The Skullspore Nexus – The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Date Reviewed: November 20, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The Skullspore Nexus is one of the numerous cards in Lost Caverns of Ixalan that feels like it’s a combination of things you can almost remember. That, amusingly, applies to both its flavor concept and its game effects – there’ve been a few cards that give you a discount based on creatures’ power, and this one is fortunate enough to be in a set where dinosaurs are a major theme. The death trigger that provides some kind of compensation, or perhaps transmogrification, has also been on other cards, but rarely in one that’s quite as enticing and never (I think) with a built-in way to get yourself a bigger token. It’s worded very carefully so that it doesn’t go exponential without more nontoken creatures to sacrifice or have die, though I imagine somebody will dream up a way around that. It will, unfortunately, sometimes end up doing nothing, so make sure your deck is built around it as much as possible.
Limited: 4 (in a pinch, just keep doubling things’ power and attacking)
Commander [EDH]: 4
From something comes more of something, I would imagine, and The Skullspore Nexus is interesting as a way to get more of that Something. Replacing dead creatures with another body is already powerful as a baseline, but the wording here means that, if multiple creatures die at the same time, you get one very big creature. Or just one creature that may be Very Big. But going from, say, having two 3/3 bodies to one 6/6 body ca create a bit of chaos. The ability to double a creature’s stats in a pinch both plays well with this card’s passive and functions as a way to make sure combat ends in the best possible way for you.
While the mana cost of this card is high on paper, it’s rarely going to cost eight maa, and I imagine a green deck might be able to put this on the board around turn 4 or 5, which is a good time to provide insurance against a board wipe or a kill spell. It’s a card that seems far better at pushing a snowball down the hill faster, but it is admittedly very good at that…it’s a card that offers a lot of persistent and immediate advantage, and I don’t see it failing to have a persistent spot in the Standard of the present time.
Limited: 4 (a bit reliant on your other creatures, but it doesn’t demand that much to function)
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
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