Predictions for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths

MtG Kiora

While Theros Beyond Death is front and center in the world of Magic: the Gathering, the following set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, remains something of a mystery. What little information is known about the set comes from head designer Mark Rosewater, and while he has presented it in his typical boisterous fashion, there is still a great deal that is unknown. Speculation and predictions are precisely what fuel the interest in upcoming sets, which is why I’m covering the top five biggest predictions for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.

Kiora will play a big role

Starting with the obvious, Ikoria is almost an anagram of Kiora, and with this set’s focus on big creatures, it appears that the merfolk planeswalker would be right at home. Kiora will likely play a major role in the story. Whether she will show up as a protagonist or antagonist is harder to say, as her nature fluctuates from time to time. That being said, it would be shocking if the planeswalker whose primary focus is on summoning massive creatures and whose name is so close to the name of the plane did not make an appearance.

MtG Serpent of Yawning Depths

Oh, how mighty these creatures shall be

Moving on, one of the best ways to predict functions and mechanics of a set is to examine what the environment of standard looks like. For example, the upcoming Theros set has a handful of cards that support specific creature types.

Serpent of Yawning Depths is one such card, as it makes it difficult for opponents to block massive sea creatures. Eldraine before had tribal-lite mechanics, focusing on either knights or non-humans. I think Ikoria will follow this trend, though it will shift tribal focus to the front and center of the set. Enormous creatures like dragons, krakens and hydra will all see creature-type specific cards.

We’ll see a shift back to multicolor

Continuing the concept of using standard to predict future sets, mono-color sets have been the trend, but Ikoria will offer a change of pace. Ikoria, I believe, will shift MtG into multicolor once again.

First off, in the Q&A shown above, Mark Rosewater touched on the concept of players being able to make their own monsters. More on how that will actually function later, but being able to take two creatures and slam them together seems like it is going to at the very least enable multicolored play.

My second piece of evidence is the Commander decks that will be released alongside the set. MtG has only done a cycle of single-color Commander products once before, and with the decks focusing on Standard products, there will not be that large of a card pool to draw from. Making the five Commander products as single-color decks would be a challenge and a huge mistake on the part of Wizards of the Coast, as their focus would be extremely narrow.

MtG Treeshaker Chimera

Flip-cards will be back

As I mentioned a couple paragraphs ago, there will be a new mechanic in Ikoria that will allow players to make their own monsters. Because of this, I believe double-sided flip cards will return to MtG.

A few years back, in the gothic horror-inspired block Innistrad, there was a mechanic known as Meld. Two creatures would flip and become one after a certain condition was met. While Meld will not likely be taken whole-cloth from Innistrad to Ikoria, the monster-making mechanic could have a similar mode of operation.

Ramp cards will be reprinted

The final prediction may seem a little strange, but due to what is known about Ikoria, it only follows as logical.

Because of the abundance of large creatures, likely possessing equally huge mana costs, there will be reprints of much needed ramp cards. First, this will enable the playability of these big beasties in standard, since often time cards with higher mana costs fall by the wayside due to an inability to cast them in most games of Standard. Second, with Wizards putting the spotlight on Commander, it would also follow that they would reprint basic staple cards which allow players to set up.

I expect to see not only cards like Cultivate and Rampant Growth making a return to Standard, but Wayfarer’s Bauble, one of the most sought after commons for commander players. Ikoria will need ramp cards if it doesn’t want to be crushed by the recent power creep.

As it stands right now, there’s a lot we don’t yet know about Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Only time will tell whether or not any of my predictions come true. Regardless, it is safe to say that many Magic: the Gathering players are excited about a set that focuses on massive creatures and a shakeup to the Commander-focused line of products.

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