The Lost Caverns of Ixalan will be the fourth and final premier MTG set of 2023, coming out at the end of this year. It’ll be our second trip to Ixalan, a world that was loved from the jump for its themes and creativity, despite its sets being lacklustre in both Standard and Draft. MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan looks to continue the adventurous vibes of this world, as we go spelunking for buried treasure. Indeed, this set takes place underground, in caverns filled with traps and wonders.
We’re pretty amped to return to this colourful setting (particularly for the dinos) and according to a poll by Mark Rosewater, only March of the Machine has more fans drooling for it. Here we’ll cover everything we know about Lost Caverns of Ixalan, from release dates to mechanics. With this MTG set just round the corner, we’ve loads to share, from card spoilers to key mechanics.
MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan release date
Lost Caverns of Ixalan is coming out on November 17, 2023. That’s its global release date, when it’ll be available everywhere, but whether you’re an Arena or paper player, you should be able to get your hands on the new cards slightly earlier than this.
As of October 24, we are officially in spoiler season leading up to The Lost Caverns of Ixalan’s release date. There’ll be a prerelease in stores on November 10 – your first chance to get hold of Lost Caverns of Ixalan cards. And we can expect the set to drop on MTG Arena on November 14 – a little before its global release date, but just after the prerelease.
MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan spoilers
Here are a bunch of spoilers we’ve seen from Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Check out the new Descend mechanic, and Discover – a new take on MTG Cascade.
MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan Reprints
The biggest reprint coming for Lost Caverns of Ixalan revealed so far is Cavern of Souls. Not only is this immensely powerful land being reprinted in the set, it’s being reprinted in the main set – not on a bonus sheet, not in the Commander decks, not in the List slot or some weird bonus card you can only find in Commander boosters – right there in the regular booster packs.
We have no idea what this will do to the price of this highly sought after, eternal-format-playable land. A reprint into a base set, even at Mythic, means a big influx of cards to the card pool – but we can’t imagine that those cards won’t become incredibly sought after for Standard decks.
MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan mechanics
There are several Lost Caverns of Ixalan mechanics worth unpacking – overall this seems like a fairly complex set.
The first is Craft, an ability word that’s showing up on double-sided artifacts. By paying a cost and exiling permanents from the graveyard or battlefield that fit the Craft cost, you’re able to transform artifacts, unlocking a more powerful form.
Then there’s Discover, which works as a straight upgrade to the Cascade ability. You exile cards from the top of your library until you hit a nonland with mana cost equal to or less than the Discover number. Then you can either cast that spell for free or tuck the card into your hand to use later.
Descend is a bit of a confusing one (and a neat reference to original Ixalan’s Ascend mechanic) It’s all about putting permanent cards in your graveyard.
However, some Lost Caverns of Ixalan cards care about whether you ‘descended’ that turn, while others have the ability ‘Descend’ followed by a number. Those latter cards have abilities that unlock only once you have a certain number of permanents in your graveyard.
MTG head designer Mark Rosewater has called The Lost Caverns of Ixalan “not a traditional return set”, which is why we see less continuity in terms of mechanics. For instance, it doesn’t have the same emphasis on creature tribes, as Wizards has shied away from this for recent MTG draft environments.
That said, the merfolk and vamps, dinosaurs and pirates do feature in the MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander decks.
MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan story
Ixalan’s The Immortal Sun chapter is closed, and who knows what lurks in the depths below. That said, dinosaurs don’t typically live underground, so either there’ll be some topside adventuring, or this set is going for an underground paradise, journey to the centre of the earth kinda vibe.
One thing we think is a shoe-in for Lost Cavern of Ixalan are demons. The demons in Ixalan have appeared in card art (see above) but not had much focus before – not a single creature to show them off. They’re apparently created by the bat god Aclazotz, and have a very bat-like appearance, perfect for underground living. Plus, there’s some obvious fun interaction to be had with the conquistador vampires that already star on the plane.
Artwork of gods and angels from MagicCon Barcelona shed a little more light on the characters and setting for this set. We’ve got angels protecting a magical underground core, butterfly gods, and a civilization that ride atop giant bats. Something called Cosmium seems to be at the center of things – perhaps a heavily protected resource for the vampires, angels, demons, and dinosaurs to squabble over?