Rivals of Ixalan, the second half of Magic: The Gathering’s Ixalan block has a synergy of tribal cards that are hit or miss in the current meta known as Standard, but might fare better in the wild west multiplayer format known as Commander.
As for the tribes, there’s Merfolk, Pirates, Vampires, and Dinosaurs – the latter of which is not seeing as much play as the card game’s manufacturer Wizards of the Coast hoped.
Pro tours have been running Vampire Tokens, splashing some pirates, and a hint of Merfolk, but the only dino that was getting any real use – Rampaging Ferocidon- got hit with the banhammer in January, a strange blow in an effort to curb the consistency of mono-red burn and Temur energy decks in Standard.
However, sites such as MTGGoldfish and StarCityGames have featured heavy decklists for each tribe in the Commander format since the block showed up in September.
With cards such as Gishath, Sun’s Avatar, Zacama, Primal Calamity, and Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca having multiple abilities as well as Commander decks brewed around them, it leaves one open to wonder if the block was intended for the multiplayer format all along.
Each of the aforementioned have been discussed multiple times on Magic podcasts “Commander Clash” and “The Command Zone,” with Kumena being argued as possibly the best Merfolk commander.
Although there’s a slew of cards in the block that are occasionally used in Standard (Savage Stomp, Blood Sun, Carnage Tyrant), they are appearing more commonly in Commander decklists, and with so much synergy among each tribe, who could blame them?
It took time for players to adjust to Merfolk and Vampires before they found homes in Modern and Commander formats, and with Dinosaurs experiencing similar growing pains, it seems that they may finally be ready for a new domain to run roughshod over as Vamp’s and Merfolk continue to thrive all around.