Daily Dose of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths #1 – Mutating Monsters


Welcome back to an all-new season of the Daily Dose of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Pandemonium has hit Ikoria and monsters are running rampant around the wonderful new setting of Ikoria. These monsters though have a little something new to them, which is the brand new Mutate mechanic. That’s right, these creatures can be on their own or mutated onto another creature, somewhat like the Bestow mechanic. I’m a big fan when Magic can add a new design space where it allows players to open their imagination and see where it can take them. Here is an example of one of those cards: Huntmaster Liger.

Here is how Mutate works as a mechanic. You can cast either Huntmaster Liger as a regular 4-mana creature as a 3/4 or you can cast if for its mutate cost and place it on top of or below an existing creature you have. Here is an example of what it would look like if you mutated onto a Gilded Goose.

When you mutate Huntmaster Liger on top of the Gilded Goose it becomes a four-mana 3/4 creature with all the abilities and text boxes of both cards. When you mutate Huntmaster Liger underneath Gilded Goose it is a 1-mana 0/2 with all the abilities and text boxes of both cards. In both cases, any Mutate abilities on either card will trigger, in this case, other creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn. The advantages of mutating a creature onto another one is that you are able to cast it often for less mana (3 vs 4 in this case), but you will only have one total permanent on the battlefield and not two if you didn’t mutate it and paid its normal 4-mana casting cost as a creature.

Are you worried about losing your mutated spell if your opponent kills the creature you are mutating it on? Nothing to worry about here. When you Mutate onto a creature, if the creature you are mutating onto is removed from the battlefield, you don’t lose it and it gets cast in its normal creature form. No 2-for-1 removal from your opponent on this one. This unloads a ton of potential for Mutate cards in which their mutate cost is less than the actual cost of the creature spell. It allows you to mutate it onto a card like Cauldron Familiar and while the mutate spell is on the stack, you can sacrifice Cauldron Familiar to a Witch’s Oven, allowing your mutated spell to come onto the battlefield in its normal creature state.

As you can see there are so many possibilities and interactions with this mechanic that will be broken down in the coming month before set release. Now though, is the time to show you another creature with Mutate. Here is Vadrok, Apex of Thunder.

As you can see, this card comes in 3 different arts in this set, including regular, showcase and Godzilla Monster version. With Godzilla Monster cards, they have the same name (Vadrok, Apex of Thunder in this case) for the purpose of deckbuilding and are the same card other than the change in art and special Godzilla monster name. Let’s first talk about just casting it as a creature. If you were to do that you would get a 3/3 Flying, First Strike creature for only 3-mana. Not too shabby for this Elemental Dinosaur Cat. If you were to be patient and instead pay its Mutate cost to put it underneath a card like Rotting Regisaur (ignore my magical Christmas-land of mana requirements) you would have something that looks like this.

This leaves you with a 7/6 Flying, First Strike creature that because you mutated Vadrok, Apex of Thunder on to it, you get to cast target noncreature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard without paying its mana cost. Not bad for spending 4-mana that only puts you potentially into two colours thanks to its hybrid Mutate mana cost.

Some other cool things about mutating creatures is that you don’t have to stop at just one mutation. You can Mutate a creature multiple times giving it more and more abilities and powers to work with. Be careful though, because if your opponent can remove your mutated creature from the battlefield, all the cards on the mutated creature will go to your graveyard.

As you can see, the possibilities for creature mutations are limitless and it will be interesting to see what your imagination can come up with when it comes to deckbuilding with these cards. Thanks again for joining me on a brand-new season of the Daily Dose. Join me again tomorrow as I talk about some of the new Planeswalkers that will attempt to save us from these deadly monsters.

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