The next Magic: The Gathering set Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is scheduled to release next month, and fans are excited to see the official spoilers roll in this month. Although Wizards of the Coast hasn't revealed many details about the upcoming set yet, we've already seen some promotional art and packaging. There are also some speculations based on the information Wizards provided about the set, so let's take a look at what we could expect from Ikoria.
Ikoria Might Introduce The Mutate Mechanic
When Wizards of the Coast officially revealed the cards from the silver-bordered Unsanctioned set, there was a card called "Surgeon ~~General~~ Commander" that has the ability that reads: "Whenever you augment, enchant, or mutate a creature you control, draw a card."
Fans wondered what the "mutate" mechanic is since that has never been introduced in any Magic set before, but Magic lead designer Rosewater previously said that "mutate" is an official keyword, and will be introduced in a future Magic set.
"Mutate is a keyword you all haven’t seen yet," Rosewater said. "And fear not, we’ve learned from Steamflogger Boss to not make-up mechanics we have no intent of making."
Last September, Rosewater teased a new "monster mechanic", which leads to the next point...
Ikoria Will Have 'One of The Craziest Mechanics' Magic Has Ever Made
"You get to play with monsters, and you get to make monsters," Rosewater said last September. "It's one of the craziest mechanics we've made in quite a while."
You can watch Rosewater talk about Ikoria in the 13:36 mark below:
Is Mutate the "new monster mechanic" that Rosewater was talking about? After all, mutation is a way to describe how some organisms are changed, and maybe that's part of the monster creation in Ikoria. We'll have to wait and find out.
Ikoria Will Feature Three Planeswalkers: One New and Two We Already Know
Over on his Blogatog, Rosewater revealed that Ikoria will feature three Planeswalkers: one new, and a "couple we already know". We've already seen Vivien in the packaging and promotional art for Ikoria that Wizards revealed, so there's one more returning Planeswalker that we don't know yet, and a new one that Ikoria will introduce. There are speculations that Kiora or Kasmina might return, but seeing that there's already a confirmed green planeswalker, there's probably a bigger chance we'll see Kasmina over Kiora, but I wouldn't be surprised if they bring back someone from the Gatewatch.
Ikoria's Story Will Get an Ebook, Not Just A Summary
When Theros Beyond Death's official story was released, many fans expressed their disappointment for the set's lack of story. Unlike many of the MTG sets released in recent years, no novels or series of short stories were released for the THB despite the epic trailer featuring Elspeth's conflict with Ashiok in the underworld of Theros. Fans are wondering if this is the new norm, but Rosewater confirmed back in January that Ikoria will have a story, not just a summary.
WotC Franchise Creative Director, Jeremy Jarvis confirmed that there will be an eBook.
To many MTG fans, a Magic set's story is an essential part of the card game's experience. The story details add flavor, themes to the cards, fluourishing the imagination of players as they cast their spells and summon creatures, so I'm glad that they're bringing more story in Ikoria, not just a quick summary.
There Are 5 New Ikoria Commander Decks Will Be Released Along With The Main Set
Wizards of the Coast already revealed that 5 brand new Commander preconstructed decks will be released along with Ikoria, on April 24. Wizards also revealed the names of the 5 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Commander decks: Ruthless, Regiment, Arcane Maelstrom, Symbiotic Swarm, Timeless Wisdom, and Enhanced Evolution.
WotC hasn't revealed the decklists for these Commander 2020 decks yet, but you can get an idea what each of these decks does based on their names. Symbiotic Swarm is probably a Golgari-colored (green/black) or Abzan (green/black/white) deck that makes a bunch of tokens while Enhanced Evolution is probably Simic (blue/green) that's probably based around the Mutate mechanic that the silver-bordered Unsanctioned set teased.
The Ikoria Commander Decks Are Replacing The Planeswalker Decks For Ikoria
With every new Magic set Wizards of the Coast release, there's usually a set of brand new Planeswlker Decks, pre-constructed decks each featuring an exclusive Planeswalker cards you won't find in the main set that are aimed for newer players, but back in October 2019, MTG senior designer Gavin Verhey confirmed that the Ikoria Commander decks will be replacing the Planeswalker Decks, and he also revealed that the new Commander decks will be available, at Ikoria Prerelease events at April 17-19, but he did say "in casual play", so don't expect game stores to host DCI-sanctioned Commander prerelease events in that weekend yet.
We also know that most of the cards in the preconstructed Commander decks are set in the world of Ikoria: "There are a handful of cards from the Ikoria set in these decks in the 'reprint' slots, but the number is fairly small," Verhey said. "Those cards are mostly just there to help make a couple themes work. (Imagine, for example, if Kaladesh had done this: if we had an energy Commander deck, you would definitely want a couple energy cards from the main set also in your deck.)"
Ikoria Will Have Double Sided Keyword Counters
Last December, Wizards of the Coast revealed the product description for the Ikoria Prerelease Pack, and it confirms that there will be a "set of double-sided keyword counters". This could be similar to the punch-out counters we've seen in the Amonkhet set.
The double-sided keyword counters might have something to do with the innovative "create a monster" mechanic. One user on our MTG Facebook group even speculated that the counters work as labels to add new abilities for creating unique creatures, but we'll find out soon enough.
Ikoria Promotional Art Showed Us Our First Look at The Monsters
The first promotional artwork for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths emerged back in January, and it gave us our first look at its monster-infested world. The Ikoria art featured the return of Vivien Reid, a gigantic wolf-like monster, and other smaller creatures surrounding the plains.
The art also revealed that there are crystals on Ikoria's land. So far, Ikoria's world reminds me of Final Fantasy games, especially with all the monsters and crystals we've seen so far.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Packaging Reveals More Art
At the Hasbro Toy Fair 2020 last month, Wizards of the Coast unveiled the packaging for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and they reveal brand new art featuring Vivien Reid, and other monsters we don't know yet. Previously, they revealed the box art:
Ikoria Will Have A Box Topper 'Unlike Anything Magic Has Ever Done'
Just a few days ago, Wizards confirmed that Ikoria's booster boxes will have a boxtopper —an individual card that's factory sealed inside every box of Draft Boosters for a given expansion, and they're usually something extra special. According to Wizards, Ikoria's boxtopper will be "unlike anything Magic has ever done."
WotC hasn't revealed the boxtopper cards yet but they have an exciting promise: "That's right: every box of Ikoria comes with a behemoth-sized bonus sitting right on top," WotC said. "We'll show you the cards as we get closer to release, but for now, just know that this box topper is unlike anything Magic has ever done."
The boxtoppers might feature an alternate art or they could be cards not available in the booster set but is Standard-legal, but whatever they are, people would want them for their tradability, giving them more reasons to buy an Ikoria booster box.
The New Ikoria Trailer Might Arrive Soon
WotC has been amazing fans with the epic trailers they've been releasing before a new MTG set arrives, and fans are looking forward for Ikoria's trailer.
Based on the release date of new set trailers vs. when the set themselves are launched, the latest trend seems to release the trailer a month before prerelease weekend, which means that the new Ikoria trailer will be released within a week since prerelease for Ikoria is on April 17.
Anyone else excited for the trailer for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths?
Unconfirmed Details: Merge Mechanic and New Narset
Over on Reddit, there are some rumors and leaks spreading about the cards featured in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, so I'm putting this last on this list because they could be fake, but who knows?
The first one is a huge potential leak of a Symbiotic Swarm list, one of the Ikoria Commander decks, and some of the cards feature a mecahnic called Merge, an ability that can turn a creature into an Aura enchantment. The post reads: "This creature becomes an Aura enchantment with enchant creature. Attach it and any number of Auras enchanting it to target creature. Merge only as a sorcery)."
The leak also features an Ultimatum sorcery card:
"Ancient Ultimatum GGBBBWW
Return up to 5 target permanents from your graveyard to the battlefield."
Another Reddit post shared details of what could potentially be a new Narset card:
"Narset on Ikoria 1WRU
Legendary Planeswalker - Narset
+1 Add W, R, or U. Spend this mana only to cast noncreature spells.
-2 Draw a card, then discard a card. ~ deals damage to target creature or planeswalker equal to the CMC of the discarded card.
-6 You get an emblem that says "Deal 2 damage to any target when you cast a noncreature spell.
Of course, since these details haven't been officially confirmed, take them with a grain of salt.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths will officially be released on April 24, 2020. Prerelease events will take place from April 17-19.