The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander Set Review

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan: Commander Set Review

Kristen GregoryCommander

Welcome to The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander Set Review, our final review of the year! We made it folks, and what a cracker of a set to close things out on. As always, I’m not even gonna cover stuff that isn’t worth your time. That said, it’s a huge set with oodles of Commander playables, so let’s get stuck in. 

You can find other recent Commander set reviews here:


Abuelo’s Awakening is a fitting card for the genesis of this review. Rising to greet the day, one of your non-Aura artifacts or enchantments can be returned to play as 1/1 flier for four mana. If you want to spend more, you can — one generic per +1/+1 counter. 

This is a fun recursion spell that has an obvious home in Anikthea, but it can do cute stuff in many builds.

Dauntless Dismantler graduates from the end-of-section Common and Uncommons because it’s so damn relevant to the format. It makes treasures come in tapped and has an activated ability that can pop them all for a single white — or for more mana, bigger artifacts. This’ll make a splash in cEDH and see play in casual Commander, too. 

White gets some good self-mill and recursive strategies these days when paired with red especially.  Fabrication Foundry will slot nicely into Osgir, for example, where it’ll help turn the artifact tokens you have in play into real cards in your graveyard. I can see it being good in some equipment decks too. 

Get Lost is actually a pretty big upgrade over Fateful Absence, especially in more control-oriented decks. They’ll get to see one more card than Absence and potentially buff some creatures; but they need creatures to use the Map tokens, and you can also get rid of an enchantment. 

I’d say that’s well worth a slot, which is saying a lot when it competes with Generous Gift and Stroke of Midnight

OK, I’m cheating again — but Helping Hand deserves to be highlighted on its own. It’s a white Unearth (sans cycling), which has been a long time in coming. 

I can think of dozens of decks that want this, from Adeline to Tayam, Lurrus-companion decks to Azorius legendaries-matter. With curves getting lower, a one time Sun Titan for creatures is very attractive. 

Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation offers triple the creature tokens. Triple. This is gonna be a chase Mythic for sure, but in a lot of decks, I think I’d rather still play Mondrak first for the chance to double our treasure tokens. 

Flipping back Temple of Civilization shouldn’t be too hard, but this thing will realistically be exiled, so it won’t come up often. 

Thousand Moons Smithy brings with it a Gnome that scales in power and toughness. If you can tap five untapped artifacts/creatures, you can flip it into Barracks of the Thousand, which is where the fun begins. Every time you use it to cast artifacts or creatures, you’ll get more of those gnasty gnomes. Gnarly. 

This will be pretty strong in Nahiri, Forged in Fury and anything making Food. 

Unstable Glyphbridge is my favorite new board wipe in quite some time. It wipes most of the board, and then when you can Craft it with an artifact, you get Sandswirl Wanderglyph. It’s a better version of Angelic Arbiter for a more modern-age Commander format, and I like it a lot. 

Top Five White Common/Uncommons:

  1. Dauntless Dismantler: Pick up a foil. Why not? It’s timeless. 
  2. Helping Hand: I’ll be helping myself to this cheap, white Unearth
  3. Deconstruction Hammer: Equipment decks get another on-type disenchant. Neat!
  4. Dusk Rose Reliquary: Ward {2} on most of a Banishing Light is surprisingly good for just one mana. 
  5. Might of the Ancestors: And I just deconstructed Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier, too. Waaaaaaaluigi noises. 


Akal Pakal, First Among Equals will slot nicely into the new-school Azorius decks that want to slowly accrue value while opponents do things. This’ll trigger for anything from Smothering Tithe to Illustrious Wanderglyph, and many things in between. Don’t underestimate five toughness for gumming up the board, either.

Deeproot Pilgrimage is busted and broken and blue and worth picking up. 

  1. Put this in Kumena
  2. Keep making him unblockable with your nontoken Merfolk, one at a time
  3. Make a bunch of 1/1s
  4. ???
  5. Profit

Yo, it’s a card for Kenrith, Returned King! 

The Enigma Jewel is in many ways another copy of Training Grounds for Kenrith on the front. If you can craft with it, you’ll get an artifact with all activated abilities of cards used to craft, and a static that copies non-mana abilities. 

I’d say that’s worth the nine mana, especially if you can tuck some Planeswalkers under it. You can assemble a Superfriends win condition without even playing Superfriends. 

The Everflowing Well is a good rate: two to hand, two to the bin, for three mana. It also flips on its own and feels like a callback to Search for Azcanta

Minus points for not having anything to do with Myriad. But otherwise, the Myriad Pools is kinda sweet, and I wanna see what shenanigans I can get up to with it. I might be predictable, but my first thought was Voltron decks with blue. 

Blue needs good removal to keep up in EDH, so as much as it pains me to see more experiments with non-bounce removal, I will begrudgingly admit that Kitesail Larcenist is both relevant and a good card. 

Sure, you can weasel out of it, but In many ways, it’s a Banishing Light in blue — and that’s pretty monumental. Definitely worth picking up. 

Yeah, so Malcolm is really good for just two mana. He’ll need a shell with proliferate to truly shine, but even in a blue/white flyers deck that likes to discard cards (think: Raffine), he’ll put in the work. 

Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch reminds of the Tales of Middle-earth Scene box Gandalf. Getting to keep playing instants in Commander is strong, especially for free. 

Temple of Cyclical Time takes time to flip back without counter manipulation, but I have a feeling you can avoid this happening with your many instants. Slots right into all the Doctor Who decks tbh. 

Tishana’s Tidebinder not only comes in off the top rope to Stifle something, but silences that permanent until the Tidebinder leaves play. That’s strong enough to be used for utility in a Merfolk deck, but also for high-end decks and maybe cEDH too. 

Top Five Blue Common and Uncommons:

  1. Oaken Siren: an Ornithopter that can also attack and trigger effects.
  2. Hurl Into History: sort of Desertion for a Spelltable age. I like that it scales. 
  3. Eaten by Piranhas: It’s blue removal, sort of. Well, it just is. 
  4. Self-Reflection: Hard casting it for six is rough, but this is for self-mill decks or even decks like Raffine that want to discard spells to cast later.
  5. Confounding Riddle: a fine curve filler. Reminds me of Supreme Will, but more value when caring about the graveyard.


Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal is incredibly hard to flip back in Commander, so let’s evaluate it as just the front side. 

It’s most of a Baneslayer, but it forces discard on opponents and sometimes makes a 1/1 flier. I’d say that’s worth the one mana, particularly as it kinda “Paths” your creature when it dies.  

Bloodletter of Aclazotz is much more exciting. It’s Wound Reflection on a four mana body with decent stats. Curves keep getting lower, and midrange Edgar Markov decks keep having to decide between the six drops of the world and cards like this. I’m into it.

Preacher of the Schism seems solid for three mana, honestly. It’s awkward to block, and it’ll produce a steady stream of tokens or just straight up draw you cards. It’s nice and aggressive while helping you curve out.

Queen’s Bay Paladin is the third (see my Precon highlights) vampire that’s kinda a Sun Titan? They’re really putting the undead part of Vampires at the forefront here. 

Giving this an enters or attacks trigger at five mana is pretty cracked, and finality counters aren’t as bad as they read, IMO. 

Souls of the Lost is a grower. We’ve had a lot of these two drops in recent times (like Rose Tyler) and they all tend to fill a role of gumming up the board early and threatening a big swing. 

In a self-mill deck this seems good enough, and better if you can discard something. 

Stalactite Stalker is… good? Like, actually good. The condition to get counters can be met easily with fetch lands and looting/rummaging, and the activated ability of removal is at instant speed. 

It also has Menace. For one mana, that’s a lot. 

Starving Revenant has a cool spirit-spider thing going on, and I’m here for it. It’s an expensive way to draw cards, but you can begin to recoup that cost, especially if you run wheels or other big-draws. 

Does Nekusar have room for this? Probably not. But it’s not exactly bad there, either. 

Tarrian’s Journal is pretty medium, but it’s not the main event, so we can forgive this. When you’re mostly out of cards, you can flip to The Tomb of Aclazotz, which lets you cast creatures from the yard with finality counters on them. 

It’s a strong effect, and if you have some good card draw in your deck, you can always cast it, hold priority and then discard your hand in order to not be hellbent. 

Terror Tide is a pretty good wrath. Mono Black, at least, has to mostly rely on Toxic DelugeDamnation at the low end. I think getting this to be a Languish shouldn’t be too fiddly, and it’s all upside from there. 

Top Five Black Common and Uncommons:

  1. Bitter Triumph: There’s no reason to play Doom Blade anymore. Three life is fine. Sometimes it’s better to discard a card for value.
  2. Fanatical Offering: Deadly Dispute is good, as is Pointed Discussion. This one meets halfway. 
  3. Grasping Shadows // Shadow’s Lair: good keywords to have, and a nice bit of extra draw/ramp as the game goes on.
  4. Mephitic Draught: Wake up, new egg(nog) just dropped. 
  5. Soulcoil Viper: A Doomed Necromancer for Snake decks


Bonehoard Dracosaur seems like a lot of card for the cost, but it’s not as busted-broken as the initial impression given it doesn’t do anything the turn it comes in. Fortunately, that’s more relevant in Standard, admittedly. 

In Commander, it’s a nice five drop for Dragon or Dinosaur decks. Replacement level, sure, but never one you’re unhappy to see. Maybe better for Dinosaurs than Dragons?

Brass’s Tunnel-Grinder is much more exciting. It’s a sorcery-speed Valakut Awakening that eventually flips into a land. The land basically doubles your spells when you cast something with it, giving the permanent spell Discover X. 

This is honestly really quite good, and one I’m going to pick up multiple copies of. 

Breeches, Eager Pillager will have little issue with triggering all three modes most of the time. Card advantage, mana advantage and fewer blockers? I’m not sure why you wouldn’t play this in a pirates deck. 

Outside of one? Well, getting a treasure for attacking is good (Captain Lannery Storm sees play, and she doesn’t have First Strike). Isshin decks will lap this up. 

Dire Flail is one of the craft cards I’d consider playing in an equipment deck. One mana to play and one to equip for +2/+0 is a good rate. 

By getting rid of an early game equipment you no longer need (or a treasure) you can bring it back as an Equip {1} +3/+0 buff that also lets you sacrifice artifacts to have your creature start punching things. This is sweet, and going straight in Syr Gwyn.  

Hit the Mother Lode looks fun. Figuring out where it best fits is a little more difficult. 

Do you want treasure back and a medium spell? Or something big with one or two treasure as a treat? Feels like the midrange-iest of midrange cards to be honest. 

Magmatic Galleon is a nice piece of removal that leaves behind some value. Though Coastal Piracy on the blue Galleon is probably better, don’t scoff at extra treasure tokens. This is more than playable. 

Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might is probably my favorite God of the cycle. In Commander, it means you can run a bunch of pingers and other sources of damage (Cavalcade of Calamity, etc) and have them scale up to four damage instead. 

Or, well, at least 4 damage. Because you can change Axonil’s power. WOW. 

Oh and the flip back isn’t horrendous. Just cast Flame Rift

Poetic Ingenuity seems cracked, and not even just for Dinosaur decks. Just trucking along, making tokens means you’ll start occurring Dinosaur tokens, and vis-a-vis treasures, at increasing velocity… should the Dinosaur tokens survive, of course. Which is what balances it for non-Dinosaur Kindred decks.  

Top Five Red Common and Uncommons:

  1. Triumphant Chomp: One mana for essentially five+ damage is as close as you’ll get to a red Path to Exile in a Dino deck. Unless you’re also in White.  
  2. Enterprising Scallywag: Seems like a great source of extra mana that isn’t too hard to turn on.
  3. Dowsing Device:  Red gets all the cool cards, like this mono-red haste enabler that flips into a Kessig Wolf Run analogue.
  4. Ancestor’s Aid: Fun combat trick at home in Veyran or Feather
  5. Diamond Pick-Axe: Great effect to add alongside Goldvein Pick and Beamtown Beatstick, but I’d still take the others first.


I don’t really care what Bedrock Tortoise can do. Look at him. He’s precious. 

That aside, pretty good card. Rewards certain niche builds, and hexproof is nice for trying to pop off. 

I’m not high on Caves as a mechanic, as they’re pretty parasitic right now. That said, Cosmium Confluence deserves a shout because choosing three modes on this spell is pretty great value if you’re running Caves. 

Even a splash for the more powerful and flexible caves (the graveyard hate one and the Vesuva-adjacent one) make this an enticing ramp spell.  

It feels like green isn’t even trying anymore. Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant is just… I mean, it’s green. It’s doing green things. 

I’m tired.

OK, so something a little more chill. “Raptor of the Vineyard” is annoying to remove, which is kinda what a four-drop mana source needs to  be playable.  

Hulking Raptor is a card I could see myself playing in Dinosaur decks, though.

Intrepid Paleontologist, meanwhile, is a solid mana dork in Dino decks and beyond. Putting instant speed graveyard hate on a mana dork with a relevant type line is strong. 

The ceiling, of course, is in Dinosaur or Changeling decks, but even as just a mana dork with an ability that occasionally snipes an opponent’s Dino for you to cast is worth it. 

Endless Spelunk-

Jadelight Spelunker is just a self-mill card. Sure it goes in Explore/Merfolk builds, but otherwise, it’s a Golgari card. Crank up your Coffers or Cradle/Itlimoc, and let it rip through your library to set up big graveyard turns. And you even get a chunky blocker for your trouble. 

Ojer Kaslem, Deepest Growth is arguably the easiest one to flip back from a land of the lot, at least in Commander (#blessed).

A 6/5 Trample for five is good, getting to dig that much for a creature or land is better, but getting to dig that much and put both into play…? Incredible. There aren’t many decks I would be unhappy to play this in the 99. And as a Commander, it keeps things ticking. 

Sentinel of the Nameless City goes in more decks than just Merfolk/Counters/Explore. This, to me, screams Jaheira, because you’re essentially making a Mox Emerald that can be sacrificed to dig into your library. 

Wow… Jaheira is a busted Magic card. 

The Skullspore Nexus has a lot of text. Most importantly, it comes down for cheap in big stompy green decks and it provides some amount of persistence in the face of board wipes. 

If that weren’t enough, it’s a 2023 card, so it enables itself and pumps a creature, otherwise, for more damage. It’s not the kind of card that excites me, but it’s going to overperform — mark my words.

Top Five Green Common and Uncommons

  1. Glowcap Lantern: Wow, this is seriously good equipment, in green, no less. 
  2. Earthshaker Dreadmaw: They finally power crept our boy… in glorious fashion. 
  3. Over the Edge: Put the Chalice in the void. Or explore twice. S’good card.
  4. Spelunking: Potentially worth playing even ignoring Caves. It’s a second Amulet in a lot of ways that replaces itself and ramps you. 
  5. Twists and Turns: even just the front side for one mana is decent, but the fact it’ll ramp you later on solidifies it as pretty dang playable.


Abuelo, Ancestral Echo is grand. Pops can flicker something on your side of the board until the next end step for three mana, which is a really good rate and probably puts the final nail in Eldrazi Displacer’s coffin (in most decks, at least). 

Ward really adds up, and hopefully people start banking treasures to pay for Ward instead of just ramping, because Abuelo probably does want removed at some point. 

Wail of the Forgotten is… good, I think. Getting all three modes for just two mana is really good value, and for self-mill decks at the very least, this will slot into the curve nicely. 

Molten Collapse is here to punish Sol Ring starts, and I’m all for it. Screw the player who got their four or five mana Commander out on Turn 2. Screw them so hard they regret the decision. You just need to save a fetchland to do it.

Zoyowa Lava-Tongue has a number of homes, actually. One that speaks to me is Sivriss, Nightmare Speaker, with a red background. It really starts to pile on the pressure. 

Kinda neat in Rakdos goblins too, though, as you’re sure to have goblins constantly eating dirt.

Palani’s Hatcher goes in most Dinosaur decks, but it’s especially awesome for Atla Palani fans. It makes two eggs! And gives haste to what hatches! And sacrifices eggs! What a treat. 

Kellan, Daring Traveler is a lot of text for a two mana card. Admittedly some of that text is locked behind an adventure spell (making Kellan three mana), but still. I like this a lot for Selesyna builds that already love to use +1/+1 counters.

Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar is ridiculous for an uncommon. It can draw you cards while stopping opponents messing with you. What’s not to love? I’m pretty excited about this one in the CZ, and hear me out: GW equipment?

OK, I know, it’s me suggesting equipment. But Kutzil draws cards thanks to equipment buffs, and getting to do Voltron turns without being interrupted? That’s real nice. 

Sovereign Okinec Ahau demands you read its text box again and again. The wording is inelegant but justified, and basically rewards going tall. Who can resist a Thundercat in a top hat?

Amalia Benavides Aguirre kinda throws back to Inferno of the Star Mounts. We’re again playing 20 one, and again more than likely using Umezawa’s Jitte to achieve it, repeatedly. 

This is perhaps the controlliest of Orzhov control Commanders, but otherwise I don’t think I want it in my vampire deck. She’s a liability. 

A free sac-outlet? That can block? That’s not a zombie? Bartolomé del Presidio can even sacrifice artifacts. Fantastic card.

Vito, Fanatic of Aclazotz kinda asks a lot if you’re playing straight up Vito-vampires, but I don’t think that’s what you want to be doing. This is an aristocrats Commander if I’ve ever seen one, and one that rewards you for going deep on treasures/foods as well. 

Slots into the 99 of more than a few Aristocrats decks, that’s for sure. 

Captain Storm, Cosmium Raider buffs all your pirates, continually, for doing pirate things. 

This set’s signpost uncommons are straight FIRE. *ducks under cannonball*

Saheeli, the Sun’s Brilliance is an Izzet Commander even I can get behind. I love Sarkhan from AFM, and I love this Saheeli. 

I particularly love this frame treatment of Saheeli, and I think they did a great job with it in general. 

Back to Saheeli: she’s fun and provides value in a similar way to new Jhoira, Ageless Innovator. The design team has hit its stride with Izzet cards. 

The Belligerent is… well, it’s an Izzet pirate ship, complete with 90s Lego sails. I think it’s solid, but I also think your opponents are going to trade with it at the first opportunity. 

I’d play Squirming Emergence for three mana, sure. It only gets better as the game goes on. Rise of the Witch-King exists, though, and I’m not sure if I’d rather spend a mana more. 

The Mycotyrant can potentially spit out a lot of tokens, if that’s your bag. Will it be more popular than Slimefoot? Probably not, especially as you can play Jund Slimefoot and Squee now, too. 

I don’t love all the different ways the word “descend” has been used, for what it’s worth. Descend X, did you descend, Descend as an activated ability… whew. Needless complexity. 

Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon is here to do a Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin impression. There’s gnome-where to go but up, though. And in 2023, Anim doesn’t even need to attack to trigger. You can just attack with something else. 

Is this a Winota card? I don’t think so. Is it still great? Yeah. 

Quintorius Kand, as a Planeswalker! There’s a first time for everything. 

Quint can slot right into… Quintorius decks, oddly enough. Boros has a bunch of impulse draw decks now, so you won’t have to look far to find a home for him. 

A 3/2 is a good blocker, and the card advantage on the down tick is decent. Replacement level outside of specific decks, but not terrible.

Deepfathom Echo is creepy, right? Not just me?

Either way, it becomes a copy of your best creature until end of turn. Quite often, in Merfolk, this is going to end up being a lord, or something equally threatening. In a +1/+1 counters deck, it could be anything. 

Oh boy, it’s another one of those signpost uncommons. 

Idk about signpost — this feels more like a post with nails sticking out of it. Nicanzil, Current Conductor really bludgeons the point home: play this in your Merfolk decks that use Explore.

Huatli, Poet of Unity is probably not going to win Dinosaur Commander Prom Queen. There are just way too many good options already. 

Is she worth jamming in the 99? Certainly in some builds, but maybe not in others. Flipping an Atla egg into her, or hitting her off of Pantlaza’s Discover triggers will be a little disappointing, I reckon. 


Chimil, the Inner Sun gives you a free spell every time you reach your end step, which is solid for six mana. Making them uncounterable takes it up more than a few notches, and ensures this heftily-priced rock enjoys its day in the sun. 

It’s gonna get slammed down early in Belbe decks and have you wishing for sun down. 

Matzalantli, the Great Door is a hell of a lot easier to open than Azor’s Gateway, that’s for sure. Would you pay seven mana, perhaps in two installments, for a land that taps for 4-10 mana, on average? 

The Core issue is not having your yard removed, which could be heartbreaking after flipping this. Proceed with caution. 

The Millennium Calendar is a meme and I don’t care for it. I’d be surprised if you enjoyed this win-con more than a few times, but if you do, then be my guest. If I open one, I’ll let you know.

Roaming Throne is way more exciting, but also worries me. All types of creature deck now have, for all intents and purposes, an auto-include. 

Why would you not play this? I guess maybe if it got expensive, which it probably will in a year or two. Ward 2 feels unnecessary. 

Tarrian’s Soulcleaver is hot. It punishes treasures by making a huge creature that can attack and block thanks to vigilance. 

Sure, if you’re enabling this on your own it’ll be more reliable, but its going to give a sizable buff just from opponents playing the game. At one mana and two to equip, I’m in. 

Threefold Thunderhulk could get silly pretty quickly. Being colorless, it’s splashable, and so anything that can modify power and wants to make an army can do so with a new tool. I think beyond janky combos this card is pretty mid. 

The Hidden Cave cycle from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Outside of Caves decks, it might be hard to justify slotting these in. That said, they are better in a lot of cases than lands that sacrifice themselves to draw a card, especially if you want a blocker. 

The creature land cycle from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

I think the creature lands are pretty neat, honestly. Restless Anchorage seems to be a sullen offering to UW control – a cheaper Collonade. That aside, in EDH, I think Restless Ridgeline is the clear leader, offering most of what Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice offers and untapping the creature. 

Echoing Deeps is Vesuva for lands in bins. It can be fetched by searching for a Cave, which is nice. I like the line of play where you strip mine someone’s Cabal Coffers and  then have this come in as copy, while Urborg is still in play. 

Bojuka Bog is played in basically every black deck. Pit of Offerings could be played in basically every… deck. Yeah, I’m gonna go with that.

It can fix your mana if you exile one of your own cards, and otherwise surgically removes up to three issue cards. 

If I’m using token doubling effects or care about treasure, I’m playing Volatile Fault. I like not holding up mana otherwise for Ghost Quarter or Strip Mine, or getting myself a land with Demolition Field


Well… we’ve delved deep. We got the bottom of The Lost Caverns, and came up with some treasure. This set is expansive and filled to the brim with role players for all kinds of Commander decks, let alone upgrades for classic Ixalan types like Vampires and Dinosaurs. 

If you’re inspired by anything you’ve read today, be sure to check what Singles we have in stock – or maybe grab a Precon. Vampires for me, I think!