It’s time to start moving from theorycrafting to tablecrafting, which means that pointing out some of the best cards in the new Eldraine set is what we’re here to do. While we put a big emphasis on Commander here at Goonhammer, some of these cards have more legs in other formats than those, and since Eldraine is a less limited set than the last Lord of the Rings cards were, you’ll have more eyes and more competition on getting hold of these cards for your decks and collections.
These cards might be worth picking up if they fit what you need, but are probably not likely to set the world of Eldraine (or Magic) on fire. You can likely grab them pretty easily, while some of these cards are poised to go up in value, and are already doing so, so you may want to prioritize them over these.
Marcy: For 3 mana to draw a card and give someone mana, there are… a few ways I am not very over on this card. I think some of the way it taxes your opponents can be interesting, especially in a game of Commander with multiple players, but I feel like I don’t think this card has legs in other formats, at all.
FromTheShire: It’s theoretically useful in white shells for the Treasure generation at least, and if you feel like group hugging or really really need a card the activated ability is useable. It’s not terribly uncommon for someone to be a mana short of being able to help the table out either, and this is a very unique effect – the only other one that immediately springs to mind is Spectral Searchlight. It’s good to add to the list of catchup cards for White.
Virtue of Courage
Marcy: While I think the enchantment side of this is expensive in red for many formats, I do think it might have some places, even if just used for the instant. Standard is about to lose Play with Fire, which means that there is going to be a decent gap in direct burn. Even at just 2 mana, direct burn is direct burn, and since this can hit any target, it can also get rid of a Planeswalker in a pinch. There’s also the enchantment side of the coin. While red likes to play fast and win fast, if Standard as a format slows down, casting this enchantment might be a possibility to help “exile” into a win condition, as running out of steam is Red’s current biggest problem.
FromTheShire: Extremely dangerous enchantment with the upside of tacking on a Shock. Burn / direct damage hasn’t historically been a real archetype in Commander due to scaling poorly against multiple opponents, but in the past few years we have been seeing Wizards continuing to seed cards to make decks like Firesong and Sunspeaker a thing. One of the biggest drawbacks Boros has had is not being able to draw cards very well, and now we are getting an increasing number of great impulse draw effects like this for Red, which is excellent. If you can keep yourself supplied with mana with things like Storm-Kiln Artist and Runaway Steam-Kin, Virtue can absolutely let you storm off and win.
Marcy: This one’s gotten a bump in the market due to its likely place in formats like Pioneer, and I think it could make some waves elsewhere too. It’s sort of a Goyf, but not really, and I expect to see things that might manage to make use of this card effectively. It doesn’t do anything to get around chump blockers on its own, but then again, neither does Tarmogoyf, so.
FromTheShire: Simply getting big doesn’t generally get there in Commander, but other formats yeah this shows some real potential.
Marcy: I think this is a really good card, but I do also think it has a few weird drawbacks, mostly in the typing of the card. It doesn’t work in a Humans deck, for example, and also lacks Werewolf as a type (because it’s a Fox), but it does come with Flash and you can target *any* character with it. The fact that you can also sacrifice it for lifegain gives you some fun little interactions it can pull off.
FromTheShire: Banisher Priest and its ilk have certainly seen play over the years and I would at least expect this to see a good chunk of Standard play. In older formats, is the flash good enough to make up for the fact Skyclave Apparition exists? Possibly, but it comes down to the deck. I suspect the fact Apparition permanently deals with the threat means it’s still the more valuable of the two though.
Marcy: Sometimes a card is just good. 2 mana and 1 life gets you a card, 2 mana gets you a 3/2 body, and when he dies, you can cast him for the adventure side of the card on that turn if you have the mana to do so. Since it lasts until the end of your next turn, you even have a little extra time to do so if you don’t have the mana at the moment. I think Mosswood may not set the world on fire, but he’s just a really solid card in a lot of formats, and I think has some power in limited for sure.
FromTheShire: Not a bad source of recursive card draw if you have a sacrifice engine set up.
Marcy: A pretty solid card that can play into a few interesting color combinations, not just R/G, although I think this card does absolutely fine just in those colors! The instant that lets you exile 2 cards is a faster version of Wrenn’s Resolve or similar, just with a shorter timeframe (with the upside that you can cast it on an opponent’s turn). The body portion of the card is a 1/1 that grows whenever you cast a non-green and non-colorless spell, so there’s certainly some value there in trying to stack your deck and start growing an evolving threat.
Ten Cards You Want from Wilds of Eldraine:
Will, Scion of Peace
Marcy: In our multicolor review, Will was the only twin I had some hope for. Because his trigger is about gaining life and his body is actually decently sturdy, there are some ways in which Will could work well in some decks. I would expect to see lifegain decks perhaps insert him into their shells, and I think in Esper that isn’t going full control, or Humans, Will might be viable. (I still want to see someone do some bonkers Entreat the Angels play with him).
FromTheShire: Cost reductions are always powerful, and giving it to all of your spells for the turn is excellent. Pair this with cards like Ajani’s Mantra, Soul Sisters, and lifelinking creatures and you’ll be dropping huge haymakers in short order.
Kellan, the Fae Blooded // Birthright Boon
Marcy: Kellan is a pretty solid card, one that’s being talked about for quite a few formats. I think Commander is a great place for him, but don’t be surprised if you see Kellan getting attempted in formats such as Standard (at first, anyway–Boros enchant / equip decks have been trying for a while to succeed), I actually wonder how Kellan can work in decks that like to play Open the Armory.
FromTheShire: Really, really nice piece for Boros Voltron decks. There are only a few tutors in the colors to fins the pieces you want so getting another one is fantastic, especially if it’s repeatable because it’s in your Command Zone. Then the actual creature has double strike, which is amazing for decks focused on dealing combat damage. Finally, while ideally you aren’t going particularly wide in a Voltron deck, you will still typically have a decent number of backup threats and utility creatures, and passing out a bug buff to the whole team is great. These kinds of decks get hate sometimes because of how similar they all operate regardless of the commander, but they’re still an absolute joy to play.
Heartflame Duelist // Heartflame Slash
Marcy: Again, Boros aggro is something that has been trying to take off in a few formats and I don’t know how good it might be, but there’s something really interesting about a 3 mana bolt that, while expensive, comes with the bonus of a 2 mana body 3/1 that gives you some interesting lifelink bonuses. Red aggro that can splash the duals for it might find this as a unique and neat way to perhaps win mirrors or survive.
FromTheShire: I’m kind of torn on this one, although it is interesting. The bolt is really expensive, and while it’s nice to get another source of giving spells lifelink, I’m not sure that’s the part you care most about with decks like Firesong. In other formats I just don’t think it gets there as a sideboard card, outside of maybe Standard? Like in Modern, this isn’t better than Dragon’s Claw for the mirror since it’s an easily killable creature.
Talion, the Kindly Lord
Marcy: We talked about this in our Multicolor card review, but I think there’s some ways where Talion will certainly want to go into a Dimir Faerie deck for sure, even if not as the commander. It is likely too slow for certain formats, but I would be curious to see how some Dimir shells in Standard may use the card, if at all, to shut down removal and lock up the board slightly by giving you advantages. In Commander, I think Talion is a great card no matter where you put them.
FromTheShire: If this comes down early and you pick 2 or 3 so you’re triggering off of everyone’s ramp spells and utility creatures it’s really solid.
Stroke of Midnight
Marcy: Stroke of Midnight is costly at 3 mana but it is also a 3 mana instant speed permanent removal spell in white, and with rotations slowly encroaching upon us, White is about to lose it’s best instant speed removal card in Fateful Absence, and honestly a 1/1 Human token is a far better trade than giving your opponent a possible card draw Clue token that gets them out of a bind. Also, at uncommon, it’s likely to be far less hard to craft on formats like Arena.
FromTheShire: Generous Gift already sees a ton of play and this is better in every case other than needing to hit a land, which is fairly rare. Run both, honestly.
Beseech the Mirror
Marcy: I feel like you can just look at the price of this card and figure it out, but this is a good card in many formats. Paying 4 mana and sacrificing something to potentially just win the game with the right 4 mana or less card from your deck (and there are a lot of cards that can do that) is an amazing bargain, and you can run 4 of them, meaning that the combo piece you needed? Well, fear bad draws no longer, as you’ll get 4 extra chances to grab the card of your dreams with this one; in a format with 100 singleton cards, this is a great fetch to an answer, and in other formats, well, imagine just snagging that Time Vault you wanted. To sum up: Tutors are good cards, and you want them.
FromTheShire: Do you want a one card Legacy combo? Because this is it. That’s the power level we’re talking here. This is going to be a staple in every format it’s legal in forever, both because it’s fun and because being able to deck check if your opponent has an answer in hand or just loses on the spot is wildly good.
Marcy: Wilds of Eldraine seems quite interested in putting a lot of enchantments into play, and this card stands at the precipice of allowing for some enchantment Aristocrats nonsense (such as with Eriette). The benefit of this card is that you can have 4 of them in a deck, and they’re cheap with a decent body at 2/2, and in Commander, a 1 of in a Black W/B deck running a lot of enchantments can make things scary if your stuff starts leaving the board.
FromTheShire: Drain effects are always great, it’s cheap, and it expands the kinds of things black can sacrifice for value. Love it.
Marcy: While I think this card is probably best played in a format like Commander, there is some ways in which this might help Blue Tempo decks, such as the one in Standard, even if it is cast for a low cost (and not counting the discount that Haughty Djinn will lend to it). Not only does it remove threats for the moment, it taxes the owner when the creature returns by drawing you a card (assuming you are not the owner, in which case, hey, free card).
FromTheShire: Interesting pseudo board wipe, pseudo draw engine for an enchantment deck. For me it just doesn’t quite get there in Commander – it’s relatively mana intensive, the creatures can be recast, and it only triggers the draw once per turn. If I feel the need to deal with a creature, I want it dead and gone, especially with how many things have powerful ETB’s. Draw wise I’d rather just have a Rhystic Study. I could see it as a meta choice, like if your pod has a lot of problematic indestructible things, or if someone routinely plays a Prosper deck, or anything that cascades a bunch.
Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender
Marcy: Yes, it is indeed the cookie from the Eldraine trailer that took Garruk’s eye, and Syr Ginger is back to potentially shake up some formats. There’s a home for this card in places like Ravager and Affinity and could make for a fun colorless aggro commander (that probably also relies on Affinity and easy sac outlets). The fact that Syr Ginger’s protections proc off of a Planeswalker being on the field may make it seem harder to use in Commander, but let’s be real: there are a LOT of Planeswalkers around in a lot of formats now, so turning this card on is easier than it probably seems.
FromTheShire: Obviously better on non-Commander formats, though you will still run in to the occasional walker. When you get those first abilities it really ramps this up to 11 though. Especially impressive that it gets hexproof, as Wizards has largely moved away from that these days. Combined with Food, Clues, Treasures, or even just general artifact recursion lists, this both gets huge and lets you see a big chunk of your deck rapidly.
Marcy: I will be honest, this card was one that I had to read a few times to actually figure out what it did and why it was good. Perhaps it was just because of when I first read the spoiler, but I was like, ‘does this card suck’? And no, it’s actually a solid mana rock, and the ability it has can be really interesting to see get action in decks that utilize legendary creatures, because it can then turn some other thing you have into a stronger, although ability-less, creature for a turn.
FromTheShire: For the most part, it doesn’t even matter what the additional ability is – it’s a 2 mana rock that comes in untapped, it’s an immediate slam in any deck. In fact in most decks, I don’t think you ever want to turn it into the equipment since it loses the mana ability and just getting +3/+3 is going to be kind of eh most of the time unless you’re a Voltron deck. Auto include in those decks though.