Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Elemental Ramp Theorycraft

Kaheera, the Orphanguard Art by Ryan Pancoast
Kaheera, the Orphanguard Art by Ryan Pancoast

Elementals have shown a bit of resurgence in the last few weeks of Standard. Risen Reef is both a powerful card advantage and ramping engine in one card, that also happens to get great support thanks to being in the right colors – Green and Blue. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is also a place where Elementals roam, and in this theorycraft we will look at how some of the new cards may improve the existing archetypes – Simic, Sultai and Temur.

Parcelbeast

iko-199-parcelbeast

Parcelbeast has a cheap Mutate cost, formidable power and toughness, and even a reasonable ability that mimics Risen Reef. It’s not quite on the same level, but can make your one drops a little bit more useful and fill the mana curve. We will likely want to put this on cards like Arboreal Grazer, Gilded Goose and Healer of the Glade on the second turn. Of course, there’s always the risk of getting two-for-one’ed but the resulting mutated creature will still be more resilient to direct damage and be a magnet for other removal spells.

Kaheera, the Orphanguard

iko-224-kaheera-the-orphanguard

Despite not being an Elemental itself, Kaheera is one of the first Companions I want to try out in the new set. Starting with practically an additional card in your hand is really powerful, and the deck building restriction is not too unreasonable to begin with (because we can put in other noncreature cards). It even buffs the Nissa lands and the vigilance works well with Parcelbeast and Leafkin Druid. Oh, and as a small bonus Hydroid Krasis and Arboreal Grazer are Beasts, so we can definitely fit those cards in our decks too.

Brokkos, Apex of Forever

iko-179-brokkos-apex-of-forever

Brokkos is a totally reasonable card for Sultai Elementals – a big 6/6 body with Trample for 5 mana that fills a different role compared to Yarok, the Desecrated. It already fits well with decks that utilize Tamiyo, Collector of Tales and Cavalier of Thorns to put cards into your graveyard and even make use of the powerful Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath in the same deck if you are not using Kaheera.

Illuna, Apex of Wishes

iko-190-illuna-apex-of-wishes

We’ve included this card here just for the sake of being an Elemental and a Mythic Rare, but feel it does not really have a home in these type of decks we’re about to brew. We will most likely be putting out something underwhelming with the ability that costs 6 mana and will feel bad if it happens to hit our one drops. We feel Illuna is better reserved for doing bigger and flashier things that can exploit higher mana cost cards.

Triomes

The new Triomes will look to replace the Temples in these decks as having the Forest type is relevant for Nissa, Who Shakes the World, their ability to immediately Cycle and allowing the Castles to come into play untapped.

Simic Elementals Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard

Deck
3 Arboreal Grazer
4 Parcelbeast
4 Cavalier of Thorns (M20) 167
4 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
4 Leafkin Druid (M20) 178
4 Risen Reef (M20) 217
4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178
2 Quasiduplicate (GRN) 51
3 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
1 Blast Zone (WAR) 244
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
2 Castle Garenbrig (ELD) 240
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
4 Ketria Triome
2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
9 Forest (ANA) 65
4 Island (ANA) 62

Sideboard
1 Kaheera, the Orphanguard

This is a typical Simic build that includes the new cards in a clean package. Arboreal Grazer and Parcelbeast really helps with the aggro matchups that this deck typically have struggled with.

Temur Elementals Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard

2 Arboreal Grazer (WAR) 149
4 Parcelbeast
4 Cavalier of Thorns (M20) 167
4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178
3 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
4 Leafkin Druid (M20) 178
3 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
4 Omnath, Locus of the Roil (M20) 216
1 Illuna, Apex of Wishes
1 Genesis Ultimatum
4 Risen Reef (M20) 217
3 Forest (ANA) 65
2 Island (ANA) 62
1 Mountain (ANA) 64
2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259
4 Ketria Triome

Sideboard
1 Kaheera, the Orphanguard

Here is the good starting point for a Temur version if we wish to have access to Omnath, Locus of the Roil (and a singular copy of Illuna to experiment with) and Red sideboard cards. Genesis Ultimatum is also something that I want to try, with multiple Omanth triggers in mind.

Sultai Elementals Theorycraft – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard

2 Arboreal Grazer
4 Healer of the Glade
4 Parcelbeast
3 Leafkin Druid (M20) 178
4 Risen Reef (M20) 217
2 Yarok, the Desecrated (M20) 220
4 Cavalier of Thorns (M20) 167
2 Brokkos, Apex of Forever
2 Quasiduplicate (GRN) 51
2 Command the Dreadhorde (WAR) 82
1 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries (WAR) 54
2 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales (WAR) 220
3 Forest (ANA) 65
2 Island (ANA) 62
2 Swamp (ANA) 63
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259
3 Fabled Passage
2 Temple of Malady
4 Zagoth Triome

Sideboard
1 Kaheera, the Orphanguard

This deck is based on the Sultai Elemental Ramp deck that has been making the rounds recently that splashes Black for Yarok and Command the Dreadhorde. Since mana fixing is made a bit easier in this set, we can even try something like Nethroi, Apex of Death in the place of Command the Dreadhorde. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Shawn Rand
Shawn Rand
2 months ago

I’ve been looking at illunia with cards that stack the deck, especially cavalier of gales. Having it in a deck with krasis seems too risky unless the odds are more in your favor. Omen of the sea is another dig 2 card that could work the turn before

Edo
Edo
2 months ago

2 copies or 3 copies of illuna into the deck will be fine because you can have more than one of them into the field despite being legendary , because mutate doesnt care about legendary 🙂

DragonEleven (@Dragon11Eleven)

I’m surprised there’s no mention of Finale of Devastation and End-Raze Forerunners… together they form a powerful win-con while still being very good cards individually, plus as Forerunners is a beast, it should work well with Kaheera.