Growing Rites of Itlimoc – Ixalan
Date Reviewed: November 1, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 4.5
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Growing Rites of Itlimoc is apparently returning in Lost Caverns of Ixalan, though I’m not sure of its exact status – I’d need to check which of its collector numbers are for its “main” cards and which for its special guests. Either way, this is a good thing, because this card’s sequence is the closest many of us will ever get to tapping Gaea’s Cradle for mana. Yes, it’ll usually be quite late in the game, and three mana isn’t a very competitive rate for an Adventurous Impulse variant; and tournament games can be won and lost in just the first three turns, where you sometimes can’t afford to spend a whole turn getting one extra creature into your hand. But going from, say, four mana to eight or nine is about the right timing to hit people with cards like Craterhoof Behemoth – and everybody’s encountered a Commander deck that always seems to want more ramp. Heck, you might even play that deck yourself!
Commander [EDH]: 4.5
Growing Rites of Itlimoc is definitely a card that made waves in its first run. It’s not Gaea’s Cradle, sure, but it’s as close as we’ll probably get to a reprint of that infamous land as we’ll get. It has a fairly flexible mana cost, it sets up for its potential flip (or just a next turn play), and it even is technically better than Gaea’s Cradle into an empty board. That said, this requires a bit more set-up than its older forebear, which could turn a Crop Rotation into a massive burst of mana.
The main question, then, is how reliably you can flip this as quickly as possible. Four creatures is not an impossible ask, especially in green, but it’s tricky for decks to put four out on turn 3. Elves may be the one notable exception in green…but they’re really only a force in Legacy (that I know of), and you’d just prefer the Urza’s Saga land there. You also don’t get the land side of Growing Rites of Itlimoc until your end step, meaning it won’t do much outside of flash shenanigans for that turn.
It does have downsides, but the upside is Gaea’s Cradle, and that plus how easy it is to et this to flip have helped Growing Rites of Itlimoc stick around in casual play and Commander. While it never quite made waves outside of Standard, Lost Caverns of Ixalan brings it back to Standard, so I think it’ll have another solid run coming up.
Limited: 3.5 (play this for its front side)
Commander [EDH]: 4.75 (if you’re in green, this is probably worth including in the vast majority of green decks)
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