Hi everybody, and welcome back to Strictly Average MTG. Today I want to look at just a few cards from Throne of Eldraine that could make an impact in formats outside of Standard. This set is filled with references to many fairy tales, and in some ways feels similar to Innistrad (just not as dark).
Let’s take a look at what this set has to offer.
Hey look! Another Human. Oh joy. Sure Human cards are unavoidable when developing a Magic: the Gathering set (Lorwyn through Eventide say “hello”), but let’s not just look at Charming Prince as an obvious inclusion in Modern Humans? A 2/2 for two mana that gives you the choice of three relevant effects is quite strong. While many may think the best options are either “gain 3 life” or the last ability, those are not the best options.
Yes. Scry 2 is really the ability to focus on here.
When playing Death & Taxes, or really any non-control deck, one card type you may not want to see when you draw is a land. Getting flooded with extra land in mid-to late game can put you behind. Being able to scry away the next two unwanted cards to draw a useful creature will be welcomed by all non-Merfolk Aether Vial players.
While this may not be exciting having options in this color such as Opt are always good for blue based control decks. Keeping this in Standard also provides additional copies of this card making sure this is accessible to players. With Scry being an evergreen mechanic I wonder why we haven’t seen the return of Dissolve? Nonetheless Opt is a great card, and will continue to see play in Modern, and hopefully get more play in Standard.
To many who haven’t played Magic: the Gathering in a long time, seeing a card like this has to be strange. Adventure cards are a new card type that essentially is a spell attached to a creature. When you want to cast this card you can choose the Adventure section to cast, or you can just cast the creature. If you cast the Adventure portion you will then exile the card, and from that zone you can then cast the creature. This can only happen this way if you cast the Adventure portion first as it highlights the creature on the card going on an adventure.
With Murderous Rider, for example, you can cast the Swift End portion of this, and then the following turn (or the same turn if you have enough mana) cast the creature portion of the card from exile and have it ready to block. There are a few combinations with this card that should come to mind. First this, and really any good Adventure card, will be great with Teferi, Time Raveler. A constant string of removal is always a welcome sign to drain the opponent of their resources.
Another option for this card would be with Bloodbraid Elf. When you cast the Elf Berserker the cascade ability will trigger where you reveal cards off the top of your library stopping to reveal a non-land card with a converted mana cost of three or less. Due to both Swift End and Murderous Rider having a converted mana cost of three or less you could cast the Adventure part, and then later cast the creature from exile. It’s kind of like drawing an extra card. I’m sure I won’t be the only one trying this card in Jund.
Who wants to draw cards?
Who wants to draw cards at INSTANT SPEED? Wow! Thrill of Possibility feels like an obvious replacement for Faithless Looting. This card does fight for space with Cathartic Reunion, and Insolent Neonate in Modern Dredge, but could find a home there. While going a turn slower may not be ideal for Dredge players this could find a use somewhere in Modern. I could even see Jeskai players wanting to run this as it allows a discard of a land for two actual cards before taking their turn. With the last banned and restricted update there seems to be a focus towards card advantage (at least according to Wizards of the Coast). Perhaps we should be playing this card.
What hasn’t been said about this card? I’ve been playing Magic: the Gathering a long time. I’ve played overpowering decks in the past, and have played against them, and I can assure you all this card is pushing boundaries. Yes while it does require green mana later in the game here’s what I’ll be using it to do:
Go find a Tron land at the end of my opponent’s first turn when I am on the draw.
This card is not only absurd, but I think this will allow Wizards of the Coast to ban Ancient Stirrings as not only does this card do an impersonation of Stirrings, later in the game you can use it on the opponent’s end step in response to one of your Tron lands (for example Urza’s Mine) being destroyed. If you play a deck with Ancient Stirrings in Modern you will want to purchase this card as soon as possible.
If this was a blue card it would have been received with a demand of a banning from the community.
There’s a lot of text on Drown in the Loch, but let me provide the focus of this card: your opponent has to have a lot of cards in their graveyard. Even with the Modern metagame as it is now graveyard decks still appear, and many strategies have a way to deal with problematic cards that return from the graveyard. If you play Rest In Peace then this spell will not work. Even other graveyard specific cards such as Nihil Spellbomb, Tormod’s Crypt, and to a degree Surgical Extraction either lessen or negate the impact of this card.
This might be an ok option for those of you who play Mill in Modern.
Look! Another Modern playable reprint in Standard! Sorcerous Spyglass is a really good card that will even see play all the way to Vintage. While not a Pithing Needle this card allows you to name a card that maybe your opponent hasn’t cast yet. Heck you can even name Oko, Thief of Crowns and your spyglass will not get turned into an Elk. This card will see play in many Eldrazi midrange decks, and Prison style decks in Modern. A solid one of to grab with Karn, the Great Creator this card could even name lands.
I felt like the fall set was going to be focused on either mono-color or dual color strategies going into the falls. Each time that a Standard rotation has happened leaving the Ravnican based sets as the foundation for Standard this has happened. Time Spiral and Theros promoted mono-color strategies or supported a dual colored strategy. Throne of Eldraine is no different. When this happens we can sometimes find strong non-basic lands to use in those new decks, and we have quite a few here.
- Castle Ardenvale: Hey folks. It’s Kjeldoran Outpost! THE control finisher back near the beginnings of the Standard format being able to use wrath effects (Wrath of God, Supreme Verdict) to keep the board clear, and then make 1/1 tokens on your opponent’s end step was a big deal. You could even use this in a pinch to make a blocker. When thinking about this in Modern keep in mind these creatures can pick up a Sword of Feast and Famine, attack, and then untap your lands making the castle ready to produce another token.
- Fabled Passage: We were spoiled with the previous version of Standard. Having shocklands (Hallowed Fountain) and check lands (Drowned Catacomb) helped provide the best mana the format has seen in awhile. Now we’re getting a fetchland…in Standard? That’s exactly what Fabled Passage is: a fetchland. A better choice than Evolving Wilds due to the land coming in untapped later in the game this card could even see some play in Modern. Where I truly see applications for this is Commander. You can even pair this with Evolving Wilds, and Terramorphic Expanse in two color decks.
- Mystic Sanctuary: Now we get to what may well be the card that will have the most impact on the game through multiple formats. Yes. You heard that right. This card will see play in Modern. How? It’s an Island. You can find it with a Flooded Strand. This land, when it enters untapped, can put an instant or sorcery from your graveyard on top of your deck to draw on your next turn. Not only will we see this buying back Terminus, but you can even lock your opponent out by playing Cryptic Command repeatedly due to returning this land to your hand to then play again next turn. It’s a good thing this is common as it should be easy to find.
While this set is printed primarily for Standard play I’m sure these won’t be the only cards to make the cut to Modern. It’s nice to not only see reprints appear in these sets, but also new developments that may even find inclusion in Modern decks. Magic: the Gathering’s greatest appeal is it can reach a variety of those with an interest in playing the game, and developing cards for inclusion outside of Standard achieves that goal, and benefits everyone.
NEXT TIME I want to discuss the stories provided in Magic, and what true impact they have.
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Scott Campbell, better known as MTGPackFoils, has been playing Magic since he was 17 (which was in 1993). He’s known for loving decks such as Azorius Control, Jund, and others (especially in Modern). He is a husband, father, and a former nightclub DJ.