I wanted to do something new this week because I tend to make a lot of proclamations about how I expect cards to get used in a 75% context but never really circle back around and follow up on whether any of what I thought would happen did happen. Considering my other writing gig revolves around using lots of data to make predictions based on how people are starting to use cards, it seems kind of foolish to not use the resources I am familiar with to talk about the crazy 75% hijinx people are getting up to, as well as other uses for cards I may not have anticipated.
While the Top 10 list in my set review didn't try to anticipate the 10 most popular cards in the set or 10 most powerful, I can still see how the cards I did mention are being used and determine if people came to the same conclusions about their usefulness I did and also talk about any other cool tech I turn up digging into the set's data on EDHREC. Let's touch on my Top 10 list from my set review and see how those cards are doing.
The 57th-ranked card in the set per EDHREC (finishing ahead of The Circle of Loyalty and Rankle, Master of Pranks), Escape is being used a little bit differently than I had anticipated. Instead of using it as a kind of Red Urban Evolution, players are using Escape in decks where they can copy the spell to get maximum value out of the five mana investment. Whereas I expected it to see play in decks like Angry Omnath and Mina and Denn, Wildborn and while it does see play in a lot of Omnath, Locus of the Roil (Temur Omnath) decks, it's Wort, the Raidmother decks and Riku of Two Reflections decks that are doing the most interesting things with the spell in my view. I love the idea of doubling the spell. Another fun thing to do is cast it for free and Maelstrom Wanderer decks are taking notice of Escape. It's doing fine in newer, lands-matter decks like Golos and Lord Windgrace and it's great fixing in 5-color decks like Kenrith and Niv-Mizzet Reborn. This sees play in more broad and interesting ways than I'd anticipated and I'm glad people like it as much as I did. Sometimes you overvalue a card you preview and I'm glad that wasn't necessarily the case here.
Ranked 89th (After Stonecoil Serpent, yuck) based on percentage of decks that could include it and do, The Cauldron of Eternity isn't getting picked up as much as I would like. I anticipated this would be more an Orzhov card than a Golgari one and EDHREC shows it almost exclusively in Grenzo, Dungeon Warden and Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow decks with some sporadic use in Syr Konrad as well. I certainly didn't expect more Kenrith decks to run it than Sidisi decks. I wrote about Cauldron last week and I hope its full scope of utility is explored soon, but I mostly whiffed on my prediction.
Ranked 94th in the set, Archon is actually less utilized than those stats would seem to indicate because the vast majority of inclusions are in Kenrith decks which means people aren't going back and adding this card to existing decks all that much. As much as the protection from White and ability to attack are helpful, people still prefer Ghostly Prison and aren't giving Archon much thought. I thought it would be more popular than it is.
There wasn't much to get wrong here. Emry is the 7th-most-popular Commander, obviously being edged out by the Brawl decks and the only surprise really is that more players built Torbran than Emry (by a lot). I suspect more competitive players built Emry and also, Emry is included in the 99 of more decks than Torbran. This is a good, unfair card and that's cool because the set needs powerful cards that aren't banned already.
Ranked 47th, Hushbringer is doing quite well. As I predicted, it's included in decks like Lavinia, Gaddock Teeg and Thalia. I didn't anticipate it being a Faerie mattering, but it's almost an auto-include in Alela, Artful Provocateur decks. This is being used as I imagined and that's good because I like effects that stop opponents from executing their plan versus not letting them do anything. It's annoying to play Acidic Slime for five mana and not get to blow anything up but it's miserable not to be able to play it at all and that happy medium is where 75% lives.
Similarly, most of what I said about Hushbringer applies to Deafening Silence. Chulane decks much prefer Silence and that's something I expected when Chulane was spoiled. I'm glad to see this ranked 40th.
Ranked 140th, this card is a little too cute for its own good. I didn't really anticipate a home for it because there really isn't a good deck for it except for one built around Aladdin or Chandler or something cutesy that I'd try that would be bad. It's used almost exclusively in Grenzo, Havoc Raiser where it's an exceptional card. Most other inclusions are flavor-based like in Admiral Beckett Brass. I like this card but it's also a bad Thada Adel, Acquisitor most times and in worse colors.
Ranked 79th (Ahead of Gilded Goose), Piper is seeing play where I expected (Marrow-Gnawer) and where I brewed later (Ayara, First of Lochtwain) and the fact that it's not strictly seeing play in Rat decks makes me proud of how I saw early potential in this card and largely nailed it. I especially love the play it's seeing in Teysa Karlov decks, something I thought of but never wrote in an article so it doesn't count as a prediction. I'm just happy to see such a cool card that does something Black does kind of well but infrequently (Captivating Vampire being another example) seeing play.
Ranked 147th, this is among the dregs of the set. It's an overcosted version of Praetor's Grasp and very few players are interested. There is little consensus among the decks that DO use it, as well. This could just be a "Jason Alt kind of card" and it not catching on is disappointing but predictable. I still like it and if you run decks like Kess, Dissident Mage or a Rogues deck with a commander like Sygg, River Cutthroat, this goes right in.
Ranked just 9th in the set (between Return of the Wildspeaker and Castle Vantress - good company indeed), Mirrormade is seeing a lot of play. Decks that can fetch or recur it are obviously using it more. On a very interesting note, Mirrormade is not included in the Alela Brawl deck but over a third of the Alela decks in the EDHREC database include a copy - that's a very high degree of adoption. If the deck had included a copy, some of the adoption could be explained away by something that writer Sam Alpert called "The Precon Effect." Players who build a deck from a precon start at 100, subtract, and build back up, usually including cards that they might not have thought to include had they started from 0. That's not the case here - Mirrormade and Alela just go together like thopters and swords.
I discovered a few interesting uses of cards from Throne of Eldraine I want to discuss before we call it a day.
Niv-Mizzet, Parun has exploded in popularity on EDHREC recently. The two ways that can happen are when players build new Niv-Mizzet decks and register them or when they update an old one. Sometimes it doesn't take much to convince someone to update their list, but sometimes a single card isn't worth it. However, Throne of Eldraine gave Niv-Mizzet players a card that changes the power level of the deck to an insane degree - Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. Torbran turns Niv's trigger from 1 damage into 3 and wraps the game up very quickly when it hits the board. Mystic Sanctuary (a card so good it got its own article) and The Magic Mirror don't hurt the deck, either. I think Torbran could do similar amounts of work in Nekusar, the Mindrazer, Purphoros, God of the Forge, Firesong and Sunspeaker, and even Zozu the Punisher decks. Any deck where your commander is Red and deals damage, give Torbran a look.
Yarok is a fairly linearly-built goodstuff deck, but I am tickled that people are playing The Great Henge and Kenrith's Transformation in Yarok. Transformation makes up for not being instant speed like Beast Within by drawing you two cards with Yarok out and that's pretty funny. Even Mystic Sanctuary gets quite a bit better in this deck.
While a lot of players are building Korvold decks, a lot of Lord WIndgrace players are adding Korvold to their 99 which is good, but not as pleasant a surprise as seeing players adopt Beanstalk Giant into Lord Windgrace.
All in all, Throne of Eldraine added a lot of broken cards but also a lot of just very good ones and the broken ones are not really broken in EDH compared with 60 card formats. We're left with a raft of exciting new Legendary creatures like Kenrith, Emry, and Torbran, format staples like Arcane Signet, Fabled Passage, and Mystic Sanctuary and exciting new creatures like Faeburrow Elder and Murderous Rider. Whether you're building 75% or not, the set has a lot of good cards and I was happy to see that my initial impression of the cards seems to have been mostly echoed by other builders.
What's your favorite way a Throne of Eldraine card spruced up an older deck? Leave it for me in the comments section. Thanks for reading, as always. Until next time!