9, Sep, 23

Early Wilds of Eldraine Limited Reveals Dominate Archetypes!

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Article at a Glance

We’re not even a week into Wilds of Eldraine Limited, but early data appears to be leaning toward a particular result. This is not uncommon in the early stages of Limited, as everyone is trying to figure out what strategy clicks the best. Once a clear frontrunner has been established, drafters adapt, keeping an eye on that archetype and, in turn, making other options much more open.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the format is unbalanced. Our experience of the format in its infant stages has been quite positive in this sense.

It remains, however, that according to 17Lands.com, some archetypes currently appear to be ahead of the rest. The meta could adjust to this in the coming weeks but, for now, if you’re planning on going to FNM to draft some of Magic’s newest set, keep an eye out for Boros and Rakdos!

It’s Time to Celebrate!

Early stats on 17Lands.com suggest that the Boros archetype is one of the early winners in Wilds of Eldraine Limited. This archetype hits the board fast and exploits the Celebrate mechanic. Celebrate grants a range of buffs as long as you have had two or more nonland permanents hit the battlefield this turn.

One of the easiest, but potentially missed ways of triggering this is to use Role Tokens. Cards like Hopeful Vigil also come to mind when trying to exploit Celebration.

Even though Ash, Party Crasher is the token uncommon representing the Boros Celebrate archetype, it’s not the best uncommon in the format. Ash, Party Crasher, according to winrate via games maindecked, is instead the second-best uncommon when building this archetype.

The best uncommon overall, according to 17Lands, is instead Imodane’s Recruiter. This card is an absolute house, offering a board that, with eight mana available, can immediately swing in for nine damage. This will also trigger Celebration for just five mana, and can function as a Hasty threat. Able to impact the game heavily at multiple stages, many competitive players are already identifying Imodane’s Recruiter as one of the best early picks in the format.

Monstrous Rage and Embereth Veteran follow up these uncommons at the time of writing, meaning the four top uncommons in the format, according to winrate when maindecked, are currently under the Boros archetype.

Games In-Hand

Now, there is some biases with the data points collected via winrate when maindecked. Because this data point counts all games where a card is maindecked, there are going to be some games where the aforementioned card is not drawn at all. This instead suggests that Boros is the most successful archetype overall in a focused draft, but individual cards may not necessarily be overperformers in the format in general.

Swapping over to best winrates in-hand, whether drawn or in the opener, can send a better picture for overperformers. These stats include only the games where the cards in-question had an impact on them instead of every single game where the card was maindecked.

These stats indicate something a little different. Firstly, Imodane’s Recruiter is still #1, indicating that this could become a problematic card in the future.

The cards past this point change drastically, moving heavily towards the Golgari Food synergies present in Wilds of Eldraine Limited. Gingerbread Hunter, Tough Cookie, and Welcome to Sweettooth are all experiencing a massive surge in Games in Hand winrate, surpassing 60%. If you want to make the food archetype work, these are the cards to watch. Getting one of these late could mean that the food archetype is open for business.

Best Commons in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Red appears to be the best color in Wilds of Eldraine in early Limited overall. Eight of the eleven top commons are Red when organizing results by win percentage of cards when maindecked. Of these, all six of the top options are red, and the remaining three are all black.

The best common using these statistics is currently Torch the Tower. Providing an effective way to remove creatures while remaining upgradeable via a Bargain effect, it’s very easy to make Torch the Tower work in your favor.

Following Torch the Tower is Grand Ball Guest. Celebrate turns this two-drop into a 3/3 Trampler, allowing it to hit hard right out of the gate.

Edgewall Pack and Ratcatcher Trainee follow after, and their placement here is no surprise. Creatures that make multiple bodies have always been powerful in Limited, and tokens in this set are quite flexible, able to benefit from Rat-related payoffs, triggering Celebrate, and can be used for Bargain effects.

The top six commons for this data point are rounded out by Flick a Coin. Many players had eyes on this card as early as prerelease season – something that draws a card and makes a Treasure will always be interesting.

This is a pretty strong indication that red decks are performing the best in early Wilds of Eldraine Limited, but the individual cards mentioned may not be overperformers themselves. For a better indication of this metric, let’s once again look at Games in-hand winrate.

Games In-Hand

When swapping over to Games-in-hand, we instead get a survey of some of the most powerful overperforming common cards on an individual basis. Red is still very prevalent here, but black gets a huge boost. This indicates that red and black truly have the best commons in Wilds of Eldraine Limited, but red has the best winrate overall.

Torch the Tower keeps the top spot, but black breaks up the streak of red commons we see in winrate when maindecked metrics. This suggests that red decks are performing the best overall, but black commons have a much better individual winrate than these statistics suggest.

In terms of black commons to watch out for, keep an eye on Candy Grapple, Hopeless Nightmare and Sweettooth Witch. Candy Grapple’s status as a top tier removal option is not surprising, but Hopeless Nightmare and Sweettooth Witch may not be better than players expected.

When you sit down and think about it, Sweettooth Witch is fantastic. This three mana creature is incredibly flexible, offering a 3/2 body for three and a Food Token. This isn’t a ton to ask for, but Sweettooth Witch also comes with an activated ability, allowing you to throw your Foods at an opponent for two damage. This allows Sweettooth Witch to be synergistic, aggressive or defensive, and enables multiple mechanics that care about Food and Bargain.

Hopeless Nightmare is really interesting to see this high, and would be something I wouldn’t pick too highly unless it synergistically worked with my strategy. This is likely an oversight on my part. The card does, however, work incredibly well with Stockpiling Celebrant which I personally think is the most underrated card in the format. Between bouncing Hopeless Nightmare and other enchantments like The Princess Takes Flight, the Celebrant’s bounce effect can easily be turned into pure upside.

In the Red department, Cut In gains a lot of ground here, meaning that this particular red common may be a higher pick than expected.

Small Sample Sizes Affect Results

Once again, do keep in mind that this is very early into Wilds of Eldraine Limited, so these results are subject to profound change. If Wilds of Eldraine ends up being more aggressive than people are currently deckbuilding for, decks and high picks will change to keep up with the metagame, which could cause a shift should games begin to slow down due to early checks being picked higher.

Another massive note to keep in mind is that, with both ways of gathering data mentioned here, there are still a ton of biases to consider. Data can still be a great point to start a conversation, but don’t use it to ruthlessly shut one down, especially with data as incomplete as this. If you want to read more about this, 17Lands has a fantastic piece about interpreting their data that I highly recommend.

Wilds of Eldraine looks like an interesting Limited format so far, and, while Boros and Rakdos may be the early winners, these archetypes do not currently appear as dominant as past powerhouses have been this early on. Red looks to be the best color so far, with black trailing not too far behind.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the Wilds of Eldraine Draft environment will look like as we quickly approach the 2023 Magic World Championship. Best of luck to any traveling to their FNM’s and, for the love of god, I pray you do not end up on the receiving end of a Guff Triplets.

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