Hello happy peoples! I hope that your day has been meritorious. And safe!
Have you ever noticed that there is a tendency for writers and others to talk about the same cards when reviewing a set? They often give their take on the same 30 or 40 cards. But each set has a lot of cooler cards than that!
I have enjoyed Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths. And I noticed that several cards weren't getting any notice. Well, I am a writer, so I can actually give pen (virtually) to put that issue to rest. I can deep dive into cards that are awesome, play well, and offer a lot.
Therefore, today we are looking at another ten cards from Ikoria that are awesome and have gone under the collective radar.
Ready? Let's get started!
Honorable Mention #1. Barrier Breach
Right after an enchantment-heavy set, this is a valuable tool! Exiling removal matters, and this will handle Gods with indestructible quite nicely and ably. Unlike other cards (like Decimate) where it's large amount of targets is the disadvantage, here you can exile up to three, so it's fine at one or two as well. Given the big amount of enchantment love at the kitchen table thought, it's useful. Did you draw it when you didn't need it? Cycle it away and keep on pounding. Enjoy!
Honorable Mention #2. Clash of Titans
It's a blowout in l=Limited. It's also a blowout at the kitchen table as well. The more foes you have, the more likely you are to net a two-for-one with it. Also, don't sleep past that instant. I once used it in combat when someone swung at me with a guy that got bigger when it swung, and then that made it big enough to kill another. I used this and both died prior to me taking damage. It was awesome! It's a great end-of-your-foe's turn cast, and then untap and keep on going.
#10. Almighty Brushwagg
The Almighty One has a lot of things going for it. A lot of Green effects like this one exist where they can self-pump, and are in the style of Rootwalla. One-drops previously in this genre include Basking Rootwalla and Frilled Sandwalla. Both had two key breaks on them. Neither had trample. A creature that self-pumps and tramples over others that may leap in its way is unusual. Secondly, all the other self-pumps like this one were only able to be used once a turn. That was it! This thing can get multiple activations. It's useful for early game as a powerful 1/1 trampler, it's useful late game as a mana sink - it's great in limited and elsewhere. It's early aspect and trampling nature also make an ideal mutate target for the mid-game. There is no time not to harvest the power of The Almighty One.
#9. Skull Prophet
This is essentially a two-mana Elves of Deep Shadow that adds several new things to the genre. It can tap for Green. It doesn't lose you any life. And it requires both colors so it cannot be mana-smoothing. That's why it hits back here at my nine spot. However, it has a few things going for it. It's ramp. It's a powerful 3/1 body on the third turn. And best? You can tap it to self-mill in decks that want to feed their graveyard, something that Golgari regularly wants to do, (cough, Dredge, cough.) Enjoy!
#8. Hunted Nightmare
Why is this Giver of Deathtouch Counters to Foes here? Great question! Imagine you are playing against three people. It's the third turn and you are about to drop your powerful creature. How many of your foes aren't going to even control a single creature of their own? At last one? Precisely! Drop it, target the person without any creatures and you have an evasive 4/5 on the third turn! That's...awesome! Now what if you drop it when everyone does controls creatures. Target the player with a single dork. They can't lock you because they need two to trade. Given this guy's size, when they do double-block you can likely kill both the deathtouch and their other dork, giving you a two-for-one. What's not to love here?
#7. Bastion of Remembrance
Do you enjoy your Black three-drops? Here you go! This is an awesome engine for you to build around ala Blood Artist that is not as fragile. It loves those death triggers. It also comes with a free 1/1, meaning it's much less likely to be a dead draw. I built a deck using this to loop kills for you already and I have a lot of respect for this machine. Do you?
#6. Raking Claws
Think for a moment about the value of giving double strike instantly. It's been so useful that entire decks and metagames are built around it. From Infect to Boros Aggro with Boros Charm leading the way, loads of decks love this. Here you net the same cost that normally comes with the effect, but with a powerful bonus the other effects don't have. If you don't need it? Cycle it away and grab something else. You'll feel a lot safer running this as a four-of in your brew than other similar double strike enablers!
#5. Void Beckoner
The ability to net an even trade by giving something deathouch is awesome. Normally it's a two-for-one the wrong way. Here though? Because you cycled it, the effect replaces itself - giving you card equilibrium. It's also cheap enough to toss out there. The combat trick here is great! But you can also cycle for cards if you need to dig for cheaper things early or you can drop a beefy 8/8 later. It's brilliantly flexible in Limited games as well as the kitchen table! Deathtouch away my friends, deathtouch away!
Wilt does something really cool! What is it? It antiquates Naturalize. It has become the ubiquitous in the game as the cheap answer. More flexible Naturalizes cost more mana, like Krosan Grip. Wilt improves on that with cycling to draw again if you don't need it.
#3. Mythos of Illuna
Copy any permanent. That's awesome! It's doesn't have to be yours! Copy a foe's planeswalker? A land? A key creature? You can also make the best artifact or enchantment as well. The more players you are playing against the better your range of copies become, and grabbing an extra Sol Ring, or Maze of Ith is quite valuable. It's ideal in Singleton environments such as Commander and Brawl where you can use it to get a second Solemn Simulacrum or a second Consecrated Sphinx, although in those formats its color identity can reduce playability when it's already a perfect card for mono-Blue or other Blue Control like Azorius, Esper, Dimir, and more! It's arguably the most flexible in the Mythos cycle and yet I haven't seen any conversation about it yet. Get ready to Mythos a win!
#2. Flourishing Fox
This is ideal on the first turn in a cycling brew! Given the powerful cycling triggers and cards we have in this set, and how well they can twin with cards from the past like Lightning Rift and Astral Slide, there are a lot of powerful options here. Rift-Slide was a dominant deck during its day, and another cycling deck will look to this as a powerhouse. In the right build, this could be Tarmogoyf good as you can cycle easily and cheaply to power it up. For example, in this set, we have multiple one-mana cyclers you could cycle two on turn two, and those cyclers draw more cards so you aren't losing card advantage. This is easily a 3/3 on the second turn and a 4/4 or 5/5 on the next. A Legacy deck that drops this turn one and Fluctuator on turn two can cycle 10-15 cards easily and swing for 12 or 15 on turn two.
#1. Reconnaissance Mission
The main issue with cards that require swinging to work is that it can be dead at times after mass removal or trying to find gas when topdecking late game. When that happens and you draw this, you can just dump for another chance or dig your deeper for the card that you need to draw to win the game.
Also note the price of this ($0.25) right now to the other two cards that do it - Bident of Thassa ($0.99) and Coastal Piracy ($5.99), each of which has been reprinted multiple times. This outclasses the latter due to cycling, yet it's mega cheap. Pick them up now, you aren't going to regret it!
And there we are! Did you enjoy my list? I hope so! Have an awesome day!