Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is the latest set coming to Magic: The Gathering and it’s all about giant, ferocious monsters and the people who hunt them. Taking inspiration from classic creature features such as Godzilla, Wizards of the Coast has included a menagerie of Legendary Creatures and potent spells that are certain to make a splash in the Commander format. While not included in MTG Arena, this is one of the most popular formats in the entirety of Magic.
Set to release on May 15, this set will also feature four Commander decks that are specifically designed for this format. We will not be including any exclusive cards in that product on this list. Our picks will be solely from the Ikoria: Lair of Behemonths set, simply because all of the Commander decks are worth purchasing if you’re a fan of EDH. I will not be including cards that specifically excel in cEDH (Competitive EDH) alone since this variation focuses on playing extremely fast and efficient decks. Instead, our selections not only offer flexibility but embrace the spirit of this chaotic, social game.
If you’re looking to pick up singles from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, here are our top 10 picks.
10 Best Ikoria Lair of Behemoths Commander Cards
1. Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
Kinnan is bonkers. Just on its own, this Legendary Creature allows you to obtain infinite mana with cards such as Grim Monolith, Basalt Monolith, or Freed from the Real. There’s a lot of combo potential surrounding Kinnan and his cheap mana cost allows you to drop him on turn two and speed ahead of your opponents. Once you have all this mana you can use Kinnan’s ability to cheat out insanely powerful creatures like Blightsteel Colossus at a reduced cost. This gives Kinnan a surprising amount of flexibility, allowing you to use him simply as a combo too or a larger piece of an aggro deck. We fully expect to see Kinnan as one of the most popular and played cards from Ikoria.
2. Shark Typhoon
It’s a god damn Sharknado in Magic: The Gathering what other reason could you possibly need?
Despite being wildly popular, most “spellslinger” decks lack a solid finisher or alternative win condition. Enter Shark Typhoon, a blu enchantment lets you quickly amass a board of creatures by just playing noncreature spells. This not only provides valuable blockers but gives you a chance to get in for some damage or deter foes from looking your way. Alternatively, Shark Typhoon can also serve as a solid component in an enchantment themed deck, since all of your enchantments will trigger this card’s ability. It also has the added benefit of having cycle, just in case you need to hunt for something better than a Sharknado.
3. Luminous Broodmoth
My favorite card in the set, Luminous Broodmoth is an insanely strong card that will become a staple in sacrifice/aristocrat decks for years. Once in play, the Luminous Broodmoth lets you return any creature without flying to the battlefield and add a flying counter to it. Not only does this give your creature flying, but you can abuse the counter with cards like Solemnity to keep them coming back. It’s a simple, but very effective card that certainly earns its Mythic rarity. The only downside is this card isn’t Legendary so you cannot use it as your general! Though we suspect a lot of people will be making house rules to allow Mothra to helm a deck of her own!
4. Death’s Oasis
The multi-color enchantment cycle is full of strong contenders, but my personal favorite is Death’s Oasis. For just a Colorless, Green, White, and a Black, you will have a spell that allows you to easily return creatures from the graveyard to your hand. Despite not entering the battlefield, Death’s Oasis is a solid enchantment that can slot into virtually any Abzan colored deck. This card also offers a consistent way to fill your graveyard without attracting too much attention from others. Plus, it serves as a way to quickly gain some extra life in an emergency, but if you’re in a position where you have to sacrifice Death’s Oasis you’re probably losing.
5. The Ultimatum Cycle
I’m cheating a little with this entry, but it would be a crime to not include all of them. For the longest time players have wanted Ultimatum cards in the missing five wedges, so it was an absolute treat to see them return in Ikoria. Each boasting different, unique effects, these cards are what makes the Commander format so much fun. However, our pick for the best of the bunch has to be Eerie Ultimatum, as it lets you essentially reanimate your entire graveyard. Sure it costs seven mana, but in a singleton format this card has almost no drawbacks at all. There’s a very good chance that if you end up resolving Eerie Ultimatum then you’re just winning the game either that turn or the next one.
6. Viven, Monster’s Advocate
I rarely recommend planeswalker cards in Commander, mainly because they tend to get hated out of the game very fast. Unless you’re building a planeswalker-focused deck, these cards typically only last a turn or two before being swiftly removed. Yet, Viven, Monster’s Advocate has way too much value to ignore. For five mana, you get to look at the top card of your library, cast creature spells from there, make a blocker, or cheat out another creature. This gives Viven far more utility than your average Green planeswalker, letting her slot into virtually any creature-focused deck that includes this color.
7. General Kudro of Drannith
Human tribal has always been popular in Commander, but they’ve lacked a solid option for White/Black. Enter General Kudro, a card that not only pumps Humans but boasts some nice utility features. Being able to remove both cards in the graveyard and some creatures helps your deck maintain some level of control over the board. Even though he’s not nearly as busted as Kinnan, General Kudro is a strong, middle of the road choice for those wanting to construct a human tribal deck. Plus, sacrificing humans won’t be a big deal since Black and White is full of graveyard recursion spells.
8. Illuna, Apex of Wishes
It’s difficult to gauge where the Mutate mechanic will ultimately land in Commander. With all of the mutate cards limited to just Ikoria and the new Commander set, there aren’t a ton of deckbuilding options. However, Illuna could certainly make running Mutate cards worth it. Every time you Mutate this card you’ll get to pseudo-Cascade and put a nonland permanent from the top of your deck into play. Cheating out spells is always strong, especially when there are very few restrictions on what that card is. It also helps that this doesn’t have to be a Mutate themed deck, so you don’t have to run every card with this ability. Instead, Illuna is far more focused, allowing you to pick and choose the best of the best to stack onto this creature.
9. Fiend Artisan
If you have noticed by now, cheating creatures out for free or almost free is one of the most powerful things you can do in Commander. Fiend Artisan’s tutor ability is no exception since it lets you dig through your deck for a card equal to or less than a colorless plus X. A riff on Birthing Pod, Fiend Artisan is easily abusable and can quickly help you take control of the board. This creature has the added benefit of growing in size the more creature cards you put into the graveyard. While this is a nice benefit, you’re mainly playing this Nightmare for the ability to tutor virtually any creature onto the battlefield if you have the mana.
10. Quartzwood Crasher
Sometimes you just want to batter your opponent to death with big angry dinosaurs. This is a card that rewards aggressive players for getting damage through. Being able to make more creatures with each subsequent attack can lead to you quickly snowballing out of control. But Quartzwood Crasher truly excels because this static ability triggers for any creature with Trample, not just the dinosaur. There are a lot of creatures in Magic: The Gathering that possess Trample, many of which are extremely powerful by themselves. Getting additional value for just attacking allows smart players to constantly amass a horde of angry animals. You don’t even need to attack with the Crasher to get this effect, it’s absolutely bonkers.