Wilds of Eldraine might be more powerful than Wizards promised

MTG Eldraine header - sugar monstrosityNino Vecia

MTG Wilds of Eldraine was supposed to be a more relaxed trip to the fairy tale plane, but the set’s power might be higher in places than expected.

Eldraine is a standout plane in Magic: The Gathering, as beloved as it is controversial. It’s no secret that MTG’s first trip to the plane – in the Throne of Eldraine set – was notoriously format-warping. Cards like The Great Henge and The Meathook Massacre are still feared in Commander to this day, and that’s saying nothing of Oko, Thief of Crowns, and the swathe of bans he precipitated.

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The intention behind Wilds of Eldraine set seems to have been to wipe away Eldraine’s notorious reputation for power creep, but these aims might not have been met in the way designers were hoping. Already, several cards from the set are making waves with their power and interaction with other format staples.

We’ll walk you through the biggest power offenders in MTG Wilds of Eldraine, and why they don’t match up with Wizards’ statements prior to the set’s release.

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Agatha’s Soul Cauldron

MTG Wilds of Eldraine Most Expensive - witch's cauldronWOTC/Jason A. Engle

For a surprisingly cheap cost, Agatha’s Soul Cauldron can load your creatures up with powerful synergistic abilities that opponents will struggle to answer.

While the card may be a powerhouse in its own right, Agatha’s Soul Cauldron is also making its mark through the combos it facilitates. Huge creature boosts and even early-game infinite combos are possible with the right combination of creature effects, and the Soul Cauldron can mix them all together and allow you to replicate them over and over.

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Beseech the Mirror

MTG Wilds of Eldraine Most Expensive - enchanted mirrorWOTC/Cynthia Sheppard

Beseech the Mirror is Wilds of Eldraine’s strongest card in most scenarios, and unless it’s struck down by a ban at some point, will likely be a staple of any format that can run it for years to come. But where Beseech the Mirror truly shines is in conjunction with other current powerhouses.

Sheoldred the Apocalypse and Orcish Bowmasters continually see play as part of deadly Rakdos packages, and The One Ring is turning heads wherever it appears. All of these cards are four mana or less, making them valid targets for Beseech the Mirror. As a result, some of Magic’s most powerful strategies have gained even more consistency with Wilds of Eldraine’s release.

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Wizards of the Coast maintains Eldraine is not an inherently overpowered plane

MTG Wilds of eldraine - fey lord Talion in courtJustyna Dura

While every Magic: The Gathering set is going to have its standout cards, Eldraine’s power levels remain a touchy subject. The plane is still synonymous with overpowered cards in some players’ minds, so much so that Wizards themselves remain aware of it.

As part of a press Q&A prior to Wilds of Eldraine’s release, WOTC was asked if there were any balancing woes when returning to Eldraine, given Throne’s reputation. Ian Duke, Principle Game Designer for Wilds of Eldraine, and a previous member of the Throne of Eldraine dev team, responded that he ‘acknowledges that there were a lot of power outliers in that set.’ However, he assured that the team is more careful now with more thorough testing, and the play design and balance teams have since seen significant expansion. 

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Additionally, Duke said that “there is nothing inherent about the setting or themes of the set that will lead to power level outliers, it just happened to be that Throne of Eldraine was a set that had a few of those.” With all that in mind, it remains to be seen if Duke’s words hold true, or if power outliers like Beseech the Mirror and Agatha’s Soul Cauldron are remembered as infamously as Oko, Thief of Crowns or The Meathook Massacre.

So far at least, things seem much more peaceful in Magic’s most popular formats than they did following Throne of Eldraine’s release. It’s only a matter of time until truly oppressive cards are hit with the ban hammer, but if we’re lucky, nothing from Wilds of Eldraine will warrant it.

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