Magic: the Gathering is returning to the lawless lands of Ixalan, where beastly dinosaurs and free-roaming pirates pillage everything in sight. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan will be released on 17 November, and so far we already know Flip Lands are returning, as well as other creature tribes like pirates, merfolk and fungi.
Thanks to Wizards of the Coast, Geek Culture and Tap & Sac have a very fitting Ixalan preview card for you – Akawalli, the Seething Tower!
A multicoloured creature in green and black, Akwalli, the Seething Tower is a 3/3 Legendary Fungus that costs 3 Mana. The art comes in two versions, one featuring classic art by Simon Dominic, and another by rishxxv in a special showcase frame. In terms of abilities, Akawalli doesn’t have any basic abilities like flying or deathtouch, but it does have two Descent abilities, new to the Lost Caverns of Ixalan:
Descent 4 – As long as there are four or more permanent cards in your graveyard, Akawalli gets +2/+2 and Trample.
Descent 8 – As long as there are eight or more permanent cards in your graveyard, Akawalli gets an additional +2/+2 and can’t be blocked by more than one creature.
What is Descent? New Lost Caverns of Ixalan Mechanic
Descent is a brand new mechanic introduced in Lost Caverns of Ixalan. It counts the number of Permanent cards in your Graveyard in order to trigger. It’s actually very similar to Threshold, except that the restriction on Permanents means it’ll be a little bit harder to fulfil the requirements.
All of Akawalli, the Seething Tower’s abilities depend on triggering Descent. Descent 4 means there needs to be at least 4 Permanents in your Graveyard for his ability to trigger. Akwalli’s Descent 8 may take a long time to achieve, but Descent 4 is definitely a realistic target in any format, even in Limited formats like Draft or Sealed.
If you can reach Descent 4, Akawalli becomes a 5/5 with Trample (great stats for just a 3-Mana creature), but if you hit the big 8, it then becomes a 7/7 Trample that can’t be gang-blocked by multiple creatures! It becomes a serious threat that is going to be hard to deal with, at least in combat.
So how do we get to the glorious Descend 8? We’ll need some other cards to fill the graves.
Ways to Get Cards into Your Graveyard for Descent
Since Akwalli, the Seething Tower is green and black, we’re going to stick to those colours for card suggestions. The good news is that green and black are the perfect combination to find effects for Graveyard manipulation. Blue also likes to dump cards into the Graveyard, but half the time you’d be doing the dirty for the opponent, not yourself.
Here are some cards that can help fill that Graveyard of yours:
Stitcher’s Supplier plays very well with Awakalli, the Seething Tower because it’s cheap (only cost 1 black Mana), and puts 3 cards into your Graveyard when it comes in and both when it dies. With a total of 6 possible Permanents to count towards Descent, that’s a lot of value for just 1 Mana. The same goes for Acolyte of Affliction. It may only count for up to 2 counts in Descent, it does bring back another card back into your hand, providing some much needed card advantage.
And speaking of card advantage, Village Rites is a staple common that nets you 2 cards by sacrificing a creature. While that may sound bad, what about sacrificing Stitcher’s Supplier for double payout? Supplier is fodder for sacrifices and it will put even more Permanent cards into your Graveyard.
While these are all playable in the Commander format (where you can even use Akawalli as your general), these aren’t legal in Standard, which Akawalli will be. Nevertheless, you can always fill your Graveyard the good old way of sacrificing permanents or let the count tick up when your opponent kills your creatures.
Akawalli, the Seething Tower isn’t a busted card, but it provides fair value in many situations, especially if you’re going for green and black colours surrounding a Graveyard theme. The Magic: the Gathering Ixalan prerelease events will run anytime between 10 to 16 November, so check in with your local stores to reserve a spot!