With Ixalan, planeswalkers have now become legendary. The decision to eliminate the planeswalker rule and replace it with the legend rule was an interesting one with a number of consequences.
Ixalan spoilers have been coming out for a while. And when the article about the errata for planeswalkers came out, people started buying up certain cards. Aside from running this blog, I also do some investing and trading, so I find price fluctuation in trading cards fascinating. As cards move out of rotation or new synnergies are created, the price of a single card may fluctuate considerably. This is happening with Mirror Gallery, a card that allows the player to ignore the legend rule. Outside of Kamigawa block, a block full of legendary cards, Mirror Gallery was a fairly niche card. But now that planeswalkers are legendary permanents, Mirror Gallery affects them, allowing a player to have more than one of the exact same planeswalker out on the field at once. This has caused the price of the card to double on tcgplayer.com. Given the newfound utility of the card, I would not be too surprised to see a reprint at some point, especially with Iconic Masters on its way and more so the return of core sets, a change for which I am ecstatic.
The change has also helped some other planeswalker decks. As anyone who has read my article Hour of Devastation God Synergy knows, I like to find neat combinations. I am more interested in constructing decks than I am playing them. When Gideon of the Trials came out, I immediately started working on a Gideon “tribal” deck, “Giddy Gideons.” The rule change has given this deck a huge boost. Making sure that a Gideon remained on the field was a bit difficult until this rule change. Now it is fairly straight forward, and there has been a change in price for Gideon of the Trials because of this boost.
While the change in the planeswalker rule may be the most prominent addition by Ixalan, there are a number of useful cards as well, this is especially true if you are a fan of tribal decks. There are two tribes in this set: dinosaurs and pirates. And as we all know, “everything’s better with pirates” (Line from The Gamers: Dorkness Rising). There is also a watered down version of Cavern of Souls. While it does not protect creature spells you cast, it is an uncommon. Arcane Adaptation is going to be useful in any tribal deck that splashes blue. One of the biggest issues that I have with constructing tribal decks is the inclusion of helper creatures which are from a different tribe. With Arcane Adaption, those cards become part of the tribe. What is really nice is that the creature type is added to all creatures you own, not just creatures on the battlefield. The tribal heavy tone of Ixalan also lends itself well to Commander 2017, which is highly tribal.
Overall, I am interested to see how the rule changes affect gameplay and prices. Since I am a fan of tribal decks, the additional cards in Ixalan should be quite fun, although sometimes the synergy just does not work out as well as I think it should.