Once upon a time, there was a Magic: The Gathering expansion called Throne of Eldraine. It truly was a set with two faces: it drew players in through its playful use of classic fairytale tropes and ideas, but just below the glittering surface lurked some of the most overtuned cards in recent memory.
Years have passed since that fateful set, and Eldraine has returned for another, much more balanced, chapter. The cards in Wilds of Eldraine may not end up breaking formats, but they do still have potential, particularly in the game’s flagship multiplayer format, Commander. If we were putting together a Wilds of Eldraine round table, these would be the natural leaders we’d pick to fill it.
10 Syr Ginger, The Meal Ender
One of the very best callbacks to our first trip to Eldraine in the set, Syr Ginger is a delicious deep-cut reference to a character previously only seen in Throne’s incredible animated trailer. She’s back with a vengeance, too, as an unassuming Food creature that can win you Commander games out of nowhere in the right build.
Combine her first ability, which layers hexproof, trample, and haste on top of Syr ginger if there’s a planeswalker in play (extremely likely in a multiplayer game), with her second, which scales up her stats each time one of your artifacts goes to the graveyard, then stir in one of the many infinite artifact token engines available in the format. You can finish an opponent off with one perfectly-baked blow.
9 Agatha Of The Vile Cauldron
The best commanders are often highly flexible, able to adapt to the ever-changing boardstates that define the format. Agatha fits that bill perfectly, giving you an enabler for decks built around activated abilities and a win condition in one shockingly affordable package. You can easily scale up her cost reduction effect simply by stacking a few +1/+1 counters on Agatha, at which point your activated abilities will cost pennies to use.
This gives you the option of running a classic green/red Aggro deck, going wide and relying on Agatha’s board-wide buffs to win, or playing more of a Combo game, gathering specific activated abilities that come together to win you the game on the spot.
8 Lord Skitter, Sewer King
Rat typal decks aren’t exactly the most popular choice in the Commander format, but they are slowly building up support with each passing set, getting ready to burst forth from the metaphorical walls any day now. Lord Skitter is a great new tool for such decks, providing both a steady stream of Rat tokens and a repeatable source of graveyard hate.
Reanimator and Aristocrats strategies are incredibly popular in Commander, meaning you’ll rarely fail to find a juicy target for Lord Skitter to gnaw out of existence with his first ability. The free Rat token each turn is also excellent, pairing nicely with the many Lords the type has access to and providing some solid sacrifice fodder if you decide to dabble in the ‘yard yourself.
7 Greta, Sweettooth Scourge
A suitably badass adaptation of the witch-cooking Gretel from the classic fairy tale, Greta is an aggressive commander with an insatiable hunger for Eldraine’s sentient Food. She comes down early, with a tasty snack in tow, then proceeds to grant all of your Food tokens a huge amount of utility.
Whether you need extra power on board or extra cards in hand, Greta can give it to you, provided you have Food to sacrifice, of course. Her abilities are cheap and flexible enough that you can build her deck in many different directions, meaning you won’t need a trail of breadcrumbs to find a use for this card in Commander.
6 Eriette Of The Charmed Apple
Voltron decks, or decks that center around stacking up a huge number of Auras on one of your creatures, have long been a part of Magic’s archetype ecosystem. Still, Eriette may just be the first card to encourage a deck built around playing Auras on your opponents’ creatures. Her static ability prevents creatures enchanted by your Auras from attacking you, letting you pit opponents against each other by spreading your sinister spells around.
This plays incredibly well with the Cursed Role tokens introduced in Wilds of Eldraine and any other cheap Auras, too. Once you’ve built up a solid suite of Auras, Eriette’s second ability will create a huge life swing every single turn, ending things in short order if her reign of terror goes uncontested.
5 Imodane, The Pyrohammer
One of the major differences between Commander and traditional one-on-one formats is the viability of single-target removal spells. When you have three or more opponents, getting rid of just one creature isn’t really good enough value-wise. Unless you have Imodane in play, that is.
This fiery fighter turns every damage-based removal spell you cast into an AOE burn spell for all of your opponents’ gasping faces, allowing you to play an interesting Tempo/Aggro blend where you control your opponents’ boards and their life totals alike. Given enough time, Imodane will immolate all in her path, be they creature or player.
4 Hylda Of The Icy Crown
‘Archetype built around tapping opponents’ creatures’ may not have been on anyone’s Wilds of Eldraine wishlist, but Hylda is here to serve it up regardless. Each time you icily manipulate an opposing creature, Hylda offers you the option of paying one mana for a 4/4 Elemental, a board-wide buff, or some nice card draw and selection.
These abilities are all incredibly efficient and can quickly snowball into a major lead if you can get some repeatable tap effects up and running on the board. You may get a frosty reception from your playgroup for running such a deck, but just let the storm rage on; after all, the cold shoulder never bothered you anyway.
3 Yenna, Redtooth Regent
Yenna is the kind of versatile, potentially game-breaking card that would likely have been majorly understated had it been released back in the day. As it stands, she combines a solid vanilla body with an incredibly useful activated ability that lets you duplicate your enchantments in play.
The possibilities here are endless, ranging from doubling your Doubling Season, effectively creating a Quadrupling Season, to stacking a second copy of a key Aura on your big Voltron win con. If you do plump for the latter, Yenna will even untap herself for another go, taking her from a fun value card to a legitimate threat scarily fast.
2 Kellan, The Fae-Blooded
The Adventure mechanic is one of the most elegant implementations of Magic’s ‘two cards in one’ design concept we’ve seen yet, and Kellan brings that concept to the command zone with style. On one side, he’s an affordable Tutor for Auras and Equipment, and on the other, he’s an interesting commander that encourages you to go both wide and tall at the same time.
Being a cheap double striker, Kellan naturally loves being kitted out with the Auras and Equipment his Adventure half can fetch up, but he also provides a power-based Anthem effect to all your other creatures that scales up as he does. The end result is a commander with a huge range of build possibilities, all of which end with your opponents taking more damage than they can count.
1 Beluna Grandsquall
Tarkir’s Savage Knuckleblade taught many wide-eyed Temur fans that even a 4/4 for three mana wasn’t good enough in the modern game, and Beluna Grandsquall looks, in many ways, like the second coming of that bulky beast. Savage Knuckleblade didn’t come with a stellar draw spell attached, however, nor could it be run as your commander.
These two factors take Beluna from an underwhelming option to a serious contender in the format. The ability to cast her Adventure half at instant speed and then play Beluna later with no additional commander tax is huge, and her cost reduction effect makes a deck full of Adventure creatures much more viable. Rest easy, Savage Knuckleblade: Beluna will take it from here.
NEXT: Magic: The Gathering – The Best Green Cards In Wilds Of Eldraine