Welcome to my set review for Throne of Eldraine! I’m breaking down my review into three parts: The Command Zone, Artifacts and Land, and The Rest, including Food and Adventures. Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2, Artifacts and Land, looks at the two major sources of Commander staples. Many of these cards are colourless, and can go in any deck, but this set also includes a wide variety of coloured artifacts too. Enjoy! Covered below are:
- Arcane Signet
- Mythic Rare Artifacts
- Artifacts following RUC (Rare, Uncommon, Common) including Artifact creatures
- Lands by cycle. If a card is only available in a specific release, it will be noted.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, Arcane Signet. We can pretend it was well-intentioned. It is a cheap, colour fixer that goes in any multicolour deck. It addresses Brawl’s limited card pool, which suffers especially from a lack of ramp and fixing. It’s in every brawl deck, so there should be a good supply. …And from there it goes right downhill.
The Bad: Arcane Signet is currently preselling for about the price of the Brawl precons. Maybe more in some places. Why? Because it never really was for Brawl, it was for Commander. Like I said, this goes in every multicolour deck. It might go in monocolour decks, too, as it’s basically better than the Diamond cycle. Did Wizards print this just to sell Brawl precons to Commander players who otherwise wouldn’t be interested outside of maybe Chulane? I don’t want to be too cynical, but it sure seems like it. The precons also have a shock land and one of them has Smothering Tithe. Those are worth getting, but don’t eat enough value to keep Arcane Signet from having a $20+ price tag. C20 is most of a year away, and the big casual giveaway this year is a premium Sol Ring. The Brawl precons are likely to be the only source of Arcane Signets at least until we get another round of Brawl precons. Maybe Brawl precons are going to be the only place Arcane Signets are ever found.
The Ugly: Arcane Signet is a ‘common.’ Which is a real problem for newer players, who may dismiss it by rarity (not so likely), or may get offers from kindly, more experienced players who are looking to give them a handful of cool flashy rares for the boring little mana-producing ‘common’ they just opened with their precon. If this happens even once, it’s a travesty. It’s about time we recognized that arbitrary rarity in supplemental products is a bunch of nonsense. Arcane Signet is not a ‘common,’ and having it be one benefits nobody. Is there any explanation from Wizards or Maro that anyone can point me at? Any philosophical approach to commonality in supplements? If this is a common, it should be abundant. Instead it has been rolled out in just the right way to force people to open up their wallets or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) themselves half to death. Honestly, if I win a Brawl precon in Challenge at some point, I’ll own one of these. If they ever actually print/give away enough of these to justify the commonality, I’ll have a few. But I’m not buying a precon just for this, and I’m not paying $35 for one either.
People who are interested in Brawl because they’ve bought into Standard can use their cards to play, but unless they go out and buy a precon, they’re missing a major format staple that might be critical to early game success. And it’s a common. They can buy this common for basically the price of the precon, if they don’t want or already have the other cards, most of which have no value. But maybe they can’t, because the Commander players and speculators in their area have snapped up all the available precons for the Arcane Signets.
I think Brawl is already at critical fail. Chulane blows the other Commanders away so easily it’s like a wolf among straw houses. There’s a possible bar for entry in the format in the form of Arcane Signet, and it’s not likely to clear any time soon. It seems like the best place for Brawl is Arena, but with only 1v1 available, the best part of the format is missing. Not to mention all the cards that were designed for multiple opponents are hosed.
There’s an easy fix for this, I think, but it would ruin the value of the precons. Maybe not completely, but it would do terrible damage. If there was more value and thought put into them, it would be moot. But anyways, they need to give out Arcane Signets as an FNM promo. In piles. Make sure everybody gets one. Have a Brawl weekend and give away another round. Have a different art for each giveaway. It’s a hand and jewel. I think the talent can handle that at short notice. Make this thing a legitimate common. Don’t think Sol Ring, think Evolving Wilds.
I do not see this happening. Arcane Signet looks to be one of those licenses to print money. In the short term. I just hope it isn’t the piece of damning evidence they find on Brawl’s corpse.
I’m moving on to (mostly) artifacts you can open in Throne of Eldraine packs. There are lots of good ones.
Starting the Mythic Rares with a bang is Embercleave. Swords with names are huge in fantasy lore. Think Excalibur, the Masamune, Glamdring, The Green Destiny, or even The Singing Sword. There’s something seriously Dwarfy about the art, and the fact that this is red, but it could totally play any of the above swords in your Commander narrative.
Embercleave is also a great departure from the Swords of Something and Something, that really don’t feel swordy. They feel more like magical armour combined with spellbooks. Embercleave wants to be in combat, not just get some triggers for making contact. But it will help you make contact. Trample is really powerful on equipment, and not so common. Getting trample on your creatures in Commander actually isn’t that easy. If it was, chumping wouldn’t be so useful. Double strike is similar. Not so common, and often requiring a whole card just to get the ability. Combining the two on one piece is dynamite. Having a power bonus is good, and becomes sneaky good when you consider it makes a zero power creature into one that might connect twice. Pretty marginal, but things like -1/-1 counters are out there. I’ve seen a Brago player be completely paralyzed by 3 -1/-1 counters. It also adds a point of toughness, which might be a lifesaver in some games.
Embercleave has two abilities that really push it right over the top, and could make it oppressive. I’m talking about the Flash and free equip on ETB. The cost reduction is a pretty big deal, too, but is less of a factor for a focused Voltron deck that wants a single creature to do all the work. Flash means this can come down after blockers have been declared, or in response to all sorts of triggers. The free equip further reduces the cost. Enough attacking creatures and this costs RR to cast and equip, which is way above what most equipment can ever offer. I feel like this is going to enable some fast kills. I also feel like we’re going to see more than a few Embercleave fails, though, mostly revolving around someone who has forgotten that Lightning Greaves gives shroud and and not hexproof. Overall, I’m cautiously optimistic. This could be broken, but then again, it might be about as ‘broken’ as Temur Battle Rage.
I think the best place for Embercleave as a piece of ‘tech’ is Grenzo, Havoc Warden. Grenzo wants to connect against players, often has other goblins attacking to bring the cost down, and doesn’t want to end the game in one turn with Commander damage. I think it will see a lot of play as a big flashy toy, however, and anyone who opens a foil will probably jam it in a deck.
The Black Cauldron, oops, I mean The Cauldron of Eternity, is all kinds of interesting design. The CMC immediately suggests Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow. That deck can use some degree of recursion, so this can be much more just than a big CMC number. In Yuriko, it would be best with a haste-enabler, or hasty creatures. I’m going to try it out in my build of Yuriko for sure.
By itself, the Cauldron of Eternity kinda steps on its own toes a bit. You can reanimate what’s already in the bin, but anything that dies gets tucked, making it a nonbo for repeatable reanimation strategies like Meren of Clan Nel Toth.
I’ve been wanting to try out a dragon reanimator strategy for a while. My dragon deck is a bunch of different flying beaters with no synergy, and it is hurting. The Cauldron of Eternity seems like a great fit there, where I can dump a pile of dragons into the yard, and any one single reanimation is really strong. Other strategies in black that like singularly powerful creatures, like Demons, would like this card a lot, too. If you’re just using a bunch of small value creatures, getting them all at once via something like Command the Dreadhorde is probably better.
I love this cycle of artifacts. Big time power, cool colour identity stuff, lots of flash, cost reduction… and then there’s The Circle of Loyalty plodding along behind the pack, pretending that it belongs with the rest. I don’t think this a bad card by any stretch, but it pales in comparison with the rest of the cycle. Really pales. It’s so pale, it’s more colourless than even white. In a jokey sense, not in magic card sense. It’s a pretty white magic card. The CMC reduction might look easy to pull off, but having 4 Knights in play is not as easy as four creatures in a graveyard. I think it’s actually the toughest reduction condition of the entire cycle. Embercleave wants the same number of attackers, but doesn’t care about type. The anthem effect is fine, but if you never cast a legendary spell, or tap this to make knights, it’s not worth the spot in your deck. Even if you do cast legendary spells, getting a 2/2 knight body (3/3 with the Circle) as a side effect for playing your Commander or another Leggo is okay, not great. Knight Exemplar isn’t legendary, and not all great knight cards are. Paying 4 to make that same 2/2 token is a mana sink, but is terribly overcosted vs. Commander game impact. None of these abilities are bad, they’re just not great, and don’t make make this card much better as a sum of their parts. Outside of knight tribal, I can’t see this being played. It’s not good enough for a Legendary-matters strategy.
The Great Henge is great. I will make a direct comparison to Zendikar Resurgent.
Personally, I feel like Zendikar Resurgent is a little too much ‘win more’ for my tastes, but I think it really embodies what the format is all about. For your seven mana, you get two huge advantages that enable you to do lots of cool stuff. Both abilities are very green, and do things that almost all green decks want to do. This is a powerhouse in the only format where 7 mana cards that don’t win the game on the spot are worth anything. Green has a bunch of these powerful enabler cards now, and while they can get expensive (Doubling Season, Parallel Lives, Primal Vigor, Mana Reflection), they get a ton of use. The Great Henge is the next great big green card. The cost reduction is easy. I’ve seen discussions about curving into it with Lovestruck Beast in Standard. Green decks can easily make big power, like with Ghalta, Primal Hunger, or just dump a bunch of mana dorks onto the field. Either way, you can get this down early.
While the mana production isn’t as good as ZR, it is independent of your lands, and comes with a nifty lifegain bonus. Having lifegain payoffs can be really strong, and this is one you’ll be using a lot.
The card draw ability is the big obvious feature of The Great Henge, and it’s important to note it triggers on ETB, not cast, so your blinks and such work well with this. The issue, unfortunately, is that the +1/+1 counter ability works REALLY well with persist.
I profiled Grumgully yesterday in part 1 as a persist combo enabler that might really really suck. This might, too. Being able to arbitrarily draw your whole deck with this is real and possible. Green decks can dump dorks onto the field, play this for cheap, grab a sac outlet and a persist guy, and finish things off in a few moves with the ubiquitous Craterhoof Behemoth. I bet I see it in person before the end of the year. I will guess… turn 5.
The Magic Mirror is kind of like blue’s Zendikar Resurgent. It’s not quite to that power level unless you’re abusing it, but it does big splashy things that blue wants to do. The cost reduction is anything from insanely easy if you’re running cantrips like a Legacy deck, or tough unless you’re milling yourself. My guess is that a deck playing this without specifically trying to play it cheaply would pay 6-7 for it most of the time. That’s not bad. As with the cauldron above, Yuriko decks want to take a good look at this. I’m not sure I want something like Embercleave in the Command Zone, but it would be fun to use a card like this as a Commander. Something for the Rules Committees to think about, maybe the next time they do silver-bordered for a month.
Most players love having no maximum hand size. I’m not sure I can add anything to that. It’s a draw, for sure. Speaking of draw, though, The Magic Mirror (the Magic Mirror – all the others are mere reflections…) is a potential powerhouse. Proliferate is a good start. Paradox Haze has another reason to be. This won’t win you the game, but it’ll give you some gas. Being able to draw on your upkeep can be really useful, as some other upkeep triggers might kill you, and drawing an answer might be your only option. I love this design, and hope it isn’t too expensive, but I feel like it’s going to be very popular, and maybe expensive, with good reason.
How fancy. Folio of Fancies is the next in a long line of magic cards depicting flying books. If you (or Tezzeret) turned this into an artifact creature, it wouldn’t have flying. That’s weird. And this card is a bit weird, too. Clearly Nekusar, the Mind Razer is all over this. Mill strategies will love this too, as sometimes forcing a draw is the missing step to victory. I played one of my Mill decks once, and was actually stonewalled by an opponent with no cards in their deck, but with a Necropotence in play. This card also just happens to have a fantabulous Mill ability. One of the best ever.
The Folio is probably also a lot of fun for group hug. It probably plays really well in reanimator decks like The Scarab God and Stitcher Geralf. If you can get heavy use of either the second or third ability, this is worth including in your deck.
Mace of the Valiant is a brawl-precon-only card. I expect this can get out of hand pretty quick. Sometimes a go-wide strategy gets blocked out by a single Ghostly Prison, and it’s useful to have a card like this to suit up your Commander or a random dork and try and push through. ETBs are easy to build up, especially in white where tokens and blink thrive. Proliferate is less common, but still doable. If you’re doing Voltron with white, even as a secondary colour, this is worth a look.
Midnight Clock, what can I say about you? I want to love you. You’re a mana rock that somehow turns into my own personal Timetwister. If only that were what you are. If only. You’re missing something, Midnight Clock, and it’s the same two word phrase Cinderella is missing from her Stepmother when she wants to go to the ball: ‘You may.’ When do I want the clock to strike 12? Well, I don’t know, but not being able to control it is really troublesome. The counters go on each upkeep, not just on yours, so this is going to happen within 3 turn cycles. You can only really speed it up, unless you’re doing something weird with Hex Parasite or something. Until we get a blue legendary creature that can remove counters, this might not be so playable. Then again I could be way wrong. Drawing seven cards on any turn is gas. If you shuffle away ten cards, or the two cards you were going to use to win the game, you’re not as excited about that, however. So who wants this? The Locust God for sure. Decks that want to dig to a particular card could do worse, as this is a mana rock otherwise. Decks that can copy this (not legendary) and make it happen every turn will love all that card draw. Proliferate decks that can leverage the counter buildup and make the timing work for them will love this, too. I have a weird deck that likes counters of different kinds, and appreciates both this and The Magic Mirror.
Sorcerous Spyglass is a reprint. Nothing too exciting here, but it’s another chance to grab this card, and in the cool frameless version pictured above. This is mostly a meta choice, as you can run into plenty of games with no useful targets. But if you know of a certain Commander that routinely wrecks you with activated abilities, look no further than this. You do not have to name a card found in your opponent’s hand.
Stonecoil Serpent is also probably a meta choice. It blocks nasties like Kaalia of the Vast really well, among others. All of the keywords are really strong, especially in combination. Any deck that loves X spells, like Rosheen Meanderer, might like this as a powerful beater/blocker. Some decks might like the fact that this is essentially a 0-cost artifact/creature that can be played with an immediate death trigger. You can drop this for 0 to trigger Dictate of Erebos, for example. Playing that same line with Enduring Renewal in play kills all the opposing creatures with however many repeats you need. Add Impact Tremors to win the game! Snake tribal probably wants this, and +1/+1 counter strategies might take a look too. It’s possible this is a big player in other formats, most Standard, in which case it might be expensive.
While Tome of Legends isn’t going to rewrite the history books, it is a pretty good card draw engine for decks that struggle to do that in their colours. White and red decks are obvious considerations here. If those decks have a cheap commander that either gets killed and cast repeatedly, or that attacks a lot, this could be great. Grenzo Havoc Warden is a good example of either, but this was made to be paired with Norin the Wary.
The big issue for Tome of Legends isn’t the page counters, as you can stack those up easily enough, it’s the activation cost. Having any mana cost is a huge gap between no mana cost, because it cuts into your other plays. Red and white feel this the worst. Tapping holds this back, too. It still probably makes the cut for red and white, but falls well short of the other colours.
Vantress Gargoyle is an extremely undercosted big flyer that has to jump through a few hoops to do combat. I doubt there’s much incentive to play this in Commander based on that. But niche abilities stack up sometimes, and this looks good for Phenax, God of Deception. While it might not be the best blocking option, it still blocks well against other big flyers when you have the cards, and the tap ability is an okay source of Mill. Add those two things, plus the fact that it’s sneakily a 4 toughness creature for 2 mana, and it might make the cut in Phenax decks.
I have zero useful perspective on tutors like Wishclaw Talisman. Yup, find the card you need. Giving this to an opponent is fine for politicking, and it’s a lovely gross piece of flavour for your Hallowe’en and Needful Things deck.
Arcanist’s Owl might be tough to cast, but it’s in good blink colours, and will draw you a card a lot of the time, especially in artifact or enchantment heavy decks. Limiting the draw to those kinds of cards can be a major upside. A 3/3 flying blocking body can be pretty useful, too. A solid budget role-player. Would do well in Brago decks.
Enchanted Carriage is this weird combination of awesome flavour and subtle flavour fail. I like vehicles well enough, and this is a pretty good one. Making crew bodies is something vehicles can struggle with. It is way overcosted, though, for being essentially a 4/4 with some upside. Where this fails for me is in P/T. This whole set has P/T problems. That’s Power and Toughness. The King is a giant at 5/5, bigger than many of the Giants in the set, who are 4/3s and 4/4s. Here we have to believe that a vehicle made out of a pumpkin is the equal of those giants. Fantasy is fantasy, so I’ll let that one go, but the Mouse tokens being 1/1s is a total facepalm. This is how I feel it should read: ‘When Enchanted Carriage ETBs, create two 0/1 white Mouse creature tokens. Mouse creature tokens you control get +1/+0.’ This way Mice don’t trade with humans, elves, and other 1/1s that can squish mice without a second thought, but can still crew the pumpkin. Also, if they had made the tokens Mouse Footman tokens, I would be fine with 1/1. But just Mice? 0/1.
Heraldic Banner is actually kind of a wow card for me. I feel like this is really, really good. Lots of mono-coloured decks would love either an anthem effect, or a mana rock, and this gives you both in a single card. Zombie and Goblin decks are an obvious starting place. Both Krenkos can use this, and so can more than a few multi-colour decks that make a lot of creature tokens in one colour. Even the Locust God might like this, as the opportunity cost of doubling the power of your insects stapled to a mana rock is pretty great, even if it only gets you one colour of mana. Go-wide decks with low starting power on their creatures will get the most out of this.
Inquisitive Puppet is unlikely to be seen at many Commander tables. But he is pretty flavourful, and ETB scry isn’t bad. I really don’t like the exile clause here, though, but that could change, as the game looks to be using that as design space now, with Adventures and such. Maybe in the future an easy exile outlet with scry attached will be big game.
Shambling Suit only gets mentioned here because I’ve played against a ton of decks now that can drop dozens of artifacts/enchantments onto the field. Those decks usually struggle to find a finisher. Inkwell Leviathan may be tough to deal with, but the clock is slow. Try this guy instead.
Sorcerer’s Broom + Ashnod’s Altar + haste + Cryptolith Rite + a chump creature = infinite ETB triggers, Mickey. Tap your chump for mana, sac it for 2 more, then make a broom with the mana. Then tap and sac the Broom to do it again. You are so screwed once the Sorcerer gets your mess cleaned up though, Mickey. I hope you’re one of those 1/1 Mice so you can fight back a little. Hopefully the Sorcerer isn’t a 5/5 human.
Gingerbrute breaks new ground that probably seems obvious in hindsight. ‘Cannot be blocked except by creatures with haste’ is a phrase that makes so much sense now that it’s on a card. We need to go back and errata all the Cheetahs, Dragsters, and such. Not really, but this wording really reflects speed in a way that no Magic card has been able to do before. This is a great contribution to Magic. As a hasty, evasive creature, Gingerbrute even has a few good homes in decks like Yuriko (again), Grenzo (again!) and Marisi, Breaker of the Coil. Note to all Changeling players: Food is an artifact subtype, not a creature subtype. Changelings are Eggs, Fish, Beasts, Plants, and such, but they are not Food.
Steelclaw Lance might sneak into the odd budget knight tribal build. Maybe in Brawl. If multicoloured equipment ever becomes a thing, this is out there.
One one level, Witch’s Oven is great. It’s a creature sac outlet with a low cost to cast and use. Though it’s a tapper, so the use is limited. It makes either one or two artifact tokens as a payoff, which might be worth looking into. Reckless Fireweaver is a good start. Improvise cards, Goblin Welder, and others can make use of random artifacts, especially if they come from saccing a creature that was going to die anyway. It’s kind of funny to think of what food you’d make out of various creatures. I hope peoples’ tokens reflect that.
Where Witch’s Oven falls down is that is makes Food tokens. Spoiler alert, they’re not good. They’re like bad clues that lead nowhere. I’ll break down the payoffs in part 3, but suffice it to say that the Food aspect of the Witch’s Oven is borderline irrelevant.
Brimstone Trebuchet is slow, but it can add reach to your Knight deck and maybe provide a useful block or two. Reach, defined as either blocking flyers or damage over time, really helps this card be more than junk. Brawl’s lower life totals also help.
Crashing Drawbridge is amazing. Like Gingerbrute, it plays with new design space in haste. Blue and Black have almost no options to give the entire team haste. Flipping a Lightning Greaves back and forth works for activations, but not Alpha Strikes. I love that this is a wall, I love the CMC, and I love that it goes in any deck. I don’t know if this is quite staple-worthy, but this is a great package, and may be Brawl’s closest answer to Lightning Greaves.
If Crashing Drawbridge is Lightning Greaves, Crystal Slipper must be Swiftfoot Boots. I’m totally ignoring the shroud/hexproof aspects. It’s Brawl. Take what you can get. In both Brawl and Commander, haste is really important to a lot of strategies. If your combat-oriented Commander has to wait a full cycle of opponent turns to start doing its thing, you might not get the chance. Same with activated ability Commanders that tap. There may be no tomorrow. While this is one of the worse haste equipment pieces, it’s flavourful, should be cheap, should look nice in foil, and might be good for a Voltron concept that wants as much power as possible.
Giant’s Skewer is a repeatable Food token generator. One of the few.
Golden Egg should be an egg type. If a sorcery can be a Goblin, this can be an egg. Why? The ink is barely dry on Atla Palani, and this set is supposed to be about flavour. What’s the harm?
Why do I mention Mantle of Tides? Because moving equipment around at instant speed on a manaless trigger is interesting. Like a lot of little niche designs, this is new. It might not be powerful, but it’s worth noting. Watch out for cards like Dismantling Blow.
Rosethorn Halberd is mentioned because it can skip the equip cost on ETB. It’s a weird trigger, and not unique, but could lead to surprise budget voltron kills.
The next in my miniseries of equipment that mostly sucks but has a new or rarely seen feature is Shining Armor. This combines flash equipment with free ETB equip, and adds a weird clause where if you have a knight, you have to attach this to it. No may in the wording. Weird. Might save your Brawl Commander once. The CMC is ok.
Weapon Rack isn’t great, and it doesn’t do much that graft doesn’t, but if you’re all about grafting, and you have effects like Pir and proliferate that make every counter movement into counter multiplication, this might help you. Could be okay for Brawl decks as there aren’t many colourless artifacts overall, and this could round out some concepts. Sorcery speed sucks, and I don’t know why this needed that.
I was asked about whether Witching Well is playable in Commander. Short answer, yes. Urza, Lord High Artificer would use this just fine. Scry and card draw are both welcome in Commander, but to maximize this thing’s utility and make it a real card, you have to leverage the lesser qualities. It adds a blue mana symbol for devotion, it’s an artifact, it has a self-sac trigger, it has an ETB trigger.
The long answer on Witching Well is that being playable in Commander is all about what you want it to be. Still yes. If it fits your style, or your theme, or you just like it, play it. I think just asking the question means you want to play it, but are looking for an excuse. You don’t need one. Especially in the case of a little card like this that does a bunch of useful things. Scry and card draw are always good. Get a foil and be happy.
Usually big set releases like this one come with a dual-land cycle. This one doesn’t, in large part because Ravnica was all about dual-coloured stuff. I’m glad they focused on mono-colour lands. These lands are a great bunch in general. What follows is a treasure trove of Commander goodness.
Fabled Passage is one of several new or newish cards that can go in almost every deck, alongside Arcane Signet and Prismatic Vista from Modern Horizons. At rare this shouldn’t be too expensive but there will be almost no end of demand. It might be medium-expensive. Foils will be. It’s also possible this could be a frequent printing, and be included in a lot of precons going forward. I hope so. This is naturally best in landfall and lands matter decks, but there’s minimal downside here at all.
Castle Ardenvale is the first of the rare castle cycle. This isn’t game-breaking, but it easily goes into any white deck, and doesn’t need a Plains to be worth playing. It’s funny to say that this is a better token maker than The Circle of Loyalty, which makes 3/3 knights for a slightly better cost, but context matters a lot. Most of the time, this is a Plains. Most of the time, Plains are lands that tap for W. Type matters sometimes, basic matters sometimes, etc., but if you can afford to have a Plains in your deck, you can probably fit this card in. It doesn’t matter if you can leverage humans, or whatever, you have a Plains that can do something most Plains cannot. Maybe that chump token saves the game, or suits up in Embercleave. Maybe you just tap the Castle for W all game, like a Plains. This is what it means to have ‘Low Opportunity Cost’: upside on something you were going to play anyway. In this way, a Plains that makes tokens is better than an artifact that does a bunch of durdling, because it doesn’t take up a slot in your deck that could be filled with something better. All of these lands share that basic premise, where they’re usually at least as good as a basic land of the same colour. Even if the payoff is minimal, these are ALL playable.
Castle Embereth is really strong. Think go wide tokens, Voltron, go-tall, and even Fling. Every little bit helps, and if you’re swinging with ten 1/1 goblin tokens, an activation of this represents 10 damage. Amazing.
Castle Garenbrig pairs up beautifully with cards that untap your lands, add mana to their activations, or what have you. This is poised to do work. Like a mini Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx for green, without needing devotion. Sort of. Another home run.
Castle Lochthwain is a painful activation, but some Commanders love pain, like the new Greven, Predator Captain. While hellbent, however, this is tremendous. Even with a single card in hand, the ability to start rebuilding off an empty board is amazing. As an emergency draw, this will hurt, but may be worth it. Drawing cards wins games. Note that you cannot interrupt the ability by discarding or playing cards between drawing and losing the life.
Castle Vantress is maybe the best of a very good cycle. Scry is unbelievable, especially at instant speed, and there’s a growing number of decks that care about what’s on top. Every blue deck should play this if they can.
When Tournament Grounds was spoiled, I hoped it was the first of a cycle. I’m sad it wasn’t, but it’s a fine singleton. This card is only available in a brawl Precon. The knight one. I’m sure you figured that out. Same with what usage this suggests. Mardu knights or 4/5C knights. But this does have two or three other niche applications, and those are Changelings, Commanders with the knight subtype (but not doing knight tribal), and coloured equipment. Changelings is the least niche, but has access to better lands than this.
I can’t believe Dwarven Mine and friends have a basic type. These are amazing. Amazing. They’re a little hampered by needing other lands of the same type to work their ETB, but that’s totally doable. It only means you can’t abuse these early on. This one gives you a chump blocker at whatever speed you can play the land. Got a fetch and a few mountains and need a blocker to live one more turn? This gets you there. Being a 1/1 and a dwarf might be relevant to a few decks, too.
Gingerbread Cabin is like several effects in one. A Food token, an artifact, and lifegain. All from a land you can stuff into most green decks. There’s no reason not to play this, and the more you can leverage the token, the better. It seems like the artifact aspect of it is the best leverage point.
Idyllic Grange does a simple thing that has extremely wide reach across Magic strategies: the humble +1/+1 counter. Can you find an application? I’m sure you can. Even if it’s just making your Commander a bit bigger. There are more than a few cards that care about Plains’, most notably Emeria, the Sky Ruin. Karametra, God of the Harvest loves both Forests and Plains’ and should look at both this card and the one above. White also gives you Ruin Ghost, who can blink stuff like this for incremental value.
Mystic Sanctuary is scary good. Name 100 blue spells worth casting a second time. Aw shucks, make it 200. Manipulate the top of your deck, or turn it into payoffs, like Yuriko (this is secretly a ninja set. Who knew?), and this only gets better. Many people have pegged ‘Island’ as the best card in magic. This is Island with Upside. Badass. It strikes me that this might be very valuable in foil, not just because of Commander demand, but also for Pauper. I may be wrong, but Pauper thrives on grindy effects like this. It strikes me that you can easily blink this….
Witch’s Cottage rounds out the artifacts and lands with a final awesome playable card. While we’ve had Mortuary Mire around for a while now, this is like a very welcome second copy with a super relevant land type. Your deck may not care about Swamps as much as your local wetland conservation authority, but it shouldn’t stop you from playing this card.
With very few exceptions, the artifacts and lands of Throne of Eldraine are packed with goodness for all formats, especially Commander. Lots to look forward to. Part 3 tomorrow. Thanks for reading!