Eldraine is a new world within the Magic multi-verse. Although previously unvisited, it is not unknown. Players will know it as the home of Rowan and Will Kenrith: twin planeswalkers first introduced in the Battlebond expansion. It is a medieval, high-fantasy styled realm. A realm of questing knights and magical creatures.
Throne of Eldraine is the 82nd expansion for Magic the Gathering (MtG), released on 4 October 2019. The set is comprised of 269 cards: 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, and 20 basic lands.
Collectors will be able to chase a further 128 alternate art and promo cards. These will be available at in-store events or from products such as Planeswalker Decks and Collector Boosters.
Marketed as MtG's take on the classic fairytale, this set draws in elements of Arthurian legend and various European fairytales. Arthur himself appears to have been the inspiration for the buy-a-box promo card Kenrith,the Returned King. The influence of Arthurian legend can also be felt through the prevalence of Knights in the expansion. Knights are available in all five colours, making knight tribal a strong possibility in drafting. Non-Human is also a strong theme, with synergies mostly based in green and blue.
The artwork in this set stands out from other recent expansions, largely due to the Showcase card variants. Showcase is something new - a card treatment designed to play up the set's overall theme. For Throne of Eldraine that means beautifully illustrated, much sought after, story book style cards.
The overall result is a good looking, thematic mash-up reminiscent of the Lorwyn and Shadowmoor expansions.
New Key Word Ability
Cards with the Adamant key word will resolve with an additional effect or replace the base effect. To trigger the adamant ability, at least three mana of the stated colour must be spent to cast the spell. The adamant key word encourages mono colour drafting in sealed events.
Adventure is a mechanic you will find on some creatures from Eldraine. Those creatures have an Instant or Sorcery effect attached to them. When casting the spell, the player had a choice. They may cast the creature as normal, or cast it as the attached Instant or Sorcery.
If cast as an Instant or Sorcery, the creature is placed 'on an adventure' beside the battlefield. It cannot be targeted, except by a spell that specifically targets creatures on an adventure. On a player's turn, the adventuring creature can be cast as normal and moved to the battlefield.
- Hybrid Mana
Hybrid mana is a combination of two mana colours. When casting a spell with hybrid mana symbols, players can use mana of either colour to pay the cost.
Food is introduced as an artifact subtype. Food tokens can be sacrificed for two mana to gain three life.
Three new creature types are introduced in this set: Peasant, Warlock, and Mouse. The creature type Noble is reintroduced after a short absence.
Oko is introduced as a new planeswalker.
The Wildered Quest
Each MtG expansion is released with an accompanying story. The Throne of Eldraine represents the start of a new planeswalker story arc. We are introduced to Oko, a fey planeswalker, from an as yet unknown plane. Garruk also makes a return, as do Rowan and Will Kenrith:
The High King is missing. After three months no trace or clue to his fate has yet been found. His children, twins Rowan and Will, decide to embark on a quest to undercover his whereabouts. The twin's powers are strong, but Eldraine is a dangerous place. Their journey will take them into the enchanted wilds, and face to face with the planeswalkers Oko and Garruk Wildspeaker. Oko has already mesmerised Garruk, reducing the great hunter to the role of subservient bodyguard. Unknown to the twins, Oko is responsible for the King's disappearance. The planeswalker plans to further destabilise Eldraine by unleashing the denizens of the wilds. It will fall to the twins to overcome Oko and restore the plane's status quo.
Thoughts on the set
When this set was first teased I had mixed feelings. I liked the lean in towards Knight tribal. However, I thought the fairytale theme might be too childish (Shrek came to mind). On balance, I think the theme has the right tone. I don't like some individual cards, but that can be said for any MtG expansion. Overall I think Throne of Eldraine is a solid set.
I enjoyed running knight tribal decks during pre-release sealed events. Experimenting with the non-human synergies in subsequent drafts has also been fun. Many of those cards have since found homes in a variety of my decks. Cards like Gadwick, the Wizened Ayara, First of Locthwain, Queen of Ice, and Murderous Rider have also been fun to play. As recent expansions go, I have found this to be one of the most enjoyable to draft.