Spoiler season has been upon us for a while, and with Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths in particular we’ve been spoiled with new cards, mainly because the main set was spoiled alongside the Commander 2020 precons. I’ve already gone over the precons and my thoughts on some of the cards contained therein because those spoilers wrapped up a few days ago. Ikoria was fully spoiled this week, so I have combed through the set and pulled out my highlight cards as I tend to do around here. First up, the new promo card:
Yeah, when I first saw this card I thought it was an April fools joke. Apparently WotC made some deal with the company that owns the old school Japanese monster properties, and made cards inspired by them. If you look closely, just underneath his name (Godzilla), you see the MTG name underneath. So they aren’t actually Godzillas, but the premium art version promos are. I guess it’s kinda cool but also pretty hokey. He’s also pretty gimmicky in the type of deck build you’d want him in. Not really interested. Let’s now take a look at the spoilers from the set, in WUBRG order:
I’m surprised that I’m not very excited by many of the cards in this set. I think a big factor is that the commander sets just have more cards in them I’m excited about, but there are still some good cards here, and a lot of chaff that I’m obviously not even highlighting. There are plenty of places to see all of the cards so I’ll leave that part up to you. Anyway, these three cards I highlighted are a couple really powerful cards and then a third that is part of a cycle that I’m not overly thrilled with but they will find places in some decks. Luminous Broodmoth is a pretty interesting card because it recurs creatures without flying from your graveyard when they die, then also puts a flying counter on them. People have already figured out that combined with solemnity, you have an infinite loop if you have a sac outlet. I’m tempted to build some mono-white shenanigans. The Magistrate on the other hand is a more subtle powerhouse. He’s a 1/3 for 2 CMC but packs a powerful line of text: opponents can’t play cards from anywhere besides their hands. This hoses so many value engines it’s amazing. I’ll need a few copies of this one.
Still not a lot of cards here in blue, but I like Shark Typhoon a lot as it is a new version of Metallurgic Summoning, but can be cycled away into one big creature alternatively. It’s expensive, but fun. Escape Protocol is more cycling goodness, as it allows you to blink your artifacts and creatures each time you cycle. The last card is part of the Mythos cycle, and it’s alright.
Not much to like in black either this time around. This is probably because much of the set is multicolored. I do like this fairly cheap exile board wipe effect with Extinction Event, and I really like the new enchantment. Bastion of Remembrance is a Zulaport Cutthroat on an enchantment, so it will be slightly harder to remove than most creatures with this effect. Definitely slotting that one into my aristocrats deck. I actually like the black Mythos, as it’s modular and not too expensive to cast.
Red actually has the most cards I’m interested in of the mono colors. A new Planeswalker Lukka enters the fold, but he’s not all that interesting. Unpredictable Cyclone is a new version of Possibility Storm and it’s not bad. The Mythos is pretty bad. Flame Spill pushes design boundaries a bit in that it is the first damage spell I’ve seen that effectively has trample stapled onto it. I also really like Footfall Crater, as it’s a cheap land enchantment that can give trample and haste to a creature each turn, along with having cycling. Finally, the Rooting Moloch is interesting in the fact that it can give one of your cycling cards flashback, and that can be powerful if used correctly.
A good showing for green this time as well, with a new version of Viven, our King Kong inspired creature (that’s actually pretty good for most green beater decks) and the Mythos is one of the better ones. Colossification is just insane in the right deck, as it gives a creature +20/+20, but it taps the creature as a downside. With plenty of ways to untap said creature in Magic, I assume this will be responsible for many commander damage deaths. I know a few I have that could use it. Finally, Barrier Breach is a fantastic value for 3 mana, letting you exile up to three enchantments.
When it comes to multi-colored cards, there are far too many here I wanted to highlight so I won’t go over them individually. There are a few cycles of cards present here: A cycle of creatures that are three colored and all have mutate, the ones I’ve included are those I feel are most playable in my format. There’s the cycle of Ultimatums, that follow the design of an older card Cruel Ultimatum. I really like the mardu one the best, but many of them are pretty good. There’s a cycle of 2 color legendaries, but most of them are pretty specific and not doing things I’m doing with my decks at the moment. There’s also a cycle of 3 color enchantments and I highlighted the ones I liked best. Also, Narset makes a new appearance as a Planeswalker, and she got some extra colors back. Some good stuff is here, check out the cards above.
When it came to lands the biggest surprise was a new set of tri-lands, each being 3 separate land types (aka fetchable). They also have cycling and I think they’ll see play in decks that aren’t as competitive. There’s a matching set of artifacts that also tap for one of 3 colors along with having cycling. We only saw one other new land that allows card draw in decks that are running big creatures. There were only a couple of other artifacts that I liked, and one colorless creature that is essentially a ramp card and worth using in decks that need an extra one.
Overall I’m not super hyped for this set but there are some supporting cards that I’ll want to get copies of. We still have a month or so to wait so I guess I’ll get to brewing in the meantime.