Center Stage: Ixalli’s Diviner

I’m going to let you in on a secret: as a content creator, I love and loathe spoiler season. I love it because who doesn’t love new cards? Who doesn’t enjoy trying to figure out where the new pieces fit or what entirely new puzzles have been crafted? And yes, as a content creator, I’m overjoyed when a topic is thrown into my lap.

At the same time, it can be exhausting. New sets seem to come out all the time and, especially with Pauper, reprint sets can cause all sorts of headaches. People who focus on other formats don’t have to worry when extra copies of Sword of Feast and Famine are made, but I have to pore over the spoiler trying to figure out what former uncommon is going to wreck havoc.

What I don’t worry about, though, is mis-evaluating a new card. Like this one:

When I saw this card I tried so hard to make it work. I’m a sucker for micro-graveyard synergies and Ixalli’s Diviner has that and more. It is either a 0/3 that draws you a land or a 1/4 that filters away a dead card. I tried this deck for months in Green Tron builds, trying to leverage the extra velocity. I saw the body and thought it could absorb blows from Stompy until Evincar’s Justice or Swirling Sandstorm could come online. I saw the opportunity to bin a Firebolt for later or get me to that Urza’s Tower one turn sooner.

I was blinded by what I wanted to work. Even before Flicker Tron caught on, this deck was trying too hard to make one card work instead of finding cards that made the deck better.

Look at Elvish Visionary. Is this a card Tron would run? Almost certainly not. Yet for all intents and purposes, Ixalli’s Diviner was worse than Visionary. I was absolutely wrong about Diviner. Yet I was happy I tried it out. I tend to focus on the top of the metagame and figuring out what is best, but sometimes it is still fun to play cards you like in an effort to find a path to victory. You just have to keep in mind that ever loss (and victory) can teach you something. You just can’t be blinded by your feelings about a single card.

Published by Alex Ullman

Alex Ullman has been playing Magic since 1994 (he thinks). Since 2005, he's spent most of his time playing and exploring Pauper. One of his proudest accomplishments was being on the winnings side of the 2009 Community Cup. He makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised.

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