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We’re in the thick of Magic: The Gathering‘s reveal season for Throne of Eldraine spoilers, and there have been some really different concepts so far. Eldraine is a standalone set designed to evoke the themes of Arthurian legend and the classic Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Let’s jump in swinging with one of the latest spoilers from the set, Embercleave.
Embercleave and Equipment in Magic
In the past, Wizards of the Coast has been careful with Equipment cards, as the existence of Stoneforge Mystic poses some unique design constraints around the Equipment card type. Umezawa’s Jitte is an example of equipment that was far too powerful for the Modern format, which was further exacerbated by the consistency brought to it by Stoneforge Mystic.
Since then, Equipment cards have been relatively underwhelming, and apart from cards like Bonesplitter or Runechanter’s Pike, we really haven’t seen much playable Equipment in Standard or Modern formats.
Fast forward to today, when Martin Juza revealed his spoiler card from Throne of Eldraine:
Embercleave appears to be part of a cycle of Mythic Artifact cards with a cost-reducing mechanic. The Circle of Loyalty is the only other card in the cycle revealed so far.
Costing a whopping 6 mana on its face, the Equipment has the ability to be reduced in cost by up to 4 colorless mana, 1 for each attacking creature you control. Upon entering the battlefield, Embercleave attaches to a creature of your choice. As Embercleave sports the Flash keyword, having a few attacking creatures can make for a very powerful combat trick at instant speed for as little as RR. Reminiscent of one of my favorite cards, Temur Battle Rage, Embercleave gives the equipped creature +1/+1, double strike, and trample, which allows the creature to punch through blockers and kill creatures in combat that it otherwise would have traded with.
I’m most excited to test Embercleave in a Mardu Death’s Shadow shell with Stoneforge Mystic. Stoneforge Mystic is primarily played with Equipment from the Ally Swords cycle like Sword of Fire and Ice, as well as Batterskull, which is a threat all on its own. These cards aren’t very good in a Death’s Shadow deck because these decks generally want to lower their life total to grow the shadow and then use the tempo advantage gained from a huge shadow to kill their opponent as quickly as possible.
However, Embercleave is exactly the type of Equipment a Death’s Shadow deck might be interested in. The ability to effectively search for our combo kill and threaten it at instant speed is extremely powerful and increases the consistency of Temur Battle Rage effects without diluting the rest of the deck’s game plan. Because we’re already playing white for Ranger-Captain of Eos, which searches up our Death’s Shadows, slotting in Stoneforge Mystic is an easy task. Here’s an initial list, based off of recently successful Mardu Shadow showings.
Stay tuned for more Throne of Eldraine spoilers on our MTG news page!