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Shark Typhoon Art by Caio Monteiro

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard Metagame Update – April 22, 2020: Upgrading the Top Tier Decks

What are currently the best decks in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard? The new expansion has been out for almost a week, and already a bunch of events and tournaments have been held. The largest data point we have going forward will be from the ongoing MagicFest Online Season 2, which we have seen two days worth of decklists so far and the metagame has evolved quickly since then. In today’s update we will take a look at what Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths cards are being included in existing deck archetypes. Click on the links below to visit the archetype page and more decklists:

We will follow this up in the next few days with some new breakout decks. Please note we are now looking at different avenues of presenting the Standard Metagame Tier List that we have yet to update. We will communicate with everyone once we figure everything out – for now, please enjoy these regular metagame update articles!

Jeskai Fires

Sample Jeskai Fires Decklist

[sd_deck deck=”JzNcVkAFI”]

  • Keruga, the Macrosage: Keruga is a guaranteed five drop that allows us to draw multiple cards especially since we tend to run other Planeswalkers, Fires of Invention and other creatures. It turns out that this Companion makes the already top tier Jeskai Fires decks stronger and its deck building restriction can be made quite easily. Previously, we ran a couple of cheaper interaction spells such as Aether Gust or Justice Strike according to the metagame, but that is a minor trade off. We can still run Mystical Dispute, Bonecrusher Giant and Brazen Borrower in their place.
  • Narset of the Ancient Way: This new Planeswalker, other than being in the right colors, turns out to be a very useful tool for Jeskai Fires. It can get rid of excess cards we don’t need (e.g. multiple Fires of Invention, Deafening Clarion) and we can even use the extra mana for things like Adventure spells.
  • Raugrin Triome: The decks will tend to run more lands (between 28 and 29) with Keruga being added to the deck, and the Triomes are very useful to allow Castle Vantress to come into play untapped and you can Cycle it away if you don’t need it. It even adds lands in the graveyard for the Cavalier of Flame ability.

Temur Reclamation

Sample Temur Reclamation Decklist

[sd_deck deck=”fidFhIeV_”]

Shark Typhoon is a fantastic addition to any Blue based controlling builds, and goes right into the Temur Reclamation / Flash decks to give them another angle of attack. It is an uncounterable, instant speed threat that is not affected by Teferi, Time Raveler, and sometimes you will even be able to hard cast it as a finisher when the game goes long.

Rakdos Sacrifice

Sample Rakdos Lurrus Sacrifice Decklist

[sd_deck deck=”GqizHBQ4m”]

Sample Rakdos Obosh Sacrifice Decklist

[sd_deck deck=”Dzi6rmjOv”]

Going into the new set one of the strongest decks was Rakdos Sacrifice, and for the time being it looks like it will cement its place in tier one with the new cards to play around with in Ikoria. There are two viable Companion builds you can use for this strategy:

  • Lurrus of the Dream-Den: This card is great as a Companion or as a main deck inclusion. Remember you can still include instant and sorcery spells greater than mana cost 2 in your deck as the restriction only applies to permanents.
  • Obosh, the Preypiercer: Rakdos Sacrifice already had a glut of three drops at its disposal – Mayhem Devil, Midnight Reaper, Woe Strider just to name a few. Remember losing life is not dealing damage so Cauldron Familiar will not make your opponent lose 2 life, and Midnight Reaper does not work too well with Obosh in your favor.

Other cards to consider in general:

  • Serrated Scorpion: Repeated source of two damage and creates a nice life swing in your favor.
  • Call of the Death-Dweller: Bring back Lurrus or your most important threats back into play.
  • Fiend Artisan: Can be a late game, must answer threat just for two mana. It can fill the weak two drop department in Rakdos Sacrifice.
  • Whisper Squad: A one drop that can turn into multiple bodies.

Using Lurrus means we also lose the power of Mayhem Devil, which is why some players are successfully trying out Orzhov Sacrifice, with or without Lurrus and relying on Cruel Celebrant to deal noncombat damage.

Sample Orzhov Sacrifice Decklist

[sd_deck deck=”CA3uBGEYE”]



Sample Bant Yorion Ramp Decklist

[sd_deck deck=”YkGE9Qizq”]

In turns out adding 20 additional cards in your deck is not a downside at all if all your cards are good anyway and you get to start with an extra threat in your hand. Yorion, Sky Nomad is becoming the default Companion for various existing deck archetypes, a lot in the Bant / Simic Ramp and Azorius Blink shell. Other than making use of enter the battlefield abilities, it can also reset Planeswalker loyalty and untap your nonland permanents (if they need to block, for example).


Sample Bant Gyruda Decklist

[sd_deck deck=”5Y-dup4qr”]

Sample Simic Gyruda Decklist

[sd_deck deck=”DCF5tBPpu”]

Gyruda, Doom of Depths decks so far is a hybrid somewhere in between Azorius Blink and Simic Ramp. We are casting Gyruda as soon as possible and getting the chain going with cards like Spark Double and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling. Only a handful of new cards have been going into the deck so far, which is great for saving your Wildcards until the metagame settles down.

While Gyruda is explosive with minimal disruption – usually the case in a new metagame where everybody is doing their own thing – it is already being challenged either by faster aggro decks or control decks that pack board wipes like Shatter the Sky.

Wrapping Up

It looks like Companions are in the spotlight so far in Ikoria Standard and the new cards will have to do a lot of work to break the existing, high power level metagame. We will keep a close eye on everything, and be back with coverage of new deck archetypes tomorrow. In the meantime, browse through our deck section and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates!

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