Hello and welcome to our Throne of Eldraine Draft Guide. If you want to learn how to draft Eldraine, or if you just need a refresher, you’ve come to the right place.
First, we’ll quickly mention mechanics from Eldraine and how they affect the draft format. Secondly, we’ll go through the best commons for each color. Finally, we’ll take a look at the archetypes and talk about what they’re trying to do.
At the end we also rank all the colors. However, Throne of Eldraine draft was incredibly well balanced and all combinations are at least playable when open. That might be contrary to what you might remember if you’ve been drafting on Arena.
The reason for that is simple. There were no human drafts on Arena at that time and bots were underrating some cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper for example. This time around you’ll draft Eldraine with other players which makes the format much more enjoyable. This draft guide is written with human drafting in mind.
So let’s get right to it and take a look at Throne of Eldraine mechanics. Feel free to skip this section, if you’re already familiar with them.
UPDATE: If you’re looking forward to drafting the newest set, you can find Strixhaven Draft Guide here.
Throne of Eldraine Mechanics
There are three mechanics in Throne of Eldraine draft: Adventure, Food and Adamant.
Adventure is by far the most important mechanic. Cards with Adventure are always creatures. You can cast them as creatures and be done with it – in that case they’ll work just as any other creature would.
However, you often want to cast the adventure part first – that’s a sorcery or instant spell. If you do, the card goes to exile after it resolves. You might cast its creature part from there (as it was a card in your hand).
Almost all adventure cards are great in draft. Most of them have two cards of value packed in, which is great, as it gives you an easy two-for-one.
Food is an artifact subtype with activated ability: Pay two mana, tap and sacrifice this: Gain three life.
Adamant is a reward for mono colored decks – those are actually viable in this format. A card with adamant will have a bonus if three mana of the same (sometimes specific) color was spent to cast it. You can also use them in decks that aren’t mono colored, but you’ll get the bonus effect less often.
Best Commons for Throne of Eldraine Draft
1. Ardenvale Tactician
You won’t mind casting this one on turn three – without even playing the adventure part. 2/3 flyer for three mana is a great deal.
Nevertheless, it’s still an absurdly good card in the late game. You get to remove two blockers for a turn, plus you add a flyer to the battlefield. You can also use the first part defensively to tap down two attackers, which might also help you, when you’re in a race. It’s also a Knight, which sometimes matters.
Tactician is surely the best white common in Throne of Eldraine draft and a backbone of all white aggressive decks.
2. Trapped in the Tower
Eldraine’s take on Pacifism is still a very fine removal spell, although the downside isn’t negligible. You can’t lock down flyers, which are often very relevant threats.
Also, if the creature gains flying after it has been enchanted, Trapped in the Tower will go to the graveyard. Nevertheless, it’s still a very playable card.
3. Faerie Guidemother
Guidemother is a perfect counter to Trapped in the Tower and it’s also a perfect one drop. You’ll rarely just play this without the Adventure part first. You can get a lot of surprise damage in with this card.
Just targeting a random 3/3 creature represents 5 points of damage, plus you’re adding a 1/1 flyer to the board, which you can later buff so it becomes more relevant. What’s not to like?
White has two more very good commons, both featuring the adventure mechanic.
Each side of Silverflame Squire is nothing particularly amazing, but once you get both, it becomes a very playable card.
Lonesome Unicorn is similar. Both bodies are somewhat underwhelming, but once you get both in a single card, it becomes a welcome addition to any white deck.
1. Charmed Sleep
It’s blue removal spell. Not much else to say here. It costs three mana, which is nice and you’ll play as many as you’ll get in your blue decks.
2. Merfolk Secretkeeper
Merfolk Secretkeeeper is perhaps the most controversial card in the set. Bots massively underrated it, so it became the bane of the Throne of Eldraine draft on Arena.
However, now that we’re drafting with other players, we can expect this to be less of a problem. That was true both on Magic Online and in real life drafts. The reason for this is simple – people will pick up Secretkeeper higher then bots.
As more people try to draft the mill deck, it becomes less oppressive as you won’t see decks with 5+ Secretkeepers.
Nevertheless, it’s still a good card and the mill deck might still come together – with cards like Run Away Together giving you additional uses of the Secretkeeper. It also enables some cards like the next card on our list.
3. So Tiny
If you’re playing a defensive deck, or a deck with flyers, So Tiny becomes very close to a real removal spell. Early on, it makes a small attacker irrelevant. When the game goes on, it can deal even with the biggest threats, if you have some support for it.
One of the ways to support cards like so Tiny is definitely Didn’t Say Please, which was very well positioned in the format. Three mana counterspell is playable here, plus milling three cards is actually not insignificant.
We should also mention Witching Well, which smooths your early draws and provides card advantage in mid to late game.
1. Bake into a Pie
Hands down, best common in the set. You can channel your inner Arya Stark by destroying any creature for four mana and getting a Food token for your troubles.
How useful the Food token is for you, will vary from deck to deck, but even if you don’t have any additional Food synergies this card is amazingly good.
2. Reave Soul
Reave Soul is much less versatile as a sorcery with more limitations. Nevertheless, it costs just two mana and deals with all cheap creatures – and even some more expensive ones like Bog Naughty.
There are 143 creatures in Throne of Eldraine, and 115 of them have power 3 or less. That means Reave Soul destroys a whooping 80,4% creatures in the format. So that explains why it’s considered the second best black common in the set.
3. Wicked Guardian
From second to third card we have a significant drop in quality and there are multiple cards that could be considered for the third place in black.
If you can reliably get creatures with toughness 3 or more in play by turn four, Wicked Guardian becomes an amazing card. If not, it’s pretty mediocre, so keep that in mind when you’re building your deck.
There are more cards that can be good in specific shells like Tempting Witch or Barrow Witches. Both of those fit well in a specific shell and also play well with previously mentioned Wicked Guardian.
Forever Young is also a perfectly fine addition to any black deck. There are a couple of nice things about it. You can play it without targets, just to draw a card, so it’s never a dead card (which makes sense, given its name). Additionally, it’s a nice counter to those pesky mill decks running around.
1. Scorching Dragonfire
Three damage is enough to get rid of 106 creatures in Throne of Eldraine draft, or 74,1% of all creatures in the format. Exile is also relevant, especially when there’s cards like Forever Young.
Being so cheap instant is also very nice, as you can leave two mana up if you expect an adventure spell. For example if you’re opponent targets their small creature with Oaken Boon, you can kill it in response. Not only won’t they get the counters, they also won’t be able to cast Tuinvale Treefolk anymore!
2. Barge In
Barge In is an exceptional card for aggressive decks. +2/+2 for one mana is already fine, but the trample part is also surprisingly relevant and will enable some unexpected wins.
Keep in mind that you can only cast it on attacking creatures, so make sure that your deck is really aggressive before you put this one in your deck.
3. Searing Barrage
Searing Barrage is somewhat clunky, but it’s a fine addition to most red decks. If you manage to cast it with adamant it improves significantly.
Quick toughness check: Barrage kills 138 creatures or 96,5% of all creatures in the format, which makes it a solid removal spell.
Speaking of removal spells, Outmuscle is really well positioned in Throne of Eldraine draft.
Adamant part is surprisingly relevant and does come up often. It makes your creature able to survive a fight against a similar sized creature. It also enables an immediate attack and there’s often very little your opponent can do about it.
2. Fierce Witchstalker
This wolf has some nice stats. 4/4 for four mana is great in this format and the Food token is relevant as well.
Sometimes it will just keep you alive and sometimes it’ll enable some sweet synergies. Green draft decks can never have too many Witchstalkers.
3. Tuinvale Treefolk
Tuinvale Treefolk is a great card. It makes your small creatures into very relevant threats. Furthermore, something bigger, like Fierce Witchstalker usually becomes the best creature on the board.
Even if your opponent manages to deal with it, there’s also the Treefolk coming very soon with some nice stats.
There’s one thing that you should pay attention to when casting Oaken Boon. Make sure that your opponent can’t cast a removal spell in response. If that’s the case, your spell will fizzle, which means that you’ll lose both the targeted creature and the Treefolk, which can be hard to come back from.
In cases where your heavily suspect that your opponent has a removal spell and they aren’t tapping out, you might just want to cast the Treefolk without the adventure part.
Similar card, although on a much smaller scale is Garenbrig Carver. You still have to time it just right, but if you do you can get an easy two-for-one.
Rosethorn Acolyte is another adventure card, but you don’t care that much about the adventure part. You just want to have a nice ramp creatures with good stats for 3 mana, which speeds up some of your more expensive stuff.
Finally let’s mention two artifacts, both of which have the Food subtype.
Gingerbrute is actually playable in draft, as long as you have:
- Food synergies
- Ways to buff it
If your deck has any one the two, you can include this fast gingerbread man in your deck.
Golden Egg is pretty useful. First, it replaces itself which is key. Secondly, it benefits your food synergies and third it fixes your mana. The last one is especially important when you’re trying to splash.
Throne of Eldraine Draft Archetypes
Blue – White:
Artifacts & Enchantments Tempo
Blue-White looks like it should be built around artifacts and enchantments. However, that rarely pays off. Instead you should just be an aggressively slanted deck that uses flyers and tap effects to get some damage in.
Dance of the Mance Draft Deck
One exception to that is the Dance of the Mance deck. If you open this enchantment early on, you can – and probably should – build around it.
You have to pick lots of cards like Witching Well and Golden Egg and you just try to fill your graveyard with them and survive long enough to cast Dance for at least 6 mana, which then wins you the game.
Black – White – Red: Knights
Pick any two colors from the three mentioned above and you get a slightly different flavor of the same deck – aggressive Knights.
You might be tempted to play all three colors, so you can play as many Knight payoffs as you can. However, this strategy is often unsuccessful, as you want to both curve out and have access to three colors.
Here’s what will often happen. You’ll miss one of your colors and you won’t be able to cast some of your early spells. When you’ll finally get the third color, those spells won’t be that effective anymore.
So try to focus on two of the three colors, maybe sometimes splash a third one, if a card is really powerful both early and late. Last but not least, if you’re playing black, you definitely want as many copies of Smitten Swordmaster as you can get.
Green – White: Adventure
Half of Adventure cards in Throne of Eldraine (15 from 30) are Green-White. There are also a bunch of payoffs you can use, like:
The deck can function completely fine without many of those too. Adventure cards are just that good!
Blue – Black: Mill Control
Even if you don’t manage to get that many Merfolk Secretkeepers, you can still mill your opponent, by destroying or countering every threat they have and just prolonging the game.
Blue – Red: Draw Second Card
This archetypes cares about drawing your second card for the turn. In your turn you already draw one card in the draw step, so you only need to draw one more to get your triggers. If you’ll be drawing on your opponent’s turn, you’ll need to draw 2 cards.
There are seven payoff cards for this archetype. They are listed here, from best to worst:
- Irencrag Pyromancer
- Improbable Alliance
- Mad Ratter
- Faerie Vandal
- Bloodhaze Wolverine
- Steelgaze Griffin
- Mantle of Tides
If you get Pyromancer early you definitely want to get into this deck. This archetype had some problems, as a consequence of bot drafts. As we said, you could easily draft a mill deck when drafting with bots. You can imagine that it’s not a great idea to draw a bunch of cards when your opponents are trying to mill you out.
Nevertheless, we expect that to change and Red-Blue will be better as a result. It’s certainly a fun deck to both draft and play.
Blue – Green: Ramp / Multicolor / Oko
Blue-Green has a slight ramp theme, however it’s not very present.
What you want to do most of the time is to use cards that give you mana of any color like Rosethorn Acolyte, Spinning Wheel and Golden Egg with addition to blue card draw and smoothing (Witching Well) to enable a multicolor theme. Then you can just play the best cards that get passed to you.
Finally, Blue – Green deck can have another theme, which is: “I opened Oko, Thief of Crowns and he isn’t banned in Draft.” This is a very successful strategy and we recommend drawing Oko every game.
Black – Green: Food
Savvy Hunter is the perfect representation of a black-green deck. It’s a card that’s already a fine playable on its own, but gets better with Food synergies.
The archetype has a ton of solid cards that have a small Food sub-theme. You want to include looks of Food producers once you get some of the great payoffs like:
Red – Green: Non-Humans
Besides those synergies, the archetype is your classic Red-Green with big, efficient creatures that want to attack.
Each of the five colors also has a mono colored deck that’s playable in this format. Sometimes those decks won’t be exactly mono colored, but will splash a second color.
There are two major payoffs for staying in one color. First one is obvious – Adamant. You get full access to the adamant cards in your colors. In addition you also get a couple of reliable artifacts in Henge Walker and Clockwork Servant
Second one isn’t that obvious, but you unlock 4 of the 10 hybrid cards. All of them are pretty powerful and most of them slot nicely into the mono colored decks:
- Arcanist’s Owl
- Covetous Urge
- Deathless Knight
- Elite Headhunter
- Fireborn Knight
- Loch Dragon
- Oakhame Ranger
- Rampart Smasher
- Resolute Rider
- Thunderous Snapper
The good thing about those is that you can get them fairly late, if their specific colors aren’t being drafted. Similarly, you can consistently draft and cast triple costed rare creatures:
- Linden, the Steadfast Queen
- Gadwick, the Wizened
- Ayara, First of Locthwain
- Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
- Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
Additionally, you unlock the small benefit of the common land cycle with cards like Dwarven Mine.
Let’s quickly take a look at what each color tries to do in general.
Mono White – Go Wide
Play great removal and great hybrid creatures, not much else can be said about mono black. It can be both very good and consistent, especially if you get some of the better cards like Resolute Rider
This is a very aggressive deck and all three red adamant cards support that plan:
Does what green usually does. Plays big creatures with efficient mana costs, like Garenbrig Paladin, which is a five mana 5/5 with upside.
Throne of Eldraine Draft Guide: Power Rankings
This is just our preference during the draft, you can definitely win with any color, as Throne of Eldraine Draft really is a very balanced format.
This time around we won’t be ranking the archetypes, as they are really bundled closely together. Rather that that, we’d recommend you that you really try to stay open during your first few picks and try to figure out what your opponents are drafting.
Because most of the decks archetypes are really close in power level, you can really benefit if you manage to find out which colors are being passed to you.
If you’re new, staying open means that you don’t decide which colors you’re drafting in your first three picks. Instead, you look which powerful cards are getting passed to you pick 4 and later. Something like Resolute Rider pick five, is a strong signal that you should move into black-white / mono white / mono black.
However, this topic is a whole new article by itself.
Happily Ever After
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That’s the end of our Throne of Eldraine Draft Guide. Have fun and if you really want to win it – may you get Oko, Thief of Crowns Pack 1, Pick 1.