Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
– Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths
May 5, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
As planeswalkers go, Lukka definitely has some interesting and unique-feeling abilities. We last saw a variant on his +1 with War of the Spark‘s Vivian, Champion of the Wilds, and it can be quite useful to have extra creatures in a place that can’t be interacted with easily. Lukka’s higher mana cost means that it’s less early pressure and more of a mid-game resource boost, though it’s also worth noting that his high starting loyalty might make it a little easier for him to stay in play for you to take advantage of it.
His -2 is almost the most interesting, as it recalls Polymorph and the Emrakul-related combo decks that were around for a while in Zendikar Standard. The current environment might not have all the pieces to make a deck as singularly focused as that, but there’s plenty of reason to play it anyway because it always looks for a more expensive creature. Some decks won’t care about exactly which creature they get if all of their big hitters are threatening anyway.
Lukka’s ultimate is very cool and, frankly, one I’m surprised we don’t see more often in red. Since so many people play multiplayer variants like Commander, he’s undoubtedly going to be in demand for that – red is one of the colors that traditionally has trouble finishing off multiple opponents.
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast represents a pretty interesting idea: how do you make a red “big creatures” support card that feels red while still supporting them? He offers a fairly interesting suite of abilities: pseudo-card advantage and polymorphing certainly feel red enough, and his ultimate generates enough damage to potentially count. But let’s start at the top.
Lukka’s +1 is a pseudo-draw in a deck with enough creatures; it’s a riff on red’s usual “impulse draw” mechanic, only giving you creatures with it but opening them up to be cast on other turns. While this is currently the only Lukka, there’s a pretty flexible trigger requirement to keep casting creatures, and it helps make sure multiples have things to do. His -2 might be the real draw, going into a bigger creature off the top of your deck. In decks lighter on creatures, this ensures you’ll get hits no matter what, but the enterprising deckbuilder can still use knowledge of their deck to get the best possible outcome.
His ultimate has one purpose: kill. It’s not amazing at it, but it scales well to multiplayer (and pairs well with damage triggers and infect, I guess), and it comes online fairly quickly after he resolves. Five loyalty does help Lukka to stick around, getting him past a lot of damage-based removal and ensuring one attacker won’t be the death of him in many cases.
I will say that Lukka has a glaring issue in being a really poor card into an empty board; he can’t reliably protect himself, and he needs to survive to the next turn to really get mileage out of his +1…and you need a creature to get his -2 to work. All that said, Lukka does work well as a red creature enabler if you can protect him; his mana cost is high, and he needs help, but he does a good job if you give him the space to do his own thing.
Constructed: 3.25 (I’m not completely sold on him, but he does have he upside of being in a set tooled to his abilities)
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