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XLN set logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Compass Rose / Ship's Wheel
Design Mark Rosewater (co-lead)
Ken Nagle (co-lead)
Ben Hayes
Gavin Verhey
Jackie Lee
James Hata
James Sooy
Mark Gottlieb
Sam Stoddard
Shawn Main
Yoni Skolnik
Development Erik Lauer (co-lead)
Sam Stoddard (co-lead)
Dave Humpherys
Ethan Fleischer
Gavin Verhey
Yoni Skolnik
Art direction Cynthia Sheppard
Release date September 29, 2017
Plane Ixalan
Themes and mechanics Tribal, Double-faced cards, Vehicles, Treasure tokens, +1/+1 counters, life as a resource
Keywords/​ability words Explore, Enrage, Raid, Crew, Transform
Set size 279 cards
+10 Planeswalker deck exclusives
Expansion code XLN[1]
Development codename Ham
Ixalan block
Ixalan Rivals of Ixalan N/A
Core Set 2019 Standard
Ixalan Rivals of Ixalan Dominaria
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Commander 2017 Ixalan Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins
For the plane, see Ixalan (plane).

Ixalan [ˈɪk.sə.lɑːn][2] (pronounced "icks-a-lawn", rhymes like "fix a con")[3] is the seventy-sixth Magic expansion, and the first in the Ixalan block. It was released on September 29, 2017,[4] and is a large expansion.

Set details[ | ]

Ixalan contains 279 cards (20 basic land, 101 common, 80 uncommon, 63 rare, and 15 mythic rare) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards.[5] Ten additional cards are found in the set's planeswalker decks (2 mythic planeswalkers, 2 rares, 2 uncommons, 2 commons, and 2 common dual lands). These are numbered #280/279 to #289/279.[6] Ten of the rares are double-faced cards which were printed on a separate print sheet. These appear in the rare/mythic slot of booster packs, which changes the mythic rare to rare ratio from 15:106 to 15:126.[7][8] A checklist card replaces the basic land in some boosters.[9][10] Five of the basic lands depict a lost Jace Beleren.[6]

A complete Ixalan rare foil print sheet was leaked three months before prerelease, which caused Wizards of the Coast to re-evaluate their preview plan.[11][12]

Misprints[ | ]

A number of non-foil, double-sided Ixalan cards were mistakenly printed on incorrect card stock.[13]

Rules change[ | ]

Starting with this set, all planeswalkers past, present, and future have the supertype legendary.[14] They are subject to the "legend rule" instead of the "planeswalker uniqueness rule", which was removed from the game.

Storyline[ | ]

“  Brave the Unknown  ”

This is a story about desire. It is a desire for power, a desire for companionship, a desire for approval, a desire for discovery, and everyone is racing to get what they want first.[15] For centuries, the untamed jungles of Ixalan have hidden a coveted secret: Orazca, the city of gold, which houses a mysterious artifact, the Immortal Sun. But no secret can remain undiscovered, and no treasure can be taken uncontested.[16] The dinosaur riding warriors of the Sun Empire and the merfolk shamans of the rival River Heralds are met by the vampire conquistadores of the Legion of Dusk and the pirates of the Brazen Coalition.[15][17]

Vraska poses as a pirate on the high seas, while Jace Beleren is stranded on the plane with the loss of all his memories.

The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in Ixalan are: Ixalan's Binding, Vraska's Contempt, River's Rebuke, Thaumatic Compass // Spires of Orazca, and Perilous Voyage.

Magic Story[ | ]

Main article: Magic Story
Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
Jace, Alone Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2017-09-06 Ixalan Jace, Vraska
A Question of Confidence Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2017-09-13 Kaladesh, Ixalan Huatli, Inti, Wayta, Apatzec Intli III, Angrath, Teyeuh
The Talented Captain Vraska Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2017-09-20 Ravnica, Meditation Plane, Ixalan Vraska, Nicol Bolas, Malcolm Lee, Amelia, Edgar, Gavven, Jace
The Shapers Alison Luhrs, Gregg Luben & Kelly Digges 2017-09-27 Ixalan Kopala, Tishana, Kumena
Something Else Entirely Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2017-10-04 Ixalan Jace, Amelia, Kerrigan, Breeches, Vraska, Malcolm Lee, Pedron
The Race, Part 1 Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2017-10-11 Ixalan Mavren Fein, Mardia, Manuel, Elenda, Pedron, Vona de Iedo, Jace, Vraska, Edgar, Breeches, Malcolm Lee, Huatli, Inti, Teyeuh, Tishana
The Race, Part 2 Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2017-10-18 Ixalan Vraska, Jace, Vona de Iedo, Huatli, Tishana, Amelia, Malcolm Lee, Breeches, Angrath

Marketing[ | ]

Ixalan is sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), two planeswalker decks, the Ixalan bundle, Booster Battle Packs and a Deck Builder's Toolkit.[6][18]

There is no Masterpiece Series accompanying Ixalan.[19] The boosters feature artwork from Slash of Talons, Vicious Conquistador, Hijack, Fire Shrine Keeper and Vraska, Relic Seeker.

As part of the preview season, Wizards of the Coast distributed trackable game pieces to stores, fans, volunteers, and some well-known community folk. As game pieces traveled from from geocache to geocache, the distances they traveled influenced the release of preview cards.[17]

Events[ | ]

Ixalan poster

Promotional poster

  • Prerelease Events took place on September 23, 2017.[20]
  • Magic Online Launch: September 25, 2017
  • Dino-Sized Weekend: The weekend of October 28–29, stores around the world host six-pack Sealed events, three-pack Draft events, and extraordinary dino-sized Draft events using four packs of Ixalan instead of three.[21]
  • Mid-Season League: Running November 6 through December 3, stores can run Ixalan Mid-Season Leagues.[21]

Promotional cards[ | ]

XLN treasure chest booster

Treasure Chest booster

Tokens[ | ]

Ixalan features 10 tokens.[27]

  1. {W} 1/1 Vampire creature with lifelink for Legion's Landing, Adanto, the First Fort, Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle, Paladin of the Bloodstained, Queen's Commission and Call to the Feast
  2. {U} 2/2 Illusion creature with "When this creature becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice it." for Jace, Cunning Castaway
  3. {U} 1/1 Merfolk creature with hexproof for Deeproot Waters
  4. {B} 2/2 Pirate creature with menace for Fathom Fleet Captain and Vraska, Relic Seeker
  5. {G} 3/3 Dinosaur creature with trample for Raptor Hatchling, Thundering Spineback, Huatli, Warrior Poet and Regisaur Alpha
  6. {G} 0/2 Plant creature with defender for Dowsing Dagger
  7. {C} Treasure artifact (Sun Empire flavored) with "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color." for Pirate's Prize, Prosperous Pirates, Sailor of Means, Spell Swindle, Contract Killing, Dire Fleet Hoarder, Heartless Pillage, Revel in Riches, Ruthless Knave, Wanted Scoundrels, Captain Lannery Storm, Trove of Temptation, Wily Goblin, Deadeye Plunderers, Vraska, Relic Seeker, Prying Blade and Treasure Map.
  8. {C} Treasure artifact (Legion of Dusk flavored)
  9. {C} Treasure artifact (River Heralds flavored)
  10. {C} Treasure artifact (Brazen Coalition flavored)

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

Ixalan is a tribal set, with Pirates ({U}{B}{R}), Dinosaurs ({R}{G}{W}), Merfolk ({G}{U}) and Vampires ({W}{B}).[28][29][30][31] This is the first time Magic has an uneven color distribution of factions within a set. Though the tribes are asymmetrical, the colors are not. Each color has two tribes. The fact that Pirates and Dinosaurs both need more cards to become tribes properly (as compared to merfolk and vampires, who are already pretty established) was a factor in them becoming the two 3 color factions.[32][33][34][35][36] The two colour pairs that are not represented in this scheme - {B}{G} and {W}{U} - do not have multicoloured signpost uncommons, but have explore and fliers as a theme respectively.

Raid returns from Khans of Tarkir (now connected to Pirates), Crew from Kaladesh (connected to the ships from Torrezon), and Transform from Innistrad (the double-faced cards now highlighting the tales and tools of discovery).[14][37] The DFCs all have a land on the "back" face cards, which features a map-inspired card frame. The front face is recognized by the icon of a compass rose {dfc-compass} and the back face is marked by the land icon {dfc-land} last seen in Future Sight.

There are two new named mechanics:

  • Explore — Reveal the top card of your library. Put that card into your hand if it's a land. Otherwise, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature, then put the card back on top or into your graveyard.
  • Enrage — Whenever a creature with this ability word is dealt damage, it has some consequences. This is the signature mechanic of the Dinosaurs.[14]

The Merfolk are difficult to block and grow via +1/+1 counters, while Vampires use life as a resource.[14]

Card types[ | ]

Treasure artifact token 1


Ixalan introduces the treasure artifact subtype and the return of the dinosaur creature type.[38] The trilobite creature type is new.

Vehicles are back from the Kaladesh block in the form of ships.

Cycles[ | ]

Ixalan has seven cycles, one of which is reprinted, and two mirrored pairs.. Notably, three of these cycles are partial, due to the uneven distribution of colors among the set's tribes:

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Legendary transforming enchantments Legion's Landing // Adanto, the First Fort Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, The Sunken Ruin Arguel's Blood Fast // Temple of Aclazotz Vance's Blasting Cannons // Spitfire Bastion Growing Rites of Itlimoc // Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun
Five rare legendary enchantments that transform into legendary lands when a condition is met; these lands tap for colored mana and have another powerful activated ability.
Keepers Encampment Keeper Shore Keeper Blight Keeper Fire Shrine Keeper Ixalli's Keeper
Five common creatures with an activated ability that each cost {7} and one colored mana, tapping and sacrificing the creature. They function as late-game mana sinks, similar to the Invokers from Legions and Rise of the Eldrazi.
Explorer Commons Sunrise Seeker Siren Lookout Queen's Agent Brazen Buccaneers Ixalli's Diviner
Each of these five common creatures explores when they enter the battlefield. The cycle has a rising converted mana cost in reverse enemy color order — Ixalli's Diviner ({1}{G}), Siren Lookout ({2}{U}), Brazen Buccaneers ({3}{R}), Sunrise Seeker ({4}{W}), Queen's Agent ({5}{B}). The other two explorers at common are black (Dire Fleet Interloper {3}{B}) and green (Tishana's Wayfinder {2}{G}) to help the {B/G} draft archetype.
Avatars of the sun Wakening Sun's Avatar Burning Sun's Avatar Verdant Sun's Avatar
Three rare or mythic dinosaurs, each tied flavor-wise to a different aspect of the Threefold Sun and with related flavor texts.
Cycle Name {W/U} {U/B} {B/R} {R/G} {G/W}
Allied color check lands Glacial Fortress Drowned Catacomb Dragonskull Summit Rootbound Crag Sunpetal Grove
Each of these five rare dual lands come into play tapped unless you control a land of one of the appropriate types. This cycle was first printed in Magic 2010.
Cycle name {U/B} {B/R} {R/G} {G/W} {W/B} {U/R} {R/W} {G/U}
Two-colored draft archetypes Deadeye Plunderers(treasure) Dire Fleet Captain(pirate aggro) Raging Swordtooth(enrage) Belligerent Brontodon(dinosaur ramp) Call to the Feast(vampires) Marauding Looter(raid) Sky Terror(dinosaur aggro) Shapers of Nature(merfolk)
Eight uncommon cards which each represent a two-colored draft archetype. Unusually, this cycle is missing {W/U} and {B/G} cards. This is due to no tribes on Ixalan consisting of those color combinations.[39] {W/U} (flying) and {B/G} (explore) are still viable draft archetypes, albeit ones designed for "more advanced drafters."[40][41]
Cycle name Sun Empire ({R}{G}{W}) River Heralds ({G}{U}) Brazen Coalition ({U}{B}{R}) Legion of Dusk ({W}{B})
Legendary creatures Gishath, Sun's Avatar Tishana, Voice of Thunder Admiral Beckett Brass Vona, Butcher of Magan
Four mythic rare legendary creatures, each of which is of one of the four tribes and has a color identity of all colors for that tribe.

Pairs[ | ]

Mirrored pair Description
Hostage Taker ({U/B} pirates) Regisaur Alpha ({R/G} dinosaurs) A pair of rare multicolor creatures with powerful enters the battlefield abilities, each of which is in one of the tribes introduced in Ixalan.
Seekers' Squire ({B}, 1/2) Merfolk Branchwalker ({G}, 2/1) A pair of uncommon scout creatures with a mana cost of {1}M that explore when they enter the battlefield. They have a mirrored power and toughness and help the {B/G} draft archetype.

Reprinted cards[ | ]

Common to Uncommon[ | ]

Functional Reprints[ | ]

Card comparisons[ | ]

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Ixalan features two planeswalker decks:

deck name
Colors Included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Jace U G Jace, Ingenious Mind-Mage
Huatli W R Huatli, Dinosaur Knight

Notable cards[ | ]

Banned and restricted cards[ | ]

  • Rampaging Ferocidon was banned in January 2018 alongside Ramunap Ruins to weaken the Mono-Red in that Standard. While not particularly notable in and of itself, it was the first card unbanned in a rotating format in August of 2019, allowing play for one month before rotation.

Trivia[ | ]

  • A product survey preceding the announcement of the name "Ixalan" referred to the set as Atlazan.[44]
  • The asymmetric color structure of the four tribes was repurposed from the early design stage of the Khans of Tarkir block.[45]
  • Some cards represent a specific pirate fleet, four fleets are revealed this way, each one showing its method:
Fleet name Colors Leader Other cards
Deadeye Fleet {U/B} Deadeye Quartermaster Deadeye Tormentor
Deadeye Tracker
Deadeye Plunderers
Dire Fleet {B/R} Dire Fleet Captain Dire Fleet Hoarder
Dire Fleet Interloper
Dire Fleet Ravager
Fathom Fleet {B/R} Fathom Fleet Captain Fathom Fleet Cutthroat
Fathom Fleet Firebrand
Storm Fleet {U/R} Captain Lannery Storm Storm Fleet Aerialist
Storm Fleet Spy
Storm Fleet Arsonist
Storm Fleet Pyromancer

References[ | ]

  1. Product information
  2. Ixalan Spotlight: Enrage. Retrieved on 2017-10-1.
  3. Mark Rosewater (April 23, 2017). "Does ixalan rymes with is a land...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  4. Hélène Bergeot (April 18, 2017). "Ixalan, Worlds, Pro Tour, Nationals, and RPTQs". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b Wizards of the Coast (September 15, 2017). "Ixalan Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b c d Blake Rasmussen (September 1, 2017). "Ixalan Promos, Planeswalker Decks, Packaging, and FNM Tokens!". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater (September 14, 2017). "Will Ixalan's double-faced cards take their own reserved slot in booster packs?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater (September 14, 2017). "Is the rare to mythic rare ratio still the same for ixalan?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. What slot do checklist cards take? (Reddit)
  10. YouTube — Official MTG IXALAN Booster Box OPENING (timestamp: 3m25s)
  11. Uhh I think wizards has a problem on their hand (Ixalan)
  12. Scott Kelly and Blake Rasmussen (August 28, 2017). "Behind the Scenes with the Alleged Ixalan Card Theft". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Wizards of the Coast (October 20, 2017). "Statement on Ixalan Double-Faced Cards Card Stock". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. a b c d Matt Tabak (August 28, 2017). "Ixalan Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. a b Blake Rasmussen and Alison Luhrs (August 30, 2017). "Magic Story Podcast: Ixalan". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Wizards of the Coast (June 14, 2017). "25th Anniversary Announcement Day". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. a b Blake Rasmussen (August 14, 2017). "Exploring Ixalan by Exploring Our World". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Ixalan Product information for retailers
  19. Mark Rosewater (June 12, 2017). "Metamorphosis 2.0". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Gavin Verhey (September 18, 2017). "Ixalan Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. a b Wizards of the Coast (September 18, 2017). "Announcing Dino-Sized Weekend and Ixalan Mid-Season League". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Chris Tulach (July 16, 2017). "In-Store Play Evolves". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Blake Rasmussen (October 30, 2017). "Ixalan Store Championship Goodies". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Full Art Deeproot Champion Convention Promo. Reddit (2018).
  25. Blake Rasmussen (November 7, 2017). "Black Friday Treasure Chest Promotion". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Blake Rasmussen (November 15, 2017). "The November 15, 2017 Update". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Blake Rasmussen (September 13, 2017). "The Tokens of Ixalan". Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Mark Rosewater (September 4, 2017). "Just for Ix(alan), Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Mark Rosewater (September 05, 2017). "To what extent is Ixalan tribal?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  30. Mark Rosewater (September 18, 2017). "Just for Ix(alan), Part 3". Wizards of the Coast.
  31. Sam Stoddard (September 12, 2017). "Developing a Tribal Set". Wizards of the Coast.
  32. Mark Rosewater (August 29, 2017). "This seems like the first time Magic has had an uneven distribution of factions?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  33. Mark Rosewater (August 31, 2017). "Was the fact that Pirates and Dinosaurs both need more cards a factor?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  34. Mark Rosewater (August 31, 2017). "Not a fan of the assymetric distribution of tribe colors.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  35. Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2017). ""We must do 4 factions block to prove that we can". Isn't that bad design?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  36. Mark Rosewater (September 11, 2017). "Just for Ix(alan), Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  37. Ken Nagle (September 5, 2017). "Conquering the Design of Ixalan". Wizards of the Coast.
  38. Nicholas Wolfram (September 6, 2017). "A Royal Recipe for Dinosaur Tribal". Wizards of the Coast.
  39. Mark Rosewater (September 16, 2017). "Can you explain why W/U and B/G didn't get uncommon draft build arounds?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  40. Mark Rosewater (September 16, 2017). "I'm not sure whether or not I'm supposed to be able to draft WU and BG in Ixalan.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  41. Mark Rosewater (October 9, 2017). "Odds & Ends: Ixalan, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  42. Mark Rosewater (September 11, 2017). "Am i wrong or Hostage Taker can go infinite just by itself?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  43. Mark Rosewater (October 2, 2017). "Dinosaurs and Vampires and Pirates (and Merfolk), Oh My, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  44. Blake Rasmussen (December 9, 2016). "The December 9, 2016 Update". Wizards of the Coast.
  45. Mark Rosewater (June 19, 2023). "Lessons Learned, Part 4". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]