Wilds of Eldraine Set Review - Reprints

Nick Wolf • September 9, 2023

Greater Auramancy by Mai Okuma

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

Enchanting Tales We've Heard Before

Hello friends, and welcome to the only Magic: The Gathering review article that waxes on about how cards were better in the past, and new things are scary and discomforting. Here in the reprint review, we're willfully obstinate when it comes to cards that have words on them we haven't already read a thousand times before, and we like it that way. There's safety in the familiar, and also we don't have to figure out how to use Virtue of Knowledge. We'll leave puzzling out the new stuff to the other reviewers.

Instead, let's take a look at cards that have already existed in one form or another. Thanks to Wilds of Eldraine (and the associated Commander decks and bonus sheet), we've got three distinct flavors of reprint to discuss, so let's get to it.

Wilds of Eldraine

All told, there are 15 reprints present in the base set of Wilds of Eldraine, or 10 if we filter out the quintet of basic lands. Nothing is going to light any fires under collectors or speculators, as they're largely cards that see reprints often. The only thing this time around is they all feature a distinctly Eldrainian art style, so if you need to upgrade your Commune with Nature to better suit your raccoon-themed deck, you're in luck.

Now's as good a time as any to discuss the state of reprints in modern set releases. Years ago, a Standard set release would feature one, maybe two solid reprints. That's all we got, and we were happy with it. "Hey, look, they reprinted Maniacal Rage in Conflux. Neat!" we'd say, snacking on our Walkers Cajun Squirrel Flavour potato crisps with one eye on Teen Mom. The year of 2009 was an embarrassment of riches, emphasis on embarrassment.

Fast forward to present day, and there are people on the Internet with the gall to complain that they reprinted a bunch of sought-after, expensive Commander staples (I am those people, those people are me; we'll get to that in a minute). The fact of the matter is that, while Wilds of Eldraine is mostly your basic Standard release, all the bells and whistles that accompany it have become a broken dam from which reprints spring. Will we drown? Time will tell. In the meantime, don't build your village in the ravine.

Disdainful Stroke

Did we need it?

From Wilds of Edraine we get three uncommons, seven commons, and five basic lands. One of those uncommons is Disdainful Stroke, most recently seen in Streets of New Capenna, and before that, nine other times, in five other arts. We did not need another Disdainful Stroke, that much can't be argued, especially since there exist at least three versions that are, in my opinion, nicer to look at: Disdainful Stroke, Disdainful Stroke, and Disdainful Stroke. Even before this added version from WOE, the only way you're spending more than a few nickels on a Disdainful Stroke is if you opted for the foil retro-frame version, which would run you eight bucks or so.

Did we want it?

Ever since it showed up in Khans of Tarkir, Disdainful Stroke has been one of the better 1U counterspells on the market for Commander, up there with Arcane Denial and the forever-underrated Confound. The numbers on EDHREC back that up, as Disdainful Stroke shows up in roughly 28,000 decks that can play it. It's most frequently seen in decks you'd expect, namely annoying ones, but in a format that is still foundationally about playing big, dumb things that cost a million mana, having a way to protect that investment is never a bad idea. I'd still play the retro-frame version, but that's just this humble writer's opinion.

Soul-Guide Lantern

Did we need it?

The fifth iteration of the poor man's Relic of Progenitus (or sixth if you count the serialized version from The Brothers' War Retro Artifacts), the Soul-Guide Lantern from WOE features art from Iris Compiet, an individual who was born to contribute to the visual style of Eldraine. It's a good look for the glowy stick, but outside of a little art appreciation, we didn't really need a new version of it. Like Disdainful Stroke, none of the versions are more than a dollar, unless you want to get fancy with it with that serialized version.

Did we want it?

Soul-Guide Lantern is a popular pick for colorless graveyard hate. It's no Scavenger Grounds, but having a nuclear option for opponents' graveyards that can be cashed in for a card should the tide of the game shift is never a bad thing for one measley colorless mana, and Commander players seem to agree with my assessment, as Soul-Guide Lantern can be found in 45,000 decks across EDHREC, or roughly 2%. Not bad for a one-mana artifact not called Sol Ring. Of all commanders, the one that plays Soul-Guide Lantern the most is actually Umbris, Fear Manifest.

Sleight of Hand

Did we need it?

If you had asked me this in November of 2018, I would have told you we absolutely needed a version of Sleight of Hand that was available in foil and also not $100. However, in December of that year, Ultimate Masters happened, and we got an uncommon Sleight of Hand with a foil roughly 10% of what it would have cost you to buy the Seventh Edition foil, and now, with WOE, the sixth-best sorcery-speed one-mana cantrip has been downshifted to common. There is a pretty cool promo pack version now, though.

Did we want it?

Sixth-best, indeed. For the record, Ponder is in 233,000 decks, while Preordain is in 200,000. After those two, Serum Visions, Careful Study and Portent all feature in tens of thousands of decks. Sleight of Hand, however, is only played in 10,051 lists, or 1% of those that can play blue, but this reprint isn't about what we want or need in Commander. It's about Standard, and I think sometimes we Magic players need reminding that not everything is for everyone. Sometimes we see a reprint of Sleight of Hand, sometimes we have to sit through an entire spoiler season about Dr. Who.

Wilds of Eldraine Commander

Okay then, done with that. Let's move on to the Wilds of Eldraine Commander lists, where we see many more reprints, and some of actual consequence. To be exact, across the decklists we're getting 115 reprints to go along with the newly devised cards, and there are a few that move the needle in terms of playability and affordability. Not many, but a few. Compare what we've got here in WOC to even the most recent Commander decks release before it, Tales of Middle-earth Commander, with its reskins of bangers like Ancient Tomb and Cavern of Souls, and I don't blame you for being crestfallen, but fret not, as you'll see toward the end of this very article.

Hall of Heliod's Generosity

Did we need it?

Before now, Heliod's house appeared only in Modern Horizons (and the associated "Timeshift" retro-frame) and would run you $10 or so. With its inclusion in WOC, we'll see that price drop, and even more players will fall into the trap that blue artifact players have known to sidestep since the days of Mindslaver and Academy Ruins. Unless you're setting up a game-ruining loop like that, Academy Ruins and Hall of Heliod's Generosity often do more harm than good.

Did we want it?

Not that anyone's going to listen to me, of course. The House of Heliod is played in a hair's breadth under 100,000 decks on EDHREC, which is a lot for a white-aligned land that doesn't produce white mana. You can probably guess where you're likely to see it most frequently, and that's enchantress strategies led by the likes of Sythis, Harvest's Hand (6,665 decks), Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice (3,545 decks), and Tuvasa the Sunlit (2,809 decks), so while I personally might not have wanted to see a reprint of it, plenty of you did, so congrats.

Glen Elendra Archmage

Did we need it?

There was a time that this creature was one of the most played, and most annoying, cards out of blue decks in Commander. You just saw it all the time, sitting across from you at the table, taunting you with its, uh, carapace. We don't run across it as often these days, but every once and awhile someone will ruin your day with the Archmage (usually by using Birthing Pod to go find it). That's probably why even after not one but two Masters reprints, it's still flitting around eight dollars. Then there's the Secret Lair version and the 30th Anniversary Play Promo version, both of which are closer to $30. Thanks to the reprint in WOC, it's never been cheaper to get your mitts on a copy.

Did we want it?

Fairies have always had their fans, and that's certainly not going to change with WOC. Glen Elendra Archmage appears today in 33,000 decks, and it's likely that that number will rise precipitously in the coming weeks. It's also a Wizard, so it's got synergy coming and going. All that takes a backseat to the real villain, though, and that's Muldrotha, the Gravetide (4,612 decks), a deck that utilizes Glen Elendra Archmage in ways that make people quit and go play Lorcana instead. As much as it pains me to say, I think it's good to see more copies of GEA out there in the wild...s of Eldraine. Commander.

Umbra Mystic

Did we need it? 

I'm ashamed to admit that even though this card has existed since Rise of the Eldrazi in 2010 - that's 13 years ago, according to my math - I never noticed there's a frog among the menagerie of ghost critters in the art.

Look at that little guy, just doing the best he can:

Anyway, we definitely needed another copy of the totem-maker and friends. That original printing in ROE is the only one that ever existed, and sure, it's never been a massively expensive card or anything, but it did hit double digits in price a while back.

Did we want it?

The numbers might reflect the relative scarcity of the card and the fact that some players might not know a random white creature from over a decade ago even exists. It's only in 9,300 decks, which is still a respectable figure considering how niche the ability is. It sees the most play in Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice (go figure), but the classic usage is and always will be with Uril, the Miststalker.

Kindred Dominance

Did we need it?

Like a few of its cycle-mates, Kindred Dominance was at one point hard to find for a reasonable amount of money. Even today, if you want the original printing from Commander 2017, it'll cost you upward of $20. Thankfully, there are more options now than just that original printing from six years ago. Just a few weeks ago, Kindred Dominance was reprinted in Commander Masters in several variations (well, three versions, specifically), and none of those cost more than $10. This is an example of a perfect reprint, as there's no reason a seven-mana one-sided board wipe needs to be $20+; it was only so expensive because of its relative scarcity, and with its inclusion in WOC, it's even easier to get a copy. I'd still go with the Baxa full art, though.

Did we want it?

We definitely wanted more copies of Dominance than a few of the other members of the Kindred cycle. Since Commander 2017 introduced the cycle, Discovery, Summons, and, to a lesser extent, Dominance, have all seen plenty of play, while Boon and Charge are largely ignored. Those latter two, by the way, have yet to be reprinted (outside of one appearance by Boon on The List), and no one has really cared.

Discovery is far and away the most popular, appearing in 81,851 decks on EDHREC; no surprise there, as it's also clearly the best of the five. Summons shows up in 35,359 lists, mostly Dragons or Elves, and Dominance is in 31,385 decks. Is it better than something like Plague Wind or In Garruk's Wake? Is seven mana really that different than nine? And if you're curious, Charge shows up in 9,800 decks, while Boon's only in 5,800 decks.


Did we need it?

Take it from me, someone who bought a Retether in April for a Xenk, Paladin Unbroken deck: we needed a Retether reprint. I paid around eight dollars for my copy, which is a few dollars more than if I had waited until now. Should I have predicted that the preconstructed Commander decks from Wilds of Eldraine would have featured a reprint of a card that has only been seen once, in 2007's Planar Chaos? Yes, but I didn't, and that's why I'm not allowed on r/mtgfinance. Reprints in Commander decks are a great way to introduce older cards to newer players, and Retether is a perfect candidate for inclusion, so much so that it ought to have been obvious we'd see it return when the theme made sense, as it does now. At any rate, it's good to see it here.

Did we want it?

As I mentioned, this is Retether's first reprint since 2007, and it's got a pretty niche effect, so it's not surprising that it isn't played very frequently. When it works, it works, but often you're casting Retether to get back a Pacifism and maybe an All That Glitters. Not the worst, of course. According to EDHREC, Retether is in 9,428 decks, most commonly in (I'm sure you see the trend developing) Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice (2,994 decks) and Uril, the Miststalker (1,270 decks). It's also a common inclusion in Killian, Ink Duelist (1,057 decks).

Hullbreaker Horror

Did we need it?

Without looking, how expensive was Hullbreaker Horror at its height? For a glorious few days in 2021, the Kraken Horror reigned supreme, clocking in at nearly $18. It's never been close to that since, and today after reprints in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate and Innistrad: Double Feature, you can get your very own copy for a fiver, so I wouldn't necessarily say we needed another reprint in WOC, unless you relish in tanking its price even further as punishment for the audacity of trying to be a chase rare for a weekend.

Did we want it?

Despite its sharp rise and sharper fall financially, Hullbreaker Horror (or Hullbreakre Horror, as they say in jolly ol' England) has always been a popular card in Commander since it showed up way back in (checks notes) November of 2021. Seriously, the card hasn't even existed for two years yet, and it sees inclusion in 88,585 decks on EDHREC. People love enormous crustaceans that mess with opponents. Gone are the days blue players had to be content with a Venser, Shaper Savant, Morphling or Draining Whelk. Unsurprisingly, we see the Hullbreaker appear most often in decks that care about the word "Kraken" in some capacity, like Runo Stromkirk (4,001 decks), or decks that are going for maximum bridge-burning, like Urza, Lord High Artificer (3,957 decks) and Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy (3,868 decks).

Angelic Destiny

Did we need it?

Once upon a time, Core Sets were how we got reprints. Some of us are ancient enough to remember Chronicles, and today, in between joining AARP and yelling at neighborhood birds about white borders, we reminisce about how good today's Magic players have it. More recently, Core Sets were reworked to include new cards instead of only reprints, and things have never been the same. Instead of another reprint of Vizzerdrix or Maro, we got stuff like Inferno Titan and Angelic Destiny. The latter specifically was at one point one of the most expensive cards in Magic 2012, topping out at $12 or so. That was a long time ago, however, and things have changed. Now, it's only $4-ish, and the top card from that particular set is Sundial of the Infinite. If you could travel back in time to 2012 and tell people that the Sundial, a card no one wanted or understood, would be the most expensive card from the set, you'd be laughed at. Which is rude, you shouldn't laugh at people.

Did we want it?

It's an Aura that turns any old dork into an Angel, so it's going to be popular. People love Angels, to the tune of 11,000 decks using Angelic Destiny. It's not at its best in Angel decks, of course, but who cares. Just slap it onto a Geist of Saint Traft and pretend the last decade never happened.

Utopia Sprawl

Did we need it?

If Wilds of Eldraine Commander decks came out a few years ago instead of this month, this entire article would have a drastically different tone. The reprints present in these decks would have blown minds... in 2020. Instead, many of these cards are not the needed reprint, they're the next reprint. Utopia Sprawl's original printing, in Dissension, hit huge numbers for a common, clocking in at nearly $20 in 2021. Then it was included in Forgotten Realms Commander (AFC), and that $20 became $5. The AFC reprinting was the special one, so seeing it here in WOC isn't nearly as interesting, but still, it's a good card, and there's nothing wrong with getting more copies out there.

Did we want it?

There are 1.4 million decks on EDHREC that include green in some capacity, and 7% of those play Utopia Sprawl. It's a popular card, and not just in enchantress decks like Sythis, Harvest's Hand. It shows up in everything from Tatsunari, Toad Rider to Thrasta, Tempest's Roar. It's cheap color fixing, mana ramp, checks card type boxes, and it can't be targeted by a Lightning Bolt, unlike someone who is very similar. We may not have needed another reprint (especially two in the same release!), but we'll always want a Utopia Sprawl handy.

Wilds of Eldraine: Enchanting Tales

And here we are. Wilds of Eldraine: Enchanting Tales (WOT). Or, "why'd they anime up all my favorite Commander cards?"

I'm being flippant, but we can't pretend that very question hasn't been making the rounds among friends, playgroups, and Internet denizens in recent days. So what is Enchanting Tales? In short, it's Eldraine's version of Brothers' War Retro Artifacts or all the legendary creatures from March of Machine, only this time, you know, enchantments. Altogether there are 63 of them, with an added 20 featuring borderless anime art done by Japanese artists. Every pack of WOE, from draft to set to collector, has one of these bonus sheet cards. There are also "confetti foil" versions of the anime cards, which are ultra rare and are guaranteed to be extremely sought-after for some and completely reviled by others.

So what's included?

Greater Auramancy
Rhystic Study
Aggravated Assault
Doubling Season
Prismatic Omen
Impact Tremors
Rest in Peace
Parallel Lives

Dawn of Hope
Hardened Scales
Mana Flare
Intangible Virtue
Garruk's Uprising
Griffin Aerie
Grave Pact
Sneak Attack

Fiery Emancipation
Defense of the Heart
Spreading Seas
Copy Enchantment
Blood Moon
Polluted Bonds
Kindred Discovery
Leyline of Sanctity
Leyline of Abundance

Season of Growth
Karmic Justice
Dark Tutelage
As Foretold
Dragon Mantle
Hatching Plans
Blind Obedience
Leyline of Anticipation
Vampiric Rites

Waste Not
Forced Fruition
Fraying Sanity
Goblin Bombardment
Grasp of Fate
Ground Seal
Intruder Alarm
Knightly Valor
Land Tax
Leyline of the Void

Leyline of Lightning
Nature's Will
Oversold Cemetery
Phyrexian Unlife
Primal Vigor
Raid Bombardment
Sanguine Bond
Shared Animosity
Stab Wound

Unnatural Growth
Utopia Sprawl
Smothering Tithe

Some of those are probably jumping out at you. If we're going by straight monetary value, cards like Smothering Tithe, Rhystic Study, Doubling Season, Parallel Lives, and Omniscience are always going to be expensive no matter how many times they're reprinted in a booster pack set. These Enchanting Tales versions or the anime counterparts aren't really going to move the needle too much, and if you're lucky enough to open a confetti foil anime Smothering Tithe, congratulations, you just made $300.

Where I get a little grumpy, however, is in other cards on this list. The treatments (the frames, art and border) on these cards, anime or otherwise, are very distinct, and it's disappointing to see some cards sorely in need of reprints show up here. Repercussion has seen print only once, in a Secret Lair, sinceits debut in Urza's Destiny. That's a long time to wait for the chance to open such a cool card, only to get what we got here. Am I being a grumpy old man? Maybe.

The treatments of Enchanting Tales are not for everyone, and there's no way around that. However, the cards contained within should be for everyone. There are some absolute staples on that list, and there will be people out there who open the Necropotence they've always wanted, and it's this one. Some will be ecstatic, but for many more it'll be a bummer. Previous bonus sheet inclusions in sets didn't have such a stark difference in appearance for their cards. Retro artifacts were just that, complete with glorious brown borders, and the legendary creatures from Multiverse Legends sported a look distinct to their plane of origin. It made sense.

At the end of the day, the cards included here will likely be regarded as a giant Secret Lair in the sense that if you like it, I'm happy for you, and if you don't, it's very easy to ignore them. Just don't give anyone guff if they're bummed that the only black-border version of Mana Flare with new art in 30 years is in Enchanting Tales.