Rivals of Ixalan Early Picks

Posted in How to Play Limited on January 16, 2018

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

Rivals of Ixalan has arrived, and it's time to get started on Draft! Figuring out where to start in a new format can be tricky, so today I'm going to look at the cards that will kick off most of your drafts. I've divided the set into groups of cards (with cards you are unlikely to pick early not making the cut), and within each group there's a rough ordering, though don't worry too much about that. The format is just beginning, and I expect order within groups to shift a lot.

Best Cards in the Set

First, let's look at the best of the best, the windmill slams, the cards you hope to open (which I likely never will).

These are the cream of the crop, and I give monocolor (or colorless) cards a nod over gold cards, though power level also informs the ordering.

Great Rares and Uncommons

Next up we have great first picks, mostly at high rarity, though the best uncommons sneak in.

Solid Rares/Uncommons and Best Commons

Next come the solid commons and uncommons, as well as some of the costly but powerful rares. These are cards you are happy taking early, even if they aren't the highest-tier rares. The best commons start appearing as well.

Good Commons and Situational Rares/Uncommons

Lastly, we have the solid commons and more niche (but still good) rares and uncommons. These are cards you'd rather not be first-picking, but certainly will have to some of the time.

(I had to throw Zacama on the list for the sake of sweetness, though I can't confirm that casting a nine-drop is a realistic plan.)

Once you drop below this list, you are starting to get very unhappy about your early picks, but that shouldn't happen very often at all.

How you start your draft is important, and these lists will give you a place to begin. Many of these cards point you in a specific direction (draft Merfolk, draft Pirates, draft ascend/enrage enablers, draft mana acceleration, etc.), but even the ones that are more open-ended at least give you a push toward their color. It's good to start with colorless or monocolor cards if possible, though the gold cards in the set are strong enough that many crack the top lists.

Good luck navigating treacherous waters, and may all your packs contain cards from the first tier!

LSV

Latest How to Play Limited Articles

HOW TO PLAY LIMITED

Rivals of Ixalan First Pass for Limited by, Marshall Sutcliffe

Rivals of Ixalan is the follow-up to regular Ixalan, which we've had in our hands for a few months now. After the dust fully settled on the initial clamor for information about the format...

Learn More

HOW TO PLAY LIMITED

What Is Booster Draft and How Is It Done? by, Jorgen Schets

Ixalan, Unstable, Iconic Masters. What do they all have in common? That's right, they're all excellent Draft products. Magic's end of the year is full of great Draft opportunities! What...

Learn More

Articles

Articles

How to Play Limited Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page or by clicking Yes, you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. (Learn more about cookies)

No, I want to find out more