Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths

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Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
 
 
 
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
ILB logo.png
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description A monstrous eye
Design Mark Rosewater (lead)
Andrew Veen
Corey Bowen
David Humpherys
Peter Lee[1]
Development David Humpherys (lead)
Andrew Brown
George Fan
Donald Smith, Jr
Jiachen Tao
Gavin Verhey[2]
Art direction Several[3]
Release date April 17, 2020 (Asia)
May 15, 2020 (other)
Plane Ikoria
Themes and
mechanics
Human tribal, keyword counters, wedge colors
Keywords and/
or ability words
Mutate, companion, cycling
Set size 274
+ 1 Buy-a-Box promo
+ 3 borderless planeswalkers
+ 35 showcase cards
+ 50 extended art cards
+ 1 bundle promo
+ 5 dark-frame promos
+ 18 box toppers
Expansion code IKO[4]
Development codename Cricket
Non-block expansions
Theros Beyond Death Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Zendikar Rising
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Challenger Decks 2020 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Commander 2020
Expansion symbol

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, often shortened as Ikoria, is the 84th Magic expansion. It was originally scheduled to be released on April 24, 2020. Due to the 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic, the paper release was advanced to April 17, 2020 for Asia, and delayed until May 15, 2020 for the other continents, while Magic Online and MTG Arena release on April 16, 2020. Despite this, the cards become legal in Standard and other formats on April 24, 2020, the original release date.[5][6][7][8][9]

Set details[edit | edit source]

“  There's Always a Bigger Monster  ”

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths makes use of monster movie tropes,[10] and is especially inspired by Kaiju (a Japanese genre of films featuring giant monsters like Godzilla).[11] The set is mostly designed bottom-up, but there are also some top-down individual card designs.[12] Monsters are the focal point of the set. Monsters are fighting other monsters, and monsters are fighting humans and their cities.[11] As in Core 2020, the Gainlands appear over the basic lands in about 5/12 boosters.

The set contains 274 cards (15 basic lands, 111 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares), and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. A unique Buy-a-Box promotional card is also considered to be part of the set. Cards with an alternate card frames have another card number than the original version. The Buy-a-Box is #275, borderless planeswalkers are numbered #276-278, Showcase cards are numbered #279-313, and the extended artwork cards are numbered #314-363. The Bundle promo is numbered #364, and the the FNM-treatment cards from the universal promo pack are numbered #365-369. Finally, there are Godzilla Series Monster cards that are numbered #370-387. Both regular and foil versions of most of these cards may be found in the Collector Boosters.

The set's expansion symbol is a monstrous eye. The Showcase cards are connected to the mutate mechanic. They feature a comic book style.[11]

Storyline[edit | edit source]

The setting is Ikoria, a plane of beasts and monsters.[13] As the world of Ikoria developed, humans quickly realized what types of defenses were needed to stave off monsters. The humans were quick to become both militaristic and ingenious. Unfortunately for the humans, the monsters of Ikoria have begun to mutate and the fortresses that were previously successful at protecting humans have now become fodder for the monsters to annihilate. Featured planeswalkers are Vivien Reid, Lukka and Narset.

The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths are:

Marketing[edit | edit source]

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is sold in regular 16-card Draft Boosters (one card being a marketing card), mono-colored Theme Boosters, Collector Boosters, the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths bundle and five Commander decks.[13] The Draft Boosters feature artwork from Vivien, Monsters' Advocate, Kogla, the Titan Ape and Prickly Marmoset. The Theme Boosters feature art from Titanoth Rex (Monsters), Fight as One ({W}), Frost Lynx ({U}), Cunning Nightbonder ({B}), Porcuparrot ({R}), and Humble Naturalist ({G}). The Collector Boosters feature a showcase version of the key art.

Godzilla Series Monster cards[edit | edit source]

Each booster box contains a box topper.[14] For the box toppers Wizards of the Coast partnered with Toho Corporation to feature its iconic monsters such as Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. These cards are called the Godzilla Series Monster cards.[11]

Each booster box has a single-card Box Topper pack featuring a foil Godzilla Series Monster card. In Japanese boosters, there are 18 different Box topper cards in foil, three of which are only in Japanese. Due to an internal error, these Japanese-only cards do not appear in English or French Collector Boosters.[15] In all other languages, there are 15 different box toppers. WPN stores will have an additional foil Godzilla card as part of the Buy-a-Box promotion.[11]

The 19th card with this treatment is the set's Buy-a-Box card Zilortha, Strength Incarnate, which only exists in its Godzilla Series form.

The 20th card with this treatment is a second Buy-a-Box card through a promotional event; this being Hangarback Walker as Mechagodzilla.[16] The card would not be a part of Ikoria set.

Godzilla Series' card are also featured Magic Online (as a part of Treasure Chests) and MTG Arena. While all 19 cards from Ikoria are featured in Arena, Magic Online only featured 15 cards (The non-Japanese Box Topper cards other than Void Beckoner, as well as the Buy-a-Box). The 3 Japanese-only cards will have their Godzilla name in their supported language in the Arena version.

Events[edit | edit source]

Promotional cards[edit | edit source]

Tokens/emblems/markers[edit | edit source]

Companion marker

The sixteenth card in the boosters is a token, emblem, or marker with advertisements on the back side.[23]

  1. {W} 1/1 Cat creature with lifelink, created by Cubwarden.
  2. {W} 1/1 Cat Bird creature with flying, created by Skycat Sovereign.
  3. {W} 1/1 Human Soldier creature, created by Bastion of Remembrance, Daysquad Marshal, Forbidden Friendship, Garrison Cat, General's Enforcer, Nightsquad Commando and Valiant Rescuer (1 of 3).
  4. {W} 1/1 Human Soldier creature (2 of 3).
  5. {W} 1/1 Human Soldier creature (3 of 3).
  6. {U} 8/8 Kraken creature, created by Ominous Seas.
  7. {U} X/X Shark creature with flying, created by Shark Typhoon.
  8. {R} Artifact named Feather with "{1}, Sacrifice Feather: Return target Phoenix card from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped," created by Everquill Phoenix.
  9. {R} 1/1 Dinosaur creature with haste, created by Forbidden Friendship.
  10. {G} 3/3 Beast creature, created by Trumpeting Gnarr and Vivien, Monsters' Advocate.
  11. {G} X/X Dinosaur Beast creature with trample, created by Quartzwood Crasher.
  12. Emblem for Narset of the Ancient Way.
  13. Companion marker.

Punch card[edit | edit source]

Double-sided keyword counter punch card

There is also a set of double-sided keyword counters on a punch card.[24] The counters correspond to the "Modal Creatures" cycle as listed below.

Punch card
#001 #002
{W} First strike Flying
{R} Menace Trample
{B} Lifelink Deathtouch
{U} Hexproof Flying
{G} Reach Vigilance
{C} +1/+1 +1/+1

Themes and mechanics[edit | edit source]

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is about "building your own monsters".[25][26] This is represented by the keyword ability mutate.[27][28] You can mutate a creature you control by paying the mutate cost and placing the card below or above a non-Human creature. They mutate into the creature on top plus all abilities from under it. A creature can be mutated multiple times.[29] Mutate was first referred to on the silver-bordered card Surgeon General Commander in Unsanctioned.[30]

The set also introduces the mechanic companion.[31][32] The companion ability lists a deckbuilding rule. If your starting deck follows that rule, then the legendary creature can serve as your chosen companion. Once during the game, you may pay {3} to move your companion from your sideboard to your hand. You may only play this ability as a sorcery. If your companion dies, it doesn't return to the sideboard but instead goes to the graveyard per usual.

The set makes use of keyword counters.[24][32] These were introduced on a test card in the Mystery Booster set (Recycla-bird with Flying counters). The set uses twelve different types of counters (thirteen including loyalty counters).[29] The others are bounty, foreshadow, +1/+1, deathtouch, first strike, flying, hexproof, lifelink, menace, reach, trample and vigilance counters.[28] Note that double strike and indestructible counters only appear on cards in the C20-set, and not in Ikoria itself. Some creatures gain variable ability counters, and tying into the theme of granting keywords there are several creatures that reward creatures with particular keywords (keyword "lords").

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths also features the return of Human tribal,[33] hybrid mana and cycling.[28][32]

Color-wise, the set is enemy color themed, leaning into wedges for the apex predator legends and associated triomes.[32] This is reflected in the uncommon multicolor cards: three cycles of enemy-color and one cycle of hybrid ally-color signposts. Unlike Khans of Tarkir, this implementation of wedges focuses on the common enemy color (ex. for the {W}{B}{G} wedge, Indatha is primarily black, while Abzan is primarily white). Fixing is less prevalent than in Khans, and there are only ten cards (two Rare cycles) that can only be cast with full wedge mana. Overall enemy color decks are most populous with gold support, while allied color decks have minor support and full wedge decks are less likely from lack of fixing and format speed.

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths supports the following draft archetypes:

All allied color combinations have an archetype focused on a keyword in those color types.

Card types[edit | edit source]

The set introduces the Otter creature type and reintroduces the Shark type.[29] It also features the first standard-legal Brushwagg since Mirage (Almighty Brushwagg), and the first black-bordered Squirrel since Odyssey (Helica Glider).

The set also introduces the Lukka planeswalker type.

Cycles[edit | edit source]

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths has 22 cycles, including two double cycles. There is also one mirrored pair.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Mythos Mythos of Snapdax Mythos of Illuna Mythos of Nethroi Mythos of Vadrok Mythos of Brokkos
Five rare monocolored spells that become better if the associated wedge mana was also spent to cast it.[34]
Rare mutants Cubwarden Sea-Dasher Octopus Dirge Bat Everquill Phoenix Gemrazer
Five rare creatures with mutate.
X mutants Huntmaster Liger Archipelagore Insatiable Hemophage Porcuparrot Auspicious Starrix
Five uncommon creatures with mutate and an ability that scales based off the number of times it mutated.[35]
Counter cyclers Splendor Mare Avian Oddity Void Beckoner Sanctuary Smasher Titanoth Rex
Five uncommon creatures with cycling that put a given keyword counter on a creature when cycled.
Mentors Keensight Mentor (vigilance) Wingspan Mentor (flying) Duskfang Mentor (lifelink)[1] Frillscare Mentor (menace) Hornbash Mentor (trample)
Five uncommon Humans, that when they enter the battlefield put a given keyword counter on a creature, and tap to put a +1/+1 counter on creatures with that keyword.[34]
Apex powers Will of the All-Hunter Boon of the Wish-Giver Call of the Death-Dweller Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor Charge of the Forever-Beast
Five uncommon monocolored spells that are each associated with one of the Apexes.
Modal creatures Helica Glider Wingfold Pteron Boot Nipper Ferocious Tigorilla Flycatcher Giraffid
Five common creatures that enter the battlefield with your choice of one of two keyword counters.
Common mutants Vulpikeet Dreamtail Heron Cavern Whisperer Cloudpiercer Migratory Greathorn
Five common creatures with mutate and a mutation trigger.
Keyword bonus spells Solid Footing (vigilance) Gust of Wind (flying) Mutual Destruction (flash) Tentative Connection (menace) Ram Through (trample)
Five common noncreature spells that reward having one of the five keywords supported below.
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Keyword lords Skycat Sovereign (flying) Slitherwisp (flash) Labyrinth Raptor (menace) Quartzwood Crasher (trample) Frondland Felidar (vigilance)
Five rare allied colored creatures, each one of which has an evergreen keyword ability and cares about creatures you control with that keyword.
Bonders Jubilant Skybonder (flying) Cunning Nightbonder (flash) Sonorous Howlbonder (menace) Proud Wildbonder (trample) Alert Heedbonder (vigilance)
Five uncommon hybrid mana allied colored Humans, each one of which cares about creatures you control with a specific evergreen keyword.
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Mythic humans General Kudro of Drannith Rielle, the Everwise Chevill, Bane of Monsters Winota, Joiner of Forces Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
Five mythic rare enemy colored legendary Human creatures.
Two-mana signposts General's Enforcer Sprite Dragon Skull Prophet Savai Thundermane Parcelbeast
Five uncommon enemy colored creatures, each a signpost for a draft archetype and each costing two mana to cast (or in one case, two mana to mutate.)
Signpost spells Dire Tactics Channeled Force Back for More Zenith Flare Primal Empathy
Five uncommon enemy colored noncreature spells, each a signpost for a draft archetype but is also generically powerful.
Hybrid mutants Necropanther Lore Drakkis Boneyard Lurker Regal Leosaur Trumpeting Gnarr
Five uncommon enemy colored creatures with a mutate cost that uses hybrid mana, making them easier to splash in limited formats.
Cycle name {R}{W}{B} {G}{U}{R} {W}{B}{G} {U}{R}{W} {B}{G}{U}
Apexes Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt Illuna, Apex of Wishes Nethroi, Apex of Death Vadrok, Apex of Thunder Brokkos, Apex of Forever
Five mythic rare wedge colored legendary creatures with mutate. The mutate cost is XHNN, where H is a hybrid cost with both enemy colours to N, which facilitates easier playability in two-colour decks.
Ultimatums Ruinous Ultimatum Genesis Ultimatum Eerie Ultimatum Inspired Ultimatum Emergent Ultimatum
Five rare wedge colored sorceries with powerful effects and mana costs in the format MMNNNOO. This completes the cycle started in Shards of Alara.
Enchantments Offspring's Revenge Song of Creation Death's Oasis Whirlwind of Thought Titans' Nest
Five rare wedge colored enchantments.
Crystals Savai Crystal Ketria Crystal Indatha Crystal Raugrin Crystal Zagoth Crystal
Five uncommon wedge colored mana stones, one for each triome. Each costs {3} and has cycling {2}.
Triomes Savai Triome Ketria Triome Indatha Triome Raugrin Triome Zagoth Triome
Five rare wedge colored taplands, one for each triome. Each has the three basic land types associated with their colors and has cycling {3}.

^ While the {U/B} color pair cares about flash, flash isn't something that makes sense for a keyword counter, so the black mentor instead cares about lifelink. The other allied pairs care about flying ({W/U}), menace ({B/R}), trample ({R/G}) and vigilance ({G/W}).[36]

Double cycles[edit | edit source]

Cycle name {W/U} {U/B} {B/R} {R/G} {G/W} {W/B} {U/R} {B/G} {R/W} {G/U}
Companions Yorion, Sky Nomad Gyruda, Doom of Depths Obosh, the Preypiercer Jegantha, the Wellspring Kaheera, the Orphanguard Lurrus of the Dream-Den Lutri, the Spellchaser Umori, the Collector Zirda, the Dawnwaker Keruga, the Macrosage
Ten rare hybrid mana legendary creatures, each with companion.
Gainlands Tranquil Cove Dismal Backwater Bloodfell Caves Rugged Highlands Blossoming Sands Scoured Barrens Swiftwater Cliffs Jungle Hollow Wind-Scarred Crag Thornwood Falls
Ten common taplands originally printed in Khans of Tarkir.

Pairs[edit | edit source]

Mirrored Pairs Description
Drannith Stinger ({R}) Drannith Healer ({W}) Two common Humans, each being a bear with cycling {1} and having a triggered ability whenever you cycle another card.

Reprinted cards[edit | edit source]

The following cards have been reprinted:

Functional reprints[edit | edit source]

Preconstructed decks[edit | edit source]

Main article: Commander 2020

Planeswalker decks are discontinued for expansions.[37] For this set, they are replaced by five Commander decks (Ikoria Commander). This is essentially Commander 2020 aligning with Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.[38] The 71 new cards in the decks are set on the world of Ikoria, but the reprints can be from anywhere. There are a handful of cards from the main Ikoria set in these decks in the reprint slots, but the number is fairly small. The cards are only legal in Eternal formats like Legacy, Vintage, and Pauper. They have their own expansion symbol and set code (C20) to set them apart.

Theme
deck name
Color Identity Commander
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Ruthless Regiment W B R Jirina Kudro
Arcane Maelstrom U R G Kalamax, the Stormsire
Symbiotic Swarm W B G Kathril, Aspect Warper
Timeless Wisdom W U R Gavi, Nest Warden
Enhanced Evolution U B G Otrimi, the Ever-Playful

Notable cards[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater (April 6, 2020). "More Than Meets The Ikoria". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Credits. Magicthegathering.com (April 3, 2020).
  3. Mark Rosewater (May 4, 2020). "Ikoria Vision Design Handoff". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (March 22, 2020). "What is Ikoria's three-letter set code?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Magic Announcement Stream (Video). Magic: the Gathering. YouTube (September 4, 2019).
  6. Wizards Europe (October 11, 2019). "We're happy to announce the release dates for two upcoming sets in 2020!". Twitter.
  7. a b c Wizards of the Coast (March 26, 2020). "Changes to the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Release Schedule". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Dave Humphries (April 7, 2020). "A Monster of a Set Design". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Eli Shiffrin (April 10, 2020). "Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and Commander (2020 Edition) Release Notes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (March 30, 2020). "Human History". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. a b c d e Mike Turian (April 2, 2020). "Collecting Ikoria". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater (October 12, 2019). "Is Ikoria more of a top-down world or a bottom-up one?.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. a b WPN. "Product info". Wizards Play Network.
  14. Weekly MTG: Jumpstart!. Twitch.tv/magic (February 20, 2020).
  15. Wizards of the Coast (April 16, 2020). "Japanese Exclusives Not Included In EN And FR Collector Boosters". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. a b c Wizards of the Coast (May 18, 2020). "Announcing Love Your LGS Promotion". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Gavin Verhey (April 14, 2020). "Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Prerelease Primer". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Wizards of the Coast (March 11, 2020). "Event Guidelines and Accomodations". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Wizards of the Coast (March 23, 2020). "In-Store Plaay Suspended in NA, EU and LATAM". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  20. WPN (January 20, 2020). "Scheduling Opens Next Week: Commander Nights". Wizards Play Network.
  21. Mark Rosewater (April 3, 2020). "I was just informed that Zilortha, Strength Incarnate, the buy-a-box promo, would only be available in Godzilla form.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  22. Alex Walker (April 3, 2020). "Here's The Latest Card From Magic: The Gathering's Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Set". Kotaku.
  23. Kendall Pepple (April 9, 2020). "The Tokens of Ikoria and C20". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  24. a b Jeffrey Dohm-Sanchez (November 25, 2019). "Details Revealed for 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths' Product Line". ICv2.com.
  25. Mark Rosewater (September 04, 2019). "I missed the announcement of the sets for next year.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  26. Mark Rosewater (September 04, 2019). "Can I get a maybe on Host/Augment being in Ikoria?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  27. Mark Rosewater (February 24, 2020). "Unboxing, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  28. a b c Matt Tabak (April 2, 2020). "Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  29. a b c Mark Rosewater (March 18, 2020). "Maro's Ikoria Teaser". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  30. Mark Rosewater (January 28, 2020). "Surgeon ~~General~~ Commander from Unsanctioned says "Whenever you enchant, augment, or mutate a creature you control."". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  31. Eli Shiffrin (April 10, 2020). "Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and Commander (2020 Edition) Release Notes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  32. a b c d Mark Rosewater (April 13, 2020). "A Twinkle in Someone's Ikoria". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Mark Rosewater (March 30, 2020). "Human History". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  34. a b c Mark Rosewater (April 27, 2020). "Ikoria of the Beholder, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  35. Mark Rosewater (April 20, 2020). "Ikoria of the Beholder, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  36. Wizards of the Coast (April 7, 2020). "A Monster of a Set Design". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  37. Caranthir (September 10, 2019). "Are Planeswalker Decks being discontinued? (Comment #11)". MTG Salvation.
  38. Gavin Verhey (October 30, 2019). "Big Things Are Coming for Commander in 2020". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  39. SheldonMenery. Twitter.
  40. Nick Miller (April 2, 2020). "Lutri, The Spellchaser Fastest Banned Card Ever". StarCityGames.
  41. Wizards of the Coast (April 2, 2020). "Statement on Spacegodzilla". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  42. Mark Rosewater (April 8, 2020). "Yes, Super-Duper Death Ray comes to black border (well, almost, it doesn’t technically have trample).". Blogatog. Tumblr.

External links[edit | edit source]