Preview season for Throne of Eldraine has begun, and players are already looking to pick up cards that fit with the themes of the set.
We also got some information about the releases planned for next year, making this an exciting week for speculations and predictions. Let's get to the list.
The first wave of Eldraine previews included Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale, a card featured in one of the new Brawl preconstructed decks. Her ability to let Knights equip for zero makes her a strong Commander option for any deck looking to play "Voltron" style by tossing a bunch of powerful gear on a creature and then bashing in.
Heartseeker has an expensive equip cost that gets negated by Syr Gwyn, and if you have a board full of Knight creatures, they can just pass Heartseeker down the line and use it as a one-sided board wipe.
You can then do it on every following turn, making it virtually impossible for your opponent to rebuild their half of the battlefield.
The Bant flicker deck has carved out a strong position for itself in Modern, as players shift away from the graveyard strategies that were significantly weakened after the banning on Faithless Looting and Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis.
Ice-Fang Coatl, Coiling Oracle, Soulherder and Ephemerate make up the backbone of this three-color deck, in which nearly every creature draws you a card when it enters the battlefield.
The deck can also loop infinite turns with Eternal Witness and Time Warp, but otherwise plays pretty fair. The card advantage you gain by blinking your own creatures every turn is usually enough to bury your opponent, who won't have enough removal or countermagic to keep up with your ability to draw more cards.
Stoneforge Mystic decks are out there but still being tuned, and with dredge decks pretty much banned out of the format, Bant Ephemererate could be top dog for a little while longer yet.
A special livestream put on by Wizards of the Coast last week confirmed that after Throne of Eldraine, we'll be revisiting Theros, with a big focus on the underworld.
The last time we were on this plane, Zombies weren't exactly a supported tribe but we did get Gray Merchant of Asphodel, which has become popular in both Pauper and Commander.
With more attention being paid to the underworld this time, it's possible Theros: Beyond Death will provide more Zombies, and maybe even some powerful enough for Modern. If that ends up being true, then Undead Augur will likely become a key part of any deck based around the undead tribe.
With Standard rotation just a few weeks away, many players are looking to offload their cards from Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Core Set 2019 and Dominaria, and that works out great for anyone hoping to grab cards that can still see play in other formats.
History of Benalia certainly fits the profile. It was a key card in aggressive mono-white decks for the past year, and with Throne of Eldraine about to give us more Knights that will synergize with the third verse on this saga, it could be enough to kick off a tribal-based deck in Modern.
The enchantment would also be right at home in a Mardu-colored Commander deck, lead by Syr Gwyn, or any other yet-to-be-revealed legendary Knights from Throne of Eldraine.
Theros is best described as a world where enchantments matter, with our initial visit giving us bestow creatures that could be cast as auras, indestructible enchantment Gods and their matching weapons, and the constellation mechanic that rewarded you for every enchantment you played.
It seems very likely that Theros: Beyond Death will continue this theme, and just as Undead Augur was possibly a Modern Horizons plant for future Zombie decks, Hall of Heliod's Generosity might be waiting in plain sight for Modern's next enchantment-slinging deck.
Even if that doesn't pan out, you can use it to buy back History of Benalia in your Knights Commander deck. The floor on this card is still pretty high, and with the right support from our next visit to Theros, the ceiling could be even higher, making it a great pickup now while it's still only a few dollars.
Not only is it in the top five this week, Lotus Field was one of our top ten selling cards for the entire month of August.
The Twiddle-Storm deck was likely the culprit, which gave players a fun Modern deck to Tinker with while Hogaak and graveyard strategies were still running the show.
Lotus Field also enjoyed a brief period of experimentation in Standard as players tried to use Blood Sun to cheat the land into play without sacrificing anything, but with that enchantment about to rotate, Field's future in the format is less defined.
Throne of Eldraine does feature a new mechanic called "adamant," which rewards you for casting a spell with three or more mana in the right color. Lotus Field just happens to tap for three mana of any one color, which is a helpful coincidence.
And, if Theros: Beyond Death brings back the devotion mechanic, mono-colored decks could be poised for a return, as the pendulum swings away from the multicolored Ravnica sets and into decks built around gods or the realms of Eldraine.
As we get closer to rotation, players begin looking for ways to minimize the impact of the changing card pool. One way to do that is by building so called rotation-proof decks, which are constructed only using cards that will be legal once Throne of Eldraine pushes Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan,Dominaria and Core Set 2019 out of the lineup.
AliasV recently demonstrated the capabilities of a creature-heavy Gruul deck, supported by a few planeswalkers from War of the Spark, including Domri, Anarch of Bolas.
Jund Dinosaur decks also like having access to Domri, but your window for making that work in Standard is quickly closing. Domri doesn't fit cleanly into any of the themes we've seen yet for Eldraine, so I'd be surprised if he repeats his appearance here next week.
This one-drop, however, could be among our top sellers for a while. In addition to being a Vampire and being a good opening play for a deck based around Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord, it's also a Knight, which means it'll be making new friends in Throne of Eldraine.
The Black Knights we've already seen previewed form an aggressive curve. Lead off with Knight of the Ebon Legion or Foulmire Knight, then Smitten Swordmaster or Order of Midnight, and then Bell of the Brawl or Murderous Rider.
With many of those cards having adventures built in, you don't even have to pick between playing removal or creatures because some of your Knights are both.
And, if you need any more proof Knight of the Ebon Legion is going to show up in a lot of decks, it just got a new animation that plays when it hits the table in Magic Arena—if the game's creators are expecting this one to see play, you might want to pick up your copies. Just saying.
The Brawl preconstructed decks for Throne of Eldraine gave us four new legendary creatures that can also become commanders of 100-card decks. Among them was Alela, Artful Provocateur, a Faerie Warlock.
She has an ability that creates Faerie tokens whenever you cast an artifact or enchantment spell, which is a perfect lead-in for Idol of Oblivion. Cast the artifact, get a Faerie token, then immediately tap the artifact to draw a card because you created a token this turn.
And, with the right mix of cards, you'll probably be making tokens on most turns, which makes the Idol a recurring source of card draw—and you can never have too much of that in Commander.
It's kind of funny how Brawl went from being the punchline to every 'dead format' joke to captivating players on Arena with five days of exclusive early access to the four new preconstructed decks, and is now having a huge impact on our top ten sellers.
Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale strikes again, because she and her Knights need not pay a whopping eight mana to lift this hammer. Most of them weren't going to be flying anyway, but the vigilant and menacing Gwyn herself becomes an absolute house when getting +10/+10 for basically free.
While she was designed for Brawl and by extension Commander, Syr Gwyn is going to be Standard-legal along with every other card from Throne of Eldraine. Could there be an equipment deck that attempts to go huge with Knights?