Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator | The Wilds of Eldraine
28, Jul, 23

Wilds of Eldraine First Look Reveals Insane Spoilers and $60 Reprints!

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Much to our chagrin, since it’s our job to cover the news, this week has been very quiet for MTG fans. Outside of a few price spikes, and the recent Pro Tour, players have been enduring a content lull. Thankfully, this is a great slow period to actually play some Magic in! Unfortunately, however, as quickly as it started, this time is coming to an end already. Forget Commander Masters, now it’s the time of Wilds of Eldraine!

To finish off this week in style, Wizards of the Coast is throwing their latest MagicCon event, located in Barcelona. Offering European players a blockbuster weekend, the headline feature of this event is a monumental First Look presentation. Providing a glimpse at Wilds of Eldraine, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, and the Doctor Who Commander decks, this event has it all! Sure, it’s no Elijah Wood DJ session, but what’s not to love about spoilers!?

Speaking of spoilers, despite Wizards only offering a First Look and sneak peeks, there’s an awful lot to go over. So much so, in fact, that each set’s reveals is getting its own breakdown article today! As you might be able to tell from the title, in this article we’ll be covering all things Wilds of Eldraine! So without any further ado, buckle up, it’s spoiler time!

Wilds of Eldraine Is Magic’s Fairy Tale Set

To kick things off, MTG’s Lead Designer and Preview Presentation Host, Mark Rosewater, revealed a little background information. Specifically, Wilds of Eldraine is Magic’s long-awaited Fairy Tale themed set. Set in the titular Wilds… of Eldraine, this set is focused more on Enchantments, rather than both Artifacts and Enchantments. This should hopefully give the set a unique mechanical theme to keep things interesting.

As for the story of the set, Wilds of Eldraine is focused on the story of the Wicked Slumber. As depicted on Wicked Slumber this powerful spell was used to protect Eldraine during the Phyreixan invasion of the multiverse. Unfortunately for the plane’s denizens, however, now that the battle has been won, the spell hasn’t exactly gone away…

Beyond the big sleep, as I will be calling it, Wilds of Eldraine is also themed around classic fairy tales. This theme is so prevalent, in fact, that it makes up the Limited archetypes for the entire set! Currently, we don’t know much about each of these archetypes, beyond seeing them in a teasing piece of art. Thankfully, however, as you can read about at the end, it won’t be long before we know more.

A New Cycle of Dual Lands!

Restless Fortress

After treating players to a few pieces of art, Rosewater revealed the first Throne of Eldraine spoiler: Restless Fortress. As you can tell from the subheading above, this is the first in a brand-new cycle of dual lands. Dubbed “Creature Lands” by Wizards, these lands do as you might expect, turn into creatures! 

As for the new card we’ve seen from this cycle. Resetless Fortress, isn’t the strongest. Entering the battlefield tapped, this card is already at a disadvantage, which is made worse by its meager stats. Only able to turn into a 1/4 for four mana, this card is not what you’ll want to be swinging in with. Despite this, Resetless Fortress does have a life drain ability should you wish to attack with it.

Hopefully, the rest of the land within this five-card cycle will be better. Whether or not that is the case, however, remains to be seen. For now, there’s no telling when or where the rest of the Creature Land cycle will appear. In Wilds of Eldraine, we’re only getting the enemy-colored lands, so the allied lands will presumably be made in the future.

As if the brand new Dual Lands weren’t enough to get excited about, Wilds of Eldraine also has gorgeous full art basic lands. Each designed to capture the storybook look, these full art lands should help to spruce up your deck and heighten the fairytale aesthetic! This Aesthetic also carries over to the returning Booster Fun frame which is apparently the best looking in all of MTG!

A Kindly Lord to Ruin Your Opponents Day

Talion, the Kindly Lord

To follow up the reveal of a new land cycle, Wizards debuted Talion, the Kindly Lord. Despite their Dimir colors, Talion is actually one of the good guys on Eldraine, as their name suggests. They did, however, play a part in creating the Wicked Slumber, for better or worse. 

Outside of their role in the story, Talion, the Kindly Lord appears to be a menace of a card. Should you know your opponent’s deck and pick the right number, opponents may have to think twice about casting spells with that mana value. After all, if they do cast spells with the chosen mana value, they lose two life and you draw a card. 

Looking at Standard right now, Talion, the Kindly Lord should be a serious threat for players to deal with. After all, decks like Red Deck Wins use a huge number of one and two-cost spells. Similarly, the Mono Black deck has a large number of three and four-cost threats which you can disincentivize casting. For better or worse, this may make Talion incredibly frustrating to play against. I for one can’t wait.

Only One Planeswalker Card 

Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator

Following the events of the Phyrexian Arc and March of the Machine: The Aftermath, Planeswalkers are all but extinct in MTG. In order to repair the multiverse and each other, most Planeswalkers had to give up their spark. Thankfully, some characters, such as Ajani, were lucky enough to retain this near-godly power, however, they’re the exception, rather than the rule.

Within Wilds of Eldraine, we see another character who has managed to retain their spark, but it’s not good news. Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator, is a Planeswalker! They’re also the major villain of Wilds of Eldraine who’s causing all kinds of havoc thanks to the Wicked Slumber. Beyond being a menace in the story, this Ashiok is also a rather powerful, and certainly unique card.

Revolving around exiling cards, Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator has the potential to be incredibly deadly, especially in self-mill strategies. Allowing you to draw, create scaling tokens, and mill with their ultimate, Ashiok has incredibly useful self synergies. As if they didn’t already do enough, however, Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator also has a passive ability that lets you exile cards, rather than paying costs with life!

As a note, before we quickly move on, according to Mark Rosewater, most MTG sets will now only feature one Planeswalker card. While this isn’t too surprising following the Phyrexian Arc’s conclusion, it’s nevertheless weird to see it in writing. We really are in a new era of MTG.

Characters New and Old Are Up To… Something…

Following on from the above spoilers, Wizards went back to reveal a trio of enticing artworks. Well, in reality, it’s more like Wizards just revealed one artwork, as we had seen the other two before. In any case, you can see them all in the gallery above!

As for who is in the art, the first image depicts a new character, Kellan. According to Wizards, this character is the Lord of the High Fae who’s on a quest to end the Wicked Slumber. Will they manage it? Who knows! We’ll just have to wait and see. One thing is for certain sure, however, according to Wizards on Twitter, “This kid is going places.”

Next up we have the returning Will and Rowan Kenrith. Now that dear old Dad is dead, these characters are tasked with holding the kingdom together. Unfortunately for Eldraine, however, it doesn’t seem that they’re doing the best job at it. Not only have both these characters lost their sparks, but they also can’t agree on what’s right for the kingdom. 

With both siblings going down different paths in order to shape Eldraine, it seems that the days of the siblings being back-to-back are long behind us. 

Food Is Back and Delicious as Ever

Tough Cookie

As if it was any surprise from the set that gave us a combo all about putting a cat in an oven, Food is back in Wilds of Eldraine. To show this off, Wizards spoiled Tough Cookie, who isn’t really a format-warping threat. Since they are an uncommon card, however, we probably should be cutting them some slack. 

As for what they can do, Tough Cookie is unsurprisingly all about Food. Properly showing off the returning mechanic, not only does Tough Cookie create a Food Token, but they also have the type themselves. This adorable golem is also able to turn non-creature artifacts into 4/4, albeit at a non-insignificant cost. Technically, you don’t have to use this on Food Tokens, but it would just feel wrong not to. 

While we’ve only seen one Food focused card so far, Wilds of Eldraine should have a few more to enjoy, at least. According to Wizards, these cards should be more powerful and interesting this time around, as they’ve learned their lesson! “One thing Studio learned from Eldraine previously was to give folks more aggressive ways to use food tokens.”

“A Modern Staple Returns to Standard!!”

Sleight of Hand

Boasting about it on Twitter, Wizards of the Coast proudly proclaimed that “A Modern staple returns to Standard!”. Unfortunately, however, this card. Sleight of Hand has not been a Modern staple for some time. That being said, however, to stop being so cynical for a second, Sleight of Hand is still an incredibly good card. 

Allowing the caster to pick between two cards, unlike Serum Visions which gives you information afterward, Sleight of Hand is an incredibly useful draw spell. So much so that it’s likely going to be all over Standard once Wilds of Eldraine releases in September. 

Alongside likely seeing Standard play, we’d be remiss to not mention that Sleight of Hand will also be incredibly useful in Pioneer. While the card may not be much of a Modern Staple anymore, it could certainly still find a home in this slightly slower format.

A White Craterhoof Behemoth

Moonshaker Cavalry

As much as MTG players may love them, not everything needs to be a cycle. After all, not only can this practice cause frustrations when reprinted, but it can also lead to Alchemy-based arguments! That being said, however, Wizards just spoiled a white Craterhoof Behemoth and now I want all of them.

The card in question Moonshaker Cavalry does exactly what you’d expect of a white Craterhoof Behemoth. Featuring the same mana value, ability layout, and almost the same stats, it’s easy to see why Gavin Verhey highlighted the similarities. In fact, there’s practically only one major difference between Craterhoof Behemoth and Moonshaker Cavalry. 

Rather than giving your creatures +X/+X and Trample, Moonshaker Cavalry gives your creatures +X/+X and Flying. While this is technically a difference, since both these abilities class as evasion, the effect should be the same. Once Moonshaker Cavalry enters the battlefield, the game is pretty much over. Thanks to this, expect Moonshaker Cavalry to be incredibly popular, especially in Commander.

A Brand New Bonus Sheet

Enchanting Tales Bonus Sheet
Enchanting Tales Bonus Sheet

Last, but by no means least of the big reveals, Wizards debuted a new Bonus Sheet. Known as Enchanting Tales, this Bonus Sheet plays into the Enchantment focus in Wilds of Eldraine in a big way. Like all Bonus Sheets before it, this side-set is loaded with reprints which should hopefully tank in value. 

So far, Wizards has revealed eight out of the 63 cards from this upcoming bonus sheet. Out of these reveals, only one of the cards is not worth $10 or more. This disappointing dud is Curiosity which is only worth around $0.40. Outside of this card, the rest of the Enchanting Tales appears to be absolutely incredible. 

Between the reprints of Doubling Season, Smothering Tithe and Aggravated Assault there’s an immense amount of value on offer. Hopefully, however, it won’t be this way for long, as Bonus Sheets have a history of tanking prices. If this should happen, these Commander Staples should mercifully be a lot more affordable for interested players.

Alongside being awesome reprints, as usual, the new Bonus Sheet also has a unique art style. As if the above card frame and art weren’t striking enough, however, Wizards is also releasing 20 of the 63 cards in an Anime Borderless style. Out of all these, the best is the new Doubling Season you can see below. This is not up for debate. 

Doubling Season

The Wilds Have More in Store

Goose Hydra Art | Wilds of Eldraine (Maybe)
Goose Hydra Art | Wilds of Eldraine (Maybe)

As if Wizards of the Coast didn’t reveal enough for your liking today, worry not, as it won’t be long before there’s more to gawk at! Following MagicCon: Barcelona, Wizards will rather quickly be globetrotting to Indianapolis for Gen Con. Here, during a 30th Anniversary presentation on August 5th, Wizards is expected to debut a boatload of information. 

According to Weekly MTG Host Blake Rasmussen, during this event, Wizards will be looking forward three years into the future! While this should give players a much clearer picture of what to expect going forward, for better or worse, not everything is being revealed. As Rasmussen states “We’re gonna talk about sets, and we’ll walk about a little bit of that scaffolding, but we won’t get into too much detail.” 

As if three years of announcements from Gen Con wasn’t enough, Wizards has even more up their sleeves. Shortly afterward, on the 15th of August, Wizards is planning to officially debut Wilds of Eldraine. Following this jam-packed livestream, the set’s spoiler season will begin! Thanks to this, players won’t be left waiting more than a few weeks to see even more of Wilds of Eldraine!

Read More: These 8 Secret Commander Gems are Criminally Underplayed!

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