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Magic Story - Jacefall

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Before you go further, if you have not read today's Magic Story, 'The Race, Part 2' posted over on the Wizards of the Coast Magic: the Gathering Page, please pop on over now at this link, because we will be talking about that amazing story by the R&D Narrative Team.

Firs up however, we should tell you that Magic: The Gathering - Unstable Land Playmats featuring artwork by the incredibly talented John Avon are to be available from Ultra PRO Gaming in the new year.  To see those aesthetically pleasing playmats, pop on over to our sister site, MTG Realm on Tumblr linked right over here.

Righto - back to the ongoing Magic: the Gathering Ixalan story !

Today's five-dollar words are "abscond" and "peregrination".  We are very impressed with the language skills from the Merfolk character Tishana.  We started hearing Spock's voice (or any other Star Trek Vulcan's voice) in our head as we read every line for Tishana.

We have to tell Wizards of the Coast that we are deeply disappointed with today's story.  We have to endure Vraksa's song and lyrics about the Golgari's Kingdom of Rot rising - BUT - we are toyed and teased about a song from the goblin Breeches.  We do understand that Breeches is s rude goblin with a rude song about figs and although it may not be appropriate for all readers, we need Wizards to send the lyrics to us.  Failing that, we will endeavour to 'fill in the blank' and produce the missing lyrics and post a song to the tune of Chris Tomlin's - 'Waterfall' (you know - the one with '. . . your love is like a waterfall".

Anywhoos, the long and short of the story is that everyone wants the compass in order to find Orazca and the Immortal Sun.  Although the reason is acquire this powerful relic is different for each individual, they are all united in that none of the parties know exactly what it does or how to use it.  There is an unwavering belief that the Immortal Sun is still in its original packaging and has the user manual intact.

Lastly, this is a story of Vraska falling in love with Jace, and Jace falling over a waterfall.  We will have to wait until the next Ixalan story to find out whether Angrath the Minotaur is able to make a friend or form a legendary league of planeswalkers.  

For now, here is a lovely piece of artwork from Wesley Burt showing Jace falling over a waterfall with Vraska looking on in helpless horror and no Lifesaver close at hand.



DD Merfolk vs. Goblins

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Happy indeed as we are pleased to report another milestone - that MTG Realm has now exceed over 6.6 Million page-loads and more than 15,600 followers across our social media platforms.  

Enough of us though - Today we are to yatter about the latest Magic: the Gathering product coming your way, but first, it is time again for a another Gaming Store highlight.  This time we are going to Central New York - quite specifically 'Play the Game / Read the Story' located in the Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, New York.  

Play the Game / Read the Story has a total of three locations - one in Watertown, which we had visited and two others in Syracuse.  MTG Realm had provided a Google Review over at this link as well.  The staff member we interrogated / interviewed was great.  She plays Magic: the Gathering and was knowledgeable in the product offerings from WotC.  The Watertown location had a solid selection of sealed product and good games area.  There was a fairly large selection of common / uncommon singles but not very much in rares / mythic rares winning the location a very respectable 4 out of 5 stars from us.  Here are some pics we snapped for you -

Righto - on to today's news !

The full decklist for Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins, releasing November 10, 2017, was posted to the French language Magic: the Gathering site, but as the same information was not posted on the English language site, we suspect that a staffer may have jumped the gun.  Let's talk - 

Duel Decks let players dive right into battle with ready-to-play, sixty-card decks that contain powerful cards united by a theme.  In the case of Merfolk vs. Goblins pits two of the most recognizable tribes in the history of Magic against one another.  Duel Decks are designed to allow players dive right into battle with everything you need to start gaming.  Here is the teaser blurb for this pre-constructed product - 
Prepare to become the Master of the Waves or to launch a Goblin Grenade: the proud  defenders of the sea and the destructive mountain dwellers finally settle their accounts. Call a friend to play with these ready-to-play decks!

Each decklist appears to have a solid and supporting theme and contains one mythic rare and nine other rares to support your deck's tribal strategy.  Here is the list for each - 


Creature (22) : , 1 Master of Waves, 1 Harbinger of the Tides, 1 Master of the Pearl Trident, 1 Tidebinder Mage, 1 Wake Thrasher, 1 Merfolk Sovereign, 1 Cold-Eyed Selkie, 2 Tidal Warrior, 2 Scroll Thief, 3 Streambed Aquitects, 1 Inkfathom Divers, 1 Merfolk Looter, 1 Merfolk Wayfinder, 1 Merrow Reejerey, 2 Rootwater Hunter, 2 Tidal Courier

Sorcery (6) : 4 Aquitect’s Will, 1 Mind Spring, 1 Concentrate

Instant (6) : 1 Engulf the Shore, 1 Misdirection, 2 Essence Scatter, 1 Tidal Wave, 1 Triton Tactics

Enchantment (2) : 2 Claustrophobia

Land (24) : 21 Island, 2 Lonely Sandbar, 1 Blighted Cataract


Creature (20): 1 Warren Instigator, 1 Goblin Diplomats, 1 Goblin Rabblemaster, 1 Goblin Chieftain, 1 Goblin Goon, 1 Goblin Razerunners, 1 Krenko, Mob Boss, 2 Foundry Street Denizen, 1 Goblin Tunneler, 2 Boggart Brute, 1 Goblin Glory Chaser, 1 Ember Hauler, 2 Goblin Wardriver, 1 Gempalm Incinerator, 2 Goblin Ringleader, 1 Battle Squadron

Sorcery (7) : 3 Krenko’s Command, 1 Relentless Assault, 1 Goblin Grenade, 1 Hordeling Outburst, 1 Cleaver Riot

Instant (7) : 2 Brute Strength, 3 Ghostfire, 2 Tarfire

Artifact (2) : 1 Brittle Effigy, 1 Goblin Charbelcher

Land (24) : 20 Mountain, 2 Forgotten Cave, 2 Blighted Gorge

As with all sealed preconstructed product, one should understand the intended audience / consumer first and foremost before passing any sort of judgement upon the product design.  Collectors and Modern players may prematurely pass judgement that because the lists have no Cursecatcher, Lord or Atlantis or Goblin Guide, that criticism is warranted.  

We think differently - this would appeal to casual or new players looking through their local gaming store.  This is also correctly priced in our opinion as well at an MRSP of $19.99 USD (from the WPN site although the main site indicates $24.99 USD).  To buy all the singles separately would almost certainly put you over that value.  We are liking what we see and do look forward going head to head with this in our playgroup.


Ixalan Story 10-11

A Human, a Vampire, a Merfolk . . . and a Minotaur walk into the Boatswain's Rear.

Sounds like a start to a great Dungeons and Dragons adventure - nope - bamboozled again - it's just another day on Ixalan.  Yesterday's story on the Wizards of the Coast Magic: the Gathering site is titled 'The Race, Part 1', which sounds like there is a part 2 coming along next Wednesday perhaps.

If you missed it, check out the newest story from the R&D Narrative Team linked right here - CAUTION - the story does contain 100% of your suggested daily dose of awesomeness.  The teaser for this short is "Unlikely partnerships emerge as the hunt for the Golden City begins in earnest."  

Addressed by name in the story are the Ixalan vampires Mavren Fein and Vona, both of which are just tremendously dangerous beings.  Our two main Planeswalkers Vraska and Jace, whose budding friendship threatens to bloom into something more, and lastly the 'unlikely alliance' of Huatli of the Sun Empire and the Merfolk River Herald Tishana.

Skulduggery by Deruchenko Alexander.

What is set up here in Part 1 is a three-way race to the the lost gold city of Orazca and the powerful and mysterious relic, the Immortal Sun.  This hidden location is thought to be over the mountain range that separates Pachatupa and Quetzatl, and then further across the lake - rather vague that.  For the moment, the success of finding this lost treasure goes to Jace and Vraska who possess the Thaumatic Compass.  By the end of the story, the Planeswalkers are beginning to realise how the compass works.  They also suspect that by finding the lost city, they will also discover the magical enchantment which prevents them from leaving this Plane.

Certainly looking forward to next week's Magic Story.  

Until then, the MTG Realm crew have been busy developing standard decklists for Blue / Green Merfolk and Black / White Tokens to cart along to Friday Night Magic.  Next week, we might be looking at Ixalan cards to add to our (way too numerous) Commander decklists.



Explorers of Ixalan

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving long weekend with friends and family.  We had definitely filled out boots with turkey and fixings and spent some quality time catching up.  Enough of that though for now - we do need to catch up on some news however.

Wizards of the Coast yesterday (no long weekend for our American neighbours) had surpirsed many Magic: the Gathering fans with word of a new logo.  Originally announced during last weekend's coverage of World Championship (we missed it), this is to be the new Magic: the Gathering logo moving forward on all products with the release of the 'Dominaria' set in March, 2018.

The gaming community was also informed that the classic card back will remain unchanged, which is not much of a surprise.  WotC staffer Matt Cavotta had a very insightful post on the mothersite as well - 
A logo redesign rings hollow when it's made solely to stir up interest in a stale brand. A logo change is warranted and has substance when it's made to reflect what is evolving or what has already evolved about the truth of the brand. With each change in Magic's logo, the new design has been a response and a reflection of the evolution of the brand.

We feel that Matt is spot on with those comments and do in fact rather like the new logo, although we think (as with all things), there are those not so happy with that. Righto - on to today's article topic - Explorers of Ixalan !

Please do pop on over to the article and YouTube video here for the full announcement.
Explorers of Ixalan is an out-of-the-box multiplayer Magic experience that challenges you to defeat your opponents along the way as you search for the lost city of Orazca.

Explorers of Ixalan is expected to be released late November, 2017 for a suggested retail price of $65 (USD) in the United States, which likely means a bit north of eighty bucks here in Canada perhaps.  Here's what you get for the coin - 

• 4 x 60-card decks
• 20 double-sided tokens
• 50 game tiles
• 40 counter pieces
• 4 deck boxes

The four decks follow the tribes we now have in the Ixalan story, with some similar themes -

Legion of Dusk - White / Black - Midrange - flying and lifegain
Brazen Coaltion - Blue / Black / Red - Aggro goodness
River Heralds - Blue / Green - Fishy Prowess flavour
Sun Empire - White / Red / Green - Ramp 'n' Stomp

Game cards include -
Quest - Reward upon completion
Site - Ongoing effects
Event - Immediate one-time benefit



Token Friday

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

Here in Canada, we are celebrating the Thanksgiving long weekend, rather than in late November when our American cousins incorrectly celebrate this holiday.  More on that over here if you are interested.  Anywhoos, to say the least, do try to get in to your local gaming store who should all be open this evening.  Our local store, OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Ontario will have all the cooking burners on. As it is the first FNM in October - FYI - This month's Friday Night Promo is NOT a card but a 'token' - join in with other MTG fans over here on Reddit to express your excitement.

A safe trip to you If you are travelling to visit friends and family this weekend.  Speaking of travelling, there is a rather good thread on Magic and the TSA over here.  Here is essentially a discourse of stories of Magic: the Gathering players being screened by the Transportation Security Administration.  Personally, we've never crossed into the States with MTG cards and although could not contribute, did found the thread interesting.

Righto - next up - Standard B/W Tokens

We had been contemplating another decklist for FNM (we already have a lovely U/G Mefolk list), and wanted something with a heavy token theme.  We had developed a list very similar to the one Wedge, from the Mana Source had published recently and love it !

W/B Tokens, A deck by TheManaSource

Creature 8
4 Anointer Priest
2 Master Trinketeer
2 Oketra the True

Spell 25
4 Anointed Procession
4 Fatal Push
1 Fumigate
4 Hidden Stockpile
3 Servo Exhibition
2 Settle the Wreckage
3 Sram's Expertise
2 Start // Finish
2 Vraska's Contempt

Land 27
4 Aether Hub
4 Concealed Courtyard
1 Evolving Wilds
2 Ifnir Deadlands
3 Legion's Landing
6 Plains
4 Shefet Dunes

3 Swamp

Servos, warriors, vampires - all the tokens !  Looks like fun.


Ixalan Story #5

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Wednesdays are something else entirely when Magic Stories are on tap on the Magic: the Gathering page.  Today is the 7th story installment from the Wizards of the Coast MTG R&D Narrative Team.  A very quick recap of the story blurbs so far in this very engaging and entertaining story series so far - 

Episode 1 - Jace, Alone.  A man wakes up alon on an island, his memory as absent as his means of arrival.

Episode 2 - The Third Aspect of the Sun.  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.

Episode 3 - The Talented Captain Vraska.  Vraska has never been happier. Finally able to be the leader she always knew she could be, she captains The Belligerent with the skill of the greatest of commanders. She had kept Jace Beleren alive initially to utilize his talents, but soon discovers that they make quite the team.

Episode 4 - The Shapers.  With so many different groups seeking the golden city of Orazca, how will the River Heralds keep the city's power from falling into the wrong hands?

Episdoe 5 - Something Else Entirely.  The Belligerent harbors at High and Dry, and Jace gets the lowdown on Vraska's mission.

In this story we return to the characters of Jace and Vraska, which opens up onboard The Belligerent as they make sail towards the Brazen Coalition base High and Dry.  We learn more about the crew here - Amelia, quartermaster, Kerrigan, the burly ogre (oopps - Wizards had meant 'Orc') who served as ship's cook, and Gavven, the boatswain.  The only unbelivable thing here is that the cook is an Orc - as beleivable as the Orc in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings declaring that "meat is back on the menu", like the fellas hit Olive Garden on the weekends.  We learn that Jace has begun to now fully explore, practice and strengthen his former powers.  

A highlight for us is certainly the visit to High and Dry, where the "planked streets of High and Dry were the remains of thousands of broken Brazen Coalition ships".  Our only criticsm here is that there was not further description of this settlement, other than a few words later describing some re-purposed materials in the construction and furnishings of the watering hole called the Boatswain's Rear.  
The denizens / patrons of this establishment are however described quite well.  Speaking of highlights, we have to point our the incorrigible shipmate Breeches, a goblin who had loudly proclaimed "DEBT AND ALE AND CARDS!", a deep truth that may Magic: the Gathering players know well.  Vorthos Jay had suggested on his Tumblr Blog Achive Trap Mini that Breeches must be a Millennial.  

Sailor of Means, by Ryan Pancoast

We also are treated to additional information on the Immortal Sun, delivered from Malcolm, a Siren and the Ship's navigator, who had the following to say  "The object we're after is in Orazca, and it is known as the Immortal Sun. It used to be kept in the monasteries of Torrezon, in the kingdom that would eventually become the Legion of Dusk. For generations, it remained under the protection of its holy custodians in the mountains of the eastern continent.  "Its presence gave the old rulers incredible power," Malcolm continued. "Jealousies blossomed, and Pedron the Wicked's forces broke into the monastery where the Immortal Sun was kept safe and stole it. As they departed the sanctuary, a winged being descended from the sky. It took the Immortal Sun, carrying the relic across the sea and into the west. No living being knows its exact location, but this compass is meant to help us."  Not certain that the specific details of all this would be known to a Siren, generations after the fact (example - how does Malcolm know that 'jealousies blossomed"?).  The popular theory at the moment is that the "winged being" which had took the Immortal Sun from the followers of Pedron the Wicked is . . . Ugin !  There are a lot of questions surrounding this but we are satisfied to keep this as a theory for now.  

We round out the story's end with Jace learning how the Thaumatic Compass may work - just before the ship is dashed upon the rocks (the continent of Ixalan) and a hard place (a Legion ship).

Great read Wizards of the Coast !  We did enjoy and very much appreciate the growing relation between Jace and Vraska.

The Magic stories would be much improved in our opinion with some art, not from cards, but perhaps concept work - heck, we would love to see just rough sketches of the Ixalan people, places and things.

Contract Killing by Winona Nelson

Sad little oil lamps illuminated a sadder series of crowded tables and half-broken chairs, each stuffed with the most degenerate villains one could imagine.
This line was beautiful and reminiscent of a similar dive in a far away place.



Building a New Standard

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Tomorrow, a brave new world will open up for Magic: the Gathering players at their local gaming stores.  Like thousands of other gamers, we'll be dropping by our local store, OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Ontario to have a fun-filled Friday Night Magic evening.  With the rotation of 2 blocks (four sets), the standard card pool just became a little bit smaller, but in our opinion, a whole lot more exciting.  

The newest set Ixalan, provides some incentives to build a list based upon the four tribes of Ixalan -
• Dinosaurs (Sun Empire)
• Pirates (Brazen Coalition)
• Vampires (Legion of Dusk)
• Merfolk (River Heralds)

We have ordered the above list in line of which tribes are expected to be the most powerful in the new standard environment.  Synergies and other tribal-based bonuses are great but may not be fully realised until the next set, Rivals of Ixalan produces additional support.  

For now however, the smart player (by way of example), may not be playing a tribal go-wide strategy with Orzhov (black / white) vampires but may be better served with a token-based strategy instead, utilising some of the new vampire spells which create tokens, such as Queen's Commission or Call to the Feast.  

There are some potential pitfalls of course.  For example, playing a Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle to create vampire tokens does force one to go 'all in' with vampire tribal, whereas it may be more prudent to look to previous black / white tokens lists prior to the rotation (some of which were not that bad), and simply update that with the goodies from Ixalan.  Examples again may be Servo Exhibition and Sram's Expertise coupled with Hidden Stockpile and Anointed Procession to double-down on token producing.

Whichever way you may be charting your course, it is typically rather important to set yourself up a strong board presence upon which to build as early on in the game as possible.  Another example used here is what one would love to see in an opening hand (or early card draws) should you be playing a Naya (white / green / red) Dinosaur decklist.

Playing Imperial Lancer turn one immediately followed by Nest Robber just seems sublime as you look to land four damage on the second turn.  As these two creatures become less relevant later game then you always have fodder for chump blockers.

Likewise, as Dinosaurs are relatively a tich more mana intensive, consideration should be given to mana acceleration early game.  Whether it is a 'man-dork' or a 'Banneret' (Morningtide reference) to reduce your mana cost.  The example here may be having Drover of the Mighty come down turn turn (which is a lovely 3/3 should you already have a dinosaur out) to tap for any colour - and / or - have an Otepec Huntmaster reduce your dino overhead by one.  The Huntmaster, also provides the benefit of sending a toothy hasty surprise over the fence.  Again, building your list for synergy (whether tribal or no), should be provided equal weight in most cases with designing with your opening hand in mind.

Happy Brewing Ixalan fans !



Ixalan Merfolk

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

A small number of Magic: the Gathering players we've be talking to have their focused on building standard decklists with Merfolk next week when the newest set, Ixalan is finally available in gaming stores.  Although there may not be very strong support to entice players to build with this (Allied color check lands, no clear traditional tribal lord), there is just enough incentive to give this a try.  Some brief examples - 

Deeproot Waters - a 2U enchantment which generates a 1/1 blue merfolk creature token with hexproof whenever you cast a merfolk spell.

Kopala, Warden of Waves - 1UU legendary merfolk which forces your opponents to pay 2 more should they paint a target on one of your merfolk.

Herald of Secret Streams - 3U merfolk warrior which grants an lovely unblockable abilities for your creatures with a +1/+1 counter on them.

Overflowing Insight, illus. Lucas Graciano

Other creatures from the two previous blocks not rotating out of standard may also assist - namely Metallic Mimic (to assist in getting those +1/+1 counters on), as well as Rishar, Peema Renegade (also brings +1/+1 counters to the party).

Although it is entirely too early to determine the success of a Blue / Green Merfolk build, it has given us enough promise of potential to forge ahead upstream with a list for the first few weeks of standard.  

Half of our enjoyment is contemplating and brewing up strategies, the other half is all about the storyline and flavour, which brings us to our next point - We have not had any mention of merfolk in the first three Magic Stories so far.  We do expect that this is to be corrected however, as soon as tomorrow's scheduled story, as River's Rebuke one of five Ixalan Story Spotlight cards.  This card's flavour text here - 
Carefully following the thaumatic compass Bolas had given her, Vraska blundered straight into the River Heralds' trap.
Updated with today's Magic Story 'The Shapers'.

For now however, we want to summarise a bit of Ixalan Fish Flavour for other merfolk fans.  As we all know, Merfolk is a creature type for a race of aquatic humanoids, and although this race is centered on the color blue, they have also shown up in white in Lorwyn, black in Shadowmoor and now green in Ixalan.  In fact, some Merfolk River Heralds of Ixalan are actually mono-green.

The Merfolk of Ixalan used to rule much of the continent of Ixalan, but their empire was eclipsed by the Sun Empire of the dino-riding humans.  Of the approximately 21 Merfolk, the following subtypes have creature cards -
scout (2), 
warrior (8) but also 
shaman (7) and 
wizard too (7). 

Presently the Ixalan merfolk live a nomadic existence within the dense jungle.   These Merfolk have a deep spiritual connection to nature, specifically the water and jungle are are able to 'shape' / animate and control both water and vegetation.  Central to Merfolk spirituality is the Great River, Primal Wellspring and the Deeproot Tree.

The merfolk of Ixalan are colorful and bright like tropical freshwater fish, and they use and wear jade jewelry, weapons and armor.  There is an indication that jade may be embued with magic.

There are Nine Tributaries and Nine Merfolk Tribes, each led by a master Shaper, who take their name from the river as well as some of the characteristics of that waterway.

Watertrap Weaver, illus. Josu Hernaiz

From the Magic Story (The Shapers) we know that most Merfolk believe it is their duty to keep the golden city of Orazca and the Immortal Sun hidden from trespassers, although there is some dissension.  

For now, here are a number of named Mefolk in Ixalan -

• Tishana, Voice of Thunder - the oldest among Merfolk Shapers who had instructed Kopala and other Shapers.

• Kumena - a Merfolk Shaper.  He is perhaps the most powerful among the nine Shapers, second only to Tishana.  He believes the only way to keep his enemies at bay is to use the Immortal Sun relic.

• Kopala, Warden of Waves - the youngest among the Merfolk Shapers.

Other Merfolk Shapers
• Falani - nothing yet known.
• Pashona - a Shaper with ability of foresight / future.
• Tuvasa - a Shaper with ability to control air / flight.



Ixalan Standard

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

Here in Barrie, Ontario we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather and with a record breaking humidex of 37ºC (about 99ºF) today, I fear that when winter does arrive, there will be no ice on Georgian Bay and we will receive an unholy roof-collapsing volume of snow fall.  Anywhoos, that is long off apparently - we should focus on the present.  

This weekend is the much anticipated Magic: the Gathering PreRelease for the newest set, Ixalan.  The best way to enjoy this weekend if you find yourself in Central Ontario (an hour north of Toronto) is to attend one of many scheduled Ixalan PreRelease events over the course of the weekend at OMG! Games, conveniently located off Highway 400, near Georgian College in the City's North end.  Expect air-conditioning, Pirates, Dinosaurs, Vampires, and Merfolk in this tribal-themed set.

Here at MTG Realm, we do love PreRelease and the chance of pulling sweet rares, winning prizes and most importantly, having fun, but today we want to yatter about the upcoming Standard constructed season starting next weekend during Friday Night Magic.  Over the last two weeks of official Ixalan previews, we have been imagining and contemplating the merits of a dozen 60-card decklists.  

Today is the day to see just how close we may have been in comparison to the MTG Professionals over at Hareruya. Here is this season's offering of innovative and exciting deck ideas - pop on over to this link for the full HareruyaWayfinder "Ixalan" edition from Kenji Tsumura and associates.

Deck 1 RB Pirates By Sebastian Pozzo

Deck 2 Grixis Tezzerator By Marc Tobiasch

Deck 3 Naya Dinosaurs By Marcio Carvalho

Deck 4 WB Tokens By Javier Dominguez

Deck 5 UW Approach By Martin Muller

Deck 6 GB Energy By Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Deck 7 UG Merfolk By Kenta Harane

Deck 8 Tishana Temur By Pierre Dagen

Deck 9 Grixis Pirates By Christian Calcano

Deck 10 RG Dinosaurs By Grzegorz Kowalski

Deck 11 Jeskai Monument By Riku Kumagai

Deck 12 GW Ramp By Kenji Tsumura

Deck 13 UR Prowess By Petr Sochurek



Ixalan Standard Merfolk

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Wednesday ! Always a treat when Wizards of the Coast publish the next Magic Story for a new set.  To say we are giddy about the next Magic: the Gathering set Ixalan is a serious understatement.  The stories certainly fuel our excitement for the set.  Please do slide on over to today's story titled 'The Talented Captain Vraska' by the R&D Narrative Team linked right over here.  

The Blurb -
Vraska has never been happier. Finally able to be the leader she always knew she could be, she captains The Belligerent with the skill of the greatest of commanders. She had kept Jace Beleren alive initially to utilize his talents, but soon discovers that they make quite the team.

We definitely enjoy the story so far featuring amnesiac Jace, and finally learn what Vraska is doing the Plane of Ixalan.  Also of great (flavour) importance to us - as Vraska's home Plane of Ravnica has no large sea worthy of a proper ship, just how did Vraska pick up those sailing skills ?  Apparently if you are an Elder Dragon, you can transfer knowledge 'Matrix Style' - very cool !

Anywhoos - out today on the mothersite are the Ixalan Planeswalker Deck Lists.  These are great to quickly get into the game and be able to upgrade.  For more details, pop on over here.  Get these sleeved and boxed up with some Ixalan deck protectors / deck boxes from Ultra PRO, and you are ready to rock a Friday Night Magic event at your local gaming store.

Anywhoos - 
Here is something that we are working on now for the new standard season for Ixalan - Merfolk Go Tall, this will certainly need some more work and evaluation.
• Post-Ixalan Standard Constructed Merfolk. Go tall with +1/1 counters with Metallic Mimic, Vineshaper Mystic and Implement of Ferocity.

• Cash in with on those +1/+1 counters with Herald of Secret Streams and Armorcraft Judge.

Land (21)
4x Aether Hub
4x Botanical Sanctum
5x Forest
4x Island
4x Unclaimed Territory

Creature (29)
3x Armorcraft Judge
4x Herald of Secret Streams
3x Jade Guardian
3x Kopala, Warden of Waves
4x Kumena's Speaker
4x Metallic Mimic
4x Shaper's Apprentice
4x Vineshaper Mystic

Instant (7)
3x Blossoming Defense
4x Perilous Voyage

Artifact (4)
4x Implement of Ferocity

Sideboard (15)
3x Dive Down
3x Essence Scatter
3x Heroic Intervention
3x Spell Pierce

3x Unsummon



Ixalan B/W Tokens

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


Ixalan Map

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.  


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.

• 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

• 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

• 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

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

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

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

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.