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Rivals of Ixalan

Rivals of Ixalan
RIX logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Orazca / Upper half of a steering wheel
Design Ben Hayes (lead)
Melissa DeTora
Mark Gottlieb
Alexis Janson
Glenn Jones
Shawn Main
Cynthia Sheppard
Eli Shiffrin
Yoni Skolnik
Development Same as design
Art direction Cynthia Sheppard
Release date January 19, 2018
Plane Ixalan
Themes and mechanics Tribal, Double-faced cards, Treasure tokens, City's Blessing
Keywords/​ability words Transform, Ascend, Enrage, Explore, Raid
Set size 196 cards
+9 Planeswalker deck exclusives
Expansion code RIX[1]
Development codename Eggs
Ixalan block
Ixalan Rivals of Ixalan N/A
Core Set 2019 Standard
Ixalan Rivals of Ixalan Dominaria
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Unstable Rivals of Ixalan Masters 25
For other uses, see Ixalan (disambiguation).

Rivals of Ixalan is the seventy-seventh Magic expansion, and the second in the Ixalan block. It was released on January 19, 2018, and is a small expansion.[2][3]

Set details[ | ]

Rivals of Ixalan is the last regular small expansion to be released.[4] The set contains 196 cards (5 basic lands, 70 common, 60 uncommon, 48 rare, and 13 mythic rare) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. Some of the rares are Double-faced cards which were printed on a separate print sheet. Nine additional cards are found in the set's planeswalker decks (2 mythic planeswalkers, 2 rares, 2 uncommons, 2 commons, and 1 common dual land). These are numbered #197/196 to #205/196.[5] With the exception of the Elder Dinosaur cycle, all the tribes are staying in their same colors from Ixalan.

As the design of this set fell between the abandonment of the Two-Block Paradigm, but before the introduction Three-and-One Model, Rivals of Ixalan had a combined Vision/Set Design team instead of separate Design and Development teams. Notably, head designer Mark Rosewater wasn't part of the team.[6]

Storyline[ | ]

“  Stake your claim. Dominate the opposition. Rule the city.  ”

The legendary city of Orazca has been found, but it is not claimed without a fight. The winner will wield the greatest power of the plane. An unexpected rival takes the prize for his master.

The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in Ixalan are: Flood of Recollection, Induced Amnesia, and Mastermind's Acquisition. This is the first set to only have three spotlight cards. These feature a Planeswalker symbol icon as a watermark in their text boxes. The icon has no effect on game play.[3]

Magic Story[ | ]

Main article: Magic Story
Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
The Flood Alison Luhrs, Gregg Luben & Kelly Digges 2018-01-10 Ixalan, Zendikar, Ravnica, Vryn Kumena, Vona de Iedo, Mavren Fein, Vraska, Jace, Tezzeret, Liliana, Ranna Beleren, Gav Beleren, Alhammarret
Glimpse the Far Side of the Sun Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2018-01-17 Ixalan, Kaldheim Huatli, Inti, Angrath, Elenda, Jace, Vraska, Zetalpa, Azor
The Arbiter of Law Left Chaos in His Wake Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2018-01-24 Ixalan Huatli, Angrath, Tishana, Kumena, Vona de Iedo, Mavren Fein, Jace, Vraska, Azor
Sabotage Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2018-01-31 Ixalan, Tarkir Ugin, Azor, Nicol Bolas, Jace, Vraska
Who Tells the Stories Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2018-02-07 Ixalan Huatli, Tishana, Vona de Iedo, Angrath, Mavren Fein, Malcolm Lee, Breeches, Elenda, Pedron, Zacama, Apatzec Intli III, Inti
Wool Over the Eyes Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2018-02-14 Kaladesh, Unknown Plane, Ravnica, Meditation Plane, Ixalan, Dominaria Huatli, Saheeli Rai, Angrath, Rumi, Jamira, Vraska, Nicol Bolas, Jace, Jaya, Apatzec Intli III

An additional article was published presenting alternate endings (now non-canon) that depicted each faction gaining control of Orazca.

Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
Rivals of Ixalan Magic Story Alternate Endings Nik Davidson, Kelly Digges, & Kimberly J. Kreines 2018-02-21 Ixalan Tishana, Huatli, Vona de Iedo, Mavren Fein, Elenda, Malcolm Lee, Breeches

Marketing[ | ]

Rivals of Ixalan is sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), two planeswalker decks and the Rivals of Ixalan bundle.[5] The boosters feature artwork from Sun Sentinel, Angrath, the Flame-Chained, Riverwise Augur, Frilled Deathspitter, and Moment of Craving. The set doesn't feature a Masterpiece Series.[4]

As part of the preview season, Wizards of the Coast again distributed trackable game pieces to stores, fans, volunteers, and some well-known community folk. As game pieces travelled from from geochache to geocache, the distances they travelled influenced the release of preview cards.[7] By tracking Dinosaurs, Merfolk, Vampires, and Pirates individually, accompanied by votes on social media, it was decided who controlled the golden city at the end of the Rivals of Ixalan story.[8][9]

Events[ | ]

  • Prerelease Events took place on January 13, 2018.[10]
  • Magic Online Launch: January 15, 2018.

Promotional cards[ | ]

City's Blessing

City's Blessing marker

Tokens, emblems and markers[ | ]

Ixalan features six tokens and markers.[12]

  1. {R} 0/1 Elemental creature with "At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice this creature and return target card named Rekindling Phoenix from your graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste until end of turn." for Rekindling Phoenix
  2. {R} 1/1 Elemental creature, for Tilonalli's Summoner
  3. {G} 1/1 Saproling creature, for Overgrown Armasaur and Tendershoot Dryad
  4. {C} 4/4 Golem artifact creature, for Gold-Forge Garrison
  5. Emblem for Huatli, Radiant Champion
  6. City's Blessing marker

The following tokens printed in Ixalan are also used for cards in Rivals of Ixalan:

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

Transform and double-faced cards are carried over from Ixalan. The front side of some of them is multicolored. The backside is still a legendary land.

Enrage, explore and raid also return and the tribal component was expanded upon.[6][13]

There is only one new named mechanic:[14]

  • Ascend — If you control ten or more permanents, you get the city's blessing for the rest of the game.[6][13]
    • If you have the city's blessing, you gain a significant advantage depending on the spell you played.
    • A special marker may be used to indicate the city's blessing on the battlefield. This is not a token or emblem, merely a representation of a game state.
    • Both permanents and spells can have ascend. If a spell has ascend, you get the city's blessing as part of the spell's resolution if you control ten or more permanents. If a permanent has ascend, you get the city's blessing immediately once you control ten or more permanents: this is a special action that doesn't use the stack and cannot be responded to.

Card types[ | ]

  • Return of the Elder subtype with the Elder Dinosaurs, the first Elders that aren't Dragons.

Cycles[ | ]

Rivals of Ixalan has nine cycles, including two double cycles. Two of these cycles are partial due to uneven color distribution among tribes.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Mythic Creatures Trapjaw Tyrant (Rivals of Ixalan) Timestream Navigator (Rivals of Ixalan) Twilight Prophet (Rivals of Ixalan) Rekindling Phoenix (Rivals of Ixalan) Polyraptor (Rivals of Ixalan)
Five mythic rare creatures.
Forerunners Forerunner of the Legion (vampires) None Forerunner of the Coalition (pirates) Forerunner of the Empire (dinosaurs) Forerunner of the Heralds (merfolk)
Four uncommon creatures, one for each major tribe. Each has an enters the battlefield ability that tutors a creature of the respective type to the top of your library, and a triggered ability whenever a creature of that type enters the battlefield under your control.
Tribal revealers None Silvergill Adept (merfolk; reprinted from Lorwyn) Sadistic Skymarcher (vampires) Daring Buccaneer (pirates) Thunderherd Migration (dinosaurs)
Four uncommon spells that are undercosted but require the caster to reveal a card of a given tribe's creature type from their hand, or to pay some amount of colorless mana as an additional cost.
Elder dinosaurs Zetalpa, Primal Dawn Nezahal, Primal Tide Tetzimoc, Primal Death Etali, Primal Storm Ghalta, Primal Hunger
Five rare elder dinosaurs, one of each color. Zacama, Primal Calamity is thematically related to the cycle.
Tribal Commons Sanguine Glorifier (Vampires) Crashing Tide (Merfolk) Fathom Fleet Boarder (Pirates) Stampeding Horncrest (Dinosaurs) Jade Bearer (Merfolk)
Sun-Crested Pterodon (Dinosaurs) Sea Legs (Pirates) Voracious Vampire (Vampires) Buccaneer's Bravado (Pirates) Knight of the Stampede (Dinosaurs)
Ten commons referencing their two tribes.
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Allied colored draft archetypes Resplendent Griffin (ascend) Deadeye Brawler (ascend) Dire Fleet Neckbreaker (pirates) Raging Regisaur (enrage) Atzocan Seer (ramp)
Five allied colored uncommon cards which each represent a two-colored draft archetype.
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy colored draft archetypes Legion Lieutenant (vampires) Storm Fleet Sprinter (pirates) Jungle Creeper (recursion) Relentless Raptor (aggro) Merfolk Mistbinder (merfolk)
Five enemy colored uncommon cards which each represent a two-colored draft archetype.
Legendary transforming enemy color enchantments Profane Procession // Tomb of the Dusk Rose Storm the Vault // Vault of Catlacan Journey to Eternity // Atzal, Cave of Eternity Path of Mettle // Metzali, Tower of Triumph Hadana's Climb // Winged Temple of Orazca
Five rare legendary enchantments in enemy color pairs that transform into legendary lands whenever a condition is met. Each of these lands tap for one mana of any color and have other powerful abilities.
Enemy color taplands Forsaken Sanctuary Highland Lake Foul Orchard Stone Quarry Woodland Stream
Five uncommon dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped. This cycle was originally printed in Shadows over Innistrad.

Pairs[ | ]

Rivals of Ixalan has seven mirrored pairs.

Mirrored Pairs Description
Legion Lieutenant
Merfolk Mistbinder
Uncommon lords, each of which is 2/2 for two mana of the tribe's colors and gives other creatures of that tribe that you control +1/+1.
Kumena's Awakening
Vona's Hunger
Rare noncreature spells with ascend that each represent a villainous figure in the story gaining momentary control over Orazca.
Moment of Triumph
Moment of Craving
Common instants that give a creature +2/+2 or -2/-2 respectively, and gain you 2 life.
See Red
Curious Obsession
Uncommon Auras that enchant creatures, give a power and toughness boost, and sacrifice themselves if you didn't attack with a creature this turn.
River Darter ({U}) Dinosaur Hunter
Common creatures outside the Dinosaur colors with anti-Dinosaur abilities.
Pride of Conquerors
Golden Demise
Ascend uncommon spells depicting events that never occurred in the story (the Legion of Dusk in Orzaca and Vraska's subsequent Sun-powered massacre of them) that have mirrored effects when Ascended: +2/+2 to your team or -2/-2 to theirs.
Storm Fleet Swashbuckler
Slippery Scoundrel
Uncommon 2/2 Human Pirate creatures with Ascend that gain powerful keywords.

Reprinted cards[ | ]

As a first, this small set features four common reprints that were also printed in the large set. This was done because R&D had realized that they didn't want to make "second best" versions of those cards.[15][16] They all have the same art as in the first set.

Other reprints[ | ]

Functional reprints[ | ]

Card comparisons[ | ]

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Rivals of Ixalan features two planeswalker decks:

deck name
Colors Included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Vraska W B Vraska, Scheming Gorgon
Angrath B R Angrath, Minotaur Pirate

Notable cards[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

A product survey preceding the announcement of the name "Rivals of Ixalan" referred to the set as Conquest of Power.[21]

References[ | ]

  1. Product information
  2. Wizards of the Coast (June 14, 2017). "25th Anniversary Announcement Day". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b Wizards of the Coast (January 5, 2018). "Rivals of Ixalan Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b Mark Rosewater (2017 June 12). "Metamorphosis 2.0". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b c Blake Rasmussen (December 11, 2017). "Rivals of Ixalan Promos, Packaging, and More!". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b c Mark Rosewater (January 1, 2018). "The Arrival of Rivals". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Blake Rasmussen (November 27, 2017). "Exploring Ixalan by Exploring Our World — Again". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Wizards of the Coast (February 7, 2018). "Vote for Control of the Golden City!". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. R&D Narrative Team (February 21, 2018). "Rivals of Ixalan Magic Story: Alternate Endings". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Gavin Verhey (January 8, 2018). "Rivals of Ixalan" Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Blake Rasmussen (October 30, 2017). "Ixalan Store Championship Goodies!". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Blake Rasmussen (January 4, 2018). "The Tokens of Rivals of Ixalan". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b Ben Hayes (January 2, 2018). "Designing Rivals of Ixalan". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Matt Tabak (January 1, 2018). "Rivals of Ixalan Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Mark Rosewater (January 05, 2018). "Why are there so many commons from IXL reprinted in RIX?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. Mark Rosewater (January 29, 2018). "Odds & Ends: Rivals of Ixalan". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Chris Gleeson (February 13, 2018). "Rivals of Ixalan Art Descriptions". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Melissa DeTora (January 19, 2018). "Designing Rivals of Ixalan Planeswalkers". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. a b Mark Rosewater (January 8, 2018). "A Rivals Like No Other". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Mark Rosewater (January 15, 2018). "A Rivals Like No Other, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Blake Rasmussen (December 9, 2016). "The December 9, 2016 Update". Wizards of the Coast.