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Magic: The Gathering – Our favorite Ixalan Commons in each color

by Ron Duwell | September 24, 2017September 24, 2017 3:00 pm PDT

Uncommons for Ixalan are done, and today, we’re handling the cards you’ll be seeing the most when you draft: Commons!

Magic: The Gathering has come a long way in redefining how strong commons are to the point where there are some you would take above a mediocre rare. We’ll be looking at a few of these today, meaning these are the best Commons in each color. When you’re drafting and you’re looking for something to fill the gaps or make your deck stronger with a simple fourth, fifth, sixth pick, look for these.

White

Many are calling this one overpowered, and I agree. In an aggressive Dinosaur deck, tapping down a blocker leaves opponents open for huge damage. Since this is common, landing two or even three of these means your opponent might never get to block. Ridiculous! Should be Uncommon, so I’ll be happy to prioritize this over plenty of other Uncommons.

While this might have the best art in the set, I’m also going to call it the most boring. Effective, strong, and able to remove any creature from the game for just four mana and no conditions, but still boring. I guess the overabundance of White enchantment removal from the last few sets has gotten to me. Otherwise, this is tied for best White common alongside Territorial Hammerskull.

We’ll call this what it is (and what the picture implies): a Dinosaur killer! Play this always, watch it really shine against dinos.

Four mana for 4/3 worth of stats across two bodies on relevant creature types… this is already something I would always pick. The fact that 1/1 of those stats are lifelink adds to the pure value of this card.

Lifelink bear! Two drops are becoming increasingly popular in Magic: The Gathering, and slapping Lifelink on a 2/2 is just brilliant for an aggro deck. Hitting an opponent with this twice means you’re not four but EIGHT points ahead on turn four. Not bad for just two mana. If it kills a creature after being blocked and eventually trades with something, you’re still two or four points on life up. Simple but very effective, and vampire synergies are also to be considered here.

Blue

If you play this card, you’re adding to your own board state while knocking your opponent off tempo for not one but two turns. In an aggressive deck, that’s almost a two-for-one play. Considering Blue is more aggressive than its even been in Ixalan, this will always be a great card, even if you’re playing Pirates.

Explore looks like a powerful ability, meaning with this card, you get a 1/2 flyer and get to draw a card OR a 2/3 flyer and a get to “scry” a card into the graveyard. Either way, that’s excellent value in a Blue aggressive deck. Again, playing this for Pirate synergies is ideal, but the +1/+1 counter also gives this card minimal synergies in a Merfolk deck. Universal common.

Bouncing a card back into a player’s hand is one thing, putting it on top of their decks is a way to totally wreck them. Not only does this ruin combat for them, it also messes up their tempo, guaranteeing that their next draw could be something useless. Remember, you can also cast this on your own cards, meaning you can save something from a removal spell or trigger an “enter the battlefield” ability again.

While getting Treasure tokens on an instant or sorcery isn’t the best value, getting it on a 3/4 body is spectacular! This card gets you to seven mana on turn six, meaning your biggest spells will be ready a full turn or two before they normally would be.

Blue is more aggro than usual, but Opt is Blue at its controlling best. One mana to draw is Magic at its most basic value. Scrying and drawing puts this over the standard rate, making it great for fixing your plays and filtering your mana.

Black

Black has a lot of great nonsense to pick from at Common, but without question, this is the one you prioritize the most. Five mana is a bit much to pay for straight removal, especially at sorcery speed, but you get some of that value back in the form of Treasures, which you can use to cast a two drop creature or save until your next turn. Regardless, unconditional Black removal, always take it.

You can always bet on Black’s conditional removal spells as well. This takes care of most Vampires, Merfolk, and Pirates, and only Dinosaurs and the strongest creatures of the other tribes really stand a chance against it. Teamed up with Legion’s Judgement from White, you can cover the whole spectrum!

This can be a removal spell against something really weak, but it’s bettr used to swing combat in your favor. When played correctly, you can weaken an incoming monster… block it and kill it, and strengthen one of your creatures, which can block and kill something else, catching your opponent off guard and taking out two creatures for a single Black mana. Keep in mind, this is an ideal situation, but the potential is there to totally destroy an opponent with this card.

Essentially, this guarantees at least a two-point life swing when it comes into the battlefield, and then a 2/2 flyer for three mana is already great. Vampire synergies, go! Excellent card, play it in any Black aggro deck.

Explore! You know what this means! 3/3 menace and “scry” into the graveyard OR 2/2 menace and draw a card. Four mana is getting a little expensive, but it’s still solid for a Common.

Red

We’re back to Red, and here is what Red does best. BOOM! 3 damage for three mana, or better yet, 6 damage for three mana. Just ridiculous! Players will grow accustomed to being bombarded by this after a while, so play it while you still have the opportunity for surprise.

You want aggro? You got it! Headstrong Brute is so aggro that it can’t even block. There is no reason NOT to throw this into combat every round, and 3/3 menace for three mana usually means it will take a creature or two with it before falling victim to something bigger.

Four mana for a potential 5/3 trample?! Sure thing! Just be sure not to attack into a removal spell. If a player kills your other dinosaur, that will weakened Thrash of Raptors in the process and leave him open to be blown out.

Red being Red. Burn baby burn! Five mana can effectively close a close game, but this spell is worth putting in your deck because it can also target powerful creatures if need be. If you get two of these thanks to them being common, Unfriendly Fire accounts for EIGHT damage over turns five and six. If that’s not enough to get the job done, you’re not playing Red correctly.

There might be something better in Red’s Common pool than this, but I don’t care. I want to use Rile, Dual Shot, or some kind of Enrage trigger to just blow out my opponent in combat using this. Sounds fun.

Green

Red’s gonna be Red, and Green’s gonna be Green. This is when the big boys take over, and 6/6 trample for six mana is oh-so Green. I like how this card is Common but Carnage Tyrant is Mythic. They’re almost the same, but Hexproof, counter-proof, and that extra point of power makes all the difference, I guess. Still take as many of these as you need in a green ramp deck.

ROAR! Use your Colossal Dreadmaws and just destroy enemies at instant speed with this classic Green removal spell. Strong stuff, especially in the Dinosaur deck.

This card looks like a lot of fun. By itself, it is a 3/3 hexproof for four mana, which is fine. With something else, it is a 2/2 hexproof with the chance to boost something stronger, like a Dreadmaw or another Merfolk, and that’s solid. That’s a solid card I support all the way.

In a VERY niche Sultai (Blue, Black, Green) deck I’m dying to try, this can be an efficient “Tron” card, taking advantage of Auras like Mark of the Vampire and One With the Wind to become a 5/5, 7/7, or even 9/9 flying, hexproof, lifelink BOMB. Not efficient, but I think this is my favorite niche deck in Ixalan.

Explore is like Bluetooth in that it makes everything better, even though this is a Green card. 0/3 and draw a card OR 1/4 and “scry” into the graveyard. Can’t get enough of these.

I REALLY wanted to pick Ancient Brontodon, but with cards like Contract Killing, Hijack, and Captivating Crew floating around, it seems like thie biggest mistake just waiting to happen. Instead, go for this solid little dude. Decent attacker, stronger blocker that is able to take down wimpy White and Blue flyers, and a nice price tag. I’m good for this.

 

Artifact

I wasn’t going to do Common artifacts since they are usually kind of bad, but Ixalan has one that is worth checking out.

Equipment with a conditional free attachment price are no joke. Inventor’s Goggles was really strong in Kaladesh, and this will be even more powerful in an aggressive Pirate deck. I realize that Wizards of the Coast can’t make solid artifacts at Common anymore, and you might overlook this because of it. However, that would be a mistake.


Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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