We’re back once again with some Wild of Eldraine previews. After looking over the official previews, I once again must say that this set is a massive power level downgrade from the original Eldraine and, in many ways, any current sets.
That said, there are a lot of cool designs. Let’s take a look!
Specter of Mortality
At first glance, this card looks rock solid. Reminiscent of Massacre Girl, this is a five-mana creature with the potential to wipe the board as it enters the battlefield. Specter does ask a couple of things of you. First, you need to put and keep cards in your graveyard. Second, those cards, in some quantity, need to be creatures. This makes the card weak to cards like the printed Soul-Guide Lantern, and there’s a tension between playing a lot of creatures and wanting a card that can sweep the board enough to fuel the Specter.
If there’s a self-mill-style deck that plays a lot of creatures, then I could see this card as a sideboard option, but right now, the card looks like it won’t have a home.
This is one of, if not the strongest versions of Fiend Hunter to see print. This is a card with multiple relevant creature types as both a knight and elf, but most importantly it provides white decks with this effect at instant speed, which will play nicely with The Wandering Emperor in decks that are heavy white.
While this card is good, it’s too fragile to rely on as hard removal, so if you’re looking for a permanent answer to a Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, this isn’t the card. However, this card is efficient and doubles as a way to protect your own valuable creature in a pinch, and you can reset that creature by sacrificing it for two life.
I’d say this card is quite solid, and I expect it to see some play, maybe even in Eternal formats since it also synergizes fairly well with Collected Company by being able to play either at instant speed.
Beseech the Mirror
Beseech the Mirror reads harmlessly, but this card has broken written all over it. The best application I can think of is casting any of the zero-mana-suspend spells with it. Cards such as Living End can be cast by sacrificing a Vault of Whispers, a token from Khalni Garden, or maybe an Army from the most played card in Magic right now, Orcish Bowmasters. There are a ton of ways to use Beseech the Mirror in Eternal formats and tokens seem to be everywhere these days to turn this into “four mana cast whatever you want.” For Modern, this card also finds The One Ring and can sacrifice it when it gets out of hand.
Beseech the Mirror has the highest ceiling of all cards in the format outside of Standard, and with three-year Standard rotations, we may see this enable some incredibly powerful things in Standard at some point.
This is the only card in the set I've seen thus far that I think has the potential to be banned at some point somewhere. I'm excited to see how this one plays out.
As a Mono Red Aggro enjoyer, I’ve been waiting a long time for a nice red one-mana 2/1 that doesn’t have a downside and that isn't rare. We saw numerous printings of cards like Savannah Lions over the years, and now Red Aggro is getting more support.
Embereth Veteran has relevant creature types and acts as an instant speed-onboard trick. Embereth Veteran can jump on the back of a creature and give it a hero role, so if you’re playing lots of little creatures, then this one provides value in the face of spot removal.
Will this card be able to put Mono Red Aggro back on the map? Very likely not, but it's the type of card that needs to exist for Mono Red to have a fighting chance. I'm glad to see this tool is in the arsenal now.
Eriette’s Tempting Apple
The only reason I’m including this is the design is cool, and it seems like a card to keep in mind as a Karn, the Great Creator target in Eternal formats. It’s not applicable right now, but it’s a unique effect that could end games with Karn against decks trying to cheat huge creatures into play or even while going infinite with Karn as a win condition to give your own creature haste.
Lots of Karn applications make this card interesting to keep note of.
The Goose Mother
I’ve seen comparisons of The Goose Mother and Hydroid Krasis, and while I understand the comparison, The Goose Mother is a pretty different card.
The Goose Mother is much bigger when it enters the battlefield but doesn’t provide that immediate life or card boost. However, rounding up is enormous for this card. You can spend three mana and get a 3/3 flying creature that comes with a food that can be used to sacrifice for a card on the next turn.
The Goose Mother can also act as a two-mana 2/2 flying creature that can sacrifice food you got from other sources to provide card advantage.
I like that the Goose Mother is flexible everywhere on the mana curve and provides lasting advantage. Is this a slam dunk four-of in every deck like Hydroid Krasis was? Definitely not. Will it find a home in Standard? It has an opportunity, and if this was a normal rotation cycle I’d say yes. Unfortunately, it looks like we’re in a wave of scaling down the power level, and The Goose Mother got in at a bad time. Right now, this is the card I’m most excited to test, as it could be much better or worse than it looks.
Bitter Chill is nothing to write home about, but this is a long-awaited reasonable tool for decks like Mono Blue Spirits. Witness Protection is currently what they use and still may be better for handling blue's problems like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. Bitter Chill is able to answer a card like Baneslayer Angel efficiently.
If the Bitter Chill is to fall off, it can even replace itself, which is an excellent tool for the new bargain mechanic.
Bitter Chill is nothing special, but it will be able to slide into some sideboard slots.
Virtue of Loyalty
Virtue Of Loyalty falls right into that nice design space, but unfortunately, it isn’t quite good enough. The instant-speed 2/2 vigilance knight is a fine way to spend your mana, but it’s not ideal. The Virtue of Loyalty wants you to have a wide battlefield or else it will be low impact. It allows you to play offense and defense by untapping your creatures, but the text itself is pretty win more.
This will be an obscenely powerful Limited card as the boards gum up more and creature sizing becomes more relevant, but this card misses for formats like Standard. While I could see an all-in token-style deck existing, and maybe this squeezes in, there are far too many tools to keep those kinds of decks in check, unfortunately.
I love the concept of the card, but Bramble Familiar doesn't hit the mark. It's a cheap mana dork, but a payoff means it will play well in both the early and late game. Bramble Familiar would have been better off if it made a 2/2 token that tapped for green mana and then was a sorcery while on adventure. This way, you wouldn’t lose the whole card when you played it on turn two, and you’d have a payoff waiting in exile as the game developed.
Conceptually, it's a great card, but in a format with lots of interaction, even with the ability to return itself, Bramble Familiar is often going to get destroyed early and future copies will be awkward to wait on.
This card looks quite solid. Decadent Dragon allows you to play instant speed with Expensive Taste, essentially giving you both halves of Siphon Insight for one-half of your card. Unfortunately, it does not say play those cards for any color mana. On top of that, you get a four-mana 4/4 dragon that can attack to make treasure, presumably to cast those cards.
This card will be phenomenal in situations where black and red decks are omnipresent, much like Standard is right now.
Regardless, there are a lot of ways to get extra colored mana with small costs to your mana base, such as playing off-color triomes or fast lands.
Decadent Dragon is quite a card engine when the format allows it, and it will surely see some play with black being so dominant at the moment.
That’s it for this week. I’m going to get back into the swing of things and play the Arena Open this weekend that is Cube. If there are more interesting cards to talk about next week, we’ll likely look at those before I dive into Wilds of Eldraine Limited.
See you then!