Standard rotation in Magic: The Gathering is right around the corner and with it comes several broken cards in the Throne of Eldraine set.
Every MTG set typically has at least one broken card that will completely alter the metagame. Such a spell or creature might have an impact on one Magic format, or several formats if it’s really broken.
And yet in the Throne of Eldraine (ELD) set, there are multiple cards that will have a major impact across various MTG formats. Some are simply overpowered and others are ban-worthy.
Torbran, Thane of the Red Fell
Andrew Brown told the Magic community last week via MTG Weekly that Red Burn wouldn’t be a dominant archetype in Standard 2020. With the reveal of Deafening Silence at the time, his projections seemed accurate.
But yesterday, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell dropped as an ELD spoiler. Deafening Silence is an answer to Experimental Frenzy and Burn cards accessed via Light up the Stage. But it doesn’t prevent the onslaught in Standard that will come from adding Torbran, Thane of Red Fell to a Cavalcade of Calamity deck.
Torbran adds “two damage” for every red source that does damage to either a permanent or player. In a Cavalcade deck, this means that every 1/1 creature becomes a 3/1 when attacking while still triggering one damage to an opponent’s face via Cavalcade of Calamity.
Then, each “one damage” from Cavalcade becomes a total of “three damage” dealt thanks to Torbran. In other words, it’s game over by turn four or five. Here’s a full turn-by-turn breakdown of how Torbran breaks Standard.
Once Upon a Time
Simic Flash is already a dominant deck in Standard, and with Once Upon a Time, it’s even more powerful. But it’s not just Simic that will benefit from this broken Instant. Once Upon a Time fits into any archetype willing to splash Green and is projected to alter the Modern metagame in a “Hogaak” kind of way.
Once Upon a Time “will hit a land 91.3 percent of the time and a creature 91.3 percent of the time,” according to Frank Karstan. A typical Magic deck often contains around eight “key creatures.” Thanks to Karstan’s math, a player will likely hit the creature they’re looking for 53.1 percent of the time.
Standard post-rotation won’t have dual lands to mana-fix decks anymore. But Once Upon a time from ELD easily solves this issue. A player can cast it at no mana cost if drawn within the first eight cards. And after that, it only costs two mana to essentially add another land to your mana pool. In other formats like Modern and Commander, expect Once Upon a Time to become a staple card.
Green Stompy and Midrange decks received an answer to losing Llanowar Elves with ELD’s Gilded Goose. While it’s not as potent over the course of a match, the mana ramp bird allows Questing Beast to enter the battlefield by turn three. As does Arboreal Grazer from War of the Spark (WAR).
Questing Beast is a four mana 4/4 creature with vigilance, deathtouch, and haste. In addition to its long list of “enter the battlefield” (ETB) abilities, this legendary beast will wreak havoc via its static abilities. Get a full breakdown of Questing Beast here.
- Questing Beast can’t be blocked by creatures with a power of two or less (no chump blocks).
- Combat damage dealt by creatures you control can’t be prevented.
- Damage dealt by Questing Beast to an opponent deals that much damage to a planeswalker the opponent controls.
The design of Questing Beast was meant to balance the presence of planeswalkers in Standard due to the massive influx of them from WAR. Thanks to the addition of ELD cards like the beast and Yorvo, Lord of the Garen Preserve, planeswalkers and opponents don’t stand much of a chance against Mono-Green.
Yorvo, after Arboreal Grazer is played, is a two-drop who turns into a 6/6 by turn three due to the addition of Questing Beast, which has haste and combat damage that can’t be prevented.
Gilded Goose is also solid backup mana dork option (sideboard) that kicks off the combo between Yorvo and Questing Beast a turn later. It also helps cast Insatiable Appetite if your opponent should put out a blocker that is a 4/4 or greater (keeping the beast alive).
The Throne of Eldraine set releases on Oct. 4, kickstarting the Standard 2020 rotation via tabletop. For digital players, the Standard rotation begins on Sept. 26 with the launch of ELD via MTG Arena and MTGO.