April 3, 2020

Image Credit:

Daily Dose of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths #2 – Planeswalkers to save us all

Welcome back to the Daily Dose of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. It is time to talk about more of the monstrous new set of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. This huge new set will have giant monsters that will be terrorizing Ikoria. There also must be some saviours, and that's where a couple of trusty new Planeswalkers come in. From what we have seen so far, Ikoria is going to be a very creature heavy set with creatures almost acting like enchantments as well when they Mutate. To keep the balance in the set though, we need some powerful planeswalkers to make sure these creatures are kept in line, but instead, they are here to call on their own creatures to defeat the bigger creatures. Trust me, you’ll see what I mean shortly.

Vivien is back in Ikoria, ready to call on her creature friends to help save the day. Before we get to her though, it’s time to introduce a new Planeswalker. Here is Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast.

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast

Let’s break down the abilities on this planeswalker:

[+1]: Exile the top three cards of your library. Creature cards exiled this way gain "You may cast from exile as long as you control a Lukka planeswalker." – This truly has the possibility of being a replacement for cards like Experimental Frenzy when it comes to refilling your hand for Mono-Red decks. I like the fact that even if Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast dies, you can still cast all the spells you’ve exiled if you eventually put another onto the battlefield.

[-2]: Exile target creature you control, then reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a creature card with higher converted mana cost. Put that card onto the battlefield and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order. – This acts as a Birthing Pod-like effect that will improve any creature you have on the battlefield. It works very well with creatures you have stolen from your opponent or token creatures like those from Chandra, Acolyte of Flame that you would have to sacrifice anyways. If you know your decklist well enough you can often make sure you are getting the highest casting cost creature in your deck. A great designed ability that should be fun to use. Its randomness with a bit of deckbuilding ability built-in.

[-7]: Each creature you control deals damage equal to its power to each opponent. – This is an ultimate ability for sure, that could win the game outright and only takes you three turns to activate. If you can cast creatures using its first ability, you could accumulate a lot of power onto the battlefield quickly.

Overall, I think this is a great planeswalker that would be well-suited at the top end of a Mono-Red deck or the top end of a Gruul aggro deck. Could also see play in a Rakdos Sacrifice deck as well.

The colour that enjoys collecting all your favourite creature friends the most though is green. So here is Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate to help you cast all the creatures you could ever hope for.

Vivien, Monster's Advocate

It is a little bit concerning that she starts with only 3 loyalty, but by the looks of it you should have enough creatures to be able to protect it. Let’s break down the abilities on this planeswalker:

You may look at the top card of your library any time. – This is always a great ability, no matter what card it is on. Being able to have more information than your opponent will help you make your plays.

You may cast creature spells from the top of your library. – Combined with the other static ability above, this is a game-changer on its own and would be great as just an enchantment, let alone a planeswalker. It’s like a creature Experimental Frenzy for green in which you can also cast spells from your hand and have added planeswalker abilities.

[+1]: Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token. Put your choice of a vigilance counter, a reach counter, or a trample counter on it. – This provides great flexibility when it comes to protecting Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate. Vigilance will allow you to stay on the attack while still saving yourself from a return attack. Reach is the ultimate defensive ability allowing you to protect against flying creatures. Trample provides the ultimate offensive ability, allowing you to get through pesky token creatures that are trying to chump block you. All these creatures would also be great to mutate on top of as well.

[-2]: When you cast your next creature spell this turn, search your library for a creature card with lesser converted mana cost, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library. – This has the possibility of being a great card advantage ability if your deck is built the right way. It’s also a way to shuffle your library if you don’t have a creature to cast with the static ability. It’s the opposite of Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast’s middle ability, but it does allow you to specifically search for a particular creature like a super Cascade effect.

Overall, I’m always a fan of card advantage cards, but I’m unsure it will be able to replace Nissa, Who Shakes the World as the current best Standard green planeswalker.

There you have it, two planeswalkers that are ready to go straight into your creature heavy Standard decks. It’s nice to see some planeswalkers that aren’t three mana and that won’t warp the format in the coming months. The return of the big planeswalkers has come! Thanks again for joining me on the Daily Dose of Ikoria. Join me again next week as previews continue to roll out at a fast pace.