Wilds of Eldraine - A cEDH Set Review

Jake FitzSimons • September 6, 2023

Talion, the Kindly Lord by Justyna Dura

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands | Allied Colors & Shards | Enemy Colors & Wedges | cEDH | Reprints

Well met, fairytales and hairy snails (you come up with a better rhyme), Jake FitzSimons here eating perfectly innocuous candy and looking for the most powerful new cEDH cards from Wilds of Eldraine. We're looking at a four mana tutor with huge upside, a witch and her cauldron, a Faerie that's going to play a lot like a Rhystic Study in the command zone, a Faerie that's really an equipment tutor and a favorite topic of mine, possible Yuriko enablers.


Moonshaker Cavalry

Cue Eric Andre screaming "what if it was... WHITE!?" and pointing at Craterhoof Behemoth. Really, it's hard to think of this as anything else, it reads like a direct answer to Commander players that complained about a lack of white finishers for years. While it's a tad bigger at 6/6 rather than 5/5, it operates almost identically by trading out trample for flying, usually the better keyword for forcing damage through, particularly in cEDH. Saying all that, Craterhoof Behemoth is a rare sight in the competitive sphere, occasionally seeing play as a top-end finisher for fringe stax decks with a lot of creatures. Moonshaker Cavalry won't be much different.

Slumbering Keepguard

Slumbering Keepguard is the sort of effect that's exciting for one archetype and one archetype alone: enchantress. Sadly, enchantress decks are few and far between in cEDH, with the only notable Commander being Sythis, Harvest's Hand. For a Sythis deck, Slumbering Keepguard offers additional card selection and pseudo-card advantage by filtering your draws with every successive enchantment. It's worth noting that, unlike most Enchantress effects, Slumbering Keepguard doesn't care about casting enchantments, just that enchantments enter the battlefield, but more on that when we get to Ellivere of the Wild Court.


Ingenious Prodigy

This is the first of three new possible enablers for Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow decks. I've gone over the features a card needs to qualify as good enough for Yuriko at some length, but a quick recap: ideally, a Yuriko-enabler will cost one mana or less, have some variant of evasion, and carry some extra utility to boot. Prime examples of this are Changeling Outcast and Thousand-Faced Shadow.

Luckily for Ingenious Prodigy, she ticks all three boxes at once. Skulk on a 0/1 (what you'll almost always cast it as on your opening turn) is awfully close to truly unblockable, and the option to spend additional mana for a bigger creature that will gradually draw cards over a long game is a great use of extra resources. She's even blue, a huge boon for any Yuriko-enabler, as it means it can be pitched to Force of Will, Force of Negation, Misdirection, and even Commandeer.

However. Wizards of the Coast have gone completely mad with what they're willing to put on a one-mana creature in the last five years. Ingenious Prodigy and her lesser Wilds of Eldraine alternatives join a pool of over 300 Dimir creatures that could work in a Yuriko deck, and unfortunately I don't think she's going to push any of the current options out. There's just that much competition. Yuriko is already a resource-thin deck with minimal mana acceleration sources, meaning leftover mana for a big Prodigy will be hard to come by. On top of that, Yuriko runs an uncommonly huge amount of interaction split between bounce spells, removal spells, and counterspells. Testing Prodigy, I'm yet to find a situation where I wouldn't rather hold up mana for an instant or flash creature, even if only to bluff.

Snaremaster Sprite

It's blue, it costs one mana, it flies, it has extra utility; and yet it's still a hard no. Two mana for a stun counter is a woeful rate when you compare it to alternatives like the scry from Faerie Seer, the flash and outlet from Spectral Sailor, or the flying+1 effect from Wingcrafter. Stun counters are close to useless, and many of the best creatures in the format don't need to tap or attack to be relevant. If Yuriko ever leans into Faerie cards for the sake of them being Faeries, maybe Snaremaster Sprite will deserve another look, but for now you can do so much better.


Beseech the Mirror

If nothing else, Beseech the Mirror is a perfect card for K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth cEDH decks. K'rrik is the only commander in cEDH that can run Diabolic Tutor and Beseech the Queen with a straight face, so a tutor with three black pips is a no-brainer. Needing only one colorless mana (and six life) for an unconditional tutor would be more than playable in its own right, but the bargain effect sends it to a whole new level. While it requires a spare artifact or enchantment - or a token, though keep in mind K'rrik decks don't make many, if any - and a card with a mana value less than four, tutoring and casting a spell for so little real mana speeds up plenty of combo lines, as so many of them revolve around four mana creatures like Fleshwrither.

Unfortunately, where the triple black cost is a boon for K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, it can prove difficult for other decks to find enough colored mana, making its prospects a little dimmer, but still bright enough that you'll see it sooner rather than later. Low-color decks already prepared to find the mana for Necropotence, Doomsday, or Peer into the Abyss may find great utility in Beseech the Mirror, particularly decks with easy access to token-generation, like Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools, Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator and Tivit, Seller of Secrets. I'm even told that some Najeela, the Blade-Blossom players are testing it at Mox Masters September.

Faerie Dreamthief

The last of the Yuriko-enablers and the only one that isn't blue, but that hasn't kept Changeling Outcast or Thieves' Guild Enforcer from showing up in most lists, so Faerie Dreamthief still deserves a look. The black Faerie is closest to the almost-good-enough-but-not-quite-good-enough Silver Raven in function, with surveil usually being better than scry. Faerie Dreamthief also edges a little ahead of Silver Raven with its activated ability but let's be real: it's not cheap. No cEDH player in their right mind would want a card that took three mana to return one card, but when it's available directly out of your graveyard and stapled to an decent creature, it's passable. Maybe.

The draw will shine brightest paired with sorcery speed topdeck tutors like Imperial Seal, but outside of having the Dreamthief in your bin and a topdecker in hand, I'd rather have a better enabler with more utility. For most lists, leave Faerie Dreamthief by the wayside, or keep it in mind if your deck rests heavily on reanimation, delve, or other graveyard shenanigans.


Flick a Coin

Did Krark himself design this card? It's even named appropriately! Well, sort of. If you've ever played against a cEDH Krark & Sakashima deck, it's not "flick a coin" so much as "pull out a hypergeometric coin-flipping machine", but I digress. Flick a Coin is precisely the sort of card that a Krark, the Thumbless deck can go wild with. By itself, it's a jack of all trades and master of none, a poor return for three mana, but when you can cast it more than once and return it to your hand, it very quickly becomes a win condition in its own right, providing buckets of mana, card draw, and pings that can be sent anywhere. The only trouble is the price.

At two mana, there'd be nothing to discuss with Flick a Coin, it would be an instant inclusion. And yet, everything else in the three-mana price range in your average Krark deck can do just the same. If you can cast and copy Jeska's Will or Frantic Search or Heat Shimmer a few times in a row, you're going to be able to cobble together a win. It's not clear if Flick a Coin is going to do that any more efficiently than existing options, and if it doesn't, Krark pilots will be happier playing the tools that can already do this job.


There's nothing of note for green in Wilds of Eldraine. I won't sully these officially spoiled Wilds with leaks from the October Lord of the Rings release, but I did sully my own eyes by looking at them, so be sure to keep yours peeled because there's an extremely useful green protection spell on the horizon.


Agatha of the Vile Cauldron

Agatha of the Vile Cauldron reads like a much worse version of Biomancer's Familiar or Training Grounds, unless you have a convenient way to increase Agatha's power. That rules out the main commander interested in activated ability cost reduction (Thrasios, Triton Hero), but Agatha of the Vile Cauldron could find a home in certain Kenrith, the Returned King lists. For just one green mana, you can take Agatha of the Vile Cauldron up to a 2/2, at which point the draw ability will cost two mana, and it only gets cheaper from there. That's appealing in slower games that begin to grind, but it's still a sizeable mana investment before it begins paying off. Unfortunately, Agatha of the Vile Cauldron is overshadowed by her own cauldron.

Brenard, Ginger Sculptor

Brenard, Ginger Sculptor looks like a Food Chain commander at a quick glance, until you remember that Food Chain mandates exiling a creature rather than sacrificing it, meaning a Misthollow Griffin/Eternal Scourge loop won't produce an equivalent number of Food Golem tokens. It'll still produce infinite mana, but, sadly, Brenard doesn't have anything worth doing with infinite mana. You can pair Eternal Scourge with Ashnod's Altar while Brenard, Ginger Sculptor is in play and you'll be rewarded with infinite colorless and infinite 1/1s, but again Brenard can't do anything with infinite colorless mana, and a three-card combo that doesn't win the game on the spot is not where you want to be in cEDH.

Ellivere of the Wild Court

Card advantage on a Selesnya commander with an enchantress theme! Sure, we've already got Sythis, and if all you want to do is slam enchantment after enchantment and get a fresh card every single time, your best bet is to stick with her, but Ellivere of the Wild Court allows for a dedicated stax-based list. Sythis, Harvest's Hand isn't capable of running disruptive pieces like Rule of Law and Eidolon of Rhetoric because it gets in the way of rushing out cheap enchantments. Ellivere won't draw as many cards as Sythis, and she takes a little more mana to get the engine running, but once you're rolling you'll have a surprisingly enormous army. With a Virtuous Role token on entry and with every attack thereafter, Ellivere of the Wild Court will quickly turn humble creatures like Collector Ouph and Archivist of Oghma into rapidly growing threats. It's also the natural home for Slumbering Keepguard.

Another comparison point is Dhalsim, Piable Pacifist, also known as the Selesnya Tymna the Weaver. For pure card advantage, Dhalsim is likely the better choice on account of not needing to place Auras to generate triggers, but from what I've seen so far, Ellivere's raw combat damage is more than worth it in any game that drags out. If you're looking for an Ellivere cEDH deck to start with or brew your own from, check out this great list from RebellSon.

Kellan, the Fae-Blooded

A card after my own heart. As a diehard Koll, the Forgemaster apologist, my eyes light up whenever I see an efficient Equipment tutor. Equipment- and Aura-focused cEDH decks are already happy to play Open the Armory, so having a redundant card with potential upside is a welcome addition to the card pool. The creature half of Kellan, the Fae-Blooded could also be useful in a drawn-out game where suiting up creatures and swinging for the fences becomes viable, but the real news here is Birthright Boon.

More interesting is Kellan, the Fae-Blooded's legendary status, which allows you to play a tutor directly from the command zone, opening up the possibility for a reverse Koll deck. Rather than placing the combo piece for Skullclamp in the command zone, Kellan, the Fae-Blooded would be placing the tutor for Skullclamp in the command zone, a tantalising option. Beyond Skullclamp, Kellan, the Fae-Blooded can also search for Auras, meaning the almighty Splinter Twin is always a single tutor away. Given that Boros decks can run Village-Bell Ringer, Combat Celebrant, and Goblin Sharpshooter, you've basically got a one card combo from the command zone, a first for Boros. I think there's real potential for a Kellan, the Fae-Blooded cEDH deck, but if all you're looking for is a chance to go infinite with Skullclamp, remember that there are more ways to find Skullclamp in a Koll deck than there are ways to find Koll in a Kellan deck. Both are required to pop off and actually win the game, so me, I'd sooner have the combo piece in the zone.

Rowan, Scion of War

Rowan, Scion of War is a card for masochists. If you like trading away your life for value (like any self-respecting Rakdos mage would), then you won't find a more appropriate commander than Rowan, Scion of War. While so many of the commons cards in cEDH are on the cheap side, some of the major game-winning spells, like Ad Nauseam and Peer into the Abyss, have a sizeable upfront cost that you can get a discount on if you jump through Rowan's hoops. To get Ad Nauseam down to two you'll need to eat three damage, a simple request when you have access to a fetchland and a Blood Crypt still in the deck, or with Agadeem, the Undercrypt, Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass or even Tarnished Citadel.

However, Ad Nauseam didn't need a commander to make it powerful. It's already more than capable of winning the game by itself after paying the full price, which is part of why it's such an incredibly ubiquitous card in cEDH. Making it better isn't a bad thing, but it's not an especially necessary thing. Much more interesting are the possibilities with X spells. An over-reliance on expensive spells will clash with Ad Nauseam's deckbuilding constraints, making X spells an intriguing option. The Meathook Massacre, Exsanguinate, Torment of Hailfire, Crackle With Power; I'd never consider these cards for other cEDH decks, but when the X costs are so affordable, they start looking an awful lot better.

I covered using lands to lose three life, but to get full value out of these big X spells, you'll need to go further. Peer into the Abyss doesn't just draw half your library, it throws away half your life total, meaning any sufficiently powerful X spell should represent lethal. If you're looking to assemble something like that manually, look no further than Treasonous Ogre. Getting one mana for three life is already a solid rate, but four mana for three life is just ridiculous.

Talion, the Kindly Lord

This is the strongest commander and strongest card from Wilds of Eldraine for cEDH. Access to tutors, access to counters, extremely efficient and self-sufficient card advantage, and of course, Thassa's Oracle. First, some notes on their card advantage. While you can name anything from one to ten, the only real options in cEDH are one and two, and despite reading a Talion player's breakdown of the best number to name, I'm still unsure which is better. I'm leaning toward two in every scenario other than an opening with Jeweled Lotus or some way to drop Talion, the Kindly Lord on turn one in the hope that you can catch all the early development spells. What matters is that you'll be swamped with cards either way. Like any competitive format, cEDH revolves around cheap and efficient spells, and there are precious few creatures that don't have a one or a two in their textbox.

Card advantage on a commander is nothing new, but what's remarkable with Talion, the Kindly Lord is that they require no additional investment. Tymna needs attackers, Thrasios needs mana, Yuriko needs Ninjas, Selvala needs big creatures, and so on, but Talion, the Kindly Lord needs only to resolve and live. That's it. If you do that and you're not drawing cards, your opponents are either not playing spells, or they're not playing cEDH decks. It's a little like Rhystic Study in the sort of advantage it can generate, except your opponents can never pay for it. They'll even take two damage with every trigger, enough to ruin an Ad Nauseam player's combo and the most compelling reason I've ever seen to test Bloodchief Ascension in a cEDH deck.

Of course, there is a catch. Talion, the Kindly Lord's draw trigger is not a "may" trigger. You can't opt out of the card draw: it's happening whether you like it or not, and while the vast majority of the time drawing a card is good news, it's bad news when you have no cards left in your library, the sort of thing that happens when you use Demonic Consultation and name a card nowhere in your deck. As discussed here, one of the best ways to beat a Thassa's Oracle combo is forcing the executor of said combo to draw a card at that precise moment when their library is empty and the win is on the stack. As a Talion, the Kindly Lord player, your opponents won't even need counter magic to stop you, they just need any instant-speed card with an appropriate mana value. Tainted Pact is much better as you can leave enough cards in library that a single or even double forced draw won't spell death.


Agatha's Soul Cauldron

There are three lines of text on Agatha's Soul Cauldron, and each one is useful in its own right. First, making activated abilities accessible without needing any colored mana is a huge boon for cEDH Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy decks. For the unfamiliar, Kinnan has a very easy time making infinite colorless mana; all it needs is Basalt Monolith and bam, infinite. The trouble is that Kinnan's activated ability requires blue and green. To overcome that limitation, Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy decks use cards like Stonework Packbeast, Energy Refractor, and even Mirage Mirror. Agatha's Soul Cauldron is just another in that vein with additional utility stapled to it.

Now to the second ability. I want to make clear this is NOT a Devoted Druid combo piece. I'm usually the first to make the same stupid "we did it, we finally broke XYZ card" joke, but if you've been making it about Devoted Druid and Agatha's Soul Cauldron, please reread one or the other, because you're missing something. Agatha's Soul Cauldron only confers abilities to creatures with +1/+1 counters on them, and Devoted Druid's ability will remove the +1/+1 from the creature that used it when the -1/-1 counter is placed. Sure, you can add an extra piece and get around that limitation, but then you're looking at a three-card Devoted Druid combo, and those aren't especially appealing when we already have six different two-card combos.

Thankfully, Agatha's Soul Cauldron does have combo applications elsewhere. Heliod, the Sun-Crowned naturally produces +1/+1 counters for your board, meaning Agatha's Soul Cauldron can turn any creature into a Walking Ballista. It can also work to steal a Razaketh, the Foul-Blooded out of the bin, giving you the on-demand tutor effect and robbing an opponent the opportunity to reanimate the big fella. You can also set up a loop with Ranger-Captain of Eos by exiling it, placing a +1/+1 counter on a creature, sacrificing that creature for the silence effect, then eating it to place yet another +1/+1 counter on a creature, ready to do it again. There are a lot of enticing possibilities here.

And finally, the actual activated ability. While it's primary application (and why you'd want to place it in a deck at all) is to simplify or enable combos, it can also work as a disruptive piece when you've got nothing else going on. It's nowhere near as efficient as a Soul-Guide Lantern or dedicated graveyard nukes, but sometimes all you need is a single exile effect to crush a reanimation deck or make an Underworld Breach player cry.

Throne of Eldraine

Throne of Eldraine is the latest entry in a growing list of cards named after sets. It's just like when you hear the title of a movie within the movie. Remarkable stuff. That sentiment is also shared by Godo, Bandit Warlord players, people who have never seen a mana rock they wouldn't at least test once. Godo, Bandit Warlord players stay up all night practicing how to count to eleven and Throne of Eldraine is a great tool for adding four at once. Unfortunately it's only for mono-colored spells so it can't be used to activate the equip cost on Helm of the Host, but just paying for a huge chunk of Godo himself looks like it'll be enough.

Throne of Eldraine won't be seeing play in other mono-color decks, on account of the popular mono-color commanders like Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, Urza, High Lord Artificer, and K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth already producing amazing amounts of mana and Heliod, the Sun-Crowned being unable to pay for any part of Walking Ballista with it.

Happily Ever After?

Happily, but certainly not ecstatically ever after. It's a solid set with some interesting options, especially if you love Faeries of different flavors. But compared to the original? The last standard set that released before we all became intimately familiar with the word pandemic? It can't hold a candle.

It's easy to forget where cards came from as a cEDH player, we're not a lore or plane focused bunch. Glance back at Throne of Eldraine though and you'll realise just how big of an impact it had. Kenrith, the Returned King, Korvold, the Fae-Cursed King, Deafening Silence, Wishclaw Talisman, and while Oko, Thief of Crowns deserves a nod for everything he did to every other format, the most powerful and ubiquitous cEDH addition of all, Arcane Signet.

A year from now it won't surprise me if the only three cards you see from this set on a regular basis are Talion, the Kindly Lord, Beseech the Mirror and maybe Agatha's Soul Cauldron. That's no bad thing, mind you, it's just funny that of the two trips to Eldraine, Wilds is the more tame.


Jake FitzSimons is a writer from Sydney and a Magic fiend. He's either the johnniest spike or the spikiest johnny, nobody is sure which. When he isn’t brewing or playing cEDH, he can be found writing, playing piano, and doting on his little cat.