Kogla, the Titan Ape
– Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
April 11, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 2.92
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Kogla is, in many ways, a contrast with green designs of the past. He’s heavy on triggered abilities, as many modern cards are. His fight ability in particular means you’re likely to get value out of him against most opponents, as a lot of creatures all across the mana curve can’t survive a fight with him. He also has one of the strongest repeatable Naturalize effects I’ve seen: he doesn’t even have to deal damage to do it, meaning that he’ll soon take over a game where an opponent is relying on vulnerable artifacts and enchantments. There’s a curious tension in his indestructible ability, because humans in Ikoria tend to go with other humans and often want colors other than green. A deck might end well up with some incidental humans alongside him, of course, just because they’re such a common creature type.
It’s not yet clear that he’ll have a role in competitive constructed, which I think speaks more to how powerful and innovative some of Ikoria‘s other kaiju are! What is clear, however, is that summoning big green creatures and stomping things with them is just as much fun now as in 1997, and probably always will be.
And after a detour through green cards of the past, we’re now onto a green card from the future. The new set Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths releases in about a month from the writing of this, and one of its many subthemes is callouts to the various kaiju from Japanese theatrical fame and other movie beasts and unnatural phenomena.
Kogla, the Titan Ape looks a good bit like King Kong, and the displeased primate certainly fits the bill. Six mana to remove a creature pretty reliably is nice, and a Naturalize effect on attack is surprisingly potent. Kogla’s 7/6 body means it wins in combat against most things at its spot on the mana curve, and it even has another trick up its sleeve: bounce a Human to make it indestructible. Note how the ability is worded, though; if the Human dies before it gets back to your hand, the ill-tempered primate will not get its indestructible shield.
Kogla has a decent set of abilities overall, but it has the misfortune of asking for triple green in a set with a heavy multicolor focus; Ikoria is a “wedge” set, and getting three green together might be a tall ask for a number of decks. I don’t think he’s hopeless in Constructed, as we’re coming out of a monocolor-heavy set in Theros Beyond Death, but being able to be readily chump-blocked and asking for a heavy color focus takes the wind out of his sails somewhat.
Constructed: 3 (not sure how good he’ll be, but his abilities offer a bit of fun options for the enterprising deckbuilder)
Hello and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day! Today we’re taking a peek at the new set that’s about to launch… here in the US next month. Woo. So let’s take a look at one of the new monsters of this set.
When they said ‘Build Your Own Monster’ was going to be the theme of Ikoria I knew it was going to be chock full of Green Goodness and this big bulky banana boy has set the stage for what Green Bombs are going to be about.
Kogala Kong has the very respectable stats of being a 7/6 and when he lands, he fights a creature which is a great 2 for 1 if they’re not holding up removal when it lands. But the fact that when he swings he crushes an artifact or an enchantment with those massive hands can lead to some awesome gameplay moments rolling with this guy. His final ability is more flavorful than anything but it can still be oddly relevant. He could have come with a 1/1 human token in play to make it automatic, or maybe some trample for extra juice. So where does this guy land?
So the mainstay of this guy is going to be limited goodstuff, in a world where removal is prime juice this guy offering bomb stats with his own prey-upon is going to make him an easy pick and justifiable in going into Green. You probably won’t be getting much benefit from his second ability in limited given that there’s not a lot of enchantments but it’ll feel good to be able to kill off a Dead Weight that might have just been working as a deterrent to swinging. Oh, and did I mention that he’s going to be amazing feelgoods when you drop him down and crush one of their multiple-mutated creatures?
In Constructed I think there’s a lot more competition for the spot of top end fatty and unfortunately Hydroid Krasis is really good at filling that role. Killing a creature is great, but for the same cost drawing 2 cards and evasion is probably too good to pass up, especially with Nissa in the format and the fact that this guy can’t scale as well as that X wielding hydra. However if you’re determined to run the mono green beaters at your FNM or looking to introduce someone to the game and don’t want to spend a ton of money, this guy is a pretty good option to slot in to that sort of deck.
Unfortunately Commander is going to have a similar problem to this guy in that there’s simply so many options and chief among them is Woodfall Primus which has the benefit of Persist, and being able to blow up a non-land rather than just an artifact or enchantment. However if you’re at the table being overwhelmed with rocks and also want to be able to crush puny dragon with a fat Kong then this might work as an additional spot. Just don’t slot this in to one of your more hardcore Commander Decks above a 3 power level pod.
As with the other formats Cube is very tight on what goes into the spots, since Vintage Powered Cubes are all about the hardest hitters of Magic the environment can be incredibly fast and there isn’t much room for a guy who doesn’t hit on every level. He’d probably do okay in a Modern or Standard based cube but I’m going to have to test and see if his second ability is relevant enough to warrant his use in Green Stompy decks for a higher powered environment.
Constructed 2/5 – It’s fine for Casual FNM Shenanigans and might even be relevant at breaking Glass Caskets and Oblivion Rings.
Commander 2/5 – There’s a few more rocks here so he can do a bit more work, but you might be better off rocking the Primus.
Limited 5/5 – All Star here, his first ability is going to be super relevant at killing cobbled together creatures and snagging that beautiful X for 1.
Cube 1.5/5 – Untested here but usually Green counts 1, 3, 7 bypassing this guy pretty fast for bigger gorillas.
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