The 17 Best Rivals of Ixalan Cards for Sealed Format in MtG

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Rivals of Ixalan is the latest set of cards in Magic: The Gathering, which is the second set in the Ixalan block. It features 196 new cards and will be released digitally on January 16 and in paper on January 19.

You can also take part in the pre-release event that starts on January 13 and try out all the new cards in Sealed format before everybody else. As usual for this format, removal and cheap, effective minions are your most valuable assets.

If you want to know which Commons and Uncommons (and a few Rares) will make this expansion especially exciting, then keep on reading our guide for the best Rivals of Ixalan cards in MtG.

Baffling End

If you played enough Magic in 2017, you must have seen similar cards many times, such as Cast Out or Ixalan's Binding. But this card is much better than any of those versions because it doesn't return the opponent's card to the battlefield and only summons a tiny dino.

This will not make your opponent spend extra resources for removing Baffling End. Also, it costs only two mana, which is definitely a plus.


Here is your typical removal at instant speed that deals 4 damage for only 3 mana. It's a great bargain, as we've seen much more expensive versions of this card in the past.

Cards like this are simple and effective -- just what you want in the Limited match-up. So make sure to utilize this card in your decks as often as you can.


Dire Fleet Neckbreaker

Black-red pirates in Limited have just become a really powerful archetype. Neckbreaker gives all your pirates +2 attacking power, which is impressive to say the least.

Of course, first you need to have at least 1-2 pirates on the battlefield to be able to contest your opponent's threats, but if you do, then watch out for some truly unexpected results in your favor.

Etali, Primal Storm

You won't get to see this card too often in Sealed due to it being a Rare creature, but if you do, then don't think twice before drafting it, unless the red color doesn't fit your deck at all.

If you get lucky with this card on the first hit, you can put another big creature onto the battlefield without paying its mana cost. This will give you a huge boost and will most likely decide the outcome of the match-up in your victory.



Another card, another removal. It's not very cheap and only at sorcery speed, but hey, it destroys any creature. It would be better if this card had exile effect instead of destroy, but that would probably turn this card into a Rare right away.

But being just a mere common makes it an auto-include in any of your black decks.

Legion Lieutenant

Tribal lords have always been some of the best cards in the game from its very inception. It's nice to see such cheap vampire lords coming to Rivals of Ixalan. It costs only two mana and buffs all your other vampires.

At first glance, you would think that there must be some kind of drawback, but there really is none. It's just a great card, and you should draft it every time.


Luminous Bonds

Here is another example of an aura enchantment that has been printed in many similar forms but under different names. There isn't much to say about Luminous Bonds except that it's a simple but effective brick.

Most likely you'd rather draft an actual removal, but when there is no other option, this will do just fine.

Merfolk Mistbinder

This Merfolk lord is very similar to Legion Lieutenant, the vampire lord from before. It has exactly the same stats and effects apart from the colors it represents, which are more suitable for Merfolk tribe.

Merfolks have always been quite powerful when working in unison on the battlefield, and this time their power will be increased even further.


Moment of Craving

This type of removal is great in the early game, when your opponent puts out smaller creatures. You don't really want to see it in the later stages of the game, but it could serve you well during effective trades.

Life gain is not too important here; it's the downgrading effect that really matters. So it could actually be a powerful tool in the hands of a knowledgeable player.

Profane Procession

Flip cards were heavily used in the previous Ixalan meta, and some of those cards showed great results, such as Search for Azcanta. Now, Wizards gives us Profane Procession, which exiles creatures and then transforms into a land that allows you to play those exiled creatures.

It's a really neat effect, although a bit too expensive, requiring 5 mana. But if you have enough lands and time, then it will do wonders for you.

Raging Regisaur

The first Ixalan set included some really strong dinos, but it looks like Rivals don't hold back too much either. This Regisaur has 4/4 stats, but it actually deals 5 points of damage, which basically makes it a 5/4 for 4 mana.

It's not groundbreaking, but the fact that you can distribute that last point of damage is actually very important.

Ravenous Chupacabra

Having a removal is great. Having a removal and a creature in one card is even better. This card is nothing short of amazing because it sets you up on the battlefield with your own creature and destroys an opponent's threat -- and all this will cost you only 4 mana.

Chupacabra alone makes black color extremely draftable in this meta. And if you get to draft more than one copy, then you're set for a 5-0 winstreak.

Reaver Ambush

Finally, a cheap removal that exiles creatures. The drawback is that you can only exile creatures with power 3 or less, which is perfectly fine. As you can see, this is another black card, yet another addition to the roster of draft-able black cards in the current Limited format.

Black-red or black-white archetypes will be dominant in this meta without a doubt, so keep an eye out on these color combinations.

Storm Fleet Sprinter

Sprinter is definitely one of the most exciting cards in Rivals of Ixalan. It has haste and can't be blocked, which is every aggro player's wet dream. Of course, to be able to play this card effectively, you will have to draft blue-red spells, which are rarely aggressive, so quite an interesting choice of colors here.

In any case, it's a card to look out for and to also be prepared for. Remember that hard removal is the only thing that will be able to deal with it.

Swift Warden

Flash effect always played a huge role in Limited. In addition to Flash, this Merfolk also gives another one of your creatures Hexproof, which protects them from any type of targeted removal.

Any Merfolk player would want to have Swift Warden in their deck -- it's just that powerful, and quite cheap, too.

Tetzimoc, Primal Death

Tetzimoc is such a tricky yet skillful card. You need to have it in your hand before activating its ability, but if you do, and you can play it in the next few turns, your opponent will have no chance of surviving.

Sure, it's Rare and you won't see it too often, but get this whenever it's available and you plan on drafting a black deck.

Thrashing Brontodon

First of all, Brontodon is 3/4 for three mana, which is a great deal on its own. On top of that, it has the ability to destroy opponents' artifacts and enchantments, which can actually be helpful in a format where there aren't that many non-creature types of removals.

So pick it up for your green deck, and you can be sure that it will play its role in certain match-ups.


If you have any other suggestions for the best Rivals of Ixalan cards in Sealed format, then be sure to leave your opinion in the comments below.

Published Jan. 10th 2018


Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin.


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