Ikoria's Lurrus of the Dream-Den has already proven to be too much for Legacy as well as Vintage, where it has broken the rules of the restricted list by being outright banned. #####CARDID=21255##### Previously, this status was reserved for only the most egregiously game-breaking cards from Magic's early days—those with the ante mechanic like Contract from Below, or a dexterity check like Chaos Orb. This perspective provides a sense of just how strong companion is, or in the case of Lurrus of the Dream-Den, was. Its ban, along with that of Zirda, the Dawnwaker in Legacy, will drastically alter the metagames of these formats, which Lurrus had completely overtaken.


Loser - Delver of Secrets

In Legacy, Lurrus of the Dream-Den joined Delver of Secrets and other cheap threats like Dreadhorde Arcanist and Tarmogoyf, along with the recurrable card advantage engine of Mishra's Bauble, to become the dominant deck in the field. It held a massive 35% share of the metagame between various Delver versions, the most popular being Grixis with a 28% share by itself. 


Delver of Secrets will survive in some form, but before Ikoria the deck was at a low point in the face of an oppressive metagame defined by Four-Color Arcum's Astrolabe Control decks, which unfortunately for Delver decks, look to be the biggest winner from the ban and will bounce back even better than before with the help of Yorion, Sky Nomad

Winner - Four-Color Snowko



Four and even five-color control decks based around Arcum's Astrolabe have been a major part of Legacy since the card's printing, but this year they really hit the next level with the printing of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath as an inexhaustible card advantage engine and threat. Before Ikoria was released these decks were firmly in control of the format, and because Ikoria doesn't look to have any Legacy-warping cards beyond the companions themselves, things should mostly go back to where they were before. The remaining companions will play a factor, but with the four-color deck having successfully adopted Yorion, Sky Nomad as an additional card advantage engine, its stranglehold should only be stronger.

Before Ikoria, tuning decisions in Legacy were based more around what to do in the snow mirror matches than against anything else, with options like splashing into red as a fifth color for Pyroblast to fight the blue mirrors, or trying to dodge it with things like playing multiple Sylvan Library in the maindeck. I expect Legacy will return to this sort of environment, with flexible control decks choking out aggressive decks and jockeying amongst themselves.  


Without much ability to apply pressure with creatures, these control decks can suffer against combo decks that they give too much time to set up, and that can be easily protected with Veil of Summer invalidating much of the control deck's disruption. That makes them more reliant on actual dedicated hoser cards on the battlefield, a plan made less reliable with Yorion, Sky Nomad's effect of diluting the contents of a deck and sideboard. These versions will suffer even more against combo decks, and may lead to some players reverting to a more streamlined and consistent companionless build to beat combo decks while sacrificing in the blue mirrors.

The natural enemy of many combo decks has always been Delver of Secrets decks, which combine a ton of disruption with relentless pressure, so with them in decline, things should add up to a great time for combo decks.

Winner - Combo Decks of All Sorts

Zirda, the Dawnwaker and its infinite combos with Grim Monolith and Basalt Monolith has been banned, with the argument that it may not have proven too broken yet in a Lurrus of the Dream-Den world, but inevitably would. #####CARDID=21094##### Gyruda, Doom of Depths, however, remains a factor in the metagame, and potentially becomes the format's premier combo deck.




Reanimator, Sneak and Show decks, Doomsday decks with Thassa's Oracle, and especially OmniTell decks with maindeck Veil of Summer will all have plenty of game against control without Delver decks looming over them.  

On the first day of Magic Online play after the bans, the first Legacy Preliminary saw a clean 5-0 sweep by a Sneak and Show deck splashing Veil of Summer.





The best combo deck of all may simply prove to be Storm, which unlikely the clunkier combo decks boasted a positive matchup against Delver decks anyways, and still has access to Veil of Summer to hose snow control.

Another combo deck with Veil of Summer access is Golgari Dark Depths, which will benefit from a decline in Delver's Wastelands. The deck had incorporated Lurrus of the Dream-Den but was not a real factor, and in transition will only improve relative to the rest of the field. This same combo can also be found in the Lands deck with Exploration and Life from the Loam, but it wasn't doing very well before Ikoria and I don't see why that would change.

Winner - Primeval Titan 

A lands-based deck I do see thriving is the Primeval Titan deck enabled by Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, which was becoming a real presence in the metagame before Ikoria. Like the Snow decks with Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, the Titan decks got a new powerful card in Theros Beyond Death, and the rest of the field still really hasn't caught up. 




Loser - Bomberman

Losing in this exchange is of course the mono-white "Bomberman" combo deck with Auriok Salvagers and Lion's Eye Diamond, which incorporated Zirda, the Dawnwaker and its infinite mana combos. It will have to revert to its older, more midrange approach with Chalice of the Void, and will suffer without Delver decks to prey on.


Arcum's Astrolabe has had Legacy in a pretty weird place, a world where five-color decks are the ones playing Back to Basics and Blood Moon. Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath may be the final straw that eventually earns the artifact a ban and brings some diversity to control decks, but for now the Lurrus of the Dream-Den ban has at least provided some breathing room and will bring some additional balance to the metagame. There's some chance Yorion, Sky Nomad will become so powerful it too will earn a ban, but even in that case, it's really unlikely to see anywhere near the same ubiquity as Lurrus of the Dream-Den.


In Vintage the metagame had became entirely warped around Lurrus of the Dream-Den, to the point that essentially every successful deck across a variety of archetypes was using it. In that sense there are no real losers, but there are certain to be changes in the composition of the metagame. As a whole, these blue Lurrus decks will lose some share to Mishra's Workshop decks, which had become completely absent from the metagame.

Winner - Mishra's Workshop


At first, Mishra's Workshop decks contorted themselves with black and white mana to support Lurrus of the Dream-Den themselves, but they eventually faded away against more streamlined decks that were naturally suited to support the cat. Now no such acrobatics are necessary, and the strategy can find its way back to being a pillar of the metagame.




Before Ikoria the most popular version of Stax was a less aggressive and more prison-focused version based around Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, and it's able to even include Jegantha, the Wellspring on the chance it draws one of its few sources to cast it. 

Winner -  Lutri, the Spellchaser


The Lurrus of the Dream-Den ban is particularly great news for Lutri, the Spellchaser, which is a natural fit in Vintage since the restricted list leads to a lot of natural one-ofs. The deck broke out early by making it to the finals of a Vintage Challenge, and I copied the deck to make my own Top 8 run in the following event, but as Lurrus of the Dream-Den started to take over the deck fell off and made only rare successful appearances.




Now the coast is clear for the strategy, which I suspect is going to be quite strong. Before Ikoria, the top Vintage decks included those like Jeskai Xerox and Sultai Control. Lutri fills the same niche by playing similar cards, so it should be in a good spot to potentially take over as the format's top midrange control deck. An interesting facet of the deck is that it uses three Force of Will in the sideboard and boards out Lutri, the Spellchaser against the most broken combo decks. When playing the deck I realized that depending on the metagame it might be better to play the full four maindeck and just use Lutri as a sideboard card against the fair blue mirrors where Lutri is at its best and Force of Will is at its worst. 

A potentially even more broken application for Lutri puts it into a storm shell, which has such deep support in Vintage that it can stick to the one-of rule without too much sacrifice. With a wealth of spells to copy, and being a great way to add to storm count, Lutri, the Spellchaser could be a good addition and could help a strategy that has really suffered in Vintage in recent years.

Maintaining - Paradoxical Outcome

While it was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Lurrus of the Dream-Den, Paradoxical Outcome is likely to remain one of the format's best decks. It will move away from its Lurrus configuration and revert back to the classic haymakers that Lurrus precluded, including Tinker for Bolas's Citadel, Monastery Mentor, and planeswalkers like Narset, Parter of Veils and Teferi, Time Raveler




In Vintage the ban is really all upside for everyone, removing a card that really shouldn't have been legal in the first place and truly broke the format when it was. We should see a return to a diverse metagame, featuring multiple different combo and control decks along with aggressive Mishra's Workshop decks and alternative prison variations.