How To Approach Hypnotic Sprite In Throne Of Eldraine Standard

PVDDR is back this week with a brand new preview card from Throne of Eldraine! You won’t want to miss this exclusive first look!

Adventure cards are, for most practical applications, modal spells. You can
play them as a creature and then they behave normally as a creature would,
or you can play them as a spell and exile them upon resolution. If you do
the latter, you can cast the creature from exile at any point. Basically,
you can choose to cast the creature, or you can choose to cast the
Adventure AND the creature, but you have to cast the Adventure first. With
some cards, such as Lovestruck Beast, the sequencing is obvious. You’re
supposed to cast the adventure and then the creature. In other cases, such
as Flaxen Intruder, you’re supposed to cast the creature and the Adventure
is just a kicker of sorts if you draw it later in the game.

The preview card Wizards of the Coast gave me is really one where the
sequencing is not clear and that could go either way depending on what the
game looks like, which is just how I like them. World, meet Hypnotic Sprite
in both normal and promo version!

Neither side of Hypnotic Sprite is particularly great on its own, though I
suspect that’s going to be the same for most Adventure cards. Here, what
you’re getting is flexibility.

First, the creature side – a 2/1 flier for UU with a creature type that may
or may not be relevant (as of the writing of this article there’s no tribal
Faerie bonus previewed yet), but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was revealed
later, since we’ve already seen a ton of Faeries. Hypnotic Sprite is not a
card you’d normally play, but there are decks that would be happy to play a
2/1 flier on Turn 2 in different situations, as it blocks, pressures
planeswalkers, carries Equipment or Auras, and adds to your battlefield

The counter magic side, Mesmeric Glare, is also not a card you’d play by
itself, but it can be a powerful effect to have access to, especially if
you’re on the play. It unfortunately doesn’t counter most sweepers, but it
does counter Teferi, Time Raveler, Oko, Thief of Crowns, Oath of Kaya,
Deputy of Detention and other spot removal spells, not to mention Thought
Erasure, opposing counterspells, and random creatures like Feather, the

So, if neither card is appealing enough to be played, what are you really
getting with Hypnotic Sprite?

1. Hypnotic Sprite is flexible

There are a lot of spots in which a Counterspell like Mesmerizing Glaze is
not useful. For example, if you’re on the draw and falling behind, or if
your opponent has a Teferi, Time Raveler. In these spots, the ability to
just play this on Turn 2 as a creature that attacks or blocks is
invaluable. We’ve all had games where we just sit with three counterspells
in hand facing a Teferi, Time Raveler or an opponent who is about to
overrun us with early drops, and in the case of Hypnotic Sprite, you can
just play this on Turn 2 and either pressure the Teferi itself or trade
with one of their early creatures. Similarly, there are spots in which a
2/1 flier is just not going to do much for you – say your hand is curved
out and you already have a two-drop to play – and then the ability to
counter a key card from the opponent might come in handy.

2. Hypnotic Sprite can be card advantage

If you ever counter something with Mesmerizing Glare, you also get a
freebie 2/1 flyer, and the 2/1 is cheap enough to cast that you can usually
do something else in the same turn.

3. Hypnotic Sprite is a win condition

This might not be very relevant for any decks moving forward, but there
have been decks in Standard that would care about this. Take for example,
Simic Nexus. It needed something to win the game with, but it didn’t really
care what it was. In a hypothetical new Nexus of Fate-style deck, you could
play Hypnotic Sprite as a win condition. It’s a Counterspell that you can
play but then, late in the game, you can cast it as a creature to kill them
with. The same is true for decks that looped Teferi, Hero of Dominaria but
needed a win condition to close out the game in time.

4. Hypnotic Sprite is a counterspell that can be interacted with as a creature

In this regard, it’s similar to Frilled Mystic in that you can use it to
counter something, play it as a creature, and then return that creature to
your hand with, for example, Teferi, Time Raveler or Unsummon. You can also
recur it from the graveyard with any Raise Dead effect and recast it as a

So, where would you play it?

I think Mono-Blue Aggro would be a good fit for it, but there’s not much
reason to play that deck without Curious Obsession, so my first thought is
Simic Flash. That’s a deck that ideally wants to establish battlefield
presence and then react to what the opponent is doing, and Hypnotic Sprite
is a card that can be your battlefield presence on Turn 2 or your reaction
spell with a creature attached later on. Here is how I’d build it after the

The mana base in this deck got a lot worse without Hinterland Harbor, and
now the games are going to be slower because all of the lands that enter
the battlefield tapped, but I imagine this is going to be true for a lot of
decks and we really can’t compare the power level of this format with the
previous one. Other than the mana base, this deck is mostly untouched by
the rotation.

The sideboard is also a little tricky. Right now, it’s very heavy on
anti-control cards, because the best anti-aggro card you had access to was
Entrancing Melody and I can’t think of a replacement for it yet. Right now,
if your opponent is playing, say, a white-based aggro deck, there’s nothing
you really want to side in against them, so that’s something to work on
when we see the whole set. Regardless, I think Hypnotic Sprite should fit
right in with this deck’s playstyle, including the fact that it’s another
creature of your own that you can bounce for value with Unsummon.

Another possible avenue is trying to play a deck that’s more interested in
the 2/1 flyer aspect of things, but that can also make use of the
counterspell from time to time. For example, here’s an Azorius Flyers list:

The loss of Favorable Wind hurts, but I think the deck can still work
without it, as everyone else is going to be slower as well. For this
reason, I think it’s also reasonable to play Tranquil Cove. Even with
Tranquil Cove, the mana base is the biggest challenge here, and I’m really
hoping we get a new dual land in Throne of Eldraine, but I think
it has enough colored sources to work right now and there are enough
one-drops in the deck that you can often just play the Cove on Turn 2
alongside an extra one-drop. In this deck, you get access to the powerful
Teferi, Time Raveler plus Hypnotic Sprite interaction, as you can just play
it early on as a two-mana flyer and then pick it up with Teferi later in
the game.

We also make use of another recently previewed card, Faerie Guidemother.
You’re almost never going to hold it to use the Adventure side, but the bar
for 1/1 flyers in this deck is very low, and it’s a nice bonus if you have
spare mana, especially on Healer’s Hawk for a surprise health boost.

Overall, I think Hypnotic Sprite is a very interesting card, whose
flexibility makes it deceptively powerful. It’s also the exact type of card
I like to play with, since it gives you a lot of choices in all moments of
the game and it fits very well into my favorite style of deck
(aggro-control), so I look forward to experimenting with it in several
different shells.