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Ikoria Deck: To Me My X-Men

Posted in Games, Magic

Let’s start with the obvious: I’m not a competitive Magic player, and this is not a competitive deck. If you’re looking to win against good players, go somewhere else. If you want to have some fun with mutate, oh boy do I have a deck for you.

Oh, and since it’s all about mutation, of course it’s actually an X-Men theme deck.

To Me My X-Men (The Deck)

Deck
6 Swamp (IKO) 268
4 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
2 Dirge Bat (IKO) 84
2 Insatiable Hemophage (IKO) 93
2 Rankle, Master of Pranks (ELD) 101
4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
2 Chittering Harvester (IKO) 80
2 Season of Growth (M20) 191
7 Forest (IKO) 274
2 Ilysian Caryatid (THB) 174
4 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
4 Temple of Malady (M20) 254
1 Gemrazer (IKO) 155
2 Nylea, Keen-Eyed (THB) 185
2 Questing Beast (ELD) 171
4 Migratory Greathorn (IKO) 165
4 Auspicious Starrix (IKO) 144
2 Casualties of War (WAR) 187
2 Boneyard Lurker (IKO) 178
2 Vivien, Champion of the Wilds (WAR) 180

Playing It

Your key play is Auspicious Starrix + any of your other mutate cards. An ideal starting hand is something like Paradise Druid + Auspicious Starrix + Migratory Greathorn + 3 lands (which is only 6 cards, so you can mull for a hand like this). An ideal game looks like:

Ideally by turn 5 you have a hexproof Auspicious Starrix and some other mutators to keep it going. At this point you just keep mutating more permanents into the battlefield until your opponent concedes (this happens a lot) or you can just keep swinging until they’re done.

Considerations

If possible, always keep whatever Paradise Druid has mutated into untapped. Using the mana it can produce is a risky last resort. In general you want to use it as a cheap body to mutate while protecting your investment. The mana is for emergencies.

If you need removal from Dirge Bat wait until your opponent’s end step to play it, then immediately mutate it on your turn. This may seem obvious, but I’ve cast it during my main phase too many times only to see it killed before I can get the removal from it. Don’t be like me.

Cards That I Might Cut

Ilysian Caryatid is nice for the ramp, but it’s rarely exciting.

Chittering Harvester can feel too expensive. It’ll probably stay around just for getting past Indestructable, but unless you really need to force your opponent to sac it’s just an over-priced mutator.

Rankle, Master of Pranks feels off-theme and doesn’t have an immediate enter-the-battlefield ability to get extra value out of coming into play with Auspicious Starrix. But quite often it’s the nail in the coffin of a close game, and quite often sacrificing a creature or discarding a card won’t be as big a deal for you as for your opponent.

Casualties of War has anti-synergy with Auspicious Starrix since it’s not a permanent, but it’s a savior in the late game and having 2 non-permanents means most times you’ll still get your full value.

Cards That I Might Add

Anything with an enters-the-battlefield effect might be worthwhile to get more value from Auspicious Starrix. God-Eternal Rhonas is an especially good option since Rhonas makes a good mutate target.

Unfortunately there’s not much creature-based enters-the-battlefield removal around in Standard. There are a few creatures that fight when they enter, but none have seemed value enough to include.

Yorvo and Wildborn Preserver both have the potential to get really big, and might be worth adding. Wildborn Preserver in particular is a nice surprise to play against aggro decks, but they haven’t been that problematic before so I’m not sure it’s needed.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel has a tempting ETB effect, but mutate has anti-synergy with devotion (fewer mana symbols to count).

Mapping To X-Men

  • Dirge Bat, the flying death-dealer, is obviously Warren Worthington III, the former Death Horseman of Apocalypse and current Angel. Just ignore that it’s not actually and angel.
  • Auspicious Starrix is Proteus, especially House of X, member of The Five Proteus.
  • Boneyard Lurker is Egg as another member of The Five.
  • Insatiable Hemophage absorbs energy from others, so let’s say Cable.
  • Migratory Greathorn does stuff with land, so it’s our Krakoa stand-in.
  • Nylea, Keen-Eyed is an eternal force that sometimes takes on human form, like the Phoenix Force.
  • Paradise Druid is maybe not exactly a mutant (very large asterisk here), but is the core that things turn on, our very own Moira MacTaggert.
  • Rankle, Master of Pranks is Mr. Sinister. I mean, just look at him. His wings even look like Sinister’s glam cape.

Changelog

  • 2020-04-24: Initial posting.

Sage LaTorra is a game designer and senior test engineer at Google. You may know him from Dungeon World.

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