Illuna is a card that struck me right away as being something to get excited about. Part of that may be due to my playing a lot of Temur lately, part of it might be that the art is incredibly gorgeous on the Godzilla variant, and the third part is that it’s a Dinosaur. I like Dinosaurs. A brief aside on the topic of art (check out the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Art Gallery here); maybe it’s just me, but I kind of feel like the standard art for these Godzilla cards is not as appealing, even just compared to your average card. Perhaps it’s to make the premium art look even better and drive sales of those variants?
As a 6/6 Flying Trample for five, Illuna is on a scale with Niv-Mizzet Reborn, with a similar-ish type of ability, churning through the library. Niv-Mizzet can grab more cards, but Illuna has the option of putting that card directly into play without having to cast it.
Part of why this card called to me is that I’ve been playing Temur Fires for the last week and while this is off-meta in the current environment, this is a card that screams for inclusion in a build like that. Five mana is the sweet spot for Fires decks already and the six mana for the Mutate cost is well within range for a Fires deck, though you would have to pay the Mutate cost with mana. Fires decks have a lot of Scry, which allows you to set up exactly the card you want to put into play; Cavalier of Gales works beautifully with Illuna. I’d expect this to be a one or two-of in place of a Cavalier of Flames, or perhaps a Questing Beast. Unfortunately, Mutate does cost you one of your spells per turn, so you can’t use it to get around the Fires restriction.
Outside of Fires of Invention decks, I expect this to be an inclusion in any Mutate deck that develops that’s on-color; I could also see it in pretty much any on-color four color build because of the Mutate benefit, as well as five color builds.
A 6/6 Flying Trample for 5 is going to be a gnarly card in any Limited format, whether that’s Sealed or Draft. In Brawl, remember that the Commander tax is still going to apply if you use the Mutate ability because you are still casting the creature.
This is probably the card from Day 1 of the spoilers that I am most looking forward to playtesting with and I think it’s going to fit beautifully into my Temur Fires build. Fun times will be had for sure!