Last updated on November 28, 2023
Moonshaker Cavalry | Illustration by Aldo Dominguez
Wilds of Eldraine (WOE) is here, and with each new MTG set comes the excitement of being able to test new strategies and play with new cards, whether in Limited, Constructed, Cube, EDH, you name it. Not all cards are created equally, so we're only going to be ranking the best ones. The ones that wow people. The ones that actually make it into our decks.
These are my predictions for the best Wilds of Eldraine cards, the cards for which the set will be remembered not only now but in years to come.
With that in mind, let’s go straight to the rankings!
Hopeless Nightmare does a nice black aggro/burn impression, and it also comes with a discard effect. It triggers prowess and can be blinked in Yorion, Sky Nomad decks. It should at least see some play in aggressive black decks, and in this regard, it’s similar to cards like Okiba Reckoner Raid. Decks that want to sacrifice their own permanents for value get a scry 2 bonus with this one.
A nod to Spellstutter Sprite, which saw some play in various formats, Spell Stutter is at least playable on curve. After all, most decks that play Make Disappear don’t sacrifice a creature. With some fairies around, you’ve got a Mana Leak on your hands, or even better. Spell Stutter is a good reason to play 1-drop faeries, and it gets better with flash faeries since it’s harder for your opponents to play around the counter.
Torch the Tower is at least a Flame-Blessed Bolt, a card that sees play every now and then in Standard, with the potential to be better thanks to bargain. Expect Torch the Tower to make decks if exiling becomes more relevant.
Here’s a somewhat better Generous Gift, a card that sees a lot of play in EDH. Giving them a 1/1 is certainly better than a 3/3, but you can’t hit lands with it. At least you can play both in the same deck.
Four mana to exile a creature or planeswalker isn’t a good deal, but it’s not the end of the world either. Cards like Utter End or Vraska's Contempt have seen play. Here you’ll get a free Cranial Extraction, which is key to strip decks of their win conditions. There are lots of threats that you want to get rid of all copies for good. If I’m playing a control in Explorer and someone kills my Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, I’m just playing another one. But if I lose all of them, I’m screwed. Sometimes you’ll even be able to cast The End for 2 mana.
It’s not clear if Devouring Sugarmaw will see play or not, but I like its chances especially given that it’s got adventure. Creating a 1/1 Human token and a Food token is key to beating red decks, and it gives the Sugarmaw fuel for at least two rounds. Also, they work well together like Lovestruck Beast. If you draw multiples, you can play the adventure of one to alleviate the downside of the other.
If there’s a real faerie deck in Standard, Obyra, Dreaming Duelist will have a huge role in it. It’s like Soaring Thought-Thief in its Standard format. Obyra is a flash-and-flying threat that gives your opponents a hell of a time, and I can see this archetype being terrible to play against in the next few months or so.
Troyan, Gutsy Explorer is a strong card in ramp decks, especially in EDH. It’s capable of generating 2 mana for expensive cards only, it takes you from 3 to 5+ mana quickly, and it can even be a looter to go through your deck and find what’s needed.
Look, a 1/1 prowess for 1 mana is a card that has a playable pedigree. In a spells-matter deck, Elusive Otter is both a noncreature spell and a spell, so it works very well in multiples. A 1-drop that’s awesome as a late-game top deck is good in my books.
Four mana (or 6 if it’s cast with flash) to make all creatures into 1/1’s isn’t a bad deal. Asinine Antics has the potential to be that auto-include card in blue EDH decks. Since you’ll be creating all these Cursed role tokens, it works wonders with effects that care about enchantments entering the battlefield or the number of enchantments you control. EDH decks like Toxrill, the Corrosive enjoy killing all 1/1 creatures, while decks like Esix, Fractal Bloom have a totally busted turn when creating all these enchantments at once.
Spiteful Hexmage is a 3/2 creature for 1 mana with a downside. It’s powerful, but you’ll have to curse another one of your creatures (including your own 3/2) if you don’t have anything else lying around. The thing with this guy is that it’s awesome with bargain since you’ll sacrifice the Cursed role token to improve your board. You can also play it in decks that make free creatures like Memnite or Ornithopter or decks that nullify ETB effects.
Sleep-Cursed Faerie reminds me of a 3/3 flying for 1-mana with suspend 3. It’s also a faerie, which can be very relevant in the upcoming Standard, enabling synergies. You can even pay 2 mana or more to take the counters off at instant speed. Cards that untap with activated abilities have a history of being broken with tap/untap effects so this creature can probably be abused as a combo piece.
Here’s a 3/3 flier that can also be a great sweeper, provided that your graveyard has the tools. The most common patterns with Specter of Mortality will be to cast it and give other creatures -2/-2, but the sweeper effect can scale and the Specter won’t be affected at all.
Tough Cookie reads: 3 mana, transform one of your artifact tokens into a 4/4. Between Clues, Treasures, Blood tokens, and more, you can convert mana into creatures very efficiently. It can even gain life because it’s a food creature itself. I’d be surprised if EDH didn't adopt this card wholeheartedly.
This 2-drop can be very, very, big. Cards like Crusader of Odric used to be a 3-drop and count-only creatures. Regal Bunnicorn is even better because it counts all nonland permanents. This is a beater in decks filled with token production or Treasure production, and giving it evasion gives you wins. In a Standard environment, it’s not hard for Regal Bunnicorn to be a vanilla 4/4 or bigger.
Goddric, Cloaked Reveler is a 3/3 with haste for 3 mana, which are solid stats to see Constructed play. Some turns, it even attacks as a 4/4 flying dragon. Cards like Squee, Dubious Monarch in Standard can provide the celebration trigger each turn, and Voldaren Epicure and Bloodtithe Harvester can do it too.
Imodane, the Pyrohammer turns your burn spells that don’t go face into spells that go face. Take Flame Slash, a sorcery that deals 4 damage to a creature, now it deals 4 damage to each opponent! That’s huge. Cards like Roast and Squash just got a lot better.
If you’re paying 8 mana to find some creatures, better put them into play together. Thunderous Debut does a nice Tooth and Nail impression, and instead of paying the entwine cost, you’ll have to bargain. Twenty cards is a lot, so chances are you’re getting nice creatures out of this.
Pollen-Shield Hare is the combination of buffing creature tokens and a combat trick that gives +X/+X, where X is the number of creatures you control. Both spells in Selesnya token decks are excellent, and you couldn’t ask for more. It’s probably going to be good in EDH and has some potential in Standard.
I’m high on Questing Druid because it’s a Quirion Dryad mixed with a worse Reckless Impulse. Both cards combine well, and if you have enough mana, the cards cast from the adventure buff the druid. They get better in multiples too. I see this card as a worse Reckless Impulse with legs, and I’m hoping that it’s a better card overall.
Scalding Viper does a good Eidolon of the Great Revel impression, although it deals only 1 damage per spell cast. At least it damages only your opponents, and with the tackled adventure, it can be a solid pillar for a spell slinger/tempo/counter burn deck.
It’s not a very exciting card on its face, but considering the amount of play that cards like Undying Malice or Feign Death see across multiple formats, it’s safe to say that Not Dead After All will see play. It doesn’t put the +1/+1 counter on a creature, so it works better in conjunction with Undying Malice and the undying mechanic.
Gruff Triplets brings three 3/3 bodies for 6 mana, and if you kill one, the others get stronger. The three 3/3 creatures become two 6/6s, and finally a 12/12. It looks like a nice green creature for Commander and a sideboard or maindeck threat for Standard because some decks will have a hard time dealing with it. If you manage to blink the main creature, it gets silly.
Shivan Devastator is a big hasty X/X creature with flying and a very powerful card. Song of Totentanz has the same principle divided among many creatures, and this is devastating with lots of stuff, from Torbran, Thane of Red Fell to Mechanized Warfare. It’s almost a win condition with Cavalcade of Calamity. A very strong card to deal with control decks, especially after a sweeper.
There’s no doubt that rare dual lands are among the most played cards in a given set. I want to put these in the middle of the list because they look unexciting and enter the battlefield tapped, but they’ll still be played in Constructed decks across many formats.
These are also win conditions in control decks, and they fight sorcery speed sweepers very well. Restless Vinestalk can become a 5/5 trampler and make another creature into a base 3/3, while Restless Bivouac is a mini Raging Ravine. In Standard, 2-color decks probably want three or four copies, while other decks want at least one or two copies of the creature lands they can play, and the same can be said for EDH decks.
Giving +2/+2 for enchanted creatures is no joke, and that gives role tokens another dimension entirely. A Tale for the Ages brings a good reason to play auras, and in EDH decks that care about auras or enchantments, you should give this one a try. Tempered Steel was a Standard/Modern staple, and this card has the potential.
Expel the Interlopers is your 5-mana wrath from the set. This is a very selective wrath, and that’s always interesting because you can keep all your 2/2s and destroy all creatures with power 3 or greater. If you play this card in a Commander deck and your commander is a 6/6, you can destroy all creatures with power 7 or greater. It can be a spot removal for really big creatures like Ghalta, Primal Hunger too.
Mosswood Dreadknight is a very Jundy card. You get a 3/2 that can block, mind you, and when it dies, you can cast the adventure again, draw a card by paying 1 life, and be ready to cast the creature again. You’ll be able to do that each time the creature dies, so it’s great to play against control decks. I expect this card to do great in Standard, and in EDH it’s at least a creature tackled to a card draw spell.
I don’t think we’ve had a legendary creature that cared about tapping creatures before, but here it is. Hylda of the Icy Crown offers you insane benefits for tapping creatures out just by paying extra mana. Look what you can do now with that Blinding Mage of yours. It gets silly with Narcolepsy because that enchantment taps the enchanted creature each turn. It’s hard to say that Hylda will see Standard play because these cards usually underperform, and it looks interesting in EDH at least.
Heartflame Duelist is a hell of a card against burn/aggro decks, and it comes with its own burn spell in the adventure side. It’s also one of the few creatures to give instants and sorceries lifelink. Just keep in mind that in Firesong and Sunspeaker EDH decks, the lifelink doesn’t stack, but it’s still a very nice inclusion. This card is a good 5-drop, coming with its own Lightning Bolt.
Realm-Scorcher Hellkite is a strong 6-drop dragon, allowing you to have a 4/6 with haste that, if bargained, produces 4 mana. This mana can be used to pay its own ping ability or to cast another spell. It’s a strong inclusion in ramp decks, especially against weenie decks where you’ll be able to punish those 2/1s.
Beluna Grandsquall is one of the few commanders to have an adventure. It cares about adventures, and it’s in the right colors because there’s a lot of support for adventures in Temur (). You can abuse the adventure side to fill your hands with adventures or cast the commander to make cards with adventure cheaper.
Agatha of the Vile Cauldron is a Gruul commander focused on creatures with good and expensive activated abilities. Just by being around, it can reduce the activated abilities cost by 1, and that can go up with equipment and anthem effect. There’s also an incentive to go wide, so if you can combine cards that make tokens via activated abilities, you’re set. Cards like Ant Queen and Jade Mage get much better, as do the Invokers.
Will, Scion of Peace is the lifegain mirror of Rowan, Scion of War. It’s a 2/4 that makes spells cheaper based on the life you’ve gained. It’s only sorcery speed, so you won’t benefit from flash spells. Giving lifelink to Will turns it into a mana dork.
You can build this deck in many interesting ways, abusing big lifelinking creatures like Dream Trawler, gaining a bunch of life, and casting big X sorceries like Blue Sun's Zenith or White Sun's Zenith. It looks like a good creature for Standard too, and you can attack and activate the ability at the same turn thanks to vigilance.
Rowan, Scion of War is the most belligerent version of the Eldraine Twins, allowing you to get huge discounts of mana by paying life. The thing is, losing life is easier than gaining (and much more dangerous). You can have a card like Bolas's Citadel or Ad Nauseam that lets you lose 20+ life in a turn and convert it into a giant Crackle with Power to win. It’s probably better in EDH than Will, and I think Will gets the edge in Standard.
Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender is an exciting colorless creature. It’s a planeswalker killer in potential, can give you life because it’s a food creature, and also grows when other artifacts are destroyed or sacrificed. You can have a giant Syr Ginger just by throwing Blood tokens and Treasure tokens away. In decks dedicated to sacrificing artifacts (Cat Oven Combo?), it’s going to be a scary threat.
Virtue of Loyalty is at least a 2/2 flash creature for 2 mana, which is decent. In decks looking to go wide and with +1/+1 counter synergies, the effect of putting a +1/+1 counter on every creature is also good.
Blossoming Tortoise is a turtle that’s also a “land lord.” You’ll give +1/+1 to your creature lands and activate them at a cheaper cost. It’s also a way to find them, considering the ability to mill and retrieve them from your graveyard. Decks that care about lands (The Gitrog Monster) and self-mill are eager to count with this turtle in EDH. I suspect it can find a home in Standard decks, especially with many manlands around.
There’s a 2-mana mana rock back in Standard after nearly a decade. The Irencrag is legendary, so there’s this problem with drawing too many of them, although it’s negligible in EDH. Once you don’t need the mana production anymore, you can convert it into equipment and give a guy +3/+3. Good early and late, indeed.
Everything about Kellan, the Fae-Blooded is good. It’s got a tackled tutor for auras and equipment on the adventure side, and it’s a great creature to pile high with auras and equipment. You can only cast the adventure if you want to, provided that each time you’ll pay 2 more due to commander tax, so you can even use this card as a commander only for tutoring auras and equipment.
Decadent Dragon is one of the best threats of the set. Its adventure side is like the effect from Siphon Insight, you’ll get some cards to cast. Or you can simply cast the dragon to apply pressure. Or both. Unlike kicker, you don’t need to do that the same turn. You can play a Rakdos deck where you hold removal, and you fire the adventure and follow with the dragon if opponents don’t play anything. It’s a pattern we’ve seen countless times with cards like Bonecrusher Giant.
Virtue of Persistence is Debtors' Knell, a card that used to be good enough to have an entire strategy built around it. It’s expensive at 7 mana, I’ll tell you that, but the 2 mana removal spell adventure makes it a safe inclusion in decks, ensuring you have something to do in the early game and even gain some life.
Is it WotC’s goal to put Panharmonicon in every color and every permanent type now? Virtue of Knowledge is exactly that, and it’s got an adventure tacked onto it to allow you to copy an activated or triggered ability you control. What’s more, it’s an adventure, and that has synergies with old Throne of Eldraine cards like Lucky Clover. Enchantment decks and Yarok, the Desecrated decks alike will find this card useful.
According to WotC, we’ll only get one planeswalker per set for the time being, so WOE only has Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator. But is it good? Short answer, yes. What makes a huge difference in this Ashiok design is that it’s all themed across having cards in exile. You can exile cards from the top of your library instead of paying life, and that’s huge with cards like Bolas's Citadel or K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth.
Furthermore, it allows you to quickly go through your library and win via alternate win conditions. It’s certain we’ll see this at least in EDH and Standard, a format that has 5-mana walkers on the same level or worse than Ashiok.
Talion, the Kindly Lord is one of the most fun cards spoiled for EDH in this set. A 3/4 flying faerie is far from useless, but let’s say you choose two as Talion ETBs. Each time an opponent casts a 2-drop or a 2/2, you’ll draw a card and they’ll lose life. What’s more, with some cloning you can choose more numbers. In more competitive 60-card formats, choosing one or two is a safe bet because even if Tallion is removed, you’ll draw a card.
Agatha's Soul Cauldron is a crazy card that lets you exile creatures from graveyards and give your creatures with +1/+1 counters all the exiled creatures’ activated abilities. It basically turns all your creatures with +1/+1 counters into some form of Necrotic Ooze. It works in all colors and has some cool synergies with Grist, the Hunger Tide. Since +1/+1 counters are already a popular theme, Agatha’s cauldron is definitely getting into those decks.
Moonshaker Cavalry is being heralded as the white Craterhoof Behemoth, an absolutely green staple across many formats, and rightfully so. Trading trample for flying is fitting for white’s color pie, and aside from this, the card has practically the same effect. Expect many games to end on the spot with Moonshaker Cavalry. White’s finally got a true incentive to go wide in many formats.
A 4-mana tutor already sees play sometimes, like Diabolic Tutor. But one that can put the card into play is another thing entirely, even with the mana value restriction. When bargained, Beseech the Mirror allows you to search for combo pieces, win conditions, and powerful cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse or The One Ring.
You can sacrifice The One Ring with some counters to get another one, get rid of permanents that will kill you like Demonic Pact, and so on. With black decks filled with Treasure or sacrifice fodder, it’s not hard at all to bargain a spell, Even if it’s countered, most of the time you won’t lose something significant.
Agatha's Soul Cauldron | Illustration by Jason A. Engle
The adventure cards often play better than they look, and the themes of the set are very nice. I, for one, can’t wait to play with some faeries or a Food token army. What do you think about my list? Any notable misses? What cards are you eager to play with? Let me know in the comments below or in our Draftsim Discord.
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