Magic: The Gathering is returning to one of the coolest planes in the Multiverse, Ixalan, in The Lost Cavern of Ixalan! A plane filled with not only gargantuan dinosaurs but also larger-than-life characters means you’re going to want to give them all sorts of cool, new ways to portray their adventures in the game.

There are threenew mechanics in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan—Descend, Discover, and Craft—plus a new Map token. The Explore mechanic, originally from Ixalan, returns in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, and existing triggered abilities get a new keyword (descended) and counter (finality).

Make sure you’re caught up with all of today’s The Lost Cavern of Ixalan previews and The Lost Cavern of Ixalan Commander decks so you don’t miss any of the new Dinosaurs, Pirates, Merfolk, Vampires, and more.

The plane of Ixalan has changed dramatically since the last players visited in 2017’s Ixalan and 2018’s Rivals of Ixalan. The new set will focus on the hidden world deep within the caverns of the plane. Players can still explore with their cards to discover new lands to control, but they can now also descend deep into the plane, giving a keyword to track permanents in your graveyard. There’s also a strange, new mechanic that has tons of potential for players looking to do something a little different with their cards.

Descended, Descend, and Finality Counters

Descended and descend are related mechanics (as their names would suggest).

Descended abilities care if a permanent card has entered your graveyard this turn—from anywhere, including your hand! In the case of Broodrage Mycoid, if a permanent card was put in your graveyard this turn, you have descended, and you can create a 1/1 Fungus token.

Descend, on the other hand, comes in three varieties (Descend 4 and 8, as well as Fathomless Descent) and cares about how many permanent cards are in your graveyard. Descend abilities can be activated (or are active) if you have at least the corresponding number of permanents in your graveyard (so four for Descend 4 like Didact Echo, or eight for Descend 8 like Uchbenbak, the Great Mistake), while cards with Fathomless Descent care about the exact number of permanent cards in your graveyard (like Souls of the Lost).

Alongside Descended and Descend come the Finality counter. This counter isn’t necessarily a new mechanic—instead, it gives a name and counter representation to an old triggered ability: If a creature with a Finality counter would die, you exile it instead of putting it in the graveyard, as seen on Intrepid Paleontologist.

Explore and Map Tokens

A returning mechanic for the original Ixalan, Explore lets you take a peek at the top card of your deck, revealing it to all players. If that card is a land, it goes into your hand. If it’s anything other than a land, the exploring creature gets a +1/+1 counter—then you can choose to leave the revealed card on top of your deck or put it in the graveyard.

Explore seems to work particularly well with Descended and Descend, giving you another way to force permanents into your graveyard.

Along with Explore comes a new token type: Map tokens. These are tokens that you can pay one mana, tap, and then sacrifice to have a target creature you control Explore, like on Waterwind Scout. You can only do it at sorcery speed, though, so you can’t do any mid-combat tricks with it. But does let you pick and choose which creatures you want to give the explore buff to!


One of the new mechanics making its way into The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is Discover. When a Discover ability triggers, you exile cards from the top of your deck until you find a nonland card with a mana value that is equal to or less than the Discover number. You then get to cast that card for free if you want, or you can add it to your hand. It’s kind of like a mini-Cascade trigger that doesn’t force you to cast the spell you found if it isn’t desirable.

Hit the Mother Lode is a particularly fun example, which allows you to create Treasure tokens to make up for the difference in the discovered card’s cost.


The third (or fourth? or fifth?) new mechanic in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is Craft, which feels like the polar opposite of Descended/Descend. While we only have one example so far with The Enigma Jewel, there’s some neat stuff to do with it. Craft seems to require both a mana commitment and the ability to exile specific cards that are either in play or in your graveyard. The Enigma Jewel requires four or more nonland cards with activated abilities and a total of nine mana. You must then exile The Enigma Jewel and then all four cards with activated abilities in order to transform it.

Exiling all these cards grants the transformed side, Locus of Enlightenment, all the activated abilities of those cards—though you can only use each of those abilities once each turn. If that ability isn’t a mana ability, however, you do get to copy it, which is a nice little bonus. There will be other types of restrictions on other cards, like “craft with artifacts,” so it’s not just limited to one specific type of card.

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