While all the announcements at Gen Con about future MTG sets has everyone hyped up, we still have more in 2023 to look forward to. In September, Wilds of Eldraine is set to release. We have a lot of information already about this set. From a new bonus sheet to a unique Planeswalker, this set has a lot of cool cards to show off. However, today in particular, a large group of new cards were leaked. While leaks are certainly not official spoilers, these leaks looked relatively legitimate, given how much they overlapped with various past hints from Mark Rosewater about different mechanics and card names. These certainly look real, so in case they are and you want to wait for the official spoiling of these cards, consider this your warning.
These leaks are chock full of flavor. There are new mechanics and even a new type of token that have been revealed, ready to spice up the Wilds of Eldraine Limited environment. Beyond just drafting, though, there are a couple very powerful cards that are each worth talking about. From efficient Adventure Creatures to powerful finishers, these cards have a lot to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the best leaks so far.
Heartflame Duelist is a cool card with a pretty unique effect. As a Creature, this card has an effect reminiscent of Soulfire Grandmaster. By giving you Instants and Sorceries Lifelink, spells you control that deal damage will also gain you life in the process. While this isn’t necessarily a super strong effect, it can be decent in a race when built around. The real value in the card lies in the fact that this card utilizes the Adventure mechanic. You can cast this card as a two-mana three-power Creature, but you can also cast it as a three-mana Lightning Bolt, then exile the card to cast as a Creature at a later time.
Obviously, three mana for three damage is a bit below rate. However, this card acts as a solid two-for-one and is very flexible. If you are simply looking to beat down against a control deck, you can do that. Against Creature decks, this card acts as both a removal spell and a Creature. This card also plays well in multiples, as the Instant portion of the card will act like Lightning Helix with a copy of the Duelist in play.
Obviously, this card isn’t on the level of Bonecrusher Giant, but Bonecrusher still showcases the value of attaching a subpar removal spell onto a decent threat. Notably, because the Instant costs more than the Creature in the case of Heartflame Duelist, you don’t get quite as nice of a curve of two-drop into three-drop, like Bonuecrusher provides. Still, this card is aggressive, can swing a race, and can act as a two-for-one in many matchups, putting it at least under consideration in a Standard-level environment. There isn’t much of a home for this style of card in Standard at the moment, but anything can change when the whole Wilds of Eldraine set comes out.
Speaking of two-for-ones, Mosswood Dreadknight looks extremely strong. On the surface, you get a two-mana three-power Trampler. You can also spend two mana to draw a card and lose a life, then exile it to cast as a Creature later on. That alone is a reasonable rate for Standard, but Mosswood Dreadknight has much higher upside.
Let’s say you play this card as a Creature on turn two. At three-power, your opponent is likely pressed to kill it at some point. Then, when the Creature dies, you can cast the card as an Adventure until the end of your next turn, giving you another chance to get value and draw another card. The fun doesn’t stop there, however.
Once you cast the Adventure portion or Mosswood Dreadknight, you again get to exile the card and cast the Creature. While a bit slow, this provides an excellent value engine, great for a Golgari-based Midrange deck.
Yet another powerful Adventure card, Horned Loch-Whale does it all for a control deck. For two mana, you can force your opponent to put an attacking Creature on the top or bottom of their library. This either acts as a removal spell or at minimum delays the threat of the Creature that attacks you for a turn. This is a decent piece of interaction in the early turns for a deck that wants to play at Instant speed.
From there, you also get access to a six-mana enormous beater with Ward Two that can also be cast at Instant Speed. In this way, the Whale can also serve as a win condition. One common issue for control decks in Standard is that their win conditions are often clunky and don’t help a ton in the early turns. This card helps solve that problem, acting as both early interaction and a late-game finisher.
Moving away from Standard, Thunderous Debut is a very cool Commander card. The card is expensive at eight mana, but you get to dig 20 cards deep for two Creatures. Then, if you sacrificed an Artifact, enchantment, or token when casting this spell, you get to put them directly into play! If your deck is full of big Creatures, this card can provide some great value.
Notably, 20 cards are less of a percentage of a Commander deck than a normal 60-card deck, so being able to hit specific cards like Craterhoof Behemoth may not be as likely as you might hope. In this sense, it’s not quite as reliable as Tooth and Nail Even still, if your deck is built with lots of huge Creatures, this card is bound to give a decent range of options. Given that Commander is a singleton format, redundancy and selection are valuable assets as well.
While there are still a ton of cards that are unknown in the set, Wilds of Eldraine has a lot of cool and powerful tools to offer. The cards in this set leaked and spoiled so far strike a decent balance between flavor, power, and uniqueness. There’s still a lot more to look forward to in the coming week, so keep your eyes peeled.