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The second (and final) set of the Ixalan block sees groups of competing factions and planeswalkers competing to discover and control the golden city of Orazca.
The ‘native’ faction are represented by the planeswalker Huatli, who has arrived in the golden city.
She’s not the only planeswalker in the golden city. The pirate planeswalker Vraska has arrived to, with a singular purpose. She has been sent by Nicol Bolas to retrieve an artifact. She doesn’t know yet what that artifact is, but it’s somewhere in Orazca.
You can see the art theme already – similar to the art of Ixalan, which is hardly surprising. However key characters are depicted as being in the golden city. The set also features double-sided cards showing areas of the golden city waiting to be explored.
With the golden city in play, explorers from all over Ixalan have arrived to claim their share. The vampires are searching for a relic called the Immortal Sun.
The merfolk of Ixalan have split into two factions. One is determined to control the golden city, the other simply wants to keep everyone away from it. Judging from the art the second faction has certainly failed. The first? We’ll have to wait and see.
Overall the art for Rivals of Ixalan does a great job of using the artistic narratives established in the Ixalan set to zoom in to this one place – the golden city of Orazca.
The card art draws us into the setting and weaves that into the game pieces in clever ways. With the current focus on Magic’s overarching storyline involving planeswalkers, what gets overlooked is how well they create different settings for this story to evolve within. Ixalan is another great setting for Magic’s stories to be told.