Wilds of Eldraine: First Impressions
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I'm going to Vegas for the Limited Open so I figured as step one I'd write down some of my thoughts on Wilds of Eldraine. I'm going to take it a little more seriously than the release weekend RCQs I've been playing so I've included a common ranking.
The set looks like a total delight. Rats, roles and adventures all seem fun and creative and I'm a big fan of the cute rodents and candy people.
- Color Pairs
- Food (BG)
- Rats (BR)
- Dying Enchantments (BW)
- Celebration (WR)
- Faeries (UB)
- Mana Value 5 or Greater (UG)
- Tappers (UW)
- Ferocious (RG)
- Auras (GW)
- Spells (UR)
- Commons Ranking
Every pack will have a bonus enchanted tale enchantment card. Even without this I think it'd be a main deck naturalize format but it really pushes it to 100%. At uncommon there's a lot of removal and a few that require answers: Griffin Aerie seems pretty good in the food set.
The best rares to be aware of are: Blind Obedience , Dark Tutelage (though I'd want food + bargain before putting it in my deck) Force Fruition (I'm not 100% on this one. Maybe if you spend 6 mana on nothing your opponent has a decent chance of beating you with the best 4 cards in their deck.) Dawn of Hope , Grave Pact , Unnatural Growth and Defense of the Heart .
The green fixing is good but outside of that there isn't much. There's no cycle of common dual lands. The only non green fixing I'd be happy to play is Evolving Wilds and Prophetic Prism if I'm bargaining. Brave the Wilds giving value in the late game makes it the first version of this kind of card that I think is a good playable. Return from the Wilds and Rootrider Faun are both top green commons.
If you don't count the adventures there's very little gold in this set. Each color gets an uncommon and there are 12 rares or mythics. Many of the split color adventures are at a power level where you could play it for just one half so maybe people will frequently splash for half an adventure.
There are 51 total adventures, 6 for each color, one of which is a mythic virtue, 2 for each color pair, one uncommon one rare, and Beluna Grandsquall . Within these constraints things are a little random. For instance there are 2 white cards with a green adventure and no green cards with a white adventure. Blue and Red have 4 common adventures and white only has one. This makes sense: It's a way to increase the as fan of spells for the spells deck.
The 'Only one role' is a cool way to make the game about buffing creatures without it being about making one huge creature. The cursed role is funny. Note the roles only look at other roles you control so you can't remove opponent's Cursed roles on your creature by putting on another role and cursed roles on opponent's creatures are under your control so they count towards your celebration and if you don't want them later you can bargain them.
There are 20 bargain cards spread throughout all 5 colors. My sense is there isn't really a bargain deck it's just another option some cards have. For instance there's a handful of removal spells that would all be good without bargain and I suspect will be cast quite frequently without it. Even at higher rarities the main benefit you get from bargaining is more flexibility, life or mana. Agatha's Champion , Troublemaker Ouphe , Tenacious Tomeseeker are the only card which gives you a cards worth of value for the deal. Which isn't to say the bargain cards aren't good. I just don't think you should think of it as your archetype as you're drafting.
It's interesting that UG seem to have some of the better bargain cards and the ones that are more important to actually bargain since that color pair will have a relatively difficult time paying without rats or the sacrifice enchantment theme. There's a lot of green food at least.
I ordered the color pairs by how good I thought they'd be based on how good their plan seemed, how synergistic they were and how deep their colors seemed. I don't expect to be that good at predicting this in advance but it seems worthwhile to register a prediction and see how it pans out.
There's one white card (Food Coma ) and one blue card (The Goose Mother ) that make food but other than that it's all BG. The payoffs for making food your thing are: Experimental Confectioner , Greta, Sweettooth Scourge , Hollow Scavenger , Night of the Sweet's Revenge , Provisions Merchant , Sweettooth Witch and Tough Cookie . That's a ton of payoffs and I expect food to be one of the better archetypes. Gaining life will play well against the aggro decks
I like the design of rats. They remind me of the decayed zombies from MID. They're bodies but they're barely bodies. They can't block. It's difficult for them to get through. It won't feel like much of a cost to bargain them away. But maybe you accumulate a bunch over the game and swarm out your opponent. Seven black and red commons make rats. Only one, Warehouse Tabby can make them repeatedly. At uncommon Totentanz, Swarm Piper and Experimental Confectioner can make them repeatedly.
Black is at the intersection of Rats and Food which will make Experimental Confectioner a great card and in general make black a really good color for bargaining as it won't feel too costly to lose a rat or a food.
Dying Enchantments (BW)
There's an enchantments dying theme here as you can tell from Neva, Stalked by Nightmares . I think there's a fair bit of potential here as Savior of the Sleeping and Warehouse Tabby are both commons a lot of decks won't want that much are fine with just one trigger and sort of broken if you're triggering them every turn. Ashiok's Reaper and Knight of Doves are excellent uncommons and you shouldn't have to fight for Wicked Visitor s.
On the Enabling side I think BW in particular can be happy with Hopeful Vigil and Hopeless Nightmare (See this is why I write these set reviews. I never would have noticed that naming otherwise) whereas most decks won't want them. Of course the primary way to trigger all these cards is with roles. There are 9 commons in BW that make roles.
Cards with celebration get some kind of boost if two or more nonland permanents entered the battlefield under your control. It's not too hard to trigger it just by triggering it but the set helps you out with 21 commons that can enable it on their own just by being cast. For reference there are 6 commons that trigger celebration on their own in LTR, 3 in MOM and 5 in DMU.
It's pretty adjacent to rats as rats will often trigger celebration and Bespoke Battlegarb is really good with rats. And the deck won't care too much about blocking.
There are 25 faeries (Counting Into the Fae Court ) 8 of which are common. They bleed into white with 2 common and 1 rare white faerie. The payoffs are Picklock Prankster and Spell Stutter , which you can play in any blue deck and don't get that much better with a density of faeries, and Barrow Naughty , Ego Drain and Faerie Fencing who want a little more faerie density and Obyra, Dreaming Duelist . Only Obyra scales linearly in power with the number of faeries you have.
Mana Value 5 or Greater (UG)
There are four uncommons Troyan, Gutsy Explorer , Galvanic Giant , Tempest Hart , Up the Beanstalk and two commons Skybeast Tracker and Stormkeld Prowler that care about spells that cost 5+. I think the deck will want a lot of Beanstalk Wurm s, Obyra's Attendants and Beluna's Gatekeeper s to have early plays and a good density of 5+ drops. Hamlet Glutton also seems key for the deck.
Another interesting thing about UG is it has in my opinion the best bargainers while generally being the worst at bargaining. Maybe a conscious decision to keep the power level of bargain even across the colors? Much like there isn't a role or adventure deck because those cards are everywhere there's not a bargain deck.
There's a weird mini tap theme driven by three uncommons: Sharae of Numbing Depths , Icewrought Sentry and Solitary Sanctuary . Sharae and Sentry are great on their own. I think you have to do a little bit of building to make Sanctuary worth playing. It shouldn't be too hard with 6 commons that tap opponent's creatures including two repeatable ones: Frostbridge Guard and Rimefur Reindeer . For reference there's only 3 ways in ltr and 2 in mom.
I think the main strategy of UW is as usual to win with fliers. But that's complemented well by tapping ground guys so it's all synergistic.
RG's sign post uncommon, Ruby, Daring Tracker , cares about having a creature with power 4 or greater and there are two good uncommons Boundary Lands Ranger and Picnic Ruiner (who brings the 4 power with him) as well as a medium common, Territorial Witchstalker . It shouldn't be hard to enable in RG.
I called this color pair Auras because that's what their signpost uncommon, Syr Armont, the Redeemer , cares about but there's only one other non rare, Graceful Takedown , a card you have to read a few times before you realize it's worse than rabid bite , that cares about enchanted creatures. I think green white will feel a lot like it does most sets with sort of a go wide sort of a go tall creature aggro plan. I worry it will struggle in this set because it's removal is a little worse and thinner than normal and it doesn't have a synergistic plan.
As usual UR seems slanted towards a tempo spells focused deck. It doesn't seem particularly well supported in this set. There's Mocking Sprite and Aquatic Alchemist in blue and Unruly Catapult in red as well as their sign post uncommon Johann, Apprentice Sorcerer . My intuition is I'd rather not be this color combination in this set.
First some meta notes: a big part of the reason I rank commons is to get a sense of the baseline power level. Especially as the power level goes up I often read a common think "this is pretty good" but then when I sit down to rank them I have it in the bottom quartile. Your actual decision of whether to draft or include a common will depend a lot more on context.
The other reason I do it is because it often makes disagreements very legible which is the first step to changing my mind. It happens occasionally that I misrate a card because I misread it and people point that out.
Also you sort of need a reason to play a common. After a draft you'll have on average 9 uncommons, 3 rares and 3 enchanted tales. There are a few unplayable higher rarity cards but probably you should walk away with >12 cards that are better than any common. So you just need 10 commons. But on average you took 30 commons. So to play a common it either has to be relatively premium or fit very well in your deck.
The best pacifism ever.
I think this one will play great in the set. It'll often be a cantripping combat trick against roles. It gets 2 uncommon removal spells and a number of bombs for instance the cycle of virtues.
Our first auto celebration card. 4/4 flying worth of stats 3 of which flying 1 of which has haste for 5 mana is a good deal.
4/4 worth of stats for 5 mana but can be split up very efficiently. Can enable celebration on its own but pairs even more efficiently with a 2 drop.
This guy hits hard. I think white is going to be pretty aggressive.
Great card if you're in on the Hopeful/Hopeless enchantments. At common that's about the best thing you can do with it. It's pretty bad if you don't have the synergies.
This guy can grow fast in this set and only has to grow once before he's a great deal.
With all the roles this should be a lot of filtering. In the right deck this could be a lot higher.
The activation is a little expensive. I like that it's a 2 mana 2/2 though. They don't always give these guys relevant bodies.
Another autocelebration. Hopefully you can bargain it for sweet value but nice that you can always scry.
I thought combat tricks were going to get better and better forever but I'm pretty sure this is worse than Valorous Stance ? It's at least trickier with the untap.
I'm never a big fan of these removal spells. They're very situational.
Be aware Ratcatcher Trainee can enable it at instant speed. There's a few other ways to make one token at instant speed too.
I think the card is alright. Celebration decks likely want to be aggressive anyway. And a 2 mana 3/3 is okay. But there's a lot of ways to punish it in this set. Flick a coin and Rat Out for instance.
I don't know why I hate 3 mana 3/2s so much. It's fine. It's 2023 and every card is sorta good.
It's a bad 2 drop and a bad 4 drop. At least it has some synergy on account of being an autocelebration and enchantment.
It's fine. I like the Elk more and you can only play so many 4 drops.
It's fine if you want a combat trick.
Another auto celebration card. It's got the potential to be a great deal on mana but you likely can't deploy it early and most 3 drops aren't hugely relevant late. It's most direct comparison is Recommission which I thought was a little medium.
I guess this is a cycle. But the blue version targets their creatures.
This is a weird card to me but I think it adds up to a good limited option. Good defensive card. Triggers celebration on it's own not that it's in the right colors for that.
With 4 common faerie cards (counting Into the Fae Court I expect it to be pretty close to mana leak.
Great way to put a combat trick in your deck without diluting your threat density. I like the card.
This is just what you'll need to catch back up on card advantage after casting a bunch of Freeze in Place s without a plan. I think it would be a lot better if it made more of a chump blocker. On the other hand if your 1/1 can't chump anything it can't be blocked either.
I like this card a lot. Great to pair with wicked roles or rats. In general I don't think it will be hard to have useless permanents.
After nearly 30 years the mad lads finally did it. Instant speed divination. With Stern Lesson things have been getting closer and closer to it for a while and I don't expect it to be a stand out card. Nice to pair with the two counter spells.
Three is a lot of stun counters. You have to be a little aggressive but it's definitely an option.
The blue version of Armory Mice . I think you kind of have to want the 2 mana 1/3 to play the card. But if you're defensively positioned and have good instants/sorceries you can consider it. I believe it cannot return other adventures which is a little sad.
It's got enough upside I'd play it in any blue deck.
I misread this the first time and thought it just put one counter on and was quite bad. But actually if you're building around it it's pretty interesting. Only one trigger and you already got a good deal. Two and it's sort of broken. But it's pretty bad until you grow it and it's a bad top deck.
Good way to get a 6 drop in your deck without getting out tempoed.
Blocks and hits well and provides a bit of value. Good with a role. Not efficient enough to be really exciting.
Hexproof, flying and 4/4 really cover all your bases: counter removal spell, surprise burn and win a combat. Plays well with roles. If you want a trick I think you should be happy with this one.
A role is too easy to get rid of, a 1/1 is too much leftover value and a 3/2 for 3 is too bad. This card is not a bargain. So much worse than Vantress Transmuter
It's an interesting split card. Carries roles well. I don't love either half though.
It'll be hard to play X/1s in this set. This one gets owned by faerie tokens as well. If you're really all instants and sorceries it's not the worst.
This is a good version of the card but I usually don't start cancel. Good with Quick study .
I never play these cards anymore
This card is a delight. Also a great removal spell.
Another great removal spell. I think the Grapple is slightly better because it can get big creatures. But it's close.
I'm a little surprised to see this card at common. Gravedigger has historically been uncommon. Being a 3/3 almost makes this better. Putting itself on the bottom removes a lot of the broken potential though so it's just a great value card.
1 toughness is a little rough in this set. But it gets value and hits hard.
A little clunky.
I like this card even more than Besotted Knight as I'm not the biggest fan of hill giant. You can kind of say the same things about it.
Mind rot is one of the few cards that gets a little better when it costs 1 more and gets a marginal benefit because you don't want to cast it on curve anyway. This card reminds me of Aspect of Lamprey , which I loved, but better because you can cast it into removal without fear.
I've always found 2 mana 1/3 fliers over perform. And there are a fair number of fairies in the set.
I'm not happy to put 3 mana 3/2s in my deck so you need to build around it a little. Once you do it's a little broken and can end the game out of nowhere.
So much text. Seems like the primary value for the first ability is in creatures with roles dying. Unless you want to go in on Hopeless Nightmare s and bargain. The threat of activation is nice in the instant speed divination set. In general with adventures there's slightly more instants than normal. I think its a pretty good card for 1 mana.
We finally get instant speed divination and it's not even the best divination in the set.
Delightful name. I pathologically underrate 5 mana commons so I'll probably never play this card even though I should. The single piece of advice I got most when asking for feedback on my ltr builds was to play Enraged Huorn .
I think the BW enchantments dying deck will be a little grindy and value oriented which makes this a little incongruous with the plan. It's a fine card if you're enabling it though.
Every set needs one of these. And it seems like they get better every time.
It grows slowly and neither body is great. I'd rather play the other three 3 mana black commons. But if you're rats or celebration it's good.
It's no Fungal Infection . I plan to mostly not start this unless I'm in on rats but board it in if I see even one worthwhile target.
Delightful. Just like every candy card. I'm not a fan of 2 mana 3/1s and I don't think the candy is enough upside.
It sure has a lot of text. I wouldn't play it unless I was the BW enchantments dying deck. And then I'd play as many as I could get a hold of. It combos well with Eriette's Whisper to get their whole hand.
Fun art and card. I think I'd mostly rather play Not Dead After All though. This one is better with rats and general aggressiveness.
You need to enable this just a little but even with X=3 I think it's the best red common. And getting to 4 or 5 won't be a struggle.
Obviously great card. Possibly better than firebolt. Especially if you're aggressive as those decks often want to cast removal first main anyway.
You can have the top 3 red commons in any order. They're all great.
Hits hard. Both halves are surprises that can steal games. Great 8 drop.
Cool card. Like Beanstalk Wurm it's one you just won't adventure a lot of the time. It'll be a cool play pattern to just use the min to cast it on turn 3. Probably a little worse than just having a 2 drop but you can't always get what you want. It's nice in the late game that it comes with its own artifact to get the ball rolling. Impactful and efficient at every stage of the game. And it randomly has reach. Because why not?
This is a really good version of this card. It's a lot better to have this effect on an 0/4 than a 2/1 because you want the creature to just stick around accumulating an advantage.
I like this a lot more than Armory Mice since it doesn't get randomly hit with pings, it blocks rats and has trample. Still just a medium common.
Instant speed celebration. I think you kind of have to be an aggressive celebration deck to be excited about this as all the bodies really want you to be attacking. That is probably a lot of red decks though and it will be pretty good in those decks.
Another autocelebrating card. I like this card a fair bit. That it's so low reflects a lot of depth in red.
Every rat deck is going to want one of these. I think you can even justify 2. You kinda need them because otherwise what are you doing with your rat army? I could see having it higher. I've found in practice I can get more equipment than I want but this is actually the only equipment in the set and it really makes all those rats a lot less silly.
I like the trend of giving Thrill of possibility a little board impact.
Autocelebration. It's sort of like a 2 mana 2/3. Which is fine. Nice if you can curve it into a 5 drop.
Both halves kinda suck but you gotta work for two for ones. It's nice to be able to put a combat trick in your deck without taking up a slot.
This is a really cool and sort of hard to evaluate card. I wish it didn't say nontoken so you could go off sending all your rats to die every turn.
I like starting this card more than rat out. Especially if you're curving into 5 drops.
I was wondering if it was the best raging goblin ever but then I remembered it wasn't even the best raging goblin in this set thanks to gingerbrute . It's no doomed traveler . I'd much rather have flying and blocking on the token than haste. It's decent.
Another autocelebration. I wonder if I should stop bothering to call them out. I'm not a fan of this one. You kinda need to cast it as a 4 drop. If you trigger it right away it's only 4/3 worth of stats for 4 mana so you need to trigger it again before you're getting a deal.
It's a very defensive card. I don't think red decks will want it very often.
Please. Make it stop. Last review I said "Last review I said "Coming in Hot is ridiculous. What was wrong with Daring Escape and Storm Strike ? Was Crowd's Favor too good?" and now we have Rush the Room . I guess the haste is worth it." and now we have another. This one is functionally identical to Coming in Hot . I guess they liked the name Kindled Fury but it was already taken and it was very important to have scry? I don't get it. This is crazy. Literally crazy.
I think I'll get enough combat tricks from my adventures so this will essentially never make the cut.
I love putting fixing on Druid of the Cowl . I'm looking forward to playing a lot of 5c in this set.
It's no rabid bite. Even so I may be making a mistake not putting it up top. It's a little situational. You won't always be able to win the fight even with the +1/+1 and it gets blown out by removal.
This is the kind of combat trick I want to play. Its body caries roles very well too.
it's a main deck naturalize format.
I wouldn't normally put the common 6+ drop so high but this one is really good. Actually being a 5 drop and not being chumpable and all.
It's a lot of stats for 3 mana.
This is a really cool card. Of all the adventures the one you're most likely to not bother casting as an adventure.
This is mostly a land and a 1/1 which is pretty good. It's a quirk in my card evaluation that it reads worse than a 1/1 that fetches a land, and it is marginally worse if you're looking to flicker, but it's mostly the same. And in some ways better particularly if you're UG. The ability to be a 1/1 and a food is nice in the late game as is it triggering celebration on its own.
Nice Giant Spider . You're not going to go off casting 5 mana spells but it should get triggered once or twice in most games. It'll be pretty good.
Not to be confused with Hollowhedge Scavenger . I've been ragging on 3 mana 3/2s all review but this one is actually fine. It's trivial to do the adventure so you'll always have the threat of activation up. Also I don't know why I'm bothering to point this out at this point but it celebrates on its own.
The option to make a 3/3 is just what this type of card needs. I think bargain is a little worse in green because it doesn't have rats. In some games foods aren't that relevant though.
It gets a lot of bombs and removal spells. It's a main deck naturalize format for sure.
Every color but black gets a 2 mana 3/3. I don't think I'll play it too often.
It's nice that you can keep it from trading down. Except you can't because every color has 3 power 2 drops.
It's just so much mana to get anywhere. So what if they have to spend 2 more on their removal spell if you spent 9 mana on a 3/3?
I could have sworn this was a functional reprint but not quite.
I think you're a little too likely to miss. And in order for your 1 mana cantrips to be helping you very much they need to be a split card between land and gas. If it's always just gas you're not getting much versatility.
I've found in modern limited formats it's rare to flood. And if you are flooding 7 mana to give a creature +2/+2 isn't the most exciting.
I'm not ever going to play it.
I think you should mostly play all your trails if you're not aggressive. Turn 1 trail turn 2 crack is a fine start.
I love this card and want nothing more than to make it a young hero. I think it actually shouldn't make the cut much though.
There's no artifact payoffs, celebration wants you to be aggressive and there's plenty of bargain fuel to go around. An option if you're desperate for fixing.
It seems every set has one of these now starting with Prismite . It's maybe one of the better ones but I'm not going to play it.
- W: Archon's Glory , Break the Spell , Kellan's Lightblades , Moment of Valor , Plunge into Winter
- U: Ice Out , Misleading Motes , Obyra's Attendants , Quick Study , Spell Stutter , Water Wings
- B: Candy Grapple , Feed the Cauldron , Not Dead After All , Rat Out , Rowan's Grim Search , Stingblade Assassin , Sugar Rush
- R: Flick a Coin , Frantic Firebolt , Gnawing Crescendo , Grabby Giant , Kindled Heroism , Minecart Daredevil , Ratcatcher Trainee , Torch the Tower
- G: Ferocious Werefox , Leaping Ambush , Titanic Growth
- W: Eerie Interference , Stroke of Midnight , Woodland Acolyte
- U: Disdainful Stroke , Frolicking Familiar , Galvanic Giant , Picklock Prankster , Rowdy Research , Succumb to the Cold , Threadbind Clique
- B: Faerie Fencing , Spellscorn Coven , Taken by Nightmares
- R: Monstrous Rage , Stonesplitter Bolt , Two-Headed Hunter , Witchstalker Frenzy
- G: Gingerbread Hunter , Intrepid Trufflesnout , Royal Treatment , Tempest Hart
- BU: Obyra, Dreaming Duelist
- W: Heartflame Duelist , Werefox Bodyguard
- U: Farsight Ritual , Horned Loch-Whale , Twining Twins
- B: Devouring Sugarmaw , Gumdrop Poisoner , The End
- R: Decadent Dragon
- G: Questing Druid