Ikoria is a plane from Magic: The Gathering that takes place during Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Penned as the "Giant Monsters" plane, Ikoria has a large emphasis on creatures, and playing around with what a creature can do. The plane itself houses mysterious Ikorian crystals, found mostly in regions called Triomes. These triomes have odd magic powers, and when creatures are exposed to their influence, they begin to mutate and gain new traits. Notably, WoTC teamed up with TOHO to create the Godzilla Series alt-art promos, so people who get lucky or are willing to shell out some dosh can play with Godzilla and friends on the table. As a creature-centric set, Vivien Reid is there doing her own thing, as well as a new planeswalker named Lukka. This set also continues the "non-human tribal" theme introduced in Eldraine, as humans carve their own existence in magic walled cities. Certain humans become bonders, or eludha in-universe, who form a special bond with companion creatures.
Every Triome has a dominant species and Apex Predator.
- Savai: A plain-filled (and therefore white-focused) Triome where the dominant species is Cats. It is a mostly arid climate with winged cats that rule both air and ground. Snapdax is the Apex Predator of this realm, and in ancient times, constantly wrecked human settlements. In game, Snaxdax is a Mardu double striking Dinosaur Cat Nightmare that upon mutation, casts a better version of Lightning Helix.
- Drannith: A massive human city, the only one of its kind on Ikoria. It is probably green-focused, as the humans who call this place home and fight for the right to exist wear green, magic crystals as part of their armor. The Coppercoats or the Drannith Defense Force are the vanguards of humanity.
- Ketria: A river-filled (and therefore blue-focused) Triome where the dominant species is Elementals. Illuna is the Apex Predator of the Triome, who weaves dreams and monsters alike using her mysterious powers. No one is quite sure what they create, as every person who bears witness to the story says something different. In game, Illuna is a Temur big Flying Trampler (or Flampler, if you will) that lets you rip cards off the top until you find a nonland permanent, and lets you cheat it onto the battlefield or put it in your hand.
- Indatha: A swamp dominated (and therefore black-focused) Triome where Nightmares rule the lands. Nethroi is the Abzan Apex Predator of the Triome, who can call back dead spirits, and uses whispers to slowly drive people insane. in game, Nethroi can reanimate any number of creatures with combined power 10 or less when you mutate him.
- Skysail: A fleet of linked balloon cities that use the power of flight to avoid monsters, evading migration patterns. Their people are known as a bold and brave people, as making your home in the skies comes with their own problems.
- Raugrin: A volcano-infested (and therefore red-focused) Triome where Dinosaurs rule the land. Volcanoes constantly expand the coastline, where the dinos hunt and fight. Vadrok is the Apex Predator of the Triome, wielding crystal magics and fire breath that burn the skies themselves. in game, Vadrox is the Jeskai Apex, allowing you to grab cheap spells and cast them again upon mutation.
- Zagoth: Another swamp dominated (but apparently green-focused) Triome where Beasts rule. Brokkos rules the land as a gentle-hearted Apex Predator that is nigh unstoppable. Brokkos is the Sultai Apex Predator, able to be cast as a mutation even in the graveyard.
Mechanics and Themes
- Mutate: The newest and weirdest mechanic in the set, and the feature teased by Mark Rosewater to be the "craziest mechanic in Magic history". When you cast a creature with Mutate, you can have them appear on the battlefield as a regular creature, or if you pay the cost, you can have it enter as a mutation. When you cast a creature as a mutation, you put that card on top of, or on the bottom of another non-human creature. A mutated creature has the stat block of whatever is on top, plus whatever was in the textbox of the creature on the bottom. If a creature is on the stack ready to mutate, and the creature it was going to mutate would die, you still get the card that was on the stack. You can mutate a creature as many times as you want.
- Companion: A sort of pseudo-commander in a standard set. When you have a card with companion, and you meet the conditions that the card has, you can declare that creature as your Companion.
You can then cast it from your sideboardand once it is in the game, it acts as if was always in your deck. It goes to the graveyard on death, can get exiled, etc. If you want, you can completely ignore the Companion part of the card, and put it in your deck as normal. Since release, the Companion cards have made quite the splash in many constructed formats, with many people calling for a mass banning of the companion cards. Rather than Ban the whole mechanic, WotC changed the mechanic so if you have a designated companion in your sideboard, you can pay 3 generic mana to add it to your hand (and are no longer able to cast it directly from your sideboard).
- Keyword Counters: Simply put, certain spells on Ikoria can put Keyword Counters on creatures. This works just like +1/+1 counters, but it's abilities instead.
- Cycling: A much-beloved limited mechanic is coming back. Don't like a card in your hand? Cycle it and get something new.
- Odd or Even: Many cards in the set have you choose even or odd when they come onto the battlefield, or otherwise care about whether a spell has an even or odd CMC. Remember, 0 is considered an even number.
Cards and Cycles
- The Triome Cycle, also known as the Tricycle Lands. These 5 Wedge-themed lands have all of the respective "types" of the mana they can tap for (EX: Ketria Triome is a Forest Island Mountain) that come into play tapped and can cycle themselves for 3 generic mana. Since they are considered three types of land at the same time, they can be searched out using Fetchlands.
- The Mythos Cycle: Each of the Apex Predators have an accompanying Mythos card lovingly rendered by Seb Mckinnon. These cards based in one color, but have bonus effects if you cast them for their corresponding Wedge color. (EX: [Mythos of Nethroi] is normally Murder, but if you cast it using Green and White mana, it becomes more like an Assassin's Trophy without a downside.)
- The Wedge Ultimata: Finishing out the Ultimata from Alara, the Wedge Ultimata are super flashy, super-powerful spells that are damn hard to cast. At least two of them give you so much value, you almost win on the spot if you resolve them.
- Luminous Broodmoth: One of the reasons why people think White is good in Commander now (it's not but this certainly helps.) For 4 mana you get a respectable body that Reanimates, and UPGRADES your board if it gets wiped.
- Shark Typhoon [Insert Sharknado Joke here]. Besides being an obvious homage to a meme, Shark Typhoon is actually a pretty damn good card. The best part is, you don't even really have to cast it normally to get some value, as if you cycle the card, you get an instant speed, nigh-uncounterable blocker.
|Settings of Magic: The Gathering|
|Pre-revisionist:||First Magic Sets - First Urza Block - Arabian Nights |
Legends - Homelands - Ice Age - Mirage
|Weatherlight Saga:||Portal Starter Sets - Second Urza Block |
Tempest Block - Masques Block - Invasion Block
|Post-Weatherlight:||Otaria Block - Mirrodin - Kamigawa - Ravnica - Time Spiral|
|After the Mending:||Lorwyn - Alara - Zendikar - New Phyrexia |
Innistrad - Return to Ravnica - Theros - Tarkir - Eldraine - Ikoria
|Two-Block Paradigm:||Kaladesh - Amonkhet - Ixalan|
|Post Two-Block Paradigm:||Eldraine - Ikoria - Kaldheim - Strixhaven|
|Never in a standard set:||Fiora (Where the Conspiracy sets take place) - Kylem (Battlebond)|