Magic: Ixalan Mechanics & Planeswalkers Update
Official previews for Ixalan start soon, and we now have our mechanic updates provided courtesy of the official Magic website! The mechanics and themes for Ixalan are tied to one of the four factions racing for The Golden City, some returning and some new! Read on below for all the new and returning mechanics in the set, as well as the rules update for Planeswalker cards!
Warriors & Dinosaurs of The Sun Empire (Red-Green-White)
A creature with Enrage will trigger an extra ability when it is dealt damage. However, if it is Attacked and is blocked by more than one creature, it will still only Enrage once.
Pirates of the Brazen Coalition (Blue-Black-Red)
A returning mechanic from Khans of Tarkir, Raid is another ability that triggers, but only if you’ve attacked with a creature. A creature’s Raid ability may trigger when it enters the battlefield, at the beginning of your end step and so on, but only if you’ve attacked with a creature that turn.
Various cards in the set will tell you to create a colorless Treasure artifact token. These tokens have the ability to tap and sacrifice them to add one mana of any color to your mana pool. If you think this sounds awfully like Clue tokens from Shadows Over Innistrad, then you’re right! It works very much the same way.
Merfolk and +1/+1 Counters
It’s been a long time, but Merfolk have returned! No keyword mechanic is given to Merfolk, but their theme is growing through putting +1/+1 counters on one another in various ways.
Vampires & Life Drain
The Vampires of The Legion of Dusk
No keyword mechanic was given to Vampires, but they deal with draining life from opponents, death and resurrection.
Some cards will tell you to Explore as a result of a triggered or activated ability on a creature. To explore you reveal the top card of your library. If that card is a land, you simply put it into your hand. If it’s not, you put a +1/+1 counter on the creature that let you Explore!
Introduced recently in Kaladesh, Vehicles are returning! These are Artifacts with the Vehicle subtype that have Power and Toughness and may have activated abilities or triggered abilities. To make them into creatures, you must Crew your Vehicle by tapping any number of creatures with a combined Power equal to the Crew cost or more. So if a Vehicle has Crew 3, you must tap enough creatures with a combined power of 3 or more to turn your Vehicle into a creature so it can attack. Note that you also must do this before the Declare Attackers step, or you’ll miss the opportunity. Additionally, Vehicles cannot attack the turn they enter the battlefield unless they have Haste, much like any other permanent that can become a creature.
They’ve been around for a while and they’re returning again! Some permanents on the battlefield may transform and become Lands, including a beautiful new card frame. When they do, they do not count as playing your one Land for the turn, because they didn’t enter the battlefield. Unless a double-faced card says to exile it as part of it transforming such as Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, causing a permanent to transform never makes it leave or re-enter the battlefield. It’s converted mana cost is equal to the cost on the front of the card when it matters, and if the transformed card does leave the battlefield for any reason at all, it will return with it’s front side face up.
Beginning with Ixalan, all Planeswalkers will be printed with the Legendary supertype. This change will also be retroactive, applying to all Planeswalkers in the game that came before. The relevance of this change is that the Planeswalker Uniqueness rule is being abolished. Currently, all Planeswalkers have a type in their type line, and if you would ever have more than one Planeswalker of the same type on the battlefield, you would have to choose one to be sent to the graveyard. This worked similarly but different to the Legendary rule, which states that if you control a Legendary permanent and you come into control of another Legendary permanent of the same name, you must choose one to send to the graveyard.
Because both rules were similar but different, it has confused players for a long time. Currently if you controlled Jace Beleren but then played Jace, the Mind Sculptor, you would have to choose to send one to the graveyard. From Ixalan forward, you would be allowed to keep both. Much like if you controlled the creature Hazoret the Fervent and another copy of Hazoret came under your control, if you control Jace Beleren and another Jace Beleren were to come under your control, you would choose to put one into the graveyard.