With the upcoming release of Magic: the Gathering Ikoria, I thought we should do a quick post about the new (and returning) mechanics you’ll see including how mutate works and how to use companion cards.
Here we go!
When “Cycling” appears on a card, you can pay the cycling cost to discard that card and draw a new one. Ikoria brings out a bunch of cards with cycling triggers such as “When you cycle a card, gain a life.”
Instead of abilities being stuck on one card, some abilities will be added to the card via a counter. For example an Instant card that says, “Put a flying counter on a creature” or “When this creature enters the battlefield, place a menace, hexproof, or flying counter on it.”
It’s also worth noting that the new Ozolith card takes these counters to a whole new level.
Companions or “My Buddy!” (or Kid Sister!)
When you play with a “companion” a few rules apply.
- You must declare your companion during setup, even before determining first player.
- You must abide by the rules and restrictions of the companion text.
- You may play companion cards as regular cards in your deck. If they aren’t declared at setup, they’re just a regular creature.
- The companion lives in your “sideboard” and you can cast it from there once each game.
- Once cast, it’s treated like any other card in your deck. Unlike a commander, if it dies, it goes to the graveyard. It can also be exiled. At the end of the game, it goes back to the sideboard.
How Mutate Works in MTG
The most discussed and anticipated Ikoria craziness coming to MTG is the “Mutate” mechanic!
It reads: “If you cast this spell for its mutate cost, put it over or under target non-human creature you own. They mutate into the creature on top, plus all abilities from under it.”)
Here’s what to consider:
- The card on top determines the color, type, power, toughness, and converted mana cost (CMC).
- When a mutation happens, it doesn’t summon a new creature but rather mutates the existing creature into something new. No summoning sickness here, so if you mutate a creature that has already gone through an upkeep or that has haste, it can attack right away.
- A mutation doesn’t cause a tap or untap.
- The existing creature will keep any counters, enchantments, attached artifacts, etc.
- Watch out for cards that have a mutation trigger, ex: “When this creature mutates… do x.”
- If a mutation fails because the target creature is destroyed or exiled (stupid shock spells!) the creature enters the battlefield as a new creature for the mutation cost.
Have Fun, Be Safe, and watch out for Teenage Mutant Flying Zombie Dinosaur Elementals with Haste, Flying, Trample, and Vigilance!