Lurrus of the Dream Den
– Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths
May 29, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Lurrus blew into Magic’s metagames like the wind of the Realm of Chaos, and nothing will ever be the same again. I suppose seeing her on Vintage’s ban list is arguably not surprising, as she’s there alongside other cards with unique mechanics like conspiracies and Shahrazad, but hers is the most “normal” of all those unique mechanics. There’s no other way to stop her in Vintage, though, and the ability to continuously recur cheap permanents (ie. the great majority of the permanents in the format) was just too much for most decks to keep up with. Holding a Black Lotus until after Lurrus is in play gives you six mana, which is equivalent to about twenty mana in Standard!
But that, of course, is the format with the most powerful cards from all of Magic’s history. How does she hold up in other settings? Pretty well, as it turns out. Lurrus’ companion requirement is not a problem for aggro decks or synergy decks in the style of Aristocrats (Aristocats?), and her ability helps greatly against opponents who try to slow them down with removal. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she gives rise to some kind of crazy “cheap creature reanimator” archetype – Death’s Shadow, Kroxa, and Lupine Prototype spring to mind.
Nightmare kitty has proven to be enough of an obnoxious piece of work that it’s gotten banned in Vintage, a format that almost never bans cards. It also got banned in Legacy, but that’s separate.
Another of the infamous companions of Ikoria, Lurrus of the Dream-Den constrains you to low-cost permanents in exchange for a 3/2 with lifelink that enables you to cast one from your graveyard each turn. In Vintage, the power of Lurrus is pretty apparent: you can use it in conjunction with…say, Black Lotus to power out rude and obscene turns with the guarantee that the bad kitty will be on hand to work with. The common deck theme in Vintage used Paradoxical Outcome to bounce Lurrus once it got to the board, re-cast all your artifact mana sources, and aim to end the game then and there.
Of note is that Lurrus locks out permanent cards to be under that particular limitation; instant and sorcery spells are left untouched. This means you can do some really nasty things with Lurrus, like long storm chains, recurring cards with it, and just eking out value all over the place. The body is probably the least-exciting thing about Lurrus, but a 3/2 with lifelink is honestly pretty nice.
I will say that Lurrus is a card whose power is proportional to the format he’s a part of; he offers a lot to decks that can abuse him and his skillset. He’s pretty mediocre as part of the 60 or 99 (though I can see him being obnoxious at the helm of a Commander deck), but the guarantee that you have a bad kitty lurking in the wings makes him far more powerful than anyone was probably intending him to be.
Constructed: 5 (getting banned out of Vintage for pure power considerations is impressive; he’s still workable in Modern, but he deserved a 5 for that accomplishment alone)
Hello everyone and welcome to Pojo’s Card of the Day, today we’re taking a peek at another companion and this one like Lutri has earned the ire of plenty of Magic Players. Let’s find out why!
Lurrus of the Dream-Den looks like the dream card for Mono White / Mono Black or Orzhov Aggro decks, it fits in pretty well. It’s a decent body for 3 mana and lifelink is always relevant. While it’s companion mechanic states that your deck must only contain permanents with CMC 2 or less, that’s not a problem for weenie aggro! The best part is that during each of your turns you can cast a creature from your graveyard with CMC 2 or less… Ohwait. That says permanent.
That one little word was an integral part into abusing the hell out of Lurrus in Vintage and Legacy allowing for multiple turn shenanigans with Time Walk and Underworld Breach. In short this card just busted a format and it was promptly banned soon after.
So where else is Lurrus stalking around? Well any format he’s legal in at the moment. Restricting your permanents to 2 or less isn’t too difficult when you still have access to some of the most amazing spells.
Unfortunately it looks like Lurrus like the other companions has flown too close to the sun and shined like some crazy cat diamond nightmares and so this review will have to be done before the impending doom that will be brought upon this amazing experiment of a mechanic.
Constructed 5/5 – When it’s too good for Vintage, like, a format with Black Lotus, when its too good for that. Well. Hang on to these because they might be the new ‘Power 10’.
Commander 2/5 – It loses a bit of its luster here, the restriction is a bit more than most decks are willing to pay for.
Limited 5/5 – It may not make the companion slot but a 3/2 lifelinker that can bring back your pacifisms and early drops is pretty legit!
Cube 3.5/5 – I haven’t had a chance to really test it out, but I think it’d be fine here.
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