Throne of Eldraine Set Review LSV

Throne of Eldraine Limited Set Review: Black

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Ratings Scale

Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte. The Scarab God.
5.0: The best of the best. (Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Skarrgan Hellkite. Ethereal Absolution.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Thief of Sanity. Judith, the Scourge Diva. Experimental Frenzy.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Gate Colossus. Mortify. Biomancer’s Familiar.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Blade Juggler. Skewer the Critics. Skyknight Legionnaire.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Sauroform Hybrid. Watcher in the Mist. Wojek Bodyguard.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Ornery Goblin. Syndicate Messenger. Plague Wight.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Radical Idea. Noxious Groodion. Ghor-Clan Wrecker.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Wall of Mist. Axebane Beast.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Feral Maaka. Knight of Sorrows. Prying Eyes.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Expose to Daylight. Persistent Petitioners.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Font of Agonies. One with Nothing.)

Ayara, First of Locthwain

Ayara, First of Locthwain

Limited: 3.0

Ayara requires a lot of black mana (and creatures), but rewards you richly for assembling those. She’s a loch to be an early pick, because each creature turning into a drain for 1 and another card (plus a chump block) is an ability worth building towards.

Bake Into a Pie

Bake into a Pie

Limited: 3.5

This is clearly the best common in the set, and a delicious first pick. Killing anything for four mana is already good, and getting some Food as a bonus is a wonderful deal.

Barrow Witches

Barrow Witches

Limited: 1.0 // 3.0

If you have five or more Knights in your deck, Barrow Witches is a fantastic 5-drop. It’s a solid 2-for-1 and leaves a relevant body on the table, which is a great deal. If you don’t have enough Knights, well, this is not a playable card.

Belle of the Brawl

Belle of the Brawl

Limited: 3.0

A 3/2 menace Knight for 3 is a decent deal up front, and in a deck with at least a couple other Knights this does indeed brawl well. I like this card, and Knights seem supported enough to make this a fine early pick.

Blacklance Paragon

Blacklance Paragon

Limited: 3.5

Blacklance Paragon is efficient and deadly–by itself, it basically reads as a spell that kills target attacking creature without flying and you gain 3 life. Once you add other Knights to the mix, it can spread the love, and make your 2/2 trade for a 5/5, on offense or defense. That’s a lot of action for just two mana, and I especially like how this is good on its own and better with friends.

Bog Naughty

Bog Naughty

Limited: 1.0 // 3.0

Bog Naughty is a tad too expensive to run unless it’s well-fed (I am similar in that regard). If you do have a couple ways of generating Food tokens, this is a potent threat, as it lets you indulge in the food fight you always wanted to have. Most effects that make Food do so as a bonus, so when this kills something, you almost always got card advantage of some kind.

Cauldron Familiar

Cauldron Familiar

Limited: 1.0 // 2.0

This card really tickles my fancy, though it’s not the biggest payoff I’ve ever seen. Without Food, this is an ineffectual 1-drop, and not worth playing. With a lot of Food, this is a recurring chump blocker/sacrifice fodder, and it drains them out over time. That’s definitely good enough if you can make use of the 1/1 body, but not quite there if it’s just in a deck with a couple Food cards.

The Cauldron of Eternity

The Cauldron of Eternity

Limited: 4.5

Cauldron is slow, but it’s definitely a bomb. It’s not hard to get 3 creatures in your graveyard, at which point this is a 6-mana spell that threatens to take over the game. It’s easy to imagine getting the game to a point where you have 5+ creatures in the bin, and that makes this just absurd. Also note that self-mill works even if this is in play, as it only puts creatures that die on the bottom, not creatures that get milled. This card is insane if you build towards it, and still very good even if you don’t.

Cauldron’s Gift

Cauldron's Gift

Limited: 2.0

If you can reliably hit the adamant here, this goes up a bit, as it gives you more options to reanimate. I also don’t mind this in a self-mill strategy, because making your deck more consistently have critical creatures in play is nice.

Clackbridge Troll

Clackbridge Troll

Limited: 4.0

This may look like a high upside/high downside card, but in reality it doesn’t have much of a downside. If the opponent doesn’t have instant-speed removal, they’re eating 8 damage or the Troll is eating a goat, both of which are great for you. Even if they do remove the Troll, them having a couple 0/1’s isn’t a big deal, and if they don’t kill it, you get a huge advantage. This card is great, and I’m not just saying that because I am a fan of trolls.

Epic Downfall

Epic Downfall

Limited: 4.0

Pure removal doesn’t usually get this high of a grade, but Epic Downfall is about as efficient as it gets. The only creatures it misses are creatures you probably don’t care all that much about, and killing anything for two mana is a fantastic deal.

Eye Collector

Eye Collector

Limited: 1.0 // 2.0

Eye Collector is the weakest sort of build-around card–it’s nearly unplayable unless you care about the milling, and a marginal playable once you do. I’d only play this in a dedicated mill deck or a deck full of graveyard synergies, but even then it’s just not that impactful.

Festive Funeral

Festive Funeral

Limited: 1.5

Five mana removal is a necessary evil, but when that removal is also conditional, my appetite wanes dramatically. It’s fine to play this in a creature-heavy deck, especially one that has a couple self-mill cards, but this is not a card you should prioritize.

Foreboding Fruit

Foreboding Fruit

Limited: 2.5

Foreboding Fruit checks a few boxes for me. First of all, it helps smooth out draws when you play this early and makes sure you can hit your land drops. It also gives you back the life investment once you hit the adamant bonus, while also enabling your Food synergies. It can even target the opponent to finish them off, though you won’t be doing that very often.

Forever Young

Forever Young

Limited: 3.0

I like Forever Young–it cycles early, since you can cast it without targets, and later in the game can really load up the top of your deck with action. That’s a nice combination, and this even rewards both self-mill and the draw-2 deck.

Foulmire Knight

Foulmire Knight

Limited: 3.5

I really like the flexibility that Foulmire Knight provides. If you’re behind, it’s a 1/1 deathtouch for 1, which is solid. If you have a little time, you can go on an adventure first, and pick up a free card, making this a 2-for-1. It also works nicely with Raise Dead effects, and even counts for both Knight and non-Human synergies.

Giant’s Skewer

Giant's Skewer

Limited: 1.0

As delicious as that boar looks, Giant’s Skewer is a little too slow and situational for my tastes. This is clunky to equip, and the opponent has control over your food production, which is never a situation you want to be in.

Lash of Thorns

Lash of Thorns

Limited: 1.0

Lash is a poor combat trick because it doesn’t give much of a toughness boost. Yes, you do take out their creature, but losing yours plus the Lash is not a good deal.

Lochthwain Paladin

Locthwain Paladin

Limited: 2.0

If you can reliably adamant this, I’m in. If not, this is overcosted by a full mana, which is not how I like my cards. They better be overcosted by at least three mana to make me happy.

Lost Legion

Lost Legion

Limited: 2.5

Lost Legion is a solid addition to any deck with 10+ black sources. It is below the bar on stats, but scry 2 makes up for it, and it is a Knight for the decks that care about such things.

Malevolent Noble

Malevolent Noble

Limited: 2.5

I’d play this without any synergy bonuses, as it is a Grizzly Bear with a solid upside. Once you start generating a ton of Food or sacrificial fodder, the Noble goes up in value, but you don’t need much to want to play this given how high the floor is.

Memory Theft

Memory Theft

Limited: 1.0

I see this more as a sideboard card than a maindeck one, as it’s targeted at expensive cards and opponents with a lot of adventures. I’d also look to run it maindeck in Sealed, as you are likely to have plenty of good hits with it.

Murderous Rider

Murderous Rider

Limited: 4.5

It doesn’t get much better than this. A powerful removal spell that is an intrinsic 2-for-1 is awesome, and the fact that you can cast both halves separately makes this insane. It also works exceedingly well with Raise Dead effects, which black is certainly poised to take advantage of.

Oathsworn Knight

Oathsworn Knight

Limited: 3.5

If you give me a 4/4 creature for three mana that’s also very hard to kill, I will accept the drawback of needing to attack every turn. This even gets around deathtouch and can have its lifespan extended via equipment if needed.

Order of Midnight

Order of Midnight

Limited: 3.5

Both halves of this are exactly what the doctor ordered. Early in the game, just run this out and bash with your 2/2 flier, and later in the game get max value. Order of Midnight being unable to block makes this less of a defensive play than something like Gravedigger, but on balance it’s better, and Gravedigger has been a marquee uncommon for a while.

Piper of the Swarm

Piper of the Swarm

Limited: 4.0

Why settle for a Pack Rat when you can instead make a pack of Rats? OK, this isn’t quite as good as one of the best Limited cards of all time, but it’s still one of the better cards in the set. This makes a small army of 1/1 menace creatures, and once you have a couple in play, completely dominates the board with the steal ability. The only knock on it is that it takes a while to get going, so as a topdeck in the middle of the game it’s not quite bomb-level.

Rankle, Master of Pranks

Rankle, Master of Pranks

Limited: 4.5

A 3/3 flying haste for four would raise eyebrows, and adding three solid abilities takes this right to the top of the standings. There will be boards where you use all the abilities, or none, and everything in between. Given that you’re hitting them with a 3/3 flier, you often will want to make both players draw (since you’re pressuring their life total), though it does give them more outs to find removal. The discard ability is likely the least relevant, but there still will be times when it gives you an advantage. In all, it doesn’t rankle me to say that this is one of the best cards in the set.

Reaper of Night

Reaper of Night

Limited: 2.5

Reaper of Night is better than it looks. Even though both halves are clunky (with the creature being especially so), it’s still a 3-for-1 that combines discard and a big “flier,” and I think this is going to perform well.

Reave Soul

Reave Soul

Limited: 3.0

Reave Soul is efficient, and will have plenty of targets to feast on. That said, it will miss on most of the cards you *really* want to kill, so it’s just a good removal spell instead of a great one.

Revenge of Ravens

Revenge of Ravens

Limited: 1.5

Updated Rating : 3.5

Effects like this do tend to be better than they look, but I still think this card will only be good in a narrow subset of decks. If you are very controlling, this could buy you time, but in order to fully get value from this you will need to be pressuring the opponent as well. That’s an odd combination, and it won’t come together very often.

Rating Update 9/30: Effects like this in fact are better than they look. After seeing this in action, it’s disgusting, and makes attacking extremely hard for the opponent. The rating has gotten a significant bump, and I now think this is one of the better cards you can start with.

Smitten Swordmaster

Smitten Swordmaster

Limited: 2.0

Swordmaster (which actually has lifelink, unlike Silverflame Squire) is a fine play at most stages of the game, though I wouldn’t start getting excited about this until I was in a heavy Knight deck. This is one of the adventure cards where the creature gets cast first most of the time, so don’t stress if you aren’t getting full value.

Specter’s Shriek

Specter's Shriek

Limited: 1.0

This is strictly a sideboard card, and not a great one at that. Unless your opponent’s deck is extremely weighted towards black, you run the risk of casting this and missing, which is a disaster.

Syr Konrad, the Grim

Syr Konrad, the Grim

Limited: 3.5

This does make the board quite grim for your opponent. No matter what they do, they are getting pinged for one, and often more. Syr Konrad is also large enough to brawl, and in the event that the board does stall, can start activating to drain the opponent out.

Tempting Witch

Tempting Witch

Limited: 1.5

I’d want some Food-based combos before I was tempted to play this, as by itself it’s not very impactful. The stats aren’t there and getting a poisoned food doesn’t do quite enough.

Wicked Guardian

Wicked Guardian

Limited: 2.0

In a deck with enough 3-toughness creatures, this is worth four mana. It’s not wicked good, but it is serviceable, and slightly ahead of the curve when it works.

Wishclaw Talisman

Wishclaw Talisman

Limited: 1.0

Wishclaw is a slow way to gain card advantage, and there’s some risk to it. If your opponent’s best card is amazing, they may just run you over, even though you get to search up two cards for their one. They also have the option of not giving it back, at which point you got a Demonic Tutor for three mana. That’s not spectacular, and all told this is a weird and somewhat mediocre card.

Witch’s Vengeance

Witch's Vengeance

Limited: 3.5

While there will be times that are awkward, where you and the opponent both have a bunch of Knights or the like, this acts as removal and sometimes will net you multiple cards. That makes it a solid removal spell, and one I don’t mind picking up early.

Top 5 Black Commons

5. Foreboding Fruit

4. Barrow Witches

3. Forever Young

2. Reave Soul

1. Bake into a Pie

Well, black sure made out like a bandit. Two good removal spells plus several good card advantage mechanisms solidifies black as a control color, and a strong one at that.

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