Welcome back! It is Wednesday, my dudes!
This week, I want to talk about my initial thoughts on Throne of Eldraine. As we know, the weekend after next is the Prerelease, and I'm really looking forward to it. My good buddy Jake P. invited me out to Logan, Utah once again to participate in the Prerelease at his store, The Game Grid, so if you're in or from the area, be sure to stop by! And if you're looking for any Throne of Eldraine singles or booster boxes, you can use promo code FRANK5 right here on CoolStuffInc to get 5% off.
There's a lot going on in the set, from a brand new card type(?), to a ton of fairy tale flavor, to hybrid mana, to a sizable Knight theme, and I want to take a look at all of that and give my thoughts on what we've seen so far from the latest set.
Let's Go on an Adventure!
I've been asked quite a few times on stream what I think about Eldraine so far, and one of the first things I reply with is how much I love Adventure as a mechanic. See, the thing is that I feel like I'm more of a Limited player than a Constructed player. If I had to rank my favorite formats in order, they would look something like this:
- Cube Draft
I do enjoy Standard, but I usually only enjoy Standard for the first two months after a new set is released; after that, the format tends to seem stale and repetitive to me as we wait one more month for more new cards from the next set; this is also about the time that the Cube is thrown up on Magic Online, thankfully. Usually after two months, all the brews and best decks have been discovered, but for those first two months, I usually love Standard. This is the same aspect of Modern that I love, only the period of discovery feels indefinite in Modern; I never feel like the format is solved or that there is a limit to the things you can do, even if there is a set amount of Tier 1 decks at any given time.
When it comes to Limited, however, the reason I love Cube Draft is because you have so many options and decisions and ways to outplay your opponents. The more options a card gives you, the more ways your victory is the result of your own plays. Anything in Magic that gives us more options and looks to reduce the randomness and luck factor is a good thing.
This is why I love mechanics like Flashback, Aftermath, and Kicker, because they give you more options in the late game that you otherwise wouldn't have with normal cards. Adventure does this a little better in my opinion!
I played in the Throne of Eldraine Courtside Brawl that they had on MTG Arena a week or so back, and it was a blast. This was the first chance to play with some of the cards from Throne of Eldraine, including Adventure cards. One of the best parts about the card type, I felt, was the unique tension they created. If you had a card like Order of Midnight, for example, you had the decision to make as to whether you were going to cast it as a 2/2 flier, or whether you were going to hold it and wait to return a creature to your hand, and then cast it as a 2/2 flier. How much damage would you be giving up by waiting? How long would it be before a creature worthy of returning died? And these were all questions you were forced to reevaluate every single turn, which makes for some great game play. The best part is that it isn't one or the other when you cast the Adventure half first; you still get to cast the creature from exile at a later point. But you're still left to decide which to do first, as casting the creature first forfeits the value of the adventure half.
This is a fantastically deep mechanic and I'm looking forward to it, and the decisions and value it provides, at both the Prerelease as well as the Throne of Eldraine Draft season.
Must Be Knights
Knights are a huge part of this set. Like, shockingly huge, and they're starting to seem a lot like Pirates from Ixalan in some ways. One of my favorite cards revealed so far is Hero of Pre...I mean, uh, Worthy Knight.
If Hero of Precinct One was any indication of how strong the ability to make 1/1s is just by playing the spells in your deck, this card should be fantastic.
As of writing this, there have already been no less than 38 cards that are Knights or have a reference to Knights on them in Throne of Eldraine. That's a lot, and doesn't include the number of Knights that will already exist in Standard after the rotation, of which there are another 26, including all of the Cavaliers from Core Set 2020. All in all, that's a lot of Knights, and I would expect multiple variations of the Knight deck, in multiple colors, come the release of Throne of Eldraine.
One of the most interesting aspects of the set so far is the appearance of "mana color matters" cards. I'm lumping two different types of cards from Throne of Eldraine together in that statement and they both have to do with specific colored mana.
The first type of card I'm referring to is something like Sundering Stroke.
This card is pretty great by the way. Sure, it costs seven mana, but it's literally going to take out every creature and planeswalker your opponent controls when you cast it (usually), along with dealing them seven damage The catch - and the part that I'm referring to - is the "if at least seven Red mana was spent to cast this" part. This is a nice little benefit that encourages people to play this in either mono-Red decks, or decks that have an abundance of Red mana.
Additionally, this is actually similar to another keyword in the set, Adamant, which gives you a bonus when you're casting spells and using a specific number of colored mana. This is another great Limited ability, in that it causes you to decide whether you're going to use all three of your Blue mana to get the extra food token from your Turn into a Pumpkin, or if you're going to keep some of your Blue mana up for other Blue spells you may want to cast. This is another keyword that gives you more strategic options when playing, which is great for Limited environments.
When it comes to nods to the upcoming Theros set, Theros Beyond Death, these were the weakest of the two, but it's still setting us up for the forthcoming return, especially when you remember that the last visit to Theros had Mono-Red, Mono-Black, and Mono-Blue decks that were all Tier 1.
The other type of cards that really echo the feel of Theros are the abundance of cards that have three or more of the same type of mana in their casting cost. Seriously, look through the set. There are a ton! Out of the cards that have been spoiled already, we have The Magic Mirror; Gadwick, the Wizened; Feasting Troll King; Ayara, First of Locthwain; Linden, the Steadfast Queen; Yorvo, Lord of the Garen Preserve; and Torban, Thane of Red Fell. Of course, most of these are from a legendary cycle, but we also have what seems to be a ten-card cycle of hybrid mana cards as well, that all cost 4 mana. Currently we have eight of the ten revealed, and I could see the ones that end up being good seeing heavy play come Theros if Devotion makes a comeback in the set (trust me, it will).
These have been some of my thoughts and predictions from Throne of Eldraine, and I have to say, the set is looking great so far. There are a lot of powerful cards, a ton of synergies, and a lot of obvious foreshadowing for Theros. I hope you guys enjoyed this little dissection and that you'll leave a comment below with your thoughts! Thanks so much for reading, as always, and I love you guys!