Exploring the diverse creatures of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Written by Sara Cate Galasso
With the imminent return to the lush, Mesoamerican-inspired plane of Ixalan, rumors of new and exciting Magic: The Gathering creatures like Giant Gods and Angels have been circulating. While we can’t wait to see what kind of game mechanics these creatures may have in store for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, it’s no secret that the diverse and treasure-hungry denizens we met there previously are also returning, no doubt in search of the newest source of treasure: the sacred inner core of Ixalan itself! Let’s take a look at the mystifying (and sometimes terrifying!) creatures that we met on the plane previously to prepare for the upcoming release.
The River Heralds - Merfolk
The River Heralds are a merfolk nation living on the continent of Ixalan. Most at home in the oceans, rivers, and rain forests of the plane, these merfolk have the dual ability to breathe air and filter oxygen from water, and their magic allows visitors to their empire to breathe underwater, by encasing them in a shield of moisture.
Their society consists of nine different tribes, which are in constant competition with one another for power and control, and are further fragmented into smaller bands. A merfolk band is made up of about a dozen individuals, led by a shaman called a Shaper, named so for their ability to shape the land and water around them. Shapers strive to always maintain a peaceful coexistence with nature, rather than trying to conquer it.
The majestic Deeproot Tree, a surviving remnant of an ancient River Herald city built by the Merfolk of Ixalan, is still revered as a place where their ancestors dwelled. A visit to the Deeproot Tree and its ancient spring replenishes a merfolk's connection to nature.
The Legion of Dusk - Vampires
A nation led by aristocratic vampires, The Legion of Dusk originated on the continent of Torrezon, and is formed from an alliance between the Church of Dusk and an iron-fisted monarch Queen. The Legion not only constantly quests for blood to feed its members, but seeks endless power as well, and launches frequent expeditions led by zealous conquistadors and fanatical priests. Luckily, their many conquests ensure that there is always enemy blood to drink.
The paladin leaders of the Legion are regarded as holy figures, with ample rituals and taboo surrounding them. These dark paladins feed only on the guilty, drinking the blood of enemies of the state, rebels, or heretics.
The vampires of Ixalan regularly undertake something they call “The Blood Fast”, in which they starve themselves for a period of time. After this fast, they enter a state they call “the rapture”, in which they revert to an animalistic trance and attack anything in sight.
The Brazen Coalition - Pirates
When the Legion of Dusk conquered the continent of Torrezon through hundreds of years of war, the survivors of the Free Cities fled to the Stormwreck Sea, and their descendants formed the Brazen Coalition, a diverse society of pirates that answers to no one. The Brazen Coalition is made up of human members from a wide variety of backgrounds, as well as three nonhuman races: goblins, orcs, and sirens.
Four main fleets rule the seas of Ixalan: the Deadeye Fleet, the Dire Keel Fleet, the Storm Fleet, and the Fathom Fleet, headed by the infamous and formidable Admiral Brass herself.
The floating city of High and Dry, built from rafts, barges, ship hulls, and floating platforms lashed together into one large mass, acts as a neutral ground for pirates; a place they can meet and trade goods and tools, show off their treasures, and swap stories in its varying taverns and shops. Violence in High and Dry is commonplace, and rarely ever sees lawful punishment.
The Sun Empire - Dinosaur Riders
The Sun Empire, a prosperous empire on the continent of Ixalan, is filled with rich tradition and heritage that its people take great pride in. In the Sun Empire, the venerable title of warrior-poet is bestowed upon someone only once in a generation; the warrior-poet is tasked with keeping the stories of the empire and weaving its various events into words so that they may live on forever.
A huge pillar of the Sun Empire's national identity are its dinosaurs. The human warriors of the empire command and ride these dinosaurs, protected by the ancient magic of Sun Priests. Cities of The Sun Empire, including Pachatupa, its capital city, were built to accommodate these dinosaur riders, with high arches to allow them to pass through unobstructed. The dinosaurs are not domesticated, so anyone controlling one has the creature under its direct control, meaning there is always the risk that it could break free. This shapes the Sun Empire's worldview: nature, as embodied through dinosaurs, is a tool to be wielded and bent to human will. They believe that nature can’t be tamed, but humans who live alongside nature can become stronger, and controlling it is a constant test of will.
The Sun Empire worships the sun, with many temples dedicated to the various aspects they believe it possesses. Even places where the sunlight touches the ground are considered to be sacred to the empire.
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Ready to return to the dense jungles, hidden caverns, sacred temples and lawless seas of Ixalan? Then gear up for adventure with The Lost Cavern of Ixalan tabletop accessories and apparel, filled with fierce Dinosaurs, enormous Gods, and faces familiar and new! Whether you decide to wear your favorite Ixalan artwork on a t-shirt, or adorn your tabletop with a commander playmat, these colorful accessories will add some flavor wherever they’re displayed! New full-art posters of the five Basic Lands of Ixalan make great decor, and will instantly transport you to the exciting world of dinosaurs and pirate-infested seas. Don’t miss the AR-enhanced artwork of the Resplendent Angel on the premium AR playmat, with added Augmented Reality animations to help you celebrate the return of Angels to Ixalan! Plus, larger than-life table playmats will no doubt make those giant Mesoamerican-inspired Gods feel slightly less gargantuan in scale! Whatever you plan to stock up on, hop on a giant Bat and fly on down to catch the entire The Lost Caverns of Ixalan collection, available now!