Asking the big questions

Did Mutate change the MTGA metagame?

MTGA
Two Ikoria monsters facing each other

The monsters mutate, but how about the metagame? (Image credit: Wizards of the Coast.)

The Mutate mechanic caused quite the stir when it was first spoiled, with players getting confused and angry about it before Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths even released. Since then a lot has happened and the metagame has had a chance to settle down and find its best decks. Did Mutate make an appearance in any of them, shaping the competitive environment like it does creatures in-game, or was all the hype for nothing?

Mutate was a revolutionary new mechanic and a somewhat risky move by Wizards of the Coast that had the potential to confuse both new and veteran players with its many interactions and exceptions. But is the mechanic really impactful? Answering this question is actually quite easy. Let’s examine the metagame, see what the current top decks are all about, and look for mutating beasties inside them!

Jeskai Lukka

Mainboard

1x Yorion, Sky Nomad (Companion)
3x Agent of Treachery
4x Narset, Parter of Veils
4x Teferi, Time Raveler
4x Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
1x Aether Gust
3x Shatter the Sky
1x Glass Casket
4x Omen of the Sea
4x The Birth of Meletis
4x Omen of the Sun
4x Fires of Invention
4x Elspeth Conquers Death
4x Shark Typhoon

3x Castle Ardenvale
2x Castle Vantress
3x Fabled Passage
4x Hallowed Fountain
4x Island
1x Mountain
4x Plains
4x Raugrin Triome
4x Sacred Foundry
4x Steam Vents
3x Temple of Epiphany

Sideboard

1x Aether Gust
3x Dovin's Veto
1x Glass Casket
2x Deafening Clarion
3x Mystical Dispute
2x The Wanderer
2x Dream Trawler

As we can see here, Mutate isn’t part of the strategy. Let’s look elsewhere.

Jeskai Cycling

Mainboard

1x Lurrus of the Dream Den Companion
4x Flourishing Fox
4x Drannith Healer
4x Drannith Stinger
4x Valiant Rescuer
4x Go for Blood
4x Startling Development
4x Memory Leak
4x Zenith Flare
4x Frostveil Ambush
2x Boon of the Wish-Giver
4x Footfall Crater

5x Mountain
9x Plains
4x Sacred Foundry

Sideboard

1x Grafdigger's Cage
2x Redcap Melee
2x Soul-Guide Lantern
2x Apostle of Purifying Light
2x Devout Decree
2x Embereth Shieldbreaker
3x Fry

Cycling - yes. Mutate? No.

Temur Reclamation

Mainboard

1x Keruga, the Macrosage (Companion)

4x Bonecrusher
4x Brazen Borrower
2x Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
4x Frilled Mystic
4x Nightpack Ambusher
4x Mystical Dispute
3x Expansion // Explosion
4x Wilderness Reclamation
4x Shark Typhoon

4x Breeding Pool
2x Castle Vantress
4x Fabled Passage
3x Forest
2x Island
4x Ketria Triome
1x Mountain
4x Steam Vents
3x Stomping Ground

Sideboard

3x Flame Sweep
2x Klothys, God of Destiny
4x Lovestruck Beast
1x Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
3x Shifting Ceratops
1x Commence the Endgame

And the list goes on. Mono Red and Bant Ramp are also in our top picks, and no Mutate creatures are included in a meaningful way, which confirms a suspicion some analyzers had - Mutate is very much a Limited mechanic. It provides great variety, depth of strategy, and fun factor, but not in a consistent manner making it Standard-worthy.

If a set that’s all bout huge monsters comes out and all it provides to Standard is a powerful Planeswalker and the Companion creatures, it’s rather telling of R&D’s priorities when it comes to Constructed.

If you had big plans for your Mutating monsters, you might as well give them up now. Keep them for Draft, where they are as fun as ever.


For more MTGA, stay tuned right here to EarlyGame!

Nikola Petrov

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