Feature Article – Eventide Examined

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Wednesday, July 16th – Eventide is here (in theory), and everyone is looking for a Limited edge in the new and upcoming format. Today, Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Marijn Lybaert brings us the thoughts from the Belgian jury, with four top professionals sharing their thoughts on the new common cards on the block…

One of the main reasons that I play prereleases (besides them being a lot of fun) is that I can chat with people about the new set before they get influenced by other peoples’ thoughts and articles on the internet. A fine example of this is the perceived strength of Power of Fire. Somewhere in the coverage from Grand Prix: Indianapolis, Jelger Weigersma says that he believes it to be the number one common in Shadowmoor. As a result, a lot of people started taking it first pick, above (for example) Burn Trail and Silkbind Faerie, and when I tried telling them it was wrong they came back with the argument that “Jelger said it, so it must be right.” Most of the time they would end up with a very mediocre UR deck as they had pinned themselves down to a very specific archetype, instead of keeping their options open by taking Silkbind Faerie or Burn Trail.

This weekend I played two Eventide prereleases and had the opportunity to talk with the three other Belgian pros (Jan Doise, Christophe Gregoir, and Fried Meulders) about Eventide and its impact on the current Limited format. What follows is some of the conclusions we drew.

The first thing that struck us was that the Sealed format is now a lot healthier. With fewer cards from Shadowmoor, the “God” auras diminished in strength. You’ll generally have fewer hybrid targets that enable both options. Not only will you have fewer targets, but there are also some good new commons that provide a solution to the auras, such as Wickerbough Elder, Recumbent Bliss, and Ballynock Trapper. Games will be less of a blowout, which means that the better player will come out on top more often.

The best thing about Eventide is probably Retrace. Having cards with Retrace allows you to play more lands, so fewer games will be decided by mana problems. In previous formats most of us wanted to run 18 lands with the risk of getting flooded. Drawing one good Retrace card is enough to get rid of all your excess lands. Fried added that it’s good to keep extra lands in your hand as soon as you’ve made your sixth.

When asked about whether to play or draw, everyone agreed that going first was the way to go. Fried’s reasoning was that in a prerelease you get three boosters and a starter, so it’s easier to build a deck with a good curve. Jan and I reasoned that even in a normal sealed deck (with only two boosters of Eventide) you should play first, as the format seems a lot more tempo-oriented compared to previous blocks. With all the hybrids around, every color is getting his share of cheap creatures. Christophe also agreed on playing, but he argued that it doesn’t matter as much as in previous formats. With so many options you should always be able to have enough early drops to not get overwhelmed in the first few turns.

Deckbuilding was another topic that we discussed, and all of us had their own way of building a Sealed deck. Of course, we all start by cutting the junk, but from there it was unclear what to do.

Jan started by taking all the cards he ‘really’ wanted to play before dividing them in fifteen piles (one for each color/hybrid). From there he would choose one color and try every possible build with that color.

Fried countered that more than the strength of your cards mattered… the consistency of your deck also mattered. He would also divide his cards into fifteen piles, but then started looking for a color that he could cut. This allowed him to reorganise the cards in fewer piles and get a better overview. After taking a good look at what was left, he tried out two or three different decks before choosing the most consistent build.

Christophe’s opinion was that it’s very easy to build a decent deck, but finding the perfect combination is often very difficult. Because of all the hybrid options, it’s possible to build a deck in every color combination.

Now let’s take a closer look at all the commons in Eventide, and how good/bad they were for me during the weekend. I’ll use a scale from one to five, with one being awful, two being bad (maybe your 22nd card), and three to five meaning you’ll probably play this card if it’s in your colors.


Ballynock Trapper: 4/5
Before the prerelease I thought that this card would be good but nothing more. Well, I was wrong. Tapping two creatures down and attacking at the same time was no exception. Both him and Beckon Apparition are common and they work very well together.

Cenn’s Enlistment: 2.5/5
I’m not really sure what to think about this card. Discarding a land to get two 1/1 creatures seems fine, but four mana is a lot. I’m afraid that by the time you get to retrace this card (which should be around turn 8 or 9) those two 1/1s won’t make a difference. I’d rather not play this card, but if you’ve got a way to power it up (like the W/R Liege or several Trappers) I could see myself playing it.

Kithkin Spellduster: 2.5/5
A bit too expensive, but still a way to deal with those annoying enchantments. If you don’t have anything better (like Wickerbough Elder or Flickerwisp) to get rid of opposing auras I’d run it. Otherwise, I’d rather not.

Kithkin Zealot: 1/5
Even against Black/Red this card shouldn’t gain you more than 4/5 life. The only case where I could see myself sideboarding this card is against a hyper aggressive Red/Black deck with multiple 1/1 and 2/2 creatures.

Recumbent Bliss: 4/5
Obviously a great card. Probably a 5/5 in sets where enchantments don’t matter as much as they do now.


Banishing Knack: 3/5 or better.
Depending on your deck, this card can go up in value a lot. The best thing I did with this card was used it on turn 7 combined with Leech Bonder. Move two counters to kill one guy and bounce three other creatures. Unfortunately, people will kill most of the untap creatures (like Silkbind Faerie and Leech Bonder) whenever they can. Even so, Banishing Knack will still be a cheap Boomerang.

Dream Thief: 3/5
I played this guy in my first prerelease, and he ended up being a 2/1 flying for three mana six times out of eight. In the early game you won’t have any spare mana to play another Blue spell, and in the late game your hand will be empty most of the time. The best way to ‘abuse’ this card is probably with Oona’s Grace around turn 6-8.

Merrow Levitator: 2/5
I haven’t seen it in action or tried it myself, but I’m afraid it’s a little bit too expensive for what it does. A 2/3 for four is far from exciting, and the ability will hardly do anything. A 22nd card at best.

Oona’s Grace: 3/5
Worse than Compulsion but better than Think Twice. Cycling extra lands in the late game is something you shouldn’t underestimate. I’ll always be happy to have a copy of this card in my Sealed deck.

Wilderness Hypnotist: 2/5
A decent sideboard card.


Merrow Bonegnawer: 1/5
No thanks.

Raven’s Crime: 2/5
I yet have to see this card in action, but I don’t think it will ever be good enough. Early game you don’t really want to spend mana or discard lands, and late game your opponent shouldn’t be holding a lot. I do see some future for this card in Constructed. Turn 4 Raven’s Crime times three followed by a Dream Salvage seems pretty powerful. Could this card be the start of a new B/G discard deck with Tarmogoyf, The Rack, and Stupor?

Smoldering Butcher: 2.5/5
Decent but not spectacular. It seems that there are too many cheap two-power creatures for this card to really shine.

Soul Reap: 5/5
Cheap Black removal was certainly something that was missing in Shadowmoor. Soul Reap and Unmake are a good start, but will they be enough to get Black back to the top? I’m afraid it won’t…

Talara’s Bane: 1/5
Once I was tempted to sideboard this against a White/Green deck. Man, who was I kidding…


Cinder Pyromancer: 1/5
After the second prerelease, Fried came up and showed me his deck, and he was running this guy. It’s a good thing for him that we can now change decks between matches at prereleases. Don’t let this card fool you, people… it says ‘player’ and not ‘creature.’

Flame Jab: 4/5
The best common retrace card. Early game it will often kill one of the Mimic creatures, and late game you’ll often discard two or three lands to kill a bigger creature.

Heartlash Cinder: 2/5
Don’t forget that I’m talking about Sealed here. In Draft this card can be quite powerful in an aggressive Red deck with some Intimidator Initiates.

Hotheaded Giant: 2.5/5, and sometimes better
See Heartlash Cinder. Probably a lot better in Draft than in Sealed.

Puncture Blast: 5/5
The second best common in the set (after Unmake). Cheap removal that can finish an opponent when needed.


Aerie Ouphes: 4/5
I was completely destroyed by this card twice, when it killed my Silkbind Faerie and another small flyer. He reminds me of Penumbra Spider, and that was one of my favorite cards in Time Spiral.

Monstrify: 2/5
This card might be better than I give it credit for, but that’s only because I haven’t seen it in action. If you’ve got some good experiences with this card, feel free to share them in the forums.

Nettle Sentinel: 2/5
Another card I’m not sure about. On turn 1 this guy will do four to six damage before chump blocking. Later on it will only get worse. A 2/5 in Sealed, probably better in an aggressive Draft deck.

Tilling Treefolk: 2/5
The more retrace cards you have, the better this card gets. I’d say you need at least three good retrace cards to play this guy. With only one or two, I’m afraid he’ll be a vanilla 1/3 too often.

Wickerbough Elder: 5/5
The only non-removal spell to get a 5/5. In triple Shadowmoor I often played Gleeful Sabotage, as Green lacked ways to get rid of auras and/or artifacts. This guy is just what the doctor ordered. A Disenchant on a stick. Man, do I love this card.



Beckon Apparition: 3/5
A great card against Retrace or Persist. The problem I had with this card was that I was often holding it for a turn or three before using it on something useless just to get a 1/1 flyer. Still a great card.

Edge of the Divinity: 2/5 or better.
Like I said before, with fewer Shadowmoor cards in the mix, the God auras got a lot worse. Most Sealed decks won’t have enough targets for them to be good enough. If you do happen to have enough targets (about four or five seems to be the minimum), don’t hesitate.

Harvest Gwyllion: 3.5/5
This card is so much better than Smoldering Butcher. There aren’t a lot of creatures that can get past this guy, and people never want to ‘waste’ a removal spell on it because it’s ‘just’ a 2/4.

Nightsky Mimic: 2.5/5 or better.
All five Mimics can be addressed at the same time, since all of their “upgrades” are worth it if you can get them to trigger. With that said, I don’t like them. They tend to make the Limited format (both Draft and Sealed) pretty random because you will never have more than 5 or 6 decent hybrid cards that can power them up. Sometimes you’ll have the nuts and hit hard for the first few turns, and sometimes you’re stuck with a 2/1 that doesn’t do anything else. The positive thing about them is that your opponent should always be careful because you can threaten to have an instant hybrid to wreck them.

Nip Gwyllion: 1/5

Unmake: 5/5
The best common in the set according to the other Belgians and myself. That is of course assuming that you can consistently cast it. It handles auras, it gets rid of persist creatures, and all for only three mana and at instant speed.


Clout of the Dominus: 2/5 or better.
See Edge of the Divinity.

Inside Out: 3/5
This card will often just cycle for two mana. However, when it does get to do something it can be quite devastating. Killing a Devoted Druid, making Tattermunge Duo a 4/3, powering up your Riverfall Mimic….

Noggle Bandit: 3/5
Apart from a surprise block with Plumeveil, this guy should be a 2/2 unblockable most of the time.

Noggle Bridgebreaker: 3/5
It’s no Order of the Sacred Bell, but it comes quite close. The ‘return a land’ part shouldn’t bother you too much. It can even be an advantage late game if you have a retrace card in the graveyard.

Riverfall Mimic: 2.5/5 or better.
See Nightsky Mimic.

Stream Hopper: 1/5


Desecrator Hag: 3/5
There it not much to say about this card. Gravedigger was great and Desecrator Hag is only slightly worse. Also, it doesn’t target, which can sometimes be important against graveyard removal.

Drain the Well: 1/5

Gift of the Deity: 2/5 or better.
See Edge of the Divinity.

Odious Trow: 1.5/5
With all those -1/-1 counters around, I’m afraid this card won’t do it. He is slightly better than his Blue/Red and Black/White friend.

Rendclaw Trow: 3/5
A Grey Ogre with two decent abilities.

Woodlurker Mimic: 2.5/5 or better.
See Nightsky Mimic.


Battlegate Mimic: 2.5/5 or better.
See Nightsky Mimic.

Double Cleave: 2.5/5
Playable if you are in need of some decent tricks. It’s slightly better than I initially thought.

Duergar Assailant: 2/5
The best of the one mana hybrid creatures, but he’s still fairly unexciting.

Fire at Will: 4/5
People try to play around this card in the first few turns only to realize it’s just impossible. This card is extremely powerful both on offense as defense. If you’ve ever destroyed two flyers with this card, you’ll know why it got a 4/5 rating.

Hobgoblin Dragoon: 2/5
Rather not. Good with Scourge of the Nobilis, but that shouldn’t be a reason to play this guy.

Scourge of the Nobilis: 2.5/5 or better.
See Edge of the Divinity. A 2.5/5 instead of 2/5 because it seems slightly better than the other four auras in Eventide.


Favor of the Overbeing: 2/5
See Edge of the Divinity.

Grazing Kelpie: 2.5/5
I’m not sure if this card is worth playing main deck, but it certainly is a good sideboard card against the better Retrace cards like Savage Conception, Call of the Skybreaker, and Spitting Image.

Shorecrasher Mimic: 2.5/5 or better.
See Nightsky Mimic.

Slippery Bogle: 1/5 (unless you’ve got four or more Favor of the Overbeings.)

Snakeform: 4/5
A powerful effect and all while drawing a card. Don’t forget that effects from creature enchantments will still count. So if your opponent has a 3/3 creature enchanted with Armored Ascension, it will still have flying and +x/+x. A nice trick with this card is to play it in response to a Soul Reap. You get to save your guy and draw a card.

Trapjaw Kelpie: 1/5


Antler Skulkin, Fang Skulkin, Hoof Skulkin, Jawbone Skulkin and Shell Skulkin: 2.5/5
All of the Skulkins seem to be a bit too expensive for what they do. The best one seems to be the Green variant, as all the others have a passive ability and are too reactive.

That’s it for this week. Rating cards made me feel like Captain Obvious sometimes, but I hope you got to learn something today. If you disagree with any of the things I’ve written, feel free to post in the forums.

Until next time!

Marijn Lybaert