All the cards from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths have been revealed (card gallery here) and now that we have had a full day to digest all the cards, the deck building can commence! Over the next few days until the set release, we will be posting Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths theorycraft decks on our Standard deck section. We will then take this opportunity to review the new cards in these series of articles and discuss where they might fit in the new metagame, or even just some fun ideas to experiment with.
Today we will be kicking things off with some of my favorite cards from the set – cards with Flash! In Ikoria, Flash is the archetype given to Blue and Black for limited play and among them there are some powerful cards that I think can make an impact on Standard. The Flash decks in the current Standard have shown a lot of diversity and evolution:
- The classic lower to the ground version that includes creatures such as Spectral Sailor and Brineborn Cutthroat
- The Ramp hybrid deck popularized from Mythic Championship VII that includes Growth Spiral and Nissa, Who Shakes the World
- The Temur version that splashes Red for Bonecrusher Giant and sometimes even the Wilderness Reclamation and Expansion // Explosion combo
All these decks have been viable thanks to the power of Nightpack Ambusher and Frilled Mystic. While the Flash decks so far have preyed on slower decks that rely on key spells to win the game, its status in the metagame also depended on the presence of aggro decks that it can be quite weak to. In Ikoria, it is possible that such holes can be filled with the addition of some key cards. Without further ado, let’s have a look!
The New Flash Cards
All these cards will be sure to add another dimension in the possible Flash decks, and the prospect of adding Black as one of the colors means we have access to some great removal spells. Of these, Sea-Dasher Octopus is quite a cool card. How Mutate works is that even if you kill the creature being targeted by it, the Octopus still stays on the board (unlike an Aura). Give it Flash and a cheap casting cost, we have something that is hard to go wrong.
In Standard we have also have a whole range of great Flash spells (click for the full list in Standard) to synergize with the Cunning Nightbonder and Slitherwisp as well (remembering that Instant spells do not count as having Flash). Other than the aforementioned cards, we have some excellent ones such as Omen of the Sea, Blacklance Paragon, Brazen Borrower, Wildborn Preserver, and more.
We are also getting some awesome new Instant spells to complement our decks – Heartless Act is looking like a great catch-most removal spell with a non-restrictive mana cost and Neutralize is can help smooth out your hand for when a three mana counterspell is not something you need.
The new Triome lands are sure to help out with the mana base a little bit if we want to expand into the three color combinations. It even acts as a Forest to untap with Nissa, Who Shakes the World which means you can leave up both Black and Blue / Green mana.
Dimir Flash Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard
4 Spectral Sailor (M20) 76 4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50 4 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39 4 Slitherwisp (IKO) 208 4 Cunning Nightbonder (IKO) 219 4 Sea-Dasher Octopus (IKO) 66 2 Voracious Greatshark (IKO) 70 3 Quench 3 Heartless Act (IKO) 91 4 Neutralize (IKO) 59 6 Island (ELD) 254 6 Swamp (IKO) 267 4 Temple of Deceit (THB) 245 4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259 2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244 1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241 1 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
This is a good place to start for a more aggressive, creature-heavy Dimir Flash build that maximizes the number of actual Flash spells and allows you to increase the chance of connecting with Sea-Dasher Octopus. The ratio of disruption (e.g. Quench, Murderous Rider) can be further adjusted where necessary. Dirge Bat is also a possible inclusion here as perhaps a one or two of, but six mana to Mutate seemed a little bit too steep for this type of deck.
Sultai Flash Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard
4 Spectral Sailor 4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50 2 Brazen Borrower 4 Sea-Dasher Octopus (IKO) 66 4 Frilled Mystic (RNA) 174 4 Nightpack Ambusher (M20) 185 4 Slitherwisp (IKO) 208 3 Heartless Act 3 Quench 4 Neutralize 4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246 4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259 4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253 3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244 2 Island (ELD) 254 2 Forest (ELD) 266 1 Swamp (ELD) 258 4 Zagoth Triome
It would be understandable if Nightpack Ambusher and Frilled Mystic are hard to abandon, so here is a Sultai version that accommodates both of those cards in this three color build. Zagoth Triome helps with the manabase by forgoing the use of Temples, but it still maybe a bit on the riskier side with both Slitherwisp and Frilled Mystic in the maindeck. Growth Spiral could be a potential inclusion in the deck to help accelerate into a turn 3 Nightpack Ambusher.
All in all, I really like what Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths has to potentially offer for Flash decks in Standard. Even if the new Flash creatures don’t end up making an impact, at the least we will have some playable controlling spells such as Neutralize and Heartless Act to add to the toolbox! There’s a lot more cards to build around in Ikoria – let us know what you think in the comments below and what cards you are most excited about!