Hello everyone =)
I have to say that my excitement about Ikora: Lair of Behemoths is at its climax. I want to be honest though, my initial reaction when I saw the first preview cards wasn’t very promising. I was a bit confused with the alternative arts, mechanics and didn’t get any high hopes for this set. As more cards appeared and I learned a little better the set’s theme, my initial impression started changing and I began believing in it again. Now I’m super hyped for what’s coming.
Even though I really liked and enjoyed the pre-Ikoria Standard format, I was starting to feel a bit bored and tired of playing the same matchups. Ikora came out right on time to shake things up and bring some freshness to the pool.
My Favorite Card in This Set – 《Song of Creation》
Let’s jump into this new set, today I want to talk about one of my favorite cards in this set: 《Song of Creation》.
I know, you’ll think there’s no surprise there, just another powerful 4 mana enchantment that does some pretty wild stuff, but you can’t blame me, it’s super interesting.
Let’s try to break it down line by line:
After seeing the whole picture, you understand that this isn’t a card you can just randomly put in a deck, it needs a build-around shell. The question is: are we able to find it?
Finding a Home for 《Song of Creation》
What we need to make it work:
(A) Ramp Package
Both are the cheapest and most efficient ways to ramp in the first few turns of the game. They are very helpful in trying to resolve a 《Song of Creation》 as fast as possible, and they work well when you already have the enchantment in play.
(B) Graveyard Fuel
The sad part about 《Song of Creation》 is that we need to discard our whole hand, so we need a plan for the turn after we resolve the enchantment, especially if we draw a land the next turn.
It’s a must in this deck. First it fuels graveyard to feed 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 and mills 《Radical Idea》. Being an Adventure is also key, since it lets you cast it and have a backup spell for next turn when you have no cards in hand, letting you draw two cards and hopefully keep chaining spells.
《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 works amazing as well. It ramps, it gains some crucial life and it’s also a real threat that you can cast when you start your turn empty handed.
It is a role player. It helps you find the cards you want to hit early and then it’s more than decent when you have the enchantment in play. 2 mana discard 1 and draw 3. I can get behind that.
It’s self-explanatory. It does everything you need in the deck. It finds 《Song of Creation》, brings it back from graveyard if you milled it or was destroyed, mills your graveyard buddies and it’s also a permanent that remains in play after you hellbent yourself.
Testing this deck, I’ve realized that you need one copy of this card. You can play your 《Thassa’s Oracle》 early and do not worry about milling the other copies or Tamiyo.
You need a lot of them. You want to ramp and you want to have a lot in play to go off. I will say 29 is enough, but time will tell which is the correct amount. Gladly we also have in Ikora the beautiful 《Ketria Triome》, a triland that not only fixes all your colors, but can be exchanged for a card Cycling it.
(D) How Do We Win
We shouldn’t forget this crucial part. Because as appealing it is to draw lots of cards and have recurring stuff, we need to close the game. Sometimes Uro might be enough, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, he is doing a lot of other stuff, so let’s help him out a little bit. I think the deck can draw and mill pretty wildly, so 《Thassa’s Oracle》 comes to mind. I think it can be a consistent win condition, with the capacity to help in early turns blocking and manipulating your top to find what is needed.
We shouldn’t forget to include 4 of this one. It’s the engine and key card of the deck.
So that leaves us with:
4 《Breeding Pool》
4 《Steam Vents》
4 《Stomping Ground》
4 《Ketria Triome》
3 《Fabled Passage》
3 《Temple of Mystery》
2 《Temple of Epiphany》
-Land (29)- 4 《Arboreal Grazer》
4 《Merfolk Secretkeeper》
4 《Thassa’s Oracle》
4 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》
3 《Radical Idea》
4 《Song of Creation》
3 《Tamiyo, Collector of Tales》
This is probably not the optimal build for this deck, but it’s a great starting point. We will have to play and also see how the metagame will take shape. There are also some cards that might be relevant to consider:
I can see running 2 of them in the maindeck and have some sweet sideboard cards prepared. For example: 《Chandra, Awakened Inferno》, 《Storm’s Wrath》, 《Planewide Celebration》, 《Mass Manipulation》, 《Underworld Breach》, etc.
A pretty cheap threat that can be a sweet win condition taking the place of 《Thassa’s Oracle》. In theory I like more the Oracle, but for sure I will try this one.
What I find interesting about these options is the ability to play the Adventure part and have stuff to do after discarding your hand. Also, this deck has no interaction, so maybe they will be needed. But I think it’s just not enough to make the cut yet.
Even though I really want this deck to work, it might not be the time. Maybe with the following set people will chill on cards like 《Aether Gust》 maindeck or maybe it is powerful enough that can present decent battle right now.
Bonus Track – Izzet Phoenix
Just in case, I want to give you another decklist of a deck that I think very powerful and will be battling with no fear the current metagame.
4 《Steam Vents》
1 《Ketria Triome》
4 《Temple of Epiphany》
-Land (22)- 4 《Sprite Dragon》
3 《Rielle, the Everwise》
4 《Arclight Phoenix》
4 《Cathartic Reunion》
4 《Thrill of Possibility》
3 《Finale of Promise》
2 《Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor》
2 《Lava Coil》
2 《The Royal Scions》
That’s all for today. Hope you are as excited as I am to try the new cards and to see some changes in the current Standard format. Thanks for reading =)
Have fun and stay home.