The brand-new Magic: The Gathering set, Ikoria Lair of Behemoths, includes 274 cards and focuses on monster creatures. The theme of the set inspired the mechanic Mutate, which allows players to combine different types of non-human creatures into something new and unexpected.
Ikoria also introduces Companion cards that can be played from outside of the main deck. The Cycling mechanic makes a big comeback as well.
This list contains 15 of the best new MtG cards for Standard format, so you can prepare before the set goes online and appears during official tournaments.
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
Any great planeswalker can be recognized by the synergy between its abilities. In this case, a static ability is well supported by the -2 ability, which allows you to shuffle your library if you don't like what you see.
Although the 5 mana cost may seem a bit steep for a planeswalker with only three initial counters, both static abilities totally make up for that.
Vivien's +1 ability isn't bad either and gives you several choices for your 3/3 creatures, providing flexibility.
This is a functional reprint of the Pride of the Clouds, a seminal Modern card from the unfairly forgotten Dissension expansion. There has also been a limited reprint in the Guild Kits for the Ravnica Allegiance set.
The only difference here is that creating tokens is now a bit easier and doesn't require you reveal another copy of Skycat Sovereign from your hand.
In any case, this is a clear contender for the Blue-White Flyers deck, which will definitely find its place in Standard format this season.
Chevill, Bane of Monsters
Anti-aggro strategies are welcome in any meta. This legendary human creature is really good not only for blocking but also for regaining some life and drawing some cards.
Obviously, Chevill won't be very good many other match-ups; it's clearly a sideboard card. But it will save your life in games against Mono-Red Aggro and Rakdos Aristocrats.
Narset of the Ancient Way
This a planeswalker with a justifiable mana cost. You get four loyalty counters for 4 mana, with three equally strong abilities. Sure, it requires three different colors, but Jeskai players will have no problem with that.
Narset isn't the strongest planeswalker out there, but it's a solid one that can do more than meets the eye.
This card's ultimate ability is similar to Chandra's, which allows you to kill any opponent that is not protected by the Hexproof mechanic, a great win condition.
This funky little artifact can do a lot of damage if not taken care of in time. Pair it with Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig for some crazy shenanigans.
Yorvo isn't the only option these days, but it looks to be the coolest one. Consider cards like Dreadhorde Invasion, Simic Ascendancy, Steel Overseer, and Soul Diviner.
If you collect a ton of counters on The Ozolith, you can animate it with the help of Karn, the Great Creator's ability and push a ton of damage. This may just be the strongest card in the set, a true hidden gem!
Light of Hope
This 1-mana instant spell is absolutely amazing (and it has some of the prettiest artwork we've ever seen!).
Light of Hope is very flexible and will certainly make it into the sideboard of either Mono-White Lifegain or Blue-White Control decks. There are simply no downsides to it.
Is this a must-have card? Absolutely not. But it's a very good common card, and it's probably the best common card in Ikoria.
Illuna, Apex of Wishes
The new Mutate mechanic is definitely one of the most unusual ones in the recent history of Magic: The Gathering.
It doesn't always make things better, but the effects it creates are just too good to pass up, especially for cards like Illuna, Apex of Wishes. When you get to put any non-land permanent onto the battlefield for free from the top of your library, it's a huge win.
Taking into account the mana base of Illune, you have a very good chance of turning the tides of all current Temur lists.
This is another variant that utilizes its ability to put creatures of certain mana cost onto the battlefield. You may have seen something similar in the combo decks with Prime Speaker Vannifar.
This effect will be extremely strong, as it's cheaper than Vannifar by 2 mana. That means there are going to be lots of decks based on Fiend Artisan this season.
Just don't forget about the existence of Ashiok, Dream Render, which makes Fiend Artisan's ability completely useless.
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Lukka does a lot for a mono-color planeswalker. Its first two abilities allow you to search through your library for specific creatures. It's a bit too expensive for Mono-Red Aggro lists, but Gruul decks that run a lot of expensive beasts should snatch several copies of Lukka.
The ultimate ability is borderline OP and obviously game-winning. It can be used equally well against token decks that block combat attacks and fog effects.
Although the cost of this incredibly powerful sweeper is a bit steep, it will do just fine in Fires of Invention decks.
The trend for these supremely-strong AoE effects has been set some time ago, and with the gradual power creep of all standard sets, it's no surprise that Ruinous Ultimatum is so wicked.
It literally deals with everything except lands and indestructible permanents.
Sotrm Herald from Theros Beyond Death may have just found a new friend. These two can do some real damage.
The combo with Colossification will look something like this:
- Play Merfolk Secretkeeper
- Keep milling yourself until you put a copy of Colossification into your graveyard
- Play Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
- Play Storm Herald
- Attach Colossification to Storm Herald
- Untap Storm Herald using Kiora's minus ability
- Attack for a total of 23 damage
If there are no blockers in place, you will instantly win the game.
The first card that comes to mind when reading the rule text for Offspring's Revenge is Drakuseth, Maw of Flames. It can easily deal 5 damage to an opponent and deal with another creature or planeswalker for free.
But that's just a tiny glimpse at the possibilities available with Offspring's Revenge. Though other gods will do the trick, this enchantment will most likely end up serving decks that run God-Eternals such as Bontu or Kefnet.
Zirda, the Dawnwaker
Since Ikoria brings the Cycling mechanic back in a big way, Zirda will work as the main Cycling enabler in the current meta.
It would be an excellent companion to Zenith Flare, a new instant spell that deals damage to any target equal to the number of cards with Cycling in your graveyard.
Use Bag of Holding to quickly parse through your deck of cards with Cycling and end up insta-killing your opponent as soon as your graveyard contains 20 cards with Cycling.
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Currently, there are potentially three well-established archetypes that would want to use Lurrus's abilities.
The first one is Mono-White Weenies, which will gain a lot by putting a full playset into their main decks. The second one is Rakdos Aggro, which use Lurrus to bring back Dreadhorde Butcher and Kroxa from the dead.
Lastly, Orzhov Aristocrats with Command the Dreadhorde would benefit nicely from this card.
Titans' Nest is somewhat of an anomaly. There are already plenty of ramp producers in Standard, but this card takes things to another level.
Here is one possible combo that won't break the game but will make it a lot of fun:
- Play one of the Tri or Dual lands
- Cast Growth Spiral
- Cast Titans' Nest
- Cast Nyxbloom Ancient
That's a turn-four creature that costs 7 mana and positions you for even more dramatic plays.
- 15 Best Cards for Limited (Core Set 2021)
- 15 Best Card for Standard (Core Set 2021)
- 15 Best Ikoria Lair of Behemoths Cards for Pioneer
- 15 Best Ikoria Lair of Behemoths Cards for Standard
In addition to this list of the best Ikoria Lair of Behemoths cards for Standard, be sure to check out our other lists above, or head over to our MtG guides hub page for even more.