Throne of Eldraine limited continues to impress me. I’m 150 drafts deep on Magic Online (with 30 on Arena) and I think I’m going to be happy drafting this set into the New Year. One of the reasons this set has so much replayability for me is the sheer number of sweet buildaround cards at uncommon and rare. Even with this many reps under my belt, I’m still discovering new synergies and interactions on a daily basis. I recognize that not everyone has the time, money, or addiction to draft a format this number of times, but that’s what I’m here for! The next time you crack a draft at your local game store, on MTGO, or on Magic Arena, I’d hate for you to miss out on the value that some of these niche cards have to offer. So today I’ve got 10 cards to take a look at maximizing in draft to unlock their full potential.
This is a card I like to take early and often. Having a second copy of the most powerful card in your deck is extremely potent. But it also allows you to find the best card in your deck for any given situation. If you need removal for their bomb, counter magic to protect your lead or
True Love’s Kiss for that pesky
Revenge of Ravens, Talisman has you covered. And if you’re worried about your opponent finding their best card too, you can build your deck with some ways to hamper that as an option.
Malevolent Noble is the most common of these. With the Talisman trigger on the stack, you can sacrifice the artifact to the Noble, giving it a +1/+1 counter and sending Talisman to the graveyard before your opponent has the chance to use it. You can also destroy it before your opponent untaps with the adventure half of
Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display. Or if you’re so very lucky, you can tutor up
Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft and then bounce the Talisman back to your hand.
This card is not just for constructed, folks! It is a very real and very viable build around in limited as well. The keys to unlocking the power of this card are in draw spells like
Unexplained Vision and, more importantly, mana sinks.
Merchant of the Vale // Haggle is the best of the bunch here as it gives you a place to dump mana while making sure all of your excess lands are turned into spells to cast for free with Fires.
Improbable Alliance also fits this role nicely, though it’s a more expensive activation. Other places to put mana like
Spinning Wheel or
Trail of Crumbs can make it feel like you’re just playing a different game than your opponent. Imagine having five lands in play, casting two spells, and tapping your opponent’s best attacker down as well. Fires Invention can help make that dream a reality.
This is a fantastic creature that’s cheap to play and then threatens to take over the game the longer it remains on the battlefield. But only one rat per turn for the cost of two mana can seem slow. If only there were a card that made two rats per turn for free. Introducing
Mad Ratter! Piper and Ratter are best friends and are reason enough to draft a non-Knights version of Rakdos in this format. Both colors have access to a ton of card draw and card filtering that assembling this combo will come up more than you think. And if you have
Ayara, First of Locthwain to boot, then your deck can really fire on all cylinders.
This is probably my favorite card in the entire set. The flexibility this provides as being a turn two blocker when you need it but also a late game engine as well is pretty incredible. When playing the Fae, make sure you add a basic land of every type to your sideboard. That way you can be on the longterm installment plan of finding the splash color first and then finding the card to splash second.
Spinning Wheel, and even
Signpost Scarecrow can help you skip that step if they’re in your maindeck. And then make sure you’re keeping Fae in mind throughout the draft. Situationally powerful cards like
Fell the Pheasant and
Return to Nature can be good pickups for you even if green isn’t one of your primary colors.
You don’t need to do anything special in your draft for the Dragon. Play it on curve, steal something (or not) and profit. But if you do happen to grab a human or an artifact creature from your opponent, a copy of
Fling in your deck can do quite nicely to get a clean two-for-one by sacrificing what you’ve stolen and sending the damage towards another creature on the opposing side of the battlefield.
Fires of Invention, Dance is a card I completely wrote off in my initial set review. But I was dead wrong. This is such a strong payoff for an "artifacts matter" deck and because it’s such a late game spell is easily splashable. Cheap artifacts that find their way to the graveyard are the best options for this build around.
Scalding Cauldron, and
Witching Well are chief among them. Card looting/rummaging effects play well here too to help get other artifacts or enchantments into your graveyard that wouldn’t normally get there like
Spinning Wheel or
Revenge of Ravens. And if Dance is in your hand already, make sure all those defensive
Merfolk Secretkeeper // Venture Deepers that you have are targeting yourself to get you towards the magic number of six targets to get back.
Emry, Lurker of the Loch is a card I think more people are high on, and she plays well with just about every card listed here too.
This card is a little more difficult to set up and in some matchups should probably be sided out. But it’s still a strong effect that you can manipulate. The key is to break the symmetry of this card. You want as many two-for-one style permanents that allow you to not be as punished by this card as your opponent.
Golden Egg (are you sensing a theme here?) is the best option of the bunch. Adventures that are solid two-for-ones like
Foulmire Knight // Profane Insight and
Lonesome Unicorn // Rider in Need are great with Doom Foretold as well.
Sorcerer’s Broom also plays nicely in that you can sacrifice the initial copy, but also utilize the free sacrifice trigger from Doom to create more brooms every upkeep.
While the troll is still a phenomenal first pick in this format, it’s not as oppressive as I think everyone initially thought. So how can you make the troll an even bigger menace? Well, a lone copy of
Hushbringer can stop those three little goats from ever making their way to your opponent’s side of the battlefield. And if they’ve decided to tap down the troll for a turn, perhaps an adventure is in order for
Silverflame Squire // On Alert to untap it and get in for 10 points of trampling damage!
Syr Konrad is considered among the die hard limited fans that I interact with to be the best uncommon in the set. The more I play with him, the more I’m surprised that he isn’t a rare. You don’t need to do much in the draft to maximize Syr Konrad. Play him, activate him, have creatures trade off in combat, and win. But here are a couple interactions of which you may not be aware. The first is with
Forever Young. Syr Konrad cares about creatures leaving your graveyard so a late game
Forever Young targeting five creatures can act as a
Lava Axe in your black deck. The other is with
Cauldron Familiar. If you have any food tokens to recur the cat (or, even better,
Witch’s Oven) it will pull double duty, not only draining your opponent when it comes back into play, but also triggering Syr Konrad when it leaves the graveyard.
This last card is one I’ve come up on a lot from the start of the format. I used to think this card was just for mono colored aggressive decks, but I now believe there are far more applications for this artifact. I’ve been experimenting and having success with splashing around in this set and banner is a colorless card that ramps and fixes your mana when need be. There are also a handful of token producers in the format that it works particularly well with.
Improbable Alliance and
Stolen by the Fae are the best of the bunch, but, heck, this can also turn
Tome Raider into
Cloudkin Seer. I’ve pumped up the mice from
Enchanted Carriage by naming white and seen hordes of 2/1 rats pump out of my
Mad Ratter by naming black. The card is super flexible and there are tons of combos that help push it over the top.
And there you have it. 10 more cards to add to your arsenal the next time you sit down to draft. What have been some of your favorite interactions you’ve discovered throughout the course of this format? Let me know on Twitter! And, as always, happy drafting!