Last updated on November 30, 2023

Cavern of Souls | Illustration by Alayna Danner

Cavern of Souls | Illustration by Alayna Danner

Ixalan debuted in 2017, opening the MTG world to a vast creature base of dinosaurs and pirates. Rivals of Ixalan from 2018 revealed more dinosaurs, vampires, and pirates that can be used in those kinds of typal decks. Now, in 2023, we return to the iconic plane in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

Dinosaurs are bigger and stompier (spoiler alert: Ghalta’s back!). One legendary elephant creature has now become a planeswalker card. And there are some new MTG mechanics like descend, discover, explore, and finality counters.

#30. Matzalantli, the Great Door / The Core

Matzalantli, the Great Door The Core

Listed at: $3.5

Matzalantli, the Great Door is a draw and discard engine to help you get the resources you need and get rid of what you don’t need from your hand. Transform it to The Core with its mana ability when it meets a specific condition to utilize as ramp based on how many permanent cards are in your graveyard.

This card does best in sacrifice and mill decks. The more you mill or sacrifice, the more mana that The Core is worth when you tap it.

#29. Huatli, Poet of Unity

Huatli, Poet of Unity

Listed at: $3.5

Huatli, Poet of Unity ramps you a land when it comes into play, but the transformed enchantment saga side, Roar of the Fifth People, is where the value is.

Search for your best dinosaurs like Ghalta, Primal Hunger and Ghalta and Mavren. Even the new Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant works well in a Huatli, Poet of Unity Commander deck. Utilize dinosaurs with enrage like Polyraptor and Silverclad Ferocidons for additional competitive value.

#28. The Millennium Calendar

The Millennium Calendar

Listed at: $5

The Millennium Calendar is like a very slow ticking time bomb that’s on steroids versus Aetherflux Reservoir. This is best in a token deck because it’s easy to untap many creature tokens that had attacked on your last turn. 

When you aren’t untapping permanents to place time counters on The Millenium Calendar, you can double the number of them with its activated ability. Get double activations per turn on The Millennium Calendar with Manifold Key or Kelpie Guide. It can take a while to get to 1000 time counters for each opponent to lose 1000 life, but if there’s no artifact removal, it can be an eventual win condition.

#27. The Enigma Jewel / Locus of Enlightenment

The Enigma Jewel Locus of Enlightenment

Listed at: $6

The Enigma Jewel is best for decks with blue that have creatures, artifacts, and other nonland permanents with activated abilities. Orazca Puzzle-Door and Hermitic Nautilus are a couple of examples of new blue cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan that you can use to craft with two other nonland permanents with activated abilities for the card to transform into Locus of Enlightenment. Be sure to choose wisely which cards you craft with for the transformation because Locus of Enlightenment has the activated abilities of all the cards utilized for crafting.

#26. Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal / Temple of the Dead

Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal Temple of the Dead

Listed at: $6

Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal is discarding menace where every opponent must discard a card each time you attack, which is easier to do since this bat god files. For every land discarded, you get a Bat token.

If you’re running a black and white deck, you can double the Bat token output with Kaya, Geist Hunter and Anointed Procession. Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal comes back as a land called Temple of the Dead that can transform back, which is a great way to evade commander tax if you’re running a mono-black deck.

#25. Trumpeting Carnosaur

Trumpeting Carnosaur

Listed at: $6.50

Dinosaurs are a popular creature type in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan and Trumpeting Carnosaur gives you one of two options. Treat it as a creature that allows you to fetch a nonland permanent with its discover ability. You can also treat it as creature or planeswalker targeted removal with its mana and discard ability.

Trumpeting Carnosaur synergizes well with Marauding Raptor because Trumpeting Carnosaur can be cast for cheaper and help pump Marauding Raptor when it enters. Regisaur Alpha allows Trumpeting Carnosaur to have haste when it enters.

#24. The Mycotyrant

The Mycotyrant

Listed at: $6.50

The Mycotyrant is a fungi and saproling matter commander. Its Golgari () colors make it great for a sacrifice outlet theme because it rewards you with Fungus tokens for each time you descend in one turn. Include Saproling generators like Nemata, Primeval Warden and Rith, the Awakener.

#23. Quintorius Kand

Quintorius Kand

Listed at: $6.50

Quintorius first appeared in Strixhaven: School of Mages with Quintorius, Field Historian and in March of the Machine as Quintorius, Loremaster. While these were legendary creatures, now the character is featured as a planeswalker, Quintorius Kand.

Run an exile deck to capitalize on its static effect of dealing 2 damage to opponents and gaining 2 life for each spell cast from exile. The new discover mechanic is one of the planeswalker’s abilities where you can exile until you get a nonland card that is 4 mana value or less. You can get the most value from the discover mechanic by casting the card without paying its mana cost.

#22. Growing Rites of Itlimoc / Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun

Listed at: $7

Growing Rites of Itlimoc fetches you a creature when it ETBs and then transforms into Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun once you control 4 or more creatures. Include the transformed land in creature-based token decks because you get green mana equivalent to the number of creatures you control. Get more value by including Circle of Dreams Druid which does the same for you.

#11. Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon

Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon

Listed at: $7

Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon rewards you with creature tokens whenever you attack with other creatures that aren’t a specific type. Create more Gnome artifact creature tokens with Threefold Thunderhulk as it attacks alongside Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon.

To trigger Anim Pakal to make Gnome artifact creature tokens equivalent to its +1/+1 counters, attack with synergistic non-gnome creatures. Iroas, God of Victory prevents any damage done to itself or other creatures you control while giving them all menace. Since you’re making artifact creatures, have them up as blockers at all times by untapping them at the beginning of your end step with Lita, Mechanical Engineer.

#20. Tishana’s Tidebinder

Tishana's Tidebinder

Listed at: $7.50

Tishana's Tidebinder counters activated and triggered abilities, but not mana abilities. The creature’s flash ability makes it possible to cast it at instant speed for the counter effect. Include Tishana's Tidebinder in a merfolk typal deck with Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca or Alandra, Sky Dreamer as the commander.

#19. Saheeli, the Sun’s Brilliance

Saheeli, the Sun's Brilliance

Listed at: $7.50

Saheeli, the Sun's Brilliance is a token creator that can help you capitalize on your best creatures or artifacts on each turn. Since you can make a copy at instant speed, you can ramp by copying a Sol Ring or an Arcane Signet to have enough mana for an instant spell that can counter an opponent’s spell or destruction spell targeting a creature.

Have Helm of the Host attached to Saheeli, the Sun's Brilliance to make as many copies of artifacts and creatures as you desire. Plus, you can copy Helm of the Host, too. Now that’s a lot of copies.

#18. Molten Collapse

Molten Collapse

Listed at: $7.50

Molten Collapse gets the most value as long as you have descended during the turn you cast it. The Rakdos () sorcery spell acts as targeted removal for a creature or planeswalker and also as targeted removal for an artifact, enchantment, or other noncreature nonland permanent on an opponent’s battlefield. Place in a Zoyowa Lava-Tongue which also has synergy with the descend mechanic.

#17. Thousand Moons Smithy / Barracks of the Thousand

Thousand Moons Smithy Barracks of the Thousand

Listed at: $8

Thousand Moons Smithy is yet another speculative rare that people are hoping to make use of in Constructed formats. It’s practically begging to be thrown into some kind of gnome-typal decklist, probably in Commander with Tetzin, Gnome Champion.

Its backside is Barracks of the Thousand, a legendary artifact land that taps for white and generates more Gnome Soldiers for you.

All in all, this card is fine. It’s good in specifically gnome and artifact-heavy decks as a source of creatures. That’s great in the gnome EDH deck, but it’ll be more difficult to play this in some kind of Standard white-artifact deck.

#16. Sovereign Okinec Ahau

Sovereign Okinec Ahau

Listed at: $8

Sovereign Okinec Ahau thrives the best in Selesnya decks with a +1/+1 counter. Say that you have an Avacyn's Pilgrim with a +1/+1 counter on it. Its base power is 1. When Sovereign Okinec Ahau attacks, you can place another +1/+1 counter on Avacyn's Pilgrim because that’s the difference between its base power and current power.

Modify your creatures further with anthem effects, equipment, and auras, and you’ll be rewarded with +1/+1 counters equal to the difference in base power versus current power whenever Sovereign Okinec Ahau attacks.

Here’s another example. Say that Divine Sacrament is on the field buffing white creatures by +1/+1 and Esper Sentinel has a +1/+1 counter on it. Since Esper Sentinel has a base power of 1 and the current power is 3, Sovereign Okinec Ahau attacks and places two +1/+1 counters on Esper Sentinel. How’s that for a pump party?

#15. Echoing Deeps

Echoing Deeps

Listed at: $8

Echoing Deeps goes great in decks that feature cave land cards like Forgotten Monument and Cavernous Maw. Make sure the land that you want to copy with Echoing Deeps is in the graveyard. Do some mana fixing by copying Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth or commander protection by copying Karakas as long as either of them are in a graveyard.

#14. Resplendent Angel

Listed at: $10.5

Resplendent Angel debuted in Core Set 2019 and is getting its first reprint in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Gain life with new cards in the set like Soaring Sandwing and Clay-Fired Bricks.

Incorporate lifegain staples like Impassioned Orator and Soul Warden to guarantee an Angel token entering the battlefield on your end step from Resplendent Angel. If you don’t have any lifegain resources on the battlefield, use Resplendent Angel’s mana ability to give all your creatures a buff with lifelink to create that Angel token.

#13. Roaming Throne

Roaming Throne

Listed at: $11

Roaming Throne is best for typal decks that have many triggered abilities because whatever triggered abilities of the creature type you choose triggers an additional time. Incorporate your deck with creatures that have ETB effects like token creation, card draw, or destruction of permanents for added value.

#12. Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch / Temple of Cyclical Time

Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch Temple of Cyclical Time

Listed at: $12

Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch gives instant spells you cast the rebound ability, which means that you can cast instant spells without paying their mana costs on your next upkeep when you already cast them on your prior turn. Incorporate notable blue instant spells that give you more value when cast again with rebound like Mystical Tutor, Pongify, and Cackling Counterpart.

Like the other legendary god creatures in this set, this creature comes back as a land when it dies. Temple of Cyclical Time can transform again into its creature form, which is great for getting around commander tax.

#11. Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might / Temple of Power

Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might Temple of Power

Listed at: $12

Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might thrives in red decks that feature instant and sorcery spells. For example, if you cast Galvanic Blast, it’ll deal 4 damage with Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might on the battlefield because of that creature’s power.

#10. Gishath, Sun’s Avatar

Listed at: $14

Gishath, Sun's Avatar debuted in Ixalan so it’s only fitting that it is now getting a reprint in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. For an 8-drop dinosaur that helps you tutor dinosaurs to place on the battlefield from the top 7 (or more based on Gishath’s power) cards of your library, that’s so much value.

Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant, The Enigma Jewel, and Bonehoard Dracosaur are synergistic new dinosaurs from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan to include a Gishath, Sun’s Avatar Commander deck.

#9. Bloodletter of Aclazotz

Bloodletter of Aclazotz

Listed at: $15

Bloodletter of Aclazotz is a demonic addition to any aristocratic deck that docks down opponents’ life totals at double the speed. Exquisite Blood and Sanguine Bond help you gain infinite life and have your opponents lose infinite life in a mono-black deck featuring this creature. Even a The Scarab God Commander deck would be a great home for Bloodletter of Aclazotz because it can cause opponents to lose life equal to double the number of zombie creatures you control.

#8. The Ancient One

The Ancient One

Listed at: $15.50

The Ancient One is an 8/8 for only 2 mana, but you need at least 8 cards in your graveyard for it to attack or block. That condition is easy to reach with its mana ability of drawing a card and discarding a card. Expedite how fast you get permanents into the graveyard for The Ancient One to start being on the offense and defense with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Rotting Regisaur, and Rona, Herald of Invasion.

#7. Bonehoard Dracosaur

Bonehoard Dracosaur

Listed at: $16

Speaking of Bonehoard Dracosaur, it’s next on our list of most expensive cards for this new set. This mono-red dyno rewards you with Dinosaur and Treasure tokens based on the types of the two cards that you exile from the top of your library on every upkeep. You can get extra bodies on the field when running a dinosaur typal deck with the Dinosaur tokens and additional mana ramp when you receive Treasure tokens.

#6. The Skullspore Nexus

The Skullspore Nexus

Listed at: $17.50

Green means big and stompy which correlates to the theme of The Skullspore Nexus. Because it creates Fungus Dinosaur tokens, it’d be great in dinosaur decks. If you want to, you can double the power of your dragons in a dragon typal deck with Morophon, the Boundless as the commander.

#5. Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant

Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant

Listed at: $19.50

Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant is the best of the best when it comes to card value and being one of the must-have cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. You benefit more with card draw abilities of The Great Henge, Elder Gargaroth, and Tribute to the World Tree to get as many creature cards as you can into your hand.

Use Reliquary Tower so that you don’t have a maximum hand size. Once you cast Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant, you can put all of those accumulated creature cards onto the battlefield without paying their mana costs along with it. Now that’s a roaring value engine to say the least!

#4. Ojer Kaslem, Deepest Growth / Temple of Cultivation

Ojer Kaslem, Deepest Growth Temple of Cultivation

Listed at: $25

Ojer Kaslem, Deepest Growth is the green legendary god amongst all the colors of gods in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan that can also transform back into itself. It returns to the battlefield as Temple of Cultivation when it dies then transforms back into Ojer Kaslem, Deepest Growth with that land’s mana ability.

Select from amongst 6 cards (or more depending on its power) to get a creature or land of your choice whenever the creature deals combat damage. Landfall decks benefit greatly the more that you select land cards from the top 6 of your library.

Creatures that would add value for this Commander deck would be Old Gnawbone, Elder Gargaroth, and Titania, Nature's Force. Lands that add more value to this deck are Echoing Deeps, Treasure Vault, and Forbidden Orchard.

#3. Chimil, the Inner Sun

Chimil, the Inner Sun

Listed at: $27.50

Chimil, the Inner Sun is great to have in any deck whatsoever because it helps to prevent your spells from being countered. Now the only thing you’d have to worry about is if the spells suffer targeted removal or board wipes.

Plus, you have the option of casting a nonland permanent that costs 5 or less mana on every end step without paying its mana cost. If you’re going against a blue deck, it’ll shut down their interactions completely.

#2. Cavern of Souls

Listed at: $28

Cavern of Souls is a flavorful card of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan because of its name, but it’s a reprinted card that debuted in Avacyn Restored.

It’s typal deck, only allowing you to use the mana it generates for the mana cost of a creature with the named type you choose when playing the land. The protection of the spell not being countered when mana from Cavern of Souls is used is a major plus. Have this land in an Eldrazi deck, and it’ll be scary for all your opponents.

#1. Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation / Temple of Civilization

Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation Temple of Civilization

Listed at: $30

Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation is the white legendary god amongst the group that comes back as a land when they die. In this case, Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation comes back as Temple of Civilization and then returns to its creature form with its mana ability.

Creature token players rejoice! This legendary god is great for creature-heavy decks because it triples your creature token output. Say that you have 3 soldiers including Myrel, Shield of Argive on the battlefield while Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation is also present. When Myrel, Shield of Argive attacks, you will create 9 of the 1/1 colorless Soldier artifact creature tokens rather than 3. Now that's some great value in going wide with creatures!

Promos, Alternate Art, and More

The Core of Paradise full art lands transport players through the delightful lore and settings of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

The Gods of Ixalan showcase cards are some of the most sought-after cards because of their rich art featuring almost what looks to be 3D art of the god heads. Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation is running for $29.64 while Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch is going for $29.99. Ojer Kaslem, Deepest Growth is averaging $35.00 while Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might costs about $27.69.

The foil version of these showcase art cards make them more stunning in its 3D looking art. The foil versions range between $35 to $50. Any of the showcase god cards can be found in Draft, Set, and Collector boosters of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

Cavern of Souls

Cavern of Souls is getting a Cosmium ink look that has a neon-colored appeal much like the alternate art of Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

Jurassic Park

The Jurassic World collection is releasing the same day as The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, which is something MTG players who are also fans of the franchise have been long waiting for! Look for the powerful saga enchantment turned land: Welcome to…Jurassic Park.

Wrap Up

Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant - Illustration by Lars Grant-West

Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant | Illustration by Lars Grant-West

I bet you’re roaring ready for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. From dinosaurs to pirates to legendary Ojer gods, this set of over 400 cards is sure to please all MTG adventurers.

Remember that all cards can fluctuate in value and change drastically over the course of the release weekend and in the weeks to come. Keep up with all the most recent and major action on the Draftsim Twitter page.

We hope you have a roaring good time opening The Lost Caverns of Ixalan booster packs and backs when it releases! See you next time!

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  • Avatar
    DrChinaWhite November 13, 2023 8:24 am

    Your write up on Ojer Taq is incorrect. The god will not triple Treasure Tokens as the card explicitly states it will only create 3x the amount of CREATURE tokens.

    • Jake Henderson
      Jake Henderson November 20, 2023 7:11 pm

      Fixed, thank you.

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