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Throne of Eldraine Limited Set Review: Gold Cards

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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.)

Dance of the Manse

Dance of the Manse

Limited: 0.0

Dance of the Manse has no chance. It can’t get back Auras, it’s way too situational, and getting the actual good benefit costs tons of mana.

Doom Foretold

Doom Foretold

Limited: 1.5

Doom Foretold is powerful, but looks to be hard to use. It affects both players, so once they sacrifice something and pass back, you then also have to sac something, which can include Doom Foretold (at which point it just dies and doesn’t trigger). If you have ways to break the symmetry, like cheap creatures that aren’t tokens, this can be profitable, though the best case is probably just trying to sneak this in when they don’t have anything in play. Either way, this is clunky and often won’t deliver, so I want to see it in action before being convinced.

Drown in the Loch

Drown in the Loch

Limited: 2.5

By itself, Drown is a lategame answer, as it’ll take until the midgame at least for their graveyard to fill up. That is playable, even if sometimes it’ll rot in your hand early. However, once you start milling them, this just becomes the perfect answer, so it goes up quite a bit in a deck that is trying to do that.

Escape to the Wilds

Escape to the Wilds

Limited: 3.0

Escape to the Wilds is a bigger version of Light up the Stage. I see Escape to the Wilds as something akin to a draw 3.5 / 4. You get to play this, play a land, and then next turn play another land plus 1-2 spells, depending on costs. It’s not good with situational cards, like combat tricks, but in a normal RG deck you can reasonably expect to get two lands plus 1-2 spells as a result of this. That’s good enough for me, and it even gets better the lower your curve is.

Faeburrow Elder

Faeburrow Elder

Limited: 3.5

A 3-mana 2/2 that taps for two mana is well above the curve, and this sometimes even does more than that. Faeburrow Elder will let you run over any opponent when drawn early, and even late can give you the mana to make some big plays.

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman

Limited: 5.0

It doesn’t get much better than this. Garruk, Cursed Huntsman heavily impacts the board with two Wolves a turn, gains loyalty when they die, and can even kill fliers or big creatures that are threatening him. Plus, his ultimate is quite cheap, and may make it so your opponent can’t kill the Wolves he makes out of fear of it. Garruk, Cursed Huntsman is the best card in Throne of Eldraine.

Grumgully, the Generous

Grumgully, the Generous

Limited: 3.5

Grumgully is generous indeed. You don’t have to do much to make this 5/5 or 6/6 worth of stats over the course of a game, and given that the floor is a Centaur Courser, I’m in.

Improbable Alliance

Improbable Alliance

Limited: 3.5

I really like Improbable Alliance. It is a build-around, but it’s so easy to make work that most decks should just play it regardless, especially given that it self-fuels in the lategame. If you start with this in a draft, the draw-2 deck is exactly where you want to go, and will reward you richly if you get there.

Inspiring Veteran

Inspiring Veteran

Limited: 3.0 // 3.5

In a baseline RW deck, this will be great. Once you go super deep on Knights, it gets even better, and is a low-cost high-impact card overall.

Lochmere Serpent

Lochmere Serpent

Limited: 4.5

This is a loch to be first-picked, as it’s a huge flash beater that not only can attack unblockably, can cycle your Swamps if you’re flooded. Oh yeah, it also comes back from the graveyard if they do somehow kill it…

Maraleaf Pixie

Maraleaf Pixie

Limited: 3.0

The Pixie is an efficient attacker or a good mana accelerant, whichever the game demands. That works for me, and this is a card I wouldn’t mind kicking off a draft with.

Oko, Thief of Crowns

Oko, Thief of Crowns

Limited: 5.0

Garruk may have the crown when it comes to best card in the set (for Limited), but Oko isn’t far behind. He doesn’t steal games as much as just dominate them from the get-go, as I’m sure we will see all too often in Standard. If you play Oko and +2, the opponent is unlikely to be able to kill him, and you can then either make a 3/3 or potentially yoink their creature. Those two abilities on a cheap planeswalker with super high loyalty is absurd, and Oko is almost unbeatable on turn three (while being just very good later).

Outlaws’ Merriment

Outlaws' Merriment

Limited: 4.5

You get to spin the wheel every turn, but this is one of those good prize wheels that has all winners. No matter what you get, you’ll be happy, and at four mana, this is quite a deal. Sure, sometimes you’ll need a specific hit to win, but most games you’ll just play this and run the opponent over in a matter of turns.

The Royal Scions

The Royal Scions

Limited: 4.5

These planeswalkers don’t mess around, do they? The Royal Scions don’t have a huge impact on the board, at least not defensively, but have such a high loyalty that you’ll get tons of value from them. They enable the draw-2 deck and let you find whatever you’re looking for, all while threatening an ultimate that just ends the game.

Savvy Hunter

Savvy Hunter

Limited: 4.0

Savvy Hunter is a great deal. She comes in for cheap, starts generating Food quickly, and for no mana, can cash in Food for cards. This working with other Food cards is just a bonus, as this is an excellent card even in isolation.

Shinechaser

Shinechaser

Limited: 1.0 // 3.0

In a deck with plenty of support, this is a good flying threat. It really does need to be a 3/3 to really shine, so try and aim for 4-5 cards of each type if you want this to be awesome.

Steelclaw Lance

Steelclaw Lance

Limited: 3.5

In a Knights deck, this is a savagely undercosted equipment. In a deck that has a mix of creatures, it’s still quite good, and in a deck with zero Knights it falls off pretty hard. Overall, that makes this a great card, as +2/+2 for a one mana equip cost is a huge deal.

Stormfist Crusader

Stormfist Crusader

Limited: 3.0

I’d always play Stormfist Crusader in an aggressive or midrange deck, but the draw card ability isn’t what control decks are looking for. Basically, you want to be pressuring the opponent’s life total to really get value here, and a 2/2 menace is good at that, so make sure it has support.

Wandermare

Wandermare

Limited: 3.0 // 3.5

In a heavy adventure deck, this can go off quickly, and it’s a solid beast of burden even without too many enablers. That’s a fine place to be, and this will wander into my deck often.

Wintermoor Commander

Wintermoor Commander

Limited: 3.0

Wintermoor Commander is playable if you’re in BW, but unlike most of these gold cards, isn’t a reason to be in that combo. It will usually just serve as a 2/1 or 2/2 deathtouch, and getting much more out of it is a challenge.

Arcanist’s Owl

Arcanist's Owl

Limited: 4.0

Note: For all the hybrid cards, I’m rating them assuming you are mono-color or in their two colors, and therefore they are easy to cast. They largely shouldn’t go in 2-color decks that aren’t of their two colors.

I love Arcanist’s Owl. It’s a 3/3 flier for four that also finds a good card, and UW often ends up with 5+ hits even without trying. If you are light on goodies to find, the rating drops, but in a well-enabled deck this is truly excellent.

Covetous Urge

Covetous Urge

Limited: 2.5

Taking a turn off to cast this can be rough, though it’s quite powerful if you do have the time. Remember that you can take a card from their graveyard if need be, which makes this a lot better lategame than it would be otherwise.

Deathless Knight

Deathless Knight

Limited: 3.5

Deathless Knight is really annoying to play against, which is usually the sign of a good card. It keeps the pressure on, meaning they can’t ignore it, and when it trades off it comes back easily. That’s a great threat for any Food deck, and it can also block well if you are on the backfoot.

Elite Headhunter

Elite Headhunter

Limited: 2.0

Elite Headhunter is the worst of the bunch here, as it’s a little too small and its ability is a little too expensive. If you can cobble together a sacrifice deck, this does play well in it, but that won’t happen too often.

Fireborn Knight

Fireborn Knight

Limited: 3.5

This is a beating. The pump ability makes it very hard to block when you have your mana up, and at some point you might just start whacking them for 6-8 a turn. It also plays well with pump spells and equipment, which aren’t hard to find in these parts.

Loch Dragon

Loch Dragon

Limited: 4.0

Loch Dragon isn’t the biggest creature of them all, but it provides you with a steady stream of cards. If this is attacking unopposed, you will rip through your deck rapidly, and all your draw-2 cards will be on as well.

Oakhame Ranger

Oakhame Ranger

Limited: 3.0

If Oakhame Ranger sticks, it’s going to dominate the board. It is more vulnerable to removal than most of this cycle, since it provides no effect right away, but you can mitigate that by taking the slow route and getting your tokens first.

Rampart Smasher

Rampart Smasher

Limited: 3.5

HULK SMASH! I’m in for this, as a 5/5 for four with upside is always going to be a great deal.

Resolute Rider

Resolute Rider

Limited: 3.5

This is classic threat of activation material, as the opponent will fear blocking it and you don’t have to waste your mana protecting it. It also can start going down the lifelink path if need be, making it very difficult to race.

Thunderous Snapper

Thunderous Snapper

Limited: 3.5

Hexplate Golem jokes aside, this is a great 4-drop. If you get even one card out of it, you made out like a bandit, and it’s a brawler just by itself. I’d snap this up early if you see it, as it’s a very good reason to be in these colors.

Artifacts and Lands are all that’s left, and they will be following shortly. Enjoy the prerelease!

LSV

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