Enjoying The Lost Caverns of Ixalan card reveals in the Card Image Gallery? There's more to the story than just the latest cards: the story itself! Check out the complete The Lost Caverns of Ixalan story, available now. The adventure to the Core awaits.
When you sit down to play The Lost Caverns of Ixalan with a Prerelease event at your local game store, you're going to find a few cards that highlight the story of Quintorius, Saheeli, Huatli, and more. These story spotlight cards highlight the biggest beats and epic moments across the story of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan—and we have them all to show you today.
If you haven't read the story yet, you'll want to read it for all the details (and excitement), but we've recapped things for you to give you just enough context to understand why these are moments to be remembered.
Quintorius Kand, a distinguished loxodon archaeologist from Arcavios and newly sparked Planeswalker, has come to the sultry jungles of Ixalan to meet with the Planeswalker Saheeli on an academic quest: to help with research, assist with the mysterious Orazca puzzle-door, and advance his own theories on the Multiverse's history. He's off to a cracking start when the local dinosaur fauna mark him as an exotic meal and attack. Wayta, a friend of Warrior-Poet Huatli, calls the dinosaurs to heel, saving Quint from becoming Planeswalker pâté.
Later, Huatli, Saheeli, Wayta, and Quint face the huge, mysterious Orazca puzzle-door. Huatli introduces Inti, seneschal of the sun, a hero of the Phyrexian war and her beloved cousin. Inti advises that the emperor is impatient to have the door opened, suggesting perhaps other, less academically palatable methods might be employed to open the door. Quint is aghast.
"The glyphs form a poem," Huatli reveals, "and the parts I've translated suggest we'll find the birthplace of humanity and home of the gods somewhere beyond."
Poetry proves to be the key to opening the door. The exploration party passes through the doorway into ancient areas beneath Ixalan's surface.
Meanwhile, others with decidedly less-cheery goals are also delving into lost areas of Ixalan. Vito, a vampire zealot, has found a temple to Aclazotz, an ancient god and the creator of the first vampires he wants to reawaken. Vito's an absolute treat of a travel companion, moody, overbearing, and violent. Amalia, a young and gifted vampire cartomancer who is also on the mission, has been having strange visions and hearing a voice calling her to "come to me," and that along with Vito's behavior has her justifiably unnerved.
The group descends into the temple and encounters their own mysterious door, though perhaps not as nifty as the Orazca puzzle-door. Vito has his method for opening doors, and it doesn't involve poetry. He orders Clavileño, the commander of the soldiers on this expedition, to bring one of the porters and put him on an obsidian slab. We all know what's coming, because, you know, this guy.
Vito slits the porter's throat (career advice: "vampire's porter" is not a job title with a lot of upward mobility), there's blood, the altar glows, and the door opens with a funky exhalation of stagnant air.
Amalia is appalled, but her companion Bartolomé remains silent and stone-faced, so she holds her tongue. They're one step closer to awakening an ancient god.
But is that voice in her head getting louder …?
Rejoining our less fanatical team of intrepid explorers, they've discovered a city underground. Built of stone blocks that are covered in luminescent fungus, the sight excites Quint. There is a downside, though: all the petrified skeletons laying around, some covered in fungus. Quint and Wayta wander, exploring the city, until they discover what appears to be a beaded poncho of some sort. Quint performs some archaeomancy on it, and it begins to float and glow. The turquoise glow forms an old man within the strange garment.
Wayta says the ghostly figure, called an Echo, looks like her abuelo. This intrigues the Echo, who can't recall his name but says he was once called that. Abuelo is confused at first but quickly realizes he has a mission. "I must warn Oteclan of the mycoid infestation," Abuelo says. "It's too late. The door must be closed!"
Abuelo then dashes off.
What's a passionate archaeologist on his first big case to do? Chase the ghost, of course! So, Quint and Wayta plunge deeper into the city.
Ok, here's the deal: There's no story spotlight card that features a moment from "Episode 3" of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan story. So, what happened? You'll need to read the story for the details—we're not going to spoil everything here.
The two teams, the Sun Empire contingent and the Legion of Dusk expedition, have made their independent ways deep underground, each having encountered some of the less-than-hospitable denizens within the caverns. Amalia also made a new friend in the process, a young man whom we've met recently: Eldraine native Kellan.
Quint, Huatli, Wayta, Inti, Caparocti, and the team have now come face to face with Vito, Amalia, Clavileño, Bartolomé, and the vampire expedition. They are all being "hosted" by the merfolk, known as the River Heralds, and they now stand before Matzalantli, the great door. This has been the ultimate goal. Opening the door will be a challenge.
Matzalantli, the Great Door
Quint calls the Echo Abuelo from the artifact for help, who explains how to open the golden door. Unlike previous doors, opening this one brings a rush of cool, fresh air. Beyond it, they discover what appears to be a circle of stones, like an enormous well. Within it, though, they discover a world inside Ixalan and, at its center, a strange star surrounded by glittering metallic shards.
The group is greeted by the bat-riding residents, the Oltec, led by Anim Pakal. Abuelo warns her of the growing power of the Mycotyrant, a threat to the Core.
This annoys Anim Pakal, and she's like, great, you opened the door so they can get in. Way to go. Abuelo assures her that this threat was coming no matter what. The visitors from outside the Core, including the River Heralds, all chime in with the same sentiment: Yeah, pretty much everyone from above has been exploring and mining, so this was inevitable. Better we came through the front door now, so at least you can prepare, right?
Introductions ensue, first the Sun Empire, then the River Heralds. Finally, it comes to the Legion of Dusk vampires' turn, and there's a moment of awkwardness as Amalia's cautious companion Bartolomé introduces them as simply "humble explorers from the Queen's Bay Company."
Riiiight. Then, someone from the rear ranks of Sun Empire pipes up with, "They're vampires!"
Well, that turns the tone of this meet-and-greet from amicable to antagonistic. "Worshippers of the Great Betrayer are not welcome here," Anim Pakal announces, and it's off to Oltec jail for the Legion of Dusk.
A simple prison isn't about to keep Vito from his glorious mission to awaken his god Aclazotz, particularly when he's so close to success. Later, a strange mist arrives at the prison, which Vito declares is the power of Aclazotz. Amalia, with Bartolomé and Kellan, hear crashing outside their own cell, and then its door is torn off. Guess who?
Vito steps in, flanked by his right-hand vamp, Clavileño. "Aclazotz demands a sacrifice," Vito says, which is apparently Vito's solution for everything. Everyone looks around, and all eyes settle on Kellan, looking very human and eminently sacrificial.
Bartolomé's not having it. He leaps to attack, while Amalia uses her cartomancy powers to literally erase the wall of their cell so she and Kellan can escape—but not before Vito snaps the neck of Bartolomé. Guess he got his sacrifice.
Seriously, this guy.
Vito and his followers head into the mist and are met by servants from Aclazotz, sent to lead them to their god, who's been imprisoned and awaiting this salvation.
Wait, what? Vito's a little taken aback by this. Imprisoned? This isn't all part of a grand design by his god who's merely biding his time? His god is caged? Hmm. But then … that means Vito is truly special—a savior! And like a thirsty sponge, Vito's ego sops up any doubts he momentarily had.
Through the swamps the servants lead Vito and the vampires, until they reach a cave. Down inside they go until they reach a door, for which a servant produces a pink crystal that Vito places inside an appropriate cavity. The cavity clamps down on his arm and extracts a blood sacrifice—comeuppance at last for scarificator Vito? Alas, no, Vito survives, drained but now flush with even more zeal as the door opens.
Finally, Vito meets his god, a starved but mighty brown bat shackled by golden chains inlaid with pink crystals. As reward, the bat god grants his "blessing" upon Vito by sinking his fangs into him, and Vito is transformed into a big bat-like vampire creature: big fangs, big body, vicious claws, beady eyes. Worst of all, it shreds his pristine couture. Oh well, he also got big wings out of the deal and can fly now. The high cost of air travel, amiright?
Canonized in Blood
Aclazotz is freed and proceeds to bless all the vampires present, creating a hideous winged honor guard. The god then leads them up through a great hole in the ceiling, through a tunnel, and then out into the sky. There, the bat god proclaims himself returned to Chimil, the star within Ixalan, and as in the ancient days, he has come with a to-do list: consume the Oltec, close the veil between death and life again, end the Fifth Age, and have his children usher in the Sixth Age.
His mighty wings spread wide, Aclazotz begins to slowly close them. The shards around Chimil shift, align, and lock together, reforming the shell to encase the star and plunge the Core into darkness.
After the prison break, Amalia and Kellan connected with the Sun Empire and River Heralds after being recaptured by the Oltec. The two escapees explain that they weren't escaping but coming to warn them of Vito and his plan for liberating Aclazotz. The Oltec have dealt with this god in ancient times, and after a brief explainer punctuated with "unending blood thirst," everyone gets onboard with averting that unpleasantness.
The battle begins as heroes take to the skies on the backs of bats to challenge the transformed vampires seeking to imprison the star. Huatli's cousin Inti makes his way to challenge Vito among the glittering pink crystals streaming from the star. Vito welcomes the challenge, finding great meaning in snuffing out the life of the seneschal of the sun just as his god does the same to the star, Chimil.
Inti fights bravely and smartly against Vito, but Vito has one advantage: his wings are attached. Vito impales the head of Inti's bat, and it plummets with Inti still tethered to the saddle. As Inti fights to free himself, he is left vulnerable, and Vito's lieutenant, Clavileño swoops in and snaps Inti's neck, dropping him. Huatli witnesses Inti's death and screams in horror.
This attracts Vito's attention. Ooh, she'd make a great sacrifice to Aclazotz.
There is one sweet moment of story that's featured on a story spotlight card that you won't find in the story online—and it's a doozy.
Inti's death hits hard for Caparocti, too. Driven by heartbreak and revenge for his fellow officer of the Sun Empire, Caparocti descends upon Inti's killer, Clavileño. The two battle from the sky to the ground. Despite his sorrow, Caparocti's eyes are clear and his aim true, and he impales Clavileño, piercing the vampire's tainted heart.
At least Clavileño got what he deserved.
On the ground, Huatli holds the crumpled body of her cousin, Inti. She had failed to protect him. How would she break this news to her family? She doesn't have long to consider the loss, because Vito flies in to gloat about Aclazotz, victory being at hand, and just waxing on and on about blood and power. It was really ticking off Huatli.
The two circled and struck at one another, neither landing a solid blow. Huatli reached out with her magic, kneeling and touching the ground. At first, Vito took this as surrender, because his ego is that big. Flying above her and out of her reach, he stabbed at her until she caught his lance with her shield and disarmed him.
Then the dinosaurs pounced, led by her pet Pantlaza. Huatli took up the lance wrested from Vito and stabbed him through the heart, pinning him to the ground. As the dying vampire lamented his god's abandonment of him, Huatli watched the corrupt life leave his eyes.
Huatli's Final Strike
For now, there was a victory. Inti had been avenged. But Aclazotz is free and war threatens Ixalan once more.
While there isn't a specific story spotlight card from the The Lost Caverns of Ixalan side story, anyone who's followed the journey of Saheeli and Huatli will want to know what it means for each of them to lose their Planeswalker spark.
Thanks to the Omenpaths, they can continue to travel the Multiverse—together.