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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 ain the command zone, a Faerie that's really an equipment tutor and a favorite topic of mine, possible Yuriko enablers.
Cue Eric Andre screaming "what if it was... WHITE!?" and pointing at. 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, 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. won't be much different.
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 . For a deck, 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, doesn't care about casting enchantments, just that enchantments enter the battlefield, but more on that when we get to .
This is the first of three new possible enablers for 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 and .decks. I've gone over the
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, , , and even .
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.and her lesser Wilds of Eldraine alternatives join a pool of over 300 Dimir creatures that could work in a 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.
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, the flash and outlet from , or the flying+1 effect from . 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 will deserve another look, but for now you can do so much better.
Beseech the Mirror
If nothing else,is a perfect card for cEDH decks. K'rrik is the only commander in cEDH that can run and 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 .
Unfortunately, where the triple black cost is a boon for, 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 , , or may find great utility in , particularly decks with easy access to token-generation, like , and . I'm even told that some players are testing it at Mox Masters September.
The last of the Yuriko-enablers and the only one that isn't blue, but that hasn't keptor from showing up in most lists, so still deserves a look. The black Faerie is closest to the almost-good-enough-but-not-quite-good-enough in function, with surveil usually being better than scry. also edges a little ahead of 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, 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 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.is precisely the sort of card that a 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, 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 or or a few times in a row, you're going to be able to cobble together a win. It's not clear if 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
reads like a much worse version of or , unless you have a convenient way to increase Agatha's power. That rules out the main commander interested in activated ability cost reduction ( ), but could find a home in certain lists. For just one green mana, you can take 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, is overshadowed by her own cauldron.
Brenard, Ginger Sculptor
looks like a commander at a quick glance, until you remember that mandates exiling a creature rather than sacrificing it, meaning a / 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 with while 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, butallows for a dedicated stax-based list. isn't capable of running disruptive pieces like and 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, will quickly turn humble creatures like and into rapidly growing threats. It's also the natural home for .
Another comparison point is this great list from RebellSon., also known as the Selesnya . 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
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 , so having a redundant card with potential upside is a welcome addition to the card pool. The creature half of 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 .
More interesting is'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 in the command zone, would be placing the tutor for in the command zone, a tantalising option. Beyond , can also search for Auras, meaning the almighty is always a single tutor away. Given that Boros decks can run , , and , you've basically got a one card combo from the command zone, a first for Boros. I think there's real potential for a cEDH deck, but if all you're looking for is a chance to go infinite with , remember that there are more ways to find 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
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 . While so many of the commons cards in cEDH are on the cheap side, some of the major game-winning spells, like and , have a sizeable upfront cost that you can get a discount on if you jump through Rowan's hoops. To get down to two you'll need to eat three damage, a simple request when you have access to a fetchland and a still in the deck, or with , or even .
However,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 's deckbuilding constraints, making X spells an intriguing option. , , , ; 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.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 . 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, 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 or some way to drop 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.. 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
Card advantage on a commander is nothing new, but what's remarkable withis that they require no additional investment. Tymna needs attackers, Thrasios needs mana, Yuriko needs Ninjas, Selvala needs big creatures, and so on, but 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 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 player's combo and the most compelling reason I've ever seen to test in a cEDH deck.
Of course, there is a catch. discussed here, one of the best ways to beat a 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 player, your opponents won't even need counter magic to stop you, they just need any instant-speed card with an appropriate mana value. is much better as you can leave enough cards in library that a single or even double forced draw won't spell death.'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 and name a card nowhere in your deck. As
Agatha's Soul Cauldron
There are three lines of text on, 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 decks. For the unfamiliar, Kinnan has a very easy time making infinite colorless mana; all it needs is and bam, infinite. The trouble is that Kinnan's activated ability requires blue and green. To overcome that limitation, decks use cards like , , and even . 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 acombo 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 and , please reread one or the other, because you're missing something. only confers abilities to creatures with +1/+1 counters on them, and '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 combo, and those aren't especially appealing when we already have six different two-card combos.
Thankfully,does have combo applications elsewhere. naturally produces +1/+1 counters for your board, meaning can turn any creature into a . It can also work to steal a 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 by exiling it, placing a +1/+1 counter on a creature, sacrificing that creature for the 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 aor dedicated graveyard nukes, but sometimes all you need is a single exile effect to crush a reanimation deck or make an player cry.
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 players, people who have never seen a mana rock they wouldn't at least test once. players stay up all night practicing how to count to eleven and 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 , but just paying for a huge chunk of Godo himself looks like it'll be enough.
won't be seeing play in other mono-color decks, on account of the popular mono-color commanders like , , and already producing amazing amounts of mana and being unable to pay for any part of 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., , , , and while deserves a nod for everything he did to every other format, the most powerful and ubiquitous cEDH addition of all, .
A year from now it won't surprise me if the only three cards you see from this set on a regular basis are, and maybe . That's no bad thing, mind you, it's just funny that of the two trips to Eldraine, Wilds is the more tame.