Magic: The Gathering’s final Standard set of 2023 will feature a return to an infamous setting, as we plunder the Lost Caverns of Ixalan.
The second set of the year taking place after the Phyrexian invasion arc’s conclusion in March of the Machine, Lost Caverns of Ixalan takes us back to the Mezo-American-inspired world of Ixalan. Complete with conquistador vampires invading the Dinosaur-taming Sun Empire, Ixalan was a popular setting marred by underwhelming cards when it first launched in 2017.
However, as revealed in the Wizards Presents showcase, this return to Ixalan is set to be something slightly different. As the name suggests, this is a set all about exploring the caves and ruins of Ixalan, searching for buried treasure and avoiding deadly traps. In a lot of ways, it seems to be filling the Indiana Jones vibes previously tied to Zendikar, however, we should be able to expect some of the things that made our first trip to Ixalan special.
Like the first trip to Ixalan, Lost Caverns of Ixalan will still have a tribal focus, as Wizards has described the set as “Pirates, Dinosaurs, and Vampires vying for dominance." Some of the art released also confirms Merfolk will be part of the set.
However, beyond this, we could be seeing a very different Ixalan to the one we last visited. Ixalan is generally considered to have incredible flavour, but was let down by boring set design and underwhelming cards. It’s possible that Lost Caverns of Ixalan may be giving the world a second try, but with a different mechanical focus to revitalise its play design.
We still have a long time before we’ll see more of Lost Caverns of Ixalan, as it isn’t due to launch until “Winter 2024”, which in Magic’s September-September calendar likely means the end of 2023. Like the other three Standard-legal sets that year, we expect it to launch with the full product spread of Draft, Set, Collector’s and Jumpstart Boosters, as well as at least two preconstructed Commander decks.