For once, it looked like MTG’s release calendar may finally be slowing down for a short time. After the exciting sale of the 30th Anniversary Edition and Jumpstart 2022’s impending release, it appeared that MTG players were finally being given a break that they’ve craved for so long. This comes after an entire year of back-to-back releases, with a product being released every 4.4 days on average. Unfortunately, as if 2023 wasn’t already chockablock enough, Wizards of the Coast has recently announced Explorer Anthology 2’s release date. Sneaking in at the end of the year, Explorer Anthology 2 ensures Wizards’ endless spoiler season dragons on even longer. Thanks to an overeager announcement, technically, the spoiler season for the next MTG Arena set has already begun.
An Eager Announcement
Alongside Monday’s MTG Arena Announcements, which confirmed Explorer Anthology 2’s December 13th release date, Wizards showcased the upcoming Arena Cube. Featuring some of the best cards available on MTG Arena, the Arena Cube Draft is always a thoroughly enjoyable time. In December’s Arena Cube, however, MTG Arena players quickly noted come curious additions to the card list. Specifically, the December Arena Cube’s “refreshed card list” included cards not yet on MTG Arena.
First spotted by Reddit user u/jorbleshi_kadeshi, this odd discrepancy would further be highlighted by another user, u/dustbunnyhoagiesonme. In their post on r/MagicArena, u/dustbunnyhoagiesonme decreed there were “Explorer Anthology 2 Cards in the upcoming Arena Cube.” Highlighting six Arena Cube cards not available on MTG Arena, it appears Wizards was overeager in their card list announcement. The Arena Cube cards that are suspected to be a part of Explorer Anthology 2 are as follows:
- Fiery Impulse
- Eidolon of the Great Revel
- Courser of Kruphix
- Reflector Mage
- Satyr Wayfinder
While these accidental spoilers are technically unconfirmed, players shouldn’t have to wait long for an official confirmation from Wizards. In the recent MTG Arena Announcements, Wizards stated today’s WeeklyMTG stream will include a sneak peek at Explorer Anthology 2. It’s currently unclear exactly how many cards Wizards plans to reveal during this sneak peek. Since the cat is already out of the bag on these six spoilers, however, we can only hope they’ll be officially confirmed. Besides a preview of Explorer Anthology 2, Wizards will tease players with Alchemy: The Brothers’ War cards.
A Positive Preview
Following u/dustbunnyhoagiesonme’s declaration, many players quickly voiced their enthusiasm about the revealed spoilers. Reddit user u/exploringdeathntaxes, for instance, mused, “oh WotC spoiling cards themselves again, cool. Also, great additions. I guess I shouldn’t expect much after this list, but it’s quite a valuable one already (Mutavault + Eidolon in particular). I hope they add some more staples and at least one or two real curveballs.” Similarly, u/pahamack stated “wow, some really nice cube cards here. Eidolon, in particular, is exceedingly powerful, I’d consider it first pickable in Legacy cube. Courser is awesome, of course, and Satyr Wayfinder is pretty interesting for lower-powered versions of the cube.”
As much as some players were excited by the leaks, others bemoaned they hadn’t seen what they want yet. Reddit user u/UGIA6699, for instance, stated, “hopefully they’ll add Treasure Cruise. I want to play some Izzet decks in Explorer. They’ve been dead since [the Expressive Iteration] ban.” Furthering this request, u/cabforpitt similarly asked Wizards “now announce Treasure Cruise please,” after praising the cards spoiled so far. Thankfully, since only six (maybe seven) of the 20 Explorer Anthology 2 cards have been revealed so far, there’s still plenty of time for Treasure Cruise to be revealed.
Alongside all the enthusiasm, there was a small cloud of skepticism. Reddit user u/PyreDynasty, for instance, pointed out that these spoilers have been totally confirmed just yet. “There have been cards in events in the past that have not been available otherwise, so this isn’t 100% confirmation.” Rebutting this point, u/ArtieStark stated, “these are all Pioneer staples, they won’t be added just for events.” Responding to this, u/PyreDynasty agreed that “sure, it makes sense and is likely, but that isn’t proof.”
The Spoilers Themselves
While not 100% confirmed yet, it appears highly likely that each of these cards will feature in Explorer Anthology 2. Alongside these cards, u/fireshoes noted that another card might have already been revealed. In a Twitter post by MTG, Arena Wizards promoted the upcoming Livestream with an image of Wastes. While a pretty naff addition in itself, this card potentially means Explorer Anthology 2 may feature some big, or at least playable, Eldrazi creatures. For that, however, we’ll just have to wait and see until the Livestream later today. Until then, here’s a brief rundown of each of the Explorer Anthology 2 cards that have been leaked so far.
Played primarily in the popular Izzet Pheonix deck, Fiery Impulse provides some seriously effective removal. While only able to target creatures, Fiery Impulse’s cost makes it the perfect choice for this ultra-aggressive deck. Unfortunately, while Fiery Impulse is another step towards the Izzet Pheonix Pioneer deck being complete in Explorer, Treasure Cruise is still holding the deck back. Hopefully, Treasure Cruise will arrive soon, but there’s no word on that for now.
Eidolon of the Great Revel
As the most powerful spoiler revealed so far, there’s understandably a lot of excitement around Eidolon of the Great Revel. Not only is this card expected to be enjoyable in Cube, but it’s also a highly prized addition to Explorer. Alongside the recently arriving Monestary Swiftspear, Eidolon of the Great Revel has been a requested addition for years. As Reddit user u/Hkdonphnx3 highlights, “with Eidolon [of the Great Revel] coming soon, burn is more or less complete. Could use a Boros Charm, but I’ll take what I can get.”
Courser of Kruphix
As u/cabforpitt points out in their Reddit post, Courser of Kruphix is perhaps the most lackluster spoiler so far. Unlike the other spoilers, Courser of Kruphix doesn’t see widespread play in any Pioneer deck, at least. Despite that damning detail, Courser of Kruphix should still be a lot of fun to play with in formats such as Historic and Historic Brawl. Since Explorer has a different metagame to Pioneer, there’s also a chance it could see more than just niche play.
While not as bad as Courser of Kruphix, Reflector Mage is another somewhat dubious addition. Predominantly seeing play in the niche four-color Humans Pioneer deck, Reflector Mage won’t blow anyone’s socks off. Despite this, however, some players were more than happy to see this niche addition. Reddit user u/ChronicallyIllMTG, for instance, happily stated “Reflector Mage and Courser of Kruphix, my heart is filled with joy.”
Found throughout several Pioneer decks such as White Weenie and Gruul Vehicles Mutavault is a welcome addition to Explorer. Providing a temporary creature to damage and crew, Mutavault does little wrong outside of generating colorless mana. Since Mutavault has every creature type, alongside being a 2/2 body, this land can also be incredibly synergistic in the right deck. Thanks to this ability, Mutavault may also pop up throughout many tribal-themed Historic Brawl decks.
Found primarily within the Abzan Greasefang Pioneer deck, Satyr Wayfinder has been a long-requested addition to Explorer. By finding land and putting up to four cards in the graveyard, Satyr Wayfinder is remarkably effective at thinning decks. This makes it perfect for putting cards like Parhelion II and Esika’s Charriot into the graveyard. Once there, these cards can then be resurrected by Greasefang, Okiba Boss to cause havoc on the battlefield.
On its own, Wastes is a very boring card. Tapping for only colorless mana and having no other abilities, there aren’t many reasons to have Wastes in your deck. That is, of course, unless you’re playing an Eldrazi-stuffed deck that needs plenty of colorless mana. So far, no Eldrazi cards have been spoiled for Explorer Anthology 2. As u/Suzkia notes, however, the presumed inclusion of Wastes hints at the arrival of some powerful Eldrazi creatures. After Reddit user u/xTaq asked, “does this mean we getting the big Eldrazis?” u/Suzkia responded to say, “not specifically big ones but more playable ones, I watch you Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher.”