/ Articles / Throne of Eldraine Limited Analysis

Throne of Eldraine Limited Analysis

Limited Youtube 
By: cncpowerhour - 28 Sep 2019

A new set is coming out soon, and that means a new and wildly different Limited environment! To help you navigate it, Lu and Chris from the C&C Power Hour are back to talk about how Eldraine’s cards work with each other, some of the interesting math behind the set, and our perspective on the set overall.

MECHANICS AND NUMBERS

Eldraine is a very, very complicated set. In fact, there is only one vanilla creature in the set: Knight of the Keepimage. Everything else has an activated ability, an enters-the-battlefield trigger, or an Adventure attached to it.

On top of the new mechanics that are introduced, there are many uneven power/toughness values, favoring toughness, so the ground will gum up pretty quickly. Because of this, we place an emphasis on the importance of combat tricks and equipment to consistently get your creatures through combat. At common and uncommon, there are almost as many creatures with greater toughness than power as there are equal p/t values (37 vs 41) and 28 creatures with higher power than toughness. That generally holds true at rare and mythic, but the number of balanced p/t creatures goes up. 3 toughness is a huge breakpoint in this set. Out of the 142 creatures in Eldraine, 106 of them have 3 toughness, and 115 have less than 4 power. That means that anything you have with 4 or more toughness is going to reliably block for most of the game (meaning Crashing Drawbridgeimage is going to be a real boon for defensive decks, and really, really annoying for aggro players).

The common equipment cycle in this set will usually help your creatures get through this toughness hurdle, but some equipment can enable useful synergies as well.

Another layer of complication are the mechanics that Eldraine introduces. Adventure, which allows you to cast a creature spell or send it on an Adventure then cast the creature later, are pretty straightforwardly awesome: they give you the ability to cast a spell and a creature while only taking up a single card slot in your deck, which is a ton of value. Food tokens can make combat math a bit strange if your opponent has the 2 mana available to gain 3 life, and anything that eats those tokens for value can run away with the game if you let it. But when it comes to deck construction, Adamant can cause you to misevaluate your land base or the Adamant spells you’re planning to cast.

Adamant is an ability that triggers if you spend three of a certain color of mana to cast a spell. The thing about Adamant spells is that they’re already fairly costed for what they do, but if you can sink the right mana into them, you get a pretty good bonus. If you can’t, though, you’re still getting a fair amount of value from the initial cast. But Adamant acts as a deckbuilding hint in Eldraine: Eldraine wants you to commit to a certain color more than another when you build your deck. Your limited deck is likely going to be two colors, whether you’re playing draft or sealed, but you are less likely to trigger Adamant on or near curve if your land base is evenly split.

To consistently cast any of the 3-drop Adamant spells on curve, you would need 16 lands of that spell’s color in your deck. With there being no duals in Eldraine (there is one tri-land at uncommon for casting Knights), that is practically your entire mana base. It’s an unreasonable assumption, since you won’t always have an Adamant spell by turn 3 or the spell may cost 5 mana, so to have greater than a 50% chance to trigger Adamant on curve, your deck needs to have 11 sources of your Adamant color. As the cost of the Adamant spell goes up, this number goes down; if you are only adamant about casting Garenbrig Paladinimage, for example, then the number goes down to 8 sources, which is closer to a limited deck from previous formats. Since most of the Adamant spells have a CMC of 4 or greater, we recommend having 10-12 sources of your primarily Adamant color in your deck if you want to reliably trigger Adamant. Otherwise, treat it as a nice occasional bonus. Here is a list of all the Adamant spells in Eldraine for you to check out.

INTERACTION

When we did our M20 review, we only looked at common removal. However, because there are so many creatures that you will need to deal with, we wanted to evaluate the uncommon, rare, and mythic removal as well. Additionally, because there are many creatures with higher toughness than power, combat tricks  will play the part of removal spells in your deck more often than not, so we will be covering those this time around. As these are discussed, please keep in mind that you will likely see ~2 copies of a common in any given draft, and ~0.5 in any sealed pool. For uncommon spells, the ratio is ~0.9 in a draft and ~0.23 in a sealed pool. So don’t expect to see these everywhere, but if you have them, appreciate their value.

WHITE INTERACTION

White is tied with blue for the least removal spells in the set at common and uncommon, though it has more tricks than the others to make up for it, as you have Outflankimage at instant speed, which gets better with more creatures. Note that it checks upon resolution, so if your opponent has instant-speed removal for one of your creatures, it may not do enough. Also at common, we have Trapped in the Towerimage, which hits all but 27 creatures in Eldraine (29, depending on if the conditions are met for Flutterfoximage or Reaper of Nightimage), and if your opponent is in white, they could have a Faerie Guidemotherimage to get their creature out of the tower. At uncommon, we have Glass Casketimage, which hits 87 creatures. Also, White has True Love’s Kiss, which seems situational but will likely come in handy for one of the 60 artifacts or enchantments in the set.

For white’s tricks, if you have a knight, you can flash in Shining Armorimage to save it in combat or from a damage-based removal spell. You also have access to On Alertimage to untap a creature and pump it, or if you really want to make sure your blocker survives, you can hit it with Righteousnessimage. Finally, Dizzying Swoopimage can fog your opponent for a turn or get your creatures in.

At rare, you might run into Chop Downimage, which can really ruin your game plan, as the Giant Killerimage can keep whichever threat that doesn’t get chopped down. White also has the mythic Cast Offimage, which can destroy all non-Giants and Realm Giant comes down as a 7/7 Vigilance within a turn or two.

BLUE INTERACTION

Blue has the least removal spells overall, but it makes up for it with its ability to counter other spells. Charmed Sleepimage will efficiently deal with a threat but note that there are a few activated abilities in the set that don’t require tapping to activate. Frogifyimage and So Tinyimage will make creatures more manageable, though the former is only at sorcery speed. Turn into a Pumpkinimage will let you bounce a creature (even your own), draw a card, and cook a Food if you spend UUU on it, Usher to Safetyimage can save your own creature, Moonlit Scavengersimage can bounce an opponent’s creature, and Run Away Togetherimage will do both. Rare and Mythic also give you access to Stolen by the Faeimage, which creates 1/1 Flying Faerie tokens equal to the CMC of what you bounce, and Petty Theftimage can bounce something and the Brazen Borrowerimage half can present a fast clock in the air.

To make up for its lack of removal, the set’s counters are all at common and uncommon. First, you have the usual Cancel variant in Didn’t Say Please, which also mills your opponent for 3 cards. That may not seem like a lot, but you basically just put 4 cards into your opponent’s graveyard, which matters for a few key cards in the U/B archetype and is also 10% of their deck. Next is Mesmeric Glareimage, which can counter over 60% of the spells in the set, including all but 5 Adventure spells, which keeps your opponent from casting the attached creature. There’s also Mystical Disputeimage, which is okay in most matchups but ends up being a big tempo swing if your opponent is also in blue.

BLACK INTERACTION

Black has some of the strongest removal, though not as many as red. Most importantly is Bake into a Pieimage - our murder variant that also cooks up a Food token. Festive Funeralimage gets better the longer the game goes on. Reave Soulimage hits over 100 creatures. Epic Downfallimage will be great to deal with your opponent’s bombs, as it exiles over 50 creatures in the set. Bog Naughtyimage is an interesting card. It turns your Food into removal spells for over 100 creatures in the set, and is even more powerful if you activate it after combat damage. Witch’s Vengeance at rare can wipe out a tribe, and Swift Endimage is unconditional removal spell; while Murderous Riderimage is theoretically able to be recurred in limited, there are only 3 shuffle effects, all of which are rare, so you are only ever likely to get hit by it once.

Black’s only trick is Lash of Thornsimage, which can pump one of your creatures and give it Deathtouch. Your creature might survive combat, but your opponent’s definitely won’t.

RED INTERACTION

Red’s removal spells are easily the most impressive in the set. Flingimage is back on the menu, so you can sacrifice a creature at instant speed to remove an opponent’s creature (or an opponent) from the battlefield (If you manage to combo this with Outflankimage, please let us know! We want to live vicariously through your victory!).

Scorching Dragonfireimage hits 100 creatures and exiles them, which could be important if your opponent is in black. Searing Barrage hits over 130 creatures and bolts your opponent if you have Adamant; it’s also splash-able on its own with only one red mana pip. Redcap Meleeimage is an interesting card, as it might force you to sacrifice a land if you target a non-red creature, but hits 120 creatures, 27 of which are red. Slaying Fireimage is pretty versatile, as you can use it early or save it to Adamant a 4-power creature away. Battle Displayimage isn’t very likely to act as a removal spell, but it can kill 17 creatures in the set, and will be useful to get rid of your opponent’s equipment.

Blow Your House Downimage is really a trick that could work as a removal spell, since there are 3 Walls, all of which are at common. Regardless, it will likely win you some games by letting you get through a stalled board. Similarly, Barge Inimage might help your creatures trample over your opponent’s blockers if you have enough non-Humans, and Boulder Rushimage is an okay pump spell. Joustimage can act as a fight spell, but you get extra value if you target a knight.

Red has some interesting interaction at rare. Stompimage can occasionally burn your opponent for 2 and remove a creature. Irencrag Pyromancerimage can block well and, hopefully, bolt your opponent every time you draw a card. Finally,Sundering Strokeimage can end games on its own (especially if you cast it with 7 red mana).

GREEN INTERACTION

Surprisingly, there isn’t a Plummet in the set, but there is Fell the Pheasantimage, which happens to hit every flyer. This is good, because there are only 2 creatures in the set below rare with Reach.  Outmuscleimage is great, especially if you can cast it with Adamant, as you’re able to freely attack in with your creature after you remove your opponent’s. Return to Natureimage is going to be important, as there are 60 artifacts and enchantments running around, as well as ways in blue and black to recur things from graveyards. Similarly, Flaxen Intruderimage can destroy an artifact or enchantment.

Kenrith’s Transformation is an interesting card. A 3/3 is kind of tough to deal with, though it can get rid of a dangerous activated ability. You can also put it on one of your own creatures, if it was an early drop. Plus, it draws you a card.

Green has two pump spells: Shield’s Might and Insatiable Appetiteimage, the latter of which could close out a game if you have a spare Food lying around.

Finally, at rare, Wicked Wolfimage is able to fight a creature, grow itself, and make itself indestructible if you feed it well.

COLORLESS/MULTICOLOR INTERACTION

Spinning Wheelimage can ramp you or tap down a creature late game, and Scalding Cauldronimage serves the same role that Vial of Dragonfireimage did in M20 as a decent removal spell you can pay for over time. U/B has Drown in the Lochimage, which serves as either a counter or a removal spell and gets better as the game goes on.

At the higher rarities, there is Doom Foretoldimage, which should work well if you are able to keep your opponent off balance. Otherwise, you will just eventually sacrifice your own Doom Foretold to itself and not get much value from it, though depending on the game state, it might make sense just to force your opponent to sac some things.

Mythic brings us the Planeswalkers. Garruk, Cursed Huntsmanimage can destroy a creature while drawing himself a card. Oko, Thief of Crownsimage can either swap one of your food tokens for an opponent’s creature or turn an artifact or creature into a 3/3 Elk (which, as discussed earlier, can be either a removal spell for an opponent’s creature or an upgrade for your own). Finally, The Royal Scionsimage can pump a creature and give it First Strike and Trample, and their ultimate can hit something for at least 4.

LIMITED ARCHETYPES

Before we move on to each of the Limited archetypes, we are going to take a second look at the mechanics in the set. All the mechanics exist in all colors, which means that even if you don’t have all the right cards for the B/G food deck, you can generate food in other colors to supplement the Green Food value engines you have. The same is true for Adventures, drawing multiple cards, or the Knights-creature type, whose cards are usually powerful enough that you’ll want to run them if they’re in your colors anyway. This reinforces the “primary color/secondary color” design in Eldraine we talked about in the Adamant section, and the artifacts in the set give that an additional level of flexibility. That said, there are still two-color pairings that will drive synergistic strategies, but this flexibility will let you build a deck that has at least some sort of synergy regardless of what two colors you are playing. Focus on building around strong removal and strong creatures first, and then look at what synergies you can enable based on the below pairings. Also keep in mind the creatures that we call out in each pairing are likely going to be big removal targets (for your opponent if you have them, and for you if your opponent has them).

KNIGHTS

Okay, before we actually get into the two-color pairings, we need to talk about Knights. Knights Matter is a theme that exists in Mardu (RWB), and is supported as a 3-color tribe thanks to Tournament Groundsimage. There are 28 knights in these colors alone, and the strategy is to aggressively go wide with efficient creatures and the bevy of splashable removal those 3 colors get you. You’ll also want some to focus on splashable creatures (by splashable, we mean anything that has one color pip instead of two or more; this makes it more easily castable with a riskier manabase). Belle of the Brawlimage can pump all of your knights, Altered Fate is fantastic for recursion as well as Order of Midnightimage being a great early game play. Youthful Knightimage is one of the only cards with First Strike, and it lets him kill over 60 creatures. Lost Legionimage isn’t splashable but blocks well and the Scry 2 is useful. Ogre Errantimage gives another creature Menace, and Jousting Dummyimage is easy to cast, though inefficient to activate.

However, if you cannot find a Tournament Groundsimage, there are some uncommon signposts to guide you into different strategies that might make your deck more focused.

W/B KNIGHTS

Wintermoor Commanderimage and Resolute Riderimage create environments that focus on attrition. You can easily protect your knights while efficiently removing your opponent’s creatures. Curry Favorimage is good for getting in some extra points of damage if the board stalls, Barrow Witchesimage can bring back a creature, and Syr Konrad, the Grimimage is extremely useful for capitalizing on your creature’s deaths. Bonus points if you can burn your opponent out with Forever Youngimage.

R/W KNIGHTS

Inspiring Veteranimage and Fireborn Knightimage want you to go wide. You will have a lot of cheap knights in here that can deal some extra damage through Haste (Burning-Yard Trainerimage), Menace (Ogre Errantimage), Double Strike (Raging Redcapimage), or getting a few activations off of a Weaselback Redcapimage. Dizzying Swoopimage is going to be great to make sure your creatures get in and Ardenvale Tacticianimage can cause some damage in the air. Keep an eye out for Gleaming Armor to give your creatures Vigilance, Crystal Slipperimage to give a creature Haste, or Silverflame Ritualimage to put your creatures out of your opponent’s reach.

B/R KNIGHTS

Steelclaw Lanceimage and Elite Headhunterimage make sure your creatures can deal damage. Headhunter synergizes with artifacts and Food tokens as well. Use your removal and the previously mentioned useful knights in both colors and you’ll likely end games quickly.

W/U ENCHANTMENTS AND ARTIFACTS

Shinechaserimage and Arcanist’s Owl make it glaringly obvious that you will want to prioritize artifacts and enchantments for this build. While there are some fun creatures for this (like Queen of Iceimage), you will mostly want to focus on flyers. Mysterious Pathlighterimage, Animating Faerieimage, Faerie Guidemotherimage, and our friend the Ardenvale Tacticianimage is extremely useful. Flutterfoximage, Shambling Suitimage, and All That Glittersimage care about artifacts and enchantments (which, if you noticed earlier, are primarily how white and blue get their removal in this set). Crashing Drawbridgeimage can defend you on the ground and give your flyers Haste, and Fortifying Provisionsimage immediately enables both modes of Shinechaser and makes combat math awful for your opponent.

U/B MILL

Drown in the Lochimage can act as a fantastic removal spell, while Covetous Urgeimage can steal your opponent’s best card. Venture Deeperimage mills your opponent and Merfolk Secretkeeperimage puts a really big butt on the ground, Overwhelmed Apprenticeimage is the best Fugitive Wizard ever printed, Reaper of the Night is almost always a flyer, as your opponent isn’t likely to have two cards in hand at the end of the game. This is where you want your removal spells and counters to fuel Drown in the Lochimage, as well as Syr Konrad, the Grimimage for his activated milling ability.

R/G NON-HUMANS

Grumgully, the Generousimage makes your non-humans bigger, and thus tougher to deal with, and Rampart Smasherimage is likely a free 5 damage against certain decks. At common and uncommon, there are 23 non-human creatures, some of which are knights that we mentioned earlier, but others care about non-creatures too. Redcap Raidersimage and Wildwood Trackerimage pump themselves, Keeper of Fablesimage will draw cards, and Fierce Witchstalkerimage is probably the best green common in the set. Barge Inimage is built for this deck, Ferocity of the Wildsimage can pump your creatures, and Rosethorn Halberdimage is a free equip if you sequence things right.

G/W ADVENTURES

Wandermareimage wants you to fill your deck with Adventures. Oakhame Rangerimage is an Adventure itself and can also pump your team. Mysterious Pathlighterimage will grow those creatures, Edgewall Inkeeper will draw you cards, Garenbrig Squireimage will get swole for a turn; note that you don’t have to cast the Adventure first for these cards and Wandermareimage to trigger, so you can still play your creatures on curve. Beanstalk Giantimage feeds itself, or you can use Tall as a Beanstalkimage to make one of your creatures (ideally a flyer) really big, and if you’re really fortunate, Lucky Cloverimage will copy your Adventure spells.

U/R DRAW

This is the archetype that Chris and Lu are both most excited about. Improbable Allianceimage rewards you with tokens for drawing cards (and gives you the ability to draw them), and Loch Dragonimage is a great enabler for this strategy. Faerie Vandall permanently buffs itself, while Steelgaze Griffinimage and Bloodhaze Wolverineimage each get temporary (but powerful) buffs. Mad Ratterimage will make tokens, while Mantle of Tidesimage is a cheap stat boost with a potentially free equip. Thrill of Possibilityimage or Merchant of the Valeimage will let you draw two cards on your opponent’s turn, Tome Raiderimage and Syr Elenora, the Discerningimage draw when they enter, and Clockwork Servantimage can get you a card with Adamant. Since most of these creatures aren’t human, Sage of the Fallsimage will almost always get you a second card. Optimage, Turn into a Pumpkinimage, Unexplained Visions, and Witching Wellimage are going to be really useful, as well as any removal or counterspells you can fit in.

B/G FOOD

Black-Green cares all about food and food accessories. Savvy Hunterimage will run away with food production if your opponent can’t deal with it, and it can draw you two cards, while you can infinitely recur Deathless Knightimage by eating your Food or dropping Revenge of Ravensimage. Trail of Crumbsimage will draw you cards, Giant’s Skewer will pump your creature and generate food (or, likely, keep your opponent from attacking). Fierce Witchstalkerimage shines in this deck, as well as Maraleaf Riderimage, which can act as either a removal spell or forcibly cook if you give it the Giant’s Skewer. Tempting Witchimage can eat your food and make your opponents pay for it, Bog Naughtyimage turns Food into removal spells, and Giant Opportunityimage turns them into a 7/7. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for Food artifacts like the Golden Eggimage or Gingerbruteimage, as well as Witch’s Oven. If you’re lucky enough and the game goes on long enough, you can generate Food every turn with Witch’s Oven and Sorcerer’s Broom. Be sure to pick up as much removal in black as you can, as well ways to manage flyers (Sporecap Spiderimage, Fell the Pheasantimage).

U/G BIG STUFF

We mention in the video that this sort of feels like a catch-all archetype. It’s not as cohesive with synergy as the others, but it makes up for it with raw creature power. Maraleaf Pixieimage is one of the few ways to ramp yourself, and [Thunderous Snapper can reliably draw you cards while also having that crucial 4/4 body. A lot of your creatures will be non-human, like so Keeper of Tales will draw you cards and Mistford River Turtleimage will let your big hitters get through. Fertile Footstepsimage and Rosethorn Acolyteimage will help you ramp (with the Seasonal Ritualimage half helping you trigger Adamant, if needed). Your early game will lean pretty heavily on blue’s access to counterspells, so you may want to pick up some cheap defenders like Crashing Drawbridgeimage or Wishful Merfolkimage to stall the ground.

FINAL NOTE: ARTIFACTS

With as much emphasis as we’ve placed on utilizing a single color to its max potential and then splashing for support or the synergies within two different colors, don’t overlook artifacts. Enchanted Carriageimage gets over the 4/4 body threshold we talked about in the beginning, Heraldric Banner can pump all of your creatures of one color and ramp you, Locthwain Gargoyleimage can profitably block half the flyers in the set (and trade with almost all of them). Signpost Scarecrowimage, Crashing Drawbridgeimage, and Roving Keepimage block absurdly well on the ground, Prophet of the Peakimage can be a good late-game play to filter away your lands, and Spinning Wheelimage ramps you or keeps your opponent’s biggest threat tapped down. Finally, Weapon Rackimage can make one of your creatures bigger each turn, which is a big deal with flyers, or if you want to go for maximum spice, you can use Brint to Life to turn it into a 7/7.

Eldraine looks like a massively deep set to play, but we at the C&C Power Hour are looking forward to it. Comment below with some cool synergies you’ve found or how your prerelease went, or stop by our livestreams! We stream Magic every Sunday at 4 pm or Wednesday at 8 pm Eastern at twitch.tv/cncpowerhour and would love to hear your thoughts. And, if you join us for Sunday, September 29, we will be building a prerelease pool live on stream and then playing it against our other players’ sealed pools. Thanks for reading!

About cncpowerhour:

The C&C Power Hour started as a joke between two friends at work, and grew to a ridiculously involved paper Magic: The Gathering stream. Every Sunday at 4:00 pm Eastern, we stream various limited formats or Commander on Twitch! We also occasionally stream video games and MTG Arena throughout the week when time allows.

Comments

Login to comment

1 comments

infinite
complicated...diverse...deep...strong....crazy...

sounds like FUN!!!

Enter the Battlefield Prepared

With AetherHub's MTG Arena Deck Tracker MTGA Assistant
Search Articles

Latest Articles

Signature Spellbook: Chandra Preview
Release Spoilers 

04 Jun by Kagros

Check out the new Signature Spellbook cards featuring Chandra!

The popular deck tracker now supports all draft modes in MTG Arena.

Big changes to both Standard and Historic are upon us. One deck dies, Companions slow down, and more

Wizards has made a change to the Companion mechanic and updated it's Banlist!

Ranked Ladder results for May 2020
Competitive MTGAAssistant 

01 Jun by andreliverod

The Mythic ladder May season has passed and the results are in.

Here is what you have to look out for Day 1 in the Arena Open

What forgotten cards dwell in Magic's past? Let's find out with some budget EDH hidden gems!

Get help with finding the meta decks you can afford.

Geforce Now has been a popular alternative for many people to enjoy MTG Arena.

The full Secret Lair Summer Superdrop has been revealed. Find out the remaining Secret Lair cards!

Secret Lair: Full Sleeves Preview
Release Spoilers 

25 May by Kagros

Come check out the Previews for Secret Lair: Full Sleeves. These are NOT card sleeves.