Wilds of Eldraine has a plethora of very powerful cards. Standard, which has been largely dominated by Dimir midrange for quite some time, is seeing some big changes. Just recently, a Naya tokens deck, something we never saw over the last few months, took down a big event on Arena. The additions of Questing Druid and Virtue of Loyalty played a big role in the deck’s success.
As it turns out, Standard is not the only format seeing big upgrades thanks to Wilds of Eldraine. Pioneer, Modern, and Legacy have all been heavily impacted. This is not always the case for a premier set designed with Limited and Standard in mind. It’s cool to see a set so filled with flavor and wonder also make its presence felt in Constructed. Today, we will be going over a handful of cards and how they are impacting formats beyond Standard. Let’s start by taking a look at Pioneer.
Updates to Pioneer
The winner of Saturday’s Magic Online Pioneer Challenge was playing none other than Izzet Phoenix, which is a well-established archetype that has been seeing more and more play as of late. This deck also got a decent boost from the introduction of Sleight of Hand into the format. Sleight of Hand is a cantrip that was printed way back in Portal Second Age roughly 25 years ago but is finally getting reprinted in a Pioneer-legal set. Izzet Phoenix already had access to Opt and Consider, but now the deck gets to play a third one-mana cantrip. Not only does the addition of Sleight of Hand improve the deck’s overall consistency, but it helps make the ability to cast three spells in a turn to return Arclight Phoenix from the graveyard to play more reliable.
Another archetype to make top eight of the Challenge with new Wilds of Eldraine cards was Boros Heroic. Boros Heroic has seen a lot less play over the last few months, given its weaknesses against removal-heavy decks like Rakdos midrange. However, the deck has a strong matchup against mono-green and other less interactive decks, and it got a nice upgrade in the form of Monstrous Rage. Monstrous Rage provides a decent buff to one of your Creatures as well as Trample, but because part of the buff comes from the Role token created, the Creature maintains +1/+1 and Trample for future turns. At one mana, this is quite strong. The top eight decklist essentially replaced Invigorated Rampage and a couple copies of Homestead Courage from stock Heroic lists with Monstrous Rage.
Finally, Blossoming Tortoise is starting to see some play in mono-green Devotion in the deck’s flex slots. Blossoming Tortoise helps find Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, lowers the activation cost of Nykthos, and can act as a repeatable source of ramp if it sticks around. While this is strong, some players are still opting to play Polukranos Reborn instead, as Polukranos only costs three mana and is much better against decks like Spirits.
Beyond Pioneer, two specific Modern decks have been utilizing new Wilds of Eldraine cards rather successfully. First up, we have four-color Omnath, Locus of Creation decks. These decks already played Solitude and Leyline Binding consistently, so Up the Beanstalk felt like a natural fit. Up the Beanstalk replaces itself by drawing a card when it enters the battlefield. From there, you get to draw more cards each time you cast a spell that costs five or more mana. This includes Evoking Solitude or casting Leyline Binding for one mana, making Up the Beanstalk rather reliable. The powerful Enchantment also works well in multiples, which is a nice bonus. We actually had an inkling that this might happen before the release of Wilds of Eldraine.
The other deck that got a strong upgrade is Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo. Yawgmoth, just like four-color Omnath, was a tier one deck already. However, yesterday’s Magic Online Modern Challenge was won by Yawgmoth combo featuring three copies of Agatha’s Soul Cauldron. We mentioned in a previous article that Agatha’s Soul Cauldron combos quite nicely with Yawgmoth in the graveyard, as well as two copies of Young Wolf and Zulaport Cutthroat. As it turns out, this combo is already making waves in Modern. Even beyond the combo itself, Cauldron is a good value card, distributing +1/+1 counters to your Creatures over time. In conjunction with Grist, the Hunger Tide milling over Creatures and making Insect tokens, Cauldron plays a bigger role than you might expect.
Improvements in Legacy
Wilds of Eldraine cards are even making a splash in Eternal formats. Beseech the Mirror was one of the most hyped-up cards from the whole set, and after a couple big Legacy events, it’s easy to see why. The winning decklist from Saturday’s Magic Online Legacy Challenge was a mono-black deck utilizing Helm of Obedience as a combo piece. With Leyline of the Void and Helm of Obedience in play, if you activate Helm targeting an opponent, you can simply mill your opponent’s whole library since no cards are entering their graveyard.
Beseech the Mirror helped make this combo a lot more consistent. Rather than having to play four copies of Helm which does very little on its own, this deck plays a playset of Beseech the Mirror and only one copy of Helm, which can be tutored when appropriate. Beseech can also search for other powerful four-drops such as Sheoldred, the Apocalypse or Karn, the Great Creator, depending on the matchup. Finally, if Leyline of the Void is not in play, Beseech the Mirror can find the other half of the combo as well.
Beseech the Mirror was also a focal point of another top eight decklist with a much more all-in combo theme. This deck played Beseech the Mirror in order to search for and cast Gaea’s Will. By combining Beseech the Mirror with a cheap Artifact and a couple Ritual effects such as Dark Ritual, it’s easy to get a very high Storm count and win via Tendrils of Agony. This deck even plays a playset of Veil of Summer in the maindeck to fight against opposing Counterspells, which showcases this deck’s all-in gameplan.
Finally, we have also seen Questing Druid make a splash in Legacy. Temur Delver of Secrets decks have begun playing this card as a source of card advantage that comes with a two-mana threat attached. Given the deck’s high density of blue and red spells, growing Questing Druid is trivial. With Expressive Iteration banned, having access to some card advantage is also strong. Wilds of Eldraine is making a huge impact rather quickly, and there’s likely a lot more innovation that is yet to come.