Hello Everyone! Magic Pro League (MPL) Player Marcio Carvalho here with some more Limited insights and my first impressions about the most recent set: Throne of Eldraine.
Today, we are going to start with the beginning of the Story (all puns intended) by analyzing first the Mechanics (Adamant, Food and Adventure) of the set, followed by all the possible color combinations we can draft.
Adamant rewards you for spending at least 3 mana of the same color on a card. If you do, you “Unlock” a certain bonus – or additional effect – on the card, incentivizing you to have decks that have a certain color constitute a major part of the deck.
To be honest, I’m not impressed by this ability. First, it is very hard in draft to have control over the number of playables you will get on each color if you are trying to have the best deck possible for your seat. Second, the additional effects that were chosen for the Adamant cards in Eldraine are not that much better than the original cards text.
With that in mind, I will mostly draft and evaluate Adamant cards as if they don’t have the bonus. If they are good enough on their own, I’ll be glad to have them on my deck.
As you might have noticed, Food is more of a Black and Green ability. Most cards that both produce and consume the Food tokens are tied to these colors, so keep that in mind when you are drafting. That said, Food Tokens are also Artifacts, and there are other synergies in the set with this kind of permanent:
Another important thing is that if you have some of the best Food payoffs in your deck, don’t go around eating your Food just because it seems like the most mana efficient thing to do. The payoffs are quite good and it’s very likely you want to save your Food tokens for them.
Adventure are not only one of the best mechanics ever printed “flavor” wise, but one of the best for Limited too. All I want in Limited is having options, and that’s exactly what you get with these cards: You can choose when to use the effects, but you can also decide to play the creatures if you think it’s best to have a board presence.
Be aware that “Gravedigger” and bounce effects are particular good with Adventure as you get to rebuy two cards instead of one.
Although most of the Adventure cards are pretty good value, it does not mean all of them are an auto include on your deck. In some cases, they are just too weak on both sides and you should not pick them high, as it is the case for cards like 《Beanstalk Giant》 and 《Reaper of Night》.
Now that we have studied the 3 mechanics of the set, let’s dive into some of the Archetypes/Strategies available to us.
Archetypes / Strategies
UR DRAW YOUR SECOND CARD FOR THE TURN
I got the chance to play with this archetype on my early access event on MTG Arena, and let me say it was busted! Of course, it was a Sealed deck, but it was great to be able to see its power in actual games. There is a lot of support for it, both in enablers and payoffs, so I assume this will be one of the favorite color combinations. It remains to be seen how many drafters the archetype can support, so I’m going to keep an eye on how people will behave when we get to actually draft the set.
One thing to notice is that most of the payoffs for this strategy are on creatures and you can trigger them at instant speed very easily with 《Opt》, 《Thrill of Possibility》 or 《Merchant of the Vale》. This fact makes those creatures very hard to block and you can save your draw spells for the turn where your opponent actually blocks your creature.
Here is my Sealed deck from the event:
-Land (17)- 2 《Bloodhaze Wolverine》
1 《Faerie Vandal》
1 《Hypnotic Sprite》
1 《Robber of the Rich》
1 《Tome Raider》
1 《Clockwork Servant》
1 《Gadwick, the Wizened》
1 《Bonecrusher Giant》
1 《Mad Ratter》
1 《Mistford River Turtle》
1 《Loch Dragon》
2 《Steelgaze Griffin》
1 《Syr Carah, the Bold》
1 《Thrill of Possibility》
1 《Didn’t Say Please》
2 《Searing Barrage》
2 《Witching Well》
1 《Scalding Cauldron》
The Knights archetype can be found in the Mardu color combination. This does not mean that the other colors do not have Knights, is just that most of the cards that work towards the Knights synergy are in one of the 3 colors.
Although Wizards of the Coast decided to print a “Knight’s land” in 《Tournament Grounds》, I would advise against drafting a 3 colors deck. One of the reasons is Adamant as we saw earlier. The other is that the Knight strategy seems like a fairly aggressive deck that want to play its cards on curve to snowball your opponent quickly. If you decide to use all 3 colors you’ll probably not be able to do that, unless you somehow manage to pick up several of this uncommon tribal land.
One card that caught my attention is 《Smitten Swordmaster》. Even if this kind of card is normally very unimpressive, in a full Knights deck it can be a real finisher. Especially because you can play it early and trade if needed, only to get it back from the graveyard to your hand with cards like 《Order of Midnight》, 《Forever Young》 or 《Barrow Witches》.
My initial impression is that if you want to be on Knights you want to lean towards black more than the 2 other colors, as it has the best staying power. RW might be more explosive, but it will probably struggle a little bit more on the late game.
GREEN BLACK FOOD VALUE
Green black as usual is going to be the grindy deck of the set. Most of the cards in this color combination give you value in some form, being by creating Food, consuming them or by rebuying cards from the graveyard as the archetype usually does. On top of that, you have a lot of solid creatures and the best removal spells in the format. What is not to like? Let’s not even talk about what is likely the most powerful card in the set: 《Garruk, Cursed Huntsman》!
From what I’ve seen so far, these colors are the deepest ones in Eldraine, with a lot of playables. I expect this deck to be very popular, so make sure to pick the most powerful cards early, even if they are multi-colored.
GREEN WHITE ADVENTURE
This archetype still remains a mystery to me. Although playing a deck full of Adventure seems just your normal midrange plan, all three uncommons can get out of control really fast. If you can grab them and most of your deck (I would say around 10-12 is the minimal) is Adventure, you are probably going to be really happy with the results… but if you don’t get enough, well, your deck will be below average. As we said earlier, not all Adventure are playable though, meaning that the fail rate of this deck is quite high. I’ll experiment with it on the weeks to come and we’ll see what is the final word here.
BLUE WHITE / RED GREEN / GREEN BLUE
I decided to put this 3 color combinations together because they do not seem to have a solid plan like the others do.
Blue White is supposed to be about Artifacts and Enchantments, but it does not seem that there are enough of them to make it worth focusing on this color combinations, not to mention how fragile they are. You are probably going to end up with a normal UW Flyers deck, using the Enchantments as removals spells and the Artifacts to generate some value.
Green Red is about not having Humans in your deck, but it is not like I’m not going to draft them just to stay on theme. I’m not convinced on this color combination, and might be getting my worst rating depending on how I’ll end up evaluating Blue Black (more on it later).
Blue Green have very powerful gold cards… but it does not seem to have a plan on its own. You’ll probably draft your classic midrange deck with a few flyers on blue and some bombs.
BLUE BLACK (CONTROL / MILL)
The last archetype I decided to talk about is Blue Black, because it does not seem to be in a great position. Here is why:
First, none of the gold cards seem to point us toward any clear direction, except for a minor Mill Subtheme. I say minor because there aren’t many cards that direct mill your opponent or offer a repetitive engine to make it a trustworthy plan in common or uncommon.
Second, with so many archetypes generating value with Food, Adventure and synergy, it seems hard for a control deck to actually be effective. There is probably still a hidden way to draft the archetype and have success with it, and time will tell us if that’s the case.
That’s going to be all for today. I hope you enjoyed my analyses and that you’ll have a lot of success on your upcoming tournaments! I’ll be back soon to talk more Limited!