The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has a ton of incredibly interesting cards for players to explore. Many of these do fantastically interesting and powerful things. This is great for formats like Standard and Commander, but maybe not as much so for Limited.
Egregious Limited bombs can ruin formats, warping games where they appear to be all about them. According to 17Lands.com, Sunfall from March of the Machine only had a 67% win rate, and it was considered the Limited bomb to end all Limited bombs. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite had an even higher win rate when considering games in hand, sporting a 67.5% one.
What if I told you that The Lost Caverns of Ixalan’s bomb win rates are even higher? At least, that’s where they sit very early on in the format. Multiple 70% win rate cards plague the game-in-hand metrics on 17Lands. That’s what we will be using to assess these cards, as discussed in their article regarding data interpretation.
Do note, however, that we are not trained data analysts. Only looking at one point of data is bound to mean some glaring biases will be present. It is still also really early in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan’s limited format, meaning things are still subject to change. While focusing on one point of data has its limitations, it can, at least, suggest some cards that you should never consider passing in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.
Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal
Aclazotz is both an incredibly powerful creature and something that is very difficult to truly get rid of. Five mana for a creature that can win the game on its own, provide card advantage, and punish opponents for making convenient discards is just a nightmare. Add in that destruction effects don’t really get rid of the creature, and it’s no surprise that this card currently has a 70.6% win rate when in hand. You can’t race Aclazotz, you can’t outdraw it, and you can only destroy it temporarily.
Currently, as things stand, Aclazotz is a better Limited bomb than Sunfall was in March of the Machine… at least statistically. Of course, the Limited season for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is still young, so players could adapt and figure out better ways to deal with Aclazotz. That said, the card is an absolute menace in Limited, and it’s not the only card with a win rate above 70%…
Another absolute Mythic bomb, many players were scratching their heads in regards to how the heck to deal with Bonehard Dracosaur during their prereleases. At least, if you have removal for this thing right off the bat, you can just get rid of it. However, allowing your opponent to get even one upkeep with this card puts you incredibly far behind.
Bonehoard Dracosaur doesn’t seem as perfect of a mess as Aclazotz is. The card doesn’t have Lifelink and removal just deals with it. That said, First Strike and Flying are still absolutely terrifying, making it incredibly difficult to deal with outside of just removing it. This, combined with its triggered ability providing an absurd amount of card advantage is what truly puts it over the top.
Bonehoard Dracosaur’s upkeep ability is a lose/lose for your opponent. You get to Impulse draw but, even if you hit a land, you get a body off of Dracosaur’s ability. Basically, Bonehoard Dracosaur forces the opponent to either deal with it or lose, unless the Dracosaur’s owner is already absurdly far behind.
Even though Dracosaur appears easier to deal with than Aclazotz, the value that this card provides snowballs out of control at an even quicker rate. As such, this card’s current game-in-hand win rate is only .3% behind Aclaztoz’s, at 70.3%.
Palani’s Hatcher was identified by many MTG Limited specialists early on as an absolute bomb. This Hatcher creates eggs on entry but, in reality, those eggs are actually 3/3 Dinosaur tokens. Throw in the ability to give other Dinosaurs Haste, and Palani’s Hatcher comes in swinging and will start getting into the red zone for 11 points of damage if you manage to untap with it.
Palani’s Hatcher is unarguably powerful, but there’s more you can do about it than the above two cards. A lack of evasive keywords means that this card won’t create board stalls all on its own, but that doesn’t change the fact that Palani’s Hatcher is three relevant bodies for five mana, which is incredibly above-rate. This also makes removal a subpar option when dealing with a Palani’s Hatcher. You’re essentially exchanging one card for one-third of a card.
Palani’s Hatcher’s game-in-hand win rate currently sits at 68.1%, which is still absurdly high.
When first looking at The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, I did not expect Magmatic Galleon to have as high of a win rate as it is currently sporting. That being said, however, the card is undeniably powerful. Able to blow up a creature on entry, offer a gigantic body, and create some extra mana, it’s definitely got all the hallmarks of good. Thanks to this, Magmatic Galleon’s current game-in-hand win rate is at 67.8%. With this in mind, you really shouldn’t be passing it if you can help it.
I have lost to this ship multiple times thanks to my own underestimations. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, and respect the boat.
This card excited me in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan’s preview season. An artifact board wipe is rather uncommon, and has some rather interesting applications alongside Karn, the Great Creator in constructed formats. A board wipe that doubles as a threat that stabilizes the board state on impact is incredibly powerful.
Of course, this also means the Glyphbridge is quite powerful in Limited as well. Sporting a board wipe and a threat, this is incredibly difficult to deal with. It may not be quite as good as Sunfall, but it still makes a pretty good impression. Unstable Glyphbridge’s in-hand win rate currently sits at 67.1%.
If you want to read more about Unstable Glyphbridge, you can do so here, as we’ve done an entire article all about it!
There are a lot of other Powerful Bombs in this Set
While these are the current five cards with the highest game-in-hand win rates on 17Lands.com for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, there are a lot of other very powerful Limited bombs in the set. Sanguine Evangelist, Breeches, Eager Pillager, Kitesail Larcenist Huatli, Poet of Unity and Zoetic Glyph, which is an uncommon, all have winrates north of 65%.
As stated earlier on, however, this is just week one of the Limited format and, as MTG personalities who make Limited their living figure things out, things will likely change. The only thing to take away from this article is to seriously consider why you’re passing the cards mentioned here.
Either way, a lot of cards have incredibly high win rates at the moment, which should calm down over time. That said, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan really is a bomb-y set. It reminds me of a quote from The Incredibles. If everyone is super, than no one is.
There is a lot more information readily available on 17Lands.com than what we showed off. If you want to hike your win rate for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Limited, we encourage you to take a look.