Exploring Wilds of Eldraine Limited Best Archetypes and Commons

Published: September 5, 2023 9:37 PM /


Eritte of the Charmed Apple sitting, holding her cursed apple with the owrds Magic: The Gathering Arena in the top left and Wilds of Eldraine in the top right

Commander Masters released a few weeks ago, so in the world of modern Magic: The Gathering that means it is time for another set release. Wilds of Eldraine is here to take that spot, with the pre-release just behind us, and the full release happening this week. So to learn all about it, we're going to look at the archetypes and the commons to understand the building blocks of the format.

What can you expect in Wilds of Eldraine Limited?

I had a chance to play some Wilds of Eldraine limited during the Wizards of the Coast MTG Arena early access event and between that and the pre-release I have managed to get some feel for the set. Wilds of Eldraine limited feels much quicker than my original thoughts were, and I worry about blue, which is positioned as the control color in general, struggling due to the strength of aggro decks in the format.

There are also some really interesting new themes and mechanics in Wilds of Eldraine that you should take a quick look at. The most obvious example of that is enchantment tokens, as the Roles are significant (role) players and fill different spots depending on the role and deck. One other distinguishing point is that essentially every color has something of a sacrifice theme because of the Bargain mechanic, which lets you sacrifice enchantments, artifacts, or tokens to power up a spell.

At the backbone of any limited format is the commons. These aren’t necessarily the headliners or the first picks that define the draft, but they are the cards that make up most of your, and your opponent's deck.

White/Blue in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: The Snow Queen
Signpost Uncommon: Sharae of Numbing Depths

Share of Numbing Depths from Wilds of Eldraine
Let it go...

The Snow Queen, best known these days for its Disneyified version in Frozen, is a classic fairy tale and to capture that Magic has gone with an approach of tapping, and locking down opposing creatures. Freeze them in place and attack your foe as you drive the pace of the game with the deck before the sun comes and melts all your icy treats.

As a tempo deck, Snow Queen wants to disrupt your opponent and keep manipulating the pace of the game. Tapping down opposing creatures, disrupting opponent's plans, and attacking (often with fliers) are all key elements, and there are even bonus payoffs for tapping creatures down, which is something that is often good in and of itself.

Best White/Blue Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Cooped Up, Moment of Valor, Frostbridge Guard, Snaremaster Sprite, Diminisher Witch

With the Snow Queen deck, you want creatures and cards that help you keep getting ahead by disrupting your opponent and letting you attack. The best white removal here in Cooped Up applies, and we also have Moment of Valor which is solid removal and/or buff. The ongoing tapping of Frostbridge Guard stands out compared to other archetypes as you have added payoffs for it. Snaremaster Sprite, and Diminisher Witch do the same sort of work, of removing obstacles while presenting a threat of some sort.

Blue/Black in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: Sleeping Beauty
Signpost Uncommon: Obyra, Dreaming Duelist

Obyra Dream Duelist from Wilds of Eldraine
Sleep tight...

Folks have sometimes said that control decks put them to sleep, so it's perhaps appropriate that Sleeping Beauty’s deck is a controlling fairy deck. Expect to play some of the annoying little fliers that help control the game while you use spells to further your plan for dealing with your opponent.

Accruing longer advantages and interaction are key to this archetype as a control deck. You need to proactively use blockers and removal to stop the fast decks in the format from getting out of hand, so that you can take advantage of your superior late-game card advantage, and evasion. Have plans for the Red/Black Pied Piper deck spewing forth tons of rats, and the Red/White Cinderella one celebrating hoards of permanents on the battlefield particularly.

Best Blue/Black Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Candy Grapple, Barrow Naughty, Aquatic Alchemist, Spell Stutter, Living Lectern

One thing that differentiates limited control decks from constructed ones is that they often make use of blocking in limited. Here we’re taking advantage of some of the early game big butts signed up for in blue/black to help stem any aggro rush and slowly take over the game. Candy Grapple is perhaps the best common in the set, so you should be expecting to fight with that with all black mages, but Barrow Naughty is something that is a lot better for you than others with you having a lot of faeries. Spell Stutter, beyond being a callback to one of the most famous fairies, is a good cheap counterspell for you.

Black/Red in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Signpost Uncommon: Totentanz, Swarm Piper

Totentanz, Swarm Piper
Rat Attack time!

The Pied Piper summons his rats, and takes on the town that rejected him, and that’s exactly what this red/black deck hopes to do. One of the aggressive decks in the format, this one aims to go wide with lots of 1/1 rat tokens and swarm your opponents.

The rat tokens can’t block, which pushes the deck in a definite aggressive path. Additionally, a lot of the cards are cheap manawise, and it can take advantage of the bargain mechanic as you can sacrifice those tokens much like role tokens.

This is my early pick for strongest deck in the format as its ability to go wide is very strong, and it does so with surprising speed. It pairs that with some of the best removal in the format and some potentially decent reach from a number of cards.

Best Red/Black Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Candy Grapple, Voracious Vermin, Frantic Firebolt, Torch the Tower, Ratcatcher Trainee

Unsurprisingly, the best cards for a go-wide aggressive deck are efficient removal and creatures. Candy Grapple, Frantic Firebolt, and Torch the Tower are three of the best commons in the set and give the Pied Piper archetype some very strong common removal, while Voracious Vermin and Ratcatcher Trainee are good aggressive creatures. The Vermin takes advantage of the rats dying in combat or to bargains while providing three power on turn 2, while the Trainee gives a 2 powered first striker on turn two, or that plus a couple of rats if you send it on an adventure first.

Red/Green in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: Little Red Riding Hood
Signpost Uncommon: Ruby, Daring Tracker

Ruby Daring Tracker in Wilds of Eldraine
My, what big teeth you have

Sometimes you just want to bring out big monsters and be the beatdown, and that’s what the Little Red Riding Hood deck is all about – getting giant monsters out who want to eat little boys and girls.

Play increasingly bigger threats, and trigger your creatures that care about you having ferocious creatures with power 4 or more. One of the more prominent overlaps here is with Jack and Beanstock, as that green/blue deck wants to ramp, something this deck may want some of as well. This aims to be more aggressive, so be careful not to overload on the ramp and be sure to take advantage of removal and beaters.

Best Red/Green Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Frantic Firebolt, Torch the Tower, Grabby Giant, Curse of the Werefox, Hamlet Glutton

There are a lot of good commons here and what qualifies for the best fifth common for Little Red Riding Hood but I went with the best common beef cake rather than one of a couple of ramp options. Frantic Firebolt, Torch the Tower, and Curse of the Werefox fill in a happy set of removal base, while Grabby Giant gives you a mix of ramp and an early piece of fat. The ability to play the Giant on turn 3 after his adventure is a good way to get the beef beats on early.

Green/White in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: Beauty and the Beast
Signpost Uncommon: Syr Armont, The Redeemer

Syr Armont, the Redeemer
He sees the beauty inside

Magic’s take on Beauty and the Beast flips the gender roles and focuses on the roles tokens, and enchantments in general. The Royal (beauty) and Monster (... beast duh) roles get a special focus here, but all enchantments are welcome in this fair land.

Your signpost uncommon is one of the stronger payoffs for the archetype, with it delivering at least 6 power if you have another creature for 5 mana and giving a lot more potentially. The roles help reduce the card disadvantages auras normally have, as you are generally getting them as part of another spell.

Best Green/White Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Cooped Up, Slumbering Keepguard, Curse of the Werefox, Moment of Valor, Troublemaker Ouphe

Slumbering Keepguard is probably good in almost any white deck but it really shines here where you have the focus on enchantments letting you scry and becoming a big threat once you have the mana. Beyond that, we have the best removal cards in each of the colors at common, and the fifth spot could go to Hamlet Glutton but I opted for Troublemaker Ouphe here whose lower cost fits the deck and can make use of excess roles by bargaining them away to get rid of opposing enchantments.

White/Black in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Signpost Uncommon: Neva Stalked by Nightmare

Neva Stalked by Nightmares from Wilds of Eldraine
The Dwarves are all back in Throne of Eldraine

The Snow White deck is one of the more unique archetypes in the format as it is a unique take on the aristocrats formula. Aristocrats decks are about sacrificing your own things for value and making lots of things cheaply, but typically that means creatures for humanoid sacrifices.

Here, more often what we are seeing is an enchantment and food aristocrats deck that is based on making use of roles, food, and bargain. Neva fits that perfectly as a gravedigger variant who grows when your enchantments die.

Best White/Black Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Candy Grapple, Cooped Up, Slumbering Keepguard, Hopeful Vigil, Hopeless Nightmare

We have the best white and black removal spells here, along with some highly synergistic cards for the archetype. Slumbering Keepguard takes advantage of the enchantments before you sacrifice them, while Hopeful Vigil gives you a two-drop that you can easily sacrifice to something else or even to its own ability. Its black counterpart, Hopeless Nightmare gives some disruption, and damage while also fueling the sacrifice gameplan.

Blue/Red in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Signpost Uncommon: Johann, Apprentice Sorcerer

Johann, Apprentice Sorcerer
Magic control still seems to be difficult...

Move out Mickey, we have a real magician’s tale here, and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice deck aims to cast a lot of instants and sorceries as one of the more controlling decks in the format. You need to be careful with the fact that this format can be pretty fast and ensure you have defensive creatures as well. One big part that helps here is the adventure cards count for spells for most things, while also giving you a higher density of creatures than you might otherwise have.

You are probably worried the most about the Pied Piper red/black deck because its ability to go wide hurts you in general, and the deck can be pretty fast as well. You’ll want to keep it in mind for later picks and sideboard selections if you can find some tools to help deal with the token swarms and strong removal that deck pairs together.

Best Red/Blue Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Frantic Firebolt, Torch the Tower, Aquatic Alchemist, Misleading Motes, Cut In

The best commons for this deck are various forms of interaction, mostly creature removal but you are looking at all of it. You want spells that kill things, bounce them to the top of decks (Misleading Motes), or otherwise interrupt your opponent’s plans while triggering your own abilities. Aquatic Alchemist is one of several commons that really help as an early blocker, it can pull a lot of duties in the deck as its adventure gets you a spell back (on top of the deck isn’t ideal but it's workable), and when you trigger it’s ability it goes from a decent 1/3 blocker to a 3/3 body that is able to pressure or trade upwards.

Black/Green in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: Hansel and Gretel
Signpost Uncommon: Greta, Sweettooth Scourge

Greta, Sweettooth Scourge from Wilds of Eldraine
After running into these monsters she prefers broccoli

For the second time this year, we have a major food archetype in a format, as the return to Eldraine has plenty of food in it, just like many of our fairy tales do. Food is a part of our lives, and so it becomes part of our fables and stories, and Magic tries to capture that when we visit Eldraine. This time, they were hoping to avoid the sluggish and slow-paced environment that plagued the Throne of Eldraine limited format with some of the same ideas they recently deployed in Tales of Middle-Earth.

The Hansel and Gretel archetype is more of a midrange deck that takes advantage of sacrifice and other elements to accrue advantages. Bargaining here is often done with food as your cards will make the food, and you can toss it as the fairies hiding in the cards to make them stronger. Combine that with some ramp, candy monsters, normal monsters, removal, and you have a general plan for Hansel and Gretel.

Best Black/Green Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Candy Grapple, Feed the Cauldron, Curse of the Werefox, Hamlet Glutton, Return from the Wild

Strong removal is all over the place here, with Feed the Cauldron being its strongest in a deck that can make the most use of the food token, either for bargain costs or for various abilities. Candy Grapple and Curse of the Werefox are premiere removal options in their colors and push things forward. Hamlet Glutton is a beefsteak at 5 mana for you and gains life for you, as you’ll often have a token to sacrifice. Return from the Wild is a great common ramp spell, normally played as essentially a Farhaven Elf, but sometimes you’ll want the two tokens version in this deck as you have uses for the food.

Red/White in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: Cinderella
Signpost uncommon: Ash, Party Crasher

Ash, Party Crasher
This isn't Disney's Cinderella

Magic: The Gathering’s take on Cinderella puts her at the head of an aggro strategy and crashing the party for a big celebration. An aggro strategy that wants to get a lot of permanents on the battlefield to get the party rolling along..

A key mechanic here is Celebration which is only in these colors. Celebration triggers if two or more non-land permanents enter the battlefield under your control during a turn, and a number of the cards here focus on that. Cards that create roles, or creature tokens are easy ways to trigger these bonuses that you can take advantage of while doing what you want to – building out your board.

Best Red/White Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Cooped Up, Frantic Firebolt, Moment of Valor, Ratcatcher Trainee, and Torch the Tower

Red/White has some really good removal at common, though in draft you can expect to be fighting over it with various other decks. There are a number of good creatures, but Ratcatcher Trainee’s ability to help you go wide, trigger celebration, and be a solid curve filler at 2 as a 2/1 first strike attacker make it arguably the best one for this deck at common. It’s important to remember that as an aggro deck hitting on curve is important as well as triggering your abilities, so be ready to sometimes pass on going for an adventure to just your creature in there and apply pressure.

Green/Blue in Wilds of Eldraine Limited

Fairy Tale: Jack and the Beanstalk
Signpost Uncommon: Troyan, Gutsy Explorer

Troyan, Gutsy Explorer
What's a beanstalk after you've wandered through a city planet?

Filling the role of Jack and the Beanstalk’s lead is a wanderer from Ravnica in Troyan, who made use of the omenpaths to visit Eldraine. Here apparently he’s learned about the magic of ramping because the green/blue archetype is all about playing big spells. The mechanic of sorts for it cares about spells that cost five or more mana, and that makes use of the adventure mechanic as many of the adventures here are cheaper spells, with expensive creatures on the backend that you can play after ramping and interfering with opponents.

Make sure to draft and prioritize early defense as well as ramp, because you need to be able to survive to make use of that payoff, and live through the Pied Piper and Cinderella-based quick assaults. This Wilds of Eldraine limited primer would be incomplete if I didn’t remind you that I’m concerned with blue’s place in the format given that it is tied to most of the control decks and slower cards, in a format that feels in early play like it will be going fast.

Best Green/Blue Commons in Wilds of Eldraine limited: Vantress Transmuter, Beanstalk Wurm, Curse of the Werefox, Return from the Wilds, Rootrider Faun

Removal is a bit lighter on the ground here so you need to use it with care, though blue provides you with plenty of tricks. Cursing a creature doesn’t remove it but it can help slow your opponent down so Vantress Transmuter is perfectly desired here to slow down opposition, while Curse of the Werefox works in removal. Our other cards are all ramp with some additional upsides, Beanstalk Wurm lets you play an extra land by adventure, and is then a decent body, while Return from the Wilds should typically do its Farhaven Elf impersonation here. Rootrider Faun is a solid two mana dork who can accelerate as well as block small creatures and serve as a mana filter for splashes, like for off-color adventures.

Wilds of Eldraine limited has been a lot of fun, and I look forward to exploring it some more in the weeks ahead. I hope that this look at some of the common core of the set helped you get a better feel for the set.

TechRaptor previewed Wilds of Eldraine on MTG Arena in the creator's preview event. We received access to an account with boosted currency in order to enter into multiple drafts and sealed events throughout the event.

Win a Switch OLED!!



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