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Ikoria Lair of Behemoths Top 10…Take Two

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Here we are again. Ikoria has just been released in paper, but we have had a number of weeks to really dig into what Standard with Ikoria has to offer. In my experience, the format has a lot of different things to offer every type of player. The cycling deck has broken into Standard from its dominant draft roots. Mutate provides an array of decision trees from gamestate to gamestate and game to game. The Companions have split the community into those who love the play patterns and mechanic in general; and those who loathe it entirely. We’ll discuss the Companions more at a later date.

This is my original top ten list for Ikoria Lair of Behemoths and my honorable mentions from our Ikoria Top Ten episode of Destroy Target Permanent podcast.

  1. Song of Creation

  2. Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

  3. Sea-Dasher Octopus

  4. Vadrok, Apex of Thunder

  5. Yidaro, Wandering Monster

  6. Tri-Cycle Lands

  7. Heartless Act

  8. Lore Drakkis

  9. Inspired Ultimatum/Narset of the Old Ways

  10. General Kudro of Drannith

Let’s take a look at the list and where I believe those cards stand now that I’ve had time to play with them.

First up, General Kudro of Drannith. The problem that this card has in standard currently is that it’s just a little “small-ball” for what the other decks are able to do. I would imagine that if standard wasn’t solely about the large mana boosts and “going tall” with large creatures and effects, General Kudro would be a slam dunk in the format. The plus side for General Kudro of Drannith is that it gives a serious boost to Modern Humans and enables the Humans deck in Pioneer. However, at this point I wouldn’t have it in my top ten.

Secondly, we are split between Inspired Ultimatum and Narset of the Old Ways. I placed these together originally because I believed that they would see play in the same style of deck without branching into other archetypes. While this assumption held true for a time, it did not hold true to this date. The Fires of Invention decks immediately adopted the new walker, the Ultimatum only saw fringe play at best. That’s not to say that neither of these cards are good or lack potential, it just may not be their time in the format. Narset of the Old Ways was the new toy for Fires decks but, even that has changed now. Jeskai Lukka has become the de facto Fires list and it doesn’t play Narset. As of this moment, Inspired Ultimatum is out of the top ten and Narset of the Old Ways takes the number ten spot.

Lore Drakkis comes in at the number eight spot and it’s our first Mutate creature. I believe that this card still has a lot of potential and we just haven’t found the right home for it yet. That being said, Lore Drakkis stays in the number eight slot.

Next up we have Heartless Act, this card seemed “unconditional” when it was originally previewed. That is not the case when put into practice. There are numerous ways to add some sort of counter to your creatures thus making Heartless Act much more difficult to serve as a removal spell. It is still a perfectly serviceable removal spell for black decks, make no mistake about it, it just fails to hit the mark I believed it would. Exit, stage left for Heartless Act.

The Tri-Cycle Lands, or Triomes (Indatha, Ketria, Raugrin, Savai, Zagoth) are seeing exactly the impact that I believed they would have in Constructed. The hype around the new lands from Ikoria was rather lackluster, the same response players had to the Temples from the original Theros block. The Temples proved themselves and so will the Triomes. Sure they drop a few slots on my top ten, nothing more to say here.

Who doesn’t like the idea of a giant turtle with haste? Yidaro, Wandering Monster is the second biggest disappointment for me. I believed that this card was going to be a great control/midrange finisher and it fell flatter than I could’ve imagined. The makeup of the Standard format at the moment is about going as big as you can, as fast as you can (I’m looking at you Agent of Treachery) or doing the same but through controlling the gamestate and then going big (again, Agent of Treachery rears its head). I have to admit that I didn't really take into account how rarely you may find four copies of Yidaro within a given game. In my experience, Yidaro enters the battlefield through being cast rather than the triggered ability from being cycled. Yidaro, Wandering Monster exits the top ten.