & Toughness or other game mechanics (Loyalty, Energy, Poison, etc.)
• Pack of 3 Relic Tokens for an MSRP ~ $ 5.00
• Premium-Foil versions randomly inserted
Relic Tokens available - Dragon, Angel, Soldier, Beast, Goblin, Drake, Zombie, Cat, Snake, Insect, Wurm, Spirit, Tarmogoyf, Nicol Bolas, Gideon.



Next up - 
Lets get into some exciting Ixalan spoilers / previews.  As double-faced cards are the best vessel for a set's flavour / storyline, here are two of them now - 


Legion's Landing, W
Legendary Enchantment, Rare
When Legion's Landing enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 white Vampire creature token with lifelink.
When you attack with three or more creatures, transform Legion's Landing.
"I claim this land in the name of the queen." —Adrian Adanto of Lujio
//
Adanto, the First Fort
Legendary Land
(Transforms from Legion's Landing.)
T: Add W to your mana pool.
2W, T: Create a 1/1 white Vampire creature token with lifelink.
Illustrated by Svetlin Velinov


Dowsing Dagger, 2
Artifact - Equipment, Rare
When Dowsing Dagger enters the battlefield, target opponent creates two 0/2 green Plant creature tokens with defender.
Equipped creature gets +2/+1.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may transform Dowsing Dagger.
Equip 2
//
Lost Vale
Land
(Transforms from Dowsing Dagger.)
Tap: Add three mana of any one color to your mana pool.
The pirates had ventured into the interior for treasure. They found something far greater.
illus. Florian de Gesincourt

Other Ixalan previews out today include -
Snapping Sailback
Spell Swindle
Terror of the Skies

Trove of Temptation

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9.09.2017

Ixalan Previews 9-09

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Happy Saturday MTG peeps,

We’ve been under the weather since Wednesday but are now back in the saddle and have a lot of catching up to do with a large volume of Magic: the Gathering news and previews.  

Official Italian previews have finished off week one of two.  The first Magic Story instalment, titled Jace, Alone is pretty much reminiscent of the true story of Chuck Noland, as played by Tom Hanks in Cast Away.  Great opening story of how Jace, his mind broken by Nicole Bolas finds himself without his critical memory intact on the Plane of Ixalan and discovered by Vraska who has summarised the situation quite perfectly with the question "Jace, what the hell happened to you?”.

Magic Arena is the next step being taken in Magic: the Gathering digital gaming.  The previews out for this are also including a number of upcoming Ixalan previews as well.


A number of very cool news and previews were revealed at HASCON.  The mix includes cards as well as absolutely gorgeous full art borderless lands for Unstable.  Other previews include Arena as mentioned above and some Ixalan previews.  We cannot go through them all, so here is just the Planeswalker for now.  We will fully catch up on Monday.


Previewed by Wizards of the Coast at HASCON.

Vraska, Relic Seeker, 4BG

Legendary Planeswalker - Vraska

+2: Create a 2/2 Black Pirate with Menace

-3: Destroy target artifact, creature or enchantment, create a treasure

-10: Target players life total becomes 1

[6]


illus. Chris Rahn # 232/279


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9.05.2017

Ixalan Previews 9-05

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

It is the start of the academic year for some and also the official kick-off of Magic: the Gathering previews for Ixalan.  We already have had a number of previews from Wizards of the Coast already due to the alledged theft of that full sheet of rare Ixalan foils, so the schedule is very unfortunately mucked up a bit.

This certainly does not detract from our excitement however as the real treasure for us is when Wizards of the Coast introduces a new set is all about the storyline.  Over the Labour Day Weekend, WotC Marisa Fulmer, Cynthia Sheppard, Jeremy Jarvis and James Wyatt hosted the Ixalan world-building panel at PAX West.  This always seems to be the highlight of 'preview season' for us and this always amazes us just what an amazing job the creative team does in constructing the canvass and colour palette for all the new cards.

Today's previews include some great cards and equally great illustrations from some very talented artists.  Be sure to check out Nicholas Wolfram's article on the Daily Article page which provides an indepth look at the card Conqueror's Galleon // Conqueror's Foothold, and the prompt provided by the Magic: the Gathering art team to artist Emrah Elmasli.  



In our opinion, Double-Faced cards provide the best vehicle in telling a set's story.  In this case, the story of the vampire nation's Legion of Dusk invasion of the continent of Ixalan.



Here is a round-up of today's Ixalan's spoilers and previews - 


Conqueror's Galleon // Conqueror's Foothold

Deadeye Foreman

Drover of the Mighty

Kitesail Freebooter

Lightning Strike

Overflowing Insight

Pirate's Cutlass

Primal Amulet // Primal Wellspring


Sanctum Seeker

Shapers of Nature

Siren Stormtamer

Thaumatic Compass // Spires of Orazca

Wakening Sun's Avatar

Wanted Scoundrels

~ Wildgrowth Walker - (rough translation), 1G, Creature - Elemental, Whenever a creature you control explores, put a +1/+1 counter on '~Wildgrowth Walker' and you gain 3 life. 1/3



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9.01.2017

Ixalan PW Decks

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Happy Friday MTG peeps,

Here in Canada, we are heading into the Labour Day long weekend, one holiday we share with our American cousins to the south.  It is this time of year we not only begin to prepare to a return to the academic school year, but also as Magic: the Gathering players, look for all the very awesome previews ahead of the 'Fall' set, in this case, Ixalan.

Today on the mothersite, linked right here, Blake previewed Ixalan Promos, Planeswalker Decks, packaging, and upcoming Friday Night Magic promos.  Due to the unfortunate and premature post to the Wizards Play Network back a last week (details linked here), the MTG Fan community did see all the upcoming promos.  What we did not yet see are this set's Planeswalker Decks.  First, a quick blurb about this product - 


Planeswalker Decks acquaint players who are interested in Magic with basic strategy, the game's settings, and characters, and include a premium foil Planeswalker card.  The decks play into mechanical themes of the block or standalone set, most often making use of a new keyword mechanic. 

Each Planeswalker deck features five cards that won't be found in the corresponding booster pack of that expansion, however, they are considered as a part of that expansion, means that those card will be playable in any format, including Standard, as long as that set is legal in that format - 

 • One foil copy of a mythic rare planeswalker, designed to be fun and flavourful but not pushed for tournament play. Expensive to cast and splashy.

• Two copies of a spell that has an effect and also tutors for the specific planeswalker. 

• A card flavoured to the Planeswalker with a basic staple effect.

• An appropriate common dual land.

Here are the details - 

HAUTLI - DINOSAUR KNIGHT
Hautli, Dinosaure Knight is the 6-cost Red and White (Boros) coloured Planeswalker.  Starting Loyalty is 4 with three abilities and it is all about the Dinos with her.  Stone Quarry helps us support this two coloured deck.  One rare creature and one uncommon instant provides bonus or helps support our PW Hautli.  A rather vanilla two-drop 2/2 with vigilance rounds out the special stand-alone cards.


JACE - INGENIOUS MIND-MAGE
Jace, Ingenious Mind-Mage is our six-cost (double dip on blue) Walker with a starting loyalty of five.  In true Jace fashion we have card draw, along with an ability to untap all our critters and an ultimate to gain control of three target critters.  Woodland Stream indicated a Simic (Blue and Green) coloured base.  A rare soccer to bounce two and tutor Jace and an Uncommon1/3 Merfolk for one and a blue gets a +1/+0 boost and unblockable when the named Jace is on the battlefield and a common Aura shows us a sad-Jace reminiscent of sac-Keanu.

For about $15 (USD) MSRP, here is what to expect in your Planeswalker Deck : 

• Ready-to-play 60-card deck, featuring a foil premium Planeswalker card
• 2 Ixalan booster packs
• 1 Strategy insert

• 1 Magic learn-to-play guide

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8.30.2017

Ixalan - People, Places and Things

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Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Today on the Mothersite, Blake Rasmussen sate down with creative Magic: the Gathering Narrative Designer Alison Luhrs for a Magic Story Podcast (conveniently linked right here) focused on the new upcoming set Ixalan.  For a trascription of today's Podcast, do pop on over to Vronos right here who had graciously done the heavy lifting.  

Official Ixalan Previews begin on Monday with a few scattered previews each day, including the weekend.  Wednesday next week the first official Ixalan story is to be posted to DailyMTG - DANG - we are as excited as a Maple Leafs fan, were they ever to get to the playoffs.  Ixalan is a Mesoamerican-inspired plane full of uncharted jungles, dangerous beasts, magnificent ruins, and lost treasures waiting to be discovered, and certainly a broad tapestry to create a rich and vibrant storyline.  Anywhoos, today we present a very brief summary of People, Places and Things as lifted from the Ixalan Magic Story Podcast, so let's go !


PEOPLE

Vraska -  a Gorgon Assassin and Jace’s old nemesis from Ravnica.  On a mysterious mission from her home Plane of Ravnica.  She may have stepped into a "leadership role" on this Plane and we suspect from the artwork has become a Pirate Captain.

Jace - his hard-drive was almost wiped completely clean during the final conflict with Nicol Bolas on Amonkhet (Hour of Devastation).  He had planeswalked away by chance (not design) to Ixalan, his mind fractured.  Going by the previewed art, he just might be a Pirate's Cabin Boy now.

Merfolk - These are the 'River Heralds', who had once been the dominant inhabitants of Ixalan but whose empire now appears to be in declension.  The semi-nomadic Merfolk are not only found in the sea but also inland rivers that run through the dense jungles.These powerful shamans had created a secret city to house a stolen powerful relic.  All but few do not know of the city's location.


Sun Empire - this empire has "a capital and a central power structure" is in ascension.  They are harried by raiding Pirates and the Legion of Dusk.  Cities prosper "fueled by the magic of their sun priests and the dinosaurs that they command".  


Dinosaurs - Ixalan has a variety of dinosaurs both domesticated as beast of burden and mounts for the Sun Empire warriors while others are wild.  Wizards of the Coast has adopted current real-world scientific findings and subsequently provided most of the dinosaurs shown so far with feathers.


Vampires - vampire conquistadors of the Legion of Dusk sail aboard cahtedral-like ships from the eastern continent of Torrezon.  These vampires "are viewed as holy figures, dark paladins" seek a powerful relic which was stolen from them by the Merfolk some time ago.  These blood-suckers do consume blood, but feed on the blood of the guilty - "enemies of war, rebels of the state, or heretics who defy the church".

Pirates - These are the descendants of refugees who had escaped the continent of Torrezon when the Legion of Dusk had conquered that continent through hundreds of years of war.  The pirates belong to a society called the Brazen Coalition and they too seek that powerful relic.


PLACES

Orazca - 'The City of Gold' or Golden City, which houses the powerful relic.  Created and protected by the Merfolk who above all keep the secret of its location.

THINGS

Immortal Sun - A powerful relic, once in possession of the Legion of Dusk and the Church, it now lies secured within the Golden City.  Its power may provide "eternal life be available to all without the need to subsist on the blood of the wicked".  

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