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Brews for the Ikoria Paper Release


Hello everyone. This Friday, May 15, marks the official paper release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths here in America, and while I've been able to play with these cards online for the past few weeks, there's nothing quite like opening up physical booster packs and holding actual cards in your hand. With that being said, I'm back again this week with a few more new decks for you to try out featuring cards from Ikoria. Let's get started.

Mono-White Cats

The first deck I have for you finishes off the collection of mono-colored decks that I showed you last week. While I don't have a Mono-Red deck for you since the majority of them aren't using any new cards, I did come across this delightful Mono-White deck that also doubles as a Cat tribal deck. Let's take a look at it.

Kaheera, the Orphanguard
By using Kaheera, the Orphanguard as your Companion for this deck, you'll grant every other creature a +1/+1 bonus in addition to giving them vigilance. That's pretty important, since a fair amount of your Cats are relatively small. For that reason, the deck itself includes a couple of extra copies of Kaheera, the Orphanguard that you can play in the event your Companion gets targeted by some removal spell.

There are a couple of other ways for you to turn your tabby cats into tigers in this deck as well. Icon of Ancestry is practically a staple card in most tribal deck. It boost both the power and toughness of your Cats, as well as acting as a way to filter your deck for other Cats to play on future turns. You can also cast Unbreakable Formation during your pre-combat main phase to give a +1/+1 counter to each creature you control. You can then attack with them all since they also gain vigilance and indestructible for the turn. Finally, Huntmaster Liger gives a +X/+X bonus to all other creatures you control for the turn, where X equals the number of times Huntmaster Liger has mutated.

There's also a few creatures in this deck that have lifelink, which helps you bounce back after taking some early damage. That lifelink pairs up nicely with Ajani's Pridemate, often creating a very large, must-deal-with threat. Once you have a copy of Ajani's Pridemate in play, you'll want to resolve Ajani, Strength of the Pride. Ajani's +1 loyalty ability will provide you with an additional way to gain life, which helps you build up to Ajani's ultimate, 0 loyalty ability. By using this ability, you'll often be able to wipe your opponent's board clean and attack for the win on the same turn. It's a great feeling when you win the game this way.

Mardu Snapdax Mutate

The next deck I have for you features a Dinosaur Cat Nightmare creature that doubles as removal. Let's take a look at the deck.

Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt
Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt deals four damage to any creature or planeswalker your opponent controls when it mutates and you gain four life. This can be a terrific way to increase the quality of your creatures while decreasing the quantity of your opponent's creatures at the same time. Snapdax also has double strike, which makes it very difficult to destroy during combat thanks to its 5 toughness. When you mutate Snapdax onto Rotting Regisaur, your opponent will need to have an endless supply of chump blockers or a removal spell in hand; otherwise they're in for a world of hurt. It's even better for you if you have a copy of Footfall Crater on the battlefield that you can use to give this creature trample.

This deck is full of cards that can mutate, creating so truly horrific combinations. By combining Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt with Dirge Bat, you can effectively clear two of your opponent's creatures at once. Mutating Vulpikeet gives the mutated creature a +1/+1 counter, which can create a nearly invincible flying defender when paired with Snapdax. Finally, Regal Leosaur grants other creatures a +2/+1 bonus until the end of the turn whenever it mutates, allowing you the opportunity to make a huge alpha strike for the win.

While you may be able to rely on mutating your creatures for removing your opponent's threats, you also have access to a couple of spells to help out with this as well. Bedevil has a very restrictive mana cost, making it tough to play in many decks. However, this deck has a mana base that can support it nicely. It has the ability to destroy any creature, planeswalker, or artifact in play, so your opponent might have trouble getting their threats to stick. This deck also has a full playset of Dire Tactics that can be used to exile any target creature. The downside of this card is that you'll have to lose life equal to the exiled creature's toughness, since this deck doesn't have any Humans in it.

Simic Flash

The final deck I have for you this week features a card that's a nod to one of the most outlandish sci-fi movies of the past decade. Let's take a look at the deck.

Shark Typhoon
Versions of this deck have been around in Standard for quite a while now. They all use creatures with flash and a ton of instant spells as a way of casting the majority of their spells on the opponent's turn. This allows you the ability to continually create Wolf creature tokens with Nightpack Ambusher. Since Nightpack Ambusher isn't legendary, if you have more than one copy in play, the amount of Wolves you can make can get out of hand. In addition, those wolves will all get a +1/+1 bonus from each Nightpack Ambusher you have in play, making them large threats indeed.

Naturally, the card that harkens back to one of the most over-the-top movies of the 2010's is Shark Typhoon, an obvious homage to 2013's 'Sharknado'. In this deck, though, Shark Typhoon offers a very real way of closing out games. While you can play it as an enchantment that will net you a fair amount of 2/2 or 3/3 flying Shark tokens, it can also be cycled away on your opponent's turn. Doing this allows you the ability to create a much larger Shark token, limited only by the amount of mana you have access to. This also plays into the plan of casting things only on your opponent's turn in order to create Wolf tokens with Nightpack Ambusher.

While control decks aren't typically my thing, I'm hoping to build this deck on Magic Arena soon to try out. It looks like it will play out more as a midrange deck with some controlling aspects, and by trying out new decks like this, I'm able to become a more rounded player. If you're hoping to become a better player, I'd encourage you to try out new decks from time to time to see how they play. That will also help you figure out their weak points so you can better defeat them when you play against them using your normal deck.

Wrapping Up

While I'm sad that traditional prereleases aren't able to take place for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, I'm still excited to get my hands on these new cards. If you're able to purchase any of the prerelease kits from your local game store, let me know in the comments below of any cool cards you get.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. Also, feel free to share this article with your friends anywhere on social media. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

- Mike Likes

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