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Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and Commander 2020 (or Commander: Ikoria) release is just behind the corner as we dig into the fourth precon deck, Enhanced Evolution! This deck is Sultai-colored, or blue-black-green and is built around the brand new mutate mechanic introduced in Ikoria!

Poroscope covered the mutate mechanic more in-depth in the Ikoria Commander Primer article (linkkaaaa) but we might want to refresh ourselves how do this mechanic works. Mutate is an alternate casting cost that lets the player mutate the card with another non-human creature already on the battlefield. When the creature is cast, it targets the creature it is trying to mutate. If the targeted creature leaves the battlefield before the mutate creature's cast resolves, the cast creature will just enter the battlefield as a normal creature. If the mutated creature gets to mutate, the player chooses to place the mutate card either on top or bottom of the targeted creature now forming a single creature on the battlefield. The mutated creature has the characteristics, power and toughness, and name of the topmost card and all abilities of the card below it. A creature can be mutated an unlimited amount of times. If a commander is part of the mutated creature, the creature will be count as a commander since the commandership is tied to the physical card. 

As usual for the precons, this deck is aiming to win with combat damage by building massive mutants as the game proceeds. Including the commander, the deck includes 39 creatures which of 15 have the mutate ability. The other creatures have a ton of keywords and other abilities thus making the mutants pretty packed with different abilities. Other cards in the deck include lands, some removal spells, and mana producing artifacts. Also, cards that tutor lands from the deck to the battlefield are included. As a new print for the free to cast spells if you control a commander cycle there is the black card Deadly Rollick, which will simply exile a target creature. 

Overall, the deck seems pretty interesting and fun to play! The main theme being big strong creatures this is probably a nice pick up if you want to make some big beefy mutants. There is a slight Voltron-vibe in the deck as the player might end up having a pile of cards as one creature on the battlefield. Most of the mutate cards also get triggers when the creature mutates and all of these will be triggered, if there are more of these cards in the mutated pile. 

Mutate mechanic seems to be quite strong but it is pretty well balanced because it makes single target removal more powerful against it. This is something players should keep in mind when mutating creatures.

The default commander for the deck is Otrimi, the Ever-Playful. Otrimi can be cast either normally or mutated into a creature. Otrimi has an ability that lets the player return mutate-cards from their graveyard to their hand when Otrimi or the creature it mutated with deals combat damage to a player. This provides the player with some card advantage and returning the mutate-creatures to your hand is fairly powerful, as you can then decide if you want to mutate the creatures or play them the normal way. The other commander options are Zaxara, the Exemplary and partners Ukkima, Stalking Shadow and Cazur, Ruthless Stalker. From these commander prospects the default commander Otrimi feels most powerful. Zaxara is a good one for a Hydra tribal since it provides three colors for the deck. It will be interesting to sii if Zaxara will find it's way to the commander tables! Ukkima and Cazur feel pretty strong but they don't really synergize with the mutate theme. 

Upgrades?

Mutate-themed improvements can only be found in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths since the ability is completely new. From Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths you could try at least Sea-Dasher Octopus. Also the very cheap CMC Zagoth Mamba would fit the deck pretty well. Roughly all of the mutate cards from sultai colors can be tried in the deck as it boosts up the mutate theme. Brokkos, Apex of Forever is an auto-include and could work as the commander of the deck pretty well! 

If I were to upgrade the deck I would definitely go for the mutate-theme full on! Maximizing the amount of mutate creatures would be the first step. Also things and support cards that trigger from mutating are a must. Silent Arbiter already found in the deck is a good pick and similar effects are welcome as the deck probably tries to win more with less creatures than going wide in the creature count. 

Out of the box the deck seems very interesting and fun top play especially because the mutate is a brand new thing. Since the mutate is new it is very hard to predict if this deck will be super powerful, but for players looking for fun gameplay and big mutant creatures, this deck is spot on!