Magic: The Gathering's Ikoria Lair of Behemoths brought new mechanics to the game. The companion mechanic has turned out to be powerful across constructed formats. Yorion, Sky Nomad is one of ten new companion creatures from Ikoria. As a companion, Yorion requires players to include at least twenty additional cards in their starting deck. Increasing a deck's card count can inadvertently increase the price to build it. Running a 95 card decklist is a 26.7% increase over a normal 75 card decklist. However, a deck's price jump may not always align with the card count increase.
Information for competitive Standard and Pioneer decks featuring Yorion as a companion were collected from MTGGoldfish. Similar competitive archetype decks before Ikoria's release were collected as a comparison. The data referenced in this article can be found here.
Yorion, Sky Nomad in Standard
There are a handful of competitive decks in Standard running Yorion as of May 18th, 2020. The decklists I pulled for comparing costs were Bant Yorion, Jeskai Lukka, Esper Control, 5-Color Yorion, and UW Control. While the overall cost of each deck is one sample and not an average, I believe they are good representations. The average cost for Standard Yorion decks was $421.08. Bant Yorion was the most expensive at $586.37 and UW Control was the least expensive at $308.20.
The decklists pulled from pre-Ikoria were Bant Ramp, Esper Control, Jeskai Fires, UW Control, and 4-Color Superfriends. The average cost for the pre-Ikoria decks was $381.96. Bant Ramp had a high price of $604.77 while UW Control was the least expensive again at $306.14.
The average cost difference between running decks with and without a companion is $39.12. Adding 20 cards to a deck at $1.96 each equals the cost increase of $39.12. This amount is a 10.2% increase over the typical 75 card deck and sideboard. Going one step further, the average price per card with Yorion as a companion was $4.43. The average price per card in a normal deck was $5.09. Essentially, one should expect to spend around $40 more on a Standard deck with Yorion as a companion.
Yorion, Sky Nomad in Pioneer
The competitive Pioneer decks I found were UW Devotion, UW Yorion, Niv to Light Yorion, and Superfriends. Since Superfriends decklists had a wide array of costs, I use two of them as part of the five overall deck choices. The average cost of the Pioneer companion decks was $554.16. Niv to Light Yorion had the highest price at $812.95. Unless a player already owns the cards, it appears fiscally unreasonable to build a Pioneer deck at that price point. The least expensive option among the decks was UW Control at $400.95.
Similar Pioneer archetype decks were played before Ikoria. One exception is that white devotion decks evolved by adding a second color. The average price for Pioneer decks was $464.50. Niv to Light was the highest cost at $632.11. UW Control was also the lowest cost at $389.13. UW Control with and without Yorion was almost the same in cost.
The average cost difference for decks with and without companions was $89.55. This is a 19.3% increase over the average Pioneer deck without Yorion as a companion. The average price per card in a 95 count deck was $5.83. For 75 count decks, the average price per card was $6.19. Players should expect to spend around $90 more to build a Pioneer deck with Yorion as a companion.
Cards Driving Deckbuilding Price Increases
Adding 20 cards to competitive Yorion companion decks is not a small expense. The additional cards average about $2.00 each for Standard and $4.50 each for Pioneer. Players are not always adding inexpensive filler cards to meet Yorion's requirements.
One of the main cost drivers is the necessary increase in land count. Some Yorion decks added around 40% more land cards. Standard Esper Control increased the Fable Passage count from two to four. This was an expensive, yet necessary change for mana fixing. Devotion decks in Pioneer added shock lands to support a second color.
Another reason for the increase in cost comes from different deck strategies. UW Devotion in Pioneer replaces Planeswalkers with creatures. Jeskai Lukka swaps Agent of Treachery and Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast for Sphinx of Foresight, and Cavalier of Flame. These changes raise the price of the deck before adding more lands.
The decklists used in this analysis are a small sample of competitive archetypes. There will be different results when mixing and matching other decklists. Bant in Standard had a price decrease when comparing decklists with and without Yorion. Some decks had minimal price increases with Yorion, while others skyrocketed. One clear cost increase is adding more mana fixing lands to a three or more color deck. There are multiple circumstances where prices can swing up or even down with Yorion as a companion. However, I believe players should anticipate a price increase merely by adding twenty more cards to a deck. Players also should anticipate spending more on non-Standard constructed formats due to higher average costs per card.