Lurrus of the Dream-Den – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Date Reviewed: December 30, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This card was #3 on my Top Ten list.
I do not think the companion mechanic should have been nerfed. I particularly do not think it should have been nerfed so soon after the set’s release. When a company does something like that, it calls into question the credibility of their design process, particularly when the complaints from both professionals and designers also call into question tenets of other formats. Companion is designed to operate the way commanders do, but somehow one is unacceptably degenerate and the other is not. If the difference is that Commander is supposed to be policed by the social multiplayer element . . . well, I’ll refer you to our recent discussion of Opposition Agent and how some people feel that the social element isn’t keeping out degenerate decks at all. But sometimes, we Magic players ask too few questions of Commander in general.
If, however, you were looking for a powerful companion card to put in the spotlight, Lurrus is probably the place you would stop. Even before she was banned in Vintage, one of the few non-ante cards to hold that distinction, her game text promised a level of recursion ability that a wide variety of decks would love to have access to. It’s surprisingly easy to match her companion condition, particularly in settings with large card pools, and her efficient stats are the icing on top – you can even just put her in something like my Jumpstart Cube, which doesn’t have sideboards or companion errata, just because she attacks and blocks so well. (And, as a matter of fact, that’s what I did.)
This card was 4th on my top 10 list.
Talk about one bad kitty. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is a momentous creature in that it was the first card banned from Vintage on its own merits, a format with a notoriously permissive ban list. A large part of it is that Lurrus plays very “well” with fast mana rocks like Moxen and Lotus relatives; while the converted mana cost issue might be a problem in Standard, a lot of Legacy and Vintage decks can play with a dearth of pricey permanents, relying instead on very rude instants and sorceries to do the job, and guaranteeing access to the bad kitty, even post-errata for the companion mechanic, is all too easy for decks so inclined. It’s a weird card to evaluate, as it got banned from where it did the most damage and is merely “okay” in other formats, but that effect is still incredibly unpleasant to go against if you can build around it.
Constructed: 5 (it deserves this for the feat of a Vintage ban, but it’s more realistically a 3 or so in Standard and Modern)
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