MTG Ultimatums return in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth

A cycle that started 11 years ago returns.

MTG Ultimatum Cycle
Image via WotC Magic: The Gathering

Wizards of the Coast revealed a continuation of the Magic: The Gathering Ultimatum cycle in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth today with Eerie Ultimatum, Ruinous Ultimatum, and Emergent Ultimatum

The Ultimatum cycle began 11 years ago with the release of Shards of Alara. Several of the “large” mana cards had a major impact on Standard and still do to this day in Commander. Eerie Ultimatum continues this tradition in IKO, producing fear and joy over the trouble it will cause in Standard and Commander. The same can be said for the other Wedge Ultimatums as well. 

Eerie Ultimatum

IKO Eerie Ultimatum MTG
Image via WotC Magic: The Gathering

Commander players are thrilled over Eerie Ultimatums’ broken potential. The three mana, seven cost Sorcery spell in IKO brings any number of permanents with different names from the graveyard to the battlefield. In Commander, this is practically every card in a player’s graveyard. 

  • CMC: WWBBBGG
  • Sorcery
  • Return any number of permanent cards with different names from your graveyard to the battlefield.

Permanents in Magic include lands, Enchantments, Artifacts, creatures, planeswalkers, and more. The lands will come into play untapped, allowing the player to use mana abilities. Self-mill decks in Standard will automatically include Eerie Ultimatum, using cards like Cavalier of Thorns and Death’s Oasis

Ruinous Ultimatum

IKO Ruinous Ultimatum MTG
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Ruinous Ultimatum is the opposite of Eerie Ultimatum. Rather than flooding the battlefield with permanents, the sorcery spell removes all non-land permanents your opponent controls. 

  • CMC: RRWWWBB
  • Sorcery
  • Destroy all nonland permanents your opponents’ control.

Both Ruinous and Eeerie are game-ending spells. The trick, however, is lining up mana. There are several IKO cards that can assist in making sure a player has the right mana for an Ultimatum to pop off. These include the Artifact Cycle Lands, Migration Path, Farfinder, Migratory Greathorn

Emergent Ultimatum

IKO Emergent Ultimatum MTG
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Emergent Ultimatum challenges players to find the three most busted monocolored cards within each Magic format. An opponent will choose those three cards, as long as they’re the only monocolored cards in a player’s build. One of those returns to the library while the other two are played without a casting cost. 

  • CMC: BBGGGUU
  • Sorcery
  • Search your library for up to three monocolored cards with different names and exile them. An opponent chooses one of those cards. Shuffle that card into your library. You may cast the other cards without paying their mana costs. Exile Emergent Ultimatum.

Immaculate Ultimatum

IKO Immaculate Ultimatum
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Upon first glance, Immaculate Ultimatum seems like the weakest spell in the IKO Ultimatum cycle. It pales in comparison to Ruinous and Eerie, but Immaculate Ultimatum still has potential, gaining life for Control decks and Jeskai Fire builds. It also deals five damage to any target, which includes “to face,” and draws five additional cards. 

  • CMC: UURRRWW
  • Sorcery
  • Target player gains five life. Immaculate Ultimatum deals five damage to any target. Draw five cards.

Genesis Ultimatum

IKO Genesis Ultimatum MTG
Image via WotC Magic: The Gathering

The final Ultimatum has the potential for game-ending dramatics but likely won’t be able to produce consistent results. Genesis Ultimatum allows a player to look at the top five cards of their library, putting any number of permanents onto the battlefield and the rest in hand. Much of the IKO Ultimatum’s impact is determined upon card draw, but the worst-case scenario still has a player five cards up with some on the battlefield at no cost. 

  • CMC: GGUUURR
  • Sorcery
  • Look at the top five cards of your library. Put any number of permanent cards from among them into the battlefield and the rest into your hand. Exile Genesis Ultimatum