Spotlight on: Lotus Cobra

Ahren Gauthier Modern

Lotus Cobra has a fair bit of history attached to it, stretching all the way back to Extended. It was a key ramp piece in Mythic Bant (an Eldrazi Conscription/Sovereigns of Lost Alara combo deck), G/W Traps (Summoning Trap/Emrakul combo), and BUG Control (alongside Grave Titan and Jace, the Mind Sculptor).

The key element that it brought to the table is being able to curve out to six mana on turn three. I’ll use the G/W Traps deck as an example here. The sequence goes something like this:

Turn 1: Land, Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch.

Turn 2: Tap land and mana creature to cast Lotus Cobra. Play a fetchland and crack it. (If you have a three-drop here, you could cast it with two Landfall triggers and by tapping the land you fetch).

Turn 3: Tap two lands and the mana creature. Play another fetchland and crack it, getting another two landfall triggers from Cobra, and tap the land you fetched. You now have six mana to cast Summoning Trap and potentially flip Emrakul, Primeval Titan, or Baneslayer Angel!

In the new world of Modern, does this old snek learn some new tricks? Let’s look at its most common home and cover the basics before we get into why I am so high on this card at the moment.

Right now, Lotus Cobra mainly sees play in fringe archetype Saheeli CopyCat, which is a souped up version of the banned-in-Standard combo deck of the same name. It performs similar basic ramp and color fixing in this four color deck as it did in early Modern decks like Jund with White (“Ajundi”) that featured demanding mana requirements and ambitious spells.


MUSASABI’s Four-Color CopyCat | 5-0, Competitive Modern League, 8/25/17

4 Saheeli Rai
4 Birds of Paradise
1 Eternal Witness
4 Felidar Guardian
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Reflector Mage
3 Renegade Rallier
1 Scavenging Ooze
3 Voice of Resurgence
3 Wall of Omens
3 Eldritch Evolution
3 Path to Exile
4 Oath of Nissa
2 Arid Mesa
1 Breeding Pool
2 Forest
1 Gavony Township
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Plains
2 Razorverge Thicket
1 Sacred Foundry
2 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
3 Wooded Foothills

1 Reflector Mage
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Avalanche Riders
1 Burrenton Forge-Tender
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
2 Fiery Justice
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Lone Missionary
1 Reclamation Sage
2 Stony Silence
1 Thragtusk

Lotus Cobra also enables some easily overlooked but potent buffs to regular gameplay. Playing shocklands tapped to save life still generates mana, and the Cobra trigger from playing Horizon Canopy allows you to sacrifice it to draw a card immediately.

Ixalan’s Field of Ruin has quickly become a mainstay of Modern land hate. Normally, the total cost of activation is two mana: one “virtual” mana for tapping Field of Ruin to activate, plus two generic mana, then recouping one (assuming you have a basic land). Most times, we are (rightly) happy to make this play because the number of permanents on our board remains the same.

If we add Lotus Cobra to the equation, the total cost drops at least by one from the Lotus Cobra trigger on the searched basic. If you play your land for turn before activating Field of Ruin, the net cost becomes zero mana from two Lotus Cobra triggers: one from the land you played and one from the basic you searched for. This play can also end up net positive on mana if your land for turn is a fetch.

Enough of the regular stuff, let’s talk about another of my favorite cards featuring one of my favorite new mechanics: Tireless Tracker and Investigate!

Tireless Tracker is an undeniable value-generating engine in Gx midrange decks, providing a painless card draw engine that allows you to get ahead and stay ahead. The only “drawback” is that the Clue requires two mana to activate.

Lotus Cobra’s Landfall ability alongside Tireless Tracker (and omnipresent fetchlands) creates a very powerful synergy. Playing a fetchland creates a Clue and triggers Lotus Cobra to create a floating mana. If you crack the fetchland and search for a land that same turn, you’ll get a second clue from Tracker and a second mana from Cobra. You can then spend the two floating mana to crack a Clue, draw a card, and trigger Tireless Tracker’s second ability to add a +1/+1 counter. At the end of the exchange, you still have one mana in your pool for a possible follow-up play, plus an uncracked Clue set up for next turn!

My current home for Lotus Cobra uses every aspect of its strength:

4 Birds of Paradise
4 Narnam Renegade
2 Knight of the Reliquary
3 Blood Moon
3 Life from the Loam
3 Thoughts of Ruin
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Domri Rade
4 Lotus Cobra
3 Tireless Tracker
3 Seismic Assault
2 Qasali Pridemage
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
2 Manamorphose
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Mountain
1 Ghost Quarter
4 Wooded Foothills
3 Windswept Heath
1 Temple Garden
1 Stomping Ground
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Forest
1 Plains
2 Horizon Canopy
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Sheltered Thicket

3 Wear/Tear
1 Field of Ruin
2 Firespout
1 Roast
2 Life Goes On
3 Stony Silence
1 Fiery Justice
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Manglehorn


I’m still iterating on the deck, but the core feels strong, and Lotus Cobra is an integral part of it. Hopefully this article got you thinking about other homes for my favorite hamadryad!


Header design: Justin Treadway
Header image: “Lotus Cobra” by Chippy