Ixalan 2HG Hidden Gems

This guide shows which cards get better in Two-Headed Giant and which get worse. If you’re playing in a 2HG prerelease these are the cards to pay special attention to!

If you want to know more about the rules interactions, check out the 2HG Release Notes.

For the short version you can skip to the TOP 15 list at the end.


GENERAL

  • Prerelease power level: Normal 2HG sealed uses 8 boosters. Prerelease 2HG uses 2 prerelease packs, so 12 boosters + 2 prerelease rares. Decks have a much higher card quality than normal sealed decks. You will cut a lot of solid filler cards.
  • Splashing: If you make one of the decks 3-color you can theoretically play all the bombs you open. Splashing is easier because you have more fixing in a larger pool and because the first mulligan is free, so you can mulligan a color-screwed hand.
  • Synergy: The larger pool also means decks can be more synergy-based. Always check if you have a high number of good build-arounds for one of the archetypes.
  • All-in on a type possible: If you have strong cards that highly reward you for playing as many creatures as possible or as many instants/sorceries as possible, it’s easier to go “all-in” on such a theme in 2HG because there’s a second deck to fill the gaps. It’s fine if you have no removal at all if your teammate has them all, or if you have no finishers at all if your teammate has those.
  • Single Stategy: Both decks should have the same game plan, offensive or defensive. In other words, both decks should be built to end the game or to stall the game. If one is offensive while the other is defensive, you’ll be suboptimal at all stages of the game. For example if you have one deck full of beaters and one deck full of removal, the second deck should be effective at removing blockers. That way both decks still work towards the same goal, ending the game.
  • Play or draw: In 2HG sealed it’s often correct to choose to draw if you’re not hyper aggressive. The two extra cards are a significant difference and it’s easier to stall boards.
  • Evasion: With more creatures on both sides board stalls happen very quickly so evasion is king. Flying is especially important both on offense and defense. Menace on the other hand is much worse with twice as many potential blockers.
  • Counterspells: Much better in 2HG. With two spell-casting opponents it’s unlikely you’ll keep mana up for nothing, there are more must-answer bombs overall, and the risk of not doing anything for a turn is less problematic if your teammate advances your board.
  • Situational Answers: Color hosers, creature pinging, plummets and naturalizes are normally very situational, but with two opponents it’s more likely they have a target. Some could be worth running maindeck.

TRIBAL

The main theme of Ixalan is tribal synergies and those get much better if you have 2 prerelease pools worth of Dinosaurs. There are a lot of “threshold 1” bonuses (if you control a dinosaur, get a fixed bonus) that don’t get significantly better, but here are the cards without a ceiling that do reward you for going all in on a tribe.

DINOSAURS

    

    

Kinjalli’s Caller | Otepec Huntmaster | Thundering Spineback | Regisaur Alpha

PIRATES

    

    

Dire Fleet Captain | Fell Flagship

VAMPIRES

    

Bishop of the Bloodstained | Deathless Ancient | Sanctum Seeker

MERFOLK

    

Deeproot Waters | River Sneak

ALL

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OTHER CATEGORIES

  1. More Players
  2. More Creatures
  3. More Life
  4. Helps Teammate
  5. Teammate Helps
  6. Less Situational
  7. Hidden Duds

Some cards have individual comments but most cards will just be listed at the top of one of these categories. The cards without comments are roughly sorted by how relevant their ability is for 2HG sealed.


MORE PLAYERS

These cards affect all opponents (or players). With two opponents these abilities are twice as effective!

Vicious Conquistador

This one is too easily blocked in 2HG to really be exciting.

Trove of Temptation

This card gets better in 2 ways: first of all it can force two creatures to attack, but having a teammate also means it’s more likely there will be profitable blocks.

Jace, Cunning Castaway

Because the first ability triggers separate for each player, you can loot twice in 2HG if you have multiple unblocked creatures and assign their combat damage to different players.


MORE CREATURES

These cards affect all creatures, or all creatures your opponents control. They scale well in 2HG because two opponents mean twice as many creatures you can destroy or affect.

    

    

    

Raging Swordtooth | Fiery Cannonade | Rampaging Ferocidon | Bloodcrazed Paladin | Kinjalli’s Sunwing | Wakening Sun’s Avatar | Star of Extinction

Revel in Riches

This cards gets better in multiple ways. First of all with 2 creature-casting opponents you get twice as many Treasures from this. Secondly with the bigger pool you can play more Treasure generators yourself. And lastly because of more frequent board stalls having an alternate win condition is very relevant.

Boneyard Parley

This card also gets better in multiple ways. Of course there are twice as many graveyards to choose from, but because decks are more bomb-heavy and removal-heavy, there’s also a much bigger chance there are multiple bombs for this to choose.


MORE LIFE

In 2HG you start with 30 life rather than 20.

    

Dire Fleet Ravager | Vraska, Relic Seeker | Vona, Butcher of Magan


HELPS TEAMMATE

A lot of beneficial cards don’t allow you to help your teammate or teammate’s creatures as they simply say “you” or “you control”. Here are the notable cards that do allow you to help your teammate. As most auras and combat tricks always allow you to target your teammate’s creatures, they won’t be listed here by default.

    

Shapers of Nature | Dinosaur Stampede | Overflowing Insight

Perilous Voyage

Unlike most bounce spells this can’t bounce your own cards, but it can bounce your teammate’s cards!

   


Blossom Dryad | New Horizons

These cards do something pretty unique; they can ramp (and in the case of Horizons fix) your teammate.

Swashbuckling

The haste here is much more relevant if you can add it to your teammate’s on-curve creature. Auras are very risky though as you face much more removal.


TEAMMATE HELPS

The other side of the coin, these are the cards that get stronger because you have a teammate.

    

Bonded Horncrest | Tilonalli’s Skinshifter


LESS SITUATIONAL

These cards require very specific scenarios to be at their best. With twice as many players it’s more likely for those scenarios to occur.

    

    

Fathom Fleet Cutthroat | Dual Shot | Storm Fleet Arsonist | Deadeye Tracker

Legion’s Judgment

Not as narrow as some of the other cards in this category, but still something that’s normally risky to run in multiples as some decks have very few targets. In 2HG this risk is much lower.


HIDDEN DUDS

Old-Growth Dryads

What’s worse than giving your opponent a free land? Giving them two lands!

Conqueror’s Galleon

With more removal it’s easier for your opponents to keep you off the required 4 power, and it’s also more likely they have enough power to block and kill this.


TOP 15

These are my picks for the cards that have the biggest power increase compared to a normal duel. They’re not the best cards to open overall, bombs are still bombs, good removal is still good removal, etc. These are simply the cards that warrant special attention at a 2HG tournament.

Normally I do 10 commons/uncommons and 5 rares/mythics, but because of the tribal theme I split the first list into tribal cards and general cards. Top 5 tribal commons/uncommons that improve the most:

  1. Otepec Huntmaster
  2. Lightning-Rig Crew
  3. Kinjalli’s Caller
  4. Deathless Ancient
  5. Deeproot Waters

Top 5 general commons/uncommons that improve the most:

  1. Trove of Temptation
  2. Storm Fleet Arsonist
  3. Legion’s Judgment
  4. Dinosaur Stampede
  5. Fathom Fleet Cutthroat

And then the top 5 rares/mythics that gain the most. Again not sorted by absolute power level but power increase:

  1. Revel in Riches
  2. Boneyard Parley
  3. Sanctum Seeker
  4. Kinjalli’s Sunwing
  5. Bloodcrazed Paladin

It would seem that Black and Red are getting a lot of extra oomph in 2HG this set!

Do you agree or disagree with this list? Are you missing a card in this article or comments for a card? How was your experience at the prerelease? Comment below!

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4 thoughts on “Ixalan 2HG Hidden Gems

  1. I didn’t see you mention Swashbuckling. That card’s value shoots up because the haste ability is really nice when you’re enchanting your teammate’s creature the turn they put it down.

  2. Enrage was suprisingly good in Two Headed, keeping off attacks, and having way more tricks to trigger it. Sun-Crowned Hunters really overperformed for example, keeping back massive small dorks, while your ally can get some damage in through the air. Being able to kill an opponents planeswalker with it by redirecting the damage was even better.

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