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Top 5 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth cards for Standard | Magic: the Gathering

Here's a list of cards that might have an impact on the current standard format

It’s always a fun time when a new set releases in Magic: The Gathering. And with Ikoria just around the corner, there are a bunch of new cards that have captured people’s attention. Just the other day I wrote an article outlining the Top 5 Ikoria cards for Commander. However, that list won’t be any help for those of you who are looking to climb the Standard ladder.

So today, I will be going through my thoughts on the Top 5 Ikoria cards for Standard!

5. Titan’s Nest

Starting this list off is Titan’s Nest. There’s been a lot of hype surrounding this card recently and I would say that the hype is well deserved. Mana is an essential aspect of Magic: The Gathering. Anytime a card is able to cheat mana, there has always been the potential for crazy plays. Delve, for example, was a mechanic that Wizards of the Coast tried playing with back in the day. And everyone who played Magic during that time would remember that it was a busted ability.

In Titan’s Nest’s case, the card was definitely pushed by the R&D team at Wizards. The only problem I see is I don’t know how many decks will be able to make use of this 4-mana enchantment. Cards like Fires of Invention and Wilderness Reclamation already do a pretty good job of giving players more access to mana. Nonetheless, if someone figures out where Titan’s Nest fits in the meta, it can undoubtedly take over games.

Key Takeaways

  • Titan’s Nest allows players to Surveil every turn, which can be great for going through your deck and to keep the pressure going.
  • The “downsides” of the card aren’t really downsides. Sure, you can’t cast colorless spells or spells with X in their cost. So what? Most spells you want to be casting are colored anyways. Titan’s Nest essentially adds Delve onto all your colored cards.
  • With cards like Cavalier of Thorns and Tamiyo, Collector of Tales in the meta, it’s very easy to stock up the graveyard and take advantage of Titan’s Nest.

4. Shark Typhoon

Ikoria cards for standard

Flying sharks. What else needs to be said?

Jokes aside, Shark Typhoon is a flexible enchantment that I love seeing. This card is very similar to an enchantment printed back in Kaladesh called Metallurgic Summonings, which found some good success when it was in Standard. However, Shark Typhoon is definitely a major upgrade. Unlike Metallurgic Summonings, Shark Typhoon is good throughout all phases of the game, and spawns flying creatures. This card can easily find a home in blue/green flash decks or blue-based control decks.

Key Takeaways

  • Cycling can be done at instant speed. This is very important because it allows Shark Typhoon to have value no matter where you are in the game.
  • Shark Typhoon creates tokens from all non-creature spells. This means that enchantments, artifacts, and Planeswalkers can all create flying tokens through Shark Typhoon.
  • Shark Typhoon is well-positioned in the current meta. If you draw Shark Typhoon in the early game, you can use the cycling ability to create a 1/1 or 2/2 flyer at instant speed. This can snipe cards like Brazen Borrower or Teferi, Time Raveler.

3. Ruinous Ultimatum

Ikoria cards for standard

Coming in third place for our best Ikoria cards for Standard Magic: the Gathering is Ruinous Ultimatum. Ruinous Ultimatum is one of the strongest Mardu spells I have ever seen printed. I know there are other big 3-color spells printed in Ikoria, however Ruinous Ultimatum is the best one by far. The main reason I have high hope for Reuinous Ultimatum is because it does one of two things very well. On one hand, if you’re falling behind and really need to find a card to bring you back in the game, Ruinous Ultimatum is perfect. On the other hand, if you are ahead of your opponent and need to finish the game, Ruinous Ultimatum can do that as well.

The flexibility of Ruinious Ultimatum – providing value no matter where you are in the game – is why the card really appeals to me. The only concern I have for this card is that it is only as good as Mardu will be in Standard. If Mardu has trouble finding it’s place in the meta, we may never see Ruinous Ultimatum in play.

Key Takeaways

  • Regardless of when you resolve Ruinious Ultimatum, it will have a lot of value. If you are behind, it will bring you back into the game. If you are ahead, it will help you close out the game.
  • In a format filled with a lot of different permanent types on the battlefield at once, Ruinious Ultimatum fits perfectly. There are cheaper spells like Kaya’s Wrath that deal with all creatures, however, Ruinious Ultimatum helps take care of pesky Planeswalkers and enchantments

2. Parcelbeast

Parcelbeast takes the runner up spot on this list. Mutate is complicated mechanic and worth knowing about even if you don’t plan on using it. It’s easy to glance over Parcelbeast because it’s just an uncommon, but if we take a closer look, the card is very powerful.

Parcelbeast is a very pushed value engine. The card is cheap, provides insane card advantage, and can defend itself from aggressive decks. With blue/green being the two most dominant colors in Standard right now, Parcelbeast will have no problem finding a home.

Key Takeaways

  • For 2-mana, you can Mutate this card onto a 1-mana creature and have a 2/4 blocker. This is going to keep you safe from almost any aggro deck.
  • Parcelbeast will generate you an advantage no matter what you hit. If it’s a land, it comes in untapped and you just ramped. If it’s anything else, you just drew a card.
  • Parcelbeast has the advantage of being blue/green. There are many cards in the current Standard format that can support Parcelbeast.

1. Song of Creation

Coming in first place for my list of the best Ikoria cards for Standard is Song of Creation. Adding in strong 4-mana enchantments just seems to be the theme of Standard nowadays. Song of Creation has the biggest potential to be broken. I don’t think there is a lot of flexibility with this card, since it will most likely be a part of a deck that tries to win in 1 turn. Many people have dismissed Song of Creation because of its downside of discarding your hand.

However, I would argue that this is barely a problem in the current state of Standard. There are a ton of adventure cards that can be abused by Song of Creation, and that alone will generate enough value for players to win the game. The only problem with Song of Creation right now is that nobody has found the optimized deck to abuse the enchantment. However, I guarantee that once it’s made, it will feel almost impossible to stop.

Key Takeaways

  • Song of Creation’s ability to keep drawing you two cards will give players a lot of gas to work with in one turn.
  • The card is pushed to do so much in one turn that by the time you have generated a massive advantage, the downside is negligible.
  • Already has a home in Temur Adventures, but has potential to do more busted things

As with any new set, I’m really excited to see how it will shake up the Standard format. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is true to its name and adds a lot of incredible new monsters to the game. Anyways, this is my list for the Top 5 Ikoria cards for Standard. Feel free to let me know what cards you all are excited for!

Stay tuned to SQUAD for more Magic: The Gathering content.

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Paul Dudsdeemaytha

Paul Dudsdeemaytha is a Vancouver, BC-based writer and content creator at SQUAD. Paul specializes in creating guides for Magic: The Gathering and Legends of Runeterra. When he's not writing, you can probably find him throwing frisbees nearby.
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