When I first saw three-color Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths cards being spoiled, I anticipated a Limited format defined by the Triomes. Now that we've seen the full spoiler, it turns out that Ikoria Limited is actually defined by two-color pairs (also known as guilds). 

While Ikoria has three-color cards, none of them fall below a rare rarity level, so it looks like Ikoria will be primarily drafted as a two-color set.

When starting my analysis of the format, I looked into the archetype each two color pair presented, or rather the keyword(s) they would be formed around. The first thing I noticed was that the multicolor cards were not evenly distributed. The enemy-colored pairs had more cards than the allied pairs:

Given the multicolored cards and synergies that exist, it looks like the enemy-colored pairs are going to be stronger on average. Each color has the potential to be powerful on an individual level, however certain cards will synergize better working with the correct paired color.

Without any further ado, let's take a look at the archetypes presented in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths

Izzet Spells/Cycling

Pairing blue and red together allows us to find the best cycling and spelled-based synergies available in Ikoria Limited. The red uncommons provide the payoff, while blue provides the enablers. The nice thing about this archetype is that while rares and uncommons can make this deck great, you will still have access to a reasonable deck using just commons.

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Orzhov Humans

White is looking like the most aggressive color in Ikoria Limited, so when pairing it with black we're looking for aggressive creatures and removal spells that come together with "Humans matter" cards. White and black also offer payoff for non-Human cards, and since Humans are unable to mutate or be mutated upon, this allows us to introduce some non-Human creatures into our draft. This archetype also rewards a token strategy.

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Simic Mutate

This looks like one of the weaker color combinations to me, and in general green has not impressed me very much in Ikoria. This archetype relies heavily on uncommons like Trumpeting Gnarr and Parcelbeast to really come together. It would not be my ideal archetype to draft, but the potential to splash a third color (or even fourth!) color in green, has me keeping an open mind about this color combination.

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Boros Cycling

Similar to the white-black Humans archetype above, white-red is looking to be aggressive. The two multicolor uncommons that really push the cycling facet of this deck are Zenith Flare and Savai Thundermane. We also have the option to play toward Boros Tokens, which finds its payoff in Regal Leosaur. However, a cycling strategy is the strongest.

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Golgari Graveyard Matters

In this format, the black-green decks are trying to cycle and self-mill to fill their graveyard with reanimator targets. Cards like Skull Prophet function as enablers, while Boneyard Lurker, Back for More and Unbreakable Bond are the payoff for this archetype. 

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Now that we've gone through the enemy color pairs, it's time to look into the allied colors. 

Each enemy pair had a clear direction for optimal drafting. This doesn't appear to be the case for allied colored pairs. In addition to having fewer multicolored cards than the enemy pairs, the direction we take these pairs in is not as clear. 

Rakdos

This color combination in Ikoria is best described as keywords and removal. Menace looks to be the more recurring keyword we see among these cards, however the sheer amount of removal available to us makes this archetype look good. In this archetype we utilize aggressive creatures and removal spells to clear the way for them. It's a simple game plan, but one that will do the job.

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Dimir Flash

Blue-black appears to be one of the more defined allied color pairings in Ikoria Limited. The flash theme presents itself across creatures and spells alike, while the two colors have access to great removal and cycle cards to tie the deck together. 

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Gruul Trample

The goal of the red-green decks is to leverage big creatures and fight spells to assert board dominance and crash through with their behemoths. Picking up the resident red-green hybrid card Proud Wildbonder is a good reason to go into these colors. 

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Azorius Fliers

In every Limited format there's a resident white-blue fliers deck, and Ikoria did not disappoint. This archetype aims to use cards that disburse flying counters, in combination with Jubilant Skybonder to help protect your flying creatures. Being able to mutate onto most of the fliers in these colors is definitely a plus.

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Selesnya Vigilance

By the time I reached this part of writing my set review, I'd confirmed my hunch that outside of its black pairing, green is likely the weakest color in this Limited set. White and green both certainly have potential, however when paired together, they are a little lackluster. The white-green hybrid card Alert Heedbonder leaves a lot to be desired. Life gain is always nice, but rarely will a card be played for its ability to simply gain life. This archetype will rely heavily on white removal and flying counters. 

Uncommons for the archetype:

Commons for the archetype:

Not included in each archetypes' list are the universally great commons and uncommons that would be played in almost every deck. These are typically removal spells that are essential to the success of most decks—every deck needs removal. 

Here's a list of my top 2 commons and uncommons for each color:

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Honorable mentions go out to the mentor cycle as a whole.

While it may look like this set is designed to be drafted in two-color archetypes, the ability to splash a third color is definitely there. When deciding whether to splash another color, the cost comes at your mana base's consistency. You should ask yourself why you're splashing, and if it's worth that cost. Splashing for single-colored bombs, removal or a great finisher is okay, but I try to avoid splashing if the consistency of my two-color deck is heavily affected. In Ikoria specifically, you have access to the crystal cycle, each of which tap for three colors or cycle for two mana. You should only really play these in decks with three or more colors, or if your deck desperately needs another cycling card.

Good luck, and feel free to find me on Twitter (@jesstephan) and let me know how you're enjoying Ikoria Limited!