Preview: Ikoria [2020]; Monsters, Behemoths, And THE King

Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ Iɴᴅᴇx —

a preview by the Azure-Winged Magpie (a.k.a.: still the Extinction Entity).
Hello hello and chatter chatter!

The cap’n’s off writing a few posts for later this week, so I decided “why don’t I fill the time by talking about ALL the things we’ve been meaning to talk about but haven’t got around to yet?” Sounds good no?
(I’ll talk about the “evolution” thing some other time. We’re holding off on big changes for now. If you’re reading this, Roadrunner… hold your horses! We’ll unveil you soon enough!)

So we’ve tried to talk about this game for a long time on The Corvid Review. We had three (THREE!) whole posts written out about this game but never really got around to it ’cause of… reasons (okay?). We started with Core Set 2020

Core Set 2020

Then we wanted to talk about Throne of Eldraine and even about Theros Beyond Death, but neither of those happened because of… reasons *cough* the Cap’n didn’t do them *cough* either. I really wanted to talk about Eldraine‘s gorgeous trailer (I’m with Syr Ginger! Our big green boye dun a bad!) but here we are two sets later and I’m finally taking charge of this business!

So… here’s a bit of backstory about why we’re talking about Magic: the Gathering all of a sudden.

CLICK HERE TO SKIP THE BACKSTORY
(This section’s going to be a bit long.)

The cap’n and I’ve been playing this game for a few years and we love it. For me it started with Champions of Kamigawa (’cause, like… Japanese) but really kicked in with Betrayers since I found my colours during that set. For the cap’n, he started a little later with Ravnica: City of Guilds (holy [BLEEP]! I just realised we’ve been playing this game for half our lives!). But we both quit playing long ago for a few reasons.

Look. It’s not like we quit because we don’t like the game or anything. Serious… this is one of the best games out there if you get into it the right way and play against good opponents. We had different reasons for quitting, but we had one big reason in common.

Y’see, the thing with this game is… it’s expensive. It’s expensive both by biting a cheeseburger sized chunk outta your bank account and by slurping up all your time like what happens when you watch food videos at 3 in the morning. That was the reason we had in common.

But then last year, we discovered Magic: the Gathering Arena (which you actually don’t have to pay squat for if you’re fine with starting slow) and the affair was back on! And we’ve both been playing it pretty aggressively since then (okay. I play a lot more than the cap’n). I’d share our names and IDs on here, but since you all know how careful we are with our identities, I’m going to leave them out. (No. We don’t use our species names.) We usually hang around between platinum and diamond by mid-season, and I’ll give you enough to go on to know it’s us beating you up since we’re pretty stubborn about how we play.

We’re so stubborn that even if the meta right now isn’t good for our playstyles, we’ll still use the same basic ideas for our main decks. And talking about our decks…

The cap’n plays one of the most “evil” combos in Magic, the 💧blue+💀black Dimir combo. If you get bombarded by Jaces, Bolases, Ashioks and [INSERT PLANESWALKER HERE] who he doesn’t even care enough to save (he gets them back. It’s really annoying), it’s a good bet you’re up against the cap’n. And if this is happening to you, you’d better lock that library up in a strong safe. Apart from his “does everything” deck, he’s got a WG (I’ll explain these later in the Ikoria section) Angels token deck and uses one of my decks sometimes. He’s the “all about complicated Magic that you’ll need a book to get your head around” kinda player. You know… the annoying kind.

But I play something even eviller. I play two types of 💀black+🔥red Rakdos burn (hey! Our colours are flipped in MTG!). If you notice your house randomly catching fire because of all the… all the… fire (no other words really fit…) and murder being thrown around no matter who it hurts… you’re up against me and you’re probably losing. I’ll kill my opponents! I’ll kill my friends! I’ll even kill me if it means I can kill you! (I always kinda hated haste-y RDW, so at least you’re safe from that. I like big fires!) Apart from the Fires (lol!), I use decks like Vampire tribal, Izzet and a kind-of a Simic flash (the last two are my big-brain decks). But yeah… my Fires-burning Rakdos deck is my go-to. (Can I get slivers back as well?)

So yeah… say “Hello!” and “Good Game” and get ready to get toasted if you come up against us. If we get the right cards that is… I’ve been having the worst luck for like a week! I’m usually on every other day so it’s a good bet you’ll see me if you’re hanging around the right tiers (why can’t I ever get out of diamond?!).

And since the Crow’s a Magic lore historian (I gave up since the Gatewatch became too much of a thing. Nissa and Gideon just aren’t my kinda folks.)… maybe I’ll bully him into writing some bits and bobs about the story sometime. Now that big daddy Thano Bolas is off retired again, we’ve got a nice chapter break to sum everything up in!

But back to Ikoria!

IKORIA

Ikoria doesn’t really look fun for either of our playstyles so far (yeah. I read the spoilers. Hi /r/MagicTCG!). It’s the big stompy kinda Magic that we’re just not into. And since I’d been feeling a bit of a Magic burnout since Theros dropped, I was kinda thinking about taking my feeties off the pedal for this next set.

But I fired up the trailer when it came out. And it was… bad(?!). Magic puts together some really sweet trailers for its sets and this one was just.. bucket-quality. It was over colourful. Had a really weird choice for a backing song that wasn’t even mixed well. And it just wasn’t good okay?

Vivien’s back and she’s just not someone I’m interested in. I get she fits the “big monsters” idea but I was kinda hoping we’d get something to do with some of the other characters. I kinda want to see Kaya going on adventures while she’s running around the multiverse looking for Lili. Kaya’s cool. I like her flavour. But we get Vivien doing… Vivien things. She pew pews some arrows and fights a big monster with her wierd cat/bear/griffin friend(s) and then some magic stuff happens and that’s it. Pretty disappointing.

But then. Right at the end of the first trailer for Ikoria… those geniuses at WotC (no more Oko Brokos plz? Abs were sweet but no more broko. kthxbai!) dragged me right back in! Ikoria‘s rocking some bigHUGE important cards that I might even break the bank for.

And those bigHUGE important cards got previewed in the trailer with ONE guy.

And that guy is…

His Nuclear Scaliness God-King Godzilla the King of the Monsters

GODZILLA

You heard me right. The Big G. My King. His August Nuclear Scaliness God-King Gojira the King of the Monsters and the Kaijū is now part of Magic: the Gathering (kinda!). WotC are having a little partnership with Toho and now they can have all the monsters from the Godzilla shared universe in Magic! Woohoo!

And that means ALL the monsters. Spacegodzilla, King Caesar, you name a kaijū and they’re here. It’s all pretty nifty and it’s been a long time since I looked at a Magic card and went “Yup! I got to have that one!” I don’t know if I’ll be playing Magic that much after the set gets a little old, but I think I’ll be collecting these cards (like… the actual cardboard cards). And here’s a fun fact! The set drops on MTG Arena on the cap’n’s birthday! So… I guess I get to take the day off and play my eyeballs out!

(I mean… look at my profile picture on here. I’m a planeswalker with Star Trek vibes and a Godzilla plush up on my shoulder. This set was MADE for me!)

But that’s a lot to take in. Doesn’t it sound too good to be true? Welp! It’s true!

Don’t believe me? Here’s Godzilla’s card!

And where I should be running around and squealing like the obedient subject that I am… I’m actually a leeetle bit miffed (even though I’ll still probably pay for the card). And I’ve got two reasons why I’m miffed!

NUMBER ONE (hey! That’s my name!): It’s not really the King is it? It’s a cosmetic. It’s just some other legendary creature card called Zilthora wearing a big rubber suit like they used to back in the day. But that’s something I can look past. I’d have liked an actual Godzilla card but then they’d have to explain how and why The King got to Ikoria in the first place. And I don’t really think you can ‘splain Godzilla and the Big KG and Spacegodzilla (wait… is Destoroyah in this?!) planeswalked to Ikoria easily. But that’d be cool. Imagine planeswalker Godzilla. Hide yo Bolases WotC! The King’s going to rip that elder dragon to little nibbly bits!

And the other reason why I’m miffed is… WHY is Godzilla a RG creature?! He should be UR!

For those of you who don’t know, the colour system in Magic: the Gathering (which we were planning on explaining a hecking long time ago) goes like this:

Magic colours

W (white) – U (blue… I know) – B (black) – R (red) – G (green).

And each of these colours means something. Now I’m not going into details here but just know that green is all about forests and nature and being big n’ stompy! Just like the Crow describes his favourite way of playing MTG by yelling “You’re not playing Magic! I’M playing Magic!” and I set fire to the neighbourhood when I’m playing, green’s all about stomp-stomp and Hulk smash (see? GREEN)!

Even though Godzilla gets a green (G) in his identity since he’s a big stompy creature… he lives in the seas and has some serious firepower! It’d be better if he was a BR (blue/red) creature with a bit of green thrown in to balance it all out! Something like this:

Woulda worked a heck of a lot better than what we’re getting (yeah yeah. I added an ability. A little atomic breath here and there would be fun. Fight me. Also… MSE is really annoying to work in). Ghidorah’s card also has green in it and that seems wrong too. He should have been blue/black/red like Bolas since he’s an alien and is pretty much evil in a three-headed rubber dragon suit.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m chuffed we’re getting cards which have the Toho monsterverse in them. Mothra’s card is pretty sweet, and the Spacegodzilla card is pretty good (the controversy over the name is stupid as rocks), but a lot of the cards just don’t fit the Toho monsters. Magic‘s been having some serious issues with its card design over the last few years and I think all that’s showing again. Hell… I woulda loved it if we just had all the alternate versions of Godzilla as cards but that’s expecting too much (maybe we’ll get them in the future). Maybe it’s just because I’m a Godzilla superfan, but the details that Magic usually throws into their cards isn’t here with the Toho series.

But yeah… looks like I’m back at square one. I need to have a sit-down and think whether or not I’m going to be hanging up my spellcasting regulator like I was planning on. Just remember… if I don’t, I’m going to be setting more than everyone’s houses on fire. And I’ll have The King in my corner to stomp everyone to yummy human paste!

Little team update before I go… we’ve got a lot of things in the works for April. I was kinda holding out on my Evolution post until we had everything ready to go, but I think I’ll let the cap’n take back over for a few days since I’m going to be gone for a few days next week. I’ll try and drop a review in before I go, but if I don’t get around to it, I’ll see you all on the other side. Hugs and kisses y’all! See you soon (…ish).

— Azure-Winged “the Extinction Entity” Magpie up! Up! And Awayyy! *BONK!*


Here’s one of the promo posters:

Ikoria promo poster

Up next (probably)!:

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