Card Review: Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Powerful cards seem like they come out every set, and Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths is no exception! [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] will provide incredible value for TES and be a nightmare for opponents to deal with. Being able to rebuy cheap permanents every turn while being able to be cast off of [[Dark Ritual]] or [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] every single game is an incredible and consistent value engine. [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] will be a prominent feature of The EPIC Storm for the foreseeable future.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

[[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]

Legendary Creature – Cat Nightmare

Companion — Each permanent card in your starting deck has converted mana cost 2 or less. (If this card is your chosen companion, you may cast it once from outside the game.)


During each of your turns, you may cast one permanent spell with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard.


The Companion mechanic gives [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] its consistency. For people who have played Commander, the idea of a castable creature that starts outside the game should be familiar. Companion is different in a few key ways. Each Companion has a deck building restriction that it checks at the beginning of each game. If that restriction is met, a Companion can be revealed before the die roll even occurs, and then it may be cast during that game. Note that a Companion would need to be revealed before each game in a match, and the deck building restriction must be met each time it is revealed. Once a Companion is cast, it is just like a normal card. If it is countered, destroyed, or exiled, it goes to the corresponding zone and not back to the sideboard. Effectively, revealing a Companion means that an opening hand has an extra card in it. For the complete rules of Companion, check the Wizards of the Coast website.

Building with Lurrus

[[Hope of Ghirapur|]]
[[Wishclaw Talisman|]]
[[Tormod’s Crypt|]]

The Companion deck building restriction for [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] is “Each permanent card in your starting deck has converted mana cost 2 or less.” It turns out that TES requires no changes to meet this restriction. The only change that the deck has to make is to cut a sideboard card to free up the slot for [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]. Given how new this effect is to Legacy, it is unclear how much TES should build around [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]. Permanents that sacrifice themselves are better because they become repeatable. There are several sideboard cards that have incredible synergy with the card, but those cards are not currently being played. [[Hope of Ghirapur]] and [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] create a soft lock especially against combo opponents. Being able to activate and then recast a [[Hope of Ghirapur]] is powerful, but [[Hope of Ghirapur]] in and of itself is not incredibly strong into decks playing [[Ice-Fang Coatl]], [[Oko, Thief of Crowns]], or [[Delver of Secrets]]. The other apparent synergy with a sideboard card is with [[Tormod’s Crypt]], but there is not a graveyard deck in the format that warrants [[Tormod’s Crypt]] on its own. Despite always having access to [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]], it is unlikely that TES should warp to include cards based on the assumption that [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] will be able to stay in play for multiple turns, especially in game ones.

[[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] plays into the permanent based nature of the TES main deck. Many of the most important cards, including [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Wishclaw Talisman]], and [[Defense Grid]], are permanents. With a [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] looming in the sideboard, removing or countering cards like [[Wishclaw Talisman]] or [[Defense Grid]] become much less of an option for opponents until they deal with [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]. Casting it early off of a [[Lotus Petal]] is an easy way to get immediate value off of the card. Once [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] resolves, its ability can recast the [[Lotus Petal]]. Do note that its ability does say “recast” so cards like [[Grafdigger’s Cage]] do shut off this line. The upside of this is that it does help with the storm count. During a combo turn with [[Wishclaw Talisman]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] can provide two free Storm by cracking [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], casting [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]], and then recasting the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. This makes natural [[Tendrils of Agony]] lines much easier. There was some talk in the community about this interaction making extra [[Goblin Token]]s, but unfortunately, there is not room to crack two copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] in an [[Empty the Warrens]] line. Even if there is an [[Empty the Warrens]] in the main deck that could be found with [[Wishclaw Talisman]] so that there is room to crack both copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], that line allows an opponent to find an answer. What is nice is that when casting [[Echo of Eons]], casting [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] mid-combo is completely free. This can simply net more Storm count or end up with another useful permanent in play.

There is an interesting discussion about whether revealing [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] in game one is worth the information it gives up. At this point, it seems likely that it is going to be relegated to unfair strategies and allows opponents to make their mulligan decisions accordingly. Opponents will also just have more removal spells in game one, so [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] is less likely to survive as long. Despite all of this, the potential advantage it can provide is enough that revealing it in a game one is worth it. Opponents may mulligan perfectly fine hands to try to find a [[Force of Will]] effect and end up making their hand worse. An opponent might also choose to play a [[Chalice of the Void]] on zero instead of one, which is much easier to beat game one due to having four copies of [[Veil of Summer]] to answer the [[Chalice of the Void]].

[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Bayou|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]]

With six mana available, this hand could theoretically make 10 [[Goblin Token]]s. With access to [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]], an available line is now casting [[Burning Wish]] to find [[Echo of Eons]], then cracking [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for black or white to cast [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]], recast the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and then cast [[Echo of Eons]]. This leaves another permanent in play at no cost to the combo line! As [[Echo of Eons]] has been more integrated into TES, it has become clear that playing it with permanents is incredibly powerful. This is partly why cards like [[Carpet of Flowers]] have started to appear back in TES sideboards.

[[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] helps in fast matchups as well! By casting [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]], [[Wishclaw Talisman]] can be played off of solely mana from [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. This can lead to faster [[Echo of Eons]] line in hands with multiple copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Using [[Dark Ritual]] to cast [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] on turn one may lead to faster turn two kills where [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] can be replayed.

It’s a Creature!

[[Collector Ouphe|]]
[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Swords to Plowshares|]]

Creatures are not normally a card type that TES has played in large amounts and almost never has had access to in a game one situation. Overall in Magic, creatures have become more relevant than ever, especially thanks to planeswalkers. While [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] might not be the best answer to a planeswalker like [[Oko, Thief of Crowns]], it is a very effective answer to a [[Karn, the Great Creator]]. It prevents an opponent from playing [[Karn, the Great Creator]] onto an empty board to just win the game. Having three power lines up very will with the loyalty of [[Karn, the Great Creator]]. This could delay the [[Karn, the Great Creator]] from being cast, giving a window to win the game.

[[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] also has a combat ability in Lifelink. Lifelink is a strong ability in a deck that wants to cast [[Ad Nauseam]]. Each time [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] deals damage, it is effectively drawing several cards when [[Ad Nauseam]] resolves.

Being a 3/2, [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] trades with most hate bears in the format. This means that it can help stop cards like [[Collector Ouphe]] from attacking, buying time to draw an [[Abrupt Decay]]. [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] can still attack profitably, due to First Strike, but most of the other hate bears are likely to be stopped in their tracks.

Opponents generally remove cards like [[Swords to Plowshares]] from their deck in post board games against TES. This dynamic may change given that they know that a [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] is lurking. It may now be more common for opponents to leave in removal spells that would not otherwise have targets. If this happens, simply not casting the [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] will generate a virtual amount of card advantage by giving opponents dead cards.

One small interaction is that if an opponent has a [[Deafening Silence]] in play, [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] can still be protected by [[Veil of Summer]]. Because the opponent also only gets to cast one noncreature spell, a [[Veil of Summer]] will guarantee the resolution of [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]].

Companion Card Advantage

[[Force of Will|]]
[[Grafdigger’s Cage|]]
[[Abrupt Decay|]]

Generally, each player starts with the same amount of resources. A mulligan allows a player to trade a card for better card selection to hopefully increase their odds at winning the game. Each turn a player naturally draws one card and can convert other resources into more cards. Companion breaks this. By designing a deck in a certain way, the Companion is naturally a free card. In the case of [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]], it is a truly free card because TES does not have to make any changes to play it. This means that any time an opponent interacts with a [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]], they are 1-for-0 or 2-for-0 exchanges to remove it. In Legacy, opponents will likely get a mana advantage out of interacting with [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] as most removal spells and counter spells are less than three mana. That mana advantage is unlikely to matter, however, given the card advantage that the TES pilot gains simply from having a Companion.

The ability to have access to [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] each game guaranteed is powerful because it means that interacting with other permanent spells in TES is much worse. Discarding a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is almost a bad play because the [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] can just recast it on a later turn. [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] is itself protected from discard because it is not in the hand at any point normally. This means that in order to deal with one of the cards that was drawn, an opponent must spend two or more cards to actually answer that threat instead of trading one for one.

If [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] ever becomes a dead card, for example an opponent has a [[Grafdigger’s Cage]] or [[Rest in Peace]], it generates a mana advantage. Those cards are not particularly effective against TES and playing around them is relatively easy. This means that the opponent invested a card and mana into an effect that is unlikely to affect the outcome of the game. Because [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] is never drawn, there is no cost to having to draw it and be unable to effectively cast it. The mana advantage comes from not having to cast it into a board state where its ability is effectively nullified.

A part of the power level of the card is getting it every single game, effectively in the opening hand. It is hard to evaluate exactly how good this is. There has not been an effect even close to this in the history of Legacy. One could compare it to a commander, but card advantage is different in multiplayer formats and every player would have a commander. Very few decks will have Companions in Legacy. The ability to have [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] every game is a large part of what pushes it over the top to being playable.

Going Forward

There have been some rumblings in the community that [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] will need to be banned. This is unlikely. Legacy is the best format at removing creatures, especially from decks with no protection spells. Fair decks will have a hard time abusing this card as most fair decks will have to warp themselves around the deck building restriction to ultimately be less powerful. [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] is a powerful, grindy engine card. In terms of a deck list, the only change discussed so far is cutting a sideboard slot for [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]. It is unclear which one it should be and the right slot is going to take some experimentation.