The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Set Review - White

Michael Celani • November 6, 2023

Get Lost | Eli Minaya

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands | Allied & Shards | Enemy & Wedges | cEDH | Reprints | Minotaur | Budget

Where One Conquistador Closes, Another Opens

As The Immortal Sun sets on... which product was the last one? Doctor Who? Ah, screw it. I'm Michael Celani, and I've got great news for all you archaeologists out there: I've found The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, so the rest of you can go home. Turns out they were in my coat pocket the whole time. Past the piles and piles of useless jewels and shiny metal, I've unearthed a wide array of white cards and, even worse, my opinions about them. Let's dig in, shall we?


Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation

Oh boy, here we go. People who've read my previous set reviews already know how much Magic's little multiplication problem gets to me. Yup, I'm talking about doubling commanders, those lazy, uninspired designs whose decks practically build and pilot themselves. We're up to at least thirty of these things now, and I wish I lived in the world where all of them were designs that are actually interesting instead. To tell you the truth, at this point I'd be happy if Wizards stopped printing any sort of doubler altogether, and I suppose that with The Lost Caverns of Ixalan I got my wish... albeit in a cursed monkey's paw type of way, because the multiplication tables have turned and we've started tripling things instead. Good grief.

Putting aside the irony that multiplication doesn't make for exciting products anymore, I struggle to see what Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation has to offer in the command zone over the other two versions of this effect, namely Adrix and Mondrak. Sure, you're trading in a two-times multiplier for a three-times multiplier, but you give up the ability to duplicate noncreature tokens, which is a crucial blow when you'd otherwise be collecting twice the rent from your Smothering Tithe or setting up a ridiculous value factory with Academy Manufactor. Taq's built-in protection isn't necessarily better than its competition, either; historically, the biggest threat to go-wide token decks are board wipes, and if your whole army gets crushed, you're not going to have the three creatures you need to flip him back from his land form immediately.

Mondrak, on the other hand, dodges most of the more common sweepers entirely by becoming indestructible at a moment's notice, while Adrix is in Counterspell colors, and, even disregarding that, still has more of a baseline resilience to targeted removal. With all this chalking up to effectively a wash, perhaps Taq's most damning trait is that he costs two mana more than the other two commanders, and in these decks you really want to have your guaranteed token-doubler out early lest you be forced to cast your spells for the value God intended.

No, Taq's a little too fragile and a little too slow to occupy the command zone. However, it's still worth a Timmy slot in the ninety-nine, where it's much easier to cheat out. You can use the standard discard-and-Reanimate method to do it, or, if you're feeling cheeky, a Sneak Attack activation is better than it looks since its sacrifice clause falls flat in the face of Taq's death transformation. Cadric, Soul Kindler in particular loves to see Taq, as they represent eighteen points of hasty, vigilant damage that also happens to copy your subsequent legendary creatures that turn eighty-one times. You'll need a lot of mana to pull it off, but there's a chance you can kill your opponents with a legion of gigantic Yoshimarus, and I can respect that.


Abuelo's Awakening

White receives another reanimation spell in Abuelo's Awakening, the card that confirms that waking up Grandpa and digging an artifact out of the grave are the same thing. Based on the precedent set by other effects, like Refurbish or Argivian Restoration, this seems right on rate. The interesting part of Abuelo's Awakening is that it brings your targeted permanent back as a creature, which may or may not be a downside depending on the deck you're playing. Some lists care about creatures specifically, like Preston, the Vanisher, who'll actually get two copies out of whatever you're reanimating thanks to this, or Zur, Eternal Schemer, who blesses any enchantments you bring back as creatures with a bevy of powerful combat keywords. Other lists, like Shorikai, Genesis Engine, would really prefer that the things you're spending a card on reviving remain difficult to target by having as few types as possible. Either way, I think it's safe to say that no deck wants to actually put mana into the portion of the cost, because if you're thinking that spending two to buff a 1/1 into a 3/3 makes financial sense, I've got some Bitcoin to sell you.

Bronzebeak Foragers

Bronzebeak Foragers merges a Grasp of Fate with any given Eldrazi Processor, which is a fascinating combination that helps work around the inherent weaknesses of white's permanent-based removal. If one of Bronzebeak Foragers' previously exiled cards is no longer in exile by the time it bites the dust, that card won't return to the battlefield under its owner's control. As someone who's been down this rabbit hole before, it's a legitimately powerful removal effect, but I'm disappointed you have to pay full price to dump your victim's body into a landfill. If it was the bottom of its owner's library, then maybe it'd be worth the premium, but I'm never gonna want to pay seven to put Sheoldred, Whispering One into the zone where its reanimator deck plays at recess. I guess the incidental lifegain is helpful, but it doesn't tip the scales for me; I'm still aboard the Excise the Imperfect train if I want something gone. Oh, and if you thought you were clever by exiling everyone's commander with this only to punt them away, the act of switching zones from exile to the graveyard still gives your opponent a window to move their commander back to the command zone, so it's not as permanent a solution as you might think.

Charismatic Conqueror

If your opponent is playing mana rocks as their primary form of ramp, Charismatic Conqueror will either slow them down considerably or leave you with an army of Conquistadorks ready to manifest their destiny via the Moonshaker Cavalry you spent a kidney on. To get the most out of this literally-William-Shakespeare-in-armor, you'll have to play him in a pod where there's an aggressive deck, preferably yours. Make your enemies sweat the prospect of leaving themselves open, and once your ranks grow large enough, you'll hit that glorious nobody's-paying-for-Rhystic-Study-tier tragedy of the commons where your opponents figure that you might as well get another creature token because you already have so many. All this for two mana is well worth it, especially if your deck cares about Vampires. Just don't slot it into your Hylda of the Icy Crown deck; it doesn't count as you tapping the creature, unfortunately.

Elenda's Hierophant

This might seem blasphemous, but Elenda's Hierophant is a better card than the actual Elenda. In the right deck, you gain life at an incredibly rapid cadence, and she's got built-in evasion to make sure she's connecting with at least one player in combat. Discounting the mana value down from four to three also makes the Hierophant eligible for white's more efficient reanimation and cheating effects, such as Sun Titan or Elspeth Resplendent. Sure, she might not be as heavily aristocrat-focused as her leader on the face of it, but most of the important payoffs you'd find in that strategy, like Bastion of Remembrance or Zulaport Cutthroat, gain you life for creatures dying anyway, so it's not like you're missing out on the counters there. She's even blessed with a more permissive color identity, so you can play her in the Selesnya lifegain decks like Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn or Trelasarra, Moon Dancer. The only thing going against Elenda's Hierophant is that she's not legendary and can't helm her own deck, but aside from that there's very little here I can consider a flaw.

Fabrication Foundry

Fabrication Foundry exiles some of the artifacts you have to revive some of the artifacts you lost, and that appears outstandingly fair for two mana... until you realize that token copies of permanents have the same mana value as the real thing, and that artifacts are among the most trivial of types to clone. You've got Prototype Portal, Mirrorworks, Feldon of the Third Path, Echo Storm, Replication Specialist, Mechanized Production, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer, Romana II, Mishra's Self-Replicator, practically anything with the word Saheeli on it -- and in case you weren't on board, this also acts as a mana rock for artifacts and artifact abilities, meaning you can replace the Mind Stone slot of your Alibou, Ancient Witness deck and be no worse for wear.

From the Rubble

Thank Wizards that From the Rubble triggers at the end step, because if I had to wait until my upkeep for an entire turn cycle while blatantly telegraphing what I'd like to retrieve from my graveyard, I'd have to get out the shredder. Obviously this works best in a deck that focuses on one or two creature types, but take a look at some of your lists before writing this off entirely: you'd be surprised how Human- or Elf-focused some of your decks might be without even trying. It's also incredibly strong if you happen to have a method to eat the finality counter, as at that point you'll be able to bring back the same card again and again. Imagine using this and the you-seriously-should-have-a-copy-of-this-by-now Nesting Grounds to get back Kokusho, the Evening Star every turn while simultaneously shutting off your opponents' death triggers.

Get Lost

Two-mana white removal is the land of compromises. You can have an instant-speed exile that hits creatures and planeswalkers, but as a drawback, it guarantees that your opponent is left with a powerful creature. If you drop the ability to hit planeswalkers, you get a correspondingly less severe downside, including a chance to leave just a 0/1 Goat as a consolation prize. Downgrade it to destroy instead of exile, and they'll investigate instead of getting a body, or downgrade that to sorcery from instant, and you gain the flexibility of sniping a series of tokens if need be. Of course, there's also a two-mana spell that exiles artifacts, creatures, and enchantments; the only thing you have to do for that privilege is saw your own arm off with a shotgun. I'm bringing these other cards up because Get Lost is another entry into this series.

Destroying instead of exiling lets it have a less impactful downside, and it also gains the ability to hit enchantments, meaning it's probably taking Fateful Absence's spot in the tier list. You can argue whether or not investigating is as strong as letting your opponent explore twice, but they're comparable enough for me that I'm comfortable not to dwell on it for too long. Ultimately, none of this ends up mattering, because few people actually run planeswalkers in Commander, and we've all still got those same old copies of Swords to Plowshares in our decks, meaning this slot's dead in the water until Wizards is brave enough to print a version of Divine Gambit that isn't trash.

Illustrious Wanderglyph

Illustrious Wanderglyph is just Tendershoot Dryad, but they switched the order of the two static abilities to trick me and now you'll never unsee it. Since it's so directly comparable and we all already have access to real-life data on the Dryad, I can pretty safely say that Illustrious Wanderglyph will be great in decks that care about artifact creatures and will appear nowhere else. I get paid for this level of analysis.

Kutzil's Flanker

Kutzil's Flanker is deeply disappointing because I know that someone, somewhere in R&D desperately wanted that second choice to read draw a card but couldn't justify it because then it would be too busted in all the blink decks we have. Speaking of blink decks, Kutzil's Flanker seems like a dream come true for those aggravating Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward lists that flicker their whole board every turn, since it'll come in as an ever-increasing beater that'll eventually Rogue's Passage its way into a cheeky 30-damage hit. Everywhere else, Kutzil's Flanker is in an awkward position as a punisher that needs a board wipe to occur to be statted properly, and if I had three mana open when someone cast their Farewell, I think I'd rather be holding Guardian of Faith or Clever Concealment. I suppose it can exile graveyards, but that effect isn't worth three mana on its own, so don't bother running this unless you're deeply abusing its first ability.

March of the Canonized

Well, March of the Canonized is another Secure the Wastes-type token-maker, with the added benefit of vomiting out 4/3s every turn if your devotion to black and white is high enough. I don't dislike any part of this card, and it seems like it would slot into Thalisse, Reverent Medium pretty well; it just doesn't strike me as particularly noteworthy, especially when there have been comparable things, like Court of Grace, in the past.

Redemption Choir

Redemption Choir is Sun Titan with extra steps. Coven means you need at least three creatures on the board before it starts doing busted things, and the fact that it has half the power and toughness of the aforementioned Titan means it's probably not attacking safely by the time you can actually capitalize on it. I feel like I'd rather just spend the two extra mana for the real deal instead of meticulously shaping the board for the Choir's arrival.

Sanguine Evangelist

A little too low-impact for us Commander players. Probably good in multiples in Standard, though.

Thousand Moons Smithy

The baseline for Thousand Moons Smithy is a turbo-Karnstruct, as the Gnome Soldier it creates adds creatures you control into the mix as well as artifacts. It's a little sad that in the wake of my new boyfriend Sovereign Okinec Ahau, Wizards decided to make their power and toughness set by a characteristic-defining ability instead of just being a 0/0 that gets +1/+1 for each relevant permanent you control. Guess I can't have everything. If you manage to tap five artifacts or creatures on your next precombat main phase, easy if you're in the sort of Servo or Construct deck this deck craves, you get a legendary artifact land that pumps out Gnome Soldiers in droves. I really want to see this card in decks that can take advantage of the consistently high power these tokens will have, like a Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar // Inspiring Leader pair, or good ol' Brion Stoutarm.

Unstable Glyphbridge

Unstable Glyphbridge as a one-sided board wipe makes a ton of sense if your commander is two power or less since you'll always be able to preserve your gameplan while leaving your opponents with the 1/1 you so graciously offered them through your Alliance of Arms. You can then craft it with another artifact you have on the battlefield or in your graveyard to create an Angelic Arbiter that only protects you, making it much less susceptible to being removed and therefore much more useful at actually aiding you over time. This sort of pillow-fort effect isn't for every list out there, but if you need a lot of setup to make your gameplan work, combining a board wipe and a can't-attack-type effect into one card is potent.

Warden of the Inner Sky

Warden of the Inner Sky is a rare? There are one-cost creatures in Standard right now that have flying and vigilance naturally, including one in this very set. To be in even remotely the same tier as Thousand Moons Smithy, Warden of the Inner Sky's activated ability has to be incredible, and reading it again makes me wonder if the absinthe I've been drinking has been spiked with more absinthe. Tapping down three of my artifacts or creatures is not something I want to do for a single +1/+1 counter and a scry. I could forgive it if I could hold up my creatures for blocks until just before my turn, but for some baffling reason I can only activate the ability at sorcery speed. I'm genuinely confused.

Uncommons & Commons

Clay-Fired Bricks

I've struggled to find reasons to play standard anthems at three mana. Playing one at nine, even one that comes with two Gnomes and a land, feels like a scam even those guys trimming my Rune armor at the Grand Exchange wouldn't stoop to. It doesn't even let you fix your mana, it gets you a basic Plains!

Dauntless Dismantler

That double cost is giving me Gorilla Shaman vibes, but Dauntless Dismantler's activated ability gets rid of every artifact on the field that costs that much. Usually, effects like this that hit a specific mana value are often too pricey to be worth it, since you'll often to want to pay to blow up a specific permanent, and at that point you'd rather run a Disenchant. However, the fact that Dauntless Dismantler forces all your opponents' artifacts to enter tapped gives him utility as the ultimate Treasure obliterator, as you can pay just a single white to counter a Dockside Extortionist. That's worth a slot at two mana, and to clinch it, he has enough toughness that he'll stop opportunistic attacks coming your way in the early game.

Dusk Rose Reliquary

Banishing Light for the aristocrats decks, ladies and gentlemen. A combination of cheap cost, reasonable ward protection, and no restrictions on the artifact or creature it targets leaves Dusk Rose Reliquary in a great spot for those low-to-the-ground decks, like Lurrus of the Dream-Den or Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle.

Helping Hand

Finally. Wizards has been teasing a white version of Unearth for some time now, and we finally got there. Now all we need is the cycling and for the creature to enter untapped and we'll reach where black was twenty-four years ago.


It's time: stop playing Pacifism.

We've got some interesting cards this time around, but unfortunately all of them are centered in the rare slot, and of those cards most of them are from the Commander product itself. If you're looking to upgrade, look into singles from the preconstructed decks and leave the main set out of it. But that's just my opinion; what are you looking forward to in the set? Make sure you let me and the rest of our reviewers know down below, and remember not to throw off the Emperor's groove. See you next time!

Newly appointed member of the FDIC and insured up to $150,000 per account, Michael Celani is the member of your playgroup that makes you go "oh no, it's that guy again." He's made a Twitter account @GamesfreakSA as well as other mistakes, and his decks have been featured on places like MTGMuddstah. You can join his Discord at and vote on which decks you want to see next. In addition to writing, he has a job, other hobbies, and friends.