With the multiversal war over, Magic: The Gathering takes a turn into fairy tales with its next set, Wilds of Eldraine—and kicks off a new storyline.
The Phyrexian Arc is over, the invasion of every plane in existence has been repelled, and a new era is beginning for Magic: The Gathering. The multiverse will never be the same, and we’re truly going to start seeing the ramifications of March of the Machine‘s story in Wilds of Eldraine.
The plane of Eldraine is Magic‘s realm of fairy tales and Arthurian legend, as originally seen in 2019’s set Throne of Eldraine. This whimsical world lost several of its nations’ leaders in repelling the invasion. Even now, many are still afflicted by the Wicked Slumber enchantment used to stall the Phyrexians, leaving them trapped under a Snow White-esque curse. And of course, the majority of Planeswalkers lost their spark, their ability to walk the planes, but the worlds remained connected by Omenpaths—planar passages that are a side effect of the invasion, and allow regular people to cross the dimensions.
In this uncertain new paradigm, Wilds of Eldraine shows us the strained relationship between the siblings Rowan and Will Kenrick as they deal with the loss of their royal parents and their shared planeswalking spark. (Luckily, they were previously honing their spellcraft at the magic academy Strixhaven.) However, the mysterious Ashiok has retained their own spark, appearing as the set’s lone planeswalker card as they meddle with affairs on Eldraine—after all, a world afflicted by a magical slumber is a ripe target for one whose unique magic deals with sleep and nightmares.
Meanwhile, a new protagonist will arise in Kellan—an adventurous youth “with a mysterious heritage” and “a quest from an unlikely patron.” His “deep well of curiosity” may draw him further into Magic: The Gathering‘s larger plot soon.
Mechanically, Wilds of Eldraine will feature a mix of old and new card effects to bring the fairy tale themes to life. New enchantments called Role tokens play into the storybook theme, attaching to creatures and granting effects. There are six roles in total, with another in the Commander decks. The “Monster” role imparts a +1/+1 bonus and trample, for instance, while the “Royal” role grants +1/+1 and ward 1.
Roles are just one way that auras and enchantments will be the focus of Wilds of Eldraine. The popular Saga enchantments return with no real twists, unlike their more specialized usage in the Lord of the Rings Universes Beyond set. However they will be used to represent classic folktales, like the Three Blind Mice, or expand on the plane’s lore. Likewise, Food tokens return, last seen as the specialty of Hobbit creatures—and this time they appear on Magic‘s badass new take on Greta from Hansel & Greta.
The Adventure mechanic returns, bringing back their signature “storybook” card frame. These are creature cards with an additional instant or sorcery spell grafted on the left-hand side; as before, players can cast this spell first, exile it, then cast the creature from exile, simulating the effect of a creature going on an adventure before being called into battle.
This time, however, there are off-colour Adventures, where the instant or sorcery doesn’t exactly match the creature’s mana identity. Kellan is a prime example: his card features “Birthright Boon,” a sorcery cast for 1W, while “Kellan, the Fae-Blooded” has a 2R cost.
Bargain, another of Wilds of Eldraine‘s new mechanics, plays into the classic trope of bartering with the wicked enchantress. This will allow players to sacrifice an artifact, enchantment, or token as an optional cost for certain spells, gaining an additional effect in exchange. For instance, “Beseech the Mirror” normally allows the caster to search their library for a card, exile it momentarily, then put it into their hand. If the bargain is struck, however, they can cast that exiled spell for free if its cost was 4 or less.
Celebration debuts on the new creature “Ash, Party Crasher” and evokes the trope of the princess undercover at a ball. This effect triggers if two or more nonland permanents entered the battlefield under the owner’s control this turn; when Ash attacks, for example, she gets a +1/+1 counter if Celebration triggers.
Wilds of Eldraine was designed to produce strong deck two-colour archetypes in drafting scenarios. Each of the ten prevalent colour combinations used for Ravnica’s guilds has a discernible theme which players should be able to play into easily. Red-green deals in creatures with power greater than 4, red-white is focused on aggro and Celebration, and red-black is aggro via rat tokens, for example. This should make the set popular for drafting in the same way that Ravnica was, without leaning on that more familiar setting once again.
Wilds of Eldraine‘s Showcase frames in draft, set, and collector boosters, as you might expect by now, will lean hard into the fairy tale and folklore themes. Storybook Adventures bring even more flair to Adventure cards, making their unique frames look even more like a fine illuminated text. Eldraine’s unique Showcase frames, the “Enchanting Tales” treatment, will feature fan-favourite enchatments like Necropotence and Doubling Season, and (in similar fashion to Strixhaven‘s Mystical Archives) there will be additional Anime Borderless versions of these by Japanese artists. Confetti foil treatments will only be found in collector boosters, but bring a fresh look to foil cards.
Two preconstructed Commander decks will accompany Wilds of Eldraine‘s launch on September 8: the blue-black “Fae Dominion” deck spearheaded by Tegwyll, Duke of Splendor, boasting faerie tribal elements; and the green-white “Virtue & Valor” commanded by Ellivere of the Wild Court, focused on enchantments and roles. This is where the additional role type, “Virtuous,” comes into play, granting the enchanted creature +1/+1 for each enchantment its owner controls.
Even Magic Arena will get in on the thematic fun. Its unique Wilds of Eldraine playing field will have interactive pop-up book elements hidden within, a first for the popular digital adaptation.
Between Wilds of Eldraine and Disney Lorcana, this autumn will be a whimsical time at your Friendly Local Game Store, but Wizards of the Coast assures us this is pure coincidence—given the long lead time on designing Magic sets, the existence of Ravensburger’s licensed competitor was unknown to them at the time.
Wilds of Eldraine will debut in prerelease events from September 1-7, arrive on Magic Arena September 5, and fully launch on tabletops worldwide September 8. It will be accompanied by a new Starter Kit, providing a great place for new players to hop aboard.
The question is, will this fairy tale have a happy ending?