I joke about always playing white cards at prerelease events, and for Throne of Eldraine I open two copies of Charming Prince. As much value as that card brings, I had no desire to jam a bunch of Grizzly Bears for five rounds of Sealed. Fortunately my pool provided some grade-A nonsense cards in blue and a few red removal spells.

I did spend some time considering the black cards, but my black cards leaned more on creatures. I could have given a run to my two copies of Eye Collector alongside Syr Konrad, the Grim, but that looked less fun for whatever reason. Sometimes I like do engage in Izzet control pseudo-mill nonsense with only eight creatures. While I would not recommend that approach in a competitive event, it was totally worth the 3-2 record and six prize packs I took home for my efforts.

Izzet a Good Idea?

Creatures (8)
Overwhelmed Apprentice
Locthwain Gargoyle
Corridor Monitor
Hypnotic Sprite
Faerie Vandal
Loch Dragon
Skullknocker Ogre
Mistford River Turtle

Spells (14)
The Magic Mirror
Folio of Fancies
Spinning Wheel
Searing Barrage
Sundering Stroke
Charmed Sleep
Didn’t Say Please
Turn into a Pumpkin
Opt
Thrill of Possibility
Lands (18)
Castle Vantress
Mystic Sanctuary
10 Island
Mountain

Sideboard (11)
Weaselback Redcap
Raging Redcap
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
So Tiny
Joust
Scalding Cauldron
Henge Walker
Jousting Dummy
Locthwain Gargoyle
Prophet of the Peak

Let’s start with the nine-mana artifact. The Magic Mirror looks very cool, and it helps you explode for a few turns. But eventually you are drawing five cards and turn and you will deck yourself if you don’t win immediately. Maybe I should have added a few more Mountains to be able to super-red-cast Sundering Stroke, or include Thorbran in the main deck. And also probably cut The Magic Mirror from the deck. But it’s a prerelease—I’m playing my silly mythic rare and drawing all the cards. I only lost one game to it’s extra draw trigger, and honestly that’s an achievement of its own.

Folio of Fancies does good work, but it’s not great if your opponent has no cards in hand. You can activate the all-draw ability at the end of your opponent’s turn, so it’s possible to get ahead in a few turns. But you better be able to stay ahead while your opponent gets to see chunks of their deck to win before you can mill them out. “Desperate digging for enough damage to win” is a common game-state when facing a multi-turn mill artifact. Playing poorly into that counterstrategy makes me think Folio of Fancies is not as good as it looks. Still, it is fun and can win quickly in the right situation. I also used it to beat Revenge of Ravens, which seems like a thing you will want to be able to do. Also notable that you can set up a double-mill turn with Corridor Monitor if you happen to still have one in hand. I always wanted to play it out to block, which seems more important in defensive blue decks.

Castle Vantress seems very cool, but it’s really expensive to use. There were plenty of turns where I was one mana short of being able to cast one spell and activate the castle. I also happeed to have enough ways to draw extra cards that I usually had things to do with my mana. I’m hopeful the blue castle ends up powering some oppressive control deck in Standard, but it feels hard to use much in Limited. Then again, it is great if you have nothing else to do, and it’s essentially free to include in blue decks. All upside, along with rare-drafting implications, so have at it!

I don’t think this comes as a surprise to anyone, but Adventures are absurdly strong in Limited. Quite a few offer situational instant interaction that is hard to play around. Hypnotic Sprite proved incredible throughout my five rounds. My woeful creature curve lacks three drops, but the two counterspells and removal spells fit with the Adventure side of the Sprite to give me plenty of action on turn three. If you have two islands on turn two, you should probably play it out and go to town. Some decks are well-equipped to stop small fliers, but an early Welkin Tern has won many a game of Limited over the years.

Spinning Wheel also majorly overperformed—go figure. Who could have imagined that tacking a pseudo-Icy Manipulator onto a three-drop mana rock would be good? You should play it if you can, especially considering how awkward the mana requirements are in the set. On top of that, all the Adamant bonuses are worth getting—I dealt a lot of damage with Searing Barrage later in games when I drew enough red sources. Mystic Sanctuary helps with that too, and you definitely want to draft them if you can.

I love Loch Dragon. Most games hinged on whether my opponent could destroy it or not. When they did not, I won quickly. Eighteen lands feels appropriate to ensure you can meet the awkward mana requirements, and the potential to rummage away extra lands every turn while attacking with Snapping Drake makes me happy. Hybrid creatures are basically colorless in the appropriate two-color decks, which really helps you hit a big play on curve. Artifact creatures in general are better than usual for this reason too. Henge Walker got sideboarded in against heavy creature decks, and it overperformed as a pseudo-morph. Locthwain Gargoyle offer a reasonable early blocker that can turn into a win condition when a game goes long.

For those of you venturing into the Throne of Eldraine draft tables, I suggest you try to draft an Izzet card-draw deck when you have the chance. The cards are fun and flying creatures tend to deal damage. Green decks look very powerful and full of giant creatures, and that usually spells doom for Izzet decks. But the tools are there to do great things.

Brendan McNamara is Editor in Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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