Despite Wilds of Eldraine cards only making their Magic Online appearance very recently, we are already starting to see them make a big impact on multiple formats. Up the Beanstalk appeared in multiple Modern Preliminary event decklists in conjunction with Solitude and Fury. In Pioneer, Sleight of Hand has made its way into Izzet Phoenix as yet another one-mana cantrip that helps add consistency and redundancy.
One card that surprisingly showed up in multiple five-win Pioneer league decklists, is none other than The Huntsman’s Redemption. The powerful Saga does take some work in order to maximize its full potential, but the perhaps overlooked Enchantment appears to be stronger than we initially thought. While not every deck can utilize all three chapters of the Saga effectively, the card certainly shines in those that can. Let’s take a look at some of the places this card is making an immediate impact and other areas where the Saga has high potential.
Pioneer Gruul Midrange
The first deck that showcases The Enchantment’s true power is Gruul Midrange in Pioneer. Gruul Midrange is a well-established Pioneer deck that heavily utilizes the power of both Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic to great success. The goal of the deck is to use these mana dorks to power out elite three-drops ahead of schedule. Playing Reckless Stormseeker on turn two is extremely powerful, especially if you can untap with it, play Esika’s Chariot or another heavy-hitting three-drop, and attack for a boatload of damage.
While this deck can grind quite well as a Midrange deck, having the ability to put pressure on the opponent quickly gives the deck a decent amount of versatility. The question is: what are the best three-drops to play ahead of schedule? Reckless Stormseeker and Bonecrusher Giant are the best of the best, but after that there are some options. Voldaren Thrillseeker and Lovestruck Beast have their upsides, but the Huntsman’s Redemption slots in quite nicely here too. For three mana, you immediately get a three-power Creature, but with much more leftover from the Saga’s other chapters.
Excellent Gruul Synergies
Chapter two lets you sacrifice a Creature to tutor for another Creature and put it into your hand. Notably, because adding a lore counter to a Saga happens after you draw, you have the option to float mana with a mana dork, sacrifice it to search for a more powerful Creature, and use that mana to help cast it. This is a great option to have if you are flooding. This also lets you search for cards that are useful in certain matchups and situations, such as Scavenging Ooze or Tranquil Frillback. From there, the third chapter lets you buff two of your Creatures and give them Trample, helping you close the game in short order.
What’s nice about the Saga in this deck is that, while you have the option to sacrifice a Creature and search for something else, you don’t have to. Sometimes it’s better to simply get a three-power Creature, ignore the second chapter and play another threat, then give them both a power boost and attack. This makes the Saga powerful at both playing aggressively and playing a more grindy game when necessary.
The Saga also synergizes quite well with The Akroan War. You can steal a Creature with the Akroan War, then next turn play the Huntsman’s Redemption. On the next turn, when the Akroan War moves to chapter three and the Huntsman’s Redemption moves to chapter two, you can stack the triggers so that you sacrifice the Creature you gained control of with the Akroan War before sacrificing the Akroan War itself. This effectively deals with your opponent’s Creature for good, all while letting you tutor for another Creature without sacrificing any of your own!
Heavily Abusing Chapter Two
While the synergy between the Huntsman’s Redemption and the Akroan War can be extremely effective, the Gruul deck doesn’t quite abuse the second chapter of the new Saga outside of this scenario. However, there are other shells that have a plethora of awesome Creatures to find depending on the game state and matchup. One of these decks is a unique Selesnya Collected Company deck with a decent amount of one-ofs.
Between Fauna Shaman and the Huntsman’s Redemption, this deck can tutor for specific Creatures as necessary relatively consistently. To maximize these cards, the deck plays cards that are good in specific scenarios, such as Archangel Avacyn against decks with board wipes and Skylasher against decks with lots of blue Fliers, like Spirits.
In addition to the ability to accelerate it out turn two, one of the keys to maximizing this Saga and its strong second chapter is having expendable Creatures to sacrifice. Sure, this Saga gives you a Beast token to sacrifice, but sacrificing it is a big tempo loss. Beyond the mana dorks, Gruul has tokens from Esika’s Chariot and Creatures stolen from the Akroan War. In this deck, Voice of Resurgence provides you with a great Creature to sacrifice, leaving behind an Elemental token that can grow relatively large and benefit from the Trample and power boost granted from the Saga’s third chapter. In both of these decks, all three chapters can play a serious role during the game, making the Enchantment stronger than it may look on the surface.
Speaking of Enchantments, another deck that could make use of the powerful Saga is the Selesnya Enchantments deck that has made its presence felt in the Standard format. This deck is quite good at playing a grindy game against Sheoldred, the Apocalypse decks that have a difficult time dealing with power Enchantments once they hit the board. Cards like Wedding Announcement and Teachings of the Kirin provide a ton of value as well as expendable tokens, which work perfectly alongside the Huntsman’s Redemption.
Having the ability to convert a small token into a copy of Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr is incredibly strong, especially against aggressive decks like mono-red aggro. Additionally, the power bonus from the third chapter can help this deck close the game quicker, something this deck has trouble with. Being able to grow your Creatures with Generous Visitor over the first couple turns, then give them an additional buff and Trample is a solid way to add much-needed pressure against control and ramp decks.
Of course, this deck does play a hefty amount of three-drops already, so much like with Gruul Midrange, the competition is steep. The Huntsman’s Redemption does have a lot going for it, though. There’s also plenty of room to innovate with other new cards. Mosswood Dreadknight, for example, could help open the way for green Midrange decks to become more popular, giving the Huntsman’s Redemption even more potential. I’m excited to see how Wilds of Eldraine continues to affect various formats in the coming weeks.