Initial Thoughts on Eldritch Moon Limited (Part 2)
Yesterday, I wrote about the general feel of Eldritch Moon and also listed the top three uncommons and top five commons of White and Blue. Today, in Part 2, we're going to do the same for Black, Red and Green!
Black is relatively all over the place in Eldritch Moon, as it has cards that enable/pay-off from Madness and Delirium, but they're not as efficient or powerful as they were in Shadows over Innistrad. Still, you can build around these mechanics in your deck - you'll just have to be less synergetic around the mechanic and be more like a normal deck.
Black has decent commons and doesn't run dry like Blue and Green do, but it lacks good uncommons that you'd want to pick highly. Based on this, I'd likely look to move into Black if you see that the color is open and then pick up certain cards for one of its mechanics, depending on which color you're pairing it with. I'd be wary of starting in Black and if you opened a bomb in this color, be ready to abandon it.
Murder is the best uncommon in the set. Unconditional removal is always great in limited, but I especially rate it higher in this format due to the lack of instant speed removal and the presence of Emerge. Ruthless Disposal is also close to unconditional removal, and though the drawback isn't cheap, most black decks will be able to mitigate it due to the presence of Madness and/or small tokens to sacrifice away. Rise from the Grave isn't a card I rate very highly, but is an indication of the lack of good uncommons in Black. I'm sure some Self-Mill decks can use this effect to good use.
Black's commons are decent, though it shows that the color is slightly slower than the others. Midnight Scavengers is an efficient way to create card advantage as it creates board presence and can trade with most three drops and some four drops. Gavony Unhallowed is well sized for the format and can help stabilize the board when initially cast, while incrementally getting bigger as the game goes on.
Though Boon of Emrakul is not as good as Choking Restraints, it still has its upside as it can stop cards such as Mad Prophet and Reckless Scholar. I especially like its interaction with Ironclad Slayer if you're in Black-White. Olivia's Dragon and Succumb to Temptation are both decent for decks wanting to enable Madness and Delirium respectively. Although I do rate the former more highly, the latter does help enable Delirium as Black is short on instants to put into the graveyard. I also think it's much better in Sealed than in Draft as the pace of the game will be slower.
Red has very powerful uncommons and the most amount of removal alongside White. The main issue with Red though is that it doesn't have many good, early creatures which is exactly what you want in this color. I expect Red will end up being a support color to White or Green, as it provides decent removal and pump spells which I rate highly in this format. Red also has the majority of support cards for Blue-Red Spells, which I expect to be a key archetype due to its increased support in Eldritch Moon.
All three of these Red uncommons are very powerful, and these aren't the only noteworthy uncommons! Although Lightning Strike may now be a sorcery, Incendiary Flow is still a very efficient removal spell that can also go to your opponent's face – an important trait for the aggro decks. Conduit of Storms and Smoldering Werewolf are both very powerful and can single-handily win the game thanks to its powerful effects. Conduit of Storms seems almost unbeatable if you're on the play and they don't have an answer for it as the two drops in the set can't trade with it. On the other hand, Smoldering Werewolf will often profitably kill two creatures due to the decent amount of X/1s between the two sets.
Red's commons are good, with two efficient removal spells. Galvanic Bombardment can kill many three drops in the set which is a very profitable exchange, while Alchemist's Greeting is slightly over-costed but can kill almost everything in the format – specifically four toughness creatures which the aggro decks will otherwise have a difficult time getting through. Brazen Wolves and Vildin-Pack Outcast both hit hard and are well sized for the format. It is a pity that there are no good common two drops though, as both these creatures are relatively interchangeable but having enough early creatures is crucial. Thermo-Alchemist will mainly find its home in Blue-Red Spells, but I expect it'll be a staple for that archetype.
In Shadows over Innistrad, Green was largely based around making Clues to create incremental advantage. Now, that has been replaced by Emerge and the new breed of Werewolves. Green is still similar to what it was in Shadows over Innistrad, as it'll look to rumble in combat in the early-mid game then try to close the late game with its incremental advantage. Like Red, Green has many powerful uncommons but lacks good common creatures that it desperately would have wanted. Hopefully those creatures can be picked up in the third pack.
Green removal is relatively uncommon, but in this set the color gets access to two good uncommon removal spells! Clear Shot is excellent, and can even lead to two-for-one blowouts in combat as it's a one-sided fight! Somberwald Stag is also great as while it may be awkwardly sized, the four power also means it can kill most creatures in this format. This card will often resemble an Alchemist's Greeting, a spell which Green would happily pay five mana for as it struggles with certain proactive threats such as Fliers.
There's also some decent three drop creatures such as Grizzled Angler which you can profitably fight with and leave you with a straight two-for-one. Foul Emissary is a card that I may be over-rating as it only really goes into Blue-Green Emerge, but it seems like such a powerful card for that archetype that I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I think this is worth picking highly and then abandon if need be.
Similar to Red, Green's commons are decent but not what the color is looking for. Prey Upon is good, though I expect it'll be less good than it was in original Innistrad due to the creature sizing and the likely increased presence of pump effects. Wolfkin Bond is similar to Knightly Valor - a card which I have always rated highly. Although I have previously commented that Auras are worse in this format, I still like Wolfkin Bond as it leaves behind a decently sized creature and helps your creature grow out of the stock size. It's especially good with pump spells, as it makes it much harder for your opponent to profitably double-block.
The rest of Green's good commons are just decent creatures. Although I don't believe Ulvenwald Captive is that powerful, it's necessary due to the massive shortage of two drops. Bloodbriar is well sized for the format if you can trigger it once, and will get better as the game goes long like Gavony Unhallowed. Swift Spinner is no Giant Spider, and I would gladly prefer the fourth toughness to its Flash ability, but it's still needed for the Green decks to hold off pesky Fliers which it otherwise has a hard time dealing with.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned more about how Eldritch Moon may shape up the new limited format. With Silver on the line for me at Grand Prix Sydney, I have already start preparing with extensive analysis of the set, and am planning to get as many drafts in as possible once the set comes out.
Though it is a long shot as I'd have to make Top 8 to hit the Pro Club level, this is likely the closest I'll get to stringing a couple of Pro Tour invites together so I want to give it my best shot! I'd also love to hear everyone's opinions/thoughts on the format and where you may agree/disagree with me, so comment below or hit me up on Twitter!
Until next time!
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