Once Upon a Time...
... there was a Magic set which had the idea of bringing to the game's tables the fairy tale environment. It was supposed to be Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the noble Camelot knights, and... it was supposed to be Shrek world in card game version, practically.
What we got with Throne of Eldraine was one of the most absurdly strong sets the game has ever seen. Oko, Thief of Crowns was banned in most formats, and Once Upon a Time almost went down that same road. Cards such as Brazen Borrower and Mystical Dispute are staples in Legacy.
So, when Wizards announced a second visit to Eldraine's plane, there was some chaos regarding what the impact of that would look like. Well, Wilds of Eldraine is here, so let's check out what is in store for Legacy.
Legacy WOE Review
Court of Ardenvale
I've written about this enchantment in this preview. I believe it offers us a new angle for Mono White Initiative, which at the moment has lost its hold on players' interest to Boros Initiative.
It's good noticing that the value here is referring to any permanent, so you can count in Aether Vial, Moxes and Equipment (Living Weapons count twice!).
We're not in a moment in the format in which only size matters (poor Tarmogoyf), but this rabbit can represent high stats for a low mana cost in decks capable of filling the board quickly.
Stroke of Midnight
Though Mono White decks usually appeal to cards such as Touch the Spirit Realm as an answer with a broad reach, these enchantments are vulnerable to removals or bounce cards played by your opponent.
Though it doesn't hit lands, the 1/1 token shouldn't bother much, contrary to the 3/3 elephant created by Generous Gift.
Virtue of Loyalty
5 mana is a lot, but the option of it not being a dead card in your hand through the Adventure part might make this enchantment another option for struggles between creature decks, in which one active turn should place its controller really ahead.
For blue decks without access to White for the more efficient card, Supreme Verdict, this spell is a way of controlling big boards. It's good stressing that, unlike global effects, it doesn't affect your creatures.
Gadwick’s First Duel
Mono Blue decks aren't popular right now, but here we have an option of direct removal which still generates us value throughout the turns.
Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator
It's important to remember that Ashiok's static ability might represent health economy when allied to cards which allow you to use your whole health points total as a resource, such as Hatred or Souldrinker, but the harsh reality is that a 5-mana Planeswalker which doesn't affect the board in a decisive way will struggle to play in the format.
Beseech the Mirror
Here we have the most hyped up card in the set! There are at the moment two decks which are very excited with this spell if the Bargain cost is paid: Black helm has here a way to find both Helm of Obedience and a Leyline of the Void which occasionally hasn't entered on turn 0. Depending on your opponent, it finds you Karn, the Great Creator or a Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.
Another deck which has its eye on this card is Storm, which, for 4 mana, Beseech the Mirror can cosplay one of the strongest cards (banned in Legacy) which has ever shown its face in Magic: Yawgmoth’s Will. By searching and summoning Gaea’s Will, the result is the same – a lethal Storm countdown.
It isn't hard to imagine situations in which trading a pile of artifact-lands and Treasure tokens for a horde of graveyard monsters wins you the game on the spot.
This tactic, however, has two problems: paying 5 mana for a spell and being able to protect a full graveyard in a format in which practically any deck has an arsenal of graveyard removal in their sideboard.
Court of Embereth
I also mentioned this enchantment in the previous article. Efficient access to the Monarch is an alternative to monocolor decks instead of using 8 Initiative activators from the 2-color lists.
This elemental offers an alternative to refilling decks which run out of cards in hand quickly, which, at the same time, leaves a low-cost threat in your hand to play later. I don't know if it would have space in Burn, but the idea is there.
If at least the Adventure was an instant, this viper could compete for a place with Brazen Borrower, but as a spell, I don't think it will cut it.
Virtue of Courage
Speaking of gas and damage, Virtue of Courage is capable of offering all the necessary cards to burn your opponent, but the cost is too high. The fact it can be summoned as an Adventure improves this a little.
Reducing the activation cost without the caveat of "not being able to reduce this for less than 1 mana" can open up the way for some combos. The one that jumped to mind is with Deserted Temple, which creates infinite taps and untaps.
This card reminds me of good old Jund. It is a creature made for a grind battle and is quite hard to kill without it being through exile effects, creating cards when it comes back and revives.
This druid's Adventure side is basically an instant version of Reckless Impulse, a card which already sees play in some Izzet Delver lists. The other part is Quirion Dryad, the original Miracle Gro threat, the old Extended deck which eventually became Canadian Threshold and finally Temur Delver. On its own, this druid doesn't see play nowadays, but when allied to an effect which interests the deck on its own, there's potential.
Up the Beanstalk
This enchantment already pays itself when drawing a card when it comes into play and when creating more throughout the game. "But, Eltinho, you said 5-mana cards are not viable!"
Agatha’s Soul Cauldron
Step 1: put Phyrexian Devourer in the graveyard.
Step 2: summon Gingerbrute.
Step 3: activate cauldron, place 1 +1+1 counter on brute, exile cards from the top of your deck at will.
This is one of the combos enabled by cauldron and one that uses only colorless mana (except maybe for the part of placing Devourer in the graveyard), possibly with the next card on this list.
This is a slow one, but it is a colorless way of filtering the deck and the Treasures created are useful both to speed up future plays and serve as sacrifice fodder.
Hylda’s Crown of Winter
Usually, this card would go by me unnoticed, but I have seen a few decks which struggle to deal with Show and Tell using Tumble Magnet to deal with Atraxas and Griselbrands, so there is a slot for this crown.
Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender
This cookie can battle for space with Patchwork Automaton in 8-Cast lists. Though it is harder to activate, it creates more value with each ability, besides being a Planeswalker natural-born killer.
Happily Ever After?
Finally, we reach the end of this tale. Wilds definitely isn't Throne of Eldraine. I think the fear of repeating their mistake has made Wizards really hold back with this set. I think we were used to Lord of the Rings, and we expected something with a similar power level, but as it is a set focused on Standard and Pioneer, it couldn't be the same.
I believe Beseech the Mirror is indeed the most impactful card in the format, but, otherwise, there really isn't an impactful card here except for those in Commander (Courts).
A fairy tale hug to you, and see you next time!