The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Combos Post-Release – From Dumbest to Loudest

ChrisCee November 28, 2023 6 min
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Combos Post-Release – From Dumbest to Loudest

So, everybody having a blast with The Lost Caverns of Ixalan? The consensus seems to tell me that we all are. Indeed. there is quite a good balance of variety and viability for current MTG Standard decks this time around. This is not just in modifying already existing decks, but also in introducing fresh new ones with a competitive edge.

And of course, at the core of most of these decks, are good ol’ card combos. I’m pretty sure there is still way more to discover as the weeks go by. But for now, these are the most prominent new combos post-launch of the latest Standard-legal set.

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Honorable Mention


Diamond Pick-Axe + Gleeful Demolition

Okay, admittedly this isn’t really as impressive as it practically looks. But… it just works. Combined with other cheap permanent or artifact bonus cards in the set, it plays just well enough for it to be notable enough... I think?


Might Require Tinkering to Work


The Millennium Calendar + All Will Be One

Waiting for the Calendar’s exponential counter cycles might be exciting for some folk and all, but you still definitely want to get something out of it as soon as you can. All Will Be One makes this possible-ish by simply relying on the counters as immediate points of damage. Sure, this kind of takes five whole turns without ramping. But with a bit more focused tweaking (and a few alternative win conditions), this combo should become considerably more consistent than the typical janky aura it is strongly exuding.


Simple, But Still Good


Captain Storm, Cosmium Raider + Breeches, Eager Pillager

The latest iteration of Breeches and Captain Storm has certainly made its rounds synergizing with its other tribal support cards also introduced in the same set. But, if we are to distill the combo to its basic one-two-punch state, the best partners would still be these two. The curve is natural, and the triggers are complementary. Well… the effects themselves aren’t remotely game-breaking, but they’re enough for this combo to be a good contender on this list.


Belligerent Yearling + Pugnacious Hammerskull

These cards are supposed to be the typical bad-effect cards that technically eliminate their weaknesses as soon as their combo counterparts arrive. As such, the cards are simply begging its user to combine them in a single deck. Yeah, Pugnacious Hammerskull works with any dinosaur. But pairing it with the Yearling allows for a pressured offensive that turns its worst attribute into a speedy asset. Even if you can’t, the smaller partner will still be as good as it can be mana-value-wise.


As Straightforward As They Can Be


Thousand Moons Smithy + Tinker’s Tote

Gnome’s the name, enlarge is the game. While the deck that includes this combo prioritizes increasing your Gnome tokens, this simple combo allows you to cash in on two bigger bruisers as you are able to transform your objective as early as the next turn (would have been on the spot if not for the weird trigger timing). There are other variations, of course, and by turn four you already have a sizable field investment to do it by default. But if not, and you want only one other card to transform it, then this should be one of the easier ways to do it (that is still thematically consistent).


Abuelo’s Awakening + Portal to Phyrexia

Players have been hyping this combo for quite some time right after it was spoiled a few weeks ago. So far, this would theoretically have been the easiest way to cast the 9-mana value eraser. At 4-mana, this would have been the cheapest as well. The best thing about this combo? You already got the value as soon as your flying 1/1 Portal hits the field. It doesn’t even matter if they bomb the hell out of it so long as it resolves. And what if left for even one of your turns? Triple the pain to deal with for your opponent.


Souls of the Lost + Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler

The likes of Urborg Lhurgoyfimage and Cruel Somnophageimage might be the perfect build-up pieces for Fathomless Descent cards like Souls of the Lost. But our intrepid elven planeswalker also holds the key to easily reanimating this modifying beast to the battlefield, with his color identity relevant to the MTG decks that would use such cards. Even better? You potentially buff Tyvar’s target even further each time you use his loyalty ability.


Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might + Voldaren Thrillseeker

Ojer has given older pinging burn spells for red sources new life by channeling his power (like, the value of his power) to enhance their damage. But perhaps the most entertaining card to pair up with this underground god is our resident flinging vampire from the previous Phyrexian invasion. By putting counters on Ojer via Thrillseeker's Backup ability, you raise the base damage of the card's effect. So, even if Thrillseeker is just a 1/1 without its counters, you still deal a full 6 damage if you decide to fling her at your opponent with the backed-up Ojer still standing around.

Better yet, the next turn after Ojer is successfully cast and hopefully survives, if you never missed your land drops (and are still alive), you can spend three mana for the Thrillseeker, one mana to fling her, and then one more mana fling Ojer for a total of 12 points of modified burn damage. More than likely enough to deal lethal to your opponent at that point (5th turn+) no matter how solid their defense line may be.


Seems Crazy at a Glance


The Ancient One + Ob Nixilis, the Adversary

(+ Sheoldred, the Apocalypse)

The misaligned stats and mana value of The Ancient One immediately attract the attention of combo hunters. I mean, look at those numbers! Thankfully, we were not disappointed in finding the appropriate pieces to exploit its existence. For the first specimen, we have Ob Nixilis, the Adversary. Typically cast the very next turn, it saccs the 8/8 for its Casualty effect, which allows the planeswalker's copy to immediately take off with its ultimate.

Now, you have two uses for this. Either you replenish your hand with it, or deal seven (hopefully lethal) damage to your opponent. For an even bigger kick, cast Sheoldred, the Apocalypseimage on your fourth turn onward, unleash the ultimate loyalty ability to your opponent, and watch as 21 points of direct damage instantly kill them.


The Ancient One + Fight Rigging

(+ Breach the Multiverse)

The second version takes us to a more interconnected combo that actually uses The Ancient One itself. With Fight Rigging, you have yet another card that can immediately trigger its effect the very turn it successfully resolves. Then, if you can somehow get Breach the Multiverseimage from the card selection, you can potentially turn The Ancient One online the next turn, ready for a huge swing. Oh and yeah, you get free creatures from that black sorcery as well.

If you can’t get Breach, well… I suppose that’s the purpose of adding lots more alternative options such as Ghalta, Stampede Tyrantimage.


Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon + Halana and Alena, Partners

(+ Roaming Throne)

This one takes us a bit away from the typical Gnome builds that Anim Pakal usually invites. Since we only really need the Gnomes as attackers, it can actually work better if you put her in a deck that can utilize her counter checks more efficiently. In a tribal sense, one of the most straightforward ways to do this is for Halana and Alena to drop counters onto her. Then, with a bit of cast spacing, you can also add a Roaming Throneimage to double the triggers for both cards, making the combo even crazier.

Roaming Throne should actually be my separate subject for discussing other combo potentials in Standard (quadruple triggers with Isshin, Two Heavens as Oneimage anyone?). But oh well, that's for another time.


Mindlink Mech + Bloodletter of Aclazotz

Every instance of the infamous Bloodletter allows to double once more the loss of life for the opponent. But as tantalizing as setting multiple Bloodletters may be for this purpose, it becomes really wonky to execute because of tempo issues. But, even if we don't solve its interruption weaknesses, we can at least provide a bit more oomph to its effect by letting it ride a Mindlink Mech instead!

Since the Bloodletter is still there, you essentially get double of the doubled effect. And with a flying 4/3 kicking the opponent in the face, that usually means instant 16 damage to anyone who gets caught off guard... for that very first try.

Ah well, should still work a fair bit of time with its simple one-two-punch nature at least!


About ChrisCee:

A witness since the time the benevolent silver planeswalker first left Dominaria, ChrisCee has since went back and forth on a number of plane-shattering incidents to oversee the current state of the Multiverse.

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I was gonna say the obvious combo with Fight Rigging is Belligerent Yearling + Pugnacious Hammerskull but honestly in this set there are so many ways to set that off and I have a deck utilizing that to Cascade off, Pugnacious into Fight Rigging in order to pull Bonehoard Dracosaur or Etali, either way opponent usually scoops by turn 4 or 5 its amazing and TBH Red/Green has some of the best combos I've seen this set its so wonderful.
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