6 Impactful Cards for Standard

Javier Dominguez

Javier Dominguez

Introduction

Hola!

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is finally here and there are a lot of new exciting cards to try.

Today, I’m here to write about my perspective on what cards are going to be the most impactful cards of the set. We have the Companions, of course, but there are also some cards like the new tri-lands, the Triomes, that are going to improve certain archetypes.

Indatha TriomeKetria TriomeRaugrin Triome
Savai TriomeZagoth Triome

Most Companions are very restrictive in terms of where you can play them, but there are some that more or less naturally fit into existing archetypes, and that’s why those decks are likely to be among the strongest decks on the first weeks.

Let’s have a look at Ikoria: Lair of Companions!

《Keruga, the Macrosage》

Keruga, the Macrosage

《Keruga, the Macrosage》 is probably the easiest Companion to build, since it almost naturally fits into the 《Fires of Invention》 deck. The biggest thing deck needs to adapt is the removal of 《Aether Gust》 which was mostly a filler anyway, it loses the ability to sideboard certain cards like 《Devout Decree》. Overall, though, I expect 《Fires of Invention》 to be a better deck because of Keruga.

Decklist

Legion Warboss

Keruga also makes it so 《Robber of the Rich》 can’t be on our sideboard, but 《Legion Warboss》 can take that slot once again, since it also provides another permanent that costs 3 or more for Keruga’s enters the battlefield ability.

Fires position in the metagame will really depend on how the rest of the decks play, since I expect this archetype to struggle against midrange decks that have ways to interact with Fires, even if Keruga makes those matchups better.

More importantly, I expect Keruga Fires to prey on…

《Lurrus of the Dream-Den》

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

《Lurrus of the Dream-Den》 is clearly extremely powerful for formats like Modern, Legacy and Vintage. Some people are even claiming it is one of the strongest cards they’ve printed in the last years! Lurrus is very good in a pool of older cards full of overpowered cards that cost 1 or 2 mana. What about Standard, though? I think it is also very good there!

Decklist

We’ve seen Stephen Croke “crokeyz” reached the first spot on the MTG Arena ladder with this decklist just a few days after the Ikoria release, and I think it is a good starting point for a Lurrus deck. The idea behind 《Lurrus of the Dream-Den》 in this kind of deck is that you can just play on having the Lurrus effect around, so cards that are there just to be sacrificed are guaranteed to have a chance to come back as long as you have lands.

Serrated Scorpion

《Serrated Scorpion》 is also a good pickup for a strategy like this since it is an expendable body that comes with some lifedrain attached to it, ready to be re-casted with Lurrus, the most important card of the deck. I think this archetype has a lot of potential because it can deal 20 damage relatively fast, but it can also win a grindy game with cards like Lurrus and 《Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger》.

Lots of players expected Lurrus to be very good since the day it was revealed, even if most of us certainly were short in terms of how good it could be. However, there is a Companion most players did not see coming, including myself. It is making waves in all formats.

《Gyruda, Doom of Depths》

Enter 《Gyruda, Doom of Depths》.

Gyruda, Doom of Depths

Gyruda looked to me as one of those semi-casual cards that never see much competitive play. I was really wrong. Not only it has shown the world it can provide a turn-1 kill in formats like Legacy, but also is taking a strong position on the race for the best deck in Standard.

This is what Magic Pro League (MPL) player Ondrej Strasky has been playing:

Decklist

Thassa, Deep-DwellingCharming PrinceSpark Double

The idea behind most Gyruda Standard decks is that once Gyruda comes into play, you get many triggers thanks to the effects like 《Thassa, Deep-Dwelling》, 《Charming Prince》, or 《Spark Double》. The interaction with 《Spark Double》 and Gyruda is what really breaks the card, since it becomes relatively likely to end with a huge board even if we started the turn with only lands.

The metagame will likely adapt relatively fast, but the raw power of 《Gyruda, Doom of Depths》 is very high and will likely punish every deck without a plan to interact with it, which is not very easy. Gyruda might be good enough to split the metagame between decks that go under it and decks that are strongly focused to beat it. We will see!

Ashiok's Erasure

What we are starting to see, though, are cards like 《Ashiok’s Erasure》 against Gyruda, since it answers all copies at the same time.

Fiend Artisan

Also from Ikoria, we can see 《Fiend Artisan》 in this decklist, a card I expect to see in many different decks that try to combo with different creature engines like Gyruda itself or 《Risen Reef》 decks.

《Yorion, Sky Nomad》

Yorion, Sky Nomad

I also expected 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 to not see much play in constructed, since I assumed playing 80 cards instead of 60 would lead into serious consistency issues. What I didn’t really take that much into account is that you would get a synergistic additional card for free in exchange, which can make up the fact that we won’t draw certain cards that often.

Omen of the SeaOath of KayaAtris, Oracle of Half-TruthsElspeth Conquers Death

You can really try to build a Yorion decks in many different ways, and I think exploring is part of the fun. I expect some Esper/Bant decks to work very well with it: 《Omen of the Sea》, 《Oath of Kaya》, 《Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths》, 《Elspeth Conquers Death》… we don’t really need to play anything that we wouldn’t play anyway just to make Yorion great! I think that is a sign for a potentially very good Companion.

Fires of Invention

One interaction that also caught my eyes was 《Fires of Invention》, since you can play 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 as your second spell, exile Fires, and then also play an additional spell using the mana from your lands because your Fires would not be on the battlefield. You can play an 《Elspeth Conquers Death》 as your first spell and then exile it with Yorion to get a massive amount of value!

Decklist

Yorion is full of possibilities. It is now time to explore them!

《Kaheera, the Orphanguard》

We can also find 《Kaheera, the Orphanguard》, which is a completely different card.

Kaheera, the Orphanguard

On the first look, I assumed Kaheera would have a spot on a potential elemental deck, or even a cat deck with enough support. However, now I think its biggest upside is being a free creature in a creatureless planeswalker deck.

Decklist

If you decide your deck doesn’t want to play any creature in the 75, having Kaheera as a Companion is essentially free, and if you play a planeswalker deck, you could really use a blocker. Particularly if it is free in terms of card advantage. Kaheera gets even better post-sideboard, where your opponent will find themselves in a situation where you have no creature in your deck, but you are also guaranteed to draw 1 every game, which puts creature interaction in an awkward spot. I can see Kaheera being potentially better than 《Dream Trawler》 in control decks like this.

But… Not everyone in Ikoria is a Companion!

One of the cards I want to explore the most is 《Winota, Joiner of Forces》.

《Winota, Joiner of Forces》

Winota, Joiner of Forces

Winota needs a decent amount of non-Human creatures to attack with and then some good Human payoffs. Luckily for this legendary warrior, both 《Agent of Treachery》 and 《Kenrith, the Returned King》 are Human!

Agent of TreacheryKenrith, the Returned King

This is Martin Juza‘s take on the card:

Decklist

The deck plays an assortment of non-Human creatures to make Winota trigger as well as 《Incubation》 to make it easier to have our keycard in our hand by turn 4.

Raise the AlarmLegion Warboss

I think this deck can also present a reasonable clock with all the token generators like 《Raise the Alarm》 and 《Legion Warboss》, which can finish a game relatively fast. For that reason, I would likely try to sneak a copy or two of 《Castle Embereth》 here, since just swarming the battlefield with a lot of tokens then pumping them is a reasonable B plan.

Aether GustDovin's VetoMystical DisputeNeutralize

Counterspells are likely to be critical against both Gyruda and Keruga decks going forward, so I really like the sideboard options a deck like this has, where it can both win with its own strong combo or just with some pressure backed with countermagic.

Conclusion

That’s it for today! I can’t wait to see where this Ikoria Standard goes!

Javier (Twitter / Twitch)

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Javier Dominguez

Javier Dominguez He is the representative player of Spain. Grand Prix Top 8 is six times, including won the Grand Prix Paris 2014 and Grand Prix Rotterdam 2016 winning victories. At the Pro Tour level, he has brilliant achievement such as winning the 9th place in Pro Tour Battle of Zendikar and Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, and finally top8 in Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. Read more articles by Javier Dominguez