It's Magic spoiler season again, and this time they're doing something completely unprecedented: a whole set based around Godzilla monsters! I watched a bunch of Godzilla movies when I was a kid, and although I haven't really kept up with the franchise since, I'm excited to see Magic's take on it. Every card is a creature, most of them with cool mutate abilities and action-packed art. Let's dive into our review, starting with the splashy wedge-colored mythic cycle you're all waiting to get your hands on.
Just like in the movies, this space monster flies around, tramples everything, and mutates random things into existence. I like this trick of giving a creature with three heads three abilities, like they did on that cerberus in Theros Beyond Death. Pretty cool top-down design, and powerful too!
The one thing I don't like here is that I'd expected King Ghidorah to be a Beast Elemental Dragon, not a Beast Elemental Dinosaur, but I guess the boundary between those is a bit loose in Magic. Sure looks like a dragon to me, though!
Is Spacegodzilla not a dinosaur? I don't actually remember the movie version that well, but I think it was supposed to be like Godzilla, except from space and covered in crystals. Did it have some special ability to come back from the dead?
Flavor questions aside, being able to recur this card from the graveyard sounds like a strong source of card advantage, especially if you have some mutate triggers already in play for it to benefit from.
Now we're talking! You can cast everyone's favorite dinosaur cat nightmare on turn four, then on turn five he can mutate to fire his breath weapon, getting a blocker out of the way and hitting the opponent for six damage! And note that double strike works very well with mutate, if you manage to upgrade his power later on.
Major issues here. Yes, Rodan can fly, and strike swiftly from the air, but it's never been depicted as much of a spellcaster, and it's definitely not a cat. I do agree that Rodan's color identity should be Jeskai/Boros/Azorius, so it's good that they got obvious things like that right.
As far as playability, Rodan is the cheapest member of the cycle, and you get a lot for that low cost! I wouldn't be surprised if Standard starts feeling the effects of Rodan's roar... even if it's more of a purr.
Wizards made a rare printing error here: if you look closely at the card name, you'll see it says "Plant Beast Form," but the card actually depicts Biollante's cat beast form. My guess is that this is just an issue of two different teams not communicating very well. Design did a great job of capturing Cat!Biollante's fearsome necromancy, but someone in Creative didn't look closely and assumed the card was supposed to be about the much more commonly depicted Plant!Biollante. It's not the first time we've seen this sort of mixup: in Ice Age, a card representing a hyalopterous lemur was accidentally titled "Hyalopterous Lemure."
They went a little abstract here. The ability's technically reanimating, but I think it's meant to suggest Mothra protecting your creatures from harm, so that when you think they're about to be killed, they're actually saved by fairy magic. White decks are going to love this effect.
Note that this sort of design would normally be legendary, but they decided to let gameplay take a backseat to flavor this time. Mothra isn't a singular creature, but a species, and we see many different Mothras throughout the films.
This King Caesar lacks some of the splash of the mythic rare version, but it's still strong. And at uncommon, it's a valuable signpost for understanding the King Caesar draft archetype, which cares about having lots of creatures and mutating one of them many times.
I mostly know this one from the Godzilla cartoon, where it was sort of a Scrappy Doo character. I think he's less annoying in the movies.
This must be based on the version from one of the movies I haven't seen, because I don't get why Baby Godzilla would be a frog, a 1/3 (even baby giant monsters are strong!), or give discounts and looting on your other mutant creatures.
The Spacegodzilla archetype is a little confusing. The mythic rare Spacegodzilla wants to be in your graveyard, because you can mutate it from there. This uncommon Spacegodzilla gives you a bonus for discarding it into your graveyard, but has no special benefits once it's there. It's not clear to me what kind of deck you're supposed to build around both of those. Also, note that even though this Spacegodzilla isn't legendary, it doesn't stack well in multiples: if you have one out, adding a deathtouch counter from cycling another won't do anything, since it already has deathtouch.
Wizards announced that some early printings of this card have a different name that, due to recent events, now appears to be in poor taste. They're going to fix this in future print runs, but if you open any copies of "Coronavirus, Void Invader," please disinfect them thoroughly before playing.
It might not be literally perfect, but a 4/4 flier for 4 is pretty strong. Destoroyah loves to come back when you think you've beaten it, so watch out! It would fit the character more to come back mutated, but due to rules technicalities, that would trigger the ability again, creating an infinite loop if you have unlimited mana, creatures, and sacrifice outlets.
Two odd flavor issues here: Destoroyah is technically a trilobite, not a phoenix, and Feather is supposed to be red/white, not monored.
We finally get to Godzilla himself! This "King of the Monsters" comes down ready to attack immediately, trampling over everything in his way. And he even has cycling, with a clever twist. Early in the movie, when Godzilla isn't ready to appear onscreen yet, you can shuffle it back into your deck. And if you're going to put off casting him four times, that's too much of a delay, so instead he charges right out onto the battlefield!
Weirdly, even though this works out to be a perfect Godzilla design, it started out as a Gamera card. The type line wasn't updated in time to reflect the new concepting, probably evidence of a rushed printing schedule at Wizards.
Another Godzilla card! This "King of the Monsters" is the biggest creature in the set, and its high mana cost is offset by the fact that you can cycle it if you're too far away from being able to cast it. Be careful, though. It's natural to assume all the Godzilla cards have the same cycling twist as the red Godzilla card, but this one has an extra twist: instead of getting to shuffle it back into your deck, you put a trample counter on a creature. Having the Godzilla cycling cards all work slightly differently is going to lead to a lot of judge calls, so read yours carefully to make sure you're not the one getting a match loss.
Note the misprint on the type line. We saw something similar in Worldwake, where Walking Atlas was accidentally printed without the word "artifact." Since it's obvious that Walking Atlas is supposed to be an artifact and that Godzilla is a legendary monster, the game rules treat cards like these as though the omitted word was there.
Making Anguirus a dinosaur would be more true to the character, and also allow for some fun kitchen-table synergies with Ixalan cards. Missed opportunity.
If you're a Limited player, ignore the mutate trigger, because this set has no artifacts or enchantments. But remember the vanilla test! A 4/4 for four mana is still very playable by Limited standards, and Anguirus gets reach and trample on top of that.
Here at mythic rare, we have the final member of the Godzilla vertical cycle. This "King of the Monsters" doesn't have cycling, but in its place is an exciting new twist on the Doran ability.
But although this card looks good in a vacuum, there isn't much support for it. None of the other creatures in the set have a higher power than toughness, so you're going to have a hard time drafting a deck around this bomb. It's still worth taking, because at just five mana, you can get this down early enough that your opponents will have a hard time coming back. Just don't think of it as a build-around.
On the other hand, if you're playing sealed, you're in a position to evaluate this with a lot more information. Check how many creatures with higher toughness than power you would otherwise plan on running, and consider whether this one card is strong enough to risk weakening those others if they're in play together. Skill-testing decisions like this are what Limited is all about!
I've seen a lot of people getting confused about the companion ability, which appears only on this one card. As you can tell from the way it's formatted with an em dash, companion is an ability word, like landfall or sweep. (Sweep also notably appeared on a very small number of cards.) Ability words are just there to give you an easy way to refer to the ability. They don't carry any rules meaning on their own. You can just ignore them and read the rules text that comes after the em dash. In this case, that says your deck only has cards with even converted mana costs. Note that, as with any ability that doesn't specify otherwise, this only takes effect when Gigan is on the battlefield.
Gigan is the only creature with a hybrid mana cost in this set, both to represent its cyborg nature and to allow it to be played in more Commander decks. The ETB ability is incredibly strong card advantage, but don't overestimate it too much. When Gigan was first spoiled, people rushed to the conclusion that there was synergy between its two abilities, but if you read carefully, you'll see that the companion ability refers to "your starting deck," not "your current graveyard."
Missed opportunity to have the creature types match those of King Ghidorah, ideally by changing King Ghidorah to match this. Ideally Dorat would have rules text along the lines of Brothers Yamazaki or Seven Dwarves, capping the number you can have at three. That's too wordy for uncommon, though.
Obviously this card won't see much Limited play, since every card in the set is a creature. But if you play UR Delver in larger formats like Modern and Legacy, consider this as a new budget alternative to casting Flight on Spellgorger Weird.
Grade: B+/F, depending on format
Because the English-language versions of these three cards haven't been spoiled yet, I'm not able to give an informed review at this time. This is unfortunate, since that cocoon thing with the helicopters seems to be the only common in the set, so the Limited players out there are probably eager to evaluate it. I'll update this page when we get the full English spoilers.
Whew! This is the first time I've reviewed a full set like this. I don't know about you, but it's just made me even more excited for Ikoria to come out! If you go to any online prerelease events, be sure to keep this review open in a browser tab so you can refer back to it. Good luck, and have fun!